YWAMKnowledgeBase:Monthly Newsletter

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In order to foster more communication I have started a Monthly Newsletter. I hope to write this as regularly as possible but it might not happen as well as I would like. I am happy to leave this role so, if you are keen to replace me I will make it happen! Needless to say the emails you have registered with this database will only be used for this newsletter and this wiki site and not divulged to any third party.

Monthly Newsletters

March 2011

(Draft)

Technical news: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Statistics got a new column: following a discussion of a KB-Meeting, Pitpat implemented a way to see how many users actively contributed to the KB during a certain span of time. It's fluctuating heavily, yet it's not surprising to see the same usernames occur over and over again :-)

When I (Pitpat) watched the list of Special:PopularPages recently, it felt kind of difficult to read. It would really be of interest to us, if you would give us some feedback: which page did you really enjoy reading, which text impacted your ministry or personal life? Or put otherwise: when you talk about YWAM KB to others, which content do you highlight because you appreciate it so much?

In the last time, spamming bots got naughtier, so in the next weeks we will try some different technical solutions how to keep them away without complicating the life of normal users. As a temporary compromise, we've decided to allow only edits from users that provide an email address and click on a confirmation link sent to this email. So if you've registered, but not confirmed your email yet, please log in and request a second confirmation mail in your User Preferences (under E-mail options).

February 2011

Hi KBians,

If you stepped by our site these days, you surely noticed the blue bar that was added at the top. It contains the main categories of our content. Some of these have great gaps - so if you have some experience to share, feel free to do so! We also made some other under-the-hood adjustments to make editing more easy.

We are also experimenting with the new social network buttons. You're now able to recommend a category via Facebook, Email etc. or subscribe to its changes via RSS, with a single click!

Oh, we also reduced the font size a bit in order to have a more compact design. Please let us know if it went to small for you.

Currently, we experience a steady growth of people reading our pages (see YWAM-KB Statistics), but the number of editors stayed the same. We won't stop inviting you in (just pick a matter of interest to you, start reading, add comments, ... we will be eager to help you!), but it's perfectly fine with us if you don't have the time to do it. Still you can do us a great favor: tell us how you are using the site! If you were talking about the YWAM-KB to a friend, what would you emphasize? Do you have a story where the information you got on the YWAM-KB was particularly useful? Add it to YWAM-KB Community Faces or write us an email and we will add it for you. If possible, join a little photo of you.

Greetings and Gods blessing,

The YWAM-KnowledgeBase Team

October 2010

Dear All,

I want to first of all thank everyone who has sent emails of encouragement recently, especially of the "hey, I know I have been quiet recently on the KB but when are we going to have a meeting?". I know that not one of us has the luxury of working on the KB full time, so I am pleased when I hear feedback like that. And then answer to the questions is: Meeting Tuesday 2nd November @ 15h30 GMT+1 (note half an hour earlier than normal due to an appointment I can't miss)

There have been some great encouragements recently. Most of them come from people who are offering information for the KB (see Reflective Practice). Recently Steve Goode has been talking to me about hosting a whole load more Mercy Ministry papers that will go a long way to filling one of the gaps we have noticed in the KB. I really enjoyed reading Phil Leage's paper on The Mission Agency and the Local Church, especially the challenging "health check" accountability questions at the end! When was the last time you called up a ministry leader (in YWAM or outside) to express some appreciation or encouragement?

I also enjoy hearing about how people are discovering the KB. Recently Steve was telling me he was visiting a remote YWAM centre in New Zealand and talking to the Base leader who discovered the KB just 3 days earlier!!! I enjoyed explaining who I was and that I was one of the KB team at the 50th Anniversary in Lausanne. There were a few interested "um's" and "ah's" as people connected a person to the project. It is a lot of fun.

So I hope I will catch up with you on Skype next week.

Regards,

Kevin

PS see a visual picture of how the KB has been developing: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Histogram Statistics

June 2010 - part 2

Dear All,

I am back in Brussels and the Sprint is over. We had a blast and we missed you all!

In the end Pitpat, Arnoud and myself spent a very hot few days hunched over computers, pizzas and gummy bears working on the KB in Berlin.

It was a lot of fun and it felt like we made a LOT of progress in a very short time. We spent time annoying the Berlin YWAMers by asking them to do usability tests for us which was INCREDIBLY helpful. We made a some simple, quick but hopefully relevant changes to the KB that will help others engage faster (actually when we conducted another test after that user was twice as fast as the others... which is encouraging but not conclusive of course!)

It was a valuable process and I would recommend doing similar things in projects you might be running: observing someone new engaging with our website or even YWAM centre or team! It was eye opening.

There are oodles of other things discussed and plans worked out for including a more advanced plan and infrastructure for translation of 'completed' KB articles (see YWAM Statement of Faith for a live example). We also have a clearer idea of what to work on and how to keep on improving. (see the new and improved DTS pages, categories and sub-categories for an example) We want to create some bounties of tasks or sub-projects that we can offer to U of N schools for student assignments.

The full report is available from the Community pages at: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Sprint_2010_Report. Please have a good look at what we have there and see where you might be able to assist us with the on-going project.

We missed you all and hope you will continue to send feedback and contribute to the KB. Summer is upon us now and I have a 7 week furlough soon so you will not hear from me much for a while (thank heavens!).

Cheers,

Kevin

June 2010

Dear Infonauts,

I am writing this on the train to Berlin, where I will meet face to face with other YWAM KB editors to chat, think, pray and work hard on the KB. We had a lot of fun last year at our Sprint and I am looking forward to this coming meeting very much.

