February 28, 2008

Mission Reports

One of the projects that I've been working on since early January is the Master Calendar. I've sort of assumed the role of Events Tracking / Reporting for the entire legion. It's a somewhat daunting task, given the huge number of people and garrisons out there, but it's a fun one.
The project started when I collected a number of Garrison homepage links for the facebook group the 501st Stormtrooper Division. From there, I started visiting each page and noted down the events listed on the front page or events section, and noted them, along with the garrison, link and event. This seemed like a good idea at the time, and slowly, I started uncovering more and more links and events. The next step was to message everyone in the group, which got back more responses.
The system changed when the 501st Podcast started up, and I e-mailed them the list of events that I'd come up with, thinking it would be a good feature on there. Bugs were worked out, and I created a google calendar to keep track of the growing list of events. By now, I'd started soliciting responses directly. All of the COs, XOs and PROs in the legion were e-mailed and were informed of what I was doing, and I've gotten some responses back - hopefully, this'll be a regular thing, although I haven't had the time to put the list together yet.

How the calendar looks prior to Report

The current events list is compiled in the following fashion: Events information is gathered from several places: The garrison calendars themselves, and from members within the garrison. I have a number of calendars, events pages and garrison sites bookmarked on my computer, with a click of a button, I can open them all and go through the list, one by one.
As each garrison page is visited, I open up the calendar and plot the events down in the following fashion:


Other information

I search each garrison's page for new events, and save the list. From there, Google allows for an Agenda, which displays each event in a list, which is copied and formatted in a text document, within the proper reporting dates. This report is then carried on over to this site, the 501st forums and is reported to the podcast, Albin Johnson and at some point, the Legion upper command, when I get around to finding their e-mails.
The report is done each Friday, where it's posted up. Further events are requested, and any errors are pointed out, and corrections are made as they come in, in time for the next report. At times, some events are missed on the podcast due to this deadline and their recording, but they do appear on the forums.
All of the events listed in the report are the public events. I've choosen not to list Garrison meetings, private parties, birthdays and other things where personal identities or parties might not appreciate being identified.
One of the outstanding questions that has yet to be resolved is the intent and purpose of reporting events. One school of thought would be that this is to report to the legion what events the group is attending, which is what it's current role is. The second, which it's filling marginally, is the potential to highlight events that the legion might not necessarily be attending, but which might generate interest for and get people out to see.
Thus far, Tracking and Reporting has been a huge success. A number of people have been thrilled with the idea of a central events tracking system within the Legion, as it hasn't been done before, or at least in a number of years. Albin Johnson's e-mailed me with thanks, which is gratifying - especially to have his approval for the project.
I'm happy that my little experiment has gotten off to such a good start - it's a rewarding task for my spare time, and has been a good way to keep involved, as Vermont's pretty remote when it comes to trooping, although we will be having our first event this year.

Next report is tomorrow.

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