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Suggestion: Upgrade forumsoftware to vBulletin

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LibertarianfromGermany Posted: Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:28 PM

I've recently been watching through quite a few LvMI-videos about its history and mises.org etc and about the effort you've been putting into it and I was thinking that you could easily make the forum much, much more attractive by using vBulltin forumsoftware.

As the LvMI is of course trying to promote ideas, I think appealing forums could be one of the most appealing features to gather new members and help engage your members in discussions. Particularly for that reason it is in my opinion important that you try to use modern forum software and dedicate a good amount of time and effort into this field which could prove as an important connector between the Institute and its members from all over.

vBulletin is about the most advanced forum software that currently exist and most serious online communities use it (many of you should be familiar with for example Liberty Forest which also uses vBulletin). http://www.vbulletin.com/index.php

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I. Ryan replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:52 PM

I agree.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Giant_Joe replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:55 PM

LibertarianfromGermany:

I've recently been watching through quite a few LvMI-videos about its history and mises.org etc and about the effort you've been putting into it and I was thinking that you could easily make the forum much, much more attractive by using vBulltin forumsoftware.

As the LvMI is of course trying to promote ideas, I think appealing forums could be one of the most appealing features to gather new members and help engage your members in discussions. Particularly for that reason it is in my opinion important that you try to use modern forum software and dedicate a good amount of time and effort into this field which could prove as an important connector between the Institute and its members from all over.

vBulletin is about the most advanced forum software that currently exist and most serious online communities use it (many of you should be familiar with for example Liberty Forest which also uses vBulletin). http://www.vbulletin.com/index.php

I don't like my forums all looking the exact same.

Although a better search function would be nice.

 

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I. Ryan replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:57 PM

By the way, the best layout that I have encountered is that of the forum of SDN.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Well, it wouldn't have to look exactly like Liberty Forest, it's just a very well coded base with lots of different customization options and practical stuff.

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I. Ryan:

By the way, the best layout that I have encountered is that of the forum of SDN.

AKA the forum used by VGCats, for the young-ins out there reading. 


I think that forum software is bland, imo, but it could be just the default theme speaking.

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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I. Ryan replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 9:22 PM

Nitroadict:
AKA the forum used by VGCats, for the young-ins out there reading. 

I think that forum software is bland, imo, but it could be just the default theme speaking.

I was also referring to its organization and whatever. I also like that it is "bland", it is simple and works perfectly.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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The first problem with that is that the Mises.org website runs on a Microsoft web server and serves primarily .NET pages. Fudging around with it to incorporate a PHP module may be harder for this reason (or may not be—I don't know much about the server software).

The second, probably more significant, problem is that vBulletin costs money. As a non-profit institute primarily focused on disseminating information, I don't know that a pricey discussion forum is really a good investment. phpBB might be a better choice (being free), assuming that the first issue is surmountable.

Although, honestly, I don't see much of an issue with the current forum software at all.

Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both.Ludwig von Mises

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I think Mises blog just changed to wordpress, and I swear I heard they are running linux now.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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E. R. Olovetto:

I think Mises blog just changed to wordpress, and I swear I heard they are running linux now.

I don't know how they could be. The ".aspx" extension you see on all the pages is a Microsoft thing. There are some layers available for *nix operating systems, but I doubt they're this functional.

Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both.Ludwig von Mises

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 10:22 PM

Problems with the current software:

- Font inconsistency. Posts appear with all kinds of fonts, paragraphing, and other mark-up, that make it look bad. This also makes it hard to post because you never really know what you get (and may have to edit multiple times). I think a standard post mark-up language that translates into standard forum mark-up, as almost all other forums have, is far superior. Many people don't even know how to make a link in the current one.

Sometimes pages are even broken because of what people in-put.

 

- Quoting. This is integrated with the previous fault, but also you can't easily find who wrote what and where. vBulletin has an easy solution for this.

