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Here's a bit of an update as to what's going on with the forums. Work has been progressing on the forum, but we've run into some setbacks. The problem is trying to find a balance between the interface and features. My original plan when the site was relaunched was to eventually transition over to a forum with all the comments and entries carrying over. This is currently possible using the "Vanilla" web application which is compatible with Wordpress, however I can't say I'm fond of the layout. It doesn't follow the traditional forum layout and I find it a little confusing visually, like it's a news feed page rather than a forum. Since the forums are something I plan to use as well, I want something my brain can process more easily.

 

The other main contender for the forums so far is phpBB. This has a layout I'm much more accustomed to, but I've been told it doesn't have as many features and integration with all the current posts and user login information may not be possible. I'd really hate to ask people to create a new login AGAIN, so we're still exploring the options. Ultimately it will come down to what I think will work the best for the long term.

 

To clarify some more, here are some screenshots I found of both forum layout styles:

 

Vanilla:

screenshot.png

 

While Vanilla does have forum categories on the right side and posts on the left, I feel like it doesn't make the most use of the screen space and it might not be immediately obvious that this is a forum and not just more news posts.

 

phpBB:

phpBB_2.png

 

This has a much more familiar forum style, makes more use of horizontal space, I generally like this kind of layout for a forum.

 

These aren't necessarily the only two options for forum software. I also found an article which lists an absolute ton of forum plugin options, though I'm too web illiterate myself to know what's best:

 

http://www.wpmods.com/which-forum-script-should-you-use-with-your-wordpress-powered-website

 

If anyone out there is knowledgeable about Wordpress and forum integration and is interested in helping, please contact Zachary Reidell ([email protected]), who put a lot of the current website together and has been doing almost all the work on this so far. I'll of course give credit to anyone else who helps get the final forum launched.

 

Also, I may as well announce now that I'm planning on phasing out comments here once the forums are launched. There are multiple reasons for this. With the forums, discussions will be more targeted. So if you have a specific question or comment, you won't have to just reply to the latest news entry. Another reason is I think it will lower the redundancy of comments if there's a primary place to comment in the forums as opposed to the homepage AND the forums. Finally, I'm getting more comments on the homepage now than ever before. Within a few days it's in the hundreds, and as I make more videos it's possible it will increase. Thus having actual forums will make things more manageable for me in the long run. My goal is to have all the news posts (hopefully past ones all the way back to 2006) duplicated as threads in the forum so commentary can continue there.

 

In other news, my voice is now better and I'll resume working on Freeman's Mind sometime tomorrow.

 

EDIT:

 

After waking up coughing about 20 times this morning, my voice may not be as well as I thought. I can talk normally, but I don't know about parts where I have to shout yet. Unfortunately Freeman tends to shout a lot. I'll see how things go.

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I personally like the idea of removing the comments on news posts. It gives the site more of a... professional(?) feel.

 

I also enjoy the more common phpBB style then the WordPress one. I like some of the things that WordPress has right there, but the phpBB is more familiar.

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I like PhpBB better myself, I could care less about having to recreate login information or the loss of the current comments.

 

Better to go with a layout that is better for the long run and have temporary inconveniences than to go with something that will become annoying in the long run.

 

Also phpbb is much funnier to say when pronounced phonetically.

 

PHPBB!!

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Despite my better judgement, I must protest your comment removal. Just because someone acts like an asshole on your site, you really shouldn't spoil it for peeps who still want to post comments. Personally, I hate twitter, facebook, or anything because there are asshats everywhere and just doing it for those who intend to spoil the fun. Whatever. I'm not running your site though, but I could careless what you decide anyway.

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I like how similarly Ross and I think. When I first read about the forum plans I imagined it would be cool if the accounts as well as news entries integrate into the forum to both simplify account management and post counting.

 

I definitely prefer the phpBB layout myself, but I must warn you Ross, and I am speaking from experience as a moderator of one; without robust anti-spam measures you will easily be getting 5+ spam accounts created every single day. Keeping the software updated doesn't cut it. The forum I help manage is not even that big or popular, just a cozy little forum for a tiny indie developer.

 

By the way, I would greatly appreciate if you chose to go with the same colour theme for the forum as the main website. Not only because it feels more consistent but because me and my eyes hate dark text on bright background in general.

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"By the way, I would greatly appreciate if you chose to go with the same colour theme for the forum as the main website. Not only because it feels more consistent but because me and my eyes hate dark text on bright background in general." I second that!

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Quote: ... speaking from experience as a moderator ... my eyes hate ... bright ..

 

*freeman voice* : Aaah, my eyes! Gaze upon the fiery doom of this earth!

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Back in 2001 or so, I hated when phpBB starting pushing out simple anonymous chat-style forums, I hated starting accounts just to post one reply and never come back. Worst thing was that it just looked so complicated and confusing. It took some time to get my brain to get accustomed to phpBB layout. If You choose Vanilla and I have to go all over this familiarization process again, I'm gonna kill myself.

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"but I’ve been told it doesn’t have as many features"

 

What? phpBB has heaps of addons. And if you want even more you can go with SMF, although I personally find SMF poorly set out and annoying to use.

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Yeah, Vanilla definitely is the LAST option.

 

Also, FUN FACT: Around the time the WordPress site was launched last year, I actually HAD a phpBB installation running with the accursed farms logo, a darker theme and everything. It was even on the site for a while, but Ross wanted to write the sticky posts and the categories. He never got to it, and now we're at a point where there's 1000+ users and we don't want *everyone* to have to register again.

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