Help! I don’t know where to turn.
I’m hoping to create a website with community features similar to Ted.com & Spill.com. One where I can post up videos, that allows people to comment on them and have discussions under them like Ted.
I want it to have a centralised Login system with user member profiles (including the thumbnail picture, the thumbs up/down tracker system for each user, a tracker that shows recent comments & posts, even the ability of my members to create user groups).
Spill.com has admitted that it usesNing.com for its community features. I’m tempted to use Ning.com too, but research into Ning has raised a few issues of future sustainability & user data ownership (I’m bothered by the idea that I won’t own the rights to the community that I spent my time and money to create). What do you guys think of this?
I have considered using Drupal too, but I’m very unsure about how Drupal’s community features work or about how expensive it might get if I want to create a community website with the features I just described. I have VERY little money so I was hoping that I’d be able to do the bulk (if not all) of the work of creating this site myself.
How do I create my own fully featured & functional community website?
Site wide Login System (one that intergrates with ever aspect of the site)
User Profiles (with thumbnails for each user)
Question/answer feature (yahoo answers style)
thumbs up/down system each user’s comments
a tracker that tallies up user’s votes (this is to create a reward system for my most active users)
I’m considering starting with Ning then moving onto Drupal when I’m sick of Ning. Is it possible to switch fron Ning to Drupal, taking all my user data and activity with me, or will a switch like that mean I essentially have to lose all my past user’s activity?
Why not just start with Drupal and then you don’t need to worry about migrating later?
Drupal offers solutions right out of the box for login, profiles with pictures (and pretty much anything else you want to add to the profiles). Uploading videos can be handled a few ways. If you are going to host the videos locally (on the website’s server) you’ll need a server capable of managing the load. You could always host the videos on a YouTube account and embed them within your site. There are a bunch of modules and groups over at Drupal dedicated to that sort of thing.
Thumbs up/down can be added either by custom module or CCK fields… I haven’t given it a lot of thought but I don’t see it being a big deal.
I fear Drupal. I fear the money, time & web design knowledge i would need, to make a project like that work.The videos are going to be central to the site. Making & filming them will be a full time job in itself.
Talking of video, these streaming video hosts are crazy expensive $99/month for 50 clips? My clips will be about 1 minute long each, I could reach 50 in a couple weeks easy. I’ll need to host some of these videos privately. Some of the content in it might be too personal to share on a public platform like Youtube.
Do you know any websites with massive community features, that use drupal, that I can take a look at? I think I may have a too specific an idea of the site I want to create, i may need to give up a few of the aesthetics & functionalities to make it work with Drupal, unless I hire someone to create a drupal site for me.
Which I’m not too happy about
What you propose is an ambitious website project. It will take effort. I wouldn’t embark on a project like this without spending serious time and deliberating on what it will take to launch and administrate this site. Also whether it will be able to sustain itself. I’m concerned that your greatest fear is of the learning curve or time/money involved in developing in Drupal. In my mind that is a small part of the success in developing this site.
Yes streaming video costs money to host because video takes an enormous amount of bandwidth and a lot of space to store. It’s the nature of the beast. If you choose to host it on your server and not on YouTube or another video streaming service, you will have to set up your server to convert all of the video formats that you permit to upload into formats that are compatible with Quicktime, FLV, or whatever player type you’re going to embed in your site. I’ve used FFMPEG for transcoding for R&D in a project and it worked quite well but it needs to be set up and you have some learning to do in order to get it all working right so that someone can upload a movie that they took on their phone or camera and then view it.
There are plenty of sites in Drupal that have the features that you envision. Do a Google search of sites made with Drupal and you’ll find them. Disney, Warner, Sony & MTV UK are just a couple of entertainment corps that use it. Here’s a good place to start looking: http://drupal.org/cases
EDIT: Oh yeah… I forgot. The Grammy’s, The Emmys and Lucas Arts too: LINK
Hmmm. The more I think bout this, the more I’m convinced that I should just swallow my pride & use Ning. Most of the features I’m looking for are ready there, it easy to intergrate into the site (which means I wont spend too much time constructing anything, more time creating great content).
The fact that I’ll be learning AS I make it, sounds too tedious. Designers can be wickedly expensive.
The only issues I have are paying Ning every month FOREVER:nono: and the Question/Answer module. I cant seem to find one for Ning.
It might take a little searching.
My future goal will be to let all my users upload videos onto the site, but as a start up, only myself & one or two other people will be adding clips. I’ll scale it up when demand is high enough.
You know what Awasson, screw it, I’ve seen many site thrive under Ning. I’m going with Ning. If things get REALLY sketchy, I’ll just have to find a way to get my community to slowly transition onto my Drupal design, but for now DECISION MADE I’m going with Ning. Real time decision making you just witnessed here you know. Pivotal moment in time, you should feel honoured;)
You could also have a look at Dolphin, a free open source community cms: BoonEx. and also check out www.hotscripts.com. It has many useful free and low cost cms scripts. You will ave to take a few hours to sift through the lousy scripts that are also present though.