Is Xenforo considered modern software?

Do you consider Xenforo modern?

  • Yes

    Votes: 36 72.0%
  • No

    Votes: 14 28.0%

  • Total voters
    50

r00t

Neophyte
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
3
Hi, long time lurker first time poster and all that. Been running forums on and off for around 15 years now. Not particularly interested in sharing details of them I'm afraid, prefer to stay somewhat anon online these days.

Thought I'd reach out to TAZ considering it seems to be the last forum admin site standing! I used to be pretty active on AdminFusion if anyone remembers that site.

I'm working on a new project - an old school web directory, with curated listings of modern , active forums.

It's my strong belief that forums still have life left in them even in the era of other forms of social interaction largely taking over and I'm hoping to build a site to showcase the best of these.

My definition of modern being that older software such as SMF, phpBB, vBulletin feels pretty clunky these days, especially on mobile.
Software such as Discourse, Flarum, NodeBB will, hopefully, appeal to a wider audience/slightly younger demographic.

I've not used XenForo for the past five or six years other than as a member and I can't quite decide whether to call XenForo modern enough to fit in with the whole idea of the site.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
371
Are you tying it into any other logins or will itset by itself? If so, it's great and will suffice. However if you have other unseen requirements that would need to be noted before I would go all in on the platform.
 

r00t

Neophyte
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
3
Are you tying it into any other logins or will itset by itself? If so, it's great and will suffice. However if you have other unseen requirements that would need to be noted before I would go all in on the platform.
The idea is it will be a standalone directory - style site. There might be user registrations for people to manage their listings, but no plans to integrate with any listed forums. I'm currently prototyping with Wordpress but this isn't set in stone. I'm not planning on running any forums on the site itself either, perhaps open each listing up to comments/reviews but that will be it.

The idea is to have a directory of great-looking, active and modern sites to entice the sort of person who might be looking for a new forum to join to find their new community.

I'm just trying to decide if XF could be classed as modern - it does feel pretty smooth these days, at least on here, but how much of that is custom skinning vs the forum's default might end up being an editorial decision on a case by case basis.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,377
I don't know how to answer your question because I don't know what you're after. "Modern" is a very subjective term. If you're trying to put together some sort of authoritative list, you need to have well-defined criteria.

Once you've defined your category terms and set out specific criteria for each of them, it should become obvious where XF slots in.
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
690
Your directory sounds like great idea
But when I look on here over half of the "look at my forum" links seem to be dead.
Also why are you conserding using Word Press to host your lists.
Word Press Blogs are a big opposition to Forums

As you know XF has a fairly good mobile experience
But as to if its "modern" or not thats for you to define.
But as it has approx half of the installed forums, it would seem that you would limit your list by not including them.

Put me down for a listing
But I can't see it ever being a goto site.
Most people these days don't even know what a forum is.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
8,023
If you want this to succeed at all I'd say this has to be a two way process. People need to know you exist and the only real way I can see that happening is if the forums in your directory are willing to link back to it.

Your criteria for listing, 'modern and active' seems for want of a better term, a little half-baked to me. I'd say there are probably more active forums running on old software than there are active forums running on the latest versions of modern forum platforms.

Returning forum members will usually place activity levels over any aspect of the forum software if it's functional. In fact the best forum software is arguably that which is rarely noticed. If it stands out it's likely to be to the detriment of the content. It really just needs to be functional and intuitive.

Don't get me wrong, I think your idea has merit. There have been a number of recent threads here discussing the virtue of collaboration within the forum world rather than the stand alone attitude that has prevailed for so long. I just feel you need to focus on the book rather than the cover if that make sense.

And welcome to TAZ :)
 
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r00t

Neophyte
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
3
Thanks all for your replies, some very helpful feedback and definately some things I need to rethink.

Visiting a few forums of members here I must say XF does look a whole lot better than I imagined these days and probably will make the cut for what my personal definition of a modern site is.

My inital plan is to reach out to forums I hand select and simply check they would be happy to be listed. Once it's at a stage where it doesn't feel empty I may open up to more general applications. I may post a thread here if that's allowed once I'm happy for things to go public. I always take a slow and steady growth approach to my projects.

I guess my main focus is having only high quality communities listed - I want the site to appeal to those who are actively seeking out new forums to take part in but don't want to wade through Google.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,598
I see zero purpose for a web directory in 2019.

No, I don't think it will work.

What's the point when 99.8% of the population is just going to "Google it"?

Not to mention Google will likely pick up on new sites well before someone bothers to manually add it to your directory.

Just my opinion.

The problem is we're in a world of consumers with very few contributors. So even if this directory got traffic, you'd need significant contributions in the form of site submissions and reviews.

