Which Community Features and Functions are Most Important to You?

darnoldy

Curmudgeon
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
1,732
Okay... I'm going to take a somewhat different approach—
Where I see the major lack in all forum software (that I've looked at) falls under the general category of documentation.

  • I would like each element to have class and/or ID attributes that are meaningful.
  • I would like functionality separated from presentation—no style definitions in the templates.
  • I would like the CSS to be commented so that I can easily find the selector I want to modify
  • I would like a map that shows how the templates call each other.
  • I would like a dictionary of variables that explains what they are and from which templates they can be called
  • Same for hooks
--don
 

Oh!

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
212
Forum Functions:
  1. Which forum functions do you consider core/vital? Lets be honest this is dependent on if you're asking this as a forum admin or a forum member because they each have different things. As a forum admin, the ability to manage my content and members. As a member the ability to create content and probably have a cool avatar.
  2. Which forum functions would you consider 'nice to have'? This honestly depends on your goals. I like things like signatures and awards and stamps like I have on my site. But that's because its fun to rep your nerdiness.
  3. What dream functions would like to see in a forum? I think in general just easier to use moderator actions in some places but overall I don't think I have something that I feel I can't live without. All of the things I want are particular to the goal of my forum.
Hi Morrigan,

Thank you so much for your detailed feedback, and my apologies for my tardy response.

True - I should have been more specific. But since I was posing my questions at TAZ, I primarily had in mind A) your view, as forum operators/admins; and B) what your experience informs you about what members expect or would like.
  1. Creation of boards and organization forum and group content are heavily simplified. I think what we will have in place makes a lot of sense for most communities. Of course, for forum operators with heavily modified systems and unusual requirements, our platform might not be the best fit. We cannot be all things to all people - we understand this. All members absolutely have the ability to manage their profile/avatar.
  2. Initially, we aim to offer big features (which members like) - some of the smaller 'nice to have' functions and options will come later. But it is useful to have ideas of what individual forum operators (and their members) would like to see.
  3. The moderation system is simple and straightforward to use. Being part of a larger ecosystem (platform), there are some things which are unsuitable for forum operators. Such, access to IP addresses (which is of limited use these days anyway), email addresses, account details, etc. Of course, you have total control of who joins your group. You also apply your own standards of moderation and bans. As a forum operator within our larger platform, we hope that some of the headaches are removed for admins and moderators. So, there is a (largely automated) but simple to use moderation system, of escalating infractions and penalties (timeouts, etc.). Of course, you are still be able to apply your own tolerance levels for any particular types of behavior to suit your community. Keeping things uncomplicated simplifies development, but it is also about providing a low bar for entry for anyone wishing to start their own community and provide some continuity across the platform.
I would like to detail what we will offer group operators and members in more detail, but it is still a few weeks off before I can do this. However, I assure you, there are multiple ways to participate and interact within groups and with other members (platform-wide).

Forum Layout/appearance:
  1. What do you feel is vital in forum appearance/organization? Navigation but I still haven't tacked this down to be perfect on my site so I have no clue. For some people its perfect, for others its confusing. I figure that's the same for most because its just a matter of where things are expected to be, etc.

    Clutter is also a big one. This is a hard one to get right too because you want people to see certain elements but sometimes it adds too much.
  2. What must be avoided? Don't hide important elements. Things that make your site worth visiting. If you do then members won't join because they don't know you have it.
  3. What are left-field ideas for forum layout? I mean I've seen it all so there really isn't a lot of left field things.
  1. Yes, navigation is always a problem. Especially at scale. We are still working on this, and I expect we will need to make changes according to how people actually behave, rather than the way we expect they will behave. I am in little doubt we will receive plenty of feedback where our approach is lacking. That's as it should be. It can be difficult to balance user expectations in layout (gained through experience elsewhere - usual practices) and what might actually work best (trying out something different).
  2. Another aspect of the navigation problem. We will try our best.
  3. fair enough. :)
Community Platform (top-level) Features/Services (blogs, galleries, etc.):
  1. Which integrated features/services do you consider vital for a fully integrated platform? Gallery and on IPS Pages.
  2. Which additional 'nice to have' features/services would you like to see? I love Clubs, awards and other gamification sorts of things.
  1. There is a gallery system. What do you mean by 'and on IPS pages'? Do you just mean the ability inline images in posts? If so, then yes, of course!
  2. There is a 'like' system, but no gamification at this stage.
Community Platform Layout/Appearance:
  1. What do you consider best practices for organizing content at the platform level? This is again goal oriented. You want important stuff at the forefront.
  2. Which organizational faux pas should we avoid? Remember what is important to you as an admin may not be important to your users. Getting beta testers is an important thing for figuring out your short comings as a staff member.
2. We will be inviting beta testers - certainly from TAZ.
What is your favorite social media website or large forum? (Please provide a URL)
  1. What is it that you admire about the platform? I don't frequent either enough to answer this. I am on my site or my other sites or on discord or playing video games. Unless you include Tik Tok but that is bored time watching thing and less "favorite social media website".
Discord is interesting, if only for its somewhat individual path in appearance and layout compared to most of the larger competition. I've not used it much, but enough to understand some of its appeal.

Again, thank you Morrigan for your detailed feedback.
 
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