XenForo mastered the forum software. Now is time to go beyond with a road map.

Discussion in 'Forum Software' started by palhanow, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Penguin

    Penguin Aspirant

    This is where I find the IPB Clubs system to come in useful here, as you could create a club for each 'subreddit' or category. Alternatively, have a 'Create Forum' form that sends an API Request to create a forum based on the users' input. The Clubs system is major innovation, which we won't know if XF will ever have due to lack of roadmap.
  2. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    What you describe is basically groups. I don't think this will make any kind of impact. Because in a groups system, yet again, you expect from the users to create something magically, which they won't do in forums anymore. It is too tiresome.

    But you miss the point here. Yes, when you sign up to reddit, you are signed up to it and you have access to all subreddits.

    And I propose the same thing for the XFHub. When you sign up to the hub, you have access to all forums in the hub. So the hub displays the newest and coolest posts from all forums across on the mainpage. So one big place where you have access to all of it. And then you can subscribe to subXFs, which basically registers an account on your gaming forum. So 1 single sign up to the hub and 1 click to "subscribe" signs you also up to your gaming forum, all done by API. It uses the same e-mail you used for the hub, it takes the same username and if the username exists, it creates the same name but with numbers (Blizzard, Twitch, Twitter style naming system). So one display name you can freely choose, even duplicates and one unique name (numbers attached to it when duplicate) which is generated based on your display name.

    Tapatalk is popular because exactly of that. One app and you have access to all forums. Ofc. you need to register to single one of them, but with my proposition you only need to do it once on the hub, that's it. And Tapatalk is an app, so specizilaied for mobile display and mobile use. The XFHub would be working for all plattforms.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  3. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    Clubs was implemented first in vB3 back in, I believe, 2007.

    It is not an IPB innovation, however IPB seems to have it polished a lot better, unlike social groups which looked like it was quickly hacked together and bolted on. I've administrated a forum with vB3 social groups and it was quite frankly... awful.

    vB3 did get a few things right which no one has done to this day like letting people customise their profiles and what-not.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  4. DaveL

    DaveL Habitué

    This 24 month EU rule is nonsense. Care to link to it?
  5. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent



    See the screenshot of the fact sheet.

    You are in the UK I believe according to your avatar, right?

    You already have these laws btw. and so do other EU countries, but nothing unionwide right now, which will happen latest in 2021.

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  6. Russ

    Russ Administrator

    So you want XF to create a "hub" that users would sign up for and get access to all of the forums on there which would be XF clients who want to put their site on there. I just don't see how this works well.

    On the topic of groups, I suppose I've yet to see an implementation of groups that's anywhere active as a lot of these subreddits you can find. Does anyone have any links to actively posting group functionality?
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  7. Kevin

    Kevin Oooh, something shiny!

    Does IP and WBB have public facing feature roadmaps? Just curious, it's been some time since I've really checked out IP in detail to remember if they do or don't. I know they post about features they're working on in the betas but don't recall an actual roadmap. I have some licenses over there I should really renew one of these days. WBB, I have no idea about them.

    XenZoints? :cautious::LOL:
  8. DaveL

    DaveL Habitué

    Yeah, That's called the mysterious EU law in the UK.

    It's totally wrong how you have read it. Full details here : https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/...must-last-a-minimum-two-years-rule-is-a-myth/
  9. Karll

    Karll Adherent

    I like a lot of what you said in this post. I had a similar idea some time ago, the 'channel node', which I posted about both here and earlier on XF.com. Unfortunately, I was apparently light years ahead of my time, so very few people appreciated the concept :) The difference between your idea and mine is that mine has a perhaps tighter, but configurable integration between the forums, and there is no single central hub, but multiple, possibly competing networks, each without any central hub, but automatically copying and sharing selected content between the participating forums.

    I think the general idea of "forum networks" as a way to achieve some of the benefits of social media sites is worth exploring further.
  10. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Well, this is how reddit does it though.
    The reddit mainpage (hub) lists all the feeds from your subscribed subreddits and the reddit/r/all subreddit lists the most upvoted topics in all of its subreddits.

