Channels for Communication.

It’s up to you how you prefer to communicate with the rest of the group. Please remember that the Code of Conduct applies in all of these channels.


GitHub is where we store our code. So, it’s also a place where we can discuss that code. We have a GitHub organization for the group at More about using GitHub can be found in the in the book.


Create issues with lots of information about how to replicate the issue, what has been tried, etc. Use tags and milestones where possible. If you or someone else is going to start working on the issue immediately, assign the issue to that person.

As things move forward with the solution to an issue, continue to discuss progress on the issue itself.


Milestones are groups of issues accompanied by a description and deadline. These will often be created for a code release, publication submission, or similarly multifaceted large goal.


Sometimes, it’s helpful to be able to communicate just a snippet of code. Gists are one way to do this:


If you like synchronous communication, there are a couple of ways to chat with the group or members of the group without causing extra email traffic. You are not required to participate in synchronous communication.


The ARFC group has an organizational account with Slack. To use Slack:

  • Sign up for the group at
  • You may need to use your account to sign up.
  • If you would prefer it to be associated with a different email address, sign up with your illinois email and then once you’re logged in and signed up for the group, you can change your email address in the preferences panel.
  • There is a desktop application you can download.
  • There are also native apps for both ios and android.

Feel free to add channels for anything related to the group. Feel free to use the random channel for fun, non-work stuff.

Google Hangout

The current preferred video-conferencing platform in the group is Google Hangout.

You can add a google hangout to any google calendar event. This is encouraged if you plan to host the meeting virtually.

Be careful

Note that both google hangouts and Slack may push notifications to your desktop. This can be distracting while you’re trying to focus. It can also be embarassing if one of these notifications pops up in the middle of a public presentation, while you are broadcasting from your laptop. When you don’t want these notifications to pop up and interrupt, you can pause them. Both apps have a setting for this.


Sign up for the private ARFC listhost. This is where most announcements will appear.


ARFC is not on Twitter. Let me know if you think we should be. For now, if you like Twitter, though, don’t hesitate to follow :


This website has a news section. Blog posts are strongly encouraged! To post, add a markdown file to the _posts directory in the arfc/ source repository. Submit it as a pull request. You can follow the RSS feed if you use a feed reader.


Any research group is going to have a lot of documents. Ideally, they will be easily found by the members of the group who should have access. When in doubt, make documents as public as possible. We use the following places to edit and store documents.


Any documents related to software development should probably be in the documentation for the code itself, version controlled in GitHub. Similarly, manuscripts for publication should be developed on GitHub.


Permanent documents and records related to the operation of the research group might be appropriate for these guides, here on the website. To add or edit a guide, you will first need to have the website repository forked and cloned.

  • fork the website repository
  • clone your fork of the website repository

You’ll also need to have jekyll installed.

Once you have the repository cloned and jekyll is installed:

  • cd
  • git checkout source
  • cd manual/guides
  • Add or edit the markdown file of your choice.
  • Git add, git commit, and git push your changes to the source branch of your fork.
  • Check that it looks ok by running jekyll serve.
  • In your browser, navigate to localhost:4000 to see the site rendered.
  • Once you’re satisfied, press Ctrl-C to stop serving the site locally.
  • Once it’s all looking nice, make a pull request to the source branch of arfc/


There’s also a wiki for the ARFC group. If that seems like the appropriate place for a document then please use that. You’ll need to log in with your Illinois credentials.

Google Drive

Notes in meetings and other really simultaneous editing is probably easiest in Google Docs. We have a group Google Drive directory for information that should be shared and accessible to all group members. To use google drive

  • Learn about the Illinois Google Drive setup here.
  • Consider installing the Google Drive desktop application for ease of use.
  • Tell Katy what email address(es) to give read/write permission for the group directory.
  • Try to keep the ARFC directory tidy by categorizing new documents as logically as possible.


ARFC has a google calendar. It has various scholarship, fellowship, and grant deadlines that group members might want to be aware of. It also is a great place for group meetings, outings, deadlines, etc. To be added to the calendar:

  • Have a google calendar account. All UIUC students and staff have one.
  • Tell Katy what email address to use to add you to the calendar so you can create events and such.
  • You should get an email alerting you that you have access.
  • Once this has happened, go to
  • The calendar should show up under “Other Calendars.” If it doesn’t:
  • Click the down arrow next to Other Calendars.
  • Click “Add a friend’s calendar”
  • Put this email address in: