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

  • Hi all, thanks for inviting me to your discussion.

    The multisite plugin is working with elgg 1.5, i put some code for test purpose on the multisite group and i am about to release several sites based on it. So the plugin itself has been improved on my side, i will release a new version in september i guess. But i will still make it available only in the multisite group as it need some hacks to the code, mainly to make the cache system compatible with multisite.

    The point is that tis allow users to roam from a site to another, and keep their friends and messages from all sites they are registered to, whatever the site they are logged in.

    I didn't do it yet, but sharing groups between several sites should be quite easy to do, as the membership a a user to a group is a 'member' relationship and the object belonging to the group are defined by the conteneur_guid, which give a different and independant way than the site_guid one to qualify the objects belonging. I mean you can have a user adding an object to the group from the site A, and another one (or the same later) adding an object from the site B, the two objects will have the same conteneur_guid (ie the group guid) and you will be abble to retrieve them that way.

    In my point of view, the best way to share object between different sites should be to use a special metadata   called "show_in_site' for example, where you will get all the site_guids the object is allowed to be seen in.  So in any site, you can get object from other sites, and get the information that you have the right to show it in your site.

    These are my first and fast reactions..sorry for my bad english


  • It's great to hear from Fabrice.

    Ud, any further progress along the line?

  • Dhrup:

    Actually I have the exact same concept that you are describing in mind only in a different field, but totaly relevent to your concept. Even though I absolutely love the elgg concept, I am still trying to figure out how I could implement it into my 'vision'.


    In my world it all focuses around church's and pastors that I know. Most church websites are absolutely horrible, partly their fault, partly not due to not having staff that knows how to build/operate a website. That's where I come in to help out.

    In the first few years I used postnuke, then switched to multiple installs of wordpress, and then finally now I'm setting up wordpress-mu as It's horribly annoying having to manage 300-400 separate code bases. Mu is a life saver for me there. No more spending an entire week updating everyone's base code.

    I chose wp-mu because of it's simplicity to setup and manage, thousands of available themes, and just as many relevent plugins. So far so good. It should be very easy for a church to signup and start their own blog. I even have supporter mods that allow me to bill for custom features such as domain mapping, live video broadcasting etc... so I do have a revenue stream possibility.

    Then I came across buddypress, which is a 'mini' elgg only it's a true wp-mu plugin. I spent 3 months working with bp, only to become completely frustrated with it's lack of feature set such as privacy controls, photo/video uploads, and damn hard theming code...(wp is easy to theme, bp learning curve sucks).

    Well after talking on a conference call with a number of pastors, they loved the wp-mu idea, but hated the bp idea due to no privacy and many other issues.... so in my mind bp is dead.

    Then a good friend turned me onto elgg the other day and so far I am loving it. Basically most every feature that bp was lacking elgg has done perfectly or is getting close. (There are many features I would like to see, but nothing missing that is a showstopper for me in elgg).

    So why elgg and wp-mu and not just elgg?

    Well frankly there are many things that wp-mu does that are not 'better' than elgg, just simpler. A normal user can whip together an absolutely stunning wp site with custom theme, multiple pages, pretty much what a real website should be. Most church's are going to create multiple categories for their articles, like separating out via sermon series etc... Within wp it's just plain easier to do this for a normal user.

    So why elgg at all?

    Well the one problem I see with every single church is that they see their people on Sunday, and maybe Wednesday but have no real contact with their members during the week. Nor do most of the members get to know each other outside the church. That's where social networking comes in.

    Why not just use facebook/myspace/ etc?

    Well in talking to the pastors, most church's have their own fb/ms sites, but are not controled by the pastor or staff. Many of these sites end up passing incorrect information about the church via disgruntled prior or current members, or just turn into flame wars. With few exceptions every pastor hated that fb/ms even exist as it's out of their control.

    So once again that is where i step in. Elgg can offer them virtually every feature that fb/ms offers but they have control over their group. With closed registration they can control what is gonig on in their group and remove unrully members.

    So great, now the church has their own community site, but how to extend it even further?

    That's where your concept of 'view only group sharing' comes into play. I can see how many church's of the same 'denomination/faith/etc' may want to 'link' together to share common content. It may be a news article or proposed change to the law, that will effect them all. It could be a way of joining them together for big events like what happened with Katrina. Gives them a central place to go and coordinate response. Like church 'a' says they will open food bank on given area so it's not replicated by church 'b'. Better use of resources then. So many examples apply to this concept. It also helps the overall 'church' community.

