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Thread: Forum Upgrade

  1. #1
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    Default Forum Upgrade

    Well,

    I am looking to try the vB5 upgrade again, especially to re-enable things like the thank you hack.

    However, I do get suggestions to go to another platform. One that keeps coming up is Discourse.

    Personally, I am on the fence on that. I really don't like Google's UI for mail, and this is very much like that, or Reddit. Categories are often blurred, discussion seems disjointed, and it is almost too clean looking.

    The one thing that kind of intrigues yet concerns me is the "community moderation". While it may be a useful tool, I do worry about the definite hive mentality on certain topics from politics to development and everything in between. The #1 (by a long shot) complaint I receive about C2E is that it is too closed minded. I worry that a ranking system would exacerbate that, and those that remember the early post count = credibility wars will know where I am coming from. There are alreay too many instances of regulars shouting down others, I do worry that they would then "vote down" differing opinions. I could see community moderation working in a forum dedicated to a specific topic, or a specific line of thinking, but I'm aiming for as all inclusive of a forum as possible.

    C2E has been around for a long time, way before other media styles became cool and are now annoying. I think that the banter back and forth is something that people read, as evidenced by the latest server/usage stats. While I am still verifying exact unique user numbers, it is well over 30K per day. Average time is 4m. However, I'd like to get more to post.

    Thoughts?
    Ow

  2. #2

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    System wise I don't know what the others offer. In visiting other forums, none are as nice as this one from my narrow exposure.

    Would love to see more Edmontonians participating here. I think if they could see all the different forums right up front, visitors might linger a bit longer and maybe search through older threads for topics aligning with their interests.

    As for the rest of the site's design and usability, I think it's very good , clean and legible.

    I'd change the formatting on the What's new / Activity Stream views.

    If possible I'd eliminate the visible repetition for every posting on a single thread that can dominate the view and further makes the site myopic and singularly focused on whatever faddish topic we regular users are ranting about. There's so much more to c2e than the same current events the rest of Edmonton gets anyways via their Facebook, Twitter and traditional media.

    I'd also take out the repetitive "replied to a thread" language that clutters up the view. Everything there is a reply so it seems needlessly repetitive.


    An About c2e page might be good for first time visitors to figure what exactly they've stumbled upon.

    A clear "Register Here" button on the main menu bar might be nice. Or a Why Register?.. topic button.

    I don't see any value to rating threads or posts or thank you buttons. Each post or series of posts should stand on its own and I don't think there's a good system out there that assesses credibility of information. People just tend to promote comments based on their own agreement and vested interests and not based on reason, knowledge, etc.
    Last edited by KC; 28-01-2017 at 05:42 PM.

  3. #3

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    Please do not go to community moderation.

    It just promotes two tribes fighting it out.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    I am looking to try the vB5 upgrade again, especially to re-enable things like the thank you hack.
    You can definitely get plugins for version 4. You don't have to upgrade to version 5.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

  5. #5

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    I think the "thank you hack" is the only thing I miss. It's good positive reinforcement, and not having it is increasing the post-count in a lot of cases with things like "agreed" or "nice pic" etc.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  6. #6
    I'd rather C2E than work!
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    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

  7. #7
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    Default

    I'm assuming your not considering ditching vbulletin and trying xenforo?

    A couple forums I frequent use it and it's quite the user experience. However, it's my understanding it can be a little costly.

    https://xenforo.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gord Lacey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    I am looking to try the vB5 upgrade again, especially to re-enable things like the thank you hack.
    You can definitely get plugins for version 4. You don't have to upgrade to version 5.
    .

    Yes, but the hacks I downloaded during the upgrade conflicted with either the OS, or vB itself. While i don't have to upgrade for the newest ones, I'm taking the opportunity to review the whole landscape before I proceed.

    Stay on vB4 and expand?

    Get on vB5 and be current and a little more future proof/resistent?

