Suggestions, Ideas & Feedback Forum

Topic: Have Your Say: Future of these Forums (+ Features)

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antdickens

1. Posted:

Morning All,

So we're (finally) doing some development on the site again after a busy summer on other projects. One of the sticking points are these forums. As you might of guessed they're internally developed, which is good because we have total control but bad that they aren't as mature as other forums.

Therefore I'm currently looking into the options available to integrate some external forum software into the site. The obvious first one we looked as was vBulletin, but it's completely bloated, costs money and way over the top. Instead of that, I'm currently reviewing a few open source PHP systems, most notably FluxBB and MyBB. MyBB seems abit heavy on what we want to achieve, so I've been taking a very close look at FluxBB, it's very promising although version 2.0 is a time away.

What we want to keep:

  • Clean, lightweight forum WITHOUT all the crap that other forums have.
  • Totally seemless design / template with main site
  • Unified / seemless login with our CMS (no external login/register pages)
  • Complete topic view tracking between logins (so you can see what you haven't read over multiple logins)

FluxBB seems to achieve most things we want, apart from complete topic views, however I'm sure I can hack that in there. It doesn't seem to link to you the newest post since your last topic read (so it puts you back where you were). Would anyone miss that?

What features of this forum could you not live without and what features would you really like to see?

Let me know!

DO NOT suggest Private Messaging, Polls or Sticky Topics - we'll have them through other things!

Edited on by antdickens

@antdickens
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Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Deviant_Mugen

2. Posted:

Here's some of the things I'd like to see, Ant, based on the other forum I visit:

  • A float feature for threads, so that you can keep track of threads you either posted or read often.
  • A bookmark feature with a drop-down bar, so that you can keep the folders and/or threads that are of interest to you closer.
  • The ability to choose how many posts per thread you can see. (I'm used to 50 per page, myself, based on my other forum.)

That's all I can think of now, but I'll let you know if I think of anything else...

"Don't make enemies, they'll stab your heart; don't make friends, they'll stab your back. Including me, including you, all men are trash. Don't love; don't be loved. Have nothing to do with other; live in isolation."

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antdickens

3. Posted:

@Metroid_Fan, great thanks for those suggestions. I like the idea of "starring/favourite" certain threads for quick reference. Flux has an option to show topics you've posted in. Posts per thread would be quite easy also.

@antdickens
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Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Reala

4. Posted:

Merging of threads and maybe a button alongside quote, report etc for the sites rules.

Reala

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Deviant_Mugen

5. Posted:

Another feature that the forums would benefit from is a tracker for posts, with the posts that have been replied to being in bold and the ones that haven't just being regular.

Also, a way to reply to individual posts in a thread, in addition to the quick reply format. It gets confusing sometimes to tell who's replying to who, especially if the person doesn't use "@User" or quote the user he's replying to. The forum that I frequent has this feature, though it was initially just tied to a graphical/HTML editor, but they recently incorporated a quick reply method as well.

/two more cents

Edited on by Deviant_Mugen

"Don't make enemies, they'll stab your heart; don't make friends, they'll stab your back. Including me, including you, all men are trash. Don't love; don't be loved. Have nothing to do with other; live in isolation."

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antdickens

6. Posted:

Metroid_Fan wrote:

Another feature that the forums would benefit from is a tracker for posts, with the posts that have been replied to being in bold and the ones that haven't just being regular.

Are you talking about showing which topics you've replied/contributed to? or topics that no-one has replied to?

Also, a way to reply to individual posts in a thread, in addition to the quick reply format. It gets confusing sometimes to tell who's replying to who, especially if the person doesn't use "@User" or quote the user he's replying to. The forum that I frequent has this feature, though it was initially just tied to a graphical/HTML editor, but they recently incorporated a quick reply method as well.

This sounds like threaded forums (which I think is beyond what we need) but I can see a "Reply" button that simply prefixes "@username, " to the reply box at the bottom of the page - would that suffice? Maybe the @username could link back to the post in question instead of threaded?

@antdickens
Nintendo Life | Push Square | Pure Xbox

Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Deviant_Mugen

7. Posted:

#1: The latter. It'd work similarly to the comments page in our user accounts, which shows us what articles/reviews we've commented on.

#2: Actually, your suggestion would work perfectly, especially if the "@username" did link back to the post you replied to. I think it'd make things a lot less confusing.

"Don't make enemies, they'll stab your heart; don't make friends, they'll stab your back. Including me, including you, all men are trash. Don't love; don't be loved. Have nothing to do with other; live in isolation."

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antdickens

8. Posted:

@Metroid_Fan, #1 - okay, there's a listing in Flux that shows you topics you've commented on and also a listing of topics that no-one has replied to - that do it? #2 Okay cool, I'll see how feasible that would be to add. Cheers :)

@antdickens
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Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Deviant_Mugen

9. Posted:

@Ant: Yeah, that sounds like it'd do quite nicely.

Other features that I think would be pretty cool—though not really important—would be to increase the size of avatars to 80x80 pixels, instead of 60x60 as it is now, maybe not allowing gifs anymore to make up for the increase in size. Also, the ability for a user to create his/her own rank with a color of their choice (obviously with a profanity filter in place to weed out any bad apples).

From the time I've been here I've observed that this community is quite well-mannered, unlike my other community which is a bit more chaotic and prone to mischief (then again, it is quite a bit larger, too), so I believe that they'd be able to handle the rank thing without abusing it. And there wouldn't be any of the elitism that happens on other forums, since post count wouldn't factor into the ranks as they do there.

