XenForo mastered the forum software. Now is time to go beyond with a road map.

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,272
All fantastic points.

I came to the conclusion years ago that forum developers were never going to meet my expectations. I guess the real question is why. Could it be that my expectations are not shared by other forum owners or could it be they are not shared by the developers. Perhaps they are shared by everyone but they simply can't be achieved because that amount of work won't provide a healthy balance sheet.

Forums have a limited market, there's a lot of competition including free products. I think I understand why my expectations will never be met and it's frustrating but unless you have the wherewithal to build your own platform you really have to work with what's available to provide the best fit for your needs.
Great point, and one I allude to in my first reply. I agree with this. The broader your feature set, the more code there is to maintain, and the more resources it takes to do that.

I don't personally know, for a fact, what XFs exact team & assignments are. But signs point to a small team. Adding features without staff will only stretch existing resources thinner, inevitably leading to updates that are more spread out.

We lost the fight against Facebook, we lost the fight against smartphones, we lost the fight against Wordpress and we lost the fight against modernazation. Forum softwares need to step up their game, all of them.
I agree with this. At this point, I think it's fair to say that if we aren't radically pushing boundaries as Joel R mentions, we are coasting.

Some thoughts in no particular order:
1. One of my personal fears about legacy forum software (and this is not aimed at any particular software, but in general) is that their development will be incremental in nature and never revolutionary. Yes, every major version will give us newer technology, but it's still going to give us the same board index, the same topics, the same posts. They're just reinventing the wheel, this time with a higher php requirement!

I've begged on the Invision Community forums about the same concerns as you all have about XenForo: provide us a roadmap for the future, give us next-gen features, please help us compete not just with the forums of the past but with the social networks of the present. At the same time, I also see users who complain that their bbcode won't work, who demand print buttons for topics, who get confused on fluid view instead of the traditional board index view. It's difficult for any legacy software that has customers for over a decade to reconcile their legacy clients with clients who demand the features of the future.
This is a great point, and something us "customers" will never b e able to appreciate enough. A very tough spot for developers.
However, I think we have to push through regardless. The numbers speak for themselves. Facebook Groups up, forums down.

2. The forum software industry actually has evolved. It's evolved into community platforms. Community platforms have become professionalized with dozens of premium software choices from enterprise options like Salesforce and Hoopla to all sorts of niche-related community platforms for nonprofits, for alumni, for advocate marketing, for social networks, for B2C, for corporate social responsibility, for intranets, and all other sorts. There's not enough meaningful discussion on TAZ about these other kinds of software, all of which are flourishing.

To put it into perspective, the #1 biggest platform for communities is not XenForo or vBulletin or all the other tired names that we rehash over and over again. It's Facebook Groups, with hundreds of millions of groups. Yet there's no dedicated section on TAZ for Facebook Groups, the world's largest community-builder.
This is a fantastic point. I'll be the first to say I'm not an expert on all of these, but places like TAZ have a big opportunity to bring small bits of knowledge together.

3. I'm sure they have an internal roadmap. Public roadmaps are hard, especially with forum admins who can be legitimately crazy sometimes. :eek::D:notworthy:
Unfortunately, I have to agree with this. A roadmap is a lose-lose for developers.
They'll never be ambitious enough, or fast enough. They will, for a fact, generate emotional disagreements and frustration. And may whatever god you pray to help us all the second a deadline is missed. :rolleyes:

If you want these kinds of features, you need to loudly voice them on your feedback forums. You need to directly, honestly, and sometimes forcefully share your concerns with them.

Nobody cares about your community more than you do. They may not have a survey. They may not have any marketing research. But that shouldn't stop you from speaking out on behalf of your community of what you want.
These comments/bits of feedback have so much potential. However, see point above.

The general public has such a hard time remaining respectful, polite, and considerate of the "other side" during discussions. Especially on the internet.
 

Andro

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
15
If you compare the engagement and development of XF from version 1.0 to 1.2 and then with the development from then on to now, it is vastly different.
Kier was making videos, explaining stuff, implementing on-the-go requests. And then... He disappeared and Mike went into "fixing bugs" mode, which he kept up for years, until 2.0 version. And now he is also away, gone.