Finding time to work on the KB has been exceptionally difficult for most of us recently. The top five editors have been marrying off children, changing nappies on children (different editor's kids!), taking exams, fixing their computers, running YWAM bases and generally handling Real Life! When I talk to other YWAMers I know this to be true too.

I think the reality is that most of us are overworked and under-resourced. This makes taking time to write and in doing so to pass on to others vital help a lower priority than we would wish.

I recall the Eisenhower Matrix, that Covey made use of in his Seven Habit's book and how the Important but NON-Urgent tasks are so easily squeezed out by Important (and Not-Important) Urgent tasks. Reclaiming this time, or taming it and diminishing the Urgent takes plenty of thought and delegation to others. Good delegation requires training. Where might we get the training? On the KnowledgeBase!

So can I urge you to break out of this treadmill! Consider how to delegate and when you train and develop others (to reduce the time pressure on yourself) why not prepare that material and place it on the KB? Remember you don't have to produce a finished article - even rough notes are better than nothing (see a lot of my contributions!)

Why not drop by the YWAMKB Sprint pages this week or catch up with us as a virtual participant around 4pm (GMT+2) on Skype (kevincolyerwork). Even a simple "I would like..." comment can help us a lot! Please keep your eyes peeled and I hope we all will rise above the tyranny of the urgent (me especially!).

One thing you could do that would be simple is to help us out by answering the questions below over the next 24 hours.

cheers,

Kevin


Quick survey for YWAMKB Sprint 2010

  1. What are the top 3 best things about the KB?
  2. What 3 things could be improved? (Any suggestions of how welcome)
  3. What articles do you miss?
  4. What is the harshest criticism you would make of the YWAMKB? (Please be frank if you have some negative concerns!)
  5. Do you have an endorsement that we could use (please give name and role!) or a positive comment for us?
  6. Anything else?

Please FORWARD your answers to kevin@thecolyers.net. Replying might send your comments to everyone on the mailing list!

April 2010

Dear Infonauts,

I hope you have had a long and enjoyable break from these YWAMKB messages. The gap since the last November newsletter has been so wide due to the rather intense family life I am experiencing at the moment in addition to being a Base leader and National leader.

We have some GREAT news! We have served more than 500,000 pages since we started running the KB. This is a wonderful landmark to achieve. Recently the KB has entered a READING phase rather than a EDITING phase and the statistics seem to indicate that we have more readers than a year ago. (Sometimes EDITING creates a lot of READING hits due to repeated viewing by the editor). These are page impressions by the way, not 'hits'. When a website describes their 'hits' they often mean all the requests the web-server gets, rather than whole pages served up. (The YWAMKB server says we have had 660,428 hits in the last 12 months right now for example).

Over the last months we have been doing some minor improvements and optimising the KB to serve pages faster. It is some 6 times faster in serving pages now (I bet you hardly noticed). We have also improved the backend processes and made the human factor in caring for the YWAMKB more robust too. Now if I get hit by a bus, the KB will survive. The data will not be lost and pretty much anyone could replicate the whole system somewhere else. But please send flowers in this eventuality!

Another important thing is to know that you are warmly invited to the next KB Sprint that we are holding in Berlin in June. We will be there from 7 June, leaving on 11 June and we want to welcome all to this meeting. Your virtual presence is appreciated even if you are unable to come in person. ANYONE who cares is welcome. ANYONE who cares is welcome to add to the discussion. The Sprint page is being developed here: YWAMKnowledgeBase:Sprint2010‎. If you would like to come but travel costs prohibit them please let us know and we will see what we can do about it. The face to face interaction we will have is intended to boost and cement the virtual relationships we share throughout the year.

Lastly, if you are struggling to find something on the KB, please send one of us a short email saying HELP! I have recently had a couple of these and it was a pleasure to locate material and in a couple of cases realise that we had a few gaps that needed plugging. It is very useful feedback knowing that people can't find something - much more so than finding out that people can find something!

Till next time, every blessing!

Kevin

November 2009

Dear Infonauts,

Quick greetings from Brussels! I'm sure you have noticed a number of changes to the look and feel of the KB site plus the welcome return of Steve Sullivan following his sabbatical and the flood of articles that accompanied it!

We have a new rating system for each page. The position of the box will change but please start voting right away so we can start to get a feel for where the "ripe and tasty" fruit is in the KB. As the number of votes increase we will be able to put a table of Best Pages on the front page to guide people to the good stuff. User feedback and rating is an essential part of the user experience for most collaborative projects and we finally have ours!!!

We really would like to know how all these changes are affecting you. We also want to keep driving the KB project forwards. So I want to welcome you all to come to the next KB meeting Monday 9th November @ 16h00 GMT+1. Over the years we have taken this time to meet and greet each other and try to come to consensus on the direction for the KB. We would so value your participation - recent meetings have had few attendees and decisions postponed in place of fun chat times!

So please do connect!

See you soon,

Kevin

September 2009

Dear Infonauts,

Welcome to the autumn term after a wild and/or restful summer (maybe both?).

I am very much overdue to write this little newsletter for the KB. It has been an interesting few months recently where we have made some jumps forward and a few leaps backward too.

Arnoud (or Little Eagle) has been doing a superb job of pulling the community side of the KB together. He has organised the recent Cleaning Days and been active on the Facebook group. The Cleaning Days have been good and certainly help me to focus time on the KB, knowing others are hard at work too. One of the great things about working together at the same time is that one sparks off another. Also mutual appreciation flows. After all, it is hard to know if someone values an edit you made to the KB if you don't get feedback.

