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APA and collaborative endeavors re: bulletin board


Dear Leader
Staff member
APA and collaborative endeavors

The APA recently placed a new bulletin board online, for discussion of the WTC disaster and related topics. The APA board is getting a fair amount of use -- there's not a posting frenzy like on the Ars Technica or Straight Dope boards, but there's still quite a bit of interest there.

The APA bulletin board isn't running on APA servers, but rather is hosted off-site. I don't know what the hosting company is charging the APA in fees, but the hosting company normally charges a $60 setup fee and a $40 monthly hosting charge.

I feel a bit frustrated, because I would have been willing to host any APA-sponsored bulletin board -- for free. I can customize the graphics, set up moderators -- just like the PLANetizen Forum, it would be almost seamless. On top of being free, the Cyburbia bulletin board system is more robust, and has an established participant base. Nobody from APA ever contacted me to ask about hosting their bulletin board -- they know that Cyburbia is here, but they still went with a private hosting service instead of with a well-known planning site, run by an AICP planner.

I assume that the topics covered by the APA bulletin board will broaden in scope after everything that can be said about the disaster has been said. If that's the case, a general planning bulletin board sponsored by the APA could potentially take a big hit out of Cyburbia's traffic. They have "brand recognition," while Cyburbia is still essentially a niche -- a well-known niche, but a niche nontheless. How would the APA benefit by all of this, I don't know.

Being an APA member, I'd like to make a contribution by offering bulletin board hosting gratis, but considering what I'm hearing, I don't think they'd take me up on the offer. I've been told many times, both by other planning webmasters and practicing planners, that the American Planning Association is very reluctant to collaborate with or engage in cooperative endeavors with other groups or agencies. Is this truly the case? If so, why?