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Wiki, forum or both?

Hello All,

I am developing a website for attorneys belonging to a certain professional organization.

Part of the website (subsite) will be the exchange of documents, business addresses (which will be searched for and need to be shown by date added), definitions of oft-used legal terms, and questions asked by newer attorneys (answered by more seasoned attorneys).  This subsite will need to be restricted to only the member attorneys, but any of them should be able to upload documents, add/change business addresses, add to the list of definitions (and abbrev's) and respond to questions.

The solution would need to be PHP/MySQL, attractive and secure.

If the solution includes a forum, the forum choice is MyBB.

However, we are also considering a wiki subsite.

Having never used a wiki (though I am a quick learner), I am unsure of which wiki solution would accomplish my goals or even if a wiki would be more appropriate than forum software, or if I should use both, with MyBB used for the questions and a wiki for the addresses, documents & definitions.

It would be great if the solution was easily ported/sized to mobile devices.

It is possible that a few thousand attorneys will participate.

Questions:

(1)  Would a wiki be the best solution for my needs?
(2)  Would a forum/bulletin board be the best solution for my needs?
(3)  Would a combination of the above 2 be the best solution for my needs?
(4)  Is there a solution not yet mentioned, but which you would suggest?
(5)  If a wiki is part of the solution you suggest, which wiki would you recommend and why?
(6)  Any concerns which I should consider or other suggestions/?

Thank you,
edsager
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edsager
Asked:
edsager
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1 Solution
 
solutionDriverCommented:
Hello edsager,

a forum is a good idea for many of your requirements, so that should be a part of it.
Here's where the forum would be a good solution:

> business addresses (which will be searched for and need to be shown by date added),
- Use a dedicated thread for adding addresses only

> Part of the website (subsite) will be the exchange of documents,
- You can do that with a forum generally, but it's not the best solution there is.

> definitions of oft-used legal terms,
- Dedicate a thread to legal terms

> and questions asked by newer attorneys (answered by more seasoned attorneys).  
- Good use of a forum, esp. because people can get notified when new questions come in

> This subsite will need to be restricted to only the member attorneys, but any of them should be able to upload documents,
> add/change business addresses, add to the list of definitions (and abbrev's) and respond to questions.
- With a good forum software you can restrict a subforum to a specific usergroups (e.g. group 'member attorneys')
- MyBB can do that.

A forum is a good solution where it doesn't matter to have a systematic overview over the content. Forums show the content always based on the date added, and there's no way to re-arrange them according to a hierarchy or any other order. Here's where a wiki would jump in.
Within a wiki, structures can be created, and data added to the structure afterwards. Existing structures can still be changed.
However, Wikis have a special syntax, and - according to what I experienced- many not so techie folks are a bit intimidated by the learning curve.
Therefore I would recommend a Wiki that puts stress on ease of use. Maybe TWiki.org.
You can use http://www.wikimatrix.org/wizard.php to get more clarity about your requirements and the wiki implementation that serve your purpose.

I think a combination of a forum and a wiki is exactly what you're looking for.

Regards,

  sd
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edsagerAuthor Commented:
Hello solutionDriver,

I looked at the wiki matrix and came up with TikiWiki CMS-Groupware as a possible solution.  TikiWiki uses FCKeditor as the WYSIWYG editor, so I am hoping that most attorneys in this group (which includes a good number of fairly tech-savvy individuals) would be able to post using the FCKeditor.

I do want to have the date the address was added, but I also need for them to be alphabetical and updatable.  The same is true for the definitions (and abbrev's).

With trying to conceptualize a wiki format, would it be a viable (or recommendable) option for the adding of addresses, definitions and abbrev's?  Or would it be better to use forum software and have as the sub-forum topics letters of the alphabet, such as "A-C," "D-F," etc?

What do you think of TikiWiki CMS-Groupware as the wiki and possibly using its forum software?

Thank you,
edsager
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solutionDriverCommented:
Hello essager,

> I do want to have the date the address was added, but I also need for them to be
> alphabetical and updatable.  The same is true for the definitions (and abbrev's).

> With trying to conceptualize a wiki format, would it be a viable (or recommendable)
> option for the adding of addresses, definitions and abbrev's?  Or would it be better
> to use forum software and have as the sub-forum topics letters of the alphabet,
> such as "A-C," "D-F," etc?

In a forum you can always use the search function to find somebody, if you know one
part of the address. On the other hand keeping entries completely alphabetically ordered
is cumbersome in a forum. It's the easier for the members to post in a forum than to
add or edit a Wiki page though (I belief), so it's a bit of a trade-off.

At the end of the day, the users will decide by what they accept as natural. I would leave the
options open at the beginning and test variations, and see where the most trampled path
emerges. That's where you want to focus on. Every audience is a bit different in this respect.


> What do you think of TikiWiki CMS-Groupware as the wiki and possibly using its forum software?

I've only heard good about TikiWiki, but I have never used it myself. If I were you, I would install
TikiWiki and just give it and the integrated forum a try. Maybe some actual users of TikiWiki - if
there are any - can chime in here.

Best,

  sd
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edsagerAuthor Commented:
It looks like no one else is going to respond.  This was one of the most complete answers I have received.  Thank you.  
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