By my defintion they are coasting since then. Chris said last October that there mainpage is still running the 1.0 version of the software.
Not sure if they updated it now or not. But let's take October as the end point.
8 years past and they had no time, no reason to update that part of the website? I mean that page is basically the frontpage to the customers. That page sells the forum software and that page runs the oldest version for 8 years now. Are you really gonna tell me that in 8 years there was 0 reason to update their core mainpage, when anything else got updated? This is for me an indication of coasting, one of many. I explained in other threads, for years, that the dev progress is too slow and listed my arguments and reasons.

You don't have to agree but I miss the old early days. I didn't have a forum license then, but was actively watching and observing and it was great. When someone asked a question, you got tons of replies and specially from both senior devs. Kier has 6.1k messages. I can't check the stats, but I would say 6k of them between 2010-2012. If that is not good enough for you as an indication, then nothing ever will. They stopped engaging with the community years ago. They are coasting since then on their success of developing such a great product in those first 3 years. Of course the popularity of forums declined a lot since then, so I give them the benefit of the doubt from that angle. I can understand that the hype and activity from the early days can't be replicated again. But seeing that more and more forums switch to XF and that they probably have more licenses sold than ever, I don't see the same level of echo when it comes to their progress. Again, I appreciate the new framework with 2.0 and 2.1 was a good start, but the progress is still too slow. The internet moves a lot faster than them, that is the problem. They are still behind. Of course the other forum softwares are worse than XF, but I don't care about them. I love XF and I am unsatisfied.
I can't disagree with even a single part you have mentioned.

However, to be frank i don't care about their main website till i get a full feature packed product. There might be a reason behind it, they rather trying to develop the software than spending the same time on fancying the website.

Issue is when product itself has been running at millions of websites yet most requested features remained undeveloped.

A CMS has been requested by atleast hundreds of times however 9 years passed and there isn't any. I understand, XF isn't a CMS but a forum software, then what IPS, Woltlab are?

XF has raised every official product costs earlier this year, which was appreciated by many including me since they didn't bumped up the cost since launch. We also expected them to add more most demanded products and do faster implementation of requested features. But that can only happen when there are more dedicated developers than only 3.

I also wonder if it is going to reach the respective authorities via TAZ and if they are coming here to answer each of the raised issues properly. Chris D responds here sometimes however the issue remains same as it has been from past few years. But i also now wonder if it was raised on the official community there won't have much proper responses from either member or staff as the activity has been dropped drastically and many ex-vB developers moved on. All activity you see is, either support threads or add-on bug fixes.

I also love XF but not satisfied with recent pace of development. They should care more about community engagement and keep us updated with the work they are doing on with their products (not saying full featured detailed official announcements as there surely risks of ideas getting steal by competitors).
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
637
Andro

First of all thank you for your reply. Sometimes I think that I am the only one thinking like that and doubting myself and my opinions, specially when some other users seem to be very happy with the situation and disagree with me. So it feels nice that some people also share my views.

I also don't care about the main website. But I was just bringing it up because I wanted to give an example of indication why I think how I think. I base my arguments on reasons which anyone can check for themselves.

Yep, I also suggested to add more developers to the team, but the only one who reads these messages is Chris, if at all, who himself is just a worker for the senior devs, so he has no position to decide things (I believe).

Is this going to reach the respective authorities?

Well, on XF I try to be very supportive and positive and never raise any points about this usually. Maybe in the last 2-3 years I did it 2-3 times, but overall my last 1000 messages revolves around helping other users to do stuff or find addons they want/need. Anyone can check my profile to confirm this, if they wish.

However, on Taz, it being outside of XF, I switch my personality to a more harsh and criticizing personality. Here I can talk s*** about XF without damaging its reputation. So in front of the customers and visitors I try to be engaging and helpful to show my support for XF, because I care. But here I can raise in a closed environment my worries with the hope that this voice gets heard by their team.

But if it is needed or wanted, I also can share my views on the official forums. I just don't do it to not hurt XF.
 