    Ditch vB for another platform? However, the new platform must have the strong anti spam and moderation tool, must be scalable, and definitely needs to have a strong support backbone. PhpBB and others need not apply. That usually means picking from one of the paid forum software packages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitlope View Post
    I'm assuming your not considering ditching vbulletin and trying xenforo?

    A couple forums I frequent use it and it's quite the user experience. However, it's my understanding it can be a little costly.

    https://xenforo.com/
    It is definitely one I am looking at.

  9. #9

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    Why do we have to get the latest software? This is not like 15 years ago where the latest software updates actually improved things. Computer software has been static for the last 10 years with the only improvements being knee jerk reactions to security.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  10. #10

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    I've used a few systems over the decades and moderation can be really fruitless unless done really well, and that's really rare. Folks here don't even seem to use the Ignore function because they fear missing something, or actually want to indulge in indigntion and engage the time-wasters for their own entertainment I presume. I find the Ignore setting really handy and wish it could be applied to whole threads that spin off into jabbering nowhere, maybe until the jabber-storm blows over. With only 2 exceptions since I started here 6 months ago the people I Ignore continually prove themselves worth Ignoring when I look at their postings (to give them the benefit of the doubt), and I've un-Ignored them. The whole (Dis)Like thing will just be another layer of button-pressing that only gives the illusion of goodness.

    A Like button would be handy to reduce Me Too posts though but they're not really that big a deal.
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

  11. #11

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    I'd settle for moderators who don't moderate the discussions they participate in, along with a lower-than-a-minute timer between reporting posts.
    Giving less of a damn than everů Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    I'd settle for moderators who don't moderate the discussions they participate in, along with a lower-than-a-minute timer between reporting posts.
    That gets way too bureaucratic. Just more rules. Plus you're then making moderators monitor threads they have zero interest in. Who the hell would volunteer to do that?

    Everyone has their own agendas and the right to speak to them so why shouldn't volunteer moderators get a chance to speak to them without having the added hassle of then recusing themselves from their moderation role, finding someone else to moderate half way through. You're just adding nightmarish tasks to some poor Joe just trying to help out.

    So worst case, say some moderator in some thread suddenly takes offence to me or my posts and axes my commentary, so what ...some of my posts disappear, big deal, that's life. I'll survive.
    Last edited by KC; 30-01-2017 at 10:09 AM.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasH View Post
    Computer software has been static for the last 10 years with the only improvements being knee jerk reactions to security.
    This coming from a guy who probably has no idea about computers or software. Outstanding. And yes, why bother with a pesky thing called security. Who needs that? no need to worry that this site isn't HTTPS and your logons are sent plain text over the interwebs. Not a problem at all.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    I'd settle for moderators who don't moderate the discussions they participate in, along with a lower-than-a-minute timer between reporting posts.
    That gets way too bureaucratic. Just more rules. Plus you're then making moderators monitor threads they have zero interest in. Who the hell would volunteer to do that?

    Everyone has their own agendas and the right to speak to them so why shouldn't volunteer moderators get a chance to speak to them without having the added hassle of then recusing themselves from their moderation role, finding someone else to moderate half way through. You're just adding nightmarish tasks to some poor Joe just trying to help out.

    So worst case, say some moderator in some thread suddenly takes offence to me or my posts and axes my commentary, so what ...some of my posts disappear, big deal, that's life. I'll survive.
    You'll survive, but in this case, you also would no longer be able to post here, as the same moderator threatens/imposes you with suspensions, mainly because you are disagreeing with the chief of the hivemind.

  15. #15

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    The fact that my cordcutter box has HTTPS working & C2E doesn't makes me chortle a little every time I log in.
    Giving less of a damn than everů Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    I'd settle for moderators who don't moderate the discussions they participate in, along with a lower-than-a-minute timer between reporting posts.
    That gets way too bureaucratic. Just more rules. Plus you're then making moderators monitor threads they have zero interest in. Who the hell would volunteer to do that?

