Soft question – Polymath type websites for specialized areas.

This question is inspired by success and, more importantly, by the democratizing effect of the Polimath and Mathoverflow projects. I put the idea in my NSF proposals a couple of times, but it seems that the panels do not like these days. So this year, instead of asking the government for help, I will appeal to my fellow MO readers! (-:

Therefore, my dream is to create a website where people who like to think, for example, commutative algebra and related questions, can meet, propose and work on different research questions, from the undergraduate level to the final. Then, anyone can start a thread about some question / project they like to do, and people can discuss, develop and, hopefully, produce results at the research level. Or, if you want to set up a summer school type MRC but do not want to bother asking for it. Or, if you want to study a job but do not want to do it alone.

Other features may include:

  • Links to good articles of surveys / texts freely available / responses of MO / blog posts on various topics.

  • Articles about the history of the area.

  • News about interesting connections to related areas.

I think this resource would be very useful and, as mentioned earlier, it would make mathematics more democratic. For example, it is important that young people participate in the research as soon as possible, but if you come from a small school or from a poor country, the opportunity for such an experience may be non-existent. Even for the most experienced researchers, funding / invitation to conferences is increasingly difficult to obtain and, sometimes, it depends on who your friend is.

So my questions are:

Question 1: Do you know any attempt of this type in any area (math or other)?

Question 2: Do you have any technical advice on where to host the website, what new software (hopefully it is available cheaply) to help you create it, potential financial partners? Any experience to share, or potential problems that you can foresee?

PD: I was away from MO for a while, where is the community wiki button now?

PPS: If you are interested in a project of this type for commutative algebra, let me know in the comments or email.