Why isn't there any true innovation in Forum Design?

Discussion in 'Community Organization' started by Wayne Luke, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Hauyser

    Hauyser illiterate.

    372
    142
    +137
    as_media_cache_ak0.pinimg.com_originals_86_06_43_860643c0a0651a66d7fa43d4883bde76.jpg


    Time to get a move on thats conversion...
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  2. Xon

    Xon Enthusiast

    239
    160
    +289
    Facebook is a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of developers on staff. Most forum sites don't have a single dedicated developer.

    There is a huge gap in capabilities there.
     
  3. Danielx64

    Danielx64 Developer

    3,238
    527
    +1,338
    I hope not since I refuse to sign up to any site that use it, and if a forum that I am a member did convert then I would boycott it and flush it down the toilet (yes I done it to sitepoint).
     
  4. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Moderator

    2,357
    682
    +833
    Facebook is big but they still work the same way as small companies an idea is born and they start talking. The thing is there customers may or may not see the end result. The huge gap is only on paper Facebook is big so you'll need lots of developers, forum scripts are smaller more generic so you can do with a few developers.

    Innovation is not only for big companies little companies that are willing to think out side the box can make new stuff. What if a script has the capability to roll out new functions like Facebook does (not saying it should but lets imagine) its a function that any add-on or style developer can use. Now testing and giving people access to it is easier for everyone involved, with one simple idea. We do not need dedicated developers only people tha are willing to think out side the box and fresh ideas. The most important thing is developers of forum software that place the buyers on the first place and ask for input before they start making a new version.
     
  5. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

    1,095
    162
    +575
    The problem with that is that there's often too many hobbyists who don't really know what they're doing, and they often request things that are rather stupid and tend to ruin a script or delay it's ability to deliver a successful product that meets a more intelligent or usefull need.

    If you ever look at something like PhpFox, a community type script, then you'll see a well coded piece of sh*t.

    What happened was the devs insisted on letting the users dictate what the script got next. Then what happened was that most of the modules ended up being half finished or simply designed poorly because the administration didn't take control of their product. What you have now is a product they've developed that barely anyone uses. Complete waste. They should've stuck to a strong core product and kept certain extras as addons, but nah - they wanted to please too many people and it kicked them in the butt.

    Perfect example was that members wanted a photo battle where users could vote on pictures. This is random pics that are uploaded on the site at any time. So what happens is you have a picture of a car vs a picture of a plant. It made literally no sense. The users who wanted it didn't think to say "we want to pick the two pics to vote against, because that would make more sense" and by the time it was done, the devs didn't change it. Now you have a useless module that the devs wasted time on. That time could've been used to perfect other aspects of the core product.

    I have not ever encountered a site using this script in years. It's now changed hands and I think the new owners might manage it better.

    It had potential, but listening to users TOO much is what forked it. Was nothing worse than having all these cool modules that only work halfarsed.
     
  6. paradoxG(r)eek

    paradoxG(r)eek Enthusiast

    223
    100
    +128
    Abbreviations are good to save time but not all know them :cautious: I can understand "ASAP" but what's the meaning of the ending "F"? Future?
     
  7. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Moderator

    2,357
    682
    +833
    ASAPF = As Soon As Pigs Fly as in never going to happen.
     
  8. Danielx64

    Danielx64 Developer

    3,238
    527
    +1,338
    Or fast :)
     
  9. paradoxG(r)eek

    paradoxG(r)eek Enthusiast

    223
    100
    +128
    ....Lol..... You really made me laught..... Thank you !! "Pings Fly" o_O
     
  10. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Moderator

    2,357
    682
    +833
    Well not sure how to respond to this, so in your eye's hobbyists cant have good ideas or only some can have it. The point is that every idea needs to be included the story of the laser keeps coming in my mind, it served no real purpose but these days its unthinkable not to have it.

