This Is not a Place of Honor

Jeff Eaton
Jeff EatonDigital Strategist
Not a Place of Honor
Learning the Right Lessons

From Terrible Content Models
Jeff Eaton of Lullabot
Presented by Drupal4Gov
I work for Lullabot.
We content stuff.
I’m @eaton.
This Is not a Place of Honor
The Case ofthe
Vegan Mp3
The Case ofthe
50 Article Types
…IL article
…TX article
…FL article
The Case ofthe

Team Mailing List
We add the announcement,
but it’s sent in raw HTML…
We add the announcement,
but it’s sent in raw HTML…
The Case ofthe

5-Minute Edit Form
We have a content type for
everydesign pattern!
Why Does
Evil Exist?
‣ Malicious co-workers are trying to
drive us mad to win a contest
‣ Ourworld is the test suite for a
multiverse that actuallyworks well
‣ We do our best, under pressure,

with imperfect knowledge.
‣ When we started, allwe had was an events
management system…
‣ We didn’t have a developerforthe prototype,
and it had to launch…
‣ It was the simplest way to migrate
subscriptions from the CEO’s blog…
‣ The ten-page prototype worked great…
“It works for now…”
“This is how it’s

supposed to be.”
The Case ofthe

Pile of Uranium
✓ Store tons of radioactive waste
✓ Last 10,000 years
✓ Warn future humans
✓ Must not look too cool
This place is not a place of honor.
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us.
This message is a warning.
How Can We
Tellthe Difference?

‣ Modeling pages, not content
‣ Exceptions are the rule
‣ Lava flow content models
‣ Cargo cult workflow
Modeling Pages, Not Content
Content types that map to visual
chunks of a page, ratherthan
meaningful messages.
Exceptions Are the Rule
Most content lives in “generic
page” or “flexible” content types
Lava Flow Content Model
Waves of content types created,
then abandoned for new ones.
Cargo Cult Workflow
No one knows whywe make
things this way, but it’s how it
must be done…
Goals and Aspirations
Hunt forthe
Original Intent
‣ Can you find documentation?
‣ Can you talk to people who worked on it?
‣ Do you knowwhy it’s being changed?
Examine the

Past Constraints
‣ Limited budget (financial ortemporal)
‣ Team knowledge, experience
‣ Outdated technology
‣ Political pressures
What’s the Same?

What’s Changed?
‣ Technology maturity
‣ Political pressures
‣ Understanding ofthe problem
Understand Why
To Improve How
Document It
Forthe Future
Thanks for Coming!
‣ Heckle me:
‣ Talk shop:
‣ Read more:
‣ Work with us:
Thanks for Coming!
‣ Heckle me:
‣ Talk shop:
‣ Read more:
‣ Work with us:
…Any Questions?
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This Is not a Place of Honor