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...or: Finding and/or Building a Better Social Network

This page is more a placeholder for continuing discussions than it is an attempt to give a thorough overview of the field -- but this is a problem I've been investigating (sporadically) at least since The Great and Thoroughly Unnecessary Nymwars, so I do have a few anecdatapoints collected.

Subtopics include:

  • Platforms: What existing solutions (software, sites) are there? (What's good and bad about each? Which ones come closest to meeting our needs?)
  • Design: How _should_ a social network be designed? (What are the minimum requirements? What would be ideal? What features do we _not_ want? What are our goals and priorities for social networking?)
  • Migration: When we find/build a good solution, how can we get people to leave the safety, comfort, and familiarity of NotEvilBook and Face+ to join us there?

"Design" and "Migration" probably need separate spaces for discussion; at the moment, I just want to summarize what I know about "Platforms".


Software that is purpose-built for social networking:

  • Friendica: distributed, open-source (PHP); interconnects with Diaspora; basic site can be installed/maintained by one person
  • Reddit: open-source (Python?), but seems to be high-maintenance; centralized
  • Elgg: open-source but centralized. This seems likely to have evolved considerably since I last tried it, so should probably be looked at again.
  • Pligg seems to be no longer available; can't find anything about it.
  • Kune: never actually tried it, but it seems promising (includes the open-source implementation of Google Wave).

There may also be some leads worth exploring here, and HTYP has a page which talks about what elements constitute a social network platform: social computing

(Not suitable for various reasons: Facebook, G+, Tumblr, LiveJournal, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Twitter... also TikiWiki, StatusNet aka Gnu Social)

Possibly adaptable

Software that was built for other purposes but which might be adaptable to social networking:

  • MediaWiki
  • Drupal