    Listening and straight away acting on an idea are two separate things. You will need to weigh the idea if its doable in the framework you are building from the ideas but making it for the sake of one person that is not viable to do in any script. But who's fault is this the person bringing the idea or the developer that wants to please the client to the end of the world. Selling half baked stuff is really the standard these days we have seen it with many scripts money becomes more important then the clients. If you place quality above quantity it will sell maybe not as fast but you can save money on the help-desk.

    Great example but it seems some one had a great idea but not a clue how people wanted it. Reminds me of the tree what the clients wants, how manager understands, how developer build it and the client only wanted this. So basically the developers in this case made something half baked clients said we did not want it like that but like this and the company ignored everything. So the company did not LISTEN to the clients again see the biggest failure.

    When you start listening or asking clients what they want its the company that must say how do you invision this what is the purpose and what can it long term.

    I like how Bob works in this HE listens to us, we ask for a feature and he know what we mean or he asks for more information. He then says can or can't be done or there is no one else that wants it or its outside the framework of Xenforo. But in the end he listened we talked and after that he rejects or accepts, many developers and companies can learn from this approach. The best thing is how Bob does it, it feels as a customer good that he listens and you feel great when he incorporates your request because it was a good idea.

    If more companies worked like this we would be light years ahead in developing a great starting ground.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  11. Hauyser

    Hauyser illiterate.

    372
    142
    +137
    Why?! What's wrong with that software?
     
  12. doubt

    doubt Fanatic

    3,774
    412
    +1,475
    Annoying.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  13. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

    1,095
    162
    +575
    People who do this for a hobby don't always think like the people who do this for a living. One set sometimes thinks about what's "cool" and "flashy" while the other thinks about ad optimizing, user interfaces, fast/functional code, SEO, etc. Not all, but many. It's like one group (not everyone) might admire the paint job, while the other admires the engine that runs it. Perfect example - I'll see sites of someone doing this in their spare time that have a gigantic awesome looking header and the first thing I think is "that's a huge waste of real estate" and "your content could be 2 inches higher." But to a hobbyist, it just looks awesome and that's all that matters.

    Nothing wrong with that at all, just sometimes there's two different versions of the thought process going on, which is why it's best to do what products like XF and WP do, which is focus on the core product and let people puzzle their own sites together with plugins/addons from the developer community. I think when PhpFox added nearly every module you could think of, it left the devs with nothing left to do, but then every module they have is poorly done and only "works as designed" - and you turn them all off and stick with the core product anyway. There's barely any devs or designs for that product.

    One thing I admire about Bob's work ethic is that it seems he won't waste time on something that is absolutely pointless, but he will usually give a reason why and it always makes sense.

    Too many voices in the room can lead to too many different things being done, not enough time to perfect any of them, and you're stuck with a half done version of what could've been better.

    If PhpFox did what Xenforo does, they would be doing well today. XF focuses on a solid core product and let's the developers work on the side pieces. That way people can piece together their own version of something and not have 100 modules that they are NOT using.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  14. Danielx64

    Danielx64 Developer

    3,238
    527
    +1,338
    Annoying and stinks.
     
  15. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Moderator

    2,357
    682
    +833
    But like you say paint is the exterior what works fore one does not work for another, but in the end its just paint. But the engine would still be the same, that some one does it from a hobby does not matter. The developer is the catalyst he/she needs to make sure the feature or improvement asked makes sense in the design of the coding. Your perfect example is not that perfect because you are talking about design even in the world of styling you have big differences company A does it like this company B like that. What works for website A does not work for B etc etc but that is graphical the exterior of the structure but the bones is the same both have the same structure.

    Take this analogy you have photographers one its all about the picture and showing it and the other its the combination picture and settings and how difficult it the technical settings. Both want a great picture but the first person needs to let others see how good his/here pictures are so the picture needs to be in the face of a visitor and make a statement. The second one wants the same but information is also important its all about settings where, when and how so he/she wants custom fields exif information and so on. I leave it in the middle who is the hobbyist and who is professional, now a request is made i want custom fields and exif information to show at left/right or above/below who ever makes this request hobbyist or professional it would not matter its something they need and well maybe others to. So the developer LISTENS and says it can be done so i'll make it. In the basic design it show works and default settings are made, we adjust and paint the feature with what we think looks good. But in the end the professional and hobbyist are happy and maybe they made it better because they talked with one and other and the developer made it happen because he listened to people that know more about this then him. But they did not talk about the paint but about the bones.