Recently I have been having a lot of positive collaboration time with PitPat who has been using a tool I created to evaluate websites. Through evaluating the KnowledgeBase (and it failed 3 out of the 4 tests!) we learnt a lot about what is important in an evaluation and have radically improved the tool. I recommend having a look at Evaluate your YWAM website and then the evaluation of the KB too. Massive thanks to PitPat.

Anyway I have since then implemented a number of improvements we identified that could be quickly achieved (or I alone could do) such as upgrading the MediaWiki software and some server tweaks and administrative procedures to reduce the bus factor (number of people critical to the long term management of the site).

You may notice no difference, or quite a lot of difference as upgrading usually breaks a few custom extensions to the wiki as well as fix the security holes (very important). Please report anything that is troubling you as this is a large project and it is hard to see all the less common faults.

Sharing Knowledge I was following the GLT meetings recently in Switzerland and I noticed the following paragraph in one report about communication:

"Finally, the GLT have had communicators writing their internal minutes, and producing short videos and these written reports for the wider YWAM body. Knowledge is power, and good leadership seeks to empower people through sharing knowledge. Wherever security allows, it is good to communicate appropriately. Many leadership teams have followed the GLT’s example and invite communicators to observe and serve them..."

I was thrilled that GLT members see this value that the KB has been striving to achieve! Now, where you can play your part is getting those who lead you to take this word from the GLT and start applying it to the KB. Surprisingly there is only ONE GLT leader who has made any direct contribution, and that is Steve Goode. Others have material on the KB (put there often by me). Very few leaders at National or Base level have contributed either. Anyway, it is time to remind them of their responsibility to train and develop others and to maximise that contribution via the KnowledgeBase! So please pester your leaders, ask them what they could contribute, and teach them how to do it! That we all might grow! They may prefer face to face encounters but let's remember the Apostles Paul, Peter and John (et al!) all thought the written word an appropriate way to develop and nurture those they were responsible for!

Cheers,

Kevin


June 2009

Dear All,

Last month was an exciting month for me and I hope for all in the KB community! The Sprint meeting was a very key event and an unusual one too.

I've been to quite a few YWAM events but this was the first where we actively invited non-physically present participants to engage with us. Each day at 4pm it was a lot of fun connecting to YWAMers from different continents making friends and talking KB. I think the two key outcomes of the Sprint were the creation of KB community and start of more systematic training using the KB.

It has been a surprise to me how the Facebook group has been developing and the types of discussion and connections made there. It seems we need a place where we can generally chat - perhaps the discussion tools on the KB itself are not suited to the sort of conversations folks are wanting to hold! Arnoud has a passion to make this community a cosy space. We also think that having a regular time slot online that the community can come and chat in and ask help from each other would be beneficial. So listen out for Arnoud's invitations (coming soon!). We also started a mailing list that many people are receiving this message through right now! This is for the community - please use it, call for help on it, ask questions, make suggestions, send insults, jokes etc. If you are not on it you can simply join it from here: http://groups.ywamnetworks.com/listinfo.cgi/ywamkb-ywamnetworks.com. We have links now from the front page of the KB to both the Facebook group and the KB Mailing list.

The second important development is what we are calling "Threads" (for want of a better name). When we surveyed people about the KB it seemed there were a variety of different ways people used it to get answers to their questions. But there were many people not having a clue what to do with it at all. The strength of the KB is that you can just stick in a page. Searching will pull it out. However, when you want to learn a set of skills or gain a broader understanding of a subject (e.g. starting a new team or becoming a dts staff member) it makes sense to have a pathway through those pages, systematically pulling together the key topics and skills needed.

So we created these pathways or threads (if you have a better name please suggest it!). They appear on the front page. We started with some classic roles and questions and provided the initial links to category pages etc. But some are now sporting the initials WIP (Work In Progress) and a little spanner. These are the new thread pages and this is where we think we need some extra input.

The WIP's need developing and expanding. They need each skill-set breaking down, then pages or sections of the KB matched to them with links. Where there are gaps in the KB (and there will be lots) we can create the article title we want and seek people to write them. (links to pages that don't exist are called Wanted Pages and you can get a list at any time here: http://ywamkb.net/kb/index.php/Special:Wantedpages)

Exciting times. I hope you are as pleased as we are.

The next time to connect will be Monday 8th June (http://ywamkb.net/kb/index.php/YWAMKnowledgeBase:Meeting_20090608)

Regards,

Kevin Colyer

May 2009

Dear All,

The quiet season for the KB is due to end soon as the Sprint meeting will be taking place May 11-15 here in Brussels.

I am excited to host this meeting as I rarely have set aside quality time to work in depth on the KB. Rather a quick 30 mins here or hour there as an idea strikes or someone says "Is there anything on the KB about..." and I have a little something to do!

But we are going to take this whole week to WORK, not just chat about the KB. The aim is that we will improve the structure of the data, write new articles, work on the presentation and generally the usefulness of the whole site. There may be some back end performance/server things we can work on also.

I really would love those who can't make it in person to think about what they can communicate from afar and perhaps set an afternoon or morning aside to work on something. We don't have to be physically present to work together! It could be very exciting.

