An interesting situation involving converting from ProBoards.

Discussion in 'Free Hosted Forums' started by TrixieTang, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. japanguitars

    japanguitars Aspirant

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    thanks.
    i tried to message you & of course i don't have the required 10 posts to PM so i'll try again later.
    not here exactly to pad a post count anyway.
     
  2. Kelloggs

    Kelloggs Internet Vagrant

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    If its onyl been three weeks, you cant have that many posts so it my be worth just starting again elsewhere :)
     
  3. japanguitars

    japanguitars Aspirant

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    yeah there's only
    Total Threads: 61 Total Posts: 3,322
     
  4. Mikey

    Mikey mikeylicio.us

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    3000 posts in 3 weeks? nice.
     
  5. pclinger

    pclinger Aspirant

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    I didn't come here and rant, I think if you re-read my post you will see that I stated the facts of the situation. The admin of this site violated our user's privacy and their copyright, as I pointed out. I don't think it's wrong for us to stand up for our users. They provide us personal information when they sign up, and they expect us to protect it. That's what we did.

    Regarding the software side of things, I don't know if you have given our new software a try (ProBoards v5, launching on April 29th - you can beta test at www.proboards.com/betazone). It's far and beyond the best free hosted solution. We were voted best hosted forum at forum-software.org, and their staff wrote this about us:

    Give us new stuff a try. If there's something you don't like, I'm more than happy to hear your concerns. We've spent many years developing this new software and we think it's great, and we hope you agree once you try it.

    All the best,

    Patrick Clinger
     
  6. japanguitars

    japanguitars Aspirant

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    yeah we do like to rabbit on hahah
    anyway over the weekend we went with a paid host & phpbb
     
  7. Lizard King

    Lizard King Habitué

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    My only comment is LOL

    But it is not your fault it is totally end users issue as they highly possible didn't read your TOS detailed.

    Good luck with your future business , make sure you'll never receive any from me.

    And your comment about v5 blows out paid software reminds me of IB :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  8. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Administrator

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    Tbh many admins using free hosted forum solutions have not read the tos or have not fully understood the limitations involved.
     
  9. TrixieTang

    TrixieTang Politically Incorrect

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    Okay, that's enough. I've deleted one post and the next post that does nothing but insult the ProBoards staff (or anyone else for that matter) will be removed and the poster warned or given an infraction.

    I'm sick of threads degrading into insult fests. If you want to make suggestions to a software developer then you can do it without insulting them. If of course you're just posting to insult that developer, software team or member then knock it off now.

    Rules are rules and the rules say to respect others, clearly some people seem to have trouble understanding that so I'll go ahead and explain it. If you wouldn't want to be treated a certain way then don't treat others that way.
     
  10. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

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    Except your service isn't aimed at the individual forum users. They're not your customers, the forum owners are. The forum owners sold it, the users agreed to the rules and terms set by said owners and basically licensed their content to the forum regardless of hosting and form.

    Proboards is a free forum host, not a social network. To try and act like each forum's members are your responsibility is like a host complaining about a reseller selling their company to another buyer.

    The point of a host is that the person who signs up for the hosting owns their site and any content on said site. The host doesn't threaten to sue people who move their sites elsewhere, it's a ridiculous way of doing business.

    I'm sorry (and I must emphasis this is just legit criticism not attacking), Proboards is certainly not the best free hosted solution.

    For one thing, any forum software hosted on a free host with PHP/MySQL and self installed forum software is arguably superior, since the owner and staff can actually modify the source code, take their database wherever and install other people's themes and modifications to improve it. Off the bat any free forum host with no file/database access loses out.

    But even if you don't count that, Proboards still isn't 'best' by any means.

    How about the phpBB/IPB hosts that give you numerous modifications and add ons for extra themes, hordes of pre installed themes and various other changes to the core software? I'd say some of those really do outdo Proboards on some level.

    And your competitor Zetaboards too. They too 'made' their own forum software, except I'd say their features are arguably much more advanced, their style generally more aesthetically pleasing and the community/support just as large as over at Proboards.

    How about any forum host which actually lets you take your own data with you? That's definitely better than Proboards, since they don't try and pretend they own your content and stop you from moving host. Many of your competitors offer this service.

    As for votes on forum-software.org, I honestly wouldn't give them the greatest amount of credibility.

    I mean, Burning Board won over IPB, vBulletin and XenForo despite having far less of a userbase and audience. The fact is, the sites that win over there are the sites which encourage their users to vote and tell to them to visit the forum-software.org site, not those that are 'objectively' better in any way. Heck, if I was a famous celebrity and had a few million Twitter followers, I could probably set up a free forum host and get it voted as 'best' simply by fan power alone and telling people to vote. Saying Proboards is best because it was voted best on a certain third party site is kind of short sighted, their audiences make up only a fraction of the total number of forum owners in the world.

    And all forum admin communities have 'preferences' or 'bias'. Go back about four years and vBulletin would win just about every poll on TAZ for best forum software. Go to a forum with a lot of SMF or phpBB or MyBB or IPB users, and guess what forum software will win out? Hell, go on a lot of non TAZ admin sites now and XenForo would probably win just because it's audience is more vocal.