    So thanks to this system any kind of subreddit has a chance to get featured on the main hubs of reddit. Then, by word of mouth, people suggest other people other subreddits they never heard of. Also you can search in the reddit search with keywords for subreddits with your interests.

    Reddit is exactly as a forum but it does what other SM do, they serve a hub. But of course, you might not like the idea, all good. In my opinion this idea is the next step in the forum evolution game. As our userbases get smaller and smaller over time, we need to combine all of our userbase together in one hub and channel our userbase into one hub and profit from the hub. Nothing stops us to get indexed by Google. So people still will find us through Google, but by this system we have closed ecosystem of XF-boards which all can get featured and profit from all forum users. So a 2nd system to get discovered, not just by Google.

    I agree and that is why I don't think having a groups system will make a difference. You yourself say that you have to see a good implementation of it. Imagine we would have a good one (they praise the IPS one), what would it change? It adds cluster to the forum system, just like profile fields. It is confusing and nobody knows how to use it.

    The best examples are probably Facebook groups, which of course profit from again, having 2.7 billion userbase. Their sheer number dominates it and nobody has to leave ever Facebook. You will find everything in one place, for any niche there is a group.

    Another example to backup my idea. We, as forums, need also a hub were all of our forums are united in one place. I mean think about it, for us nothing changes. We still have to get a valid domain, still host our own forum, any of us. The hub is hosted outside by our monthly payments and by a connected API it swallows from all participating XF forums the data and has an upvote system, directory, categories, etc.

    Not sure what I read wrong. See the screenshot of the factsheet, it is clear as the sky.

    Yep, your idea is similar to mine. Yours however is too tight and too competing. And there is no central mind which controls everything. Your idea wants the synchronisation between 2 boards with each other for example. But what if board nr2 has a bad server? The synchronisation shouldn't be between boards themselves.


    It should be one way only, and the forums should send their content to the hub and the hub receives everything.

    Yours would be between forums and not ideal, as yours also wouldn't solve the problem of finding new forums. There is no visibility advantage in your idea. Mine would feature everyone on the main hub, upvoted by users.

    But I totally agree with you that we need a "network" in general. So your or my idea can have problems, we can brainstorm and work it out. The gist of your idea and my idea are the same. And I believe this could boost the forum world to another level.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  11. Russ

    Russ Administrator

    If the goal is to share users I suppose you could convince a few like-minded users to do something like Multi-site: https://xenforo.com/community/resources/xencentral-multisite-system-2.6966/

    Your idea though doesn't really seem to revolutionize forums as a whole but is rather an attempt to help dying/small forums gain a new userbase to hopefully obtain more posts. Reddit works well for a number of reasons and best of all they let you create subreddits on their own site for free. I'd say the majority of people who invest money into forums want to keep their userbase to themselves and not really advertise there is X number of other forums just like theirs in the "XFHUB".

    Don't get me wrong either, I absolutely love Reddit, I think it's a great site with some really helpful communities on there. I just don't see how a network of XF forums is revolutionizing forums. I'll leave it at because I think I have said it all multiple times :D.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  12. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    Nah, the goal is not to share users. The idea is to accumulate visitors in one single place. Like a news place. 1 place would get all the stream from across all forums participating. So the idea is to make the life for anyone easier and quicker.

    My idea is not unique, as I said, technically nothing new. The new part is their is no such system right now. And I would say bigger forums would profit more than small boards as they have more content. And nobody has to participate anyway, just who wants. So if it is only small boards, then it is only small boards.

    Creating subreddits is the equal of creating groups. Again, that already can be accomplished with any forum right now. You could also dedicate categories/nodes for groups. All for free for the user. This stuff can be expanded right now with or without a hub. This is just a matter of a good addon, nothing more. What I propose is bigger than this.

    Again, nobody forces anyone. All XF license owners can participate if they want. If they think they would have a disadvantage, no problem, don't be a part of it.
    But right now all forums compete on Google anyway. That is already the case. The search console shows what your rank is etc. That wouldn't make competing harder, but easier. Right now you live or die with Google. With a hub, you have more opportunities to land users. Much easier. And subreddits compete with each other too, nothing stops anyone to create the same subreddit.