Firstly, please have a look at the Sprint pages and the timetable. (http://www.ywamkb.net/kb/index.php/YWAMKnowledgeBase:Sprint2009) Remember all times are BRUSSELS times (GMT+1). We will be using these pages a lot and so please check there. We will post where we can be found on line too. If all else fails please pick up a phone and call the Brussels office and we can talk in person!

Secondly, please LET US KNOW what you consider important to be worked on and your recommendations. For example, Saulo Xavier in Brasil, sent me very interesting thoughts on the promotion and look of the KB site. (Not forgotten or ignored Saulo!) We need more concrete things like this. It could be articles, promotional material, ideas for structures, new concepts for the front page or your own observations, feedback of problems faced by users etc. I await your emails!

I look forward to your presence physically, virtually or in spirit!

Cheers,

Kevin

March 2009

Dear All,

I want to announce that we will be having a YWAMKB Sprint meeting here in Brussels May 11-15. You are all welcome to come!

What is a Sprint you may ask? Well, it is a time to meet and talk and WORK hard at improving the KB. As the KB contributers are a virtual team having some good face to face time should give us all some encouragement to keep developing the KB.

So who is it for?

  • Writers, who want to develop articles and learn how to use the KB better. We will write lots of new articles in the Sprint
  • Organisers, who are good at bringing sensible structure to the KB. We need to work on making the structure clearer in order to bring the articles closer to those looking for them.
  • Artists, who can improve the look and feel of the site
  • Educators, who can help to improve articles, find the gaps in the knowledge and help people to really learn well with the KB.
  • System-admins, who can keep the underlying code in good order, the system secure and the data backed-up.
  • ANYONE, who cares about using the KB to pass on to others the wisdom and practical advise you have gained.

The cost will be low! As low as I can make it. Food and a small daily charge for a bed in the YWAM Base here in Brussels. Don't let finances be a hurdle - if you want to come we will see what we can do.

More details will appear soon, but please email me (kevin@thecolyers.net) to confirm your interest.

If the dates do not fall in happy places for you or travel would be ridiculously expensive don't fret as we will try to have Skype participation available and also an open Instant Messaging channel that you can drop in and out of during the sprint! Your virtual participation is welcomed and encouraged. But sadly you can't drink the Belgium beer online so personal presence is preferred!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kevin

November 2008

Greetings Infonauts!

Life Chez Kevin has been busier than ever last month with 3 trips away from Brussels and the ever gorgeous twins to look after. Sorry for the lack of communication - I just got snowed under.

I have been reading the excellent "The Starfish and the Spider" which is all about the power of leaderless movements of people. It is a great read. Getting so snowed under made me realise that a project like YWAMKB really does not want me as a spider-like leader - I will get so bogged down with work the project could stall. Plus if I go away or forget to pay the domain fees so will the KB. That must not happen! Of course I can also slow innovation too. For example, I would have never thought of having a Facebook group for the YWAMKB but Arnoud did and just... did it! (In fact I really don't hang out on Facebook at all - I must be getting old!) He had 65 members in a week (now 73). He has something to develop now. That is the power of leaderless organisations. You can sign up here: http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/group.php?gid=46220161302

So in our future meetings we should really look at how we can set the KB free so that if I am ever out of the picture the whole project can continue. The next YWAM KB meeting will be at 16h00 GMT+1 on 10 November, 2008. Please see YWAMKnowledgeBase:Meeting 20081110 for agenda and add your thoughts. Why not join in?

That's all for now. Keep telling everyone you know about the KB. Please write articles. Please correct all my bad spelling and make my articles look the best!

Cheers,

Kevin

September 2008

Greetings all Infonauts!

After a very long break for my furlough and the successful birth of my twin boys, Luc and Joshua, I am now back to work. In between quick naps and nappy changes I have chance to write a letter on the KB, so I am taking it!

I was thrilled to be away this summer and leave the admin of the YWAM KB in the hands of Little Eagle, Neo, Crashsystems and others. It shows that the team behind the KB is growing plus the hardware and software is robust and healthy. I am glad this project is growing beyond me and my domain and becoming our thing; something that belongs to us and we can work on together. Giving away knowledge is absolutely vital. The alternative of which is to hold on to it and creating a little kingdom of our own. And that is so unhealthy. Especially when you consider our calling is to make God known and anything that hinders the increase of effectiveness in making God known in YWAM is not from the Lord!

Did you know we have passed 200,000 page views? These are views as counted by the wiki software so if you take all the caching that happens on the internet that means we have probably had many more views of the pages. It is great progress and a consistent growth curve. Already over 1% of YWAM staff are registered users; I presume the unregistered users are many more than this. When we reach 340 registered users we will have 2% of all YWAMers!

What encourages me about all this is that we are helping our fellow missionaries make a difference where they are. And we need to keep working at it! We currently have a DTS outreach team here in Brussels from Byron Bay in Australia. I had never heard of the place but as we chatted I realised it is a place of world pilgrimage for back-packers! It is a small town of 9,000 people but 1.3 million back-packers turn up there each year for the sand and the surf (and etc.) What a place to be YWAMers and do outreach! So I begged them to write about how they do what they do so that those of us who reach similar people groups can be inspired to reach out too. Ibiza probably is very similar to Byron Bay, so YWAM Australia has much to offer YWAM Europe... but only if we take the time to communicate!

So please try to set aside just half an hour this month to write about something you are doing, no matter how dull or obvious it may appear to you - it will help others to grow in their effectiveness in making the knowledge of Christ known in the world!

