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The Project

The Find a Conservative Project started with two simple goals. First, find and connect Canada’s Conservatives online. Second, learn more about WordPress and Search Engines. Below are some of the updates made to findaconservative.ca and the plans for going forward.

Over the weekend, Elections Canada updated the EDA records for the 338 ridings. We now have 208 287 of 338 Conservative Associations listed, so it was time to get to work updating the Associations.

Cleaning My Mess

I did almost break the site adding a bunch of Associations at once, but thankfully that was sorted out. Unfortunately, my bulk update missed a couple (dozen). I was tempted to blow it all up and start a new but decided this was another opportunity to clean them up right. I’ll hold off on the nuclear option for a bit longer.

The challenge with WordPress is that if I want to be lazy and use the standard WordPress archive for entries then I have to order them by date. When I initially upload the first time, they all had the same date but because they were created in the right order they appeared alphabetically.

As I started to update the site, this order fell apart and with re-distribution, scrambled it good, especially after updating new EDAs in three separate batches. So I went through, updated the 338* Associations that were continuing to each have a unique publication date alphabetically, but set the menu order to use the riding numbers. Bonus, the links to the next EDA and previous EDA have a logic that was missing initially.

Changing Profile Criteria

Initially I had added the email addresses provided in the Elections Canada database. That is fine in many cases, but in a large number, they use the president’s personal address. This is obviously a problem as the President’s change over time. Going forward, I will only be using or updating an unambiguous EDA email address, ie donate@youredahere.ca or youredahere@gmail.com.

That said, I have still been adding the President’s contact information. I have just added it to a Members only section. Add your name to my mailing list to learn more about the Members Only Section.

EDA To Do List

I have still left the older entries for now to preserve any existing links, though I doubt there are many. Where possible I have tried to re-direct the pages for old association to new associations or updated the old associations with only small name modifications or additions.

Set-up the auto-messaging on @FindATory to share the links on social media.

Finally, I hope to contact the Associations this week with current email addresses to let them know they can update their pages contact information.

 

I broke my website.

I know how I broke my website. I tried to add a bunch of EDAs at once. That worked, but now a number of pages are not working. Basically any page that has to load an EDA won’t display anything.

I don’t know how to fix my website, but I have a hunch. If I manually update all the new entries that might fix it.

But it might not, in which case, I might have to blow it all up and start again.

 

As mentioned in the previous post, I have created a custom post type for nominations. With the help of the Gravity Forms + Custom Post Type plugin I have now created the submit a nomination page and built a custom view to display all the current nominations listed by province under their respective Associations.

I should have done this type of documentation from the start before it got unwieldy but live and learn. Below is a description of the views used on the site. Maybe my next challenge will be to figure out a way to display this information automatically.

Nominees Post Type

Schema Page Name – Nominee Page
hCard Post Name – Nominee Posts
WordPress Archives – Nomination Archives (Displays a table with links to their websites, facebook, and twitter)
Custom Taxonomy Views – To do

Custom Child Views

Association Pages us the view Association Nominees (Displays nominee posts in the Association page Template) using the Nominee Posts content template

The List page uses the view The Subs Site Map – Nominees Child (Nominees ordered by Field – wpcf-nominee-last-name, ascending) is inserted into the content template Nominees Listed. That content template is inserted into Nominees List By EDA (EDAs ordered by post title, ascending) which is inserted into the taxonomy view for Provincial Desks Nominees By Province (This View selects Taxonomy of type Provincial Desks, ordered by Name, ascending)

Custom Fields

Nominee Contestant First Name Nominee Contestant Campaign Address (Street Address)
Nominee Contestant Last Name Nominee Contestant Campaign Address (City)
Nominee Contestant Website Nominee Contestant Campaign Address (Province)
Nominee Contestant Email Nominee Contestant Campaign Address (Postal Code)
Nominee Contestant Facebook Page Nominee Contestant Campaign Phone Number
Nominee Contestant Twitter Page Nominee Contestant Profile Photo
Nominee Contestant Google Plus Page

If you know somebody seeking the nomination, encourage them to submit their profile.

 

Over the holidays I slowed down on the updates, but I did introduce some new post types and have begun work on a new custom taxonomy.

Sponsored Posts

“Sponsored Posts” aka advertisements, now appear around the site. If you would like to advertise on FindAConservative.ca, please feel free to contact me.

Nomination Contestants Posts

I have created a post type to display nomination contestants under each Association. If you are planning a run for a CPC Association riding nomination or have already declared, please feel free to submit your nomination profile.

Conservative Activists Posts

The last post type I created over the holidays was the Conservative Activist. There is still some work required in setting up and displaying the post type. If you are interested in creating an Activist profile, please, sign up for updates, and I will let you know when it is ready.

The Geography Taxonomy

This will be the most ambitious taxonomy project. The Geography taxonomy will cut across all posts and allow people to find Conservatives by city.

Finishing Quebec is taking a lot longer because like Alberta there were a lot of changes. I didn’t need to read the entire ALberta report to know adding 5 ridings to a province with 26 would change a lot, but adding 3 to 75?

