Socialtext Enterprise Wiki is a wiki that can be synchronised, so that it can be worked on offline. I can see quite a few uses of this – and of other offline software. I’m currently also looking at a discussion board that VSO have for volunteers, both before they go, and while they are in placement. One of the issues is clearly that some volunteers may well have very limited internet access – both through financial constraints & practical issues.
I could see that something like this would have uses. Clearly there could be the issue of someone else having changed something between you downloading it, and reconnecting, but there are uses. I’ve also pondered the thought of synchronisable discussion boards. One of the great points about email is that it’s possible to read & write offline. Bulletin boards, on the other hand, offer a structure that it can be hard to get in email – and an archiving potential. But, downloading a bulletin board for later use would lead to issues re. versions. I’m still not sure; I feel though that a tool that’s between email & a bulletin board could be really powerful; I just can’t think how you’d do it!
Some boards (e.g. Moodle) will send you all the messages, but you still have to go online to compose & upload answers (unless you want to reply just to the sender). I guess though that’s better than having to read online as well.