Fri 26 Oct 2012 10:06AM

Should TBANZ have its own Community Weaver?

DS Danyl Strype Public Seen by 50

At present, the time trading exchanges for all Aotearoa TimeBanks run on servers in the USA, managed by TimeBanks USA (TB USA). It has been suggested that it would be more resilient to have a server here in Aotearoa to host our time trading exchanges, running the same software used by TB USA; Community Weaver 2.0 (CW2)*. How do people feel about this suggestion?

  • CW2 is a collection of "free code software" programs built on top of a website engine ("Content Management System" or "CMS") called Drupal. We can already get a copy of the code, and submit improvements back to the developers, GeekGene. If we ran our own copies on a local server, we could potentially contribute more this "open source" development.

Sarah Rogers Fri 26 Oct 2012 10:13AM

I can't think of a reason not to, if there are funds and people to manage it... maybe more information about such things would be helpful!

Also, would this mean we could make changes to the software to customise it for our purposes??


Paul Smith Sun 28 Oct 2012 10:22PM

I would like there to be a NZ/implementation of the Timebank software, a while ago I played around with the code to see what setting it up was like.

The first thing I noticed was that being based on Drupal it has a whole heap of modules that are requirements and the process was really quite painful.

I did manage to get it working in the end but it was a lengthy process of finding and downloading each module manually and adding that into Drupal.

We would also need support from the US developers to do this properly, for one we'd want an export of the databases to move over to the NZ setup and I'm not sure if they'd be happy with us moving our CW to NZ.

The other thing is whenever there's an CW update the updates would have to be handled manually here, it would no longer be automatic on set dates so there's that to keep in mind too.

HOWEVER I would really want to see NZ servers for CW2 and being able to just fix things as we find the issues would be amazing (from an open source contributor's perspective).

I think the trick to doing this smoothly would be to get enough people here supporting the idea and the GeekGene/US timebanks behind it as there is benefit for them as well.


Jen Kenix Mon 29 Oct 2012 12:09AM

I think this could be a great move with the right people involved. As a coordinator I find it very frustrating some of the limitations of the current CW2 system. In many ways the system seems overly complicated, perhaps as it covers over 250 TimeBanks? If we had people that were savvy enough to move the information from the US here to NZ and be able to maintain the system, then I am all for it. What concerns me the most is that we must have dedicated IT people to support the transition and the upkeep. I would even move that we secure funding for a paid position or two for IT coordinators, or give some additional incentive to work with the system, as it's crucial for local TimeBanks to keep running.


Hannah Mackintosh Fri 2 Nov 2012 2:06AM

Yes, I agree with Jen. I think this needs to happen when we have the resources in place to support such a move. If we set up a national timebanking body with the purpose of supporting timebanks in NZ then I think a move to a NZ server sounds ideal. I'm not sure that we're at the stage where we can make that happen yet.


Danyl Strype Sun 4 Nov 2012 3:32AM

What about paying geeks in time credits for their hours of work maintaining our CW server? They could then spend those credits on other services from members of their local time bank, increasing trading.

Yes, Drupal is painful to set up, but its also pretty robust once its up and running. The major problem with using any other system is the user pain that would result from a major change of interface. I did make a list of alternative TB exchange software, if you want to have a play:

I do like the idea of having a paid position or a couple of paid part-time positions for tech co-ordination, just so there's someone the buck stops with. But I think it would be easier to get this funding if we could set up a trial server, and find one or two TBs who are willing to be the guinea pigs. This would enable us to get a clearer idea what the fixed costs would be, and how much geek time is taken up by each TB hosted.

I know that Chris Twemlow was willing to put some time into this a few months back (is he on this Loomio group yet?) Paul, would you be willing to give this a crack?


Danyl Strype Sun 4 Nov 2012 3:35AM

Also, don't forget about Richard and Time-Exchange.org.nz. This gives you an idea of how trivial and inexpensive it can be for one person to just set up a database and a web interface and just go for it.