Cheers,

Kevin

June 2008

Dear All,

I have been very busy so this newsletter is both late and brief! As we head into the summer I though you might like to know where the YWAM KB users are located?

1	44.92%	United States 
2	17.49%	Great Britain (UK)
3	9.27%	Norway  
4	5.53%	Netherlands  
5	5.29%	Russian Federation 
6	2.20%	Belgium  
7	1.98%	Germany  
8	1.88%	Australia  
9	1.46%	Thailand  
10	1.34%	Sweden  
11	0.93%	Romania  
12	0.79%	Unresolved/Unknown  
13	0.54%	Philippines  
14	0.51%	Canada  
15	0.46%	Latvia  
16	0.44%	Spain  
17	0.35%	Bosnia and Herzegovina
18	0.32%	India  
19	0.30%	New Zealand (Aotearoa)
20	0.28%	France  
21	0.28%	Portugal  
22	0.27%	Switzerland  
23	0.22%	Brazil  
24	0.22%	Finland  
25	0.19%	Japan  
26	0.18%	South Africa 
27	0.18%	Argentina  
28	0.17%	Korea (South) 
29	0.16%	Gibraltar  
30	0.14%	China

I found this list fascinating. I hope that it continues to grow and grow.

Today we are holding a KB Meeting [1] at 16h00 GMT+2. Love to chat to you all then! It is a truely international meeting - last time we were from the US, Australia, Belgium, Holland and the UK!

I will be heading onto Furlough at the end of the month and be absent for 2 months. If you have trouble with the KB or need some help please contact some of the Support Desk folks (you can find their details at the bottom of the main page!). I will be back to work in September.

Cheers,

Kevin

April 2008

Dear All,

There is a bumper crop of news this month, as I really did not have time to write anything for the last couple of months!

The good news is that the KB is enjoying record popularity! The last month has seen the number of page reads go up by 30,000! This is quite a lot. In fact it is 1/3 of all page hits ever since we started in one month. Looking at the other log files it looks genuine, although I am not sure who in Spain is looking at the KB but the single largest group of hits come from there! Anyway we will see. But good news!

Talking of records I have added a league table of contributers. At the moment Steve and myself rest on top by an embarrassingly large lead. However the Top 10 are:

  1. Kevin: (Too many to make it fair)
  2. Steve: (Too many to make it fair)
  3. Adelaartjes: (65 Edits on 9 pages)
  4. Flyingkiwi: (44 Edits on 13 pages)
  5. Cforbes: (22 Edits on 5 pages)
  6. Belindaloo: (13 Edits on 9 pages)
  7. Bob: (11 Edits on 3 pages)
  8. Keever: (11 Edits on 7 pages)
  9. Crashsystems: (11 Edits on 7 pages)
  10. Groove1950: (9 Edits on 7 pages)
  11. Neo: (9 Edits on 6 pages)
  12. Robzilla: (9 Edits on 4 pages)
  13. Compelardo: (9 Edits on 3 pages)

Congratulations to all on the Top Ten. I will continue to publish the league table as a motivation for all! This also means I don't have to remember your names and logins and can merely refer to you as No. 3 or No. 27! (You know who you are!)

We have also received a donation of a dot com domain! Thanks Mike. People can now put www.ywamkb.com in their browser and find us. New users can't actually register like this - you can only register at ywamkb.net.

The black table with PC and sign on the stick is the YWAMKB point we created for the WELC08
The KB is getting out and about. We were are the Western European Leaders Consultation last week and the word got out there. CRIT is happening just now. look out for Rodney Blevins (27) and Steve Keever (8) at CRIT. I hope they get the chance to present. Go for it you two! If anyone else reading this is there please meet up and take a photo of yourselves for us here.

If you get the chance to talk about the KB you might like to know there is a Presentation on the KB. Just to avoid the "Death by 1000 Powerpoints", I made a Presentation on the KB and there is a little tour too. It is always best to tweak the presentation for yourself and check all the links work! Beware some joker in the audience changes your last slide before you get there! (The power of wiki's!) Presentation is at: http://ywamkb.net/kb/index.php/YWAMKnowledgeBase:Presentation_Title_Page

One thing people often ask about when you chat about the KB is support for other languages. Internationalisation has not been forgotten - we are not an Anglophone mission! But if you have seen my written French you will know why I am not racing into writing French articles. The preferred solution for the KB is to do what Wikipedia does: It has parallel wiki's with each article written independently. Inter-wiki links are added when there is a clear pairing of articles. But generally it grows organically like that. We are not ready to launch another wiki for a language. As a medium term proposal I would like to suggest that if you write an article in another language you make the article name like this:

DE/Meine Atikal
FR/Mon Prémiere Article
FR/Mon Deuxième Article  etc.

Please put the language code in capitals followed by a forward slash. You can see that sometimes this technique elsewhere in the wiki like the notes from the WELC conference Steve put up. (http://ywamkb.net/kb/index.php/WELC08)

That's it for this month! Have fun.

Kevin

January 2008

Dear All,

Welcome to 2008 and I hope you are ready and raring to go! From the KB point of view we are waking up from the calm Christmas period. Perhaps not all of you took the cold, dark winters nights as a cue to start working on the KB! Perhaps you have a life!!!

The last three weeks have seen a flurry of activity with lots of new pages being added. We now have some useful tests to see how stressed you are and how to deal with it, a model for base leadership, where am I going on outreach and where have I been on outreach tools, a spiritual gifts questionnaire and an article on overcoming the Fear of Man!. If you have anytime left over from that you might like to start a business.

