At shdhvan on Friday, Liz Henry (who is most excellent and knowledgeable by the way!) and I started riffing on forums and communities and came up with the following pseudo-manifesto for social software:

  1. everything must be subscribable by RSS and email: i) author ii) tags iii) topics
  2. google like search of all the text
  3. everything must have permalinks with clean urls
  4. all urls must be hackable e.g. coolwiki.com/food/restaurants/vancouver/dona-cata - I should be able to remove 'dona-cata' and get a list of all Vancouver restaurants

Surprise, surprise, most wikis and most content management systems and blog systems like Socialtext, Drupal and Wordpress do most of the above things; most forums don't. Which is why forums make me uncomfortable; lots of forums have great content but they are impossible to follow, ugly and have really bad 1990s style URLs replete with question marks and ampersands which are not hackable.