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Moving to XenForo... coming soon!

Discussion in 'Sorcerous Sundries' started by Taluntain, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    [​IMG] The time has come to start talking about the transition from vBulletin to XenForo that I mentioned some time ago, so I thought I might as well make it an open discussion.

    My aim is to transfer as much of what we've currently got on vBulletin to XenForo, however certain mods available for that platform are not the same as for vBulletin, so various things will work and/or appear different on XenForo than they are now.

    A few things worth mentioning specifically:

    1) Reputation does not exist in XenForo. The default system that XenForo uses is "Likes", which is more or less identical to the Likes system via the Like button that I've implemented here some time ago, so we're going to import all the current Likes.

    Initially I thought that XenForo not having reputation was really a deal breaker and I wanted to transfer reputation one way or another... however, since implementing Likes, I can't remember the last time that I actually repped anyone. Using the Like button is simply easier, more visible and intuitive. So instead of going to the trouble of trying to replace XenForo's Likes system, I've decided to adopt it instead. The two systems really can't coexist since people are going to use one or the other predominantly, and I believe that Likes have become predominantly used shortly after their implementation.

    This means that your currently reputation will be lost, however all your likes will remain. Is anyone going to desperately miss reputation?

    2) User albums are not integrated with XenForo as they are with vBulletin, so we'll export all of the pics to a gallery addon for XenForo. This should prove an even better solution since a dedicated addon should offer even more options than the basic user albums we have now.

    3) We're going to be dropping social groups as they've never really taken off. Their content will be either merged with existing forums or transferred to proper forums.

    4) I expect I'll be adding the arcade back on XenForo, though I won't be importing any of the current scores as the mod for it that we'll be using on XF will be different. I might be reinstating the most popular games there if it makes sense, but otherwise we'll just start the arcade anew from scratch.

    5) Blogs have been somewhat used, but recently their usage has more or less dropped to a halt, so I don't feel that there's much of a need for a separate blog add-on any more. Still, if it's easy to convert the existing entries to one of the XF blog add-ons, we'll do that. The alternative would be putting them all in a kind of "blog forum".

    6) XenForo uses private conversations - essentially threads - instead of the clunky unconnected private messages system of vBulletin. Those of you still with us since BoM's UBB.classic times (before we switched over to vBulletin) will remember how it worked. It's a far more efficient and user-friendly system, so this is definitely a change for the better. Your vB private messages will import, though unconnected.

    This is a basic outline of the more important changes that I'm looking at at the moment, but as additional issues pop up I'll be updating this thread.

    I'd like to get some discussion going on this, so any questions and comments on the above and the entire transition plan are very welcome. I'm really excited about finally moving to XenForo as it is without a doubt the most promising forum software currently on the market. One of our hosted sites, RPG Codex, has been using it for a couple of years now and I've observed first-hand all the good things that it can do for a community, so I'm sure that you'll all love it once we get it going here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  2. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    1) Never really cared for it. On any forum.

    2) I know users make these, but what's actually the point of these? Do people go album diving in other people's image collections? With all the image sites out there which provide better album functionality, it seems a bit redundant.

    3) These usually don't stick, not even on forums with large databases (comparatively), unless there's a point in segregating a community.

    4) Tried it, got bored after an hour. Like with image albums, I don't really see the point of it. If I feel like playing flash games, I go to Kongregate.

    5) People would write blogs if anyone were willing to read them. As it stands, publishing a blog on BoM seems a bit pointless. Unless you like talking to yourself.

    6) Yep, I like(d) conversations better.

    What happens to chat? I'm kinda curious how many people actually use it. Since I've been back, I've only had a few brief conversations with Beren. No one else even comes to the chatrooms. Maybe there's more activity in private.
     
  3. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Sometimes people go album diving, sure, but the idea is that you can easily make albums & upload pictures and screenshots and have it all under the same forum account, as well as easily integrate pics into forum posts. The biggest benefit is obviously that it's local, requires no additional signup and that all the members can comment on the pics directly.

    Actually, the biggest benefit is probably that pics are always accessible and never deleted, which is not the case with many external image hosting sites.