As I started making the updates to Quebec, I noticed a large number riding name changes while very little actual boundary adjustments. I decided to read a bit and found this from the final report of the Quebec Commision:

These changes led us to seek new names for a large number of electoral districts and to assign names to the three added electoral districts. We drew on the guidelines of the Geographical Names Board of Canada concerning the selection of names for federal electoral districts

I’m skeptical they needed to make so many changes to the names. They also argued one of the factors in making their decisions on boundaries is “the current trend toward limiting urban sprawl”. Reading the report it sounded like they were being forced to add ridings to the suburbs around Montreal.

If I didn’t know better I would say they were making it harder to find conservatives.

With the name changes, and the likelihood I won’t revisit the Quebec ridings anytime soon, I am taking a bit more time with each riding but I am 1/3 through, and hopefully one big push this afternoon will put me over the top.

My complaints with Quebec’s Commission aside, I don’t envy the task any of the Commissions had.

 

 

Finished updating the Ontario ridings from S to Y that are continuing to exist.

Continuing to work my way up the list, saving the new ridings until afterwards, possibly a bad idea now that I have reached the Mississauga ridings.

It is a dense little part of Canada.

I’ll have to back to edit some urls and add some re-directs

re-directs

  • Mississauga—Erin Mills
  • Nepean-Carleton
  • Vaughn
  • Whitby
  • Chatham-Kent—Leamington
    • Mississauga South

    Sort Out Notes

    Kitchener Waterloo

    Visit-the-FindAConservative-HashTags

    I’ve started the Ontario ridings but there are just so many. I know Ontario is big. I have traveled to every corner, but still, it’s not until you start to edit and add all the ridings that you really appreciate just how many people live in the province.

    Facebook Pagination

    In order to procrastinate on adding the ridings I need to find something equally critical to update. An important part of the updates I have been doing has been to improve the page load times. The worst offender was the MP’s on Facebook page. It would often just crash your browser window if you were lucky and if unlucky it would crash your entire browser.

    The solution was to stop trying to load 160 calls to the Facebook API and keep it to a reasonable 20. While it means you can’t just quickly follow everybody but Facebook actually restricts the number of likes you can make in a short period of time.

    Glossary of Tags

    With the expansion of the hashtag to Facebook and Google+ and the proliferation of the term into the popular culture, I wanted to use the WordPress tags in a similar fashion to help create a common set of tagging conventions across the internet. Adopting hashtags is an important tool for political communicators and digital political campaigners. One of the best examples of the power of the hashtag is currently being deployed by the Ontario PC’s. When tagged with #pcpo, your tweet appears in the Party’s social stream on www.ontariopc.com.

    Facebook Featured Image for EDAs

    We are almost approaching a commonly adopted featured image format for social media with Facebooks adoption of the featured image sized post. Facebook recommends an image 1200px by 630px. The optimum Twitter header is 1256px by 626px while google+ has changed to feature cover of 1360px by 520px.

    Having just produced a slew of Twitter and Google+ Covers for some EDA’s I realized what the new premium EDA Page would look like. So I made some new covers for the pages ideal for sharing. Which forced me to redesign the pages. It will still need some work since it was the last thing I did last night and I likely broke some of the h-card classes and itemprops.

    Here is sketch of what I am thinking for the final page. Click on the image to see it in full size or visit one of the featured EDA’s

    EDA-Page-for-FAC

    Note to self: Figure out how to validate large images for Twitter summary cards on the new theme.

     

    I am now just procrastinating on the next batch of ridings, but at least it is in service to a higher goal, structure!

    In preparation for the new theme I updated all of the posts for the EDA’s, Clubs, and MP’s to conform to a proper HTML5 format and h-entry classes.

    Then I made the Archives Page. It has the benefit of all the pretty schemas mark-up but it helped me to better determine the overall structure of the site going forward.

    The Structure

    The site can be broken down by post types, and taxonomies.

    The post types contain the data for individual things (Person, Organization, Place) and have relationships with with each other, while the taxonomies are used to group subsets or cross-sets of the different post formats.

    The site uses two major methods for grouping, classifying, and coding the data, schema.org‘s microdata and microformats.

    The Post Format

    The post format will be used to display the basic requirements of the thing and satisfy the h-entry requirements. The post format will be used to display the thing on the major categories for the things, ie taxonomy archives.

    Post Type Post Type Custom Category Taxonomy Post Type Custom Tag Taxonomy Schema h-format
    CPC Members Caucus EC, Tags schema.org/Person h-card
    EDA Provincial Desk EC, Tags schema.org/Organization h-card p-org
    Riding Province EC schema.org/AdministrativeArea h-adr
    Campus Geography schema.org/Organization h-card p-org

    The List Format

    Nobody wants to click through page archives so for the individual post archives, ie /eda/ or /cpc-member/ I’lll have to create a properly formatted list to display the entries.