    Everyone has their own agendas and the right to speak to them so why shouldn't volunteer moderators get a chance to speak to them without having the added hassle of then recusing themselves from their moderation role, finding someone else to moderate half way through. You're just adding nightmarish tasks to some poor Joe just trying to help out.

    So worst case, say some moderator in some thread suddenly takes offence to me or my posts and axes my commentary, so what ...some of my posts disappear, big deal, that's life. I'll survive.
    You'll survive, but in this case, you also would no longer be able to post here, as the same moderator threatens/imposes you with suspensions, mainly because you are disagreeing with the chief of the hivemind.
    Ah, ban me from the site. Fine. I can still read it for information. It's really not a big deal. As I said, I'll survive.

    Power is a simple reality the world over in far more serious ways than in not being able to post my mindless thoughts to a web site - even a great one like C2e in which I get a free ride without having to do any work, at all, to keep it going.

    Basically I see it as a privilege so I try not to abuse people and try to be respectful of people, though I'll sometimes attack their ideas. As far as hive minds, that's also life in society. People engage in cry baby whining when someone else with more power or influence slaps them down somehow. So what in terms of a website, where you're allowed to be anonymous and totally immune to the personal effects of any unjust slap down.
    Last edited by KC; 30-01-2017 at 10:25 AM.

  17. #17
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    The problem with most past forum software is that it hasn't been built to be used on mobile devices. It usually eats bandwidth like crazy too due to the way it has been built from the ground up. A lot of forums are older than time and haven't seen a complete rework of the code.

    I'm definitely a proponent of the original platform that Admin posted. It is built to be forward thinking. Discourse has been built to look at where the internet will be in 5 years, as opposed to being built on technology that is older than time. It is a fallacy to say that computer software hasn't changed in 10 years. Online content development is moving forward faster than any other platform out there.

    The community moderation simply hides posts that have been flagged a ton. Kind of like ignoring a user here. You can still view the hidden content if you would like. There is also a trust system that gives you more privilege, but it isn't strictly based on post count. It is based on visiting the site regularly, contributing, liking posts, linking, adding media, etc.

    One thing I would say on it, is if you are upgrading it, don't upgrade from the web based back end, upgrade from command line and it will save you a lot of time and headache.

    General info: http://www.discourse.org/about/

    Anyone I know that has used Discourse on a regular basis has grown to love it. It is definitely different as the Admin pointed out - it has a different structure, as well as look and feel than traditional platforms, but you do quickly adjust to it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moodib View Post
    The community moderation simply hides posts that have been flagged a ton. Kind of like ignoring a user here. You can still view the hidden content if you would like. There is also a trust system that gives you more privilege, but it isn't strictly based on post count. It is based on visiting the site regularly, contributing, liking posts, linking, adding media, etc.
    This is my favorite feature of Discourse. With the discussion board I'm a member of, there are occasional cranks who tend to get flagged a lot. I do a quick check that the views are genuinely bannable (in my terms, vulgar with no information). I have rarely seen a flagged post that doesn't meet this condition.

    What potentially bothers me about this forum, is that I have a feeling that one's posts can be flagged for merely not being part of the hive mind. That probably bothers me more because I'm not part of the hive mind myself. If I can see the posts, I have a better chance of seeing the dissident posts.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EveB View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Moodib View Post
    The community moderation simply hides posts that have been flagged a ton. Kind of like ignoring a user here. You can still view the hidden content if you would like. There is also a trust system that gives you more privilege, but it isn't strictly based on post count. It is based on visiting the site regularly, contributing, liking posts, linking, adding media, etc.
    This is my favorite feature of Discourse. With the discussion board I'm a member of, there are occasional cranks who tend to get flagged a lot. I do a quick check that the views are genuinely bannable (in my terms, vulgar with no information). I have rarely seen a flagged post that doesn't meet this condition.

