User:Woozle/My Left Wing/Revolution 2.0 Outline RFC/venue

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Tell me if I need to make the case for any of these particulars, because they seem pretty clear to me:

  1. We need a venue -- a place where we can coordinate our activities, and coordinate with other groups.
  2. This needs to be online, a particular web site designed for interactive participation
  3. A Soapblox-based site such as MLW will not suffice (although Soapblox is far from being terrible) for the following reasons:
    1. It is a single-company service; Soapblox sites depend on Soapblox continuing to operate (not go out of business) in a friendly manner (not imposing censorship or other problematic restrictions). This would create a single-point failure mode for the Revolution, which is obviously something to avoid at all costs.
    2. It is proprietary software. This prevents one of my preferred safety mechanisms against corruption, the ability to back up a site's contents and fork off to another server.

I submit that the blog-with-threaded-comments format is too limiting/frustrating. If it were the only option, it would probably be usable (especially with wider margins), but that's not the case.1

The best format I've seen so far combines wiki pages (permanent subject-related repository for information on a specific topic, which can be updated to reflect the latest understanding) with forum-like discussion for each page (designed to make casual participation easier and more intuitive). (This format is now available in the talkpages here on Issuepedia.)

(There is also software for secure discussions in case there are some things we need to keep private, like passwords and contact information. Tentatively, Joomla looks good; it has group-based access control, where group membership can also be controlled in various ways. I have a Joomla installation ready to experiment on.)

I am open to other suggestions, especially if they mention specific software, but this is doable now. I can easily set up a wiki+forum site, and I have a commercial hosting account that costs me next to nothing and would be more than adequate to handle hundreds of users at least.

What I need is to know the following:

  • Does anyone think this is the wrong approach?
  • Does anyone have any particular requirements for (strong feelings about) what characteristics this site should have or not have?
  • Are there any naming suggestions or preferences? We will need a domain name2, if nothing else, and a site name to go with it. I've found myself thinking of it as "The Revolutionary Bar, Grill, and Library" -- where the Bar is for social networking, crazy ideas, and informal arguments; the Grill is where we subject things to fierce scrutiny and structured analysis; and the Library is where we record evidence and remember our failures and successes -- but again, that's just one idea.3


1. "Forum-like" is different from "blog-comment-like" only in that a forum usually shows a list of "top-level" comment subjects along with summaries of activity in each top-level thread, while a blog entry shows the full text of all comments without any activity summaries.

The best forum software will also let you "subscribe" to receive notifications of activity in particular threads, while the best blog software might let you receive notifications of replies to your comments only, or to any further comments on the blog post.

2. One eventual task will to be work out stewardship of the domain name so that one person can't wreck the whole thing by taking their domain name and going home. (The same applies to the hosting account.)

3. I'm also rather fond of "The International Conspiracy of Mad Scientists". Or The title could be derived from "My Left Wing", if MSoC/MLW wants to be involved on that level. I really don't know what level of support is likely to happen for this idea, so I didn't want to presume any endorsement of it.