XenForos development pace?

sbjsbj

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I would argue the trend on thinking a single piece of software is the only reason a community is successful is moot.
I’ve seen communities run on old Perl scripts be successful in 2022.
Whataboutism.

Did I say otherwise? I didn't say a single thing about a community being successful or not based on the software it runs. If I did, which I didn't, your point would be valid. But since I didn't say something close to that, you are just presenting an argument nobody countered to begin with.

To be more clear, nobody here thinks that a single piece of software is the only reason a community is successful or not.


Depending on a single piece of software for a business model exposes a risk.
Should we run both vB and XF at the same time then? Whataboutism at its finest. Also, I run a non-commercial place, so my business model is non-existent. Thanks for reminding me about the risks of running XF. Not sure what it has got to do with XF not having released a meaningful update for 2 years yet, but good to know that it exposes a risk that we rely on XF. Note to everyone, don't rely on XF, gotcha.


XenForo does not charge enterprise level pricing, and shouldn’t be expected to deliver those results although often times they are.
I completely disagree about the expectation part. Not gonna go into why cause I see no point trying to explain it to someone who asks us to lower our expectations even more than they are. Maybe another 2 years of waiting will cure us from our "high" expectations.
 

DigNap15

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Sinking? I don’t get the dramatic expression here.
You only have to look at the number of site showcases on here that are no longer in action.
Also this forum is much slower than when I first joined. (very few new threads and the same old same old repliers)
So this indicates to me that forums and therefore XF and IPS are on a downward path.
 

DigNap15

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Of course if one of us could come up with a killer new feature that would make forums great again, they would be a hero.
And yet we expect XF to come up with killer new features
MFGA
Make Forums Great Aagain
 

Tracy Perry

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Of course if one of us could come up with a killer new feature that would make forums great again, they would be a hero.
And yet we expect XF to come up with killer new features
The bad news is.... forums are not where it's "at" any longer. The current crop of users don't appreciate, nor want the level of detail and complexity provided in forums. They want to "shat" their short, insipid posts out from their phone.
The number of people that actually enjoy "deep diving" into topics now has become less and less.
And when you do use technical forums... the majority of the posters are "help me" ones, and those that can actually do the "help" aren't as frequent on them (I see this on almost every one of the regular forums I visit).
I see forums as being where BBS's were when the "internet came out". All the gamification in the world isn't going to change forums. Those that think there is a "silver bullet" to fix society and it's use patterns are not living in reality.
 

FTL

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The bad news is.... forums are not where it's "at" any longer. The current crop of users don't appreciate, nor want the level of detail and complexity provided in forums. They want to "shat" their short, insipid posts out from their phone.
The number of people that actually enjoy "deep diving" into topics now has become less and less.
And when you do use technical forums... the majority of the posters are "help me" ones, and those that can actually do the "help" aren't as frequent on them (I see this on almost every one of the regular forums I visit).
I see forums as being where BBS's were when the "internet came out". All the gamification in the world isn't going to change forums. Those that think there is a "silver bullet" to fix society and it's use patterns are not living in reality.
That is sadly true from my observations too.

At least I don't feel so bad that my forum hasn't taken off how I'd have liked it. Note that a modest level of activity would have been enough for me.
 

DigNap15

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The bad news is.... forums are not where it's "at" any longer. The current crop of users don't appreciate, nor want the level of detail and complexity provided in forums. They want to "shat" their short, insipid posts out from their phone.
The number of people that actually enjoy "deep diving" into topics now has become less and less.
And when you do use technical forums... the majority of the posters are "help me" ones, and those that can actually do the "help" aren't as frequent on them (I see this on almost every one of the regular forums I visit).
I see forums as being where BBS's were when the "internet came out". All the gamification in the world isn't going to change forums. Those that think there is a "silver bullet" to fix society and it's use patterns are not living in reality.
Yes, sadly I agree

The help type forums are dead now because as you say there are not so many experts replying.
But more importanly people usually want the answer to a technical question now!
They can get it quicker by DuckDuckGoing (or searching) than they can posting a queston in a forum that is alive and then waiting a few days maybe for an answer
Witness the number of dead or lifeless forums on Word or Excel.
 

zappaDPJ

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My observation for what it's worth, and this is from experience, forums that offer something unique in their field are flourishing. The software those forums run on is totally irrelevant.

If your content is unique, authoritative and the forum is run by people that have a real passion for it, it should succeed. Bells and whistles are all very nice but I'd argue they are not what brings people to your forum.
 

Nev_Dull

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This may be a silly question, but what exactly is the issue here? XF isn't perfect. However, it works well, it's very stable and reliable, and it's reasonably fast. It seems to me there hasn't been any updates in a while because there's no pressing urgency that requires them. I would much rather use software with a longer development cycle than have to deal with frequent small updates. I don't really enjoy the process of checking and testing updates to make sure they don't break things.

Is it about feature parity with competing products? Just use the software that already has all the features you want. Or is it about wanting some new innovation that will make your forum more popular or more attractive to the social media crowd? In that case, you're likely to be disappointed.

