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Thoughts on old vs new forum design

Posted By: Jeff Shafer (Webmaster) <comments@aquaweb.pair.com>
Date: Tuesday, 18 March 2003, at 1:36 a.m.

Hi everyone,

Here are some of my thoughts between the new vs old message boards:

1.) It appears I substantially underestimated the amount of goodwill the old threaded style of message board has, as well as some of its legitimate uses, such as jumping right into a discussion, or scanning the index page looking for your favorite posters.

2.) The ability to upload images is popular. Perhaps too popular - my bandwidth usage is going through the roof! The flat listing of the new forums exacerbates the problems by making people reload the same image over and over again. Perhaps some sort of dedicated photo gallery separate from the forums would be more appropriate. (or, the inline forum images could be kept fairly small, with the high-res images only allowed to post in a gallery)

3.) Smileys appear to be an instant hit.

4.) Editing posts after theyíre posted is a plus. Iíve found myself doing that several times already.

5.) Email notification of responses to your messages is nice

There is an updated version of the current threaded forum software available (WebBBS). It wasnít my first choice, since thereís only one guy writing it, while that new PhpBB design has a whole team and a huge support community writing enhancements and bug fixes and everything. But, I believe it can do the image uploading, smileys, email notification, and, perhaps most importantly, would give users a choice between the threaded listing and flat listing formats.

If I get some time later this week, Iíll see if I can get the new WebBBS to run in a test forum, and tweak it to increase the coolness factor a bit, as itís not nearly as polished out of the box as PhpBB is.

The photo gallery idea is entirely separate, as Iím not sure what software is out there. The one package I know of right now is an enhancement to the PhpBB software (i.e. the new forum design), which is a really great idea, as you can use the same user profiles and everything for both systems. Of course, if we donít go with the PhpBB design for the forums, it becomes a real inconvenience having multiple logins, and I certainly donít want people uploading images without at least knowing their email address.

So, I would say that right now the old message boards are still the main message boards and will be for the foreseeable future. I will leave the test boards up (http://aquaweb.pair.com/webforums/) in case anyone wants to upload some images and post a link to it in the old forums.

Sorry for the confusion this week,


Test Forums for Image Uploading

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