    Well, yeah, we both said everything what we could. I see your angle and understand. No problem.
  13. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

  14. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

    Some thoughts in no particular order:
    1. sbjsbj You should check out the Mastodon Project or Tapatalk. They're already doing what you're wanting.

    2. Over on Invision Community, we have the ability to offer clubs. Users can create 4 different kinds of clubs (public, private, open, closed), and my community becomes a federation of the smaller clubs. Three of my clubs are in the top 10 destinations of my community according to Google Analytics.

    We're already doing what you're wanting at the community-level.

    3. In general, asking independent forum admins to opt-in to a regulated platform goes against the very premise of why we started independent communities to begin with. The ones who opt-in will most likely be the weak ones. The successful communities won't feel a compelling need to opt-in, especially if it means being regulated or moderated beyond their own control.

    No, they don't publish a roadmap either.

    They just do posts of product updates.
  15. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    To 1.
    As said, Tapatalk focuses on mobile experiences. I know that my idea is not unique, but as I said, the new part is that no forum software does have a hub like this run officially by their companies. Tapatalk is not XF or IPS or vB.
    Mastodon seems interesting, but again, it is run outside of our closed environments. We need sth which represents our environment. Like all XF boards, or al IPS boards.

    To 2.
    As I said, on the community level it is just a groups addon. And I think it is confusing, non-trivial for a normal user. Even I, who has experiences, gets confused with group systems in forums. It is too much clutter and buried in the forums.

    To 3.
    Who said the platform would be regulated? Is IPS regulating right now all the customer's websites who use the IPS software? No. It is up to the domains holder or the server's location who is responsible. Having a hub doesn't change that. The hub is just a melting point, not regulated by anyone. Of course the hub would need regulation from a server point of view (someone has to provide working servers to host the hub, which will be paid from our fees).

    Other than that, why regulate? Of course we could have nsfw filters and other type of filters for the visitors and illegal websites can't be on the hub obviously, but other than those, any site which follows the laws of the hub's located country is in. The moderation of each website is just like right now, each forum has to deal with itself.

    Even if it is only the "weak ones" who opt-in, still a win for them. But I definitely think you underestimate the power of centralization of sites. Reddit is the best example. The biggest subreddits are featured on daily basis there, like AmA, or AskReddit or videos or gifs or gaming or funny. Not sure why suddenly this shouldn't be applied to big boards, who have more content and core users than anyone else? It would be parade day for them daily.

    But, again, I don't think this kind of an idea would ever be implemented. I just wanted to provide a constructive criticism. I told so far what is wrong with forums in general and wanted to provide an example what could be done to save forums in general. But I know of course this is just utopia and nothing like on the level of an simple groups addon. I think I said everything I could say on this topic.

    I genuinely want a response from Chris D about the other stuff we talked earlier, I mean the coasting of XF.
  16. phatcows

    phatcows Enthusiast

    It would be totally wrong if the directives in the fact sheet were from 2010 (when money saving expert posted).

    The European Parliament adopted the directives on 26th March 2019, and the Council formally accepted the Parliament’s position on 15th April 2019.
    The factsheet is also dated 2019.

    Of course, we all know that a directive sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve, but it is up to the individual countries to create/modify their own laws to meet that goal, and they have 24 months to get there.
    Money saving expert's post still applies until these laws have been amended. So maybe sbjsbj jumped the gun a little (as the laws have not been amended in UK (and likely any EU country) yet) but he's not totally wrong.
  17. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Adherent

    But I said, that the laws will be followed through the latest in 2021 and that they were accepted some months ago. All in the linked thread I talked about this.


    And not to forget, these laws are there to make a unification with all EU members. It is not like right now all EU members have no laws or rules about these stuff, they do, but of course all individual and not united.

    And UK has for example the digital act laws which was made in 2014 or 2015 if I remember correctly. The blog post is indeed from 2010, which I hadn't noticed, thanks phatcows

    So all of my points are valid.
  18. palhanow

    palhanow Enthusiast

    Oh! I'm sorry, i did not make myself clear on my last post.

    Is not a bad thing that this thread escalated like this. Is a good thing and for sure that I'm agreeing with all your comments, we share a long list of same thoughts.

