I volunteer to organise a community of c. 250 people belonging to an organisation that supports startups and new businesses.
Currently we use a facebook group as our online hub to post personal/professional updates, share resources, ask questions etc. As the community grows (we add people each year), it is becoming harder to keep up with discussions and given the recent publicity around facebook’s culture and operating practices, now seems like a good time to convince everyone to step away to a purpose-built platform to serve as the community’s online hub.
Discourse has 2 great things going for it:
- Works over email (people can reply to topics and get digests right from their inbox)
- It is open source, does not control user data and has a growing community.
However, I am going to have a tough job convincing people to move over without being able to replicate some of the key elements of the facebook experience and the ease of navigation.
The closest thing to this I have found so far is the Fakebook theme but I want to know if it is feasible with a small development budget to achieve the following:
- Have a “Write post” box at the top of the page for logged in users
- Rather than displaying just the topic title, show the title as well as the first 100 (or X) characters of each topic in the home view.
- Customise side bar widets/boxes to be able to show a category feed, fixed text boxes and a feed of all media (photos, videos) recently posted.
- Change the CSS and colours for the fakebook theme.
We are currently on the Discourse-hosted plan on a 14 day trial.
Realistically which of the 4 requirements above are achievable without mass code rewriting/customisation?