Hometown Q&A site software recommendations
January 29, 2004 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for software to run a public, community knowledge base? This came up in a MeFi thread (a site called "Life Support" that supposedly answered any question), as well as in MetaTalk when Ask MetaFilter became reality, and now I'm looking for something similar. In short, I want to build a Q&A/FAQ/KB site where people can turn for advice about my hometown. [more]

I know these sites exist for other cities, some better organized than others. I used to maintain a text FAQ for a local USENET newsgroup, but that became unmanagable fairly quickly. I think KB software has definitely evolved to the point where it'd be a great solution for a community resource like the one I have in mind.

Questions like: How hard is it to get a local ID? How do I ship my stuff? Any recommendations for preschools? The unorganized, scattered, uneven stuff bulletin boards, mailing lists, and USENET are choked with.

I'm looking at Lore and Knowledge Builder, which aren't free/open source, but have most of the features I'm looking for. I want the public to have access to the Q&As, and to be able to submit questions (perhaps after registering); I want to be able to have several "technical support" folks giving smart answers to the questions, but allow the public to comment on them; and ideally some way of ranking/"modding" official and public comments/answers.

Anyone know of an active sourceforge or other open source package that can do what I want?
posted by pzarquon to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would go with a wiki-type site or try drupal.com or one of the php-based free packages.

I like the wiki idea the most...seems perfect for your application.
posted by gen at 8:43 PM on January 29, 2004

Some of the helpdesk packages out there with faq/kb features might be useful. Here's a few promising links from my collection. (I've done some research but have not used one yet.)

And, here's a giant list of help desk software.
posted by Tubes at 10:35 PM on January 29, 2004

Two open source ones that I've used:

RT FAQ Manager
posted by cmonkey at 8:44 AM on January 30, 2004

You can find the script used to run Life Support here.
posted by oissubke at 11:47 AM on January 30, 2004

Response by poster: Following up, as a geek I love the wiki concept, but I don't think it'll work for the 'general public' application I have in mind. The opportunities for mischief are too tempting.

I've played with a few now, and some are great but almost too focused on internal support. One of the features I wanted was for the general public to be able to submit questions. Two of the packages I found that were just gorgeous nonethless required new articles to be posted only by admins.

So far, Knowledge Builder is the closest to what I want off-the-shelf. Only thing is, it ain't free.
posted by pzarquon at 8:25 PM on February 3, 2004

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