    Once the basic list view is created it can act as a template for creating other lists based on the data, the twitter lists are good examples.

    The Directory Format

    The directories are used to provide an at a glance overview in a sortable table of data.

    Examples of Directories

    • MP Social Media Table
    • EDA’s Online

    The Individual Entry Pages

    Once the final theme is established the individual pages for post type will act as a complete h-card for the entry and act as a complete schema for the thing.

    The individual pages will use the microfromats to create the structure of the individual pages.

     

    Updating the ridings is tedious so I took a small break to make a few tweaks to the sites layout to make the change to the new theme less jarring for returning visitors and better organize the site.

    I also updated the buttons for sharing individual pages, but I think the changes I made to the twitter list pages actually made it run slower.

    In terms of a to-do list for further styling:

    • Remove theme specific shortcodes and replace with html (eventually they’ll get the php treatment)
    • Replace shortcodes for social sharing
    • Add additional column classes

    Saskatchewan and Manitoba are all up to date.

    Need to change urls and add re-directs to:

    • Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley
    • Churchill—Keewatinook Aski
    • Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa
    • Saint Boniface—Saint Vital
    • Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman

    I’m updating the ridings to add the new boundaries, additional details, and where possible a comparison of 2003 over 2013.

    I have also assigned a specific taxonomy based on the old riding codes and the new riding codes.

    Provinces Completed:

    To do

    • Create new riding archives for the provincial taxonomy.
    • Set-up 301 redirects for the changed urls

     

    I spent more time than I care to admit working on updating the Campus Clubs but the effort paid off!

    First, I think they are the best looking posts formats so far, and the page layouts are the most advanced. The campus club individual pages now work as vcards. Random MP Pages might work, but there are still some bugs.

    If you have a suggestion, please, let me know.

    I have left a significant gap since the last project update, but with the upcoming Convention, it is time to give another update and help motivate me to carry on.

    It is time to lay a path out for Find A Conservative and the baby steps to get us down the path.

    First I’ll break down and describe the big chunks of the project adopting terminology of developers.

    Find A Conservative Beta

    You are looking at it! It was supposed to be a place where you could find the contact data on Conservative Associations and connect Conservative MPs with their Associations.

    Find A Conservative v.1.0

    The next edition of Find A Conservative will be updated with the new ridings, new and reconstituted Conservative Associations, and extensive updates to the Members information. The goal is to provide map each with the appropriate schema and create the proper relationships between Riding ( http://schema.org/AdministrativeArea ), Association  ( http://schema.org/Organization ), Party Association  ( http://schema.org/Organization )  and Member ( http://schema.org/Person ).

    Version 1 will be ready when the above is complete and searchable

    The FindAConservative Project was conceived to be a “crowd-sourced” wiki-type project, allowing visitors to submit links, and trusted users to update profiles.

    Finding a Canadian conservative crowdsourcing website like Bluecrowd.ca was truly inspiring.

    To support Bluecrowd.ca and help connect Conservatives, The FindAConservative Project will be seeking support for the continued development of the site through Bluecrowd.ca.

    With the explosion in popularity of social media, Conservatives have more and more online properties. Finding all of them can be difficult for Canadians.

    Putting them into one searchable website makes it easier to find and share Conservatives politicians, Conservative Associations, and Conservative Campus Clubs.

    The growth in online advocacy has also seen an increased mobilization of left-wingers and socialists online. They are using digital tools to attack Conservatives at all levels of government.

    Proud Canadian conservatives need to be able to come together and mobilize online to fight these attacks, but first they have to find each other.

    FindAConservative.ca seeks to be your resource for finding information on Canadian Conservatives.

    Who is Find A Conservative?

    FindAConservative.ca™ is part of the EDA Help.ca Network and is a commercial marketing website for EDA Help.ca.

    Find A Conservative is not affiliated with Conservative Party of Canada.

    How can you help The Find A Conservative Project?

    Contribute Links

    If you find a broken link, or a new Conservative website, social media site, or page, please, send us the link.

    Update A Profile

    Are you a Conservative Member of Parliament or Conservative Staffer? Register here to update or correct a Member’s Profile.

    It’s alive! . . . well, sorta.

    Welcome to the first post of our blog Lost & Found.

    Our goal is to provide updates on the development of the site. FindAConservative.ca is still under-construction.

    Here is our short-term To-Do List

    • Filtered searches – Right now, we only have a text search set-up, but shortly you will be able to filter by MP, Riding, Province, Association, or Social Media.
    • Update the Profiles – We are still adding contact details to the Associations and we are always on the hunt for updated links to social media for Members of Parliament.
    • Styling & Visual Identity – The site is still very much a blank canvas. Making the site useful has been prioritized over style, but we hope to have some big updates ready by the time you check back in in the new year.

    Over the medium term we have some very big plans for the profile pages and as well as adding information on Provincial Parties and Provincial Associations.

    In the hopefully not to distant future will be be able to launch FindAConservative.org, our idea for an open source conservative community driven project. If you think you might be interested in joining the Project, please contact us.

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