Log Cabin Chronicles



Following up on "Is Jean Ready?", I suggest you direct your browser over to the website for the liberal party of Quebec. A new website has finally been put in place now for the election period.

Its a relief to see that the campaign organizers of Mr. Charest are finally getting this piece of the campaign in gear at this late date but there are some problems that need attention. I am not impressed for many reasons.

To start, the site goes into a cgi-bin retrieval routine on initial request. Seems to me this is going to need one hell of a powerful server if a lot of people all want to be served at the same time.

Next, there are no meta tags in the headers...maybe they figure helping search engines index the pages doesn't matter but let's face it www.plq.org is just not the first address a foreign journalist is going to intuitively think of. (Get www.jeancharest.com pointed!) This is just one reason why the site should have been fully operational three months ago so the whole thing would have had a chance to be indexed in most popular search engines.

And what is there on the index page when we get there? A rolling billboard telling us this is his website...like I'm not intelligent to figure that out. A few short descriptions of "star" candidates. An announcement that the site is to be active - real time (with two updates a day!..we'll see).

A glaring mistake is that there appears to be no "English" selection button on the index page which is pretty much of a direct insult that I'd correct immediately.

One level deeper and we find an English button and it loads a page announcing "coming soon!" yeah...thanks we knew we weren't an important "people" and second-class citizens worthy of a second class schedule.

Is there a contact area...names of organizers and people we can contact in our own ridings if we are interested in volunteering? No. Is there an e-mail contact page for the whole liberal organization? Not that I can find. Is there an online telephone book with important numbers? No.

Every person running for office should have an e-mail address. This is 1998 isn't it?

The site is so obviously still under development you wonder why they put up a half done site.... It confirms a rush job.

The economic platform which looks like it is split into four PDF downloads gives a 404 error. I have yet to receive a response to my request for Charest's tax plan after 14 days.

Yes, the concern I expressed ten days ago was well founded. It looks like I expected: a thin cobbled-together last minute effort rather than a well though out strategic information tool representing some thoughtful planning over a six month period which is what they have had to get ready to go into battle.

A fancy point and click map to identify candidates in ridings is a juvenile way of approaching getting to a name. It takes four levels to get to the Westmount riding to find out who is running there. And then you are presented with a thin bio!

The web is a tool not a toy. Attempts at fancy javascripts that may not work on a lot of peoples' browsers and take time to load are distracting. A political site is about information and substance. You want to get to the information quickly with fast loads and re-loads. The javascript menu looks homemade. It is meant to be a sliding menu but it is annoying as the script requires you to click on the button before it will hold the sub-menu for selection. Tip...if you want a sliding menu script, there is a company in Portland Maine that will sell you a javascript that works.

No...you clearly weren't ready for cyberspace. If we had had the opportunity to give you input on this part of your campaign, we certainly would not have posted the site until the English section was ready and offended 800,000 of your constituents. We would have had Spanish and several other languages as well as Montreal is truly multi-ethnic.

We certainly would have a better mail handling team set up using something like Mustang software's mail tracking (www.mustang.com) so I know each and every e-mail is auto answered right away (that's what people expect).

And another suggestion...we'd like to see statistics of the results in the past elections in each riding posted. If we really wanted to call on the troops, we'd get those stats down to the individual poll level and made available to campaign workers just so that they know how hard they have to work to get their man/woman elected. The whole point is to get organized to win. Information is a key ingredient!

Communication is what it is about Jean. The net could be a great tool for you to make one on one contact with Quebeckers but doing things at the last minute always seem to look that way. How to lose in cyberspace 101. If you are not ready.... don't post.

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Christopher C. Goodfellow is editor of the LaurentianWeb.


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