    In my humble opinion, the Forum model is still a success since the 80's, when it all begins. Social networks are coming and dying with the time. Facebook is just a question of time to everybody go out, same with Instagram, in long terms speaking.

    Nobody anymore open a business thinking solo on social network. Yes, is important to make a institutional page for your businesses but is not the same thing like 5 years ago.

    Social networks dye because the only focus is people, is the artificial image created for each user to show the greatest aspects of their lives, mainly false. It's like a showcase for people. And i don't know why, spiritual reasons (why not?) but this works for a limited time and people make money with this, of course.

    Of course we did loose some of the user base for social networks, but this is good in some point of view. We lost the bad posters for the fast interaction model of the social networks.

    But we have a card in the hand: the content. Forums are still a success because they focus in one thing: content.

    Nobody enter in some Facebook or Twitter looking for some content. They go for the chitchat. Any content posted in social networks is going to miss in matter of days.

    A good and proper administration of a Forum can make even a Wiki inside, using the features that every major forum have: Threads and permissions.
    Now I'm going to implement a Wiki inside my Forum, with the help from the ThemeHouse guys, with the focus on content again.

    Well, maybe I'm wrong, but we are still here in the internet.

    In the Reddit point of view, why they make this huge success? Because they did manage to merge some of the aspects of the two models: social networking (without the people's showcase) and Forum. People + Content + Easy using = Reddit.

    And why a Forum cannot go in the same way? We must go after the innovation, taking some risks and try to modernize the same old good model from the 80's.

    I think the Reddit idea for Forums is a great point to start in this pursue for the future, totally viable. After reading your post i did contacted the guys from ThemeHouse to give the idea to create a plugin that can give the administrators the option/permission to make a up/down vote model in some nodes or even posts!

    Why not try this? I really cannot see the problem and the critics about it. Just give the option to the administrators, is their choice to use or not use the feature.

    The content is a good point for Forum but it is a flaw in the same way. Forums are totally locked in the administrator point of view about the subjects discussed inside any Forum around the internet.

    Reddit nailed this aspect of permitting the users to create their own "hubs" with their own subjects (another major feature that XF don't have) and well, like the other fellow said in this thread: The hubs get more access in the Forum.

    I really believe that if us take some some shots, our chances to grow more greatly increase. Is time to face the problem: Forums need to be modernized and they are nothing near of this.

    ThemeHouse seen's to be more proactive in this aspect. They have many good addons, look for the Post Comments for example, giving more a "Facebook" feeling, without loosing the Forum aspect.

    In my Forum I'm trying to modernize a little my Community. The Post Comments add on is going to be my next move. Today I'm going to install the Covers plugin, to give more customization to my user base.

    I hope the Reddit plugin come true someday.

    Again, very nice to see this thread growing with so many informative content by the community.

    XenForo devs, if you guys are reading this, is time to take some chances, ASAP.

    Like i said, you guys nailed the Forum software, now is time to go move on and try new things or catch up with the competition.
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  19. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer

    I have been keeping an eye on this thread but while we're taking the feedback on board, I don't think a deep and in-depth discussion about some of the points raised is productive for anyone, so I will pick a single comment and reply to that and that will be the last I have to say on the matter. Conveniently, it was the very last point raised, but I believe it answers the fundamental question as well:
    Thank you for the kind comments about what we have achieved so far with forum software. You're right, we've done a lot of good with our forum software and every step of the way we have worked towards a more stable, more extensible and more feature-rich experience for our customers.

    But we have not "nailed it" as you put it. We never will. Nor will we ever stop trying. Our job isn't complete. Our job is to continue developing the software and beyond as we and our customers see fit.

    We will not be publishing a roadmap and our stance on this has been made clear in the past. What we will do is make the process for making feature requests clearer, and aim to improve our transparency in terms of what we may be minded to work on in the future. Currently the things we are minded to work on, as demonstrated with XF 2.1, are the things that our customers have told us they want to see - those being the features that have been suggested and have significant backing.

    We have a number of projects in the pipeline and we will have more to show you when they are nearly complete.
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  20. DaveL

    DaveL Habitué

    Except the UK won't be in the EU in 2021, so not quite!
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