After a few month rest period, it feels like the "multiuser weblog software" arena is heating up again. Drupal keeps chugging along. ELGG is looking really sweet, and now WordPress Multiuser (WPMU) is firing back into the competition.
Might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate multiuser software platform before weblogs.ucalgary.ca hits the big time. It's currently running as what might be described as a "limited test pool", with several users dipping their toes, but no hardcore users piping up.
The majority of the feedback I've received from Actual Usersâ„¢ about the Drupal software is that it is too complicated, and it doesn't feel like it's "theirs". They don't feel comfortable using it - even when stripped waaay down, there's just so many dials and buttons and levers that newbies get intimidated. It just feels like a geek tool.
ELGG feels like a social weblog collaborative, and WPMU feels like a really good and easy to use personal blog system that can be more if it wants to.
If a user's first reaction to the software is something like "GAH!" they are less likely to use it. If they're less likely to use it, it becomes less valuable, eventually worthless to the community it's trying to serve.
I think, in the long run, a less-than-perfect tool that facilitates contribution by users at the expense of lacking abstracted CMS features may be more powerful (more valuable to the community) than an Ã¼berCMS that scares a portion of potential users away. Wow. That was one killer run-on sentence...
Over the next several weeks, I'm going to try to take/make the time to do a more thoughtful comparison of these three candidate platforms, hoping to figure out what the real requirements are (like, what will a user do, and what do they need/want), rather than worrying primarily about IT-related things (like LDAP (although that is nice) ).