    Similar thing - it's local so you're competing against other known forum members and comparing achievements. Plus you have full control over what's in the arcade.

    Not that few people read them, I think not commenting on them is more of a problem as that gives the writers the impression that nobody's reading them, which isn't necessarily the case. Of course the content can also be a problem - everyone reading them isn't always really interested in them, plus the integration with the forums is poor so that's a contributing factor as well. I doubt it's much different on XF but we'll see.

    The chat app supports XF so it could look the same there. Most people have apparently turned it off though as they never appear on the chat list so it's not really used much, but it's still useful for quick 1:1 convos when needed. But since the forums are moving in the direction of instant notifications and refreshing more and more, I expect chat will only be used less and less. XF is already half-way there with various instant notifications which make the whole forum environment much more interactive. The other option would be implementing a shoutbox like on the Codex... but I'm not really a fan of that as I expect we'd just be moving Whatnots there.
     
  4. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    I don't mind resetting the rep. If people really want it, they can build it back up again.
     
  5. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    Maybe, but creating a permanent album these days is as easy as dropping pics into a dropbox folder.

    Not that I'm opposed to having a local image storage.

    Are you, though? When was the last time you played one of those games? :D

    It seems like a waste of resources if it's not a popular thing.

    Perhaps, but do you have any data on the amount of people reading them? Otherwise, implementing a counter would be exceedingly simple (and possibly encouraging for writers).

    Unless you have more than one forum tab open, in which case it goes bananas. Whoever designed the damn thing has a far too linear way of thinking.
     
  6. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Technically, they can't, as reputation won't be there in XF. Just a counter of Likes. Basically, negative feedback is not possible.

    There's a new, different or better way of doing most things every so often... but hardly everyone uses it. I've never even tried Dropbox yet because I have no real need for it, though I have it available. I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat.

    I've played them a lot over the years, just not much recently. The problem with the arcade is more the lack of new games there than anything else. I'd aim to correct that in XF, naturally.

    The counter is there for every entry, as well as a list of recent visitors.

    It's just buggy as hell, unfortunately. But pretty much all other chat apps are too, only most others are far more bloated as well.
     
  7. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    Ah ok, well I don't mind losing the rep points anyway although it might make some of the "famous" people mad :p
     
  8. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    What planet do you live on? :D

    That's good. Statistical data is alway useful.

    IRC isn't buggy, you don't even need java or flash for a browser client anymore. *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

    Btw, have you made any polls regarding what features users would like to see after the move?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  9. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Nobody has been using rep for a while. Kill it.
     
  10. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Enlighten me what I need Dropbox for when I've got a web server of my own?

    Uh... we had an IRC channel for more than 10 years. Nobody came there any more for the last 5 or so. IRC is an outdated service that very few people still use at this point. Most modern users have never even heard of it, let alone used it and there's no easy way to properly integrate it with the board member database. And if you want to make it easily accessible on every page like the current chat app, you need a java client as well.

    Not yet (there was this thread a few years ago), or do you mean forum features only? I'm going to have my hands full redoing everything on the new platform for a while after the move. XF comes with many new features not present in vB by default.

    Though the primary reason we need to move is so that catbert can start working on the new site design and integrate everything properly with XF's member database. So there'll be plenty of changes around here soon.
     
  11. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Coming from the man with the highest rep of all... I think that's reason enough to do it! :D
     
  12. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    The only thing I ever use rep for is as a memory aid regarding things that I have said or that I have responded to. Often the rep comes in response to a point that I may want to raise again, and it's an easy way to find without bothering to do a search. It only covers the last 10 times, though, so it has become less than effective for me. Plus, it has been a while since much rep has been given anywhere, so let's pretend it's the unnamed guy in the red shirt and let it die.
     
  13. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Don't use reputation, and I've noticed that it hasn't been used at all since the Thanks/Likes were introduced.

    Photo albums are ok for me, I kinda like it.

    Never really spend much time in the BoM arcade, if I want to play a game, I have lots of them installed on my PC.