    The core the bones needs to be the best there is but if there are design flaws in the bones the hobbyist or the professional can run into trouble. Take the example that a topic can only exist in one forum at the time, for me it makes sense that it can be multiple forums. The topic it self only exist once but is shown in more then one place. The core of XF does not have this function in it so designing it you will need to go beyond the framework the bones of the software. Because it cant be done in core add-on developers have issues with this because they need to make their own solution that is outside core. Now we have an issue the core developers can't adjust because to much depends on it and rewriting can't be done easily so it does not happen. If they asked for input in the design face they could have planned it.

    Take https://xenforo.com/community/threads/thumbnails-size.119571/ is an request that you can add multiple dimensions for thumbnails add-on developers can done use one of the settings or say you will need to set this setting for my add-on. Its not wow request but one that would bennefit lots of add-ons and even XFMG, but no one is thinking ahead. Only Alfa1Alfa1 one has liked the idea because he knows why we need it, people that uses certain add-ons can use this to and make unique looking pages.

    As for PhpFox that they designed lots of modules is great but if devs have nothing to do they are expandable or they are lazy. Work is never done there is always something to do, revisit modules incorporate new features or improvements. As for the managers they need to be fired because they cant imagine what the clients need or whats living in the community.

    That's what i love about Bob no nonsense approach, but he LISTENED to the idea and said why it should be done or not. In the end he makes the choice he guards the code the bones of the add-on and he makes sure the bones stay strong. But if an idea is good HE is willing to do what it takes to make it happen, he has rewritten whole sections because he felt it needed to be done. I wish i had a few dollars to spend around to hire Bob to make me an add-on he is for me the top one developer.

    Many voices is good what is bad is that one voice echos "ego" and tries to overrule everything. Half done versions is a developers choice if they are spread to thin it goes to hell and you get versions that are no good. If 10 ideas are made and 8 of them makes 110% sense and the other 2 not because one idea is missing basic stuff you'll need you ask for more information the other one you reject and say why.

    PhpFox build everything at once as a bone but they are brittle instead of a good solid bone structure and they are at a lost what to do next. It can be that the manager has to much experience and can't think in KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) they need to go back to basics first and then build the tower.

    Xenforo is good but the developers are from building FORUMS not multi functional websites but their bones are being used to power websites but powering a websites you will need to keep that in mind in design and LISTEN what is needed. You see it in XF2 its designed as FORUM not from a point that it can power a full website, by making the switch you do not sacrifice the FORUM but enhances the overall experience delivered to the clients that want more. But this should have been done before they started the rewrite because now you'll need to change to much to gain it.

    Take how forums select for language you'll need to set it in the AdminCP or UserCP we have technology that can select on browser choice and only one forum has it IPB. But they are not doing anything with it, i would make it so you can translate posts or other stuff. Alfa1 wants this function to me too but in forum design it makes no sense but website design it does and Xenforo powers these days websites.
     
  16. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Moderator

    2,520
    1,077
    +1,435
    Before opting for XenForo I trialled PHPFox because it has so many different modules ranging from blog, groups, events, forum, gallery, polls, quizes, music, marketplace and the whole social media approach. It sounded great, but after trying it most was half baked and buggy. IMHO exactly the opposite of what XenForo is doing.
     
  17. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

    1,095
    162
    +575
    Yup. Exactly why Fox is in the dumpster.
     
  18. Lozza94

    Lozza94 Aspirant

    17
    6
    +0
    It can be argued that reddit is a forum, and it's design is different then traditional forums.
     
  19. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated ass-hat

    4,058
    337
    +2,735
    It could be posited that Reddit was a ham sandwich also. ;)
     
  20. Lozza94

    Lozza94 Aspirant

    17
    6
    +0
    Haha very good analogy:)
     
Verification:
Draft saved Draft deleted