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The Big Forum Move: Why We Moved, What's Missing and New Features

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Cort, May 10, 2012.

  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    We're moving tomorrow! After much testing and evaluating we hope the transition will be as seamless as possible but in a move like this some glitches are probably inevitable. All you will need to do is login again (and click the stay logged in button, if you wish). Be prepared for a quite different look!

    Why did Phoenix Rising Switch Forum packages (from Vbulletin to Xenforo)?

    Xenforo is a new entry into the Forum software market. Developed by former lead Vbulletin developer, Kier Darby, after VBulletin was sold to a larger firm, Xenforo is what Darby believed VBulletin should have become.

    Vbulletin served the PR community well during the two years it used VBulletin but in terms of improved features, flexibility and support for the kinds of work that Phoenix Rising is committed to accomplish in the future, Xenforo, with its updated code base, quickly became a clear favorite for us.

    Vbulletin, the industry leader, dominates the paid Forum market and will for many years but many messages boards, including some very big ones, have moved to and benefitted from the move to Xenforo in the past year.

    THE DOWNSIDE - As often occurs with a move from one software package to another some functionality will be lost.
    • Lost Functionality -You'll notice that the menu bar at top is much sparer. Fortunately most of the missing items were not being used that much.the Active Threads, New Blogs, New Articles, New Events, Most Liked Posts and Calendar are not available on Xenforo
    • Member List - Instead of being divided up into the letters of the alphabet the member list on Xenforo is just one long member list - 220 pages long! Hopefully they will organize that at some point but they do give you a nice search function.
    • Friends are gone - there is no Friends option in Xenforo; instead you can 'follow' someone (see below)
    • A Different Homepage - The Front Page of the Forums is now gone - replaced by the Front Page of our Wordpress website. You'll notice there's a rather jarring transition with the Forums and the website having different designs. Merging the two designs is something that we'll work on in the future.
    THE UPSIDE- vastly cleaner code with lots of new options, better integration with our Wordpress website and a better development environment for the future.
    • Easy Access! - No more clicking on your name to get to your Profile Page. Simply hover over your name in the top menu bar on the right hand side of the page and you can immediately go to your avatar, signature, the likes you've received, your watched threads, your alerts...This is a box you're going to love!
    • Search - with a big Forum like ours a good search function is essential. When VB did a major upgrade about a year and a half ago, the search capabilities tanked. We waited and waited for that to improve...we thought it must improve but it never did. Thankfully Xenforo's search capabilities are much superior.
    • Follow Someone in Your Newsfeed - Want to keep on top of what someone is posting? In a section of your profile called the 'News Feed' the posts of people you pick to follow will show up in your Newsfeed..
    • Alerts - Want to know who is following you? Replying or quoting your posts? 'Liking' your posts, commenting on your albums, etc? Replying to a thread you're watching? Simply create an alert in your profile and they will show up in your profile.
    • Social Media - A Facebook Fan? Its easy to integrate your account with Facebook in your profile if you wish, and you can Facebook recommend or tweet pages of threads that you've found compelling (see the bottom of each page) (or not :))
    • More Theme Options - we've bought several new themes and may bring in some more. Look on the bottom left side of the page where it says 'Flexile'. Click on that to bring up other theme options and then click on them to check them out.
    • Creating Polls - just got easier; instead of having to go to a separate page and tell the program how many questions you have, you can create a poll on the same page as your post and keep adding questions until you're done.
    • Upgraded Tech Support - We now have a well organized Tech Support Forum (Nuts and Bolts is gone) which allows you to instantly see the status of your issues. Please post all your issues and questions there.
    • Improved Moderation - we chose to use the Xenforo move to improve other facets of PR. We've created a moderators manual to enhance our consistency and to better guide the moderators in their work.
    • New Forum Rules - We've gone over the Forum rules and added a few concerning medical advice, advertising, copywriting.
    MUCH THE SAME- you can still Ignore people, create a Signature, do Private Messages (now called Conversations), check out someone's posts in their profile (see Postings).

    A FEW LOGISTICAL CHANGES - Some things are done differently.the functionality is still there but some learning is needed to do it the 'Xenforo way'

    Adding Images to a post - Clicking on the image icon in Vbulletin allowed you to add images from your computer or from a URL; in Xenforo you have to use the' Upload a File' button on the bottom right of each post to upload an image from your computer. Then you have the option of choosing to insert a thumbnail of the image or the entire image in to your post.

    Getting images into a post may not be as streamlined a process as in Vbulletin but they're showing up much better when they get in..the resolution of the site appears to much higher. Any kind of image, from avatars to photo's, look better and more precise in Xenforo.

    WHO DID THIS - Adin was the essential factor. He brought up Xenforo to our attentions soon after it was launched and began ever so gently pushing me. I was appalled at the idea of moving from Vbulletin at first but over time, I saw the light and became a fan. Even this early in its lifespan Xenforo is a superior product.

