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TaOPis which stands for Transparent Open Public Autopoietic Information System or TiAktiv Open Politics Information System is an open source platform for self-organizing communities that provides tools like discussion forums, blogging, (semantic) wikies, tagging, mailing lists, project/organization management, ranking mechanisms, content filtering/moderation etc. This tutorial aims on showing how it works, what is it about, and how you can use it in order to create your own self-organizing community.

The tutorial (if ever finished :P ) shall contain six chapters. You are already reading the first one dealing with some introduction about this tutorial and the TaOPis system. The second deals with implemented and planned features of the system. The third explains the basic element of TaOPis communities which are projects and organizations as well as how to manage them. The fourth chapter shows some basic facilities of the integrated blogging system. The fifth chapter explains how to report bugs as well as how to add entries to the feature wish list. The sixth chapter gives additional guidelines on how to seek additional help if you cannot find the information you need.


The basic idea of TaOPis was to create a platform for self-organizing communities building upon the social web, web2.0, the open source paradigm, modern organization and chaos theory as well as others in order to provide a collection of tools that should facilitate autopoiesis (which basically means living self-organization and self reproduction) of on-line communities. In essence TaOPis is an extension of open source project management systems like Source Forge into the field of non-software projects and organizations. Thus TaOPis consist of a set of communities (which can be either projects or organizations). Every community gets its own (semantic) wiki as well as its own discussion forum. Besides communities there is an integrated blogging system that allows any user to create her/his own blog as well as to subscribe to other's weblogs.

The connection between wikies, forums as well as blogs is the Niklas formatting language which can be used (with some simple modifications) in any of the three. Niklas is an extension/modification of BB code and named after Niklas Luhman a German sociologist who first introduced autopoiesis into social theory.

The other connection between those three systems is the tagging system which allows users to tag any wiki/forum/blog content with their own attribute-value tags. These tags are used to provide additional meta information to the content tagged.

Forums and wikies also allow you to query the knowledge base of the community (created dynamically through tags) in order to generate new content. In such a way one can generate dynamic FAQ-s, definition lists, dictionaries, tables of content etc.). The lists of open and closed bugs as well as the feature wish list are generated in this way for example. One can also export the knowledge base in OWL and Flora2 format in order to create intelligent agents or other semantic web technology.

Any community has ranking mechanism that allows for the creation of a fishnet organization. It allows you to cast your vote to other members of the community if you want them to represent you.

Forums also allow you to connect a community forum to a given mailing list. If a forum is connected to a mailing list than every message sent to it is forwarded to the mailing list and vice versa.

More recently we were able to implement "Autopoiesis" which is a Facebook interface to TaOPis. Other such interfaces are planned.

There are a lot of other planned features to be implemented like a query builder (to avoid Flora2 query syntax), a WYSIWYG Niklas editor, automated tag completion, better Ajax integration etc. To see the complete list take a look at the feature wish list.

Community management

As stated before TaOPis basically consist of a serious of communities called projects or organizations. The difference between projects and organizations is only in meaning (semantic) but both provide the same set of tools upon registration.

Since there are two different interfaces to TaOPis (the main PHP interface and the Facebook interface we shall indicate the differences in steps if needed with

- (php) - if you use the main PHP interface
- (face) - if you use the Facebook interface

To register a new community:

Go to My Settings on your menu, scroll down and enter the desired community name, type and description and click submit.Open the My Projects menu and click start project or on the My Organizations menu and click new organization to open the registration form. Enter the desired community name and description and click submit.

Attention: The community name and description cannot be altered after registration!

After registration you should get a success message and the entered name should appear in the appropriate My Projects/My Organizations menu.


To cast your vote to another member of a given community:

Open the community's main page (from the menu), scroll down to the members list and click on "vote for this user".Open the community's info page (from the appropriate menu), scroll down to the members list and click on "vote for this user".

Attention: The given vote holds only for the given community! To cast a vote to a given user on other communities you need to cast it one by one.


Creating a new page

To create a new page first create a link to it. In both interfaces this is done by clicking on Edit this page on the page you want to link to the new one. Then, where appropriate, add/insert:

[link=Page Title>Link name]

Where Page Title is the title of the new page you want to create, and Link name is the text that will be displayed on the edited page. Note that Link name is also used as the meta-information for the relation between the two pages, e.g. the F-molecule of the page you edit will get a new method looking similar to:

    'Link name'->obj_id_2,

after you add a link, where obj_id_1 is the internal id of the page you just edited, and obj_id_2 is the internal id of the newly created page. Now after saving your page, click on the newly created link. An editor should pop up which lets you create your new page. Note that the page will be available in the knowledge base only after you save it and create at least one tag on it.


Moderation and filtering

Mailing list(s)


Bugs and feature requests

Seeking additional help?

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