I’ve just started work with a local community group keen to build a civic website. I’m looking at open source CMS solutions like Drupal as the base system… but I must admit, I’m wondering if the best idea isn’t simply to aggregate stuff from elsewhere. Apparently that’s the direction the BBC is heading, according to this report of a chat between some of their leading lights, and their opposite numbers at the Telegraph.
But for me, it’s not so much the need to transfer (or shall we say abdicate?) responsibility for moderation. Instead, it’s a recognition that these specialised third-party sites are inevitably going to be better at what they do, than anything you or anyone else could cobble together.
Take the example of photo sharing… you won’t find a better website than Flickr. So why not just create a group, and let the members feed into it. Let Flickr take all the pain of hosting, user access rights, etc etc – not to mention the expense. That’s why they’re there. Meanwhile, you just consume the various RSS feeds (or whatever) back at base.
I’d almost describe it as the next step in ‘social networking’. Do what you do, in the best place (for you) to do it, and as long as RSS feeds are available, we can aggregate it. If anyone sees a catch, let me know. Preferably sooner rather than later. 🙂