Internet access is nearly universal in 2015, but sometimes it's not available (or the cost is too dear). When that happens and you need to set up a local discussion forum or file-sharing network, you might want to consider Occupy.Here.
Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy.Here is to discussion forums what LibraryBox is to ebook libraries. Both of these unrelated projects are open-source software projects that convert a Wifi network router into a local server.
Where one project is intended to make it easier to serve up files, the other was designed to offer a private local discussion forum - one that doesn't have the proprietor of the local Wifi network, ISP, or other parties listening in. The value should be obvious:
Due to its distributed and autonomous design, Occupy.here is inherently resistant to Internet surveillance. Building up a collective network infrastructure that is owned and controlled by its users can lay the groundwork for other uses and applications. We don't have to choose between abstaining from social media and entrusting our data to corporate interests. We just need to take a greater responsibility for our own online services.
Occupy.Here hasn't been updated in nearly two years, but that doesn't mean it has stopped working. You can find more details, including a list of the supported routers and installation instructions, on the website.
image by The Natural Step Canada