Some general questions - Edited
I have been a member for the past couple of months, and like the way that things are progressing (if only a bit quicker ;).
My question is related to features that are planned. I know that there might be other posts covering some of the issues that I am going to raise, I would appreciate if they can be answered either way (it will give me a clearer picture).
The current project that I am working on, is a site very much like FB, Twitter and linkin (borrowing elements from each site).
Here are the questions (I am going to sound skeptical on some of them, but before looking into joining as a partner/paying to have my site developed by you, I need to know that I am making the correct decision).
1. What benefit will I get from using Anahita over the other available software/sas.
2. What other features are planned (I know that I will be refereed to the main project site, I have seen it, but it is very vague, they are not necessarily in order of preference).
A. Is there an event engine/component in the plans, if yes what features is it going to have (rsvp, categories/tags etc.), and when will it be ready (I now you don't like giving a date, so I won't hold you accountable if it is delayed [this applies to any other question/feature in this post]).
B. Are there any plans on a extension to monetize the site (users can sell ads), such as http://techjoomla.com/socialads-for-jomsocial.html?view=xml (on a side note they have some great extensions, which would be great if they can work with Anahita (chat, social-ads, and invite manager). If not, can one use Google adwords. Another method, will one be able to accept payments/subscriptions.
C. Video support, I know that you can embed a video in a post, but will one be able to upload videos (and have them transcoded say to flash or another format). If yes what features will it have.
D. Moderation - will users be able to flag content (be it status updates, pictures, videos or any other content that is user-produced), and have a moderator take a look at it. Also how much control does the admin have over user profiles, can they see all their info in the backend, if yes will they be able to edit it. Can they ban users from using the site, if yes will there be an option to suspend their account for a certain amount of time (think about a school etc).
E. I know this is in the making, Custom fields - how is that going to work; will there be an option to require certain fields, how about on the current fields that you have (open social fields).
F. Are there any modules such as people you might know/friends suggest, mutual friends ect.
G. Privacy, this is related to moderation. Are there any plans to further develop the privacy - currently one has the basic set, what if they want to post a update just to single friend without everyone else seeing it. A good example of privacy would be FB (the little lock icon, where you can customize to the tee who can see it). Can the admin set the global privacy level, can it be done per field such as the CB privacy plugin. Another good example of privacy features can be found at http://www.phpfox.com/features/account-and-privacy-management/.
H. Will there be user lists, so that one can categorize their friends/contacts and apply different setting per list.
I. I know this is planned, but it is somewhat important, Blogs. What is the current status.
J. Somewhat important, a mobile template.
K. Will there be a method to track what users are doing online (similar to google analytics. For instance, on the overview one can see how much time users spend online, and the breakup of what they did.
L. Is there any plans to be able to share/like content within applications; say you like a photo or posts, you should be able to like it and share it with your friends. On the same note, how about a plugin to do the same with Joomla content (although I use K2, it should still work).
That is it for now, sorry if I was a pain, but I had to ask them. There still are some some other requests, but I shall do them separately :)
Thanks in advance,
Keep up the good work, and don't be discouraged by people like me ;)
@Chaim we would be more than happy to answer your questions that are specific to the Anahita architecture and how the features work, however we do prefer that all the comparison discussions regarding the other projects (JomSocial, Elgg, phpfox, Community Builder, etc. ) happen outside the Anahitapolis.
We would really appreciate it if you could please remove all the other social networking products and projects names from your post, ( except K2 ) and then I'll go through the remaining of your post and leave my comments for you.
I removed the references to the other projects, I did leave some urls in the text where I felt it provided greater clarity on the matter.
Also is there any plans to have something similar to uservoice, so that one can better understand their communities needs.
What about a job board.
Have a good night :)
I see parallels to other community softwares in your questions.
My tip: Don't compare.
Anahita is something you can't compare to ready-made packages like other products for Joomla. Its a framework and very extendable (for developers for sure). The Social-Graph functionality is incomparable. I mean its a never-seen function for the Joomla-world. Well, Rastin is going to tell you the rest. ;)
@Chaim I apologize for such a long delay. I've been busy with the new Shiraz template and there are a lot of questions in the partner specific groups and projects that need to be answered.