    Just keep this stuff in mind please, okay?
     
  11. TrixieTang

    TrixieTang Politically Incorrect

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    Everyone should follow your example, cheat_master30.

    This is a perfect example of how to properly go about making constructive criticism and suggestions. You explained in detail what you think and unlike some people you didn't have to resort to using childish words like "suck" or "trash" to describe the software or the developers behind it.

    Oh, and I agree with everything that you just said.
     
  12. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

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    A great read and what I thought out to be an insightful and fair criticism of Pro Boards.

    pclinger, I'd also like to welcome you to the Taz boards, and apologize for the rough start of this ride.

    Please stick it out with us, maybe there's more that both sides can come away with... perhaps some chance of profit sharing on proboards if a cx asks for it, with the ability to bring in their own ads?

    Let's hear some more

    :)

    gogo
     
  13. pclinger

    pclinger Aspirant

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    Thanks for your detailed response. I'm happy to address some of your concerns.

    We've actually been expanding our service to be more geared towards all of our customers, not just forum admins. For example, our new ProBoards Forum Dashboard (currently in Beta) allows any user to keep track of multiple forums they are a member of from one central location. This way you can track what notifications you have, new messages, topics you posted in that have been updated, and bookmarks that have been updated -- all from one page showing you many forums at once.

    Really what depends here is what kind of solution is the client looking for. If they want a managed solution or a do-it-yourself type of deal. There are arguments for both sides, and you definitely sound like the kind of person that wants the do-it-yourself method. And that's great! ProBoards isn't for you. Our clients tend to be the ones who don't want to deal with the technical headache of setting up and managing a server and the software, worrying about how to scale their forums, etc.

    ProBoards v5 does include this. We have a Theme Database and a Plugin Database for our new software. The official Theme & Plugin Libraries are launching within the next week or so on our site, but in the mean time there are many plugins and themes that you can download directly from our Support Forum.

    Since you haven't mentioned any specific features here, there's not really anything from me to comment on our counter. If you want to be specific, however, I'll be happy to address any of your concerns in this area.

    We don't pretend to own anyone's content - ever. We obtain licenses, just like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites do. We also provide you the option to export your data (www.proboards.com -> Login -> Account Settings -> Export).

    I appreciate you taking the time to give your feedback; this is the kind of thing that I like to see, because it helps provide me and my company guidance on what the online community views as important. We've spent years developing our new software, and we're very proud of what we have accomplished with it. We have more exciting forum-related features and functionality coming, some of which will be useful to you even if you don't use our forum software itself. Stay tuned :)


    I honestly don't mind, we take a lot of heat from a lot of places, but when we get a good discourse going it can be informative and useful for both sides.

    We currently do allow forums to run their own ads (if they remove our ads through our ad-free service). We have thought about profit-sharing type options as possibilities for larger forums, although we have not implemented any setups at this time. This is definitely an area I'm interested in, though.
     
  14. Train

    Train Bookworm Moderator

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    Patrick,

    I appreciate your comments, and they're definitely scaled down in this reply compared to your earlier ones.

    I was going to look at ProBoards 5 to actually see what it's about, but I'm not interested in going through an invitation process to do it, I don't suppose you guys have screen shots for this to see what physical improvements you've made?

    Further, I want you to realize, that if you allow people to export data, then I'm at a loss as to why the original issue in the OP is that...an issue?

    Lastly, I want you to explain why I would choose a software such as ProBoards - who has a poor reputation, not only here, but on many other review websites as well - versus another established freehost provider that sets everything up for you. Examples would be like phpBB Host, InvisionFree, Zetaboards...etc.
     
  15. pclinger

    pclinger Aspirant

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    With our launch coming up, we've got a lot of information in the works. We're working on producing a short video to showcase some of the key features that we like. A few of my favorites are things like:

    -Live Search. When viewing a board, start typing a search term in the box. All the topics on screen will live update as you type. Similarly if you are viewing a large thread, you can start typing search terms to have the posts filtered. You can also apply other filters (such as Created by, # of replies, etc).
    -SEO optimized. Everything from titles, meta descriptions, breadcrum navigation, semantic HTML, and more.
    -Screen Reader friendly. We spent a lot of time optimizing the software to ensure that blind users have no problem navigating and reading on the forum.
    -Built in notifications for various events- we'll let you know when someone quotes you, @tags you, likes your post, follows you, joins a member group you lead, when your bookmarks are updated, etc etc. Basically it becomes really easy to keep track of what is going on with the forum that is important to you, and you can choose which notifications you want.
    -Our new Forum Dashboard helps you keep track of all your forums in a single location. No need to check multiple different forums to see if you have new messages, bookmark updates, replies to any of your posts, new notifications... we put all of that information together into one page for you, and let you login to any of those forums with one click.
    -Great new moderator tools that help with collaboration and decisions.
    -AJAX pagination - switching between pages of a thread or a board doesn't require the full page to reload. The data is loaded in via AJAX.
    -Conversations (PMs with multiple users involved, I know some other forum systems have this as well)
    -Full Web 2.0 Admin Panel. Great features like:
    --Creating boards in your forum is quick and easy, you can drag/drop to create the structure of your forum (e.g. to make a board a sub-board, just drag it on top of another board).
    --Our new theme system provides full access to the HTML and CSS of the forum. It also makes it easy for both novices to customize the look and feel of the forum while providing more experienced developers with the tools they want to make any and all customizations.
    --Plugins have been introduced along with a developer area that makes it easy for you to create and share plugins. Our Plugin & Theme Libraries will make 1 click installation of themes/plugins possible (launching within the next week or so).
    --The entire admin panel allows you to do more with less clicks. You really need to try it to get the full experience.

