Help!

I am in search of someone, some benevolent group, maybe a web design/development class project, willing to do an overhaul of a writing site that very much needs an update. Is this a lot to ask for? I just lack the time and resources to do it myself, and despite some flakiness, some 20,000 people have managed to create content on this site, and more come every day.
Suitcase
Here’s the background. The Hero’s Journey was built in 1998 to bring to the web what was already a successful class exercise created by Mythology faculty Liz Warren, at South Mountain Community College. It is a creative writing activity based on the workThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. In a nutshell, on our site, people create their own accounts, being a story, answer a series of questions about their character, and then build a story by responding to the prompts for the 17 steps of the Hero’s Journey.

What the web site added to Liz’s work was making it easy for people to share stories (published as a URL), features to add images or sound files to a story, and creating a giant collection in one place. We built a nice reference section with explanations of all HJ steps, and examples lifted from a wide range of examples. For a bit more, see a presentation I did at the Open Learning 2000 conference.

The problem with the web site is that it has very much outgrown its technology. The current version is heavilty dependend on HTML frames, a pile of inter-frame JavaScript communication, a series of not so pretty perl scripts. All of the data is kept in a giant directory of text files. About the only update we were able to make was to move the user accounts to a mySQL database from its original flat text file.

I’ve had this in my “todo” list so long it has rusted, which is why it dawned on me that perhaps, someone out there in net universe, might be some group that could pull off an update of a great project. I’ve not fully thought out the conditions, so anything is negotiable, but thinking quickly:

* It would need to be, at least on our site, something that is open to anyone and free to use
* It would need to be a server side technology I can support (unix +/- PHP. perl, mysql …)
* It needs to be database driven– or maybe XML is the right approach. The stories all have a predictable structure.
* The interface needs a complete overhaul to be Web Standard compliant; I guess it could be Flash as well
* It would be great to add some community tools, such as commentary, story rating.

I guess this is wishing into space, but if a talented, committed, inspired groups of developers wants to do a worthy project, well give me a bark. It seemed like it was worth a shot.

The post "Hero’s Journey Project Desperately Needs Web Programming/Design Update" was originally slapped on the butt by a cigar smoking doctor yelling "It's a post!" at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2005/01/heros-journey/) on January 9, 2005.

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