I get there are things in XF that could be improved. Rather than just complaining about how much time has elapsed between numbered updates, perhaps we could be doing something more. We do have a ready-made forum to discuss updates to the software, though it mostly gets used to make wish lists and vote on when the next update will be. Maybe there needs to be a more concerted effort to identify and really discuss the most important changes/improvements needed. If we, as the admins who use the software, can explain why those changes are important, how they would work, and the clear benefits to new and existing admins, we might help inform the developers' direction with the software.
 

FTL

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My observation for what it's worth, and this is from experience, forums that offer something unique in their field are flourishing. The software those forums run on is totally irrelevant.

If your content is unique, authoritative and the forum is run by people that have a real passion for it, it should succeed. Bells and whistles are all very nice but I'd argue they are not what brings people to your forum.
Or in other words, content is king and that's true. However, having a well designed forum with lots of great features can help maximise that success, so having better software quality is never wasted.

Alas, there's no one forum solution that has it all, so just pick the best one for your needs. For me, that was XF and I've not regretted it.
 

zappaDPJ

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However, having a well designed forum with lots of great features can help maximise that success, so having better software quality is never wasted.

I agree that software quality or to put it another way, the user experience needs to be the best it can be. However I feel what constitutes that experience is debatable.

Lots of great features doesn't necessarily give the best experience if it doesn't cater for the lowest common denominator. We all want to engage new members, especially members used to using other platforms and I'd argue simplicity and ease of use overrides an overload of functions.

I'd rate bug free software, fast servers, easy to use editors, quick registration and staff engagement long before I'd consider adding additional functionality. I think Xenforo scores quite well in terms of what it does although it does seem to have a long term love/hate relationship with Firefox which is quite a big minus in my view. Other than that it ticks most boxes with a wealth of add-ons for those that really need the extra functionality.

I do get that a lot of forum owners have come to expect a regular releases of show stopping updates but the reality is they are probably not going to get you any further user engagement. That comes from elsewhere.
 

DigNap15

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The only small thing that I woud like fixed in XF is the ability to delete a post that you have started with just one click.
It can be very time consuming to remove it otherwise.
 

FTL

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I agree that software quality or to put it another way, the user experience needs to be the best it can be. However I feel what constitutes that experience is debatable.

Lots of great features doesn't necessarily give the best experience if it doesn't cater for the lowest common denominator. We all want to engage new members, especially members used to using other platforms and I'd argue simplicity and ease of use overrides an overload of functions.

I'd rate bug free software, fast servers, easy to use editors, quick registration and staff engagement long before I'd consider adding additional functionality. I think Xenforo scores quite well in terms of what it does although it does seem to have a long term love/hate relationship with Firefox which is quite a big minus in my view. Other than that it ticks most boxes with a wealth of add-ons for those that really need the extra functionality.

I do get that a lot of forum owners have come to expect a regular releases of show stopping updates but the reality is they are probably not going to get you any further user engagement. That comes from elsewhere.
That's a really grey area you've touched on there with no one right answer.

Personally, I really dislike overly simplistic products in the name of simplicity as they're so restrictive. There's a balance to be had. As long as something is "well designed" that's what matters most. Again, this is a somewhat subjective area, but it's like "quality" which can be hard to pin down exactly what it is, but you know it when you see it.
 

Nev_Dull

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As long as something is "well designed" that's what matters most. Again, this is a somewhat subjective area, but it's like "quality" which can be hard to pin down exactly what it is
No, it really isn't subjective. There are established standards and best practices for usability and UX design, based on many years of experience and research. Likewise, there are standards and best practices for identifying and delivering quality content.

When it comes to software features, more isn't better. What matters is providing the right features your users need to do what they want to do, without having to think about it.
 

FTL

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No, it really isn't subjective. There are established standards and best practices for usability and UX design, based on many years of experience and research. Likewise, there are standards and best practices for identifying and delivering quality content.

When it comes to software features, more isn't better. What matters is providing the right features your users need to do what they want to do, without having to think about it.
Yes it really is. One uses those standards etc to achieve good quality products, but they can still be poor, or not so good in the end. There's always a subjective element to the perception of quality and how it all comes together.

Again, a well designed product can pack a ton of features and still be intuitive and easy to use. I just don't agree with this "keep it simple" narrative as it just leads to restrictive products.
 

Nev_Dull

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One uses those standards etc to achieve good quality products, but they can still be poor, or not so good in the end.
A good quality product, cannot, by definition, also be a bad product.

However, you are correct in that perception is subjective. For instance, many believe that a forum built on free software can't be as good as one built on paid software. There's no basis for this belief, and in fact, there are plenty of longstanding forums running on free software. Yet that perception continues.

You made the claim that not providing software with lots of features is restrictive. Others perceive that as bloat. Both are subjective opinions. The best practical solution is to build the software with a small feature set that is most commonly used, then provide other features as optional add-ins (first or third party). This is just what most of the developers have done because it serves the widest audience.
 

