Forum modernization - a discussion

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Alaron
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Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:02 pm

All,

We're about 3 months out from Warlords of Draenor. While I'm not playing WoW much anymore, I'd like to remain a good steward to this community. I'm opening this thread to discuss possible improvements/upgrades to the forum. (The website will be getting a facelift as well, but forum traffic greatly outstrips web traffic at this point, so it's my first priority.) Right now, I'm looking at 2 possible options going foward.

1) Stick with phpBB and make minor tweaks. With this, I'll be fixing up a few minor issues, but things will look mainly like they do now. I'll do my best to implement any requests, keeping in mind that I'm primarily a writer/manager type, and only know as much PHP as I can Google.

2) Convert the forum to Discourse. Discourse offers a lot of advantages over phpBB; more modern codebase, much better mobile integration, search that actually works, etc. Of course, that means a lot of work on the backend to make it work, importing the old posts could be a pain, and I'm not sure how some of the super-long threads we talk in here would work there. I could also consider a different forum software if there's enough of an argument for it.

Discuss. Opinions on phpbb vs. Discourse OR simple feature requests are both welcome. Feel free to PM for private discussion.

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JTF195
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by JTF195 » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:38 pm

I really like the way it's set up at http://discourse.soylent.me

If that's how fluiddruid would end up working, i'm on the fence. It can be a little inconvenient because it has auto-scroll/auto-load functionality, but it's really clean and nice.

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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:32 pm

Yep, that's a pretty good example of a Discourse board.

One of the potential advantages of Discourse is the ability to incorporate it into WordPress - so the comment threads below any blog posts I write would automagically have a thread inside the Discourse forum.

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Steakbomb
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Steakbomb » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:25 pm

Personally for me, I prefer phpBB but I don't use wordpress or anything and I just like the style of the current forums. But at the end of the day I come to this site for the theorycrafting and the community here so if you make the change to a different type of board then I will still be around.
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Paloro
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Paloro » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:18 am

What kind of audience are you trying to draw?

As Steakbomb said, the site is mainly used for theorycraft discussion and a good way for high-end ferals to keep in touch. If you have plans for monetizing the website, do whatever is necessary to increase your gains. If not, I wouldn't put much effort into changing the overall style.
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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:10 pm

Monetizing is not something I'm worried about. I had some plans heading in that direction prior to MoP's release, but family issues caused that to go in the crapper. At the moment, I'm really looking for "Hey, it'd be great if the forum could support X." Discourse is shiny, but absent any big call for an upgrade, I'll probably yield to my better judgement and not fix something that isn't broken (much.)

As for the blog, I'm just getting tired of the theme and think I can do a bit better at making it more readable. I've just gotten into the beta, so I'll be posting a bit more leading up to and post-release.

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AsgardFM
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by AsgardFM » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:58 pm

For myself, I keep track of TFD forum through an RSS feed.
If Discourse is still able to tie into RSS then I'd have no issue with upgrading.

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JTF195
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by JTF195 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:49 pm

Why not simply implement Discourse at beta.fluiddruid.net/forums and let us try it out?

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Sibylle
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Sibylle » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:06 pm

I'm fine with either - I know that's not much help for you deciding, but I'll honestly go anywhere that the people from this forum community choose to discuss feral stuff. I don't care much about the format, as long as it's both useable and practical, and the current format provides that.

I'd say: if it's a ton of extra work for you, don't bother changing.
-Sibylle

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Tremnen
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Tremnen » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:48 am

I'm not really for or against changing the forums, as Sibylle said I'll go where the people are even if its subpar user experience. If you really have an itch to change something how about updating the color scheme and replacing that banner on the top? I can't remember the last time I saw a monk around here.

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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:37 am

AsgardFM wrote:For myself, I keep track of TFD forum through an RSS feed.
If Discourse is still able to tie into RSS then I'd have no issue with upgrading.
I do the same. Discourse supports RSS, though I'm not sure how well.
JTF195 wrote:Why not simply implement Discourse at beta.fluiddruid.net/forums and let us try it out?
Heh, best answer so far. I did some preliminary looking into it last night; apparently Discourse has no easy to grab packages, so I have to use my web server's cPanel to create an app container, then SSH in and use git to pull down what I need. Veering toward "nope" category already. (I may or may not have been blinded by shiny when I wrote the OP.) Still, I've been meaning to learn more about working with *nix servers, so I'll keep poking at it.