During January I was invited to a meeting and, of course as a YWAMer, I am drawn to meetings as a moth to a flame. I met with the EuroCom guys who are asking the question: how can we improve our internal and external communications in YWAM? What came out of that meeting were some concrete steps to help us all in YWAM Europe to evaluate and improve our existing communication. As part of that we talked about using the KB to help by hosting the EuroCom communications pack and toolkit.

I was very pleased that I could offer the KB in this way and also that the KB has the potential to be used by YWAMers all over to help with the projects like this. I think it is important to say that the KB is not my thing - it can be all of our things. If it helps you to pool knowledge over your special area, or collaborate together with others and might have a wider use than for you then you really should see what it can offer you. Those of us currently shepherding the project would really like you make the most of this tool. We don't want to become a bottleneck. Please get in touch if you want to explore some more.

On the theme of making the KB more widely known there are business cards available to help pass on the word. These have been made for the moment when a subject arises and you say "Aha, yes, there is something helpful about that on the Knowledge Base, here have this card, you will find it at this web address". You can print your own cards using business cards templates with micro-perforations and the downloadable files on the KB. So print your own or send an email with your postal address to office@ywambrussels.be and we will send you 50 by post! Perhaps someone would like to take up the task of giving a card to each member of the GLT? I will supply cards!

We try to meet each month via a Skype chat and the next meeting will be a 15h00 (GMT+1) on Meeting 4th February. And, if you can't make that then please come and hang out with us at the café during the WELC in Holland at the end of March.

Regards,

Kevin

December 2007

Dear All,

What a month! We hit the 10,000 page views barrier. That means someone is reading a page every 4 minutes. (It is probably Google and other indexing robots but I think the statistic sounds good!) What is more important is that it is yet another month of continued growth for the KB.

Some interesting pages

  • Steve has added a resource people page. The idea is we should write about what we are good at so others can call on us for help. Make sure you allow people to email you from your preferences or you might not be as much help! (STEVE!!!!) [2]
  • The Main Page has had a make-over. Do you like it? I hope it is more professional looking. Suggestions for continued improvements welcome.
  • The Genesis section tells much more about this important way of keeping connected. It answers a number of questions you may have had about this tool.[3]

And lots more!

Thanks for all the response last time to the request to set time aside to write for the KB. Thanks all the edits that resulted! Some folks have made their first contributions. Thank you!

Breaking the barrier

I was writing to someone the other day about writing for the KB. There is a psychological barrier I keep hearing. That is some people really don't feel qualified to contribute. I really want to re-assure all of you that the only qualification is willingness! If you have ever thought "I should remember this thing so that could others learn from this" then that is the only qualification you need! This KB is a meritocracy, that means the authority comes from the quality of the contribution not from an external source. You gain the authority to write from writing! Just be willing to allow others to improve your work. You will learn a lot. I have! If you disagree (we should at times disagree) do so politely; make an edit that combines your view and another's together.

Another way to get involved is to join us in our monthly meeting (Monday 3rd December @ 15h00 GMT). We welcome you all. Please add your points to the agenda and join with us! [4]

Till next month!

Kevin

November 2007

Dear All,

Things here in YWAMKB central have been hectic over the last few weeks as I have been out of Belgium for two different meetings. It was fun to meet with the leaders of Western Europe in Harpenden and to see a number of them really "get" the idea of the KB. It helped of course that Steve Goode was editing at the time so they could see another leader getting on and making a contribution.

Of course making a contribution is the hardest thing! There may be a number of reasons why...

  1. The wiki is a bit complex and there is lots to learn
  2. We don't have enough time
  3. We don't feel we have a voice or anything to say!

My response to this would be:

  1. Persevere! It does get easier. Please read the many pages or help and watch the videos we have made. I have also taken the opportunity given by a recent upgrade to the wiki to install a trial of some WYSIWYG editing facility to the wiki. I hope you like it. It has a great way facility for making links. I actually have turned mine off (preference menu) as I find the wikitext code straight forward. But I hope it helps you!
  2. I never have enough time! However, this project for me is important because I really want to see my peers and those up-and-coming YWAMers equipped and knowledgeable. Perhaps we all ought to give a small proportion of our time to training others around us?
  3. Finding your voice and having confidence to use it is not easy for all in YWAM. But I want to welcome EVERYONE, whether, experienced or new to YWAM to contribute whatever is on their mind to these pages. Please express your opinion here. Don't fear offending anyone!

Where next?

Steve updated the Goals on the front page again. We are aiming for 500 articles and 250 members by Christmas! What about it? What can you offer? What can you edit? Who can you invite? (Please try to shake more leaders into action to write their wisdom to these pages!) Lets see what we can achieve by Christmas!

cheers,

Kevin

October 2007

Dear All,

September has been so intense for me here in Brussels I have not had time to send out a little newsletter for the KB. Anyway here we are!

The Wiki has been experiencing strong growth recently, partly as a result of me announcing it via ywam-base-announce newsletter. It was great to see people signing in daily! We now have over 100 users - that means just over 0.5% of all YWAMers are subscribed! What does it feel like to be a part of an elite club?

I have also started http://www.planetywam.net news site too which I hope will result in cross-pollination of the two projects. Planet YWAM is a good way of keeping up with latest YWAM news from those sites plus the latest changes to YWAMKB! I will also be posting this newsletter on my blog too to see if we can get a wider readership. Please keep doing what you can to encourage people to use the KB.

