Commons Shared Services
Welcome to Commons
The Commons is a shared set of ‘back-office’ services crucial to an effective but sustainable web presence for organizations. It is intended as a cost-effective and sustainable way of balancing our reliance on ad-supported free services for mission-critical information.
Commons is made available on a cost-recovery, non-profit basis to our partner organizations. As part of this shared capacity the Commons is also available at no cost to select, time-limited projects.
Use of the Commons services is on an invitation basis. If your organization or project would like to participate please contact us at support<at>c-ommons.org.
The following services (and supported technologies) are either currently available, in the process of rolling out, or on the road map for the future.
- Group Mailing Lists
- A service for managing one or more mailing lists for group email communications. Supported Technologies: GNU Mailman
- Corporate Email
- A service for maintaining multiple dedicated email addresses and typical access. Supported Technologies: Hosted Mail Server, Google Apps, Fastmail
- General Websites
- A service for maintaining a general website for a corporate entity or a project. Supported Technologies: WordPress; Mediawiki; Semantic Mediawiki
- Conference Websites
- A service for maintaining a specific and ongoing web presence for conferences and other events, including registration and e commerce. Supported Technologies: WordPress Conferences; Mediawiki; Etherpad Lite; EventBrite
- Collaborative Authoring
- A service for maintaining short-term, collaboratively authored documents. Supported Technologies: Etherpad Lite; Google Apps/Drive
- A service for maintaining a full, stand-alone wiki. Supported Technologies: Mediawiki; Semantic Mediawiki
- Email Campaigns
- A service for maintaining one or more tracked and managed email (marketing) campaigns. Supported Technologies: MailChimp
- Social Media
- A service for maintaining a social media presence. Supported Technologies: WordPress; Mediawiki; Twitter; Facebook; Linkedin
- Q. Why is Casrai offering these services?
- As a small non-profit organization we need all these services ourselves so need the capacity. Delivering them in a way that allows other small non-profits to share this capacity allows us all to lower the budget burden of such services. This frees more budget to our respective missions.
- Q. Why is a paid service needed when we can use free services?
- If you are satisfied with the free-services then you don’t need the Commons services. There may be reasons why you want to use one or more of the Commons services rather than a free service. One reason might be that you would like to reduce your reliance on private-sector, free (ad-supported) services that can change on a whim or may not have privacy policies you agree with. Another reason might be branding – how important is it to your organization to have your core services branded to your domain vs hosted on an external domain?
- Q. Why would we need these services if we can deliver them ourselves?
- If you can deliver these services yourself and are satisfied with service quality and how much of your time goes to doing this vs your core mission then you also have no need of these services. These services are targeted at the small organizations with very limited budgets and very limited threshold for mission-distraction. The intent is ‘set it and forget it’.
- Q. In addition to the supported technologies can you also offer content or admin personnel services?
- Yes. You can either self-administer the content on the services we set-up for you or, if your team does not have this capacity, we can propose a cost-recovery approach that fits your budget. For example, if four organizations using Commons each need a 25% FTE content resource for updating a website or wiki then a Commons expert is utilized full-time to deliver those services.
- Q. We are not an organization but a project – how can we use some of the services?
- We are currently sourcing organizational users of Commons in order to reach sustainability before offering services to projects. Exceptions would be a project being launched by any two or more organizations using Commons. Please stay tuned for services becoming available to projects.
- Q. How much does it cost to become a Commons organization?
- The more organizations that use Commons the cheaper it becomes for all. In order to carefully manage and scale the services we are inviting a small number of organizations to start. We will then widen participation. Send us an email if you would like to get your organization involved.
- Q. Why do you support technology X rather than technology Y?
- We have selected the technologies we are starting with based on our existing expertise. Our principles are the best tool for the job; open source where available and at least two options for clients to choose. In keeping with these principles we are open to considering new technologies for our services based on feedback from participating organizations.
WordPress – We will install a new WordPress instance at a domain or sub-domain of your choosing (for example, blog.[your_domain].org) and will send you a username and password. The instance will be empty of content and will have a default theme activated. You can select an alternate theme from a number of theme repositories and we will install and activate it for you. From this base install a content admin with WordPress expertise can start populating content. If you need a content admin we can supply you with one.
MailMan – We will install a new MailMan instance at a domain or sub-domain of your choosing (for example, lists.[your_domain].org) and will send you a username and password. The instance will be empty of mailing-lists. From this base install a content admin with MailMan expertise can start setting up your lists. If you need a content admin we can supply you with one.
MediaWiki – We will install a new MediaWiki instance at a domain or sub-domain of your choosing (for example, wiki.[your_domain].org) and will send you a username and password. The instance will be empty of content and will have a default theme installed and activated. From this base install a content admin with MediaWiki expertise can start adding content and adding new users. If you need a content admin we can supply you with one.
EtherPad – We will install a new Etherpad instance at a domain or sub-domain of your choosing (for example, pads.[your_domain].org) and will send you a username and password. The instance will be empty of pads. From this base install a content admin with Etherpad expertise can start adding pads. If you need a content admin we can supply you with one.
The following organizations are using Commons services.