Liberal Democrats: Flock Together

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Where you want Flock Together to go next…

October 8th, 2008

Thank you to the 169 people who responded to the Flock Together survey – both the bits where we asked you to rank new ideas – and the bits where we asked you for your own ideas.

Both parts of the survey have thrown up some very helpful ideas – saying what’s important – what’s not important – what needs fixing – and what doesn’t

Starting with the ‘quantitative’ ideas, five ideas popped to the top (one of which we’ve already done)

Full integration into the main party website
FT events now appear on the main party website. I’d love to do a full Obama with a dramatic increase in opportunities for member campaigning via the main party site (including Flock Together), but it will need to go into the overall party priority list.
Tidier page to input events
I’ve never been a fan of the 3 column design – or the design of the input page – and it’s time to fix both! The organisation list also needs ajaxing.
Flock Together application on Facebook
Yeah! There’s an event API for Facebook at last. Integration with Facebook should be pretty straightforward (gulp!). I think I’ll be contacting the 9 people who offered to help code Flock Together on this one…
Ability for users to register political skills and interests that other party members can search for
Shouldn’t be too difficult, but will need some careful design. My take from the comments is that people would like it as members’ only. Open tagging? Or a closed list of attributes? What skills would people like to see?
Link to email a friend about an event
This should be spectacularly trivial to do… I’ve always wanted to polish this off but been dissuaded by others. One late night coding session while bored should be enough to do it.

When it came to the people’s comments, there were loads of them (see below)… but a couple popped out as the biggest priorities:

Simplifying the front page design
A top priority – but quite a lot of work. I’ve got some ideas for a dramatically simplified front page. Any redesign is going to need refreshed functionality, a ground-up redesign of the navigation and the removal of a load of unnecessary complexity.
Simpler filtering, including by region
The filtering of events by type and distance is too complicated. It is possible to get most of the combinations that people are asking for, but way to hard to set it up.
Previous and future by-election results
This will either need some incredibly clever way of interrogating the ALDC database or website or (more realistically) some volunteers (and ideally a volunteer coordinator) to make it happen. Flock Together has the capability to give different users different editing access – but I don’t have time to organise it. All volunteers welcome…

Comments? Questions? Offers of help?
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Adding events to the party’s website

September 10th, 2008

One of the new features of the party’s cool new website is that it shows events for local parties.

Here’s an example from Winchester.

As you might have guessed, the events are being fed through from Flock Together.

Although there’s all kind of clever ways that the Federal Site can ask Flock for events to show on its pages, we decided in the end to show the events associated with a local party as ‘local party events’ and other events in the party region as ‘nearby events’.

So if you want your events to appear under your local party – postcode is not enough. You need to link the event to your local party or your local region.

Conference Fringe Events on Flock Together

September 7th, 2008

Just realised that we were missing a Conference Fringe category to Flock Together.

So I’ve added it.

Flock Together survey

August 5th, 2008

I’ve just put a survey up on Liberty Research about future plans for Flock Together.

Very surprised by the results so far.

Encouragingly, some easy things that I hadn’t thought were a priority are scoring very well!

If you’d like to take part, it’s at

Another step-forward for Flock Together

July 23rd, 2008

One reason why people don’t always share Flock Together a bit more is that it’s URLs can get a bit fugly.

So I’ve upgraded it.

From now on links like

Not earth-shattering, but it should make linking into the site much easier from leaflets or other websites!

Flock Together now supports Yahoo! Calendar

March 16th, 2008

Following a request on the discussion board, Flock Together now supports Yahoo! Calendar events.

Just click on the icon on any meeting or by-election page to add it to your online calendar.

Yahoo! Calendar image

FT still supports Outlook and Google Calendar events as well.

Biggest Flock Together upgrade ever? Easy to show whether you are going to a Flock Together event or not

March 1st, 2008

It’s now dramatically easier to show whether you are attending a Flock Together event or not, by clicking in the ‘Are you going?’ box at the top right of every meeting page.

By using the kind of Web 2.0 technology used on sites like Flickr, the page will automatically update without needing to reload.

Have a go by registering on the party conference page at

You need to be logged to get the full benefit.

For those interested in such matters, it uses the prototype Ajax library to update the page without reloading.

All comments welcome.

Beer vs. pizza – the Lib Dems decide

February 18th, 2008

The latest results from the beer vs. pizza stakes are in… Lib Dem Drinks has the lead.

You can check the runners and riders here:

But this is in your hands… set up more events for the team you favour and you could tip the balance.

Pizza and Politics

February 17th, 2008

Jeremy Hargreaves has started an interesting discussion on Lib Dem Voice about policy discussions.

It’s about a minute’s work to add a ‘Pizza and Politics’ group – like the one for Liberal Drinks – so that people could easily see all the Pizza and Politics, Pasta and Politics, Poppadoms and Politics or Curry and Politics meetings around the country.  (Or should the group be called ‘… and politics’?)

Or would you be interested in being able to easily see all policy discussions going on around the country – a bit like the one for meetings in general?  (That’s about twenty minutes’ work).

All comments and suggestions welcome.

Flock Together saves the planet

February 4th, 2008

Just spent the last few hours trying to improve the way Flock Together handles lifts.

First of all, there’s a new page which shows all the current lifts wanted and offered at

Once you’re logged in, you can now also email someone to request a lift or offer a lift. We’ve done this in a way which respects people’s privacy and should avoid spam.

For an example of how this works, try (you may need to log in to see how this page works).

Where next?

Should we include simple lift-links in the emails we send out? Should we make it easier to add or remove lifts on meeting pages?

I’m keen for this to work because if we can get some extra car-sharing going it helps cut CO2 emissions.

And don’t forget that every page of Flock Together will also look up the best way for you to get to a meeting via public transport. Just go to any meeting page and click on ‘by public transport’ to see the best route.


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