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DirtyComanche

Forum help

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Not help with this forum. :laugh:

 

Backstory: (skip if you hate reading)

So there's a local (to me) 4x4 forum.  At one time it decently served the northern half of BC.  Not a lot of people, but it was a good thing.  I've moderated on it for years.  In general forums have declined.  Ones that are badly managed and using archaic software and have frequent long outages have done so much worse.  This one falls into the latter group.  The guy who is 'running' it is begging for money to cover hosting costs again (happens every year, it's the only time he shows up) and I and another guy offered to just take it over from him so he would not be out the costs anymore.  Nope.  Alright.
 

I'd like to start a new forum for the few of us that want one.  I don't expect it to be busy.  I don't expect it to be revenue neutral or better.  I just want a place for the people who hate Facebook.  And I want it to be reliable, look decent, be easy to use, etc.

 

Questions:

-Reliable and decent priced hosting and domain services - Just go with a big one like GoDaddy or whatever?

-Forum software that's easy enough to set up but still has decent features?  vBulletin seems to be the most common, and seems okay if you're willing to spend a bunch of time integrating mods into it.  Obviously that's not what we're using here.

-Can I rip and archive an entire forum database?  We were using SimpleMachines Forum (SMF 2.0.6).  I don't care about integrating it, I'd like to just take it and leave it as archived material so it's still there/searchable, and people could like there build threads back to where they were before.  Not concerned about the legality of it.

-Point me somewhere to read up on this???

 

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15 minutes ago, DirtyComanche said:

Blah blah blah.....a lot of computer stuff.....

 

 

I hate Facebook.

 

I will be member #1 on your new forum, should you decide to proceed.

 

I like poutine, a few Canadian beers, and I've been to Niagra Falls (Canuck side) and Halifax.  I qualify, lol.

 

PM me with membership info when you're ready, lol.  :beerchug::canflag:

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3 minutes ago, mjeff87 said:

I hate Facebook.

 

I will be member #1 on your new forum, should you decide to proceed.

 

I like poutine, a few Canadian beers, and I've been to Niagra Falls (Canuck side) and Halifax.  I qualify, lol.

 

PM me with membership info when you're ready, lol.  :beerchug::canflag:

 

Woah, I already have overwhelming support for my new forum.  A full 100% of respondents are in favour of it and wish to join!

 

:roflmao:

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Make that 200%. That's how percentages work, right?

Sorry I can't actually offer you any forum advice, though. I will say that whatever it is Pete's got going on seems Pretty Friggen Awesome. 

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3 minutes ago, gogmorgo said:

Make that 200%. That's how percentages work, right?

Sorry I can't actually offer you any forum advice, though. I will say that whatever it is Pete's got going on seems Pretty Friggen Awesome. 

 

Exactly!

 

And I 1000% agree with you about this place.  Probably the best forum UI/layout I've seen.

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35 minutes ago, DirtyComanche said:

 

Exactly!

 

And I 1000% agree with you about this place.  Probably the best forum UI/layout I've seen.

 

I've been to Nova Scotia, can I join?

 

Isn't vBulletin sort of pricey? I know a lot of forums use it (I'm a moderator on two of them), and I know that the larger of them is running a VERY old version because they didn't want to spend the money to update it. FWIW, I actually prefer the older version, but it's not as secure as the newest version.

 

The software we're using here looks nice but I'll be "that guy" and say that I don't like it. Why don't I like it? I don't like that the edit window for posts is WYSIWYG. For an analog dinosaur like me, that causes all sorts of problems when posting or editing.

 

In reality, for a small forum with low volume, there's nothing at all wrong with Simple Machines. IIRC, that's what we used here until the [fairly] recent upgrade. It works, and it gets the job done. Another one that might be worth looking at is https://www.phpbb.com/  . It's free, and it works. I'm a member of a forum that runs it. I'm not a moderator on that forum so I can't speak to how hard or easy it is to administer it, but I know the owner well enough to ask him, and if he's open to it I can put you in touch with him directly.

 

I would avoid GoDaddy. I don't trust them not to mine data and sell it. I'm looking at name.com for hosting, but I'm not sure if they'll host a forum.

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16 minutes ago, Eagle said:

 

I've been to Nova Scotia, can I join?

 

Isn't vBulletin sort of pricey? I know a lot of forums use it (I'm a moderator on two of them), and I know that the larger of them is running a VERY old version because they didn't want to spend the money to update it. FWIW, I actually prefer the older version, but it's not as secure as the newest version.

 

The software we're using here looks nice but I'll be "that guy" and say that I don't like it. Why don't I like it? I don't like that the edit window for posts is WYSIWYG. For an analog dinosaur like me, that causes all sorts of problems when posting or editing.

 

In reality, for a small forum with low volume, there's nothing at all wrong with Simple Machines. IIRC, that's what we used here until the [fairly] recent upgrade. It works, and it gets the job done. Another one that might be worth looking at is https://www.phpbb.com/  . It's free, and it works. I'm a member of a forum that runs it. I'm not a moderator on that forum so I can't speak to how hard or easy it is to administer it, but I know the owner well enough to ask him, and if he's open to it I can put you in touch with him directly.

 

I would avoid GoDaddy. I don't trust them not to mine data and sell it. I'm looking at name.com for hosting, but I'm not sure if they'll host a forum.

