Misago - Python and Django Forum

Discussion in 'Forum Software' started by rafalp, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    Misago is web forum software I am working on since august. Its writen in Python and uses Django as its fundation.

    Today development has reached important milestone: core forum features became functional, and so I've decided to set up demo of what I've got so far, gather opinions, nail bold bugs, etc ect,

    You can find Misago demo here:
    http://misago-project.org/

    Its GNU GPL v3 licensed with its sources available on github:
    https://github.com/rafalp/Misago

    So, what you think guys? Love or hate it?

    ps. you may notice slowdowns from time to time - thats not software fault. The way it is set up now, Misago is being killed on regular basis by server's process manager, and starting it up takes while. Hopefully in week or two I'll be able to change deployment method for less annoying. :)
     
  2. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Administrator

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    Interesting. I was just reading up on Django 1.5 RC. I had given up on Django since Django 1 is outdated. Seeing a new release is good. I do hope that Django 2 is somewhat on the horizon though.
    • Will you be using Django 1.5?
    • Will the forum software be SaaS or download?
    • Are you planning forum only or also other content types? Django is great for multiple content types and few communities are forum only these days.
    • Are you planning a similar functionality scope as vbulletin3-4 suite or IPS-suite?
    Upon registration:
    How about some demo accounts / passwords?
    It seems to have gone through though. But I cant get my account activated. I keep getting the same error.

    http://misago-project.org/users/None/

    From the little that I can see, I find it far too bulky. I have 400 forums & subforums, hundreds of members online, constant activity, need many statistics. Imagine how that would look. How do you see the moderators for a forum?

    Please add a bunch of forums, subforums, moderators, threads, posts, members.

    Various functions do not work yet.
    I find the stars confusing, as the symbols have nothing to do with posts.
    I like the search bar, the icons next to it. Members online will not work on successful forums. Try putting 100 members there.
    For statistics I always liked the number of monthly/daily readers, because that actually gives an idea on how successful a website is. Many sites use such function.

    How will 'popular threads' work? Is that all time so that it will always show the same threads or is there a cut off time?
    Will profiles be fleshed out? Currently its quite basic, while people are used to facebook profiles and similar functionality. New community software can not have simple profiles. Forum software got away with that a decade ago, but now thats no longer a good idea. Too many people are used to advanced profiles.

    I like statistics, karma, followers. How about trophies, donations, threads that received most karma, most active in forums a,b,c?

    Why place last posts and last threads on separate tabs? You will need those tabs in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  3. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Administrator

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    Ah, great. I got in now.

    More impressions:

    Profile

    1. Clicking my avatar does not allow me to change it.
    2. In general I would suggest to look at PHPFox for a great example of good profiles.

    UserCP
    There are almost no settings yet. Some thigs that I would like to see because many users expect it nowadays:

    1. Profile fields
    2. A full privacy settings grid, like facebook and vbulletin.
    3. A full notifications options grid, like facebook and IP.Board.
    4. A messaging / system similar to facebook.
    5. A donations/ subscriptions manager similar to IP.Nexus and AWCoding.
    6. Ignore list.
    7. Karma comments, list of posts that received karma, list of posts given karma to.
    8. Profile customization


    I can not yet upload an avatar.
    I like that the userCP shows blocked members.


    Navigation

    1. The red notifications are good, but need to be bright red to attract attention.
    2. You need better icons for notifications, PMs, watched threads, watched posts. People are used to certain icons. I think its a good idea to make use of that. Use an icon of a person for people you follow, and a star or heart for content you follow.
    3. Also: consider how navigation will work if you add more content types.
    btw: what is the use of a watched post?


    Posting

    1. Are you going to add an advanced editor like CKE?
    2. The quote function is great, especially since it add the @username thing. Quick n easy.
    3. I like how quick it responds.
    4. Are you going to add tags?
    Forum Display

    1. Its compact. This I like a lot because this allows a lot of threads to be displayed.
    2. 2 avatars on one row is too much. Its clutter and adds nothing. Either show the thread starters avatar or the avatar of the last poster.
    3. Hovering a thread title should display a thread preview.
    4. Consider to show thread karma on row hover. This will display how well the thread is rated.
    5. I want to see how many views and replies there are. Please show this on row hover.
    HTH.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  4. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    Hey!

    As you have noticed this is extremly early version with only basics of basics and lots of stuff either still in early planning or not even there yet.

