The concept of Coherence in Social Networking

This article talks about the importance of group sizes, and how social networking can be affected by this natural limitation.

Of course, Elgg has already thought about this, and implements the idea of multiple sites. So based on this, you might want to explore the idea of splitting your communities, by region and group size. So that instead of having a site with 10,000 users. You have smaller sites, with 500 users each, for example. And have the ability to choose which common groups will appear in them.

In this way, users have a more personal and intimate experience, and you promote real human interaction.

Uddhava dasa

  • How can you have separate sites with common groups? Is the content in the groups the same, or different? Can the same person belong to more than one site? Would it be possible to have some groups that are common across several sites?


  • Hmm. I had a few Groups earlier, trying to address such scenarios. Some months ago I deleted them because of a real lack on of interest. People were just joining those Groups but almost never postiing anything interesting.

    My focus then had been to study using Elgg to facilitate "Federated" School sites -- where many schools would be federated and then be able to share selected content, such Groups, Pages, etc... I do still have the image Illustrations  I had created foo these Groups.

    The idea of "federation" in not new and certainly not my own idea.

    In Elgg we can already see some of these features with some PlugIns which allow Feeds, etc to be shared from different sites into Elgg.



  • I have loaded my illustrations here -- -- if anyone wants to have a peek... ;-)

  • Also.. have a read here

    This may not seem related immediately, but watch the ".... One of the cool things you can do with that is for example Sharing. In one network you could create a resource, for example a photo of you at a party or a URL you were interested in. Then you could select between the friends on the network you are in but also from friends elsewhere to share the resource with..."

    towards the bottom of the blog !

    So.. "resources" can be anything on an Elgg site, including a Group, a Page, etc.

  • Hi Dhrup,

    Yes, this group is created for this particular purpose of having intelligent, high quality discussion.

    Coherence and Federation are very important concepts in social networking, it seems Marcus and yourself have been on top of this for a while. Although OpenDD seems very powerful, this seems to be oriented towards external sites, meaning, other open source projects.

    I saw the models you showed in elggucational for Federation, if you think about it, objects in Elgg, already have a unique GUID and each of them has their own SiteID, which indicates to which site they belong. So, maybe, having a GUID Object with multiple SiteID's, and a centralized Mysql Database would solve this issue in a much easier approach in the short term.

    I'm currently working on this, so i'll keep this updated.

    Uddhava dasa

  • In our social networking application there are several issues that are germane to this discussion. One is the need to have consistently high-quality users, with completely filled-in profiles, making regular posts. We have some design ideas for plugins, like a modified registration module that forces users to upload their picture etc. before they can complete registration. Another one is a Karma Points plugin that awards site privileges like creating groups, etc. only to users whose activity passes a certain threshold.

    The other issue is to have multiple sites built on the same install, with certain objects shared and others unique. For example, we have a truly global community, so we want to have multiple sites for different areas of the world, languages etc. and also some shared objects accessible from all the local sites. It seems like that is doable in Elgg due to the object-oriented architecture, although it may require some tricky programming.

    I am a community leader and site designer, not a coder, so I am in the position of having all kinds of ideas but being dependent on others to implement them. Yes, I could probably teach myself enough programming to hack my way through writing a plugin, but really I have much broader responsibilities and specialized knowledge in other areas, and focusing on them is a much better use of my time.

    So the third issue for me is finding coders who can see the potential for the features we need for our project, and getting them to work with us on custom plugins. I don't mind paying a little something, and certainly don't mind making the plugins available to others as paid products to help offset the valuable time and skills of the hackers (in the original meaning of the term). I am a hacker in my own field, and have a lot of respect for the original, constructive hacker ethic.


  • @Dhrup: So Federation means that objects native to one site can appear in others as shared objects? Can users in those sites modify or add content to shared objects?

  • Yes, the "SiteID" factor in Elgg will allow multiple "sites" on a centralized database. You might have have already seen Fabrice Collete's Multi-Site quasi PlugIn.  Not sure if this has been upgraded for v1.25.

    Started Last December.. between Daniel, Fabrice, Greg, myself (I did only the talking;-). The others, esp Daniel and Fabrice did the real code work to make this work. Fbrice mosr probably still has his demo multi-site working -0 if you want to have a test-run.



  • Let me try to explain my view of the "federated" idea within the context of schools - as in my drawings.

    Elgg's various mechanisms, perhaps  with some additional "PlugIns" coded -- will allow read-access for shared data across sites. As Marcus explained in his Push-Messaging article.

    When I had started to get involved with schools' community sites - the approach I took with those I was working with then ==>

    We wanted to let schools have their own web-sites and have their control on it. If schools wanted to have their teachers and students associate with other schools for the purpose of sharing educational material - they would "federate" with the others and define for themselves what content was read-only.

    If they wanted to allow shared read/write - they would export a their content to the central site - where anyone invited and permitted would be able to collaborate ( modify ) the projects' content.

    So it became somewhat like allowing visitors to come into your school to observe only. And then going to a central "mall" for schools where you could do more than just observe - give and take and share and add content / material, etc..

    I did start coding the basics for this make this federated schools design work, but... somewhere along the way I could not find enough time to keep working on that, too many others seemed to lose interest or showed indifference. Though I did get some of the code tested to allow schools to "talk" to each other, undentify themselves, etc and receive responses back.

  • @Dhrup Aah i just noticed their plugin group here. I'm going to invite Fabrice to this group also, please do send a demo url, to see it in action.