<offtopic>
I've been distracted the past few nights with building a bandwidth monitoring system for the house, since I get to deal with Comcast's lovely 300GB cap now. I'm able to pull enough SNMP information from my router to get total outflow, but what I really want is bandwidth usage by-IP, which is going to require either a router swap or a packet sniffer.
</offtopic>
I'm not really for or against changing the forums, as Sibylle said I'll go where the people are even if its subpar user experience. If you really have an itch to change something how about updating the color scheme and replacing that banner on the top? I can't remember the last time I saw a monk around here.
Yep, banner's getting replaced once I redo the blog. Any thoughts on color scheme?

Tremnen
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Tremnen » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:31 pm

I'm not against the green and white per se but I've always been a fan of warmer colors like browns or orange. I think theincbear has a good color scheme for example http://www.theincbear.com/forums/

It does not need to be this dark you could use lighter tones and keep the text black for example.

Some example color pallets:

http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... bo301.html
http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... bo294.html
http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... mbo43.html
http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... bo162.html
http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... bo387.html
http://www.colorcombos.com/color-scheme ... mbo98.html

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Xillian
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Xillian » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:08 pm

Not sure what you're paying to host, but Digital Ocean for $5 / mo gives you a Linux VPS that would easily cover what TFD does. Granted I'm more of a lurker than anything, I'd be willing to look into what the transition would take to go from phpbb and can offer assistance. It'd probably only take an hour or so in the evening to get a beta server up and running. (for reference, I'm a php dev by profession and have been for more years than I care to think about) Looks like Discourse has an importer to make the task easy as well: https://meta.discourse.org/t/phpbb-3-importer/17397

Another option if you haven't looked into it that seems popular and would be staying with php would be Vanilla Forums: http://vanillaforums.org

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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:32 pm

Laziness has triumphed - Discourse is off the table. :P

I'll keep this thread open in case anyone has any other changes to recommend.

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raffy
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by raffy » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:33 am

Can you increase the number of URLs allowed in a signature? I think it's currently at 5.

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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:20 pm

Limit for links in sigs gone.

Old monk banner deleted.

Still doing some mucking about with CSS to get rid of some of the gray.

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Steakbomb
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Steakbomb » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:41 pm

Necro thread bump but something I thought of while at work today; Can we get mobile support for the site? While I do have an iPhone and can use the site, it loads the full site and having the forums have a mobile version would make the forums so much easier to use while I am not home. I can only assume a good amount of users look at these forums while on their phones so not having to zoom in every page and what not would be a huge QoL change.
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Meaningless
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Meaningless » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:43 pm

Steakbomb wrote:Necro thread bump but something I thought of while at work today; Can we get mobile support for the site? While I do have an iPhone and can use the site, it loads the full site and having the forums have a mobile version would make the forums so much easier to use while I am not home. I can only assume a good amount of users look at these forums while on their phones so not having to zoom in every page and what not would be a huge QoL change.
I'd love this aswell.
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Karyy
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Karyy » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:11 pm

Adding my support for a mobile version :)

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Schizoyd
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Schizoyd » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:01 am

I'd also appreciate mobile support. This forum has become my primary source of "meaningful" druid discussion. I'd LOVE and easier way to browse on my phone.

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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:06 pm

Where were all of you two months ago when I had free time? :P

Shouldn't be too hard to implement, will take a look at it tomorrow night.

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Steakbomb
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Steakbomb » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:20 pm

Alaron wrote:Where were all of you two months ago when I had free time? :P

Shouldn't be too hard to implement, will take a look at it tomorrow night.
Weren't thinking about it at the time. Just happened to think about it at work while trying respond to a post while on my phone
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Alaron
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Alaron » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:19 pm

Mobile theme installed. Please let me know if there's any functionality problems with it.

EDIT: If you're simultaneously logged-in on both desktop/mobile and switching back and forth, you might accidentally get the mobile page on desktop (or vice versa). Just refresh and all should be good.

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Steakbomb
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Steakbomb » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:44 pm

Alaron wrote:Mobile theme installed. Please let me know if there's any functionality problems with it.

EDIT: If you're simultaneously logged-in on both desktop/mobile and switching back and forth, you might accidentally get the mobile page on desktop (or vice versa). Just refresh and all should be good.
Simply amazing! Thanks for doing this. Awesome QoL change
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Moosie
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Re: Forum modernization - a discussion

Post by Moosie » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:05 am

Ever thought of something like Vanilla forums? One of the cleanest forums out there (style wise), it's open source and has a big backing of addons, themes and gets pretty regular updates too.

*edit* Ah I see someone already recommended it xD

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