    After the decision was made Adin, Will and Svet took on the huge job of moving a 250,000 post Forum with blogs and articles from one program to another. In the last weeks Will, in particular, was involved with the technical aspects of the move.

    On the content and moderation side Mark and Kina took the opportunity to not only create a new Manual and the Help section, but to rethink Forum moderation and the Forum rules and created a new Moderation Manual and streamlined and updated the Forum Rules sections.

    Thanks to Oceanblue, Esther12, Merry, Calathea, hixxy82 and Ahimsa for reviewing the new Forums.

    We hope you like it:D
  2. Bob


    England (south coast)
    Wow, you've all been working very hard! Looking forward to using the new forum!
    WillowJ likes this.
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    sounds good :)

    I think the only thing thing I will miss is the alphabetical member list (it has been handy to find members names one cant quite remember when one wants to pm someone).

    **fingers crossed for a smooth move**
  4. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    Glad to see my monthly donation going to a good cause!

  5. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Ohio, USA

    Ohio, USA
    Thanks to everyone who has worked long hours on this transition and who have donated money to the cause. Although I always hate change - I'm very excited that we are embracing new technology that will provide a much richer experience for us all.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks Gaston! (Its been very helpful:) ) I want to remind everyone that small amounts help! You can find a monthly donation option on the right hand side of this page (http://phoenixrising.me/) and you can choose from $1, $2, $5 up to a hundred dollars.
    oceanblue likes this.
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Special K, this Forum package, newly developed, is primed for integration with other software systems- that's one of the big reasons we chose it...
  8. Bob


    England (south coast)
    You'll be pleased to know that there is an alphabetical members list!
    It just doesn't separate A's, B's, C's etc into separate categories, so it's only slightly harder to use.
  9. Bob


    England (south coast)
    Initial thoughts:

    I really like the layout and the features, and I'm finding it pretty intuitive and smooth to use.

    I'm especially enjoying some of the new features.
  10. Kina


    Sofa, UK
    Can members please post there technical issues and questions in the Technical Support Forum so we can keep all the questions and answers in one place.

    Thank you.
  11. Mark

    Mark Former CEO

    Sofa, UK
    If anybody has persistent problems like this, please post in the Technical Support Forum and mention what browser etc (as the sticky thread in that forum explains).

    I've moved the following questions there:

    Bob: Is it possible to save or export private messages?
    L'engle: Is Facebook Integration Optional?
    SpecialK82: How Can I Change My User Title?
    Sushi: Getting Logged Out After Clicking 'Keep Me Logged In'
    Caledonia: How do you 'Go to first unread post'?
    Denise: Where can I find information about trophies?
    RustyJ: Flexile theme missing number of posts, award points etc
    RustyJ: Number of posts does not appear below avatar
    RustyJ: Suggestion: Use XenPorta for the Home Page
    Calathea: Documentation about Private Groups
    Hixxy: Can members use the wiki?
  12. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Great to hear Bob...keep us updated...
  13. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks RustyJ - love the avatar by the way...(I'm all fuzzy - got to get a new one)

    Did you check out Imperial? Nice big print on that one...Very clean...
  14. Bob


    England (south coast)
    To the team: My experience of the forum so far is that it has been an absolutely seamless switchover! And I've been playing with all the functions quite a lot. Amazing work everyone!
    WillowJ and wdb like this.
  15. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Actually I'm using Whisper - now that is a nice theme....
  16. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks Bob! :)
  17. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

    Mackay, Aust
    My apologies, I have two monitors and the one I use as TV (it is a TV) has resolution breakup and not so good color and did not do Imperial and possibly others justice. Some of the elements in Imperial require better color balance to be readable. All the templates appear very nice on the other monitor. The default is much more forgiving.

    • One thing, on other templates there is a panel on masthead, right hand side, which indicates number of posts, award pts etc which does not show up on Flexile. Is it possible to make this happen for Flexile?
    • Also, below avatar, on left of posts, the number of posts does not appear. Is this possible?
    I've created threads in the Technical Support forum for these questions:
    Flexile theme missing number of posts, award points etc
    Number of posts does not appear below avatar
  18. Googsta

    Googsta Doing Well

    :hug: Thankyou to the whole team! Including the members who did the reviews.
    It must have been a massive undertaking, especially for all those who are struggling with health issues.
  19. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Lovely to use - thanks to all the team (and I'm still a beginner .....after 2 years just managed the avatar bit).
  20. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

    Los Angeles, USA
    I think the crew did a fantastic job with this migration. I don't think most people realize that some of the features here don't come with Xenforo, and had to be added. Like Blogs, Groups,, Wiki, and Album. Then add the integration with the WordPress front page. Then migrate the message base and members over to this multi-module setup. And probably more that I'm not noticing. And all done with no duct tape or bailing wire in sight. Pretty amazing.

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