So after considerable deliberation, and not a little soul-searching, I have decided upon a software suite to use for the Community portion of this website. Specifically, we will be using Humhub, which is great for creating community sites in the vein of Facebook, but more focused upon discussion and collaboration.
As I have said previously,this functionality will be rolled out as an invite-only community. I have already sent out some preliminary invitations by email, and plan to send some more out, soon. Once you have responded to an invitation and completed the rather simple registration process, you will then be able to send out invitations to the community to your friends and guild-mates, and so on, and so on, ad infinatum.
Now then, let’s talk a bit about Humhub. This program is very simplistic on its face, but has a lot to offer for a gaming community like ours. When you first jump in, the default page will show you your Feed stream, which will be woefully blank, as you won’t have any Friends at that point on the site. So the first thing to do is search the Directory for people you know, and send them friend requests (much like on Facebook, actually).
But the real power of Humhub comes from the Spaces. There are a number of publicly accessible Spaces already created, that cover a variety of gaming topics. You can join these as you wish, and jump right into the discussions therein, take part in a poll, read or add to the Wiki page, etc. You will also be able to create your own private Spaces, say to share with just your friends or guildmates, or perhaps to discuss a specific game you enjoy, etc. These member-created Spaces can be open to the public, by invitation only, or completely private and invisible to public viewing (the Administrator – me – and other staff can see them, though).
Like with Facebook and other social networking sites, Humhub allows you to customize your Profile, including only the information you wish to share therein. You can upload your own Avatar, change your profile picture, even add what games you are playing, so others playing the same games can more easily find you. And of course you can upload photos, screenshots and the like to your posts, as you wish.
That all said, Humhub isn’t perfect, and I haven’t activated all of the possible features it offers, for several reasons. For example, I’m debating whether or not to enable the file-sharing feature, as I’m concerned it might be abused. At this point it is disabled, and I’m fairly sure it will stay that way, or at least not be available to the general public. I might enable it for trusted individuals or staff, at some point. There is a Dropbox-sharing feature that I might enable, though. I have similar concerns, but since it is using Dropbox rather than my webserver for the file-sharing, I’m more inclined to approve it eventually.
Anyway, I hope to take “My Gaming Stuff” out of its Beta test soon, once I’ve gotten some things finalized, and have gotten a few trusted souls to beat up on it proper, so I know it’ll be worth using. You’ll know it is Live when you see the link appear in the Menu, at the top of the page.