SharedPurpose.Net - Introduction & User Guide



SharedPurpose.Net is an internet system and framework for community and political organizing. We are building bridges between demographic groups, following a holistic vision of social cohesion.

Shared Purpose supports a variety of separate and independent organizations developing understanding and cooperation across social and political boundaries.

Our system is organized in terms of four basic levels:

  • Networks - you are currently signed into the Charter for Cocreation Network
  • Groups
  • Subgroups
  • Users

A network is the highest (most inclusive) level of organization in the Shared Purpose framework. Networks are separate and independent systems, and operate on their own, under their own administrative leadership. Users can join or quit networks, and join or quit groups and subgroups within those networks.

A network can include thousands of users (people), and can develop any number of groups within that network, composed of users who come together for some purpose they share. A group is managed by one or two group administrators, who can select and configure the many features available to groups (forum, polling/surveys, collaborative documents, broadcast email options, etc.) Groups can be defined in many ways, such as by geographical location, interest or topic or issue, organizational chapter or branch, or by project. Groups can be associated with locations (states, regions, counties, zip codes) and can be positioned on a map of the USA. At the discretion of a group administrator, a group can be divided into any number of separate and independent subgroups, each of which has all the features of a primary group.

Any group can be divided into subgroups. Subgroups can be developed for particular purposes that are relevant to the purposes of the group which contains them. A group can have any number of subgroups.

A user is a person with an account/membership in the Shared Purpose system linked to their email address. Each user has their own private account, and controls their own email subscription and which groups or networks they wish to join or quit. Many of the features available to individual users are available from their "My Profile" link, where a user can individually configure many options. Other options and personal preferences can be configured on other pages.


In progress.

  1. Major sections of the site
    • Not signed in
    • Signed in
    • Signed in to a group
    • How to create an account and sign in
    • Privacy
  2. Navigation
    • Left-hand menu
    • Footer links
    • Group menu
  3. Groups
    • What is a group?
    • Joining and quitting a group
    • Your "My Groups" link
    • Group features
    • How can I create a group?
  4. Forum
    • Posting messages
    • Reading messages
    • Subscribing to messages by email
  5. Managing email
    • Subscriptions
    • Individual emails
    • Digest
  6. Your profile
    • Password and email address
    • Contact information
    • Personal introduction
    • View your profile
    • Privacy settings
  7. USA / Local Connect
    • Regions - States - Counties - Cities
    • Events
    • Groups
  8. Teams & Volunteers
    • What is a team?
    • Joining a team
  9. Voting & Surveys
    • Available votes and surveys
    • Entering your choices
    • Viewing results
  10. Petitions
    • Available petitions
    • Entering your choices
    • Viewing results

Major Sections of the Site

This Shared Purpose web interface is divided into three major sections or layers.

These sections depend on whether you are signed in. "Signing in" is a way of identifying yourself to the site, so that SharedPurpose.Net can display features customized just for you.

Once you understand this basic architecture, you should have no problems finding your way around.

  1. You are not signed in
    • Perhaps you have created an account on the site, or perhaps not. But you are not signed in, so the system doesn't know whether you have an account.
    • Because the system does not recognize you, you have no access to your private groups or files or personal profile information. You are "a member of the general public" and have access only to public features of the site.
    • You can complete a petition or a survey/vote, browse the USA Local Connect and view other public features.

  2. You are signed in - general links
    • You have signed in through your email address and password. The site now "knows who you are", and can show you options you have selected, groups where you are a member, options to update your profile and preferences, options to subscribe and unsubscribe to email, etc.
    • Basic sections include
      • My Profile - update your personal information and options.
      • My Groups - join and quit groups, interact with your groups.
      • My Files - upload documents and graphics, develop "collaborative documents".
      • Shared Vision - principles and purposes we share.
      • Voting & Surveys - how do Coffee Party people feel about an issue or question.
      • Petitions - sign your name to one of our petitions, add a comment.
      • USA Local Connect - mapping/zip code system for helping members find each other.
      • A Thousand Bridges - new project for reaching out to all demographic groups.

  3. You are signed in to a group
    • When you go your "My Groups" link, you have the option to sign into a group where you are a member, or to join any public group, or to quit any group where you are a member.
    • After you sign in to a group, the menu options change, and you see options specific to that group.
      • You will see the name of the group in the left column, shown in a light green box.
      • You will see the options available for that group. The most popular is usually "Forum", where you can post and read messages for the group.
      • You can upload files, such as documents and graphics. Other members of the group can access the files you upload.
      • You can include graphics you upload in Forum messages you post
      • You can create a "collaborative document", which can be edited and shared with all members of the group.

  4. How to create an account and sign in
    • If you want to actively participate in Shared Purpose groups and projects, you must sign in.
    • If you don't have an account, click the "Join Us" link that is available from the home page.
    • Enter your name, email address and basic contact information.
    • We use your zip code to help connect you with other members in your state, region, or city.
    • Submit your information. An email message will be sent to the email address you provide, containing your password. We do this to ensure that your email address is real.
    • If you ever have a problem signing in, try the "Sign In" link at the bottom of the page.

  5. Privacy
    • We do not share or sell your information.
    • You have several options to manage your own privacy settings, which are linked from your My Profile page.
    • You can choose whether or not to hide or display your full name, your location, your email address, and your phone number.
    • Even if your email address is hidden, you can allow other members to contact you by email through a "Contact Me" option on your personal profile. You can choose to hide that option.


  1. Left-hand menu
    • The primary navigation for the site is linked through the left-hand menu.
    • Move your cursor over the links to see sub-sections of those links.
    • The menu links change depending on whether you are signed in.
    • When you sign into a group, links for the group appear at the top of the menu, above the EXIT group link.
    • A small box appears below the menu showing links to all the groups where you are a member.
    • When you are signed in, you will see a link to sign out.
  2. Footer links
    • A variety of special information is linked at the bottom of the page.
    • A general guide to "civility".
    • A "Contact Us" link.
  3. Group menu
    • When you are signed in to a group, you will see a row of links across the top of the screen, that link to features available for this group.
    • Most links in the group menu also appear in the left-hand menu, above the EXIT group link.


  1. What is a group?
    • A group is a list of people who want to connect and communicate
    • There are many groups you can join
    • Groups are managed by an administrator who can select features available to the group and help the members
  2. Joining and quitting a group
  3. Your "My Groups" link
  4. Group features
  5. How can I create a group?


  1. Posting messages
  2. Reading messages
  3. Subscribing to messages by email

Managing Email

  1. Subscriptions
  2. Individual emails
  3. Digest

Your profile

  1. Password and email address
  2. Contact information
  3. Personal introduction
  4. View your profile
  5. Privacy settings

USA / Local Connect

  1. Regions - States - Counties - Cities
  2. Events
  3. Groups

Teams & Volunteers

  1. What is a team?
  2. Joining a team

Voting & Surveys

  1. Available votes and surveys
  2. Entering your choices
  3. Viewing results


  1. Available petitions
  2. Entering your choices
  3. Viewing results