How do I cobble together a clone?
May 1, 2010 11:32 PM   Subscribe

How do I cobble together a site like using free (preferably Open Source) solutions?

I am looking to create a site with similar functionality to

Main functionality requirements include:
- Ability for users to create an account and submit a complaint
- Ability for other users to comment on that complaint
- Ability for the person being complained about to post a response and have that be either highlighted or called out in some way to indicate that they are the accused party
- A robust CMS backend for managing the site
- Preferably a plethora of existing community modifications/themes available

I've been spending hours researching available options and so far it seems like Buddypress for Wordpress may be able to do something like this, and Pligg is the other contender but I'm sure there are others I'm not aware of as I'm not really familiar with what can be done in Joomla or Drupal and I know those are fairly robust solutions. For Buddypress and Pligg, I'm not really sure how to do some of the more complex things like have the accused respond, etc.

I've looked into buying a clone script to modify but frankly I never trust those and I want something free that I can tinker with.

Part of my problem is that I don't know what the various components would be called so I don't know how to effectively search for them. For example, I don't know what the functionality would be called that lets a user submit a new complaint or what the functionality would be called that lets a user respond to a complaint if they are the accused. I'm sure plugins for Wordpress exist that do this (which is my hope as I'm most familiar with Wordpress) but I just don't know what to be searching for.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated. I'm not looking for someone to build this site for me...I'm looking for guidance on how to piece this one together on my own, whether it be links to specific plugins, solutions, or just some thoughts on what I should be searching for so I can locate that stuff myself.

I'll be monitoring this and responding so feel free to ask additional questions. Thanks hivemind.
posted by Elminster24 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How do you want the website itself to look like? Do you want a blog where every new entry gets shown on top of the others? Then Wordpress is a solution. Alternatively any forum software could do, if a forum is what you want.. I don't think you want a CMS like Joomla or Drupal, since they have a different focus (although "community features" are available).

In both cases you would still need to find a solution to identify the accused: as far as I'm aware there's no pre-made solution to this. Of course you can just give them a checkbox, which I guess would be fairly easy to integrate, but then everybody could claim to be the accused. A simple option would be to send email to * to make them verify it.
posted by oxit at 12:23 AM on May 2, 2010

Response by poster: I do want the entries to show up on top of older ones, however the user generated content focus is key. I don't really know an easy, clean way to enable users to do that on Wordpress (although again, Buddypress might do this, I need to play with it).

When you go through the process to file a rebuttal on that site, it sends you through a form that asks for your relationship to the company being accused and any other info. I'm not sure if they manually add this or what...seems like a completely custom script perhaps...
posted by Elminster24 at 12:46 AM on May 2, 2010

posted by phrontist at 4:04 AM on May 2, 2010

Drupal would be well-suited to this, but there is a bit of a learning curve. If you're near a good bookstore, you might want to look at "Using Drupal" from O'Reilly Press - it's a good recipe-style book tha could probably get you well on your way.
posted by usonian at 5:11 AM on May 2, 2010

I agree with usonian about Drupal being both a good solution and difficult to learn. Drupal has been a community-centered framework from the beginning and the ability for many users to create accounts, add content, comment on others' content, etc. is all available out-of-the-box.

Starting out with the O'Reilly book or some other beginning Drupal book is probably the best way to get into it without feeling overwhelmed.

There is also a list of some community-building contributed modules for Drupal for getting a sense of the possibilities.
posted by camcgee at 11:06 AM on May 2, 2010

If you're looking to learn PHP / MySQL, this would be a great and totally doable project to begin with. You might want to download something free that does more or less what you like, then tinker with it and modify it from there.
posted by ph00dz at 5:08 PM on May 2, 2010

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