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l008com
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Sep 28, 2010, 04:06 AM
 
I have a forum on my website. It's not too popular but still if I'm going to have it, I might as well put in some effort. So I've migrated around from forum package to forum package. I tried one called Phorum, one called Simple Machines Forum, before both of those, I had phpBB2. Now I'm back on phpBB3. They all suck. They all have the most over complicated, mixed up, windows-like control panels that make it a huge production to make even a few minor changes to your forum. And god forbid you want to customize the style so your forum looks like a page of your website and not a bone-stock forum installation. It's a nightmare. I'd have to make this phpBB forum my full time job to get it to look the way I want.

Soooooo I'm wondering if there are any GOOD options out there?
Gotta be php/mysql
Gotta be MUCH easier to customize and ideally to manage, than phpBB3
I'd prefer a free package but at this point, all the free ones I've tried have been such disasters, I'm not going to rule out reasonably priced pay-forums.
     
ghporter
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Sep 28, 2010, 09:58 AM
 
er hem...

vBulletin

<cough>

Seriously, vBull has lots of features, is extensible, and runs well.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
l008com  (op)
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Sep 28, 2010, 01:56 PM
 
Is it easy to customize? Is it hard to update once you customize?
     
olePigeon
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Sep 28, 2010, 02:19 PM
 
It costs nearly $300. Just FYI.

There's also PunBB. You're also looking at a lot of work to customize any forum software.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
ghporter
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Sep 28, 2010, 07:04 PM
 
Ask reader50 about "easy," but it is open to all sorts of expansion and customization. The license is indeed pricey, but we've been having good results with it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
torsoboy
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Sep 28, 2010, 09:20 PM
 
phpBB is *not* difficult to skin. They built it with skinning in mind. If you are having difficulty with it, outsource it and pay someone $50 to do it for you.
     
Eyenigma
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Sep 29, 2010, 04:20 AM
 
I wouldn't use either. I'd say abandon the idea of a forum and use something like DISQUS Comments | Powering Discussion on the Web - (no affiliation). I think the days of forums are over. They've been cannibalized by Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

*Having used both though, vBulletin is better supported. But both are good. Your bigger issue won't be CSS and styling, it will be spam.
     
Doofy
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Sep 29, 2010, 04:36 AM
 
Note that if you don't skin vBulletin, the default skins will give you eye cancer.
     
MacinTommy
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Sep 29, 2010, 07:39 AM
 
     
ghporter
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Sep 29, 2010, 08:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Note that if you don't skin vBulletin, the default skins will give you eye cancer.
No, "eye herpes." You just WANT to claw your eyes out...

There are also a lot of vBull "features" that we have either turned off of otherwise hidden. No avatars, no profile pictures, lots of stuff. Not to mention just the rules stuff like "signatures are limited to..." Go traipsing around the Web for a while and look for vBulletin-based forums-you'll see some GAWDAWFUL forums out there, with maybe 2 posts per page because of all the useless crap and nonsense left in. And the ones I've seen have mostly been TECHNICAL forums... Yike!

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 29, 2010, 08:28 AM
 
hey, shouldn't this be in developer?
     
macaddict0001
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Sep 29, 2010, 09:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
No, "eye herpes." You just WANT to claw your eyes out...

There are also a lot of vBull "features" that we have either turned off of otherwise hidden. No avatars, no profile pictures, lots of stuff. Not to mention just the rules stuff like "signatures are limited to..." Go traipsing around the Web for a while and look for vBulletin-based forums-you'll see some GAWDAWFUL forums out there, with maybe 2 posts per page because of all the useless crap and nonsense left in. And the ones I've seen have mostly been TECHNICAL forums... Yike!
Yeah I know, Neon on black and 800*600 sigs just don't do it for me.
     
Rumor
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Oct 1, 2010, 05:26 PM
 
I used to have phpBB2, then upgraded to phpBB3. I liked 3 a lot, and found it quite easy to use. When I moved domains I went with SMF, but it is quite a bit more complicated to change options and not nearly as user friendly as phpBB3.
I like my water with hops, malt, hops, yeast, and hops.
     
reader50
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Oct 1, 2010, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Ask reader50 about "easy," but it is open to all sorts of expansion and customization.
I haven't used any of the other board software, so it's hard to quantify "easy" without a comparison.

vB customization was frustrating early on. It took awhile to figure out *where* to make a desired change. Today that happens only when I try to quickly do something weird, like suppress pagination links on a title-less thread.

l008com is probably more concerned with template theming than hacking features into the raw files. That sort of work is easy now - except that vB has a huge number of features. Each of which takes one to several templates. For a complete makeover like effgee did for us, expect to customize over a hundred templates. Other forum software should be in the same boat - more features == more templates.
     
l008com  (op)
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Oct 1, 2010, 07:15 PM
 
What percentage of MacNN.com's advertising income, comes from the forum?
     
