Local community online

So our local community is sort of active. Has a Facebook page and use Whatsapp for connecting and discussing local issues, neither of which I find are effective for having discussions. There’s no way to categorize or maintain important threads and collaboration is non existent. Any suggestions for putting together a solution that is manageable. Pricing is a sensitive subject so costs would need to be low to zero but not at the cost of privacy. Also cross platform.

You probably need some kind of forum software then.


Forum did come to mind. Like vbulletin or phpbb or if there’s cloud services that do a better job these days. I’m not sure what’s good. FInding a hosting provider and ensuring privacy is respected could be an issue. I know nothing about it but I’m guessing getting it to a usable state on an apache server shouldn’t be too hard. Also I suppose it’s best if it works with something like tapatalk. When I outline everything I envision it does start becoming complex and I want to make it as simple as possible. Some of the people in the community don’t even have internet (No jokes), but it is rare.

Hopefully they have smartphones which is enough to get going these days

There’s many “free” options out there, but that usually requires some kind of self hosting, which usually has its own costs.

Truly free online hosted options are rare and usually have some kind of caveat. I think google groups are still around… that could be an option - it also has a post by email bit which could be helpful for some people.

Uhh… I hate to say reddit - you can create your own private subreddit, but honestly I’m not sure what sort of issues that could introduce, but I’m throwing it out there because it’s an option.

Discourse (what I use for this site) is pretty easy and free if you self host. It runs in a docker container though (that’s the only supported config), so it’s pretty easy to get it up and running, but if you know nothing about docker it can be a bit daunting. The docs aren’t too bad though. There is an iOS interface for it (not sure about android, but I assume so) - it’s a generic discourse app which you can use to access various discourse instances. I have it and have tested it out with this site. Works ok.