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Forum software discussion

Please list any and all bugs, feature requests etc in here and we can pick them up from one place. Only one bug/request per thread please, and make the title relevant so they are easy to pick out.

Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Lurker » 12 Jan 2021, 10:36

:text-goodpost:
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Forum software discussion

Postby TrimTheKing » 12 Jan 2021, 11:01

Lurker wrote:Having inadvertently started this thread :eusa-shifty:

I notice it's mainly recent arrivals commenting.
Hope Mr.Trim doesn't get resentful, after allowing us all to join.
Personally, I am ok now that I know. The way the forum software works seems fine to me just as it is.


Hi mate.

No resentment at all, everything you guys are mentioning (well most) we have been discussing in the background.

I just wanted everyone to understand that despite wanting the best for this forum I have two young kids, a job (well for a bit longer then job hunting) and countless other draws on my time so the approach at the moment is that it might not be the best but it isn’t broken so we have the time to plan and do this right without any real pressure.

So long as everyone understands that and is happy to bear with me/us then great. If not then, well, I don’t know what. ;)

Keep the suggestions coming.

Andy is spot on too, the surrounds are comfortable if not state of the art, the beer (or whatever your poison) is chilled and in the main the company is good ;). Pull up a pew and enjoy.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Dr.Al » 12 Jan 2021, 11:29

I know I've made a few (slightly sarcastic, perhaps) comments on the forum software, so I ought to assure everyone that it was definitely made in jest and I wouldn't want anyone to feel pressured. I mostly got interested after someone (can't remember who, sorry) commented something like "Roll on new forum software", which made me wonder if it was in the plans.

This is first and foremost a hobby for most or all of us, and I agree that the content and people are way more important than the software. I won't pretend I won't be very glad when there's something more akin to Discourse† / XenForo / whatever that makes images a bit easier, but also I completely understand and agree that life has to come before forum software upgrades! More than happy to help in any way I can (I've done a fair amount of linux system administration and I wrote my own website backend from scratch just to see if I could, but I'm far from an expert) as and when you want to look at it, but in the meantime I'll try to shut up about it!

Best of luck Mark with finding a new job. Being stuck in a job you dislike is very very bad for your soul!

† I'm not sure if Discourse is on your list but it's free if you host it yourself, so might be a plausible option
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AJB Temple » 12 Jan 2021, 15:42

I am happy to contribute.

Most of my experience in the past few years has been with Xenforo. They do seem to keep the development of it up to date and it is easy to administer and moderate compared with PHP and another package that we had before. Having until recently run the forum I was involved in, an issue we experienced in the past is moderator learning curve. The mods here though are experienced and clued up so that will not be an issue. Our forum was part public and largely private to members. The private section was very picture heavy with both stills and a lot of video. (The latter consumes bandwidth at a rate of knots). We asked members what they really wanted from the forum. By far the main driver for using Xenforo was the ease of uploading pictures for clueless and not IT savvy members.

From memory (I was not the treasurer) it cost one off $140 dollars (in UK equivalent) for a lifetime licence, and $40 per annum for all the upgrades and enhancements (which were worth it for us - but they were not compulsory), plus hosting charges. I don't know what hosting cost, but for us there was an annual charge for being a member of the club. We did motorcycle and first responder training, and most of the money went on that - the forum cost very little to run.

I've also used Invision Community software, which is PHP, running a SQL database, so similar to this forum but in a more updated skin. It was very easy to customise the layouts but I had very little to do with that one.

Mark - if you want someone to keep a log of what members would ideally like in any update, I am happy to volunteer to do that, though it sounds as if Roger & Co have it covered. Just PM or email me. You have my address.

