I'm currently investigating what's fast becoming a rather fascinating variety of software code and constitutions as I try and define the best way of launching a progressive magazine which - if at all possible - works off the back of existing blogs and uses the same network to republish back out through them.
Each of the constitutions I am looking at has its strengths but none has all the features you end up wanting to add to your wishlist. That, I suppose, is the nature of the software industry.
Ning, for example, is a beautiful piece of software, with many quite advanced publishing features. It does have, however, limited capacity on its servers and - when I last looked - is a little miserly in its upgrades. Very good at Facebook-type social networking. A lovely example from the New Zealand Labour Party here.
YourMagz is a Canadian start-up which is in the process of starting up. Some pretty impressive features promised here which make for a potentially neat fit with my initial requirements. However, the product is still at a closed beta stage, so there's little I can show you right now - unless, of course, you want to sign up yourself. Their blog can be found here and their sign-up page here.
Meanwhile, ProsePoint needs a bit more investigation, as it requires installation on one's own servers if I have understood at all correctly. Links to ProsePoint as follows: homepage, demo and download. Further background information here. This latter product has no social networking bells and whistles as far as I can see and is perhaps the most traditional in its focus.
How does all this help reduce suffering and help guarantee the future for as many people as possible? Communication between the like-minded, between those who would like to act in good faith to improve the lot of the majority of mankind, is key to resolving long-term issues such as poverty, climate change and international terrorism.
All the issues which are currently being used to define the legal framework within which free people should operate need to be dealt with if we are not to lose our most cherished freedoms.
As our electronic worlds interface more closely with our real worlds, so software and what it allows us and doesn't allow us to do will become more important.
Software code and constitutions are already taking over from ordinary lawmakers and laws.
Everything is there for a reason, even as nothing is ever perfect.