Well, it’s finally done, and appears to be working OK as far as tested.
Please let me know if any of the functions are not working as intended.
The COM section is only visible to COM members, so anything placed in this section is invisible to other users. If you want to check, have a look at the board without logging in.
This new version has two extra security measures (which all new members will see) which include an alphanumeric “scrambled” text to read and the question, so we should now be largely immune from the spambots, which will save me an hour of admin every few days deleting the bloody things.
If there are any queries or observations, please let me know.
Points one at a time ( and very briefly - we can discuss at further length at the next COM if you like).
Users can’t upload any media - Such as? Several people are already well adept at posting pictures. What other sort of media do you mean? The docgb.org website has a photo gallery for members bikes, which gets around 9500 hits a year. Why duplicate what appears to be a successful part of the website?
It looks dull - Note my point in the introduction. There are only two styles to choose from presently as this board was only introduced in mid-December. There will be more to choose from soon. Strangely, one of the early criticisms of the old Forum was that the colour sheme wasn’t to everyones taste, and “Why can’t we have the standard Sub-Silver template?”. Guess what this is?
3)No detailed events calendar - I am not going to repeat what is already on the DOCGB.org website. Ains is compiling a seperate one for the Forum, and of course, people can add what they want via the events section. Am I missing something?
No provision for adverts - And there will not be either, because we already have that on the DOCGB.org website, and people pay to use that, thus earning something towards the cost of running the sites. Text ads on the website are free to members, and reach around 3000 people per month, which is more than they would get if posted here.
Why can’t we have something like…? Because this is a Forum, not a DIY website. Anyone who wishes to change that is welcome to volunteer to do the job. The forums you refer to are run by individuals, not clubs, have a different agenda, and a much smaller audience. Multistrada - 147 members WORLDWIDE, around 60 of whom appear to be in the UK. DUN - A one man band. 819 members and no revenue, and when he gets fed up, it will probably disappear. Ducatisti - similar to DUN but with 1274 members. However, don’t be misled by member numbers on a free facility. The DSC have 4650 members, of whom 790 are classed as active, and a good deal less than that actually pay to be a member of their club.
This forum is provided as a service to members, intended to complement, not compete with or replace the main website (hence no ads or pictures - we deal with those via docgb.org). We have (on the old forum) 277 members, who are nearly all DOC members and mostly active on the board. 10% have already migrated to this new forum, and I expect we’ll be around three figures by the end of the month.
Finally. Money is not the problem. Time is a more difficult one, which is why you tend to find most of my emails and posts (like this) done in the early hours of the morning. There are many varieties of forum now available, some of which are better in some ways than others, and some of which have drawbacks. I chose to use this one for several reasons:
It is the officially released version from the PHP developers, and it doesn’t come more kosher than that. On release, it had two forms of anti-spam and and a further anti-robots feature, all of which were easy to install, set up and use, and are guaranteed bug free.
It is the brand new and up to date latest version, only launched in mid december, so will be “stable” for a good while now, meaning we won’t get left behind on development.
It has the biggest support network and contributory group for add-ons, extras and mods of all the various options available. I therefore have no reason to doubt that new styles and looks will not be long in coming. Unfortunately, due to the massive programming changes, old styles (such as the black & red we used on the old forum) will not migrate to the new program.
Several glitches had got into the old forum, which made it difficult to overhaul, so starting with a clean sheet, using the latest version, made sense.
It suits me.
Anything else I’ll leave to the next COM. Are we still on for Feb?
On a personal note, I find the new forum easier to read
Also, the ads and events calendar are reproduced in Desmo - which goes to ALL members. As Spaggy rightly says, this is a forum, and complements the other forms of communication that the club has.
CoM meeting - anything been decided? I can’t make the 9th (Bristol Show) or the 16th (weekend with socialising with Karen Monster and other friends!!!) Also, any chance of a meeting further south? I know that Guy and I would appreciate it
Spaggy says… ‘Points one at a time ( and very briefly - we can discuss at further length at the next COM if you like).’
You mean like a smack in the gob?
You will have noted I hope that events have been swapped over and will be up dated as need be.
I think it looks OK, I’ve already noticed the considerable decrease in spammed subscribers as I receive the new subscriber notification as junior webbo.
I would like to see dynamics, you know moving stuff like on flash driven sites. But, it’s cost and time init, and it would take new software to do it. I seem to remember a fair amount of cash was spent on the first version before Spaggy got involved and that site was less than required.
