How WordPress Saves Lives & Moves Governments by Paul Clark, #wcsf14

The first talk of the second day of WordCamp SF 2014 was on “How WordPress Saves Lives & Moves Governments” by Paul Clark . Official description:

Discover how WordPress empowers relief teams working in war zones in Southeast Asia. Explore the challenges behind creating an application that tracks medical care and human rights abuses in the jungles of Burma. See real-world results that can be achieved with WordPress by putting the needs of people before the needs of computers.

With Custom Post Types and the Pods Framework, doctors and relief workers are able to make data-driven decisions when treating 15,000 patients each year, and governments were moved to take a stand on issues brought to light by our favorite publishing platform. Learn how you can use these same tools and WordPress to power maps, charts, and interactive timelines.

Free Burma RangersMy notes

  • Mission of WP: democratization of publishing
  • Its also about recovering great ideas: We all have it.
  • Ideas are fragile, easily squashed.
  • Strength of character and perseverance their (Gandhi, King…) ideas were heard
  • Other ideas are lost, due to feeling as a nobody
  • You are not a nobody, your action makes  a difference.
  • Story of an internally displaced person: your country doesn’t want you, no other countries, no citizenship, no healthcare.. You do not exist
  • Took pictures/videos in the jungle when the government was bombing their own people. Posted on WP
  • Ended up on BBC and Burmese government denied it. Pressure on government end they ended doing it.
  • Usability trumps sophistication every time.
  • Free Burma Rangers: They put their lives on the line for this. (Warning: graphic content on the site)
  • Relieve mission workers took notes on paper. They had spreadsheets of harddrives and on various mediums
  • Spread over: cannot find patterns and find answers to questions: you need a big database.
  • 10UP created one with GPS, medical, Human Rights, Missions, teams – Usually need enterprise class resources
  • This had zero budget. Two developers working volunteering over the weekend for 6 month.
  • First usability test was done in a hut in the jungle on a laptop powered with solar panel
  • They have a GUI to change the DB itself.
  • They are still using the system 4 years later.
  • Human rights orgs can get answers on questions like “how do you know about landmines”
  • Using a custom post types, different internal and public views.
  • Integrated, interactive maps.
  • This is the power of open source: created for and updated by people with very little technical expertise
  • Easing medical diagnoses with use of data
  • Simple answers for complex questions, using methods like these.
  • Our skill amplify and magnify other people’s ideas
  • Ask yourself: what is the change I want to make?
  • This talk on the presenters site.
  • QA:
    • Code is not very reusable, due to being specific
    • How did 10up got involved with: his wife’s passion as a doctor. He worked in a distributed company that allowed him to work there.
    • Pods.io plugin was used. “The goal was to create an interface and PHP codebase to easily create, extend, and manage content types within WordPress.”
    • Publishing sensitive info that the government doesn’t really want to see. Everything is anonymized. Burma got better recently.

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