In brief: the proposal is to set up a new platform, http://www.dharmapress.com, which will be a parallel to http://www.wordpress.com, using the same technologies, but will act as a free platform for those engaged in Dharma work of any kind and be free of restrictions and adverts.
In detail: WordPress is the most popular technology for publishing online, and is behind around 20% of the websites you ever see on the Internet. An example of a normal wordpress.com site is the one I set up for Women Renunciants, here: http://snfwrenms.wordpress.com, which also gives an example of what the address looks like.
The idea for this came when a friend was setting up a new website for a set of retreat talks that he had given. He used http://www.wordpress.com, which will give a website for “free”, but with a catch: these days it is very, very basic, unless you are willing and able to pay for ‘extras’.
The extras you might need could be more control over your theme, over the fonts you can use, the plugins available, and well… just about everything else too. This can be a real issue when you need to display custom characters like diacritics, etc., which was, in fact, the problem my friend was facing.
Another major issue you have when opting for a “free” blog with WordPress or Google’s Blogger, or any of the other “free” alternatives is having to put up with the advertising they insert into your pages, which may be totally unsuitable alongside your Dharma work.
So the idea is to set up a parallel site, tentatively called http://www.dharmapress.com, which any dharma worker, of any tradition, can sign up for, and will receive all the facilities normally available on a self-hosted wordpress site, and be free of adverts and any restrictions.
The new platform would be able to run both blogs, and, through its in-built Content Management Structure (CMS), also traditional websites.
The addresses might then look like this – note these are imaginary sites, and don’t link to anything, yet:
- maybe something about the teaching: http://satipatthana.dharmapress.com
- or a personal site, perhaps: http://vensobhana.dharmapress.com
- or maybe a temple site: http://sukhavihara.dharmapress.com
I cannot run this myself, as I feel it really needs to be run by an organisation that can offer long-term stability; it would not be good if it relied on one mortal monk.
So I am making the proposal in the hope that some group or organisation would be willing to help with it, get it up and running, and commit to maintaining it.
If you are interested in this idea, or if you feel you can contribute in any way, please contact me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or through my Facebook https://www.facebook.com/anandajoti