My latest journey to share


Senior Member
Hey folks; I'm in week 5 of building out a site for my neighborhood. It's coming along quite nicely, esp given that I used mainly free software (Joomla-based). The guiding principle is one of controlled disorganization & anarchy - There's lots of passionate people in every neighborhood, and if you give them the ability to self-publish articles on the web, and the committment that you won't edit their articles if you find yourself disagreeing with their PoV, you can harness into the power of the masses and truly energize/align a diverse community. I have a half-dozen "section owners" who can author/edit/publish articles, either for themselves or for others.

It cost me about $500, although $100 was for the legal "Terms of Use"/etc stuff and $100 was for the site hosting. Check it out - it's . It's an entirely ad-free and non-profit site (hell, i don't charge at all, i'm eating the costs).

Coolest thing is that there was zero programming required. All via a GUI. I did opt to hack some PHP files, but you can have those hacks, plus it's not really needed.

If anyone out there is interested in getting a backup clone of this for their neighborhood, I can get you a copy of the backup zipfile. But, you need to promise that:
1) You've already bought the $300 worth of software and $100 of legal crap that are required and are willing to send me the emails to prove it so I don't get slapped by the copyright cops. I can't really chop this up if you don't want it all, and rather than skirt any inconsistencies I ask that you buy the recipes/reviews/template/backup components.
2) Your site will also be non-profit. I'm happy to share everything that i've done, but I don't want to see anybody making money off it.
3) You won't pass the zipfile on to anyone else. If they want it, send them to me.
4) You are a seasoned Cocoon'er who will be around for a while, so I can harass you about how to do stuff.

It's not totally done yet, there's a few more things I'm looking to do to make it easier on folks. Primarily, I want anyone to be able to easily submit a column for any of the "guest <...> columnists" sections directly into Joomla, so me or Section Owners just have to review it for libel/slander and publish it if there's either no concerns or if there's proof behind any negative comments. But it's "good enough" for now, and I doubt that "usability" list will ever be finished.

BTW, there's a list of programs I used on this page here.
Yeah, juding from the signup rate and traffic, this could be a great freakin' idea. Some folks have said it's the very little brother of the 2nd coming of CraigsList, esp if I can figure out that self-publishing bit. Without any real adverttising of any sort, I "launched" a seriously half-baked site on 8/10, and 17 days later we're at 95 visits/day. Our neighborhood is about 15K-25K, so plenty of room for growth.

But, no HOA, it's just a regular neighborhood. I'm nothing if not consistent though, other folks offered me some small contributions towards it (just like Dean once did for CQC & annual license fee),

I turned them down, as a few hundred here/there isn't worth having to muzzle myself because the target is a co-sponsor. And you know me - muzzling myself is something I am not physically able to do :)

(btw, i can't believe no one has done any blazing saddle quotes - that was all over the CQC forum when I mentioned it there)