    Now, looking at your propositions, I can already say we have different expetations from software we use. I dont want to go social, I dont want to give users 1312312 means to communicate and interact with each other. I want internet forum with posts as only nomination of content + gamification as means for group to have decision what content they like to see and what dont.

    For example, popular threads. Thread popularity is not decided simply by number of replies thread has, but by amount of response it manages to attract over period of time. Its really simple system, but it ensures that even most popular and active threads will eventually have to give place to new discussions. Its same with user ranks - every user has score meter that is influenced by votes his posts receive, people who follow or ignore him as well as his activity as poster.

    Misago online lists are not to serve same purpose online lists in other forums do. They act as spotlight for members who hold specific position within community. I find no use for classic online lists. On small forums there is little of interest in those lists and on active forums signal to noise ratio makes them useless.

    As for symbols, this is OS project and such situation is unfortunately going to see little change. Maybe bootstrap 3 introduces some new icons? Or maybe talented designer will join project and give it better looks? Who knows what future holds :)

    About awards/trophies, I do plan to include such functionality in future. Misago will expose API to programmers, allowing them to write their own tests/checks and reward members accordingly.

    I do not plan to implement tags, I plan to implement labels: look at them as tags that are defined by board administrator and assigned by board moderators. They would offer board administrator alternative to creating subforums.

    In admin control panel there is searchable online list (as alternative to checking profiles of members you have interest in) as well as simple grap generator that will let you see major trends in your community. Its not goint to work on forum with millions of posts, but it makes good base to expand in future.

    Could you please tell me on which page did you found a link leading to "/None/"?

    I also dont know what do you mean by "watched posts"?

    For now I am holding myself from using javascript in frontend. I plan to implement js features to smoothen user experience in it, but not yet. :)

    I have enabled avatar uploads.

    I am not sold on WYSIWYG editors, but I hope that as Markdown gains popularity, dedicated editors will follow.

    As they are now, user profiles are simply scaffolds. Just like in user control panels, here I want Misago to expose API for programmers to write their own tabs and add their own functionality to user profiles.

    Thank you for your suggestions and interest in my project. Even if my response is turn-away for you, energy you have put in your commentary means much for me.

    I am experimenting with Misago. In a sense, its project like FluxBB or PunBB. Its born to fullfill specific need, to met specific vision. Its not designed to please masses. Philosophy behind it is similiar to one behind Stack Overflow. When everybody pursued social interaction, Stack Overflow pursued quality content. They are small flea compared to Facebook, but they have found their own place on map. What I pursue is internet forum, a place for people to hop in and discuss on subjects they share interest in. You could say this is forum software for people who want to discuss their favorite game, or car, who want to exchange their observations and knowledge with software providing them with mechanisms to find out who is knowledgeable on subject and whos is not, all this taking place outside rigid framework of Q&A conventions.

    In fact I find inspiration communities that are closely tied to specific subject, for example Blizzard's battle.net forums as well as Adobe forums.

    Thank you again for your time and interest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  5. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Administrator

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    In order to have a good information flow, especially when groups of people are working on compiling information, there is a need for good communication.

    You mention Stackexchange which does not use normal forum posts, but wikified question & answer posts with tags, badges(rewards), bounties and reputation. This different content type has put them ahead of the game.

    If you aim for informational websites, then forum posts alone do not cut it. Stackexchange is one example that shows this. I have sent you some other examples. An informational website needs articles or reviews, videos, databases, documents, questions and answers, etc.

    A forum is just one large container that can hold anything. This is its strength and its weakness. I truly think that the days of normal forums are counted. There are much better systems for informational posts.

    Nice points.

    Is there a specific reason why you do not want to add tags?

    http://misago-project.org/users/
    click on active members.

    I cant find the function again. Not sure now.

    Informational websites which you are aiming at, need to have options for tables, latex, sub/super-script, references, headings, etc.

    A good API sounds good.

    Your response is not a complete turn away for me. Its interesting in any case.

    I like your perspective and find it interesting. Basically I have already built what you are going for. I modified vbulletin with 110 addons, especially its reputation system.

    Now, I have found that this was greatly successful, has driven my site to become a highly informative big board. But now I find this is not enough. My site needs more tools to streamline information, serve it up in a better way than the giant cloud of dust approach that forums have.
    Information is simply not just text posts. Its video, documents, q&a, audio, databases, maps and dozens more. Putting that all into forums creates the giant cloud of dust.