    In order for this to work though, another 'read only' class is going to be needed for posting content from site 'a' to site 'b'. I can't find such a class yet.

    Now in my particular case, I am going to have to really decide if the elgg concept is going to work for me or not. Every single church was interested in a wp-mu site setup, but not so much with elgg. Could be that I have yet to figure out how to theme elgg, so what they saw kinda sucks when going to the homepage.

    The upside, is that should I manage to 'bridge' registration/login with wp then it will be easy to bring elgg content over to my central wp index page via rss. So populating content from elgg over to wp should be possible.

    The downside, is that elgg not being a true wp plugin, means when a person has a blog, or multiple blogs on the wp side, elgg content will not automatically be brought in for them, or vice versa. They can bring lots of elgg content to their wp blog via the rss widgets, but that would still require them going to the elgg site and grabbing each feed individually and adding them to the page. (Yeah simple to do, but to enduser it's not 'friendly').

    anyhow, just wanted to 'validate' your idea as you said to many were showing lack of interest or indifferance. I don't think that is the case. I can see a real use for it, and I believe others, when they see it in action may be really interested.

  • Hello,

    @Shillo, I'm still working on this, left it on the backburner for a while


    I run a spiritual esoteric school, is it possible that you would show me your work with Wordpress-mu ?. I can tell you already, that at the beginning users tend to be overwhelmed with so many Elgg features, by working with plugins, and then, when they get used to it, its so addictive for them, they can't stop.

    Before using Elgg, I thought, that the social feature was important, but still it was like an "extra" thing to add. Now, after all my users switched to Elgg, i can understand why Facebook is so succesful.

    In your case, how many churches do you manage ? and does your wordpress-mu already handles shared content for your users ?

    Uddhava dasa

  • Currently all the sites I host are indepenent versions of wordpress. I am in the process of setting everything to use mu instead. Well basically it is setup, I just need to build a custom theme for the entry portal blog.

    I manage about 400 church's right now, which makes it easy to understand why I am moving to mu. Updating 400 sep wp installs to the new vs took me an entire week. And then 2 days later they came out with another update, which I decided not to do, not wasting another week.

    Mu does not really 'share' content between blogs. The entire idea behind mu is that I can manage an unlimited number of blogs on one installation code base. Sites are indepenent of each other. Of course the way wp works, you can export rss from just about anything for each site to share with others through rss widgets.

    There is an 'elgg' for wordpress-mu called buddypress from but it is NOWHERE near as far along as elgg is, which is why the switch for me to elgg. There is no permission system, photo's, video's, etc... it's still a basic framework.

    However if it were complete then there are a ton of buddypress widgets that a user could put into their own blog to bring 'community' information over from bp. So then a users wp blog could show 'global' photo's/videos/wire/users/etc...

    I can say though, that after a week of digging through elgg and this site, I am going to make the switch from bp to elgg. With the plugins available here, and the custom code I paid for from izap, elgg should do most of what I want.

    I will be hiring either izap or another dev to make a wordpress-mu registration/login plugin for elgg so that everything is unified. Really with the elgg plugin system it shoud be very easy to do this. Meaning my members register/login at wp-mu site, and they are auto registered and logged into elgg. (I have done this with wpmu/vbulletin and it works perfectly).

    Then it's a matter of having some custom elgg plugins built as wordpress 'widgets' so I can display the wire/activity/profiles/ from elgg on wp blogs just like bp does.

    I'm no expert, but from my basic understanding of elgg, you can use plugins to override virtually anything you want. So theoretically it would be possible to turn elgg into a true wp plugin which would totaly kill buddypress.

    If I manage to keep on track I should have a new theme for my wp-mu install ready by this weekend, and will begin importing all my regular wp church customers into the system. At that point there would be something 'real' to show you. Theming in wp is 100x easier than it is in elgg, at least from a newbie standpoint.

  • Hi Shawn,

    There is a multisite plugin, in which you handle only one Elgg instalation and then can have multiple websites, hanging from it.

    The thing i don't understand, is why don't you use Elgg Pages or Blogs, why still depend on wordpress ?

    Uddhava dasa

  • @Uddhava: Wordpress has so many themes already available that it's very easy for each sepatae site to have its own look. That would require much more work with Elgg. I suspect that WP themes are easier to develop too. If we could get past that problem, it would open up the possibility of having one code base for all of our university sites, and just theme them differently for the local clients. Once you have that and online course functions, then you could port a whole university curriculum to a single instance of Elgg.