Step 4: About the Technology

Heather Admin • 30 June 2019

"yes, but how does it work?", I hear you ask.

I like describing this technology as Wiki 2.0. It's more beautiful and it's more social than most wikis. But it is worth explaining why we've made our technology choices in this way. We needed something affordable, hence the move to open software and our own servers. 

So the base technology is Drupal. A great foundation for building websites, large and small.

We are committed to building a self-organising, networked knowledge hub. Any other model is only sustainable as long as someone sits at the centre and facilitates, organises, or controls. This is the concept behind Linux, Wikipedia and the open software communities. In real life, it is the reason cities become more productive as they scale, while organisations become less productive. (here's a link to our thoughts on the matter if you want to go deeper)

So the Wiki software is Open Social. A tool developed in conjunction with Greenpeace and the UNDP to facilitate connections within their communities. In contrast to many wikis, other people can't edit your stuff, so the trick is to edit your own resources as you gain insights from the comments offered by others. Or to create a fork (as the software developers would say) by copying and updating someone else's work.

Of course there are many online tools that already help us grow our communities and the golden rule is to go to where the community has already gathered. We imagine this site as a companion to the websites, Facebook groups, email threads, Slack workplaces and google docs that community energy groups already use. But here are two advantages none of those other technologies offer:

  1. You can create static content that stays up to date so anyone can find a resource, note the conversation around it, use it and provide their own feedback.
  2. You can work out loud. Knowing and learning are social activities. You can make thoughtful contributions and then grow as others offer their perspectives and improve a piece of information or a decision. If you do this in a more public way, others can watch the conversation, learn themselves and also contribute when they feel ready. In this way, we grow our communities.

So please Log in, get familiar with the technology in the Sandpit and then get started building the groups and resources that your community needs.