Seems to be some interest in setting up a group buy application to handle the heavy lifting and streamline the management of such endeavors. As a developer, I would be glad to take on a project like this.
My initial knee-jerk reaction to a project like this (with about 2 minutes of thought so far) is to go with a “shopping cart” experience. List managers would develop a new product which list users could then add to their cart, defining options, price breaks, special instructions and the like. Users would then have a self-service account where they could add/delete items from their cart, modify their quantities and options…etc
The product’s page could contain links to the posts for updates and what have you. The forum would still be the heart of all the information and discussion, but the “product listing” would handle the organization of vital information with links back to the relevant forum posts.
As I said, this is just an initial thought. I would absolutely welcome criticism , both constructive and otherwise (who am I to judge), to turn this project into something of added value for the BLF site.
I like the idea, it would vastly improve the organization of group buys. The only downside would be the lack of people posting in the thread and bumping it. This could be fixed fairly easily though, for example if SB approved the “shopping cart” could have an account on BLF and post on behalf of the user letting everyone know that they signed up for a light.
Thus keeping the thread interest up while making it much easier to deal with.
The biggest thing for something like this is to at least make SB aware of such a plan, I doubt he would have a problem with an external setup but he should still be made aware. Plus he might even be able to help figure out the best method for implementing it.
Overall I see a massive potential for something like this for many many different use cases.
Requirement: Each request needs a date/time stamp.
Discussion: Some lists (The GT) have limits for the number of lights requested, or stair step pricing so it is important to know not just who and how many, but also when. A BLF User may initially request 1 light, then when prototypes are available decide they need 2 more, then when going to production decide they really need 1 more.