|What's it for?
There are many reasons you might set up an AO server. Here are some of the types of community projects the AO was specifically designed to support:
The AO was originally created to help a local hackerspace manage its membership dues and to allow active members to use an RFID fob to open the front door. Members can also pay bitcoin or lightning to the AO to activate the bitcoin soda machine, or use the AO to control the sidewalk LED art.
For a household or a local community center, the AO can be used to help organize chores and other maintenance tasks for the community. The points and bounty system in the AO make it easy to assign points amongst various projects and goals, and people who complete those tasks can claim the points on them.
Hardware Automation / IOT
Rasberry Pis can be connected to the AO over a local network and controlled through customized user interfaces. Custom scripts for each device can be triggered by the AO to allow virtually any device to be connected and controlled or automated. AO users have created dancing LED sidewalk art installations, security doors, bitcoin-activated vending machines, and habit trackers, with plans for autonomous lockers and other useful devices.
Online Image Board
In addition to local communities, the AO is also designed to support online-only communities. Since digital communities are ultimately grounded in the media they exchange, the AO comes with drag-and-drop file sharing and the ability to automatically sync file attachments over Tor between two paired AO servers.
The AO is also a good place to hang out online in real time. Each group can have a chatroom added to it, making it easy to create new secure virtual rooms.
For online schools and freelance teachers, the AO makes it easy to organize a group as a class, assign roles (levels) to members of a classroom, and share cards in the dropbox that can only be accessed by members of that level.
The AO's peer-to-peer Tor synchronization feature makes it trivial to syndicate news through multiple hops across the network. By networking our AO servers together, we can build a powerful decentralized news network.
The cards on the AO make it easy to capture ideas at any time, and keep these ideas organized with the minimum number of actions. Cards can be placed inside each other, and one card can appear in multiple locations. Cards use an easy drag-and-drop interface and are searchable.
Getting Things Done
The AO has been designed with a powerful productivity workflow that focuses on doing and completing tasks, not endless planning. One exciting feature, the hopper, allows you to hop automatically between your bookmarks every X to Y minutes, optionally sending you a Signal notification. This lets you get a bird's eye view of all your tasks or receive programmed reminders or affirmations throughout your day. The AO has also been designed with David Allen's GTD system in mind.
For activists or politicians, the AO has been designed as the ultimate specialized tool for decentralized community organizers and canvassers-for-the-people. The AO will help you to get a top-level view, recruit, communicate, plan timelines, build knowledge bases, and track checklists.
Email Replacement (planned feature)
Send cards to other members on the same server, or sync cards securely over Tor. Future updates will allow the AO to act as a public (or members-only) website where people can go to send you messages. Also under consideration is transitional full email server integration (incoming emails will arrive as cards—a sender approved list or Captcha will stop spam before it starts).
Independent Content Publishing (planned feature)
For content creators, the AO will make it easy to publish your content publicly or for members-only, and collect donations or required monthly dues from members. Why use YouTube when you can host your own content and provide your viewers a customizable and intimate free or membership experience?