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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby TrimTheKing » 12 Jan 2021, 15:47

Cheers chaps

Adrian - Happy for you keep a list of wants and options. I was really just thinking about someone summarising things into a post on here and updating it as new things come in, so we have a single post within the thread to refer to when the time comes.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AJB Temple » 12 Jan 2021, 16:53

OK, if we just need a thread ....isn't this it? I'm happy to distil into a function list when it has run its course.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AndyT » 12 Jan 2021, 17:16

A thought from me, in case it's useful.
I'd not heard of, or used XenForo until a few months ago. When I first encountered it, I was pleased to see that it was much easier to use on a mobile than the earlier software, with decent, readable text and an easy way to upload photos of any size, which were automatically resized to display well.

As time went by, the dark side became more noticeable. Just looking at the events which were visible to ordinary members, why was it necessary to compile a log of which pages everyone was looking at at any moment? Or who had reacted to what posts?

A discussion forum can work just fine without capturing that data. I can only conclude that the point of it was to construct profiles of all the users to sell as advertising targets.

So it made sense, of a sort, on a forum obviously being optimised for short term financial gain, but I wouldn't expect to see it used for a non-profit community site. (It's against the law to gather personal data about people which they aren't told about or which is beyond what is needed for the service offered.)

I'm aware that there are many other factors that play into the choice of software, beyond the user experience and I'm sure that they'll be made by people who know what they are doing.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Alasdair » 12 Jan 2021, 17:35

I just wanted to throw in my tuppence worth, I stumbled across this forum one day straight into the thread on Mikes oak frame build and have stuck around since. I served an apprenticeship in the 80's as Joiner in a small village workshop one of the things I really liked about that time was the number of locals who seemed to view the workshop as a meeting place. People would turn up daily and sit by the fire swapping stories and drinking tea and if help was needed, helping lift, move or cut stuff. Some guys had other skills such as electrics or metalwork etc and they would pitch in and help out, it was like a skill swap some weeks. The pace was never frantic and there was always someone willing to help a young apprentice with stuff. I say all this because this forum reminds me of those days, everyone is genial and helpful and no one thinks they know everything. there is always someone looking to learn and someone wanting to help and these days that is a really good thing. I miss my days in that old workshop with its old 1900's belt driven machinery and in particular the people that would pass through there and help out. Don’t change this place too much as that feeling of community is something that should be held onto and nurtured, so what if the software is a bit older (so am I) it is definitely the people and feel of the place that matters more.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Malc2098 » 12 Jan 2021, 17:52

For the three or so years I've been here, I've been more than happy with the forum software, its administration and moderation.

I'm in no hurry to see it change. I wonder why newer members are.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Robert » 12 Jan 2021, 18:08

Malc2098 wrote:For the three or so years I've been here, I've been more than happy with the forum software, its administration and moderation.

I'm in no hurry to see it change. I wonder why newer members are.


It's not just newer members Malc. I'd like to see it updated too even if it just to the latest phpbb. I don't think changing the software to something like xenforo will change the nature of the forum. It will make it easier to use though with wysiwyg post creation that users of many other forums are used to.

As to data collection (AndyT post above) of who has read what we have no use for that. We have no advertising and plan to keep it that way so no one will get targeted. There was a lot of customisation possible when I trialled xenforo and it may well be possible to not have such data at all.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AndyT » 12 Jan 2021, 18:12

Music to my ears! Thanks, Robert.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AJB Temple » 12 Jan 2021, 18:58

It's all about attitude. On some forums they are focussed on monetising, mentioning no names. GDPR rarely has any relevance in forums as posters have put things in the public domain of their own volition and generally agreed to T&Cs.

Here the ethos seems to be a friendly club like atmosphere. It's great. No silly arguments and no repetitive answering of the same beginner questions endlessly.

Agree fully with Robert.

My perspective on software is that the quality of posts and activity is greatly improved when it is very easy for people to post imagery. Maybe it's an Instagram generation thing. Many people who are used to drag and drop WYSIWYG, which is becoming universal on forums now, simply won't bother to do WIP posts or illustrated posts because it is tedious to size the image, then several clicks for search and place within the forum software. People drift to places where life is easier.

