Why there is so much animosity about IPB on TAZ?

Chemical

Participant
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
55
I will say this about ipb. After using it for a couple of days I’m really starting to dig it. It’s pretty easy to use and customise. I have to admit I’m liking it a tad more than xenforo too. Their marketplace is a plus and installing addons is beyond easy. I’m standing strong in regards to their pricing particularly their branding fee but regardless it really is a good software.

Yes. If one is to be critical then praise when it’s due, is if anything, more important.

My gripes about IPS are well documented on TAZ, so don’t feel the need to repeat them. On the other hand, perhaps what I haven’t said enough of is that the overall functionality of the platform, in particular ancillary functionality around for example, the management of S3, is, in this marketplace at least, second to none.

In saying that, I wish there was more collaboration on offer. Just imagine how much more progress might be made if the negative energies we sometimes see amongst the IPS client base, were instead focused positively for the good of the platform. Perhaps having this type of collaborative experience might be one of the qualities sought when IPS hires its 19th employee.
 
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mysiteguy

Migration Expert
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,212
This is something that I have noticed for a long time btw. I was wondering as to why is that? It looks like Taz is playing favorites here by placing xf over all the other forums. Should someone not prise xf here, they get muted and even banned in some cases. Whereas if people go over board by criticising and being very negative about Ipb (rightly or not), they are left alone to keep barking. This is not cool. Taz should be neutral imo and treat all forums equal.

Invision has received a great deal of positivity over the past year here as a product so I believe you're being selective about what you choose to see.

It's generally the company's policies that tend to bother many. Even constructive critiques like when I noted the importer was super slow and needed improvement... was met with a holier than thou we know better than you attitude by their staff. Their recent responses in critique threads seem to be more of this same thing.

Invision's company culture has been this way for as long as I can remember. Good products, abrasive company. And its simply a fact of being human that how you feel you've been treated makes a lasting impression.

Taz's staff doesn't control user opinion, and they are individuals as well with their own opinions.
 

feldon30

Adherent
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
496
IPB is presented as nearly turnkey software. If you have a problem with it, you contact support. Its plugin marketplace is built into the AdminCP. The software is intended for business owners, not hobbyists, enthusiasts, or people who "change their own oil". Public technical discussions about the inner workings of the software, its database usage, making code changes, etc. is pretty much nonexistent. People don't share information but monetize it. Whenever I've run into problems with an import, etc. there haven't been any similar threads about it because people don't go to the forums for problems -- they contact support. IPB is a closed loop. This is what makes it distinctly different from XF, vB, etc. Being the be-all-end-all is certainly a business model and one that works for them. What's interesting is, their support and general customer interactions are, by and large... not friendly.

Boy am I going to get flamed to a crisp for this.
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
4,067
I think another factor in this is that when people go to a software platforms website and encounter problems, don't find the support they need, get/feel chastised or receive a warning, then they will often come to TAZ to be able to voice their issue without fear of getting censored. While recently you have seen this for IPS, you can certainly find such complaints or criticism for XF here as well. Probably sharper criticism for XF than for IPS. Just review some of the larger threads in the XF forum here.
 

The Sandman

Administrator
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
29,140
Taz's staff doesn't control user opinion, and they are individuals as well with their own opinions.

I think another factor in this is that when people go to a software platforms website and encounter problems, don't find the support they need, get/feel chastised or receive a warning, then they will often come to TAZ to be able to voice their issue without fear of getting censored.

The forum scene has changed dramatically since TAZ's inception, but the issue of "TAZ being biased" against IPS has been around since the beginning. I'd say this was due to our launching on vBulletin software and most of our members coming from the vBulletin community. And when we made the switch to XenForo, most of our members came from the XenForo community.

There is an element of fandom involved in any active community - that's what drives interest and activity. And fans of one things are by nature automatically opposed to anything that competes for attention with their object of affection. Since our IPS members are a minority group on TAZ, their posts are often overwhelmed by the majority - most of whom are not posting maliciously but who as a group stifle participation by the IPS users (and any other minority and/or "out" groups like modern day vBulletin).

And Alpha is right on - people who run into issues on official support sites come to TAZ to complain. Sometimes these are legitimate issues (with perhaps some exaggeration) and sometimes they aren't. The TAZ community can usually uncover which is which. :)

Ommm...Ommm...Ommm

XF can lift you to a higher place
IPS can help you find a new awareness
Discover your own inner software truth
Forums can lead you to eternal youth

:love:

Keep going, I was just about to get my guitar.

Damn... all the interviews I've done with you and I've never gotten to hear about your guitar.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
875
Part of the friction is that TAZ is targeted towards a very specific kind of webmaster, the ones who favor a certain kind of ecosystem with certain kinds of company policies.

