Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: What is a Community in 5.0?

Posted by Staffan Hansson on
"I suppose you might try arguing that user and community management are minor things not worth emphasizing but ... if you believe that, why use OpenACS?"

Yeah, I suppose you might, but I myself am not going to do that (the slope I'm on isn't that slippery ;-). Obviously community management is at the core of what OpenACS is all about. But that doesn't mean we have to make a point of it in every possible and impossible context. In fact, simply because this is so essential we need not emphasize it.

It's one thing that certain features that we are proud of and that form our competitive advantage have to be brought to people's awareness when we market the toolkit. But this does not necessarily mean we have to plant our buzz words in the toolkit UI. Let the features speak for themselves, and let's not be over-explicit.

Sure, if we feel we have to qualify exactly what kind of subsite we are talking about, "Community Subsite" would be a pertinent term (certainly better than "Yellow Subsite" or "Large Subsite" at any rate). But we don't have to do that. It is sufficient to say that it is a subsite, and the exact quality of the particular subsite will become clear to the user soon enough.

By being too specific you risk not being generic enough. For, in practice, the fact that you have community management features doesn't guarantee that the site or subsite you create will house what you can honestly call a community. I run a "Humanistic Learning Community" website that isn't really a community by any standard. And yet I've had great use of the user and community management features of OpenACS.

(The upgraded and more contribution friendly version of that website will be called "Humanistic Learning Center" instead. It's more to the point, and doesn't scare off the individualistic target audience who welcome a platform for communicating ideas but wouldn't dream of joining a sect.)

That said, I'll gladly accept whatever term those actually creditable for the superb subsite feature see fit. :-)