 

- The software errors that you get when you load a page or make a post, and the time it takes sometimes for a post to show up. Very unprofessional and clumsy. I can personally work around this but it's a clear point of improvement.

 

In terms of costs, vBulletin the forum is $195. I don't think that's expensive at all for what you get. If that's the price you pay for avoiding all the problems people run into and the way this forum navigates (badly) and looks (badly), then I think it's well worth it. If Mises can't afford this then please point that out and I'll make a contribution to make it happen (I'm sure others will be willing too).

I'm quite confident vBulletin can be configured/templated to make it look more classical/classy like the rest of the Mises Institute theme.

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Nielsio:

- Font inconsistency. Posts appear with all kinds of fonts, paragraphing, and other mark-up, that make it look bad. This also makes it hard to post because you never really know what you get (and may have to edit multiple times). I think a standard post mark-up language that translates into standard forum mark-up, as almost all other forums have, is far superior. Many people don't even know how to make a link in the current one.

Sometimes pages are even broken because of what people in-put.

I manually write the HTML for my posts, so I wasn't aware that this was a widespread issue. I will say, however, that being able to write straight HTML is incredibly nice. (I'm slightly worried that it might allow for cross-site scripting attacks, though.)

Nielsio:

- The software errors that you get when you load a page or make a post, and the time it takes sometimes for a post to show up. Very unprofessional and clumsy. I can personally work around this but it's a clear point of improvement.

I'd be willing to bet that this is the server itself (or a side effect of it), not the forum software. I've definitely had problems accessing the website on more than one occasion, and sometimes receive ugly Microsoft IIS error pages. So I don't think this is something that will be solved without changing all the technology behind the website.

Nielsio:

In terms of costs, vBulletin the forum is $195. I don't think that's expensive at all for what you get. If that's the price you pay for avoiding all the problems people run into and the way this forum navigates (badly) and looks (badly), then I think it's well worth it. If Mises can't afford this then please point that out and I'll make a contribution to make it happen (I'm sure others will be willing too).

I understand your reasons for wanting to switch forums, but why not use one of the many free alternatives, such as the one I linked?

Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both.Ludwig von Mises

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Justin Spahr-Summers:
I will say, however, that being able to write straight HTML is incredibly nice.

QFT!  Especially for <blockquote>!!

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Justin Spahr-Summers:
E. R. Olovetto:

I think Mises blog just changed to wordpress, and I swear I heard they are running linux now.

I don't know how they could be. The ".aspx" extension you see on all the pages is a Microsoft thing. There are some layers available for *nix operating systems, but I doubt they're this functional.

I swear I read that on the comments of the recent blog post about going to WP, but I checked and saw no such thing. Got me, sorry.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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E. R. Olovetto:

Justin Spahr-Summers:
E. R. Olovetto:

I think Mises blog just changed to wordpress, and I swear I heard they are running linux now.

I don't know how they could be. The ".aspx" extension you see on all the pages is a Microsoft thing. There are some layers available for *nix operating systems, but I doubt they're this functional.

I swear I read that on the comments of the recent blog post about going to WP, but I checked and saw no such thing. Got me, sorry.

Ah, well, I was referring to the Linux thing. It's entirely possible that they are running WordPress on Windows.

Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both.Ludwig von Mises

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E. R. Olovetto:

Justin Spahr-Summers:
E. R. Olovetto:

I think Mises blog just changed to wordpress, and I swear I heard they are running linux now.

I don't know how they could be. The ".aspx" extension you see on all the pages is a Microsoft thing. There are some layers available for *nix operating systems, but I doubt they're this functional.

I swear I read that on the comments of the recent blog post about going to WP, but I checked and saw no such thing. Got me, sorry.

Actually, you're right ERO, only it wasn't in the comments, it was in Jeffrey's post itself:

"You might have noticed some odd blog behavior. Having ported to Wordpress, we’ve moved to a new linux box to try it out and provide a platform for further development. Hope you like it, and a special thanks to Israel Curtis and David Veksler who made this happen."