As to data collection, again it's all about attitude. Frankly, anything running off a database (usually a SQL or Oracle variant) is capable of storing and cutting data any way you choose. Technically, if you have access to a database, it is very easy and instant to see who has posted what, where, when and deliver that to anyone who wishes to buy the data - IF that is the ethos of the forum owner. It hasn't got a lot to do with the forum front end as far as I can see and everything to do with attitude of the people who ultimately control the forum (and hence the database).

I joined here a couple of years ago and lurked a bit now and again. It has certainly got more lively of late, which is good IMO, especially in these isolated lockdown times.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby sunnybob » 12 Jan 2021, 19:23

I'm still getting all notifications from this site going straight to junk mail, no matter what settings I alter on hotmail, but I have just had a notification of a reply to a thread that I have NOT participated in :shock:
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby sunnybob » 12 Jan 2021, 19:25

The offending email;
Hello sunnybob,

You are receiving this notification because you are watching the topic,
"Forum member names" at "TheWoodHaven2". This topic has received a reply by
RogerS since your last visit. You can use the following link to view the
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If you want to view the newest post made since your last visit, click the
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If you want to view the topic, click the following link:
http://thewoodhaven2.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=5228

If you want to view the forum, click the following link:
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If you no longer wish to watch this topic you can either click the
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Yes I have read the thread, no I have not posted to it. :eusa-naughty:
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Malc2098 » 12 Jan 2021, 19:28

Adrian, I think you might be generalising somewhat if you state 'people simply won't bother' and 'will drift to where life is easier'.

I bother, because I have enjoyed the subject, the positive and constructive support, the information and education offered by those members who volunteer that. I bother so that other members, who like myself, were completely new to the prospects of building a substantial workshop and who had never ventured into that world, might have ago with that support. I bothered to post WIPs so that those members could learn from my mistakes, and I did all that by uploading my photos with previous and current methods.

Lively might be good in your opinion, but maybe not everybody's, and that liveliness could detract from the ethos of the forum and that is what might contribute to members drifting off, and not to anywhere else, because there has been nowhere else like TW2.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby TrimTheKing » 12 Jan 2021, 19:46

AJB Temple wrote:...size the image...


Just picking up on one thing because I’ve seen mention by a couple of people, you do know that there’s no need to resize pics for this forum don’t you?

I spent hours sorting the software and adding a module that does the auto-resizing for you and I know it works because I uploaded a 30MB+ picture that was too big to show on my 27” iMac screen and the software sized it down to fit on the screen without scrolling and down to less than 1MB.

I know that was just one element of what you wrote, and I agree with much, especially that the picture uploading could be slicker, but I wanted to make sure that people weren’t wasting time sizing their pics before uploading because that would definitely cause frustration.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Mike G » 12 Jan 2021, 20:46

I resize my photos for the sake of my own photo storage, and the upload time to Imgur......but yep, that was a useful reminder, Mark.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby AJB Temple » 12 Jan 2021, 23:09

Thanks Mark. I was aware, but in my case most pictures have to be converted from CRM. Apologies - was not trying to mislead.

Malcolm, you selectively quoted me. The beginning of the sentence you selected from started "Many people....". That was my attempt to avoid over generalising.

This is based on experience of transitioning another forum which had some very quiet periods because people (or so they said) were, among other things, struggling with picture uploads. (In fact there was another problem as well, which was a moderator who imposed his stringent Christian views on what people said). We found that the lack of activity (zero posts some days) caused many members not to bother checking the forum very often and not contributing. That forum needed activity to create a club feel.

However, I completely agree that different people and even different age groups look for different things, and respect your viewpoint.
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Re: Forum software discussion

Postby Andyp » 14 Jan 2021, 17:24

Can I add that those with slow broadband may well want to resize their images before uploading even if the forum software does do this for them.

We are not all on fibre, yet. It has been strung up on the telegraph poles around here. The chap doing this said it will be another couple of months before house connections start.
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