"1. What benefit will I get from using Anahita over the other available software/sas"
You'll get a framework and platform that allows you build, customize, and change as the market and user behaviour changes over time rather than a quick oatmeal out of box solution. Anahita is also perhaps the only framework that follows the correct architecture of a social network and by that I mean the mathematical model of Nodes+Graphs+Stories architecture. Unfortunately a lot of existing solutions only mimic the behaviour of a social network rather than following the proper design of a social network that is explained in many math and computer science books.
" 2.A Is there an event engine/component in the plans"
Yes there will be some kind of even social app or even multiple types from us and from our partners. The issue is that we need to reach a critical mass of users and start organizing events before being able to build any kind of event social app and refine it through that process. The Event social app that you have in mind is basically specialized groups with an expiry date and an RSVP workflow. One can easily build one by looking at the current Anahita Social ™ Groups.
"B. Are there any plans on a extension to monetize the site"
We are developing Anahita Social ™ Subscriptions which will allow us to sell subscription plans to the Anahitapolis services. We will make the code available to the partner's tribe so they could use or customize it. There are countless ways to monetize a social network and that depends on every company's unique business model. They can be developed either by your or 3rd parties. We will not be developing any social apps that will work with every possible business model, especially advertisement models. Nothing should stop others to try.
"C. Video support"
That requires us to build infrastructure to process all the uploaded videos and also stream them out. This is better developed as a Saas rather than packaged software which can be distributed, since setting up that kind of system requires some technical knowledge. It is not as straight forward as uploading pictures. Yes, we would like to provoke video support but it won't be anything in the next few month. For the time being we will be relying on other web services such as youtube, vimeo, etc. who have invested in building all the infrastructure exclusively for processing and streaming video content.
Moderation is not a feature. It is a concept. It is an entire domain. I agree we should perhaps have the ability to flag content. We haven't built it, perhaps because so far everybody on Anahitapolis has been so well behaved. The admins and super admins also have edit and delete permissions almost on all the nodes and content.
The other issue is that a well designed social network should inherently be secure and private since every node (person, group, etc.) have some control over blocking or unsubscribing unwanted content.
Facebook has more than 500 million users and about 1000 employees. Assuming that every employee is doing some moderation work, that leaves every employee with 500,000 people. Do you really think they sit and moderate things? That is one advantage of social web over read/write web (web2.0) that people have the option to block out content they don't want to see or choose who get to see their updates. That changes the traditional moderation methods obsolete on so many levels.
In Anahita instead of copying the old methods of moderations we are observing for the new patterns that are required in social networks and we will be developing moderation tools based on those observations. A lot of traditional methods of moderation may not be needed in a social network context.
"2.E Custom fields"
We are seriously considering to take out the existing open social fields because they are legacy. We will only leave name, description, and some other essential ones such as Gender. Then the new API will allow every social app to inject new fields to a profile's information field. Then we will provide the Google Opensocial and Facebook standard fields as a social app. If you like your own custom fields you can develop it as a social app.
"2.F. Are there any modules such as people you might know/friends suggest, mutual friends ect. "
They require more than just a module. That requires code that will analyze every person's social graph on a regular basis and based on an algorithm come up with a list of suggestions. Different social networks might require different algorithms. We might be able to deliver this either as a packaged feature or it might have to be done as a Saas service.
Privacy API is already implemented and it is being used. We just haven't applied it to every single feature in Anahita. Using it excessively will lead to Anti-Social Networking. We leave that to the developers and the context of each social network business model. They can choose to use the privacy API appropriate to their context.
"if they want to post a update just to single friend without everyone else seeing it."
You have just described how we are going to implement our private messaging :)
"Can the admin set the global privacy level"
Yes. You can set the entire social network to be available only to the registered users.
"can it be done per field"
Once we implement the new method of handling the profile fields, they can have their own privacy settings too.
