Is Ruby on Rails the right framework for setting up a system that can
successfully accomplish the following tasks:
-flexible user roles and permissions
-robust search engine
-social networking capacities, including listservs and/ or forums, the
ability for individual members to form "groups," group space,
individual and group blogging, wiki capacity
-all members should be able to contribute content to the site, subject
to editorial approval
-ongoing site maintenance should not require programming expertise
A Yay or nay will do. If you would, in sentence, explain your answer,
that would be great too.
Rails certainly could be (and has been) used to construct a site like
that. But so could any number of other frameworks. Whether it's the
"right" framework would depend on other considerations.
Rails would be a good platform for creating all that stuff, but if you
want a platform that allows you to just "set up" (your words) all that
stuff, I think you'd be better off looking at a ready made extensible
community system instead eg Drupal.
ie Rails is a platform that can use to create an online community
system, but it isn't itself a ready made online community system.
Which type of platform to choose is up to you.
Unfortunately Drupal is written in PHP, but I haven't yet come across
a better system for all those higher level tasks (pointers welcome).
But Drupal either includes or has plugins for all those features.
Don't underestimate how much effort it will be to set up and maintain
a complex community site like that though - no matter what platform