Crabgrass is an internet organising tool, developed and hosted by riseup, that allows a network or distributed group of people to have discussions, store shared files, and co-operatively write ‘wiki’ pages online. Anyone can create a page for their group using Crabgrass, and multiple groups can be linked together into a network.
Within the Basingstoke Transition group, you’ll find several committees. These allow you to access and create content within a sub-page dedicated to a particular topic, where access can be restricted if neccessary to protect sensitive information. Most committees based around project and working groups should be open for anyone to join at any time. To join a closed committee, you will need to be submit a request to join, which will need to be approved by an existing member.
Committees are best used for content relating to working groups or projects, and new committees are likely to be created as and when they become needed. Anyone who is already a member of the Basingstoke Transition group can create a committee sub-page.
A useful feature of committees is that you don’t need to be a member of the main Basingstoke Transition group to join them, so if you’re working on a project with people from different groups you can create a committee to share content with them without giving them access to any other Basingstoke Transition content outside the committee.
The first thing you need to use it is an account. If you don’t already have one, go to we.riseup.net and click ‘new acccount’.
The web address for the Basingstoke Transition group page is: we.riseup.net/btn
Once you have an account, you can join the BTN group and any committees that you need to.
On the main page you should see all Basingstoke Transition content that you have access to. You can click on a committee icon to take you to it’s page, which will only show content that has been created within that committee.
To add content to the main page or any of the committees, go to the main group or committee page, then click the ‘create page’ button at the top of the menu on the left. You’ll be given the option to create different types of pages. The main ones to consider are ‘Group Discussion’ for general questions or points for consideration, ‘Wiki Page’ for content that will need to be edited or re-drafted (e.g. this page), and ‘File’ for any non-textual content that needs sharing.
Polls, Surveys, Votes and Task Lists are useful tools to use in specific situations. Their use should be fairly self-explanatory.
By default, any pages created will only be visible to members of the BTN group (or particular committee the page is created within). If you want a page to be visible to everyone, you can click the ‘Public’ box at the top of the right-hand menu.
Using crabgrass helps to streamline discussions, enables cooperative working and prevents huge amounts of traffic appearing on email lists. To keep track of information shared within the group, it’s worth giving group members reminders to check crabgrass on a regular basis for new content. For important updates, you can use the ‘Send Notification’ option to notify everyone with access to the page of the fact that new content has been added.
Using crabgrass takes a little while to get used to, but is generally straight forward and intuitive. If you want more information, you might want to read all about Crabgrass.
Sample demonstration pages of each type have been created: