Forums & Instant Message Add-On's

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
I've seen some vBulletin & Xenforo "Shout" or Instant Message add-on's/plug-ins...and wanted to get folks opinons on the usefulness of these products to an internet forum.

Something such as this:


Developer of this product says..."vBShout is the ideal way to keep members on your forum while they wait for replies to their posts. It can be used in many ways - as a chat room for members, for staff to discuss issues in realtime..."

Seems to me that on the surface it may sound like a good idea for members (especially very active veteran members & staff)...to chit-chat about just about anything...and a way to extend website visitor time. But when looked at more deeply...this sort of system could easily circumvent a forums basic function (Q&A threads)...where members in a rush post questions in the instant message system (looking for a super fast answer).

If this resulted...regular forum discussion threads could be reduced quite a bit...which could also reduce new traffic to the site via search engines...since these IM discussions may not be captured anywhere for crawlers to index or search engines to find .

What do you folks think?

Thanks
 

vbgamer45

Adherent
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
294
Generally against shoutboxes on forums since it does reduce posts/topics and use more resources as content is freshed/reloaded.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
326
I'm not crazy about chatrooms, but I think the serve a function for your different communities.

Folks can warn others about spam, quick conversations about this or that.

However, I would put requirements on how and who can use it. For XenForo, I haven't found a great chatbox etc I really like so far. I'll check out the one listed.
 

BGObsession

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
131
We use Siropu 'Shoutbox' and chatrooms on our site. I don't think it detracts from forum threads one bit. They are entirely different animals. On the Shoutbox, most folks will use it, very sparingly, just to post an amusing comment or observation. It's not for 'in depth' thoughts, it's just a fun way to throw up something momentarily interesting or clever.

We also use Siropu Chat software. It allows for full on chat sessions, 1 on 1 chats, and IMs. Our primary reason for having chat software is, as an NFL fan site, we have group chats around big events such as the NFL draft, or on game day. Our members really enjoy it. What I've found is that almost no one uses the chat applications outside of those events. They barely use the 1:1 chat option. By far, the most used aspect is IMing (which most forum vendors have as a standard option anyway).

I've heard a lot of folks express over the years that having chat and shoutbox options somehow will discourage posting and thread creation. That hasn't been my experience.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
326
We use Siropu 'Shoutbox' and chatrooms on our site. I don't think it detracts from forum threads one bit. They are entirely different animals. On the Shoutbox, most folks will use it, very sparingly, just to post an amusing comment or observation. It's not for 'in depth' thoughts, it's just a fun way to throw up something momentarily interesting or clever.

We also use Siropu Chat software. It allows for full on chat sessions, 1 on 1 chats, and IMs. Our primary reason for having chat software is, as an NFL fan site, we have group chats around big events such as the NFL draft, or on game day. Our members really enjoy it. What I've found is that almost no one uses the chat applications outside of those events. They barely use the 1:1 chat option. By far, the most used aspect is IMing (which most forum vendors have as a standard option anyway).

I've heard a lot of folks express over the years that having chat and shoutbox options somehow will discourage posting and thread creation. That hasn't been my experience.
You don't like the one word posts to mega threads during a game? haha.
Folks even say reactions distracts from posts...so everything is the enemy of posts :)
 

BGObsession

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
131
I'll tell you what the bane of my forum existence is - politics! We tried every possible avenue related to people's desire to talk politics during the decade+ of my forum's existence. We had an open dedicated forum (we called it the 'Political Asylum'), then we got rid of it because folks were being so nasty to each other, then members howled so we brought it back with a warning notice that it would be unmoderated, then we finally gave up and don't allow discussion about politics, religion, etc... at all. But folks still find ways to subtly 'go there'. I've been mocked quite a bit over the years for daring to try and have a web community based on civility and mutual respect. It may well be a fool's errand... :)
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
549
I have a General forum here in New Zealand
Poltics is by far the most popular category.
More than cars, or cooking.
Yes it gets very nasty sometimes, and members can't handle it.
But we have some pretty good rules and most are following them
We have 1,800 posts a day.
I am the sole moderator and I get from 2 to 5 Reports a day.
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
Sounds like some folks agree & some folks disagree. Guess I'll have to give a shout/chat add-on a try...and if it gets abused with questions/conversations that normally would be a forum threads...I'll have to turn it off.

