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Forum vs Message Board

Started by on Apr 21, 2015 – Contents updated: May 04, 2015

Apr 21, 2015 03:33    

Have installed the 6.1.2 release the other day and had high flying hope to find a real forum there, a feature, I am searching for since more than a year. Well ... I found a message board, which you (as many others) call 'Forum'.

I guess you know the difference: Message boards list posts chronologically and most time layout-wise not allow to directly relate to the source you refer to, while a real Forum would allow threads (means comment directly to much older/earlier posts) and allow such a much more sophisticated discussion culture. There is a nice example for such a threaded modell at http://forum.selfhtml.org/self (unfortunately in German only - but one will get the point) and my question would be: would it from a technical point of view be possible to 'upgrade' to a real forum .. or is just the whole data setup and management not suitable for such a plan?

There's an excellent article by Stefan Münz (the German selfhtml-Guru) explaining how the form of the plattform interacts with user habits and in the end that board flatness results in noncomplex discussions ... means less quality. I hate to say that this article is in German and I feel tempted to organize a translation, if someone wants take a look at it: http://aktuell.de.selfhtml.org/artikel/gedanken/foren-boards/

From an admin/user perspective I have to state: having a real forum included in b2e would double the value of the whole package and once such a thing would be implemented, I would move two of the sites I administer the same day to b2e. Maybe many sites are happy with the message board type of forum (it is perfect here on this site!), but wouldn't it rock to sell the system with an additional premium gimmick?! Didn't i start this post with 'high flying hope' ... ?

One point on the 6.2.1-forum: is it possible that the tags don't show?

Apr 21, 2015 08:34

Hi @ramadama,

We already have a threaded comments feature in b2evo. For some reason it is not fully functional in the forum skins, but you can get it by using the file I'm attaching to this comment and enabling "Threaded comments" in the back-office (http://b2evolution.net/man/comment-viewing-options). The file could be improved, but works as a quick idea, just uncompress it and replace skins/pureforums/_item_comment.inc.php.

It would be very interesting to have that document translated, because as far as I know, a forum is a tool that let people talk about a topic, and reply to others in no particular order (this could be achieved with the threaded feature mentioned above). So, IMO, the rest is just UX and not part of the conceptual definition of "Forum". However, by playing around with the page you linked, I can get a general idea about the text. Displaying only the current answer and a tree view of the whole discussion in order to navigate through it, may be possible with the current structure but adding new displays, I guess.

The thing is that maybe we are not trying to offer the best forum feature ever, but a fully functional one completely integrated into the website engine.

Regards !


Attachments:

Apr 21, 2015 08:41

Regarding this:

@ramadama wrote earlier:

One point on the 6.2.1-forum: is it possible that the tags don't show?

You can hide tags by commenting the code. It's not optional right now but can be easily turned into an option in the skin's settings.

If you want to get rid of the tags with a hack, go to the file skins/pureforums/_item_block.inc.php and comment this section:

PHP

$Item->tagsarray(
                    'before' =>    '<span class="topic_tags">'.T_('Tags').': ',
                    'after' =>     '</span>',
                    'separator' => ', ',
                ) );

by replacing it with:

PHP

/*$Item->tags( array(
                    'before' =>    '<span class="topic_tags">'.T_('Tags').': ',
                    'after' =>     '</span>',
                    'separator' => ', ',
                ) );*/

The "right" way it's a bit more complicated but not too much :D Just tell me if you're interested and I can tell you how to do it.

May 04, 2015 03:43

We'll definitely make the forum skins work with threaded comments.

We'll think about even more advanced displays in a second time.

I'd like to say: let's collapse all replies with javascript and let users navigate only through the branches they're interested in...

... but this is so not search-friendly: if someone finds the page through Google and some content is collapsed, many times they will not find the info they were looking for, because they don't know what to open.

PS: I admit I did not read the long german article written in super small font ;)


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