The More Good Foundation is growing. We’re pleased to have two new people on our team:
- Karen is our new editor, the quality control expert for all the published content on our websites. She brings an extensive background in writing and editing, including writing for the Ensign and Meridian Magazine. She speaks a bit of German and French. She’s the mother of two daughters.
- Heather is our new community manager. She’ll work with and communicate our gratitude to all the participants on our forums, wikis, blogs, and social news sites. Heather is a native to the Web, publishing her first web page in 1996 and having created and built several websites and online communities since then. She has two sons.
We’re a small team, we each wear lots of hats, and we depend on the kind contributions of member missionaries all around the world, but we’re thankful to have two talented women join our staff.Read More
I thought that it would be nice to keep a snapshot of when we reached 1,000 articles on our Mormonwiki. If you click on the thumbnail it will be enlarged.
Blogs are a great communication tool. The immediacy and individuality evident in blogs are, I believe, part of their draw. They allow individuals of all stripes to share ideas and generate discussion.
There is an interesting side effect to blogs, however: They attract lightning. When a high-profile individual thoughtfully shares his or her ideas and feelings on a blog, it is only a matter of time before people comment and a sort of “organized chaos” takes place. Some call such chaos an example of “community,” but often the divergence in views is anything but communitarian in nature. Indeed, some commenters have more in common with vandals, thugs, and despots than they do with respectful dialogue.
Take, for example, Mike Otterson’s blog at On Faith. The sponsors of the blog (The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine) invite people from various religious backgrounds (Mike is only one of many) to post answers to specific questions that they pose. The posts are to be short, preferrably about 250 words. In participating, Mike doesn’t speak officially for the Church (even though he works for the Church’s Public Affairs department), and simply offers his own ideas and feelings. It is my experience that his posts are thoughtful, concise, and reflective. They are enjoyable to read and to contemplate.
It is my observation that Mike’s posts invariably serve as a lightning rod. The comments that follow each of his posts, almost without exception, devolve into a “shouting contest” among people concerning the truth of the Church, the supposed evils perpetrated by the Church, and (from time to time) how Mormons aren’t Christian and barely rate as humans.
As an example, it is not unusual for commenters to accuse Mike of lying (”…misinformation is put out by PR hacks like Otterson that lie about the past history of the LDS church” and “Otterson’s column is a bunch of lies”), being inaccurate (”Each response Mr. Otterson has posted is full of inaccuracies if not outright lies”), lacking integrity (”Mr. Otterson, the problem is your lack of candor and integrity when it comes to the beliefs of your organization”), and–when Mike fails to respond to the liking of the gainsayers–he is despicable (”Otterson is despicable to not respond…”). These are not all of them; the lightning-rod effect of blogging is in full force in Mike’s postings at On Faith.
It is interesting that the nasty, visceral and totally unwarranted attacks on Mike led the Producer of the On Faith blog, Caryle Murphy, to interject himself into the “discussion” on January 20. In part, she said “some comments posted to the site have been otherwise. Some have been insulting and abusive to panelists. It is one thing to disagree with and critique another person’s views. It is quite another to personally attack that person or a group of people with insulting words.” It is disheartening to see Mike Otterson’s thought-provoking posts (and Mike himself) become the targets of such disrespectful behavior.
But, there is a way to help counteract the lightning-rod effect. It obviously isn’t productive to argue with those who are so disagreeable in their comments, and such behavior doesn’t lead to “more good” content on the Internet. (Paraphrasing my dear old dad, “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.”) It is, however, beneficial to comment thoughtfully and—where appropriate—supportively of the issues that Mike raises. Surely there has to be more sane voices of reason than those that normally rally ’round the lightning rod. If you let your voice be heard, you are doing your part to help support civil discourse and dialogue.
I don’t mean to single out Mike Otterson as the only lightning rod in Mormondom; there are unfortunately many out there. Let’s all try a little hard to make our reasonable voices heard in support of those (like Mike) who are reasonable in what they post and share.Read More
Someone asked me how to set up Microsoft Word so that she could translate and type some good thing about Mormonism and the Mormon Church in another language (not English). I suspect that other people may be interested in knowing how to do it.
This is a quick explanation but it should be enough. For more information you can visit the Microsoft site
To type text in another language, you should install and enable a keyboard layout.
1. In Microsoft Windows XP, click the Start button, (and Settings), and Control Panel.
2. Click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options, and then click Regional and Language Options.
Note In Classic view, double-click Regional and Language Options.
3. Click the Languages tab, and then under Text services and input languages, click Details.
4. Under Installed services, click Add.
5. In the Input language list, click the language for which you want to install a keyboard layout.
6. If the language that you select has more than one possible keyboard layout, select the Keyboard layout/IME check box, and then, in the list, click the layout that you want.
7. If you want to be able to switch keyboard layouts by using the Language bar, under Preferences, click Language Bar, and then select the Show the Language bar on the desktop check box.Read More
I worked at the More Good Foundation as an intern for eight months and began work soon after the Foundation was formed. It has been a blast! The position I applied for was as a “writer/editor,” but I ended up doing much more. I learned so much and now feel confident using software programs and techniques that are requisite in my field. I was able to come to work every day, having flexible hours, and research my religion. How great is that? But more than the benefits I received, I felt great knowing I was helping others. I worked to write articles for websites that would spread correct information about the Church. It was a nice feeling to know that I was part of something that had entirely selfless goals. The More Good Foundation is growing and it has been so exciting to see the positive changes we’ve undergone since I started work here. The point of the More Good Foundation is to help our brothers and sisters on earth find the right information that they search for. What a worthwhile cause!
I’m sad to be leaving, but this upcoming semester is just too jam-packed . . . I will continue keeping my eye out for more opportunities I can suggest to MGF.
Thanks everyone, for making the experience a great one!Read More
Christopher Phillips has been advocating an LDS content repository like commoncontent.org. If the Church were to license some or all of its content with a Creative Commons, GFDL, or other license, it would make it much easier for institute and seminary instructors, Sunday School teachers, and other members to share notes and collaborate on materials.
Imagine, for example, licensing the Teaching of the Presidents manuals with a Creative Commons ShareAlike license. Derivative works would be allowed. Church members could volunteer to read the manuals aloud and make audio recordings, just as the LibriVox project is doing with public domain works. These audio recordings could be shared with hearing-impaired Church members around the world. They’d also be useful for members learning a second language since Gospel teachings give so much context and common ground when learning a foreign language. Recordings could be made of all Church publications and in all languages. The Church could call Church Service Missionaries to manage or participate in this movement.
Last year J. Max Wilson blogged about how many universities including MIT, Harvard, and Utah State have begun OpenCourseWare initiatives to share their course content online and how a similar initiative might affect and help the Church. Brother David Wiley is the professor in charge of the OpenCourseWare initiative at Utah State.
I expect that, in the not so distant future, the Church will begin to extend a university level education, through BYU, to its members in all nations through the use of missionaries and Internet based classes. Someday we may very well see stake centers throughout the world become hubs in a vast, interconnected education system. Just as they can now do genealogical research, faithful latter-day saints of all means will be able to attend classes and attend lectures and lessons by professors and experts in all kinds of fields through web-enabled learning centers in stake centers everywhere, directed and helped locally by “education” missionaries. (OpenCourseWare, Education, and the Church, by J. Max Wilson)