One of our big goals at Telligent was to have our Community Server product be disruptive and change the way people work within communitites. I’m happy to announce one of our newest projects (at end of the post).
For a long time one of my biggest frustrations with online communitites is that they are grouped around technology and rather than the technology being the enabler it ends up defining the community. For example, take a look at the ASP.NET community. It’s a vibrant, active community with many participants. From an interactivity perspetive there are 3 ways most people participate: web based forums, email discussion lists, and the Microsoft NNTP news groups. However, each of these communities is distinct because of the individuals preference for the technology.
Each technology has postivies and negatives:
- Forums – positives: rich experience, identity, security, moderation, profiles, search, archive; negatives: must be connected, lack of rich tools, web interface.
- Email lists – positives: comes right to your inbox, offline support, can be moderated; negatives: lack of identity, search, lots of repeat information, lack of easy archivability (or discovery of the archive).
- NNTP – positives: fast, light, simple, rich tools, offline support; negatives: lack of identity, search, lots of repeat information, lack of easy archivability (or discovery of the archive).
Community Server has a great forums solution, but I’m also now happy to announce our NNTP server. Yes, you can now connect to news://communityserver.org with Outlook Express. You can browse anonymously or you can login with the same credentials used at www.communityserver.org. Go ahead, give it a try…
We’re still testing and fine tuning it before we do a public beta – and of course there is more we want to do, e.g. make galleries or blogs available, show special newsgroups listing only posts you’ve participated in, etc.
We haven’t fully decided how we intend to price this, but our goal is to have some kind of free version too – with limited capabilities.
Soon we’ll also do a public beta of our FTP server too, this allows you to manage your photo gallery via any FTP tool – no cumberson web interfaces for trying to bulk upload/download photos.
Oh yeah, we’re working on an email listserv system that integrates with Community Server too — imagine post to your favorite discussion topic via email/Outlook, read a reply through the web interface, and post your reply via NNTP. It’s all going to be possible!