I posted a question over at webmasters.stackexchange.com that was migrated over to this stack. It's here now:
Before the migration, someone over at the webmasters' stack added a comment. I cannot reply to his comment over at that stack because the question is locked, and that user does not seem to be a member of the wordpress stack, so he will likely not see my response here.
Since his comment might lead to a solution to my original problem, I'm going to open it up as an independent question, which I will state below. (Note that you do not have to read my original question to understand or contribute to the one I am about to ask. The original question simply provides some context.)
Question: I have an account on a university department server. I am an academic within that department, which gives me limited privileges. I have a web-enabled directory in my account, and an index.html file in that account can be displayed in the typical way, by visiting www.(universityname).edu/~(username). I pretty much have complete control over this directory, and I (believe) I can run PHP scripts from my directory. However, I don't have any kind of root / admin / superuser privileges.
Is it possible to install the WordPress.org platform to my directory, without additional privileges?
If so, should I install it into the directory or into a subdirectory of it?