Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

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Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:54 pm

Talk it here, lads, ladies, and all types besides. We're open to suggestion.
The site is still more/less under construction; user input helps us tailor it to the needs of our wee community.


-We are putting it under consideration to make a subforum for semisexuals as well. Feel free to remark for or against this, and your reason for it.
Note that I don't want to imply that demis or greys have the right to appropriate from semis the authority to define or describe them without their feedback, so... I'd rather want at least one semi on the forum to be able to say "yea" or "nay" to whatever is put in the glossary about that orientation.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Faelights on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:02 am

Is there an option to put in a "quick reply" box at the bottom of the thread, so that you don't necessarily have to use the full editor? Sometimes I just have, well, a quick reply, and I don't need everything else...
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by mel on Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:42 pm

I'm not sure what the features of this type of board are (I'm an administrator on a vBulletin forum, and I've worked with phpBB forums before), but some kind of "section headings" to split the main boards up a bit, not unlike "Welcome", "Community",...etc on the AVEN Forums (the system will not allow me to link to them, but google should help) would go a long way towards making the site look more visually clean.

With enough sustained growth, is eventual migration to a full domain with more fully featured forum software in the cards? I'm impressed with the work that was done to modify this so far, but it's obviously lacking in a lot of modern features that frequent message-board users have come to expect. I do realize that finances and difficulty to setup/administer play a relatively large role in the boards current hosting situation, I'm just curious if that has been talked about for the possible future of the board.

As far as the divisions/structure of the different boards and such themselves, I don't have much to comment. I do have one, though. It's been my experience (as an admin of two small communities, and a founding member of one other that failed to grow due to the exact phenomena I describe below) that small communities just starting out like to make lots of boards and sub-boards, to cover every possible topic of discussion or eventuality, under the assumption that having a good organization in place early will make it easier for people to find the correct place to post and to be prepared ahead of time for the kind of growth that would make them necessary... in reality, having so many sub-boards and sub-sub-boards makes posting more intimidating and also makes it harder to figure out when and where new and interesting posts have been made.

Small communities do much better with really broad categories and fewer of them, because that consolidates the topics into more manageable sections, making it easier for all the members to see "where the action is" at a glance and encourages more frequent posting. It's necessary to strike a happy balance. I would suggest consolidating a lot of the more general discussion boards and sub-boards into one large board for general discussion, and then making sub-boards to organize content as need arises. We don't want to smother a small, new community with too many options and the appearance that nothing new is being posted.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:02 pm

[Read all posts so far; gotta' sprint to class. I'll probably be back pretty late tonight.]

Quick Reply: I want it, too. Still working on it.

There are three widgets, set up on either side of the forum structure.
I'm not sure right now if they are nice or just hellishly annoying. I would like feedback on them, if anybody wants to give it. Note that I won't be back online to remove them for several hours, and if you hate them, thank you for being patient enough to wait for me to take them down.
If you like them, PLEASE let me know. :[
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Faelights on Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:21 pm

Tegid wrote:[Read all posts so far; gotta' sprint to class. I'll probably be back pretty late tonight.]

Quick Reply: I want it, too. Still working on it.

There are three widgets, set up on either side of the forum structure.
I'm not sure right now if they are nice or just hellishly annoying. I would like feedback on them, if anybody wants to give it. Note that I won't be back online to remove them for several hours, and if you hate them, thank you for being patient enough to wait for me to take them down.
If you like them, PLEASE let me know. :[
I don't mind the Latest Topics widget, though I wish it didn't autoscroll. It's also terrible because it doesn't line up with the rest of the forum (i.e. it's not below the invisible horizontal line under the advertisement). I'm assuming a second widget MIGHT be all the like buttons in the top right? I think that's a little tacky. I have no idea what other widget you're talking about.

And... perhaps a small nitpick here, but the feeling just grows more and more and more every time I look at it... it's about the header for the forum that contains the logo at the top of every page. It's so imbalanced!!! >_>; Everything is in that little top left corner. I'm sorry. XD

... I don't suppose you can remove the ad?? XDDD Just kidding.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by mel on Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:16 pm

I'm not really feeling the widgets, the autoscroll makes the one on the left unpleasant and I can't see myself using the one on the right, it's just kinda filling space, and it doesn't quite "mesh".
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:08 pm

Right-oh, reverted widgets. Fae, there was a third, but it was superfluous to the existing search option, so I dropped it a few minutes after sending that post.


With enough sustained growth, is eventual migration to a full domain with more fully featured forum software in the cards?
Yes, but we might have different definitions of "enough", and I would rather delay having to set up a donations box (*is poor widdle uni student*). The longer I can keep this forum as non-financially-demanding, admittedly with the one annoying ad at the top of the page, the better.