    Yes, these two websites are indeed very inspirational. Adobe is not a forum in the traditional sense, as it has Q&A only. Similar to stackexchange, but without wikifying posts.
    Also with live search for answers.
    Mind their article system. The adobe forum works in tango with their article system.

    I see what you mean now by 'top participants'. This is indeed much more useful than displaying the online users. I do think that 'top participants' is clearer than 'most valuable members'. The latter could be read to make a statement about the personality of the members, instead of their contributions.

    Battle.net is another great example, similar to the examples I have just sent you by PM. It has:

    1. news portal
    2. articles
    3. video gallery
    4. image gallery
    5. forums
    6. store to buy subscriptions, community items, functions, games
    7. helpdesk with tickets & knowledge base

    I see a pattern in that information oriented websites that focus on a specific topic need a number of content types and tools to provide that information and to motivate their community to submit that information.

    This is what I see in the examples discussed here and in PM and also in my own big board.
     
  6. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    Well, I can only say that we agree to disagree then. :)

    I find tags on forums being destined to ultimately become filled with massess of stuff that are not important for members. For tags to be effective somebody must be constantly moderating them. Thats what happens to tags in StackExchange. Thread labels mechanic can actually be used as replacement for tags, so its not that I dont want to add tags: i belive I've found better solution for problems tags are intended to solve.

    Ah, looks like its a bug with fixture, I've fixed it now.

    Markdown implementation I use has tables, references, headings, but I've disabled them, leaving only headers in place.

    Yes, however I have to stay realistic on the matter. Misago is developed as side project by one person in my free time, and this is something that severly limits development scope. I simply couldnt handle development and maintenance of such extensible featurebase.

    Instead I have decided to create web API that will allow you to wrap your websites with Misago features. Consider Blizzard's website for example. Besides forums, webstore and helpdesk content publishing is being done by Blizzard employees.

    In my approach you could set up your forum on Misago and website on Drupal. Content publishers would have account on both sites. Misago would be configured to accept special HTTP commands from Drupal (this makes bridge language agnostic). Using HTTP Drupal would notify Misago when content publisher creates page on website, in response Misago would create discussion thread on forums. That thread could then be pulled back to Drupal template and used as comments system for published page.

    Drupal users functionality would be hidden from people who are not part of site staff, replaced by bits fetched from Misago. For example "userbar" can be displayed on its own, which makes it easy to fetch it from Misago and display it in Drupal template. If staff member's e-mail address is same as one assigned to his forum account, you can fetch his profile details from forum and display them in template instead of his drupal account details.
     
  7. meetdilip

    meetdilip Tazmanian Master

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    Wish you all the luck.
     
  8. echo_off

    echo_off Life is an illusion...

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    Looks good Rafal!

    I'm liking the modern approach to the themes.
     
  9. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    Misago has been updated:

    - User profiles show members posts, threads and followers
    - Its possible to follow members
    - Followed members activity lands in "News Feed" page
     
  10. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    Misago installation has been replaced with fresh one, bringing in new features and improvements!

    I have also created some generic forums for everyone interested to have place to post in. :)
     
  11. HallofFamer

    HallofFamer Habitué

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    Looks interesting, I am only familiar with PHP forums so this one is somewhat unique. XD
     
  12. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    And another update!

    Largely redesigned UI on frontend, bugfixes, and migrations, which means from now on its possible to update Misago's database structure without losing data.
     
  13. eldritch1969

    eldritch1969 Adherent

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    I really like the style of this forum. How is it installed ?
     
  14. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    There is instruction and simple windows shell script that allowed one to start Misago "from nothing" on his localhost in less than five minutes, but it needs to be updated and translated to english before it will be posted.
     
  15. meetdilip

    meetdilip Tazmanian Master

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    Looks awesome. Most appelaing default theme I have seen till date.
     
  16. meetdilip

    meetdilip Tazmanian Master

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    Planning to try.
     
  17. rafalp

    rafalp Desu Ex

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    And here we come again with new release. Misago 0.2 brings in tweaks and fixes, Private Threads functionality and refactored API.

    Project forums are already running new code:
    http://www.misago-project.org/
     
  18. eldritch1969

    eldritch1969 Adherent

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    Planning to install this on a test server later. Looks cool so far ! Keep it up until you reach a fully-usable forum script !
     
  19. Jura

    Jura Devotee

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    So it's just Python and Django that'll hold people back from using this?
     
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