I just don't see that happening nowadays.


 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
690
Good luck with your project
But as I have said on here many times, many people (say those under 40 or 50) do not know what a forum is.
So why will they search for one

That said Google does not rate forums highly
 

Cyburbia

🍺
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
745
For what it's worth, my site used to focus around a curated directory for a specialty topic. I added a small message board, and that quickly became the focus of the site. I ditched the directory about 20 years ago, I still get the occasional email asking about what happened to it. Just far too much work for too little reward, especially as the Web was turning mainstream, and the number of new sites grew exponentially.

Has anyone thought of the evolution of Web-based message board software through the years, and what would make a certain forum script "1st generation", "2nd generation", or whatever? For example:
  • 1st generation: WIT, Perl/CGI-based graffiti walls.
  • 2nd generation: Perl/CGI-based threaded format message boards with no databases, and no user login. Matt's WWWBoard, etc.
  • 3rd generation: Perl/CGI-based flat format message boards with text-based or no databases, and rudimentary user login. UBB, YaBB, Discus, etc.
  • 4th generation: early PHP/MySQL message boards. vBulletin 1 & 2, Ikonboard, phpBB, etc.
  • And so on ...
 
Last edited:

ab7fh

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
134
For what it's worth, my site used to focus around a curated directory for a specialty topic. I added a small message board, and that quickly became the focus of the site. I ditched the directory about 20 years ago, I still get the occasional email asking about what happened to it. Just far too much work for too little reward, especially as the Web was turning mainstream, and the number of new sites grew exponentially.

Has anyone thought of the evolution of Web-based message board software through the years, and what would make a certain forum script "1st generation", "2nd generation", or whatever? For example:
  • 1st generation: WIT, Perl/CGI-based graffiti walls.
  • 2nd generation: Perl/CGI-based threaded format message boards with no databases, and no user login. Matt's WWWBoard, etc.
  • 3rd generation: Perl/CGI-based flat format message boards with text-based or no databases, and rudimentary user login. UBB, YaBB, Discus, etc.
  • 4th generation: early PHP/MySQL message boards. vBulletin 1 & 2, Ikonboard, phpBB, etc.
  • And so on ...

I love that you mentioned Matt's WWW Board. My forum's user base started on Matt's Guestbook which I assume would fall under 1st generation graffiti walls. I wrote Matt last year thanking him for getting me started 26 years ago ;).
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
915
Sounds like a fun project.

Some questions in no particular order:
1. It sounds like you're trying to use a forum as a directory for other forums. Have you thought about dedicated or specific apps like a Links Directory, which are better suitable as link directories with thumbnails, commenting, view tracking, etc.

2. Once you finish reaching out to the forums that you personally know, what is your next step to grow? I think this is a very valid question. There are significantly larger, more established sites (TAZ being one of them) that allow forum admins to share their forum, yet dont see any traffic.
 

SaN-DeeP

TechArena.IN
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Messages
4,290
Xenforo is very user-friendly as a forum administrator requries.
But a modern software should accept content from other forums as it is, without any changes to content id..
+ lots of other member registration and posting improvements without any 3rd party integration.. (paid or free)
 

vikvaliant

Participant
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
98
There could be forums out there that look modern, due to customization, but are still running older software. Or still very active but running older software. I came across a very active vbulletin forum yesterday running completely default with zero customization outside of a logo. It shows started in 2006 and has 4mil posts. Their current stats at this writing show "945 users online. 13 members, and 782 guests, with 150 spiders"

It would be nice to have a forum directory that lists all active forums that you can sort by:
  • Forum software
  • Subject matter (gaming, business, political, support, etc.)
  • User ratings (site members can vote using a 5-star rating system)
  • Statistics
    • date started
    • total members
    • total posts
And if you really want to go all out, each forum can show third-party plugins that they're using on their site.

So, someone visiting the site could select: show me all gaming forums with a rating of 3 stars or higher and sort by forum software, or total members, etc. It would help people decide what forum software/type would work best for what they have in mind.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,598
Xenforo is very user-friendly as a forum administrator requries.
But a modern software should accept content from other forums as it is, without any changes to content id..
+ lots of other member registration and posting improvements without any 3rd party integration.. (paid or free)
I don’t know a single product that covers your definition. Most of the forum platforms have integrations for registration built in, some have posting integrations.

But moving content between platforms? None of them support this. The nearest is probably IPS that accepts posts as raw HTML but this isn’t perfect as other platforms don’t use this so there is interchange and conversion whatever happens.

