Just suggested to XenForo to modernize his social features, like the creation of user clubs/communities inside our Forum. It's time to a big upgrade!

we_are_borg

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That sounds ground breaking in theory, and If I was Xenforo, I'd just close shop and find another job.

But you are going to need a lot of admins promoting all that content!
Why would they close shop they can earn more money.

You do not need more admins or moderators you need tools that makes sharing easy and fast. If i press twitter button it should just share x char per post and do 1/x post. People want to share but not by working harder but if you do it smarter they will.
 

Jeremy8

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I think there's something that is often forgotten whenever the topic of development comes up: Developers aren't magicians who can add features with the wave of a wand. Development takes times, money, and energy. Added features also need to be maintained indefinitely, which may continue that cost indefinitely. Before adding a new feature, a company like XF is going to ask questions like: "how many of our users will this benefit?", and "how many new users will be drawn to our product if we add this?"

Recently, XF has been opening more doors for third party developers, which I think is a good idea because it means a feature can be provided by someone else.
 

Nev_Dull

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I appreciate the feedback
But I think most of my members are in my demographic (say 50+)
Maybe it is the content
But I find it strange that about 300 of them joined and then never looked again or posted, and yet some set up an avatar!
I must try to email them.
There's a lot more to it than just an age range. Audience analysis is a powerful tool. It's understanding who your audience is vs who you expect them to be. If you really understand the type of person you are aiming your site at, you should be able to develop a pretty good profile of them. If that matches the profile of a typical user on your forum, you've done a good job of connecting with your target audience. If not, you have to figure out what content those users need.

In your case, the idea of the site attracts people enough to sign up. But the majority don't come back (2/3). You need to do some detective work and figure out why. Clearly, there seems to be some disconnect between what those people thought the site was about and the actual content they find. That seems like a good place to start, to me.
 

zappaDPJ

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I still feel quite strongly that there's a finite number of potential forum users and owners need to learn to share.

A search function that allows you to search 'this forum' or 'other participating forums' would be a good start. You could expand on that to send a list of hot threads from each forum.

Now more than ever it's all about the content but it's also imperative we start thinking of better ways to deliver that content to a larger audience.
 

Nev_Dull

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The issue are the developers there stuck in forums they can’t seem to get out of that thinking. You can make the most powerful forum software in the world but if end users aren’t interested the site will fail. Why is no one making hybrid forums, reddit or facebook like software. You’ll need solid foundation to start with the pillars of building your home on and grow to a skyscraper. But what we get is a pre-build home that can do much but will always be cookie cutter home. It starts with content we need to stop thinking in boxes this goes there this does not, content needs to exist where it does the most good in views and interaction. So if i make content it can be x amount of things it is so i need the option to post it in multiple forums if needed but at the same time it needs to be news or even wiki. Then the admins need the tools to promote the content either on site or by email, facebook, twitter etc. Developers need to rethink how people act these days.

I agree completely with the idea that content has to be where it's needed. The best content in the world is useless if no one knows it's there. And I also agree with the idea of having more and better tools to organize and classify content. That said, I don't find anything wrong with the way current forum software works. There's no need for a reimagining of the forum. Those boxes work perfectly for the type of discussion forums offer.

The ability to post in multiple forums isn't needed. We already have the capability to link between forum sections, or to merge threads. The last thing we need is to duplicate content in multiple places in our forums (think of the GDPR implications of that). We already have the ability (either natively or with addons) to highlight particular threads or posts on the main page or elsewhere. We can even create links to related discussions (manually). The biggest problem is that all this requires a lot of effort from the forum staff, as well as a certain level of knowledge of managing and organizing content. Adding more "easy to use" tools is more likely to result in a mess than anything useful.
 

we_are_borg

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I agree completely with the idea that content has to be where it's needed. The best content in the world is useless if no one knows it's there. And I also agree with the idea of having more and better tools to organize and classify content. That said, I don't find anything wrong with the way current forum software works. There's no need for a reimagining of the forum. Those boxes work perfectly for the type of discussion forums offer.

The forum software is working but even you are focused on it, you are not imagining the bigger picture. What works for one group will be a limiting factor with other groups.