 

Sure!

 

And yeah, I believe vBulletin is a lot of bucks for the newer versions.  I'm not sure though as I haven't priced it out, and I'd @$$ume they sell licenses for the older versions for less.  Most of the forums using it aren't using the latest and greatest, but there seems to be a lot of mod support for it so you can add useful UI features to the older versions.  That said, like I know, that's why I'm here asking. :roflmao:

 

I absolutely understand liking the old versions, rather than the dynamic WYSIWYG type (that's a great way to explain it).  One of the other forums I'm on uses a newer-ish version of vBulletin that has a light switch icon on the top bar to toggle between seeing it as code versus WYSIWYG.  That's nice as it allows the people to choose, as some people are very scared of seeing an [ IMG ] tag or the like, but I'll admit that I'm like you and would rather just see it in code as it makes as much or more sense to me.

 

I forgot about phpbb.  I think it's a little better than Simple Machines.  That said, I don't know how good Simple Machines is, because the admin had no interest in trying to make any of it better, to the point of not even changing the default forum header. :dunce:

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I want to go to Nova Scotia and Wisconsin is basically Sputhern Canada. Can I join? I didn’t understand anything else you said. Not you, it’s me. 

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7 hours ago, 89 MJ said:

I want to go to Nova Scotia and Wisconsin is basically Sputhern Canada. Can I join? I didn’t understand anything else you said. Not you, it’s me. 

 

:laugh:  Everyone is welcome.  And you should go to Nova Scotia, the Canadian dollar is so bad right now it's like you get everything 30% off!

 

 

 

I played around with phpBB's demo a bit last night.  Seems easy enough to use, lots of skins that would be decent starting places.  I looked at Simple Machines as well, and it does look like there is better skins for it and they also could be tweaked just as easily.  So both may be contenders. 

 

My other big concern is mobile user experience.  Tapatalk seems to be the default bandaid.  However I think I would like it to have a simplified mobile view option.  Dunno how hard that is to implement or if there is off the shelf plugins.  I will have to do more research. 

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22 minutes ago, DirtyComanche said:

My other big concern is mobile user experience.  Tapatalk seems to be the default bandaid.  However I think I would like it to have a simplified mobile view option.  Dunno how hard that is to implement or if there is off the shelf plugins.  I will have to do more research. 

 

I'm fairly certain that vBulletin includes a default mobile style (or "skin") out of the box. I have e-mailed my friend to ask him if this is part of the basic package or an enhancement.

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Just now, Eagle said:

 

I'm fairly certain that vBulletin includes a default mobile style (or "skin") out of the box. I have e-mailed my friend to ask him if this is part of the basic package or an enhancement.

 

Thanks for that. :waving:

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I've also sent out inquiries to the admins of a forum using Simple Machines, and another that uses phpbb.

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I do most of my browsing on mobile and usually default to desktop mode on most sites. Maybe it's just me but most of the mobile sites kinda suck to use. I kinda get wanting to save on bandwidth and small screens sometimes need different visual formats, but it's not 2007 anymore. For the most part the only things I can't render on my phone are Flash-based, and again, it's not 2007 anymore, I rarely if ever encounter Flash. Not being able to access all the features of a site is more frustrating to me than whatever issue it is the mobile site was trying to solve. And this is coming from someone still running ios9.

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1 hour ago, gogmorgo said:

I do most of my browsing on mobile and usually default to desktop mode on most sites. Maybe it's just me but most of the mobile sites kinda suck to use. I kinda get wanting to save on bandwidth and small screens sometimes need different visual formats, but it's not 2007 anymore. For the most part the only things I can't render on my phone are Flash-based, and again, it's not 2007 anymore, I rarely if ever encounter Flash. Not being able to access all the features of a site is more frustrating to me than whatever issue it is the mobile site was trying to solve. And this is coming from someone still running ios9.

 

Flash is officially dead in 2020, so you don't have to worry about that.

 

Implemented correctly, it's not a completely different view, it just moves things around a bit so they make more sense given the screen dimensions.  Typically they move the user name/data/avatar (on the left on this forum) to above the body of the post, as the typical 'device' screen is narrow and tall, and they will hide or move (to either the top or bottom) some extraneous sidebar elements (if a forum is bad enough to have them,things like search boxes, announcements, etc, typically things that shouldn't have been there to begin with), and they will make the buttons larger so they're easier to click, the reply box tall/skinny, etc.  They aren't always good, in fact some are so terrible they aren't worth using unless you're a masochist, but a decent forum will have it and have it set up so the bare minimum of information is lost in that mode and so it is actually easier to read.  I know people that literally do not have an actual computer, just a phone and/or tablet, and have never viewed a forum in desktop mode.  Those people typically want this view, as the desktop view is only useful in mobile if you're already used to it.

 

phpBB supports this out of the box, but could use some tweaking on the default skin.  vBulletin seems to do a better job of it, but not smashingly so.  Haven't tried if Simple Machines can.

 

phpBB also seems to default support attachment/image uploading with max file sizes, and it looks like you can install a plugin (ImageMagik I think) to allow automatic resizing and converting.  I don't think it can do the seemless drag and drop we have here, while vBulletin can, but I'm guessing there might be a plugin to do that.

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