New movement on the blog — Mises Economics Blog http://blog.mises.org/12189/new-movement-on-the-blog/#ixzz0imOujaiA

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Yes, Mises now has a linux box among its windows servers, prompted by the recent conversion of the Blog to Wordpress. More portions of the site may yet migrate to linux (like the Daily), and most likely, the community.

The Mises staff are very much aware of the limitations of the current forum - and the community software in general, and are currently planning its evolution. I would agree that vBulletin and phpBB are widely-used and supported forum packages, and they may be the solution, but it remains to be seen how the entire community environment - blogs, wiki, forums, groups, etc - will evolve. Dedicated forum software like the two mentioned may be the best option, but a more integrated solution would be nice, to avoid a smorgasbord of software, interfaces and logins across the community.

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 11:17 PM

Justin Spahr-Summers:
I manually write the HTML for my posts, so I wasn't aware that this was a widespread issue. I will say, however, that being able to write straight HTML is incredibly nice. (I'm slightly worried that it might allow for cross-site scripting attacks, though.)

Nice compared to what? Maybe nice compared to a bad WYSIWYG or meta writer but not nice compared to a good meta writer (and a good, standardized way those writings appear) a la vBulletin. The fact that you prefer writing in straight HTML should be a clear sign that something is terribly wrong.

I'd be willing to bet that this is the server itself (or a side effect of it), not the forum software. I've definitely had problems accessing the website on more than one occasion, and sometimes receive ugly Microsoft IIS error pages. So I don't think this is something that will be solved without changing all the technology behind the website.

It's likely a combination. Heavy microsoft OS that requires more power and more management, to run heavy forum software.

I understand your reasons for wanting to switch forums, but why not use one of the many free alternatives, such as the one I linked?

You usually get what you pay for. I am quite confident that vBulletin has much more options in regards to adaptability and management, and also plain user functionality as well. vBulletin also looks better out of the box.

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 11:27 PM

Israel Curtis:

I would agree that vBulletin and phpBB are widely-used and supported forum packages, and they may be the solution, but it remains to be seen how the entire community environment - blogs, wiki, forums, groups, etc - will evolve. Dedicated forum software like the two mentioned may be the best option, but a more integrated solution would be nice, to avoid a smorgasbord of software, interfaces and logins across the community.

I can't oversee the best way moving forward, but FYI: vBulletin now has a full publishing suite including CMS and blogging. $90 on top of the forum price ($285 total).

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Stranger replied on Sun, Mar 21 2010 12:15 AM

You can run free forums on WordPress, and Mises.org is already using it for their blog.

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Justin Spahr-Summers:
I understand your reasons for wanting to switch forums, but why not use one of the many free alternatives, such as the one I linked?

I'm not advocating to throw away money, but I really don't think 200 Bucks is going to make a big difference for the Institute if they get a good product for it as it's a 1-time cost. They've put so much work and money into the site already that greatly improving it for 200 bucks is probably more than worth it.

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One problem the current software has is that it does not work for iPod/iPhone/iPad, nor probably any other touchscreen-based portable devices, due to rich-text-editor, hover events, and other coding craziness incompatible with a mouseless keyboardless interface. Millions use these devices.

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Bert replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 10:22 PM

I don't mind the way this forum looks, but it is hard for me to search for old post when either other post show up with the same keywords in the replies, or replies to other post with the same keywords in the title.  I would like to just have the post title's come up with the matching words.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Nielsio replied on Sat, Mar 27 2010 10:38 PM

Bert:

I don't mind the way this forum looks, but it is hard for me to search for old post when either other post show up with the same keywords in the replies, or replies to other post with the same keywords in the title.  I would like to just have the post title's come up with the matching words.

Yes, the search function is really lacking; another advantage vBulletin has.

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/bump

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