Andro

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
15
First of all thank you for your reply. Sometimes I think that I am the only one thinking like that and doubting myself and my opinions, specially when some other users seem to be very happy with the situation and disagree with me. So it feels nice that some people also share my views.
There are many with similar thoughts, just not participants here. This might reach to them if raised over XF community.
Yep, I also suggested to add more developers to the team, but the only one who reads these messages is Chris, if at all, who himself is just a worker for the senior devs, so he has no position to decide things (I believe).
He may not decide but can make it reach to the authorities who can decide.
Well, on XF I try to be very supportive and positive and never raise any points about this usually. Maybe in the last 2-3 years I did it 2-3 times, but overall my last 1000 messages revolves around helping other users to do stuff or find addons they want/need. Anyone can check my profile to confirm this, if they wish.

However, on Taz, it being outside of XF, I switch my personality to a more harsh and criticizing personality. Here I can talk s*** about XF without damaging its reputation. So in front of the customers and visitors I try to be engaging and helpful to show my support for XF, because I care. But here I can raise in a closed environment my worries with the hope that this voice gets heard by their team.
Oh man, you are just overthinking about the outcome. We aren't doing intentional defamation to raise another competitor products' standard but giving constructive opinions to improve the product we use on daily basis. If if it is never raised then no one from the team ever going to work on it.

I take this in a positive way. Don't think it will drive away new customers but think it will benefit our own communities as if devs care we can do even more out of the same software. We are also not trolling or going against team, we are just raising what exactly is going wrong lately which is making decrease on activity and losing the interest of add-on developers.

There were more developers (unofficial) and customers of vB, because of management decisions it is where it is now. We being the loyal XF customers shouldn't let it go downhill, i think that way.

I just visited XF community and landed on this thread (Snog's retirement from add-on development :(), that was a bummer but with the average number of developers departing from XF on monthly basis this is something i am getting used to now.

It was only yesterday, another XF developer who has been around since XF's born has shared he is shifting his focus and can no longer do any custom developments for me, upon asking he has shared the reasons for it as well:



Same is happening with every other dev, every month. Is it not something to look into seriously? We can't just say people move on, XF hasn't been that popular it used to once, why it is everyone of us know.

Who knows.. May be Kier was more energetic during ol vB days and beginning of XF and as time gone he also thought of reducing his work load. There can be age and interest factor on this, people get bored with routine work after doing it for decades but because he is the director he may be still around. If it is so, that is certainly something not so good for XF customers. Everyone of us wishes XF goes back to the popularity and development activity once it had, we can just hope but the people who manage needs to care more (as i believe they care even now, unlike vB) to overcome this hurdle.

Coming to IPB, it has every products XF users need and demanding for years but i don't like their overall infrastructure. There are many loyal XF fans and supporters but we can't blindly ignore these major issues and if we do our own communities would be at stake in coming years. Remember, internet is developing at a great speed now and developing a product doesn't mean only minor enhancements and bug fixes for 5 years. You will go backward if follow the 90's trends. You need to introduce innovative concepts which will benefit most of your customers for upcoming years.
But if it is needed or wanted, I also can share my views on the official forums. I just don't do it to not hurt XF.
You can do, its upto you but do mention the important issues raised by various members here as not everyone would be willing to rewrite everything they posted here.
 
Last edited:

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
637
Well I agree with every thing you said but we have discussed similar things here on TAZ and some members don't see it that way. They believe/think that my expectations (or yours, or of some others) are not within reasonable grounds. I, however, disagree. Seeing what Xon accomplishes in his free time and comparing it to 3 XF developers whose time it is to focus solely on their product, it comes too short. All work is pushed to Chris who just can't do everything by himself.

There are many with similar thoughts, just not participants here. This might reach to them if raised over XF community.
He may not decide but can make it reach to the authorities who can decide.
Well if Chris D suggests to raise this topic over there, I can gladly open a topic about this. The topic is already raised here and he can forward it to the senior devs, if he wishes. But if this is too unofficial or not serious enough, I can go over to XF. No problem for me.

Oh man, you are just overthinking about the outcome. We aren't doing intentional defamation to raise another competitor products' standard but giving constructive opinions to improve the product we use on daily basis. If if it is never raised then no one from the team ever going to work on it.
I agree and I also see it like you, but some may not think like that. So not to hurt its reputation, I am raising my voice only over here (or in private talks). And my personality has a harsh voice when it comes to criticism, as I believe in that one's friend should be direct and truthful, even if it hurts. But I still try to protect it.
I just visited XF community and landed on this thread (Snog's retirement from add-on development :(), that was a bummer but with the average number of developers departing from XF on monthly basis this is something i am getting used to now.