    Blogs and social groups I don't use, so I'm okay with dropping them. Never did figure out how to see/join these social groups, or what the point would be.

    Conversations as threads seems more in line with how I'm used to seeing it on other forums.

    I tried the chat for a while, but either nothing is happening, or I'm looking in other tabs so I don't see what is happening.
     
  14. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Umm, you only need to agree to the disclaimer for the MUG group to view it, the other ones are all open: http://www.sorcerers.net/forums/group.php?do=grouplist&sort=lastpost&order=desc

    What are you having trouble with exactly? The instructions on how to join the MUG are linked in the group's description.
     
  15. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Reputation now seems sort of redundant/confusing since we have likes. Though without it I won't have anyone telling me that I have "much to be proud of", so I may need to find a new way to build my sense of self worth. :p

    I like having the photo albums. It's a nice way to share stuff that is specifically relevant to SP.

    As stated, the social groups never really took off. Blogs don't seem to be overly popular either.

    The arcade is great for those who want to use it.
     
  16. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    I have several and I still use Dropbox. While you can certainly treat it as a web server, it's far more than that.

    No one comes to the chat we have now either, so aside from a buggy instant messaging service, it's hardly an improvement. :p

    See, that's funny, because all the sites I frequent still use IRC. Of course, people don't really gather in such places anymore as much as they used to. With so many other forms of communication, that itch is easily scratched in other ways these days. Still, IRC is far from outdated. That's like saying FTP is outdated. It's just a protocol that serves its function.

    Well, that's just rubbish. Modern IRC web clients haven't used java in quite some time. And I imagine part of the reason why a lot of people haven't heard of IRC these days is because the apps are more or less seamless.

    I do agree that integrating it with the user database isn't trivial though. But on the other hand, I've never really seen the need for it.

    I meant more like just a poll for forum features. People might be more inclined to click on a poll option than actually bothering to post a reply. :D
     
  17. Nobleman Gems: 27/31
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    :cool: Always exciting to move! :)

    A poll gives a nice overview for features wanted and not wanted. It could never replace talking about them here. :)

    I think the thing I miss the most is having a SP chatroom running in the background all evening that actually works as somekind of browser window. Even if it is just a handful of people online it is a nice way to chat about games and everything and nothing for a few minutes on and off during the evening with people you know, without any real life entanglements attached to it. Free flying with peeps from around the world. It is a bit clonky to tab in and out of the current one.

    It is like the missing sibling of the random babbling thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  18. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    He said and left me wondering about the far more... :shake:

    That's why I'll likely replace it with something a bit different, but if it's not used much I have no really big plans to go to great lengths to make it more widely adopted. It is an appendage to the forum and/or site and if people prefer to use forums than chat, so be it. The option is there, but in the era of instant gratification when nobody is willing to sit in front of an inactive chatroom for more than a few seconds, it's unlikely that chat would have even a moderate following unless we had hundreds of active forum users who could provide at least some activity in the chatroom around the clock.

    Still use actively or just have an IRC channel with a dozen idling nicknames and a discussion every two days? Of course IRC still has a function in certain specific environments (especially around team-based games), but on a site like SP - not really much. IRC is outdated whether you like it or not. There are dozens of replacements for it and most of them far better suited for integration with forum software than IRC - which is pretty much the definition of how something becomes outdated. Especially since the core chat experience is essentially identical in all of them. FTP is a bad analogy because it hasn't been superseded by dozens of more modern and more widely used communication platforms performing the same function.

    Java or whatever else, makes little difference, really. I'll probably add a chatroom page to the forum listing once we're on XF and we'll see if that'll be any more active. But I'd still rather do it without having to rely on an external IRC server to run the channel on.

    "Why don't I have my forum username here?" is something I've heard a million times in the old IRC chatroom.

    There'll be time for that after the switch. XF will come with a boatload of new features already so we'll need to get used to all that for starters.
     
  19. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    That's on the to-do after the move. ;)
     
  20. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    My trouble is that I never found that link. Now that you've posted it, I searched a bit and found the link to that site under the community link at the top. I just never looked there before, I guess.
     
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