#advice #techQuestion

What software would you use to power a digital community today?

Specifically an RP community (this is for #JupitersGhost)

Traditionally, it was BBSs. Then Forums. And now, I guess, Discord and Slack and Matrix, mostly (but that's not the workflow or the usecase I want. At All.)

I'm half tempted to reach for Buddy Press, if that's even still a thing (but there has to be a better solution to this problem than Wordpress.)

If my expected userbase was slightly more technical, I'd just set up a linux box that they could log in to, and use a news server, on system email, and gopher to accomplish what I need.

But I'm worried that would exclude potential community members because of the perception of having to learn something new in order to interact, and I want to lower the barrier to entry.

Suggestions are welcome.

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@ajroach42 Communities and tools tend to mesh together over time.

An option might be to offer a menu-driven system (old-school BBS-style), though that's going to play poorly with any mobile devices. It's _very_ light on load and fast as blazes if you've got a keyboard. Less so if not.

Your other options generally are protocol-based tools, Web-based tools, or app-based tools.

probably deserves a look.

What are your goals / constraints, generally? How many users?

@dredmorbius

1) communities and tools mesh together over time. - Sure, but this is easier if the tools don't suck.

2) Menu-driven system. - ??? Does such a thing exist, or are you suggesting that I write it?

3) Protocol-based tools, web-based tools, app-based tools. ??? I guess I just don't understand what you mean.

4) freedombox - I don't see a forum in freedombox?

5) requirements - A few dozen users. semi-permanent conversations, organized around several topics, mostly in character.

@ajroach42 2) It exists, though I'm not specifically familiar with any. "menu driven bbs software linux" as a search turns up hits:

duckduckgo.com/?q=menu+driven+

SE question (closed, natch) on BBS systems:
retrocomputing.stackexchange.c

3) I'll explain, in a follow-up.

4) is A Thing -- "your own inexpensive server at home. It runs free software and offers an increasing number of services ranging from a calendar or jabber server to a wiki or VPN."

freedombox.org/

@ajroach42 ... which gets us back to 3), which I'll unpack:

Protocol-based tools: individual services, running on Well Known Ports (generally), such as email, SSH, Usenet, Web, etc. Users bring their own clients to the party.

Web-based tools: the app is a web client you install and/or design. See Meredith L. Patterson's "On Port 80":
medium.com/@maradydd/on-port-8

Apps: generally: mobile-based iOS or Android apps.

Each has strengths/weaknesses, Web and Apps are presently popular.

@dredmorbius I understood this much.

I was wondering if you had something more to say about it.

Apps are usually frontends for protocols or websites, yeah?

Making a decision about "protocol" vs "website" is less meaningful to me than deciding on a specific workflow or piece of software. I don't much care what it's doing on the back-end, if it's usable.

@dredmorbius 2) - Ah, you meant a menu driven BBS system. Yes. Several exist, synchronet and WWIV look pretty promising, but neither has a web interface.

4) - I'm familiar with the FreedomBox concept, but looking over the software that they include, I don't see a forum.

I see chat, calendar, wiki, lots of stuff I could make use of, but nothing that solves my direct need.

Still neat, just not exactly what I wanted.

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