The ability to post in multiple forums isn't needed. We already have the capability to link between forum sections, or to merge threads. The last thing we need is to duplicate content in multiple places in our forums (think of the GDPR implications of that). We already have the ability (either natively or with addons) to highlight particular threads or posts on the main page or elsewhere. We can even create links to related discussions (manually). The biggest problem is that all this requires a lot of effort from the forum staff, as well as a certain level of knowledge of managing and organizing content. Adding more "easy to use" tools is more likely to result in a mess than anything useful.
Why is it not needed because you say so, like i said your not looking at the bigger picture. Content is seen in a different light these days even news sites can manipulate items where it goes on the site and i how many categories they want. It serves two purposes exposure and making the site more busy then it is with content. Why would GDPR be an issue the parties all ready have given permissions to use it.

So i can make a post sticky or put it on the main page but i cant do more, why can’t i do more. With more i mean put the content in another forum that has other people looking at it and give different comments as in the other category. Why can’t i duplicate a comment and make it a starting thread. Lets say someone has a nice poll about something why can’t i put it in a system that mimics Facebook layout for more attention. Don’t forget Facebook is low entry people know it. Why are people focused on forum staff they either help or they do not you can even say we need editorial staff that only do this. You see the world changing around you nothing continues indefinitely change can be progression but not all changes are good. But staying the same because is not good either.
 

Jeremy8

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I still feel quite strongly that there's a finite number of potential forum users and owners need to learn to share.
I personally feel that this is the wrong way to look at it. For example, someone who joins a Minecraft forum isn't necessarily going to be interested in joining a Tesla forum. I think users are far more likely to find the communities because they are interested in playing Minecraft or in Tesla cars, not because they want to join a forum. The forum itself is just a way to organize each of these independent communities. There's more likely to be overlap in their own niches (maybe with a Minecraft wiki or a Tesla subreddit) than there is between each other.
 

zappaDPJ

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For example, someone who joins a Minecraft forum isn't necessarily going to be interested in joining a Tesla forum.

Probably not but if there are thousand participating forums there has to be something else of interest to someone other than one particular niche.
 

Nev_Dull

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Why is it not needed because you say so, like i said your not looking at the bigger picture. Content is seen in a different light these days even news sites can manipulate items where it goes on the site and i how many categories they want. It serves two purposes exposure and making the site more busy then it is with content. Why would GDPR be an issue the parties all ready have given permissions to use it.
It's not just me saying it. Every content management professional will tell you that duplicating content is a bad idea. Those news sites aren't using forums, they are using content management software. That gives you a whole other world of tools when it comes to content reuse. Even in those sites the content only exists in one place. It just gets displayed in multiple places.

As for GDPR, what happens if the content contains PII and that permission gets withdrawn? You find yourself tracking down every place that content is duplicated across the forum.

So i can make a post sticky or put it on the main page but i cant do more, why can’t i do more. With more i mean put the content in another forum that has other people looking at it and give different comments as in the other category. Why can’t i duplicate a comment and make it a starting thread.
You can do that right now; but you will have to duplicate content or develop some new templates and database calls.

Let me be clear. I'm not arguing against having the flexibility of being able to do these things with content. However the current forum software can't do it without duplicating content or a lot of custom programming. Nor do I see it being added anytime soon. If you really need or want this level of flexibility, replace your forum software with an actual CMS. Many of them offer forum functionality in the core or as an add-on. You will gain a huge amount of flexibility on how your content is organized and displayed across the site, at the cost of increased complexity in the software and administration.
 

we_are_borg

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So why can news sites have duplicate content and not have bad impact can it be that they are smarter how to prevent this. GDPR and PII is more or less an issue in development of the software, also if i post my PII then the website owner is not accountable for this.

The site i admin has Article Management System a very good add-on but it uses Xenforo default system as it should to give the same experience everywhere. But it also limits the software because Xenforo is not looking at other functions then forums solution. Again content needs to exist where it does the most good if that means it has 3 entry points so be it. We need to think without boxes when more is possible you get crazy solutions and powerful software.
 