And.reg
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Oct 3, 2010, 11:18 AM
 
vBulletin's developers really need a kick in the arse. They introduced visitor messages (like the FB wall) in version 3.7 and still won't let users fully purge unwanted comments. There's no way to choose who writes on your wall, and if you want simple common sense interface changes made, you either have to wait years for the developers to get off their lazy bums, or you have to code/mod it yourself.

Searching with vBulletin 3 is bad enough, but searching with vBulletin 4 is even worse. The two search tabs are confusing, and when you ask to display search results by posts... there's no longer an option to have a preview of each post result! vBulletin 3 does this no problem, but now you have to click on each post title (or mouseover) one at a time to see if a keyword is in each post.

What's the workaround?
Answer: vbulletin.org - they have pretty much every mod you can imagine, and that's because of the stupidity of vBulletin's (lack of) user friendliness or an intuitive interface.

^^ This is the kind of "We don't support this" and "you'll need a mod" and "we haven't included this option yet" work ethic for common sense options to available features that I expect from a free/open source community...but they want, what, $300 for you to use software that is years behind everyone else? Screw that.

Unfortunately I can't say much about phpBB3 (and I suspect phpBB4 is coming soon), but I've heard nothing but decent things about phpBB3. Based on what I've read, it's vBulletin that should be free, and phpBB that should be paid software. :8
     
Brien
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Oct 3, 2010, 07:40 PM
 
I use FlexBB. It forked off from PunBB when they started over-complicating it, and it's fairly easy to skin, but anything beyond changing colors/images requires some digging.

PS: I keep hearing "omg Facebook is killing teh forams!" speak, but I don't think message boards are in danger of extinction.
     
reader50
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Oct 3, 2010, 11:18 PM
 
I haven't signed on with Facebook - they want real names. I prefer to keep my online identity separate from the real world.

My guess: as identity theft and related problems (employment-related usually) keep happening, people will become more private online. Forums are not going anywhere, and Facebook has an inherent size limit.

Every once in awhile, we get a request from someone who signed on with their real name, or used their email address as their name. We change their name to something that looks similar, but will not google up their real identity.
     
Doofy
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Oct 4, 2010, 07:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I haven't signed on with Facebook - they want real names.
Yes, but they have no way of knowing that your real name isn't Muscles Van Awesome.

I've been through half the character list of ER (Doug Ross, Peter Benton, Mark Greene, etc.) on places which expect your real name.
     
ghporter
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Oct 4, 2010, 07:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
My guess: as identity theft and related problems (employment-related usually) keep happening, SMART people will become more private online.
Fixed that for you. The "click on anything," "enter your full name wherever asked," "'please reenter your account number to confirm'" crowd will continue to volunteer up way too much personal information and continue to be amazed when they get screwed over by the bad guys. It's the old "lead a horse to water" thing...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Person Man
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Oct 4, 2010, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
I've been through half the character list of ER (Doug Ross, Peter Benton, Mark Greene, etc.) on places which expect your real name.
So which name did you use on Facebook?
     
Doofy
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Oct 4, 2010, 05:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
So which name did you use on Facebook?
Kyle Reese.
And Sarah Connor.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
ghporter
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Oct 4, 2010, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Kyle Reese.
And Sarah Connor.
I assume your alter egos are friended?



Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Doofy
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Oct 4, 2010, 05:54 PM
 

Note: I'm not on FB anymore. If anyone's doing it now, it's not me.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
Person Man
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Oct 5, 2010, 03:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Kyle Reese.
And Sarah Connor.
You're the last person I would have expected to create a female alter ego, after all those posts in which you mention, um, birdwatching.
     
Doofy
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Oct 5, 2010, 06:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
You're the last person I would have expected to create a female alter ego, after all those posts in which you mention, um, birdwatching.
You've never been a buxom, sex-crazed, 18-year-old Swedish female on the Internets? You haven't lived! It's a riot.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
Cold Warrior
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Oct 5, 2010, 08:07 PM
 
     
Brien
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Oct 5, 2010, 08:57 PM
 
Looks pretty snazzy, legalities aside.
     
Person Man
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Oct 6, 2010, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
You've never been a buxom, sex-crazed, 18-year-old Swedish female on the Internets? You haven't lived! It's a riot.
By myself? No.

But back in 1994, after I got a shell account in college (the Computer Science department was giving them out to anyone who wanted to apply for one. It would be another year and a half before all students got e-mail accounts) which I accessed via text mode with a 2400 baud modem and 8 year old Apple IIgs, about 4 or 5 of us guys (we were 18, which means young and stupid) gathered around my machine and spent about 2 or 3 hours in a chat room somewhere in England (I think) via telnet. And the 4 or 5 of us together pretended to be a buxom, sex-crazed, 18 year old female. (not Swedish. Sorry).

I think we did it a few times at a couple of different chat rooms over the next month or so.
     
Cold Warrior
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Oct 6, 2010, 02:29 PM
 
I've moved this to Applications but left a permanent redirect in the Lounge.
     
   
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