It was only yesterday, another XF developer who has been around since XF's born has shared he is shifting his focus and can no longer do any custom developments for me, upon asking he has shared the reasons for it as well:
Well, that is sad news and I agree. More and more people leave and more and more the forum scene becomes irrelevant. I still think that XF's popularity increased over time, but the decline of forums in general couldn't be stopped. As XF is coasting for example. They are in a good position from their point of view. Most boards who leave vB come over to XF. And as the base product ist great, all seems to be fine. But considering that the base product is more or less the same for years now, the progress didn't just stagnated, but it went backwards as the internet grows faster.
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,852
Agreed with everything said here. XenForo is just stagnating at this point, and it seems like the team have basically given up on really 'revolutionising' the market. They know a lot of vBulletin users migrated over, they know a bunch more will switch given the dire state of said software, and (kinda like Valve) they realised they didn't really need to do anything more than keep the ship upright.

It's a shame because despite would some people think, I don't think forums are necessarily dying or in decline. There's definitely room out there for self hosted community solutions, and the demand for them will keep growing. People are getting tired of services like Facebook abusing their privacy, of the likes of YouTube deleting content and demonetising accounts on a whim, on Twitter and Instagram unevenly applying their community 'standards' and the likes of Reddit kowtowing to media pressure whenever something controversial makes the headlines. The idea of a private community where the users/staff make the rules and things aren't forced on them by a faceless corporation is going to be all the more appealing moving forward.

But XenForo won't be providing that solution, at least if things carry on as they are. They've basically decided that things are 'good' enough with the design philosophies and technology of the early 00s, and stopped innovating at all.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,397
If you look at XF and IPS you can say they play it save, there not taking risk. If you look at SM and forums you’ll see that SM are not afraid to experiment. IPS has a bit more fat on the bones to experiment then XF.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,272
If you look at XF and IPS you can say they play it save, there not taking risk. If you look at SM and forums you’ll see that SM are not afraid to experiment. IPS has a bit more fat on the bones to experiment then XF.
Agree.

What I fear, like Joel R and many others, is the lack of innovation.

Technology lives & dies on the experimental. The uncharted. The crazy ideas thrown at the wall.

Example: Google had $137 billion in revenue in 2018 - and it wasn't because they played it safe with a few "great products" year after year. Google gets a lot of heat (and I agree with some of it) for constantly producing & abandoning apps & projects. But that's what it takes to stay at the forefront. Same with Facebook. Features, innovations, acquisitions... Always progressing.

In technology, if you aren't moving forward, you're dying a slow death.
 

Russ

Administrator
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
1,323
Ask Me Anything
Visit
A CMS has been requested by atleast hundreds of times however 9 years passed and there isn't any. I understand, XF isn't a CMS but a forum software, then what IPS, Woltlab are?
Sadly, the CMS suggestion which has been linked many times only has ~23 likes and is it on the 8th page when sorting by highest liked suggestions. While it has been asked about over the years, not a ton of support has been given to it. I personally could care less about a "CMS" but would prefer to have more ways to feature content and build more advanced pages. I've mentioned lack of features in the pages in the past, heck even Kier has posted about pages being very basic. I'm in love with IPS's pages as they're pretty darn powerful from the limited time I had with them.

"Community Aspect"
I've been on XenForo since day one and have seen the ups and downs of the community. I think in any community it's to be expected. Things never really went back to the pre-lawsuit days which is absolutely ok. I've seen the talking point of XF isn't really a welcoming community yet I never really see examples linked to it. Not getting the answer you want or support for the suggestion you want for your forum doesn't define it as a non-welcoming community in my opinion. There are some odd-ball cases I can recall of threads that have gone sour but when a site has been around for 10 years, isn't that bound to happen? I feel like if anything it's tamer than ever, not sure if anyone else participated in the early days of the suggestion threads but those could turn hostile :D.

