The idea is to collectively write a book online with a community (wiki) while having full discussions (forum.)
It seems wise to use a wiki to write a book collectively, but wikis dont have full fledged forum features and dont allow threads outside of the wiki entry itself.
It seems wise to use a forum/bb because it facilitates an engaged community to help write the book, but also allows other free flowing discussions that are relevant to the topic.
They each have pros and cons, but a combination would be best. Is this viable? Would it be difficult? (The databases would likely be merged, or could be separate. The gui eould be merged like this... how it would work is below.)
My initial thought is that the book will be parsed into short sections. Each chapter will get its own sub-forum, and then short sections of chapters will get their own thread, with proactive discussion about potential edits. The reason i speak about a forum approach rather than a strictly wiki approach is because i would also like to host concurrent threads of general discussion and have all the extra features of a full fledged forum for this vs. the limited discussion in a wiki. This will also foster an active engaged community outside the book content. The reason i speak about a wiki approach is because that is the best way to have a community of people collectively write a document. In essence the combined approach i envision would be a wiki encapsulated within a forum, operating like this:
There would be a general introduction sub forum, another one where people who want to discuss but not be quoted in the book, and an off-topic area.
Each chapter would have it's own subforum.
Small chunks of chapters, such as a few related paragraphs, would be its own thread.
The original post in the thread (the chunk of a chapter) would be presented as a wiki entry.
The forum discussion below the original post of the thread (the wiki entry) would be about edits and also adding supporting links or references.
After a certain amount of discussion, the thread would be deprecated. It gets closed and the best edits would be incorporated.
A new thread with the edits would get posted as a new thread for discussion.
Publish the book at different points.
That is the basic operation of the most used part of the site. Note that the wiki entries themselves would be locked from editing except by me initially, and others later on as the project picks up steam. An advantage of a wiki approach is that in a separate section, you could have the book presented altogether, by compiling the individual wiki sections onto one page. The compiled page would be the latest version of the book. Another advantage of a wiki is that you would be able to see a history of all of the edits also.
It is a kind of forum wiki combination hybrid. This requirement automatically narrows down the choices to open source forums, with an active support community. I already know that wikis have a comment section but it is not adequate to be used as a full fledged forum. It is also unlikely that any off-the-shelf solution will do as i wish, or i have at least not found any in my search. I am open to hearing about which open source forum to explore, or at this early stage, I am also open to another approach, as a wiki does not necessarily have to be used, but then is this functionality able to be built into any existing full fledged forum software? A typical shared document manager also does not have the collective discussion feature of a forum.
Another reason I prefer this project to be a forum wiki hybrid is so that there is a way to present the content linearly as in a book for others to read, by compiling all of the wiki entries together, while also the book is enabled to be written in a non linear way by many people through discussion. A forum wiki implementation is also practically not limited in size. I seek to limit the size initially only to make it readable by the populace.
I mostly don't care about the size of the book, as it will be mainly a free electronic book, and maybe a few printed copies to pass around. It is intended that the book will never be finished, but will instead become a living document, with snapshots of it at different times to be published. The use of a wiki and a forum will support all of these ideas. This book may easily become encyclopedia sized, especially the chapters talking about specific solutions.
With this information, here is a summary of my questions:
1. Is this approach of a wiki forum hybrid viable, or is there a better approach?
2. Will Phpbb allow levels of subforums and nested threads?
3. Is phpbb a good solution for the forum portion of the project?
4. Extra question for anyone who has the expertise: what open source WIKI software will be best to integrate with phobb in order to accomplish this?
I am considering mediawiki combined with phpbb. Does anyone have any experience here?
Any thoughts or recommendations are welcome.