Why people go with XenForo instead of IPS?

Nev_Dull

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I don't really like software vs software discussions because they never really resolve anything. However, I am a XF user. I chose Xenforo as a replacement for VB because well, there were few options at the time. I've never been enamoured of the software, I thought it had a number of problems when I first looked at it, and not much has changed. That said, it does the job of running my forum and hasn't caused me too many problems.

If I were to start a new forum project today, I wouldn't use Xenforo. I wouldn't use IPS either. Like many, I fine the latter over-priced. I also don't like the way the company positions the software as something that isn't a forum. I've noticed that all the folks here who rave about IPS rarely talk about the actual discussion part of the software, but rather all the "other things" it does. That's a big red flag for me. If I want to set up a site with lots of pages, files, galleries, etc. that also does forum discussions, I'd use Wordpress with wpforo. It's a heck of a lot cheaper. And if I wanted a CMS site, I'd use a proper cms software, not a forum software that also does other things.

IPS might be great. My experience is limited to discussions here, what the company says about itself, and some interactions with IPS based forums. None of it leaves me with a sense of excitement over the product or the desire to purchase it. I feel the same way about XF. I remember at the time I purchased it, most of the admins here were on board the XF hype train. I recall threads here saying about Xenforo, all the same things I read now about IPS.

So if I was to start a new forum project today. What would I choose? Very likely SMF or perhaps the ElkArt fork. It's just plain forum software that does what it says on the tin. And that's all we really need for a site dedicated to discussion.
 

DigNap15

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@Nev Dull
yes I hope that XF do not change their direction.
For me its great forum software.
I don't want all the Wordpress blog stuff. (I tried it once and got bogged down in SEO spam)
The webhosters are all pushing Wordpress and other stuff.
I just want good forum sotware that looks good and is easy to use.
 
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sbjsbj

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I disagree completely. I had similar thoughts years ago but the game changed drastically.

You guys still don't get that a platform for discussion only cannot survive anymore. It is not 2005


We must offer more than a place to discuss. Discussion should be a by-product of the content, not the content!

So, we must have a Wikipedia, a gallery, resources, attachments, stuff to download, guides, manuals, stuff, articles, classifieds. Stuff like that. All people are on their smartphones right now. Nobody writes more than a few lines. All are leeching. YOU must provide content. You cannot rely on "discussions" being created. There must be stuff in your platform, which THEN can be discussed.

Unless you have a customer service related forums (like a forum for a product, then the content is the product alone). Everyone else (except for big boards who have years of content accumulated) must offer more.

XF is great as a forum software. It mostly does what you expect from it. But it needs more content focused stuff. It must give us other options other than "discussions" as content type.
 
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DigNap15

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We must offer more than a place to discuss. Discussion should be a by-product of the content, not the content!

So, we must have a Wikipedia, a gallery, resources, attachments, stuff to download, guides, manuals, stuff, articles, classifieds. Stuff like that. All people are on their smartphones right now. Nobody writes more than a few lines. All are leeching. YOU must provide content. You cannot rely on "discussions" being created. There must be stuff in your platform, which THEN can be discussed.

XF is great as a forum software. It mostly does what you expect from it. But it needs more content focused stuff. It must give us other options other than "discussions" as content type.
I agree,
I have my own hand-coded website attached to my forum (or vice versa) which is intended to give out handy informatino and contacts, to make my site a kind of one stop shop
 

sbjsbj

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I have my own hand-coded website attached to my forum (or vice versa) which is intended to give out handy informatino and contacts, to make my site a kind of one stop shop
And what would be wrong about if you wouldn't have to hand-code it, but had a well-written page-builder integrated to XF?

Wouldn't you think that not only you would have no headache about integrating 2 different stuff but you also could use XF native things on those pages (like alerts, bookmark, likes, etc.)?
 

overcast

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I think now that more people are indoors more people will be on forums you can expect xenforo and IPS being sold.
 

Nev_Dull

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You guys still don't get that a platform for discussion only cannot survive anymore.
This gets said quite often, yet I visit a number of forum-only sites all the time. My own is a forum only and continues to thrive and grow, albeit more slowly than a few years ago. It makes me wonder if this "we must be more" concept is actually true or just a new mindset that has taken off because it was successful for some types of sites?

All people are on their smartphones right now. Nobody writes more than a few lines. All are leeching. YOU must provide content.
This confuses me. I agree smartphones are a big issue for all sites, and more so for forums. The technology is horrible for written content creation. But there are still plenty of people with laptops and desktops, as well as those who contribute via smartphone, despite the technology's shortcomings. The evidence for this is that those forum-only sites still exist.

I have no desire to be a sole content creator for a topic. And if I did, as I said earlier, it would make no sense to use software from a forum developer to deliver it when there are better alternatives. Are you arguing that we should abandon the idea of forums in favour of static or data driven sites?
 