I feel like threads like these pop up every so often and simmer down once the next batch of HYS's come out. When the 2.1 HYS posts were coming people seemed genuinely excited about the new additions. Those features were officially released 5 months ago and now we're back to a discussion about lack of features / revolutionizing forums.

Regarding the home page, I'm hoping pages get expanded and they unveil a new homepage powered by a page node with new powerful features :D.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,121
Sadly, the CMS suggestion which has been linked many times only has ~23 likes and is it on the 8th page when sorting by highest liked suggestions. While it has been asked about over the years not a ton of support has been given to it. I personally could care less about a "CMS" but would prefer to have more ways to feature content and build more advanced pages.
I've always considered forum software to be a CMS of a type so when I see suggestions for it I wonder exactly what people are looking for. This... 'more ways to feature content and build more advanced pages' is exactly what I'd like to see along with a massively improved search function.

There are so many forums containing a library of rich content that's lost because there's no way of re-exposing it in any meaningful way.
 

Andro

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
15
Sadly, the CMS suggestion which has been linked many times only has ~23 likes and is it on the 8th page when sorting by highest liked suggestions. While it has been asked about over the years, not a ton of support has been given to it. I personally could care less about a "CMS" but would prefer to have more ways to feature content and build more advanced pages. I've mentioned lack of features in the pages in the past, heck even Kier has posted about pages being very basic. I'm in love with IPS's pages as they're pretty darn powerful from the limited time I had with them.
The reason why i mentioned the CMS is because it has its own benefits. On forums, anyone can post random posts and mostly they aren't quality content. However with CMS you can create useful articles, if XF supports Google News sitemap URL submissions can also feature your published articles into Google News which is a major plus why Wordpress sites gets much more hits so easily. Don't we deserve the same benefits from our sites, i think even large sites like TomsHarware, MacRumors will consider trying XF CMS if it comes some day as a proper solution.

Now coming to why we can't use Wordpress, it is whole another software altogether which you would need to manage and all your site users need separate registration and login there. UI and settings won't be unified with community too.

I am aware of the TH XPress solution but that isn't something for long run. Suppose a major version of XF releases and you are interested to upgrade into it, you are stuck until your add-ons updated. Now without such large add-ons we can't simply upgrade.

Same way for XF AMS add-ons too. If they don't get updated then your hard work and thousands of published articles are at stake.

We won't have those headache if something officially comes. Price can be higher than rest of the official add-ons as it will require need more complex coding i believe, but atleast make them available. Many will purchase it.

There is so much XF could learn from IPS other than CMS such as:

Question & Answer Forums - good way for any forum community members to get questions answered, their own community can get good benefit out of it

Weekly & Daily Digests - let the users know automatically what's new they can check, every blogs does that and anyone who do not want can easily optout. It can increase activity as many loyal community users will participate on those discussions

Post before registration and approval after joining

Schedule forum content promotion via social media - auto post selected area content into your FB/Twitter pages

There are way too many more.

If you remember 2010, XF was a shining new product and everything came with it were "innovation", it felt like we got our own community software to compete with Facebook. Now the innovation lacks and IPS has been so fast at implementing anything suggested.

As said previously, i like XF more than any other software, IPS doesn't even come near to that even with those feature which is why i never ran a community with my IPS license.
All work is pushed to Chris who just can't do everything by himself.
Yeah, there is no one other than him and other two community moderators even visible. Things were lot different then. Current situation can't come anywhere near of it.
Regarding the home page, I'm hoping pages get expanded and they unveil a new homepage powered by a page node with new powerful features :D.
You have got high expectations, Russ. Hope you won't disappointed (saying with how its going currently).

I just want the magic of XF continues like it used to before. When expectations doesn't get fulfilled it hurts and XF proved themselves before many times is why we are having expectations from them. We aren't hoping for something out of the world thing, just something beyond what they considered till now. Can't we get more love for our communities.:oops:
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,397
Agree.

What I fear, like Joel R and many others, is the lack of innovation.

Technology lives & dies on the experimental. The uncharted. The crazy ideas thrown at the wall.

