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hammersmith View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: suggestion: more modern forum software
    Posted: 24 Apr 2011 at 15:59
I'm new to the forums. Here's my first impressions:

1. No subscriptions for posts? WTF. That blows.
2. They're slow sometimes -- there's been 4 times today that I've clicked on a section heading (e.g. Tech & Data) and I see the page loading but *nothing happens*. Wait a few minutes, click on Tech & Data again and it loads instantly.

Two major annoyances in my first 20 minutes. Not a good start. Subscriptions for posts is so ubiquitous that I have to wonder how you managed to find software that doesn't do it. Or did you turn it off?

Edit: in case I hear "maybe your connection is slow": I've tested twice today, both have been >13Mbps.


Edited by hammersmith - 24 Apr 2011 at 16:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2011 at 16:19
I think this forum is a pretty standard forum format. Universal almost. Nothing wrong with that, I'd much prefer the devs to spend time improving and adding to the game than building their own forum from scratch.

I've never had any problems with connection to this forum myself.

FYI "subscription" means something you pay for. When you say "subscription for posts" I assume you mean "signature"... go to the account preferences page: http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/register.asp?FPN=2

Though personally I have no time at all for anyone who puts more than 1 line of text in their signature. I don't want to reload / reread their images / self promotion every time they make a post.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 11:44
I'm pretty sure he means subscription as in "I would like to subscribe to your newsletter"...meaning RSS feeds or emails reporting daily aggregate activity on subscribed threads/forums

As for "standard," I would point to several other pre-existing 3rd party software packages that provide a much greater breadth of standard features, more reliable performance, less buggy behavior, and better UI and navigation.  In particular, there's vBulletin (one-time cost around $200), SMF (free), and phpBB (free, but questionable security/performance last time I checked).

The particular shortcoming of this package seem centered around administration.  Devs seem unable to fork threads, delete user posts (at least when they aren't last), or easily use an external auth system (i.e. facebook connect or in-game accounts).  It doesn't appear that players can be designated moderators on specific sections or forums, and there doesn't seem to be any facility to post threads locked by default, or sticky threads, or edit polls, or make polls with more than one option allowed.  Then there's the many quirks with the rich text input causing funky characters and other bad behavior like faking the presence of trailing whitespace, no quick edit, no grace period for edits immediately after post before including edit timestamp, dorky smilies, and places in the UI with black text on near-black background that are almost impossible to read.  I have yet to find any means of automatically jumping to the next thread with unread posts.  And whether posts are read seems controlled by cookie rather than centralized, so what's read for one account on one machine isn't read for the same account on another machine.

One might wonder why anyone would choose this particular forum software, and as far as I can tell it's because the company that offers it is a windows-based shop that hosts the forums themselves at fairly low cost.  It's probably the most hands-free solution available, which frees the developers to manage in-game concerns.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 12:10
Originally posted by hammersmith hammersmith wrote:

I'm new to the forums. Here's my first impressions:
1. No subscriptions for posts? WTF. That blows.


Originally posted by HonoredMule HonoredMule wrote:

I'm pretty sure he means subscription as in "I would like to subscribe to your newsletter"...meaning RSS feeds or emails reporting daily aggregate activity on subscribed threads/forums

RSS button on top right, next to "New Posts" link might be what you're looking for. 

You can subscribe to the whole forum, any subforum or any particular thread.

Originally posted by HonoredMule HonoredMule wrote:


The particular shortcoming of this package seem centered around administration.  Devs seem unable to fork threads, delete user posts (at least when they aren't last), or easily use an external auth system (i.e. facebook connect or in-game accounts).  It doesn't appear that players can be designated moderators on specific sections or forums, and there doesn't seem to be any facility to post threads locked by default, or sticky threads, or edit polls, or make polls with more than one option allowed. 

We can certainly fork threads & delete any user posts.

We *could* use an external auth system if we customised the software, but (as you rightly guessed at the bottom of your post) are not willing to spend the dev time to do this atm, as forum software dev would be at the expense of game dev time, and that's not a trade-off that makes sense right now.

Players can be designated moderators on specific sections or forums.

There's an admin suite for maintenance tasks such as locking old threads etc.

Stickying is a one-click action and has happened to a few threads such as TD's new player guide in the Strategy forum.

Editing polls I'm not sure about, and I'm not 100% sure what you mean by a "poll with more than one option allowed".  Surely the definition of a poll is that it has multiple options?

Originally posted by HonoredMule HonoredMule wrote:


Then there's the many quirks with the rich text input causing funky characters and other bad behavior like faking the presence of trailing whitespace, no quick edit, no grace period for edits immediately after post before including edit timestamp, dorky smilies, and places in the UI with black text on near-black background that are almost impossible to read.  I have yet to find any means of automatically jumping to the next thread with unread posts.  And whether posts are read seems controlled by cookie rather than centralized, so what's read for one account on one machine isn't read for the same account on another machine.


Not sure about any of these items tbh, except to say that the funky characters and the black text on near-black background are probably more our fault (stylesheet issues) than the software's fault.

I agree that our forum software is by no means perfect, nor is it the best out there; and the valid complaints you've raised will be noted and applied if/when we consider moving forums.

But it's fairly low on our priority list to change, I'm afraid...

SC
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 15:03
Originally posted by HonoredMule HonoredMule wrote:

I'm pretty sure he means subscription as in "I would like to subscribe to your newsletter"...meaning RSS feeds or emails reporting daily aggregate activity on subscribed threads/forums

Then there's the many quirks with the rich text input causing funky characters and other bad behavior like faking the presence of trailing whitespace

One might wonder why anyone would choose this particular forum software, and as far as I can tell it's because the company that offers it is a windows-based shop that hosts the forums themselves at fairly low cost.  It's probably the most hands-free solution available, which frees the developers to manage in-game concerns.

Agreed with all of this. 

My first guess at why you're having issues with the text editor is that you're not using IE. In my experience (and I do this stuff for a living) any web solution that comes from Microsoft or MS related tech (these forums included) has a strong preference for IE. That'd be the first thing to try anyway. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 15:30
Yeah, I'd as soon skewer my eyeballs with a rusty fork as go back to IE.  No matter how far it has come, it's still rudimentary in functional comparison to Firefox--especially for my needs--and not much better next to any other popular browser either.

But the funky characters are not a problem I experience anyway.  Others who do experience it have reported using IE and other browsers, if I recall correctly.  It appears to be more of an OS-wide localization/UTF encoding issue, and perhaps not even OS-specific.

The whitespace issue bugged me enough that I tried switching to plaintext, but I found that to be even worse, with the bbcode-injecting buttons working quite incompetently and also failing to trigger on hotkeys.

But if you stick around for a while, you get used to these various issues.  I wrote a small Greasemonkey script that pins the navbar to the top of the window which helps getting around some.  The lack of always-visible (at least partial) indication of where you're currently reading is a problem with most of the forums I've encountered, which is why I made no mention of it before.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 15:34
Also, SC's mention of the RSS button (which slipped my attention due to the old-school "RSS" icon) also drew my focus to the "New Posts" link.  It seems a little bit quirky since it includes threads with no unread posts, but it's a step up over manually traversing all the various subforums.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 15:44
Personally, I skewer my eyeballs on a regular basis.  It seems to wake me up in the morning, even better than that first cup of coffee.  And the new posts button IS how I navigate the Forum unless I am reading for entertainment or using the search option.  Now please excuse me while I sharpen my fondue fork.
I am a Machine.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2011 at 16:22
The pickle fork is easier to aim.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2011 at 00:06
And then there's the small, but pointy seafood fork. Always a good choice for tight spots. 
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