Nev_Dull

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So why can news sites have duplicate content and not have bad impact can it be that they are smarter how to prevent this.
Because they aren't duplicating content, they are reusing it. There is only one instance of the content but the software lets you display it in multiple places and in multiple ways. To the user, the same content appears in several different places on the site. But it's just the same content source being displayed in different places. We can do some of that in forums by adding new or customized templates. Otherwise, you have to copy and paste which creates duplicate content in the database. Having duplicate content isn't the end of the world for a hobby forum. For a commercial endeavour where it's critical to ensure users have correct and current content, it isn't a good practice. There's just too much risk of duplicate content getting out of sync and causing confusion.

With a CMS you can take longer content apart and display specific pieces where you like, or even combine different content pieces and display them together as a single item. As I said, however, the downside to this is increased complexity on the back end and more administrative process to maintain it all.
 

DigNap15

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Do you want content or a forum where members can discuss content?
I have a forum and I'm trying to get or add content, but I wanted to do content alone I would set up a newsite or a blog.
 

Joel R

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I still feel quite strongly that there's a finite number of potential forum users and owners need to learn to share.

A search function that allows you to search 'this forum' or 'other participating forums' would be a good start. You could expand on that to send a list of hot threads from each forum.

Now more than ever it's all about the content but it's also imperative we start thinking of better ways to deliver that content to a larger audience.
Can you expand on this? Just trying to understand what you're proposing.

For example, what's the difference between 'this forum' versus 'other participating forums'? Also, what do you mean by hot threads?
 

zappaDPJ

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Can you expand on this? Just trying to understand what you're proposing.

For example, what's the difference between 'this forum' versus 'other participating forums'? Also, what do you mean by hot threads?

It's not a particularly new idea, just an expansion on what's been tried before by Tapatalk.

The general premise is that forums sit in isolation from one another which doesn't make much sense when there's so much competition from other types of social platforms. One thing that's clear to me is forum owners in general don't want to adapt to compete and it's also pretty obvious that forum participation is of little interest to people who have not grown with them.

What I'm suggesting is forum owners might benefit from members posting on other forums regardless of niche. By 'participating forums' I mean forum owners that are willing to share their members rather than sit in isolation of other forums even if they are a competitor.

Obviously that needs infrastructure and function but being able to search a pool of forums rather than just the forum you are visiting is one way of facilitating this. Another is a newsletter listing popular or 'hot threads' on multiple forums.

I believe Invision Community already have a toe in the water with their mobile app but what this really needs is functionality that is independent of forum code.
 

Joel R

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I see. Yes, this has been discussed at length before on TAZ of a federation of forums. I don't see it happening in any widely-accepted way, except the current initiative by Tapatalk. You're asking independent forums to voluntarily opt-in to a federation and agree to someone else's sandbox.

There are existing and popular platforms that already federate communities from Discord to MeWe, Amino Apps, Reddit, Facebook Groups, Mastodon, on and on. If a community / club / group owner is interested, he has more choices than ever to launch a free community. It's already successfully happening, just without us.

Also, we are ALL in Google's sandbox and that's already a pain in the @$$ :D.


To return to the topic at hand, I believe in clubs. I believe in transforming your site from one community into a platform of many communities. I believe in entrusting other superusers, group leaders, and club leaders to run their own micro-communities on your platform to help you stretch into new niches and bring on new members.

If you have a strong forum and you're looking to take a leap, why not install your ecosystem's third-party groups add-on?
 

zappaDPJ

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If you have a strong forum and you're looking to take a leap, why not install your ecosystem's third-party groups add-on?

The forums that I own or manage are all very active. I'm in a position where I don't need to look for new ways of attracting members because I've got a captive audience for want of a better term.

I used to own a fairly large number of active gaming and technology forums but it became apparent to me they were both saturated niches with no long term future. At that point in time there were other social platforms that in my view were going to be become highly detrimental to forums in general. To cut to the chase I either sold mine off or closed them down and started to focus on service related forums and forums dedicated to listing items of value.