Example: Google had $137 billion in revenue in 2018 - and it wasn't because they played it safe with a few "great products" year after year. Google gets a lot of heat (and I agree with some of it) for constantly producing & abandoning apps & projects. But that's what it takes to stay at the forefront. Same with Facebook. Features, innovations, acquisitions... Always progressing.

In technology, if you aren't moving forward, you're dying a slow death.
There is a saying in Dutch “kosten gaan voor de baten” the translation is “costs go before benefits” IPS seems to use this from the start they build and grew. If you look at XF in almost 10 years the company my have grown but not the software.
 

Karll

Adherent
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
420
From what I've understood from earlier communication from the XF team is that they want to concentrate on developing actual forum software, and not try to be a blog / CMS / wiki / etcetera software as there are already brilliant solutions out there for this. I think that would be fine provided that XF would release official 1st party integration add-ons for these.

I agree with those who would like to see more community engagement from the XF developers. Chris D does a good job, but what ever happened to Kier and Mike? Kier needs to come back and do videos, talk about barefoot walking or something.

As for the XF forum not being particularly welcoming, that is also my impression which is why I instead prefer to hang out here. There are a couple of staff over there that, yes, I think do need some sensitivity training :)

I'm too invested in XF to consider migrating to another forum software. And I really want XF to succeed, but at the moment it doesn't feel like they are. 2.1 is great, but it was late. Lack of innovation - yes! As suggested, that is probably at least partly a feature of being a small dev team ...

is exactly what I'd like to see along with a massively improved search function.
Re: search function, I've installed Xenforo Enhanced Search and Xon's ElasticSearch Essentials on top of that, which provide search bar auto complete amongst other things - works really well, and I'm fairly happy with this.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,121
Re: search function, I've installed Xenforo Enhanced Search and Xon's ElasticSearch Essentials on top of that, which provide search bar auto complete amongst other things - works really well, and I'm fairly happy with this.
That sounds like something I might well be interested in. Thanks for the info :)
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
637
IPS has a lot of flawes. Their advantage is having more developers and they at least seem to produce more stuff lately (that was not always the case).

And about XF and a CMS solution. I would like to have a CMS or a Pages system or other stuff, but not like this. If you see the treatment of the official addons (a.k.a. 0 improvements), then a basic CMS won't cut it or Pages or whatever. I rather would go with Bob or with WordPress. You get a lot more doing that (ok, WP is not a fair comparison, but I mean it like you have some finetuning in those things).

The RM for example is almost useless in its current form. You can exactly use it for one case and that's it, 0 flexibility. In all the years, I haven't seen 1 good example of a site which makes a great use of RM. It is too basic and generic. It only can be used if your expectations are 0.


Re: search function, I've installed Xenforo Enhanced Search and Xon's ElasticSearch Essentials on top of that, which provide search bar auto complete amongst other things - works really well, and I'm fairly happy with this.
Well it is a shame that we have to buy a 3rd party addon to get search bar auto complete.

The official addon does nothing, except for us being able to use ES. 0 features.

It is like we are paying for a FontAwesome license, so we can use it, or paying for the Froala Editor, so we can use it. Or paying for the Lightgallery, so we can attach images. The current way is you pay for ES, so you just can use it on your server instead of MySQL. So it acts as a bridge with 0 settings and such, which you want, as all modern sites use autocompletion and "similar typed words" thingy. I don't own a ES license yet, as I shied away to install ES on my server, but I have to get it sooner than later. So much wrong with the approach.
 

palhanow

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 23, 2016
Messages
145
Well, this thread escalated in a way that was not my initial intention, mostly because my limited fluency on english.

There is powerful content around here. My hope is that XF's Team can use this knowledge for their benefit and consequently, for the costumers benefit.

So, I'm really enjoying reading all this, and understand how each of you guys feel about XenForo.

As i can see in this thread, there is a lot of the same complains, many ideas merging in the middle point.

Keep going guys. Loving to see this.

And that is exactly why i prefer to stay here instead of some official community.
 

palhanow

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 23, 2016
Messages
145
Re: search function, I've installed Xenforo Enhanced Search and Xon's ElasticSearch Essentials on top of that, which provide search bar auto complete amongst other things - works really well, and I'm fairly happy with this.

How much did you invest in this resource and implementation? Is hard to configure?