    This is just a few of the literally hundreds of new things we have.

    I take issue with the premise of the question - I do not believe that we have a poor reputation. With over 15 million people using our service every month, there are always bound to be complaints. The best thing we can do is try to address those complaints. I don't think we've been active at pursuing the conversations on websites outside of our own, which can be a fault of ours. We let some misconceptions spread by not keeping up with them (as is very evident from threads on here where blatant lies about our service have been stated).

    ProBoards has been around longer than ZetaBoards, Invisionfree, etc. We have a larger support staff (4 full time employees solely dedicated to tech support, where ZetaBoards and Invisionfree only have 2 employees to my knowledge running the entire company). We are actively developing our software, pride ourselves on the best customer service, and are always looking to improve. We listen to feedback and make changes based on our customer needs. While I think there are many quality companies in the forum hosting space, I do believe that ours is the best.

    If any of you guys are at ForumCon this year, I'll be happy to buy you a drink and chat about ProBoards or whatever is on your mind.
     
  16. petertdavis

    petertdavis Not a Beginner

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    This whole thread is full of cringe. I nominate it Most Cringeworthy Thread of the Year.
     
  17. Andrew B.

    Andrew B. Fan

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    I always get mixed up with these free board discussions. Why is it ethical for a forum admin to sell the member's personal information to a third party, but it's unethical for a free forum host to think they should have some sort of control too. And as for forum members, what kind of say to they have over their own content and their contact information.

    Basically, it's whatever the contract says. And there really is no higher moral ground for a site admin assuming control over what members create than a free host doing the same.
     
  18. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

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    What's frightened you

    :)

    gogo
     
  19. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

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    Either way, shouldn't you offer more control to the admins? Maybe an option to have forum specific terms? None of this would have happened if the forum owner could say that the posts become property of the owner or are under some license, since then no one could complain regardless of what happens to the site.

    That's a fair point, but I still think you should make it easy for an admin to export data as well as just run a basic forum. There should be more things in place for situations like this where forums either get sold or decide to move away from Proboards to their own solution.

    How long was that feature around? I didn't see it anywhere the last time I was on a Proboards forum years and years ago.


    Huh? I think the thread is quite interesting.

    Also, quite a few other solutions have everything you mention as new already. My own IPB forum has pretty much every single feature you mentioned as new to this latest version of Proboards built in as is. I'm sure it may be a similar situation with XenForo and some other scripts too.

    It sounds neat, but it's not really revolutionary. More playing catch up to current standards.
     
  20. CodyL1121

    CodyL1121 Neophyte

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    This is my first post here, but I had to tell my story.

    I have moderated and been members of many different forum hosting companies. Five years ago I signed up for a Forum hosted by ProBoards and was surprised by how easy it was to navigate around. I then made my first forum on ProBoards and taught myself the basics. It was VERY easy to learn and navigate around. I look back on it and I would go on the ProBoards Support forum and ask the STUPIDEST questions. I laugh at these questions now. Patrick Clinger and Co. were VERY helpful and they have helped me multiple times and mostly within minutes. His staff are genuinely the nicest and most helpful people I have ever met. It's NOT because they have something to sell or its NOT because they have something to hide. You can tell it is their passion and they enjoy helping random people, who don't know the slightest of what running a forum takes, make a board for free.

    Patrick Clinger looks at Forum Owners and Members as one, which is really how it should be. Like Pat said above, I myself, am in the category of a client that doesn't want to deal with a "technical headache." I barely even know how to code. I want easy. I'm sorry and I'm not going to lie to everyone here and act like I'm an educated Administrator that has all sorts of tricks up my sleeve, because I'm far from it. I consider myself an outstanding Administrator because of the content that is delivered on my forum, not because of who hosts it. What I do have though is a trustworthy forum hosted company that helps me along the way. Oh yeah, and did I mention its free?

    I can make my forum look professional and polish it up and make it look just as nice and organized as any of yours. I have the solid proof to prove it as well. Not only this, but I have chosen to use ProBoards as the service I will use for a former American Idol contestant with thousands and thousands of fans. I am proud to call myself a Admin of a ProBoards forum, and am proud to be able to bring its new sleek v5 to the table for the future members.
     
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