Typed into Arcturus
We've been bouncing emails around on the Green Chain Reaction coding part of the project and we've got to the stage where looking back through emails to see where bits of code got copied in, who was on the email header, etc. is a nightmare. Email is awful for collaboration. Awful.
Googledocs is better , but you have to invite people so there's an entry barrier when you don't know who your collaborators are.
Etherpad is a wonderful collaborative tool for community projects. It takes a tiny bit of effort to set up (i.e you have to have a machine; and you have to be allowed to set up a server on it). But don't let that put you off, read on ... it's already done
It's completely open to anyone in the world. [Surely it will get spammed? Not much point, since it's ephemeral and has no outward pointing links. Any vandalism is immediately apparent and can be reverted. ] So I'm setting one up for the Green Chain Reaction collaborators at #solo10.
And I can do this because the OKF makes Etherpads available for its projects and collaborators. After getting Rufus's OK (not needed technically , but polite) it takes 5 second to set it up:
Anyone – and that means YOU! – can edit the material. Two or more people can edit it at once! You can see the other keystrokes appearing as you type! (If you try to do the same part of the document you can backtrack). There's a timeslider that literally remembers everything types in (and deleted). It's almost like a Memex.
So from now on most of my contributions to the project will be on the Etherpad. It's a great way of creating communal documents – READMEs, code snippets, expected outputs, failing tests, useful URLs, etc. Letters to publishers on IsItOpen
And at the end of it you can have a polished document which could be mailed, pasted into a Wiki, turned into a PDF...
It's not Google wave, it doesn't do multimedia, it's Flash-agnostic, ... It does honest to goodness text.