"H. Will there be user lists, so that one can categorize their friends/contacts"
We have to reach a critical mass of users then we can experiment with that idea. My favourite way would be folksonomy and ability to tag other people, group, or pretty much anything rather than using lists.
Building blogs is quite simple, but if we build it right now, how many people will blog here so we can monitor the usage and improve the application over time? The other way would be to copy all the functionalities of a blogging software but built in in an Anahita context. That is why it has not been a high priority item. So the current status is that we haven't even started. We do when we feel the time is right.
"J. Somewhat important, a mobile template"
The current Shiraz template has features to help us make the site mobile friendly. I have to see how much of the functionality of the social network can be delivered via browser. And also let's not think in the context of a generic social network. Let's say you build a project management site, a dating site, a CRM, citizen's journalism, etc. Each will have their own unique way of navigation and accessibility so a one-size-fits all is not going to solve our problem. A better way to accomplish this would be developing mobile apps and html5 compliant templates.
Mobile accessibility is something we are very interested in, but it will take a while before we implement it they way we truly like. We also have plans to release some iPhone SDKs so people can build iphone apps to access social networks that are powered by Anahita. iPhone and iPad development is one of the strength of our development team.
"k. Will there be a method to track what users are doing online"
You can follow them!
"similar to google analytics"
You can use google analytics
"For instance, on the overview one can see how much time users spend online, and the breakup of what they did"
You can build your own custom analytic tools
" L. Is there any plans to be able to share/like content within applications"
Yes we will be implementing content voting APIS (LIKE is a derivative of that) as well as sharing (replicating story nodes from profile to profile)
A lot of those questions are better discussed as individual topics so please do not hesitate do start new topics rather than cramming multiple conversations in one topic.
Thanks for taking your time to answer/address my questions. I wasn't too concerned that the question will go unanswered, as you were probably busy working on the code.
On a final note, from the gist of your answers, it seems that (at least at this point in time) Anahita is aimed at the developer market (the mention that many items can be done on your own (aka develop them). Will Anahita (apps) be aimed at the non-developer (such as myself)?
You also mention that once critical mass is realized you might try out some apps, what is the criteria for critical mass (if it not realized, how will they be developed/tested)?
Just my 2 cents. You can better reach critical mass if you also target the end users or the site integrators.
@Chaim thank you so much for being so understanding!
The reality is that if you want to build real life business solutions on the web, you cannot do without developers. You either have to be one or at least have one in your team.
For a technology to survive and grow in an ever changing world, it has to remain generic and flexible. Once it is done and finished, it is only the matter of time that it will become obsolete.
And also every business developer has their own unique needs and a technology cannot become everything to everybody. The only way to achieve that is to obtain a generic framework and platform and build your own custom solution which also becomes your unique competitive advantage in the market. Anahita is that framework and platform.
If you are hoping that a technology will be everything to everybody so you can obtain a copy, use some sort of a pilot dashboard administration interface to switch off the features that you don't need and customize the system without any programming knowledge, such a product doesn't exist. Even if you somehow build one, it will never be as scalable and organic as it should be to survive an ever changing ecosystem on the web. it will be a short lived fantasy.
I am completely aware that there are products out there that are making such a claims with very long feature lists, mainly geared towards the point-and-click marketers and website integrators and I admit the financial rewards are huge as Eugene said. However it doesn't take a software development genius to find out that they are capitalizing on their targets lack of technical knowledge and giving them toys that don't solve real life problems. That was the number one complain that I read in over 1000 emails throughout last year from people who wanted to learn about the Anahita project.
The good news is that Anahita is perhaps one of the most customizable platforms available today, it provides one of the best frameworks to help you make your business idea happen. In fact that was our original intention to start the Anahita project. As entrepreneurs we had no shortage of ideas, but we needed all the proper building blocks to make our ideas happen. Anahita was the result of that. We've also decided to share that with the world with the fraction of the cost that you'd traditionally invest to build any sort of social web business service.
So if you want a real life solution, you either have to buy it as a service or build it yourself. No pilot dashboard administration interface can give you a short cut. Find yourself a good developer :)
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