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Forum Redux


theiggsta

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Greetings,

I wanted to make this post directly to the mapcore people at large to get your opinions and suggestions about forum software usage habits.

The topic of this post is to ask you what features of a forum do you value most? (Post/Reply Topic, Polls, Private Messaging, Calendar, Gallery, Emoticons)

Would you use a forum if it only had sections with topics and replies? (This means no private messaging, galleries, calendar, polls) Don't worry, there would be avatar/signature support.

Please, only constructive criticism and direct answers with some reasoning behind them because I'd like as much information as possible.

Thanks agan for your replies, I look forward to reading them.

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I like forums that are forums, no extra.

phpBB and the rest of the "top dogs" are just full of features very few use, and features, other programs do, and do better.

So, I tend to use Modular systems when ever I can, and that counts forums too, I'd get a forum like Vanilla with extensions and use the extensions to get the functionality that I really need.

Vanilla is a good forum because, it uses extensions, has really smart style system (the next version will feature even smarter), it is lightweight and extremely fast, minimalistic user interface with many features that make browsing the forum faster, it has whispers that work kinda like PMs but without the inane PM page, everything works on the discussions page.

So that might answer to your question, would I use a forum software if it only had like Threads and Comments, because that what forum is for.

Vanilla atm, doesn't support signatures, but we are planning to do an extension, it doesn't have calendar nor poll but we are planning to do those as extensions aswell, gallery? nope and we are not planning to do one, there are several faster galleries out there than some cumbersome thing applied to a discussion forum, emoticons can be added via extension. As for text formatters, Vanilla supports Markdown, BBcode and HTML via extensions that are built in.

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Would you elaborate as to what you're thinking of doing? Coding a custom forum, my guess?

As a user I don't need much in the way of forum features. It's the content that matters, in fact I regard most of this fluff as useless bloat. Sigs and avs are nice but not absolutely necessary, and they are easy to abuse. The easiest and most important thing to implement is just the ability to post images inline. Some sort of PM system or mail forwarding is important.

I'd say that what you want as an administrator is the most robust and *secure* administration system you can muster. I say this as a mod on some of the worst forum software I've ever had to deal with (forumplanet). Most of its failings aren't clear to the end user but for the admins it's been an outright nightmare.

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post/reply (would be wired without)

polls

avatars/signatures (if for nothing else it gives me something to do sometimes making a new one)

private messages

member list/info

picture wieving/posting

quote

security

what cj said about a rating system wouldn't be bad

the most importent though would be the overall mood in the forum, that ppl are nice to each other without fear to ask and use critism and that they have something in common

edit:oh i almost forget 2 importent things, edit (couse i type to fast and first after i read it i see typos and stuff that needs to be edited or i forgot to put in the link i just talked a lot about or picture etc etc) and same with the ability to delete your own post if you discover that it was a stupid post or maybe it could offend some one

i dont use emoticons that much so its nothing that i HAVE to have.

i dont use message body much either xept Img and URL but i could just as easy put it all in manualy, but its good for ppl that don't know how.

Spellbinder.

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As a forum user, I don't generally need much more than the basics (post creation, post editing, sufficient information to accompany each post such as when it was posted and by whom). Signatures and avatars are also nice, and often encourage people to post more since they get to show off their imagery skills or advertise their site.

The more superfluous things like calenders and such are fairly unnecessary, and to be honest I don't think I've ever used one in my years of foruming. I don't really make use of Who's Online much either, apart from the inline version which sits at the top of forums (and sometimes threads) depending on the software. Searching and memberlists are generally useful, though. The latter less so.

Having some level of self-customization is also a must, such as how many threads/posts I can view per page. I personally like having a lot of threads on one page, but roughly the default amount of posts per page. If a forum doesn't let me adjust those, I get a bit upset. A small profile is also nice, and is good for getting in touch with other forum members. Custom fields such as the IRC network/channel you frequent are good too, though slightly redundant on this particular forum.

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Thanks for all the replies, I'm not looking to obliterate the current board, just make a simplified one with just enough features to make the community interactive and helpful. Having a featured works section at the top of the board has crossed my mind and I wouldn't be against adding that in to the system as well.

The private messaging system is a little tricky in proposition and I brought up the use of gravatars instead of personally hosted avatars. Gravatars were invented for the blogging masses as a means to have an avatar anywhere you commented on a post. Avatars are merely an optional accessory, as with any of the extra features of a traditional board. I'd like everyones opinion on the use of gravatars versus a hosted option, not just because it's less for me to code, but it also takes a little burden off the server to serve up that extra content. If you're curious, check out the Gravatar site at http://www.gravatar.com/ to see for yourself.

Again, thank you for all the responses and commentary, keep posting some more suggestions and requests.

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