DigNap15

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And there are still plenty of people buying new laptops for study or serious work at home. And many people use desktops, or laptops at work. And people send long texts to each other on their smart phones.
 

sbjsbj

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This gets said quite often, yet I visit a number of forum-only sites all the time. My own is a forum only and continues to thrive and grow, albeit more slowly than a few years ago. It makes me wonder if this "we must be more" concept is actually true or just a new mindset that has taken off because it was successful for some types of sites?
That is a wrong narrative. You must exclude boards which are in the business for a long time. They were already established before the rise of mobile phones and social media.

Thrive and grow are strong words... It depends on your definition of those words. I was once a part of a top ALEXA 50 website of a country which was a forum. They had daily 50k people online at the same time, usually around 10-20k on slow days. Right now they are just soo much behind with 5 million registered people.... Many categories get a thread every 3-4 days or something. That was unheard of before. Back then they got a thread every minute in every category... That is the type of thing we deal with. And this is not just one example, everyone was hit. Of course there still many strong forums out there, but exceptions are exceptions, not the rule.

Is the concept of "we must be more" actually true? There is no 100% truth. You can decide for yourself, and so can other people.


Random examples, pick your choice. Browse 8-9 of those listed here. Go back to some which were posted in 2015 for example and see it for yourself.

This is a mirror, a smaller pie in the big universe of forums. This gives a good expression of what it looks like if we would scale this up... How many of them "thrive", and when were they established?


But there are still plenty of people with laptops and desktops, as well as those who contribute via smartphone, despite the technology's shortcomings. The evidence for this is that those forum-only sites still exist.
Yes, they are still those people with laptops and desktops, did I say otherwise?
From my experience it looks like 40% of users are on desktops, 60% on smartphones. But the numbers are growing each year in favor of smartphones. Only people who need desktops for their works are on desktops + gamers.

Again, I am not saying it is impossible to have a forum-only experience. But those are exceptions and are not relevant. It is okay if you are satisfied with 1% of users you can get out of 100% you could have gotten otherwise. But I want to reach as much people as I can. I cannot afford the luxury of saying "I am okay if I reach only desktop users" and not to mention how many of them will stay on my site anyway, IF they ever land on my site?


I have no desire to be a sole content creator for a topic. And if I did, as I said earlier, it would make no sense to use software from a forum developer to deliver it when there are better alternatives. Are you arguing that we should abandon the idea of forums in favour of static or data driven sites?
I also have no desire to be a sole content creator for a topic. But you either play the game or you don't. This is how the current mainstream works. You can opt out of it and be not relevant to anything or anyone. Or you bite the bullet and play the game. We cannot afford to not to play that game.

No, I am not arguing that we should abandon the idea of forums in favour of static or data driven sites.

I am arguing that the forum aspect should be the by-product of our sites. We must fusion static and data driven stuff with the forum concept. We cannot afford to be just a forum.

I always give the same example, here we go. One of the most used websites on earth is what? Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is a static site. It gives you information on every topic. But it is a passive-information giver. It means there is no interaction. You go, you read, you are done.

Social media is the opposite. It lives in the moment. It is pure interaction with other people. You are flooded with daily clips, instagram photos, tiktok videos, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. But nobody cares about your tweet 4 days ago. You tweeted it, people read it, and it is now in the void. Nobody cares.

We, as forum owners, have actually a platform for social media. You can post photos, share videos, have discussions (tweets), follow people, give likes etc. BUT all of this the multi-billion companies do already better. Are you suggesting we should abandon forums for Facebook groups or pages? This goes both ways as you see. Why create a forum when I can create a group in Facebook?

So, we must be BOTH of these worlds. Be a social media place AND be a static/data-driven place. We must offer what both of them can't offer.

When I have a virus in my PC, reading a Wikipedia page will not solve the problem. Going to Twitter won't either. A forum will, where there is social interaction BASED on passive-information. So you must have already static/data-driven information about viruses and malware and what not, so people find your place AND the forum aspect will help them to solve the issue they have as they can ask questions and interact with people.

So, the forum should not be the main content deliverer, it should be the tool to discuss your content.

If you have a forum about carpets for example. You must have a database for carpets with photo galleries and manufacturers list and maybe even a marketplace etc. etc.
AND the forum is already integrated to it, which means people don't have to go to Facebook or Twitter to talk about carpets, they can do so at your place!

In 2005 you didn't need to have static/data-driven stuff. People created their own content by just being on the forum. These days are long gone. Now you must provide the content and the forum will be the place where they can discuss the content. If you publish very good articles about CPUs, the forum threads will be the place to discuss those articles.

I started my forum in 2018 in August and my niche is from the start very small. But after a long period of drought, right now my forum is slowly getting the nr. 1 place for every academicians and professional musician. I have university profs on my site, I have build connections to anyone right now who is in my niche. And I could only do that because I have had content in place BEFORE my forum was publicly available. I first took care of content, which is a database of some sort and now that content gets discussed every day.

Of course my numbers are very low compared to popular niches, but so is my niche. It is really hard to get engagement from users, and I believe with more focus towards mobile experience + with being more than a forum, we can actually have thriving communities. BUT no matter what direction the forum software world goes, no matter how much more features we get and how good the mobile experience is. Those are just structures. Those mean nothing, absolutely nothing because you still have to populate that system with content. You can't expect the place grow from nothing, you must put effort in that.
 
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