Looking for a forum--or something.

Talk about anything at all....

Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby acknak » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:25 pm

Ok, you said we could ask about anything...

I'm looking for a site where a group of a few dozen people can maintain real-world contacts and share news of interest to the group. I guess it would be a semi-private/limited social website. The closest thing I've found are the "family" websites, but I just haven't found any that are quite right: either they are too heavily commercial, or they're way too expensive, or I just don't think they're trustworthy. I won't risk having people hooked up with spams and scams.

I'm thinking now about just using phpBB, or a CMS, and doing it myself. The biggest piece missing would be including real-world contact fields (address, phone, email) in the profile. I see there are phpBB mods that add new profile fields, so I assume it wouldn't be terribly hard to do.

Beyond that however, phpBB is awfully nerdy. These are mostly people who I think would be overwhelmed just looking at the standard phpBB interface, much less actually using it.

And beyond that, I've made this mistake a hundred times: I'm too picky and decide to roll my own, only to have it fall flat when I don't have time to finish, or I can't deliver something working and on-time.

If anyone has a suggestion (or better a recommendation) for an exisitng service or software that already does this, or if someone can say if setting up a modded phpBB site is realistic, I'd love to hear it. I need to make some decision (even if it's to not do it at all) in the next few days.
AOO4/LO5 • Linux • Fedora 23
User avatar
acknak
Moderator
 
Posts: 22756
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: USA:NJ:E3

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby foxcole » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:44 pm

Why not set up a little private wiki at Wikidot.com?There's even a built-in forum feature, and you could just use the existing templates to set it all up, or you can customize to your heart's content.
Cheers!
---Fox

OOo 3.2.0 Portable, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
User avatar
foxcole
Volunteer
 
Posts: 1507
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:31 am
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby acknak » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:51 pm

Thanks, Fox: wikidot looks really very nice, and the price can't be beat.

Here's my 5-minute evaluation:

Like almost every site on the 'Net, it's designed to keep site members' profiles private. It doesn't even allow members of a site to see each other's email addresses, much less allow them to share a real-life address book.

This is a site for people who already know each other, and trust each other with these details. The goal is simply to move that online, and allow people to update their own info.

Maybe my idea is bogus from the start--maybe you should simply never put things like your phone number online, no matter who is running the site. People could exchange addresses by email or something.
AOO4/LO5 • Linux • Fedora 23
User avatar
acknak
Moderator
 
Posts: 22756
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: USA:NJ:E3

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby kingfisher » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:19 am

There are many free services and, by the sound of it, one of them would be adequate. You could have a look at Google groups which can involve email exchanges. Yahoo also provides a service.

On wikidot, you could have a page for personal details and make it visible only to members. In fact, you can make the site completely private. Personal details could be published by each member in a thread provided for that purpose. I belong to a private forum. The only exchange of personal details takes place by personal message but it is possible to make email addresses viewable, for example.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.6 on PCLinuxOS
User avatar
kingfisher
Volunteer
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:53 am

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby acknak » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:45 pm

Thanks kingfisher, that's helpful to see how it could be done without having a dedicated feature.
AOO4/LO5 • Linux • Fedora 23
User avatar
acknak
Moderator
 
Posts: 22756
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: USA:NJ:E3

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby foxcole » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:13 pm

Your entire wikidot can be made private, accessible only by people who receive a password in advance. I was thinking it might serve your purposes because you could set up a page to serve as an address book... everyone can edit wiki pages, so members could easily update their own information when it changes, or can add any other information as needed. The forum would provide a natural announcement venue, meeting place and discussion area, with PM capabilities for private conversations. A wiki could help organize calendars and events, share information, even work on a geneology project if your groups is all family.

I think the only thing it might not be well suited to do is share photo albums, but you might try Picasa Web (at Google) for that. (Or can a wiki host photos, without eating up the allocation for files? I'm not that far into it yet to know if image data counts against the file size. I don't see how it could, but I could also be wrong about that.)
Cheers!
---Fox

OOo 3.2.0 Portable, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
User avatar
foxcole
Volunteer
 
Posts: 1507
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:31 am
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby acknak » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:44 pm

Yes, I think I'm going to go with wikidot--thanks for the tip!
AOO4/LO5 • Linux • Fedora 23
User avatar
acknak
Moderator
 
Posts: 22756
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: USA:NJ:E3

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby acknak » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:51 pm

Just a little follow-up. I've set up a site at wikidot and it seems to be working perfectly so far. It doesn't do everything I thought we needed, but it covers the main things we need, and there are other ways to approach the gaps. Having a wiki that anyone can work on is really a great asset, and people seem to be able to dive right in and figure out how to create and edit pages for themselves.

I worry a bit about the stability of the site--I don't know where they're getting finances to support the operations. I just hope it doesn't go *poof* any time soon. It seems they do have some provision for people to download their sites as a backup, so at least that's a possibility, but I haven't tried it yet.

Thanks for the recommendation, Fox: you made me look really smart ;-)
AOO4/LO5 • Linux • Fedora 23
User avatar
acknak
Moderator
 
Posts: 22756
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: USA:NJ:E3

Re: Looking for a forum--or something.

Postby foxcole » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:03 pm

acknak wrote:I worry a bit about the stability of the site--I don't know where they're getting finances to support the operations. I just hope it doesn't go *poof* any time soon.

They do have a wide community, including businesses. And soon they're going to offer some of the services as license packages for purchase, so I have confidence in their longevity.

acknak wrote:Thanks for the recommendation, Fox: you made me look really smart ;-)

I'm glad it's working out so well. :)
Cheers!
---Fox

OOo 3.2.0 Portable, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
User avatar
foxcole
Volunteer
 
Posts: 1507
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:31 am
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests