Monday, January 23, 2006

Online Community Building Tools

A friend recently called me up asking my help to enhance the ties of some activist groups he is touch with, by using the web.

I have been reading a bit about the web2.0, I had a quick brush with Ning and I mused on philosophical issues.

Now, it is the right time to act.

I am pretty certain that what I want to do is to not start some kind of website project from scratch.

The group already has a small website, acting as a web frontend for the organization, but I would rather go for existing services or a mush-up rather then trying to run the infrastructure on our own.The other point is that, while I am very willing to spend time to create new stuff and put ideas together, I am not willing to put much effort into the maintenance.

I also believe this is a chore that the community itself should take care of, learning how to live their own spaces and take care of them.I can see that on the web there are plenty of web2.0 apps, but what I see missing is some kind of glue to put together what I need into a single mushup.

The lack of a single sign-on is particularly critical.

We could go around this, by gathering user subscription requests through the main site and then automate subscriptions to all the different sites of the mush-up, making sure the usernames and passwords are unique.

However this is both labour intensive and it raises some doubts from a privacy point of view. What I am doing now is to look for a all-in-one community container.

Something that provides single sign on to a number of basic services, which allows html customization and enhancements, and that allows easy administration of the system.

These are some promising links that I have found:

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