And the users? They really use the search feature? I don't know how to measure this.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
637
Coming back to the topic again (maybe it was my fault it escalated in a different direction, sorry).

If we are talking about "now is time to go beyond", my vision is one step further than CMS, pages, addons and things on that level.

I believe I have a real innovative idea how one could save forums and rise again. Technically speaking the idea is not very new, but it was never made from any forum software (I believe).

Now, let's forget addons, or improvements for mobile use or apps or new frameworks. What I suggest is to do what reddit does the best (which is of course also copied).

We need to establish a network of XF communities with a hub.

What is reddit? Not talking about the upvotes or threaded reply styles here. Reddit has a main page (let's call it the hub) and from there one can visit so many niche categories. There is for everything a community on reddit. And the most upvoted, liked stuff get seen on the mainpage. And one can subscribe to subreddits and get the latest feeds on the mainpage. And so on.

We need exact the same thing for forums, let's say for XF. We need a XF hub, where all licensed XF communities can register their websites (if they want) and that way we have created our own reddit with XF sites.

So there is one hub page where we can see the latest and most hot topics around all XF boards, and at the same time we can visit subXFs (like subreddits), for example XFHub.com/theadminzone directs you to this place. So one big place where all XF communities have a place. This way we can increase the engagement, we all can have more visitors as more visibility and it makes it easier for users to move around and maybe require one time registration for all XF boards.

Right now we are on the mercy of Google that one random visitor finds our forums, and even if they do, they don't bother to register or post.

But with the XFHub, we now have another big thing for visibility and engagement. It makes discovering much much easier. When I click on "new posts" on the hub, I just don't see the newest posts of theadminzone, but I see the newest posts of all XF forums the ones I am subscribed to, like on reddit).

I believe with an API one can establish a system. And to host the XFhub, we of course have to pay a fee to be on the system. There are thousands of XF boards I will never have the chance to know. Not because I am not interested in them, just I don't know how to discover them. I am pretty sure any forum owner feels like that. That they feel they have a very special place, but because Google is the only way of getting discovered, we are just sitting and waiting.

Think about how Twitter, or Facebook works. Same thing as reddit. One big place and you can subscribe to twitter users or facebook pages/users and read their feeds.

We need exact the same thing for forums, then we 100% can compete with SM, because users are already used to this kind of system. We just need to create the same thing for our sites.

Not sure if my description was good enough,a quick mockup:

upload_2019-6-19_2-28-0.png

So like a link directory for all XF forums, but like reddit style or Social Media style.
 
  • Like
Reactions: diy

Russ

Administrator
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
1,323
Ask Me Anything
Visit
I respect the idea but I don't see that as revolutionizing XenForo or any forum software at all. When you sign up for Reddit, you're signing up for just that, Reddit. You're not going to my gaming forum signing up and instantly getting access to other sites in the hub because you're a member on my site. Didn't Tapatalk do something like this recently whereby being a member on the app you have access to multiple forums?

If anything I'd prefer for the whole subreddit thing to be permission-based in XenForo. Let users create nodes that'd act like subreddits that they have minor permissions too. Basically, copy Reddit's ability for users to create their own sections and create content meaningful for that category.

xenforo.com/r/gaming
xenforo.com/r/design

This could satisfy the whole group concept and really give the potential to create something rather engaging for the community as a whole. Obviously not revolutionizing but just tweaking your concept a little.
 

Karll

Adherent
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
420
How much did you invest in this resource and implementation? Is hard to configure?

And the users? They really use the search feature? I don't know how to measure this.
XF Enhanced Search now costs $55 (it was a little cheaper back when I purchased it) and ElasticSearch Essentials costs $30. ElasticSearch itself is free and open-source. It does require a good chunk of memory (or else you will face the wrath of the Linux OOM killer), so I had to bump up my VPS hosting plan to 4Gb RAM.

I did all the installation and configuration myself as I have a deep and long-standing interest in everything Linux and open-source, especially databases, and besides I do similar work in my day job.

Are my users actually using it? I haven't heard them talking about it very much yet, but it's also very new still. We used to run only Enhanced Search, not ElasticSearch Essentials before I recently upgraded to XF2.1, and that left a bit to be desired.
 
Top