Useful addition: CoM minutes could be placed in full on the COM forum ‘read only’. It would be then be on record, topics could be discussed via additional posts and all the post minute posts could then be the basis for the next CoM meeting. It would save all the round robin discussions at the CoM meeting and could form the basis of a vote decision for outstanding points, without having to revisit them during the meeting. The CoM minutes can be signed off as OK online thus saving more time.
Ultimately, one can envisage a CoM meeting or two a year where the agenda is discussed on line over a few days without having to scamper down to the bloody NMM.
I can’t see why that can’t be done.
Oh, can I have my original 1065 posts points back please? NO!
Sorry but I stand by what I said earlier:
The website & forum should be integrated together as the other sites I inserted links to are.
In reply to the points:
Media uploads: Other forums have provision for user to upload photos ( as indeed ours does in a sense but restricted to small avatars).
As far as I can see the only way to show a photo is effectively to paste the image Url in. Therefore people without their own site can’t do this, so they can only insert other peoples images such as:
Hey I think this could be my new avatar!
Why do we need this? Because:
a) its what people typically want to do now ( there are plenty of mentions on the old forum and now there are already some on the new).
b) because it can form both a gallery & events section without the need to send pictures to the webmaster to upload.
c) it also reduces the amount of bandwidth used grabbing those external images.
See integration comment.
Again if website & forum were integrated there would only be one calendar.
See integration comment.
The purpose of posting the links was to show what can be done. It’s largely irrelevant how long they have been going numbers of member etc. But Multistrada.net actually has over 7300 members! And over 100,000 articles. However they are all sites with an integral forum and they all offer user facilities we don’t. I suggest people have a close look at them.
With regard to migration. It would be a good idea to have a redirect page at the HTTP address of the old forum rather than a Error 404! I imaging a lot of people go there via favourites or the address bar.
If time is the limiting factor why not recruit some helpers and form a webteam?
If we want to attract new and younger member we need to have the best shop window possible.
Posts on the old forum were nowhere near that of either the DSC or other non club competitors and posts on the new one are already down to a trickle now that Keefy has posted everywhere.
“With regard to migration. It would be a good idea to have a redirect page at the HTTP address of the old forum rather than a Error 404! I imaging a lot of people go there via favourites or the address bar.”
Because doing this would simply redirect the spam traffic straight on to where we don’t want it. As Ains says there has already been a significant drop in spam (which I have also noticed on all DOCGB email addresses) which obviously stemmed from the forum.
Once an existing user has checked the website once, they will find all they need to know there. This process will also help to weed out the non-members who have managed to infiltrate the forum.
As noted on some of my previous comments, more mods are being added for this version of the database daily, and a very recent one is for amendment of “post” counts. I will therefore be including this soon, and will change any users count to include those on the old forum on request.
Incidentally, the mods page for php.bb3 and brief descriptions can be found here
If anyone sees anything which they think can be usefully incorporated in our forum then please let me know. I am keeping an eye on it myself every couple of days, so expect to update the forum from time to time as more are released, but as of yet there are only about 25 available.
Such things as Andrews picture gallery could be included when a suitable add-on mod becomes available, but this will not be tomorrow! The mods list for version bb2 of the forum runs to thousands, but all are having to be re-written to allow for the significant changes made to version 3 of php.bb so they will take time to come on stream. Rome was not built …
Why not use a picture then as I suggested for the com contacts on the main site.
I’m still getting a lot of Spam on the secretary address.
If we really want to weed out non members then membership should be verified before account activation.
If you look at the DSC site paid up members have a white and red dynamic D roundel. Mind you these seem to be disappearing at a rate of knots as the counter revolutionaries are being slowly dragged away…
Further to the above, I think I can now say that the new forum is working well with minimal maintainance. I have been doing some behind the scenes work on both the old and new forums, and should shortly be able to add a couple of different styles to this one. One of the early ones I tried doesn’t really work, but the range is now much better.
Also, there seem to be a couple of new add-ons which may allow me to integrate the old one with the new, thus freeing up a database and tidying up. This does not look to be a simple job though, so don’t hold your breathe.
Lastly, my decision to go with the BB3 board from the outset (limited though it was in some ways) has proved to be vindicated as technical support and updates to the old BB2 version (as used on the previous DOCGB forum) was ceased on 1st Jan 2009, so it’s now thoroughly obsolete.