IPS has transitioned. TAZ webmasters have not. TAZ webmasters are typified by people with SMF budget but IPS ambitions, and when they realize that IPS wants to implement IPS pricing and IPS company policies, they get flustered.

When I referenced IPS' Chief Software Architect's post as the most interesting statement of the year, that was an understatement. When a forum provider like Invision has more than half of its revenue coming from cloud and enterprise, it's a clear sign of not just where the market is moving, but where the market has already moved. It's moved to Facebook Groups, Discord groups, Telegram groups, Slack channels, Amino Apps, MeWe, Twitter, LinkedIn, SalesForce, and a hundred other community-oriented platforms that are popping up every day.

The biggest and most interesting community discussions are not happening on TAZ. We're locked in this never-ending discussion between XF and IPS, when the conversation should really be how independent communities can thrive versus Facebook, Discord, Telegram, Slack, Amino Apps, MeWe, Twitter, LinkedIn. There is an explosion happening in the community space in literally every direction, of new platforms, new community strategies, new community ideas and thought leadership, organizational leadership, group psychology, software design for collaboration, on and on.

That's what we should be talking about.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,700
Joel R you are right as admins we should be focust on improving the software we use and strategies we can use to gain more people on the sites we have made. But that would mean working closer with the staff of the companies and here is what raises issues. I’m going to use Xenforo as example because i’m more familiar with them but IPS is i think not excluded from this. If you want to make a front against all other social media websites like Facebook, Reddit, Discord and so on then you need tools and functions in the software. So what admins do is go to Xenforo suggestion forum and explain what they want or need and here it get frustrating you make a post people vote etc. The voting is fair because as company you have limited time and you’ll need to make as many people happy in the shortest time. But here comes the biggest issue there are suggestions that have 100+ upvotes and are between 1 year to 10 years old and still zero effort to make it in the software. But now we have two issues the first XF it seems it does not care what we want. But the second issue is in this case worse in Xenforo specifically that’s not saying this will be implemented or it will not they do not say that outright. So as website owner i need to make a choice do i fund add-on development what i want or wait until Xenforo makes it. So by not providing information by the companies i can burn money in development.
 

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
395
Strategy > Features.

The least interesting component of building a thriving community is the platform.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
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Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,700
But the platform is what i need to build the community its a part in the process. If one of the parts fail the whole community fails you can not see it as sepperate items the users, software, information (threads, images, news etc), admins, moderators etc is the som of the parts.
 

Chemical

Participant
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
55
What I see is an almost complete lack of displayed interest by forum vendors in the features and functionality deployed by the most successful social media platforms. For the most part FB and co are positioned as the ne'er do well nemesis, rather the the biggest, highest quality form of free research, and with that, competitive analysis, available.

To illustrate this in part, I recently had a back office discussion with the CEO of one of the more talked about community platforms and I asked him what he thought of FB's group navigation interface, given that it would in my view, transform their own offering. His response:

Oh, I haven't seen that, care to write something up and so we can discuss it online?

And here we see one of the problems. Although the CEO displayed a willingness to take on board 3rd party research, it's concerning that his firm hadn't proactively done it themselves. Whatever we might think of FB, I think it's reasonable to assume that its use case research budget alone dwarfs the combined revenues of independent forum vendors by several magnitudes.

Incidentally FB have recently been addressing some, but not all, of the issues that have affected FB Groups ability to host meaningful long form discussions and I'd be interested in how many folks reading this can summarise what those changes are. Perhaps folks don't care, or continue to dismiss FB and its like, as, paraphrasing, "platforms for the type of user we don't wan't".

But the platform is what i need to build the community its a part in the process. If one of the parts fail the whole community fails you can not see it as sepperate items the users, software, information (threads, images, news etc), admins, moderators etc is the som of the parts.
Yes!
 

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
395
"What I see is an almost complete lack of displayed interest by forum vendors in the features and functionality deployed by the most successful social media platforms."

I'mm a gonna stop you right there. :LOL:

Social media platforms are not community platforms.

We want to be the opposite of what social media is. It would be commercial suicide to move our independent community platform in the direction of Facebook.

They both serve completely different markets.

Honestly, Facebook is a toxic dumpster fire that is fracturing internally and becoming demonised more and more by world governments. It's reign won't last forever, nothing does

Current trends are really pushed into extremes - either small focused groups (WhatsApp, etc) or larger brand forums focused on support deflection, ideation, etc. (here's an example of a brand support forum we did inhouse - https://forum.squarespace.com and here's an example of a community tightly integrated with a website - all powered by Pages and the forums app - https://www.aspergerexperts.com)

(Here's an example of a smaller tighter community we did in-house using Pages + Forums: https://digitaltwinhub.co.uk)

Social media is personality focused. You bring ALL your baggage into Facebook Groups. You and the topic of the group are tightly entwined and usually descends into personality/ego battles.