My service related forums provide technical help to my client's customers while my other forums which are by invitation only provide a visual record of rare items, mainly guitars and a valuable resource for the owners especially when theft is involved. We recently manage to help recover a 1959 Gibson Les Paul for a member, literally the holy grail of the guitar world.

From a personal point of view I consider myself fairly happy with what my forums provide in terms of value to the various communities I manage. However when I look around at the kind of forums I used to run, especially startups, I see a failure rate of somewhere between 10 and 100 to 1. This is why I believe forum owners need to start thinking a little outside of the box and start looking towards working together to maximize their communities with existing active members.

Forums are not unlike libraries. If you are a member of a library you have a wealth of knowledge to choose from and this is why I strongly believe forums need to share their members.
 

Nev_Dull

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What I'm suggesting is forum owners might benefit from members posting on other forums regardless of niche. By 'participating forums' I mean forum owners that are willing to share their members rather than sit in isolation of other forums even if they are a competitor.
Absolutely. I've been saying for a long time that we need to stop putting up barriers to other forums (in our niche or not) by making silly rules against posting links to or mentioning them on our forums. Forum owners seem to be blind to the simple fact that their members can and do visit other forums, blogs, social media sites. This head-in-the-sand attitude can only hurt us.

I believe in transforming your site from one community into a platform of many communities. I believe in entrusting other superusers, group leaders, and club leaders to run their own micro-communities on your platform to help you stretch into new niches and bring on new members.
I'm less enthusiastic about this idea. There are some specific circumstances where I see value in the concept of clubs or groups. For the most part, though, it smacks of building silos, which is something we need to eliminate, not embrace.
 

haqzore

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Absolutely. I've been saying for a long time that we need to stop putting up barriers to other forums (in our niche or not) by making silly rules against posting links to or mentioning them on our forums. Forum owners seem to be blind to the simple fact that their members can and do visit other forums, blogs, social media sites. This head-in-the-sand attitude can only hurt us.


I'm less enthusiastic about this idea. There are some specific circumstances where I see value in the concept of clubs or groups. For the most part, though, it smacks of building silos, which is something we need to eliminate, not embrace.
Aren't you contradicting yourself here?

I think clubs can potentially facilitate exactly the type of "member sharing" we're talking about - IF IMPLEMENTED that way.
 

Nev_Dull

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I don't see the contradiction. The idea behind a "club" is to have an exclusive, self-contained section within the forum. Visitors and non club members would likely not have access to view the contents of that section, so you're creating little hidden silos within your forum community making it less inclusive. As I've said, there are some circumstances when that might be desirable. For the most part, though, I don't see the club idea as a benefit. Nor can I see how it promotes member sharing in any meaningful way. If you have a good example, I'd be interested to see.

I want to see our forums become more inclusive by opening them up through encouraging links to other forums of interest to members and even threads discussing a post or thread on a "competing" forum or social media platform. That would allow our forums to become a part of a wider shared interest and body of content, which is really what our audience is looking for. It also offers the chance those users on other forums and social media platforms will become engaged enough to join the discussion on our forums.
 

haqzore

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I don't see the contradiction. The idea behind a "club" is to have an exclusive, self-contained section within the forum. Visitors and non club members would likely not have access to view the contents of that section, so you're creating little hidden silos within your forum community making it less inclusive. As I've said, there are some circumstances when that might be desirable. For the most part, though, I don't see the club idea as a benefit. Nor can I see how it promotes member sharing in any meaningful way. If you have a good example, I'd be interested to see.

I want to see our forums become more inclusive by opening them up through encouraging links to other forums of interest to members and even threads discussing a post or thread on a "competing" forum or social media platform. That would allow our forums to become a part of a wider shared interest and body of content, which is really what our audience is looking for. It also offers the chance those users on other forums and social media platforms will become engaged enough to join the discussion on our forums.
I'm not sure what type or examples of clubs you're referring to, but it seems pretty specific.

Clubs (in IPS) can be as open or closed as the admin or club owner makes them. Your statement that the idea is to be exclusive and hidden silos are incorrect. They can be, if created that way. But they can also be 100% open & visible.

Clubs could be the open, shared ecosystem you mention. Or at least some (smaller/localized?) version of it.
 
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