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I'd like to host an online collaborative document.

Ideally I'd manage it with patchsets where anybody can upload a patch, but it has to go through a review process before being merged (similar to git/gerrit). Text is all it needs, formatting isn't necessary.

So can you do something like that with Google Drive? Or is there an open source php library for it?

I'd just use git, but not all authors would be willing to learn :)

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You are pretty much describing the Revisionator at http://revisionator.com. It is like Google docs with git-like features (including branching and merging).

It also supports moderated documents. If you designate a moderator, that person needs to approve any change before it appears in the document.

There is a Joomla php plugin, and a vanilla php plugin is in the works.

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You could use Git with the GUI interface which the authors may be more willing to learn.

Another example would be using SVN with Tortoise.

Information here:
* http://git-scm.com/downloads/guis
* http://tortoisesvn.net/about.html

Google Drive or, say, DropBox would log revisions and allow you to recover previous versions, but do not do branching which would be the ideal mechanism for reviewing prior to merging.

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