How we built this website according to our understanding of Unitarian Universalist principles.
We are a lay led group that promotes personal and group learning, friendship, and service in the spirit of liberal religion. In both our physical spaces and our website, we provide a safe space for authentic and respectful conversations that create understanding, inspire insights, and deepen connections. We are committed to using technologies on this website that we feel are consistent with our beliefs.
Social media companies and "surveillance capitalists" wield unprecedented power, not just to predict behavior, but to control it. This website avoids surveillance technologies and favors free software that respects your freedom.
Drupal as an Ethical Base
This website is built using a content management system called Drupal. The values and principles of the Drupal community align well with our own values. The Drupal community is one of the largest free software communities in the world, with more than 1,000,000 contributors working together. Drupal is the official content management system (CMS) of local organizations, such as the University of Minnesota and the Animal Humane Society, as well as international organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Drupal gives us tremendous flexibility and has served us well since 2011.
Accessibility is one of the features that makes Drupal so popular around the world with goverments, nonprofits, and higher education. We at Lake Fellowship, like the people who build Drupal, are committed to making sure our websites also be accessed by people with disabilities. While building this website, we used various tools, such as WebAIM, to help make our websites more accessible.
Rather than use the tools that help facilitate the endemic spy pixels found in email nowadays, we chose a well-known Drupal module (add-on) called Simplenews that allows us to send email without surveilling our members and friends. We don't need to know if you read our newsletter or if you clicked the links we shared. We offer information freely, with an open hand.
Events account for the bulk of the information on this website. But rather than use "free" event software that gathers information about you, and sells it to whoever will pay, we use functionality that comes built in with Drupal. The events on the homepage are basic Drupal content types with a date field. Our calendar uses the Drupal calendar module. This system may not provide the flashiness of other calendaring software, but we own the data and this system has served us well for over a decade.
Drupal's built-in search functionality allows site visitors to search for content on our site. Using this module allows us to control our data, and your data, without needing to involve a corporate search engine or search appliance. The largest search providers in the world use your search data to analyze your behavior and then sell the results of their analyses to marketers and others who seek to control your behavior. Our site is not particularly complex, and Drupal's built-in search functionality allows us to provide this service while also respecting the worth and dignity of each human being.
Some websites use "free" form software to collect information. Those forms often require you to share personal information, which then gets shared far beyond the website where you filled out the form. We don't think that's the right way to communicate. On lakefellowship.org, we simply use Drupal's built-in forms and contact functionality. If you choose to use our contact form or leave a comment on one of our program pages, you can rest assured that the information you provide won't be aggregated or sold to anyone.
If you want to take full control of what information you receive from our website, you can subscribe via RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. RSS an open standard that allows your devices to subscribe to the latest updates from our website into an easy to read format. Our RSS feed of events includes headlines, descriptions, and other information, with links back to our website. There is a lot of information on the Web about how to subscribe to RSS feeds, including this tutorial. If you would like to try an open-source RSS reader, you might consider Vienna RSS, Tiny Tiny RSS, or rss2email, which allows you to forward RSS feeds to your email address.
The mapping software that most people use tracks you and sells your information. We don't know exactly what happens to the information, but we know that it gets collected even if you turn off location services, haven't used any apps, and haven't even inserted a carrier SIM card.
We don't want to support such tools and instead embed a map from OpenStreetMap, a map built by a worldwide community of enthusiast mappers, GIS professionals, engineers, humanitarians mapping disaster-affected areas, and people just like you. In fact, one of our members added Lake Fellowship to Open Street Map.
The content on lakefellowship.org, unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This includes content such as the pictures we post and the text on the site. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity, and we support their mission.