Regarding community size and number of sub-boards... my experiences have been precisely opposite those you describe, and the small fora I have seen fail were those that didn't provide in advance a clear place for certain types of posts.
I have a feeling this is very situational to the topic and demographic of a given forum, and less to do with the initial size of the forum in any way that could be considered a broad trend. Fandom fora and those for minority groups tend, as far as I can tell, to do very well with clearly-delineated sub-boards, while much more generalized fora and those dedicated to sports and do-it-yourself are a little more liable to early failure if they are too specialized early-on.
At the moment, I'll leave the sub-boards as-is, since several of them were specifically requested by active members here.

Once I'm fairly satisfied with the setup, I plan to start some "seed threads", topics in each of the sub-boards that can be used as a springboard for activity in them. The logic behind this is sorta' like that of a street musician who tosses a few of his own coins into the hat, encouraging others to follow suit.


STILL working on quick reply. It's not being friendly. :-/ That's not a 'no' yet, it's just not a 'yes, soon'.

EDIT: Maybe I'm a dweeb, but my brain functions in left-justify. Razz Admittedly, appearance of the header is low-priority compared to things like quick reply, but I'll fiddle with that one after I bother over this. Be warned that the only options might be "left" and "right". :-/
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:41 pm

Double-posting, because I CAN. v_v

Anyway, new category headers have been established; will appreciate any feedback members have to give about the current organizational structure. Do we feel the General Board needs to be compressed, or is it better as-is?
I'm leaving the media board compressed for space, but its sub-boards are listed on the front of its tab.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Faelights on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:30 pm

Tegid wrote:Double-posting, because I CAN. v_v

Anyway, new category headers have been established; will appreciate any feedback members have to give about the current organizational structure. Do we feel the General Board needs to be compressed, or is it better as-is?
I'm leaving the media board compressed for space, but its sub-boards are listed on the front of its tab.
Love the new look!! ^_^


EDIT: Regarding the header... what it was just made long enough to stretch the entire way, or most of the way?

EDIT 2: Er, is there an option for putting a link for "Back to Top" at the bottom of pages? XD
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Arcanine on Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:37 pm

Faelights wrote:
Tegid wrote:Double-posting, because I CAN. v_v

Anyway, new category headers have been established; will appreciate any feedback members have to give about the current organizational structure. Do we feel the General Board needs to be compressed, or is it better as-is?
I'm leaving the media board compressed for space, but its sub-boards are listed on the front of its tab.
Love the new look!! ^_^
Agreed xD
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Torraed on Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:48 pm

The new setup looks great, but there are still a lot of forums on the main page. Just a suggestion: maybe you could make some sort of "Community" category with General Discussion and Socialization, the Media Board, and Off-Topic as the main forums, with the subforums appearing beneath the forum names as is the case with the Media Board and a few others. I think it would make the forum look a little less overwhelming, but of course that's just my opinion.

I don't really mind the positioning of the header image, but it does seem a bit large and busy with all the text. I have to say I really like the idea of the gr/ace flag colored fleur-de-lis, though. Going with my own minimalist style, I'd probably prefer something along the lines of this:



Perhaps adding a few more details to that would make it even better.

Anyway, I'm just throwing ideas out here, so feel free to use any, all, or none of them. Smile
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:25 pm

I hope you don't mind the edits I did to your original image; thanks for it! How does the header look now?

I'm still sorting out exactly how I want to optimize the board layout, while avoiding too much stretching or compression of the categories. Your suggestion is definitely one way I'm considering.

Thanks for your feedback!


EDIT: Layout adjusted as per suggestion. Good or ungood?
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Faelights on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:51 pm

Tegid wrote:I hope you don't mind the edits I did to your original image; thanks for it! How does the header look now?

I'm still sorting out exactly how I want to optimize the board layout, while avoiding too much stretching or compression of the categories. Your suggestion is definitely one way I'm considering.

Thanks for your feedback!


EDIT: Layout adjusted as per suggestion. Good or ungood?
Chat Kitteh is pleased. =^_^=
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by mel on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:16 am

Out of curiosity, what's the logic behind the use of the fleur-de-lis? I'm assuming it has some sort of symbolic significance and it's not just being used because it looks cool, but I can't find any definitive meaning behind the symbol.

I'm not sure how I feel about having the two of them with "Demi Grace" in the middle as the current header design (at this time of writing), but it's certainly far-and-away better than the original header was.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:04 pm

The original (now archaic and/or religious-uses-only) term was "fleur de luce", flower of light... light itself can have any number of symbolic meanings, not the least of which is knowledge, education, and visibility.