I think I'll make this my last suggestion, for now at least...

"Don't make enemies, they'll stab your heart; don't make friends, they'll stab your back. Including me, including you, all men are trash. Don't love; don't be loved. Have nothing to do with other; live in isolation."

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antdickens

10. Posted:

@Metroid_Fan,

#1 - Avatars - Yes, we might increase them, but this is a non-forum feature in this case, there is a filesize limit for GIFs so the dimensions increase wouldn't be a problem.

#2 - Ranks - Yes, I don't like the idea of post-count ranks, but people being able to set a custom "tagline" with their username might be okay - that's kind of what the signature is for. I'm tempted to implement a rank system thats either "New Members" (under 10 posts), "Member" (over 10 posts), "Moderator" and "Administrator" just to make things clearer with the Shields.

Thanks again for your feedback :) Very useful.

@antdickens
Nintendo Life | Push Square | Pure Xbox

Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Adam

11. Posted:

I would like a feature that makes posts that disagree with me not appear. I'd also like a forum that does not insult me every time I'm quoted. Oh, and a user sign-up capatcha that makes you type bad things about Dickens. I think that would help.

Other, perhaps more viable suggestions:

  • A non-quick reply box. (Quick reply is nice if you are indeed making a quick reply, but for more involved discussions, I like having a bigger text area where I can see my whole message.)
  • Perhaps a "Like" feature. I don't like thumbs up and thumbs down systems like Youtube. We already have reporting anyway, and there's no need to make every post a popularity contest. But if the only option is to "Like" a post, using it becomes more like doing an empty quote or saying "+1" but without the need for such boring posts.

Come on, friends,
To the bear arcades again.

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Deviant_Mugen

12. Posted:

@Ant: Ah, I see. And yeah, the limit on gifs is quite good that they don't even slow down my browser, even on the crappy dial-up connection I'm on.

Yeah, that kind of rank system wouldn't be too bad, though I think I'd go with a predetermined number of days registered instead of post count, especially since there are people who like to lurk and don't post much. Perhaps the limit could be set at about a week or so, maybe a month before you're deemed a "Member". As for the mods and admins, I think pretty much everyone understands the shields (Gold= Admin; Silver= Mod), but it wouldn't be too bad having an extra visual aid. Of course, Prosody's rank would have to be "Supreme Goddess of the World" (fixed)... :P

And not a problem, actually we should be thanking you for opening the lines of communication... :)

Edited on by Deviant_Mugen

"Don't make enemies, they'll stab your heart; don't make friends, they'll stab your back. Including me, including you, all men are trash. Don't love; don't be loved. Have nothing to do with other; live in isolation."

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Adam

13. Posted:

Actually, I'm not sure everyone understands the shields. They're small and the silver ones especially are easy to miss. New users won't realize it unless they are curious and hover over it. A time-based rank system sounds like a good idea, and mods and administrators could have their titles replace the rank so that it's obvious.

Come on, friends,
To the bear arcades again.

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antdickens

14. Posted:

Yep, that makes sense to me - time based between "New Member" and "Member", then "Moderator" and "Administrator" labelled under the username, in addition to the shields.

@Adam, #1 - Non-Quick reply - okay, I'll see if others want that, might just be a case of making the form bigger (in Chrome you can manually make it bigger). #2 - 'Like' Feature - what would this actually achieve? Would it be in the listing? +5 (popular threads) or something? Similar to the favourite/starred suggested above.

@antdickens
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Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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FonistofCruxis

15. Posted:

I like it that nl doesn't have a rank system like other sites do. I hope a rank system isn't introduced because it will turn into a competition.

Neilloggery

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pixelman

16. Posted:

Forum search and a more sophisticated text box (as in buttons for bbcode, smileys, etc.). I like Adam's "like" suggestion too.

Edited on by pixelman

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antdickens

17. Posted:

@mariofanatic128, don't worry - we totally agree - we feel the reason these forums are successful is because of the simplicity and post-count based ranks won't be introduced. Only what we've suggested above which is more of a userlevel based.

@antdickens
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Nintendo Network ID: anthonyd | Twitter: antdickens

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Aviator

18. Posted:

Darn tootin' it will!!

I know this probs wont happen, but it would be cool if in the grey box where your username is, there were game icons which when hovered over show online info. Would save Sig space but there would need to be a limit.

A few new Avatars like

Lady GaGa and Navi

and if its possible, fix the devil and angel.

Also, and this is probs my most wanted feature. When I want to see the posts that followed my own post, but it is a few pages back, I hate guessing where it is (when I know about what post number I am), then having to scroll down. It would be nice to be able to jump pages at the top.

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Adam

19. Posted:

I meant liking particular posts, not threads. Often someone will post something, and a bunch of users will quote that person and say nothing, or just say +1 or "what __ said," and though this is useful information, it also adds a lot of posts that don't say anything unique.

Let's say someone likes this suggestion. Instead of quoting my post to show agreement, they could click "Like", and then next to the Like button in the future it'd say "X persons liked this post." I've seen this mostly on blog comments, but it seems like something that would probably be used in forums, too. I just don't use any other forums anymore.

Come on, friends,
To the bear arcades again.

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JonWahlgren

20. Posted:

Two requests:

-Spoiler tags. Cover text in black and highlight to read.
-Limit on quotes within quotes. Sometimes people have back-and-forths in a thread and wind up quoting their entire conversation. Limiting to one quote tag should be enough IMO, there's no need to re-print the entire conversation in each subsequent post.

Yaaaaaaay Ant!

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