The Wiki is a powerful tool. I spotted this news story recently http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7015024.stm about the New Zealand police force using a wiki to compose new laws. This is powerful stuff; I wonder what the result will be. I am hopeful this experiment will bear fruit.

New Articles

There have been some interesting new articles this month notably from Steve Goode (thanks):

  • Manila Covenant - We corrected the spelling to no longer rhyme with "Vanilla"!
  • YWAM Licensing MOU‎ - advice on not loosing our right to use the YWAM logo and name YWAM!
  • Jomtien Statement - YWAM's important statement on Mercy Ministries
  • Backup Data - Some ideas on how to protect your data and never loose your important documents and details.
  • Windows Computer setup guide - A helpful list of Free and Open source software that you can install free of charge on a Windows computer to make it a productive tool for your staff. You can click each link to download the latest and greatest versions of software.
  • Why Leaders Fail - a very interesting article for leaders!
  • Depression - an article I wrote to help YWAMers support each other and those struggling with depression
  • Category:Business As Missions - a whole bunch of documents from the Business as Missions website

I hope you enjoy browsing the KB and seeing what is new!

Every now and then people request articles. Recently Sergio, from Italy asked me if there were any application forms for DTS that embodied the best principles for Data protection/privacy. In the EU the data protection law is very strict and applies to all countries in the EU - thus it makes sense to share the data. YWAM England has a lot of good practice in this area. So can we help Sergio out by writing about what Good Practice is in Application Forms and also giving him source documents that he can adapt for his own use?

Lastly, I recently got a change to present the KB to the National Leaders in Western Europe. I may have bored then to death (not really) but I think it went very well. The proof is in getting people to contribute their knowledge to the heap! I get a lot of positive feeling that this is important to them. I also noticed signs that there is a danger of information overload for some as the mushrooming number of YWAM websites is overwhelming (Have you seen YWAM Web pages recently? Any ideas on how we can help?

Till next month,

Kevin Colyer

PS For those wanting help to get their documents into the Wikitext used on the site help is coming soon we hope! Until then note that the very latest version of OpenOffice (FREE!) has an export Document as Mediawiki option that converts any document you load (Word .doc's for example) into wikitext format! See here: (Help:Converting the Heathen#The Best Conversion Tool)

September 2007

Dear All,

August has been a slow month here on the Knowledge base for two reasons. One, because it is August and we are all busy at evangelism or resting our tired and aching bodies. And two, because a slight side project has happened. Let me tell you about it.

I was talking with Dovovan Palmer, YWAM England leader, following a little article he wrote about the RSS links many websites have these days (to understand this read: RSS). I had been playing about with a clever little program that brings content from many websites together to one website and so http://www.planetywam.net was born. I am running it as a sister site to the KB so I hope we will get healthy cross-pollination as a result. Please spread the word about Planet YWAM and make sure you have an RSS reader up and running or you will miss out! (All the best ones are free). Till then bookmark http://www.planetywam.net.

  • Since the last month we have a net gain of 11 pages and a gain of 12 users. It is nice to see new users eclipsing new pages! There were 3,716 page views and 116 edits of pages.
  • We have the start of a new category with the contribution of an article on Mercy work. This is one of our smallest categories and yet is claimed to be 1/3 of all we do. Help us to expand this area. Our Evangelism section is small also but growing. Check it out!
  • A new category is growing Category:Being a Missionary and made the 4 article threshold to get onto the Main Page tag cloud. There are a few articles on tax, pension and such there that well all need to take note of. It would be great to get non-specific to UK material on there too.
  • A portal page is in draft form as a more pictorial entry point to the KB. Also I added some bio-graphical details to the Why I joined YWAM page. Please add your story too however mundane or exciting it is - it gives up much clearer understanding of how to recruit.
  • Finally the list of YWAM Web pages continues to grow and has been structured a bit better too. Please keep submitting new sites and correcting bad links. We are becoming a DEFINITIVE site for YWAM information.

That is it for this month. Why not make this coming 30 days a time to dip your toes in the wiki waters and add something to the KB.

Cheers,

Kevin

PS Remember our next meeting is on Monday at 15h00 Brussels time via Skype (kevincolyerwork)! My status All welcome.

August 2007

Dear All,

July seems to have been a quiet month on the KnowledgeBase. It was good to see the number of new users grow more than the number of new articles! (But it would be good to see more of both really!) It was a quiet month though as summer outreach has been the priority for many and holidays the other pressing need for some! (Including me)

So for this issue of the newsletter I thought I would highlight some interesting changes the last 31 days have brought us. (I will put only the page reference so please add the http://www.ywamkb.net/kb/index.php bit yourself)

  • At the beginning of the month I completed some instructional screenshot videos at Help:Contents. This is a visual way of teaching how to contribute. Let me know if more are wanted as they are not hard to create.
  • Where do I start a new team?, How to find a building, Finding a Man or Woman of Peace are a suite of pages on the New Teams category that are very key questions for those starting a new team in a physical location.
  • EuroCom pages were added by Reblevins. His plea is that we can find more ways to help communication prosper in the mission. It is gratifying to see this project working to reach the goals the Communications teams have been proposing.
  • YWAM Web pages have seen the most edits as people keep adding in new YWAM sites and correcting the many incorrect entries there. This has been satisfying to see as the POINT of Wiki is that it should be quick to correct and up to date! It also seems to mean that this page is an important one for many users. See also Cforbes' helpful comments about these pages. (Talk:YWAM Web pages)
  • Main Page has gained computer-translation support from Google. This is a barely adequate way to browse the KB in another language - but hopefully it will help us to make the KB more useful for hundreds more YWAMers around the world. If you want a cheap laugh browse the KB with a native speaker as they attempt to read the translation!
  • The award for the most baffling page goes to Cforbes for Xml data from ywam.org!
  • Yet again we had a page count of approximately 4,000 hits this month. The growth curve is climbing! Keep telling everyone you know about the knowledge base!

