No Mud Huts
No Mud Huts is an open anthropological field journal to contribute to the open research movement from a social science perspective, which will require compromise between the wholly open aspect sought by the movement and an anthropologist’s need to maintain participant confidentiality. To accomplish this, the developer, Brian Geyer, will not be using No Mud Huts to publish raw data or his unfiltered field notes, but will instead use the platform to publicly discuss initial observations of analyses and conclusions from the data he collects. Brian will advertise No Mud Huts to a number of different communities, including anthropologists, Kenyan technology professionals, and groups from the general public.
No Mud Huts draws upon the strength of its host GitHub Pages, which can generate static websites using Jekyll, for bandwidth-light publishing of blog posts written in Markdown. The site’s aesthetic comes from a modified version of the Hydeout theme developed by Andrew Fong. The technological twist is that No Mud Huts has a self-hosted comments section for each blog post, which will allow readers to discuss the post, provide feedback, ask questions, and interact with one another. Different from other GitHub Pages-hosted sites, which usually implement an externally-provided dynamic commenting system like Disqus, No Mud Huts implements Staticman, a static commenting tool created for use on GitHub by Eduardo Bouças. Once a comment is submitted, Staticman transforms a commenter’s email address into md5, but uses that hash to check Gravitar for a cross-platform profile picture, and stores the entire comment submission as a YAML document. It then draws upont this document to produce a fully-styled comment, complete with a commenter website link and link to their GitHub account (if they provide the relevant information), which appears on the post once GitHub successfully rebuilds the publicly-displayed page after the automatic commit.