In this project, we are building not only a social network but also an integrated publishing network. We are starting with a working group and group blog per each DELSA Endorsed Project, including the group http://delsaconnections.org/groups/project-1-social-networking-platform/ and this blog for Project 1, which is the Social Networking Platform itself. We want both asynchronously-working projects and live sessions, during DELSA meetings, to have a blog or site to support them when called for.

Another early consideration has been what questions we will ask during registration, with an eye toward having useful member profiles for sorting in the directory and toward matching people to projects. Meanwhile, we are addressing lay out and design, feature sets, word choices — the usual questions of building any site and especially an online community.

So everything is still a bit existential, while we are going live and getting practical almost right away. Our first meeting was a demo and tour of similar sites used by other online communities, about a month ago, during which we agreed the technology under those would suit DELSA. We also initiated the naming of this, which settled on “DELSA connections.” In our second meeting, about a week ago, we used a fully functional demo to refine requirements and begin laying things out. For our third meeting today, we have this social and publishing network up and running. The starting Project 1 team will get ourselves registered and ready to further configure and build it all out.

We want to be open to contributions, from ideas to code, from anyone in DELSA. Our group, http://delsaconnections.org/groups/project-1-social-networking-platform/ and this blog are at least a step in that direction. Anyone registered in DELSA connections, whether in our group or not, can publish a post in this blog and anyone is welcome to join the group during or after registration.

Managing direct code contributions might not be worth taking on at this point, but the software we are using is all open source, so indirect contributions are already possible. You would find most of it in official WordPress, BuddyPress, and related repositories or in the LAMP stack under those. Some of the code we run might only be from blogs or elsewhere in our community. Our deployment, from the combination of scripts to configuration is maybe unique. We are running not only a WordPress network, but a network of networks, and not only a BuddyPress but multiples of those, federated, all with one set of users but different meta, and with one codebase. Putting all or parts on GitHub may be in order. At a minimum we will document what we have running and thank and link to its origins.