    What potentially bothers me about this forum, is that I have a feeling that one's posts can be flagged for merely not being part of the hive mind. That probably bothers me more because I'm not part of the hive mind myself. If I can see the posts, I have a better chance of seeing the dissident posts.
    Definitely agree with you on the hive mind. Then again, any system has the potential for abuse, whether it be community moderation or specific moderators. I'm sure we can all give examples of where we have seen abuse one way or the other, whether that be here or elsewhere on the internet.

    Discourse has a very beefy back end that can be customized a lot - for example, setting how many flags a post must receive before it is flagged. There may even be an option that a moderator has to review flags before it becomes hidden - that is, you can turn off the automation of hiding posts. It has been a while since I used it now, but there were a lot of options there. Same goes with the trust levels, although to a lesser extent - I don't believe you can create new trust levels, but you can adjust the properties within each level quite a lot and also promote people to certain trust levels if you wish or demote them for that matter. It is definitely community driven, but also offers administrators a lot of power to intervene if they wish to do so.

    From a usability perspective, anyone can give it a front end test drive on their community forum that offers support/Q&A, etc here: https://meta.discourse.org/.

    One thing I quite like is that the system automatically builds weekly or whatever you would like digests of latest content and emails it out to users. I don't visit meta as often anymore, but every so often I get the digest and see some topics that would interest me. Newsletters without the hassle of doing it yourself.
    Last edited by Moodib; 30-01-2017 at 02:27 PM.

  20. #20
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    Ditto here. The Discourse forum I was a member of was for a particular company. While there was a lot of user-triggered automation, they needed to have PR watchdogs to guard their own financial and legal interests.

    I am giving the main product a pause but I am still interested in a minor product that they might resurrect (I hope). The weekly digests are a good way of making sure I won't miss a comeback. And occasionally there's a headline that brings me back into the forum.

  21. #21

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    One feature I would like to see, come to think of it, is an easier way to find a forum or thread. Maybe I'm dense, or not doing it right, but I want to make a post in the "Political Correctness" thread. I know it's here somewhere, I've seen it and posted to it. But if I search "political correctness" or "politically correct" because I know the title is something like that I'm told it's too vague. But dammit I know there's a forum or blog thread about it. Do I just have to search through the Etcetera (or whatever they're called) forums for that thread?

    Do "modern" fora systems make this easier?
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    One feature I would like to see, come to think of it, is an easier way to find a forum or thread. Maybe I'm dense, or not doing it right, but I want to make a post in the "Political Correctness" thread. I know it's here somewhere, I've seen it and posted to it. But if I search "political correctness" or "politically correct" because I know the title is something like that I'm told it's too vague. But dammit I know there's a forum or blog thread about it. Do I just have to search through the Etcetera (or whatever they're called) forums for that thread?

    Do "modern" fora systems make this easier?
    Yeah, a lot have suggested searches built in. As you type, it searches for keywords, etc, and provides results based on that rather than attempting an exact match for a thread title. I'm not really familiar with whether or not the newer vb versions have improved search, but I would imagine so. There are definitely plugins, whether they alter code or can be removed easily, that you can drop in. Discourse allows for plugins to be installed that don't alter code, so they can be removed in the future or run independent of the source.

    As for how to find that thread on here, copy and paste "political correctedness site:connect2edmonton.ca" into Google and I think the thread you want is the 4th down.

  23. #23

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    Now this is one of those times a Thanks button would be real handy! I never thought of trying that... Errrr... Click!
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    The fact that my cordcutter box has HTTPS working & C2E doesn't makes me chortle a little every time I log in.
    Forgot to link this before. The lead developer for discourse wrote a good blog post on security and the lack thereof on the internet in general: https://discourse.codinghorror.com/t...ed-things/3550

    At least you know they consider security to an extent! I'm always leery of using vbulletin and definitely don't use a password that I use elsewhere.

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