Additionally, I know many people in the spectrum identify as aromantic; having an ace flag superimposed on a heart would be a bit discriminating against that group. The fleur itself bears a resemblance to the spade symbol on the aces in card decks, a minor allusion to the spectrum nickname. Furthermore, a fleur is meant to resemble a plant(an iris), which suggests growth for the community and its individual members, in both the literal sense of expansion and awareness, and in the figurative sense of personal satisfaction, knowledge, and self-acceptance.

I could probably also b.s. about five other interpretations, but these already seem sufficient to me. Smile
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Arcanine on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:17 pm

Oh! Surprised

I love the new icon! Well done Torraed and Tegid Razz
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by ratherdrinktea on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:50 pm

It looks GREAT ^_^

Awesome job guys Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven <---5 stars ^_^
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:31 pm

Thanks, all!

Note: I haven't forgotten quick reply or the hunt for the ability to put a back-to-top button at the bottom of a given page. Still fussing over those, and can't promise anything. Razz That said, still definitely fussin'.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Torraed on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:01 pm

More love for the new look. Thanks for all the work you're doing, Tegid!

Also, w00t for the first 2-page thread!
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by mel on Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:10 am

Is there a reason during setup you decided on an invision forum and not a phpBBv2 or phpBBv3 forum? phpBB is a lot more stable and fully-featured (with the caveat that it probably takes a bit more expertise to customize effectively), I was just wondering about the decision process there, since forumotion offers several options. I'll understand if it was like, a familiarity thing, since it can be tough to get used to new moderation/administration controls if you've only had experience with InvisionFree boards, but I think a lot of the "feature woes" would have been solved by starting out with phpBB and not invisionfree.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:55 pm

Part of it is familiarity, part of it is reading half a dozen reviews that all imply Phpbb and its variations are four different types of awful compared to Invision.
I don't personally know enough about the differences in them to choose one way or another on any basis other than familiarity and online reviews.

Care to elucidate?

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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:38 pm

Once more I double-post. v_v


1. Be happy, Fae: we now have quick-reply (which I'm using this very moment).

2. We have switched to PHPBB3. Forumer is friendly in that it's easy to do THAT, if little else at this point. Razz Whoop!
Note that, if this style proves detestable to me at some point, I'll switch back to Invision... and also that, for now, it seems perfectly fine (and hey, it has quick-reply).
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by mel on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:06 pm

Tegid wrote:Part of it is familiarity, part of it is reading half a dozen reviews that all imply Phpbb and its variations are four different types of awful compared to Invision.
I don't personally know enough about the differences in them to choose one way or another on any basis other than familiarity and online reviews.

Care to elucidate?


From what I've gathered from using them, phpBB is a lot "messier" on the administrative end (not sure to what degree you have encountered that) because it's a lot more fully featured and a lot more configurable from the start. Invision boards are pretty notorious for being painfully easy to set up and manage at the expense of customizability and some more "buggy" behavior, but phpBB has its own fair share of quirks too. As a user, I have always preferred phpBB or vBulletin boards to ones based on invision or one of the "light" forums. On the administrative end, I think phpBB is more likely to require you to do multiple things in multiple places to get an expected feature working, whereas invision is pretty simple and familiar and very popular with groups who have non-technical administrators (a lot of roleplaying communities seem to be adminned by people who don't do much with the computer and would get frustrated with the sheer number of options and amount of configurability built into phpBB, but I'm not sure how forumotion's configuration of each stacks up against that experience, I'd be willing to bet they remove some of the configurability for security reasons or something, but I haven't had the pleasure of doing much of any administration on an invision board, so I can't tell you much more about their differences except from a user's perspective, which has mostly to do with degree of polish.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Faelights on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:47 pm

YAY FOR QUICK REPLY!

Oh, and yay for having links at the bottom of the page that let you go up a forum. It's even better than having a "Back to Top" button.

EDIT: I just realized you can't see the thread titles very well though (they're white on my screen), and that because the logo at the top of the forum is now small and centered, I can't just click anywhere on the header to get back to the index page of the forum, as I was doing before. >_>

(Yes, I value my convenience. XDDD Sorry...)
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

Post by Aisling on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:01 pm

Haha, you caught me in the middle of mass edits (which involves fiddling with font colours and the like) to the colour scheme. The basic template with which I started in PHPBB gave us some hideously bland varieties of grey as GIFs that covered up colours I wanted visible... so I had to make my own GIFs to replace them (thus the fancy gradient-majig in the header. Good or ungood? Razz)

As for having to be more precise in your clicking... XD sorry. That's the cost of quick-reply, it appears.
The jump-to-forum option was ALWAYS here, but it used to be tiny and in the uber-bottom-right. Razz

Anyway, hopefully things are now nice and shiny and visible? *pleading adorable big eyes* XD
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, and Commentary on the forum setup

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