Forum platforms are a forum for a topic or interest. You bring that one part of your personality to the topic; the part that has an interest in that topic. You are there to contribute as part of a community.

There is the perception that just because we are walking a different path than the one you guys want that we're being ignorant, selfish or whatever but honestly, we handle hundreds of sales enquiries (email, phone, video chat o_O) with customers of all sizes from small focused communities to super sized brand communities (we just converted a 58 million post forum using a custom system to Invision Community - https://forum-auto.caradisiac.com) so we feel we have a good handle on what customers want - and sadly it's really not the same as you guys want.

We do a monthly 'sync' call with the community management team of a large well known brand (website building SaaS) and they let us know what they need using a forum at scale, and it's almost always better statistical insight and streamlined moderation tools. Essentially they really want refinements on workflows. Likewise, all the projects linked here (and we have dozens more) were all worked with closely with their teams, so we got day by day feedback on our feature sets)

That doesn't mean we don't want feedback from all customers and some of the best ideas we've had over the past 20 years have come from smaller independent community owners. However, the war for business is no longer based on more and more new features. Some of the forum systems that command the highest prices ($250k/year) with some of the world's biggest brands haven't seen any major new functionality in 5 years. You reach a period of stability and the focus is doing what you do - but better.

I know you guys compare us to xF a lot and that's natural, but I'll stick my neck out and say that xF isn't a direct competitor to us anymore. Their business model is not the same as ours and their priorities are not the same as ours.
 

Chemical

Participant
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
55
I'mm a gonna stop you right there. :LOL:
You wish.

Social media platforms are not community platforms.

It's a distinction you choose to make. Good for you and the niche you choose to operate in. But to suggest social media platforms are not community platforms is just plain wrong. FB groups are at the heart of many real communities. For example, our local village and the villages that surround us, thrive in their FB groups. And to suggest to them that what have there is not a community operating within the FB platform, would leave them baffled as to what you are trying to say or imply. As I said above, It's a distinction you choose to make.

We want to be the opposite of what social media is. It would be commercial suicide to move our independent community platform in the direction of Facebook.

Who said you should.

Social media is personality focused. You bring ALL your baggage into Facebook Groups. You and the topic of the group are tightly entwined and usually descends into personality/ego battles.
Personally focused in your experience perhaps. Sounds like, for whatever reason, you haven't had a good SM experience. Don't assume the same applies to the millions in the UK that turn to FB groups and the like to solve their community needs. From my own experience, FB communities echo the behaviour of independent forums, that being they very much reflect the personalities of the admins in charge. Where FB triumphs over independent forums is the liquidity of the community experience. If someone doesn't like what they see in a FB group, there's zero inertia to setting up their own equivalent within the hour.

Ego battles? Yeah that's what I like about independent forums, I rarely see that type of behaviour :rolleyes:
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,260
When I referenced IPS' Chief Software Architect's post as the most interesting statement of the year, that was an understatement. When a forum provider like Invision has more than half of its revenue coming from cloud and enterprise, it's a clear sign of not just where the market is moving, but where the market has already moved.
I think that's a bit of a stretch. What the statement says to me is that corporate customers prefer hosted services because it's easier and cheaper for them. And good on IPS for filling that role.

Unless you're someone who's lived in a hole for the last five years, we all know that there are new platforms popping up every other week. We also know that people, like Magpies are attracted to shiny new things. That doesn't mean we throw away the old things when they still work. Lots of people love ebooks and audio books, or services like Blinkist. But books are still published and bought and read. There's still room for our "old fashioned" or "traditional" forums along side of all the new glitter.

However, I do agree completely that we need to stop focussing on comparing forum platforms and put more attention on making our communities more appealing to our audiences. As I've said many times, all forums are pretty much the same at heart; even IPB. The difference between building a successful community and a failed one has very little to do with which software you choose. We have seen plenty of examples here on TAZ of successes running on free or outdated software and disasters built with the newest most expensive offerings.

That said, this is a community of forum admins. We're the ones who choose the software for our sites and this is the place we should be discussing the good, bad, and ugly sides of the products available to help others make informed choices.
 

ThornInYourSide

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
48
I see a bit of favoring XF over others, but that may be because so many sites have gone to it. I honestly can't think of a current IPB site among the boards I use. Most are XF, a couple are flavors of phpBB or SMF. A few seems to be other packages, or may home brewed. One or two are VBB. One of those is run by two people and the board volume is massive. Trying to migrate that one, I'm not sure would even be possible.

But I don't know of a single IPB board unless they've got it skinned enough that I don't recognize it.
 
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