Half my professional life has been massaging data between systems because the reality is that no matter how “modern” something is, it won’t align 1:1 with what other systems do.
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
690
If my forum software (Xenforo) ever allowed cross forum registartion, there is No way I would every enable it on my forum.
I have enough nutters trying to join at 2am in the morning

Registerign is not that hard.
Indeed I'd say that one fifth of my members have registered, and then ever been back to lurk or post.
 

Kaelon

Adherent
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
285
No. Xenforo is not "modern," in the sense that it does not have an open API, it was not developed as a mobile-first experience, and it was, in many ways, an evolution of the UBB.threads / vBulletin / phpBB linear post-and-comment system.

Modern systems are built on Web 3 technologies (such as Rails, NodeJS, etc.) and are no longer throttled by hypertext processing (such as PHP). From a design perspective, the user experience language needs to cease tabular and device-specific interfaces and instead look at entity-neutral layouts, like Reddit.

There is no sustainable future for legacy forum platforms, like Xenforo. They, and all platforms like it, will remain niche experiences and current generations of users have no tolerance for these since they do not allow them to re-order, ingest, and interact with consumable content in a way that prompts spontaneous and synergistic contribution.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
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Messages
2,598
Modern systems are built on Web 3 technologies (such as Rails, NodeJS, etc.) and are no longer throttled by hypertext processing (such as PHP). From a design perspective, the user experience language needs to cease tabular and device-specific interfaces and instead look at entity-neutral layouts, like Reddit.
I'm sorry, what?

Nothing stopping you building things in PHP to be 'Web3' (all of the things you need are present if you wanted to make use of them). In fact there's not a lot stopping you doing most things in most languages if you really wanted to. I'm also not sure I believe your definition of Web3 makes sense if you're talking about Rails (since, well, Rails was built to be a hypertext processing framework on top of an existing language). We'll also conveniently forget that the term 'Web 3' was first used before the blockchain was even invented.

By that definition, though, almost the entirety of the entire internet is not modern, including the most visited sites on the planet. In fact, all of the big attempts at being properly decentralised have failed thus far. (Consider, for example, the irony of forums vs Facebook; mass centralisation wins because it's where the audience is.)
 

Kaelon

Adherent
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
285
I'm sorry, what?
I think you're keying in way too much upon the definition of Web 3.0. Forums are inherently unintelligent platforms that rely upon human interaction as the primary driver of content; but the current state of the modern web is that there are intelligent platforms that leverage analytics and data to predict interactions and pre-empt them between software and software.

Additionally, most forum software - and especially Xenforo - is built upon an antiquated underlying file system, and PHP itself is extremely vulnerable to security risks and, frankly, slow and hard to scale. To move to a transport-layer agnostic inherently-secure and globally distributed communication platform, Web 3.0 requires applications that are built upon inherent digital identification of connections (this eliminates the need for SSL connections, for example, to validate transactions).

almost the entirety of the entire internet is not modern, including the most visited sites on the planet. In fact, all of the big attempts at being properly decentralised have failed thus far.

While it is true that much of the internet is not "modern," decentralization is not the defining characteristic of Web 3.0; connective-intelligence is. To that extent, closed systems that do not have open and extensible architectures (such as a well-documented and expanded API) cannot inherently be a part of Web 3.0 and will not make the cut. Xenforo, Invision Board, and most asynchronous scripts that rely upon the call-and-response dynamic (even if they are assisted with still-asynchronous-but-synchronizing technologies, like the now-20-year-old-AJAX-standard) aren't performant, struggle under load, and are laughably trivial to breach by even novice bad actors.

Instead, consider entity-neutral node-to-node based communication platforms, like Discord, as essentially successors to the legacy forum. They also incorporate wider accepted UX standards and a contemporary design language - short-form, fully-synchronous, redundant and globally-distributed communication. Facebook's underlying architecture, which was Web 2.0, is now increasingly becoming Web 3.0+, as are many other short-form synchronous communication platforms.

This isn't about declaring forums dead; this is about saying that if you want to look at a truly "modern" forum, you need to look past the legacy web and start looking at where modern audiences go for communication, collaboration, and community -- short-form, fully-synchronous, globaly-distributed platforms built upon open architectures that are inherently intelligent and "semantic" (another misunderstood term re: Web 3.0). Nothing about Xenforo, or its contemporaries, suggests it will ever recapture audiences that have moved on to the social web and now Web 3.0's intelligent future.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,598
I honestly don't even know where to start with what you're saying. There are so many fallacies in there it's painful.

That said I started to reply but it just became a lengthy and somewhat pointless screed... have fun with your Web 3.0 - just leave Web 2.0 for the rest of us who choose not to engage with it.

Though https://wolf.game/whitepaper-v2 made me chuckle.
 
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