Pete

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I also think part of the design philosophy of XF is to not repeat one of the (perceived, debatably accurate) mistakes of the vB 3 era, which was to implement the kitchen sink. vB 3 had all the features, all the toys, but it wasn't designed or implemented in a modular fashion, meaning it was a maintenance headache over time. IPS by contrast is more strongly modular, which also helps manage the technical debt.

But it's very clear that XF has no desire to implement a kitchen sink approach - in fact the approach is possibly even *too* conservative in that regard, because one frequent complaint is the lack of first-party ecosystem, particularly around some kind of content management package.
 

FTL

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A good quality product, cannot, by definition, also be a bad product.

However, you are correct in that perception is subjective. For instance, many believe that a forum built on free software can't be as good as one built on paid software. There's no basis for this belief, and in fact, there are plenty of longstanding forums running on free software. Yet that perception continues.

You made the claim that not providing software with lots of features is restrictive. Others perceive that as bloat. Both are subjective opinions. The best practical solution is to build the software with a small feature set that is most commonly used, then provide other features as optional add-ins (first or third party). This is just what most of the developers have done because it serves the widest audience.

I'm not saying a good quality product is a bad one. This is what I said: "One uses those standards etc to achieve good quality products, but they can still be poor, or not so good in the end. There's always a subjective element to the perception of quality and how it all comes together."

The highlight is the most important bit. It's a matter of the whole coming together properly that makes a good product. I've seen products that were made very well, but had some fatal flaw in them that put them out of the running. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that review video from Linus Tech Tips a while back where he reviewed lots of HDMI cables. I remember one particularly useless cable was made really well, nice and thick, sturdy, looked great. However, it was useless because not all the connections were there so didn't actually transmit a signal. Could have just been a faulty product, but a surprising number of those cables didn't have the proper connections, which I found really weird. After all, just how hard is to make a direct connection between 19 pins on one plug to the 19 pins on the other?!

There can be more subtle cases where the ergonomics of something are perhaps a little awkward making a product significantly less user friendly to use in some important way, so the reviewer gives a higher mark to the less nice one that gets these basics right. There's loads of stuff like this.


I'll take your word for it about the free v paid forum software as I have no experience in that area and the argument does sound reasonable. Certainly, making a good forum is a combination of the platform it's implemented in, the content, the staff and the users.

But I do disagree about not providing features. To make the program easy to access for all levels of users, it just needs a good design like I said above. Looks like I have to clarify what I mean by that though.

Imagine your minimalist product: nice clean design, easy to use, but a bit restrictive due to the lack of features, like I said. To add the more advanced stuff, all the developer has to do is add the extra features / less used features under something like an "Advanced" tab or button where appropriate, that sort of thing and provide sensible defaults, so the interface isn't festooned with features that confuse people. This way, the basic user gets something that they can get to grips with easily, while the advanced user gets the functions that they need. Everyone wins and I see this approach used in many places, including Windows. Yes, it does mean the developer has to work harder on developing and maintaining the product, but that's all part of the "quality" argument and can help to put them ahead of the competition.

I'm also not saying that the developer has to rack their brains to think of every possible function under the sun and implement it, although I personally prefer a sophisticated product that tries to think of everything. We need balance here. And sure, some users might think the more fully featured product is "bloated" even though it's organised well like I described and runs well. What of it? They're not being objective and people will bitch about anything regardless of merit, especially on internet forums. So, unhelpful views like that should not be pandered to, especially not by dumbing down a product just to satisfy them. That's appeasement and that never works.

I also think part of the design philosophy of XF is to not repeat one of the (perceived, debatably accurate) mistakes of the vB 3 era, which was to implement the kitchen sink. vB 3 had all the features, all the toys, but it wasn't designed or implemented in a modular fashion, meaning it was a maintenance headache over time. IPS by contrast is more strongly modular, which also helps manage the technical debt.

But it's very clear that XF has no desire to implement a kitchen sink approach - in fact the approach is possibly even *too* conservative in that regard, because one frequent complaint is the lack of first-party ecosystem, particularly around some kind of content management package.

Yes, it's odd how XF seems quite advanced and slick in some ways, while a bit backward with certain things such as batch processing users whether moderating or admin in other ways. I've seen quite a lot of add-ons that address issues like these that I hadn't even thought of. I've bookmarked some of these add-ons to consider adding sometime if I ever really feel the need for them - I try to minimise the add-ons I use for various reasons.

And yup, the bold bit is the bugbear I've been going on about for the longest time lol. Unfortunately, no one product has it all, so I had to compromise.
 

koraldon

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I will say that I didn’t renew my license as I get no income from my forum, and there are no new features that I miss out on.
So the debate about what features are needed is missing the point - no new development, no need for customers to renew license, no income for XF.

Of course the cloud model ignores this issue, so maybe that is the focus of XF those days, instead of product development🥺
 

FTL

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I will say that I didn’t renew my license as I get no income from my forum, and there are no new features that I miss out on.
So the debate about what features are needed is missing the point - no new development, no need for customers to renew license, no income for XF.

Of course the cloud model ignores this issue, so maybe that is the focus of XF those days, instead of product development🥺
There are still security and bug fixes though, so it's worth it for those alone.

It would really help if we got a new feature once in a while to go with them, too.
 
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