Till next month,

Kevin

PS why not make Special:Recentchanges your home page!

July 2007

Dear All,

Welcome one and all to the Monthly Wiki newsletter. The rate of growth has been increasing and we have now (26/6/2007) gained 12 new users, 6 new articles (lots of pruning going on though) plus 2000 page hits in 3 weeks compared to 14000 total to date! This is very pleasing to see - it seems like people are finding this site useful and starting to pitch in. This is good as there is lots to do!

We held our first Internet meeting about the wiki which was an interesting experience. We all met on Skype chat and actually made some positive progress. We are eager to have another meeting so please join us on Monday at 3pm Brussels time. Agenda is here. Just think how we will be reducing our Carbon Footprints by meeting like this!

If you can't make that meeting I do have some suggestions to help you contribute something to this site! The suggestion is this: find, call or kidnap a senior leader and interview them! This can only be a helpful exercise (except if you get arrested for a kidnapping). What you might like to ask them you can make into an article or enter into the following pages:

  • How did they start/rescue a base/team? (For our Case Studies category e.g. YWAM Plymouth)
  • How was a base paid for/ or how were funds raised for a team/significant project? (For this page: How to buy a base)

I think you will find it very helpful and it will only take a little while to do! I eagerly await your contributions.

Ensure the "Enable email from other users" box is checked and you have a valid email address above

Finally, for this month is a continuing plea to enable the email feature on your account name! It is easily done as the picture to the right shows. Some folks are concerned about spam, but actually it is not possible to receive more spam in this way as only registered users can send email. Also your email address is never shown. Mostly the reason is that I want to send a really warm and fuzzy welcome email to you all. As I can't do that I have been leaving a message on your User page or mytalk page (link is top right by the little man). We can never communicate enough and it will help us to have a vibrant community here!

Cheers,

Kevin

June 2007

Dear All,

Welcome to the second monthly letter of the YWAM Knowledge base.

If was great to see so many people at the Festival of the Nations. We seem to have grown in members too by about as many who came to my workshop! Welcome to one and all! (Check your User talk pages!) I hope you are finding this useful! Please send feedback!

I enjoyed giving the seminar. It was nice to see some people really get excited (other than me). I have started a few conversations with the Eurocoms folks too - I see what we are doing with the YWAMKB as complimentary and hopefully additive; that is as this site takes off so the communications in YWAM will too and vise versa.

Whilst giving the seminar I realised that we have two groups to tell about the site: Contributers and Users. Whilst most Contributers will be Users it is clear than in order to make the site work we need lots of Contributers! It is important to note that you don't need to be the most authoritative person to write on a subject, but by writing about it you are getting the ball rolling. In the end you may end up authoritative on a subject! Also the beauty of wiki is that as you start something, someone else my come along and finish it off! You will find many unfinished articles around. Please add something too then!

That is about it for this month but please note the following four things:

  • Pass the word - I have set a new goal to increase the number of registered users to equal the same number of articles on the KB. Most important tell your leadership about this site! Servant leaders train and empower - that is what this site is all about so please pass on the news!
  • Please, please, please can you register you email addresses and allow other users to email you so we can more simply chat directly. Plus can you fill in a bit about your selves on your user page (if it is red then it needs some information!)
  • We will be working on clarifying the Categories and the structure of the KB on Monday 11th at 15h00-17h30 Brussels time (GMT+2). Please join us via Skype (kevincolyerwork) or MSN (kevinandnicki@thecolyers.net) or something. (http://wiki.ywambrussels.be/kb/index.php/YWAMKnowledgeBase:Meeting_2007-06-11)
  • One last thing: a challenge - during this month why not edit an article?

Please be bold and make big changes! It will help!

Cheers,

Kevin

May 2007

Dear Friends,

This is the first, of what I hope will be a monthly letter, to let you know the status of the YWAM Knowledge base project. My aim is to help you feel in touch with the growth of this site and to inspire you to contribute and share the resources here with others!

This month there are two important things to tell you about. The first is a comment by new user Tofirus (User:Tofirius) who has some concerns about the site logo. I think it would be good if we all could participate in seeing what we could have in place of the current idea (which expresses collaboration and partnership). The exercise of talking this through together is of greater importance than the highest quality logo, so if you come up with an idea on a napkin, please add it in! Tofirus has started a discussion on the Main Page Discussion page: Talk:Main_Page. Have a look!

The other interesting news item is that I will be running a seminar on the KnowledgeBase at the Festival of the Nations next week. If you are there it would be great to see you in person. (We will have a big blue tent) If you can`t attend please tell others about the seminar. Also if you can help contribute ideas to the presentation then I am starting a list of things to talk about at the seminar (YWAMKnowledgeBase:Presenting_the_KB). I will develop the presentation online so if you see typos please correct them!

Until June...!

--Kev-The-Hasty 10:22, 21 May 2007 (BST)

PS If you are wondering why I am using wiki.ywambrussels.be instead of www.ywamkb.net it is because in the base here the official domain doesn`t work and I have to use my local alias. You can use either...