Thanks for the replies.
 

Taylor J

Fan
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
896
I used to frequent many forums back from 2007-2012 (one a forum for a flash game called line rider and the others were all GFX forums) and every single one had a shoutbox. It never seemed to take away conversations from threads as the sites all remained very active when they were around.

The best shoutbox I have ever used was one made for the IPB 2.X days. I really wish that author kept on updating it or even be able to find the old files to see if I could give it a go with my limited programming knowledge to getting it to work for both IP Community and XenForo.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
326
Sounds like some folks agree & some folks disagree. Guess I'll have to give a shout/chat add-on a try...and if it gets abused with questions/conversations that normally would be a forum threads...I'll have to turn it off.

Thanks for the replies.
You could try it where users that have made X amount of posts or posts in an intro forum for example get access.
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
I used to frequent many forums back from 2007-2012 (one a forum for a flash game called line rider and the others were all GFX forums) and every single one had a shoutbox. It never seemed to take away conversations from threads as the sites all remained very active when they were around.

Awesome...thanks. I think I will give adding a shoutbox a try.:)
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
You could try it where users that have made X amount of posts or posts in an intro forum for example get access.

Excellent suggestion. I already have some forum area's setup exactly like this...doing a chat area/shoutbox in this manner seems like a good compromise. Thanks.:)
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
875
Some thoughts:
1. Adding a new communication channel such as Chat should be evaluated as a strategic decision like any other content or communication extension such as another forum board or blog extension. You shouldn't add on "Chat" on a whim. There should be a clear and compelling need for real time chat. If you're a sports board and you want to use the chat for realtime messaging during a live game and you'll be hosting chat sessions, then that makes sense. But if your community is mainly asynchronous communication (meaning, users can post at anytime they want without breaking up the conversation - such as TAZ), then it's entirely unnecessary. You really need to think through what content or communication or purpose - if any - is better served on a chat channel versus a forum channel.
2. Most chat applications are not true chat. They're shoutboxes, and they work by pinging the server every X seconds to check for any new messages. This can easily overload the server on busy or high volume boards. As an example:
-- BIM Chatbox by onlyME is an example of a shoutbox. It's not real chat. It just uses Ajax calls to grab new messages, so there's going to be a delay.
-- Babble Chat by CodingJungle is an example of real chat. It requires server configuration, but you can feel how the chat is so much more smooth.
3. On the majority of retail hobbyist forums, they add on a shoutbox for all the wrong reasons (it's cheap! it looks fun! I have zero users, but chat will magically give me engagement!). It will definitely spread out engagement, reduce activity, and make it more confusing for users unless you have a clear purpose. Once again, see #1.
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246
It can always be uninstalled if it doesn't work out.:)
 

Jura

Devotee
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
2,170
I like the way IPB does it (shoutboxes). You can do status updates in your profile or in the box. Also shows when a new user joins.
 

Replicant

Aspirant
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
11
I second the suggestion on chats on live events in a community. I own a soccer team fan XF forum and the Siropu Chat was by far the most accurate decision I've ever made and even then I don't allow all my users to use the chat anytime. With all the configuration you can give access to the chat system, or even certain rooms, to certain user groups so I can provide the chat to only users with a good amount of post, quality of them, reputation, etc. I can set rooms to be read only, so everyone who can see but not write on the live events get encouraged to engage in posting quality into the regular forums. I even have 3 levels of membership (besides mods and admins) and for the top one I allow chat use 24/7 because they have demonstrated a very high level of engagement with the community.

That tool along with a portal addon (I use Bob's AMS) have improved my site to levels I didn't believe were possible. Currently I rank #1 on Google when searching for my team and discussion or community keywords and I'm just using XF inbuilt S.E.O. capabilities.
 
Top