Poll

Which of the following would be our best approach in your opinion?

Move the entire forums over to another platform
Leave DDF functionality & platform as is, but refresh the design
Leave DDF as is besides for product deals etc
Leave DDF functionality & platform as is

Author Topic: New DDF Forums  (Read 7957 times)

Offline Suave

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New DDF Forums
« on: July 06, 2020, 05:02:29 AM »
This has always been a hot topic, and we have discussed it many times. Now we'd like to make a move forward and would love to hear from YOU as DDF is a community after all.

It is no secret that SMF (the platform the forum is currently relying on) is out of date and will most likely not be improving in the future.

These are the options we are currently researching:

1. Move the entire forums over to another platform
This would completely change how the forums operate and we interact with it. This would most likely mean migrating the entire forums to bbpress or wpForo
Pros: (this is not an exhaustive list)
  • Easier User Experience
  • Lighter & (less bloated) fresher User Interface
  • SEO Friendly
  • Much better for community deals (shopping deals submitted by community members would automatically show up on DDMS (after being approved by a mod) and users would be able to earn rep points, HT, likes etc
  • Ability to get push notifications on new topics, post replies, quotes & mentions
  • SSO - Single Sign On - Your user details stay the same on DDMS & DDF (you only need to sign on once)
  • Better Image Attachments etc.
  • Mobile Friendly (and should theoretically work well with the DDMS app (if & when that happens)
  • Modern code would make it more future proof
Here are some bbpress forums I like:
https://okclarity.com/forums/ (Built & designed by me)
https://okclarity.com/ - scroll down to see the card/grid layout that shows latest active forum posts

https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/front-end-not-loading-assets-from-wp-content-wphb-cache/

Cons:
  • Costly
  • Time consuming
  • Will take some time for users to readjust & adapt
  • DDF may have to be turned off for a week to complete the migration safely
  • We may lose some post/topic formatting, stats, attachments, etc

2. Leave DDF functionality & platform as is, but refresh the design
This has been discussed before, there may be some issues with using a new skin or design, but I think it's doable if we commit to it. - It will not improve much other than looks though.

3. Leave DDF as is besides for product deals etc
Everything stays the same on DDF, besides for Amazon / Walmart deals etc - You would be posting those in a special section on DDMS
It would take some work to synchronize some data like HT's, user sign-in, likes etc

4. Leave DDF functionality & platform as is
Are you that comfortable with DDF that you are afraid of progressing towards a new & improved experience?


Again, DDF is all about the community - your voice matters, please share your thoughts & concerns - we'd love to hear them :-)
DDMS Built with ♥ by SWIZU

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2020, 06:27:55 AM »
I love the current platform. Less is more.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2020, 07:53:21 AM »
Move!
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2020, 08:18:49 AM »
I love the current platform. Less is more.
Move!
I would think that some decisions wouldn't have to be politicized! Why does the pro-Trump DDFer and the anti-Trump DDFer always have to have opposite opinions, even on things so foreign from politics?!
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2020, 08:22:46 AM »
I would think that some decisions wouldn't have to be politicized! Why does the pro-Trump DDFer and the anti-Trump DDFer always have to have opposite opinions, even on things so foreign from politics?!

Huh?

More like cynical idealist vs realist.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 10:53:15 AM by ExGingi »
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2020, 08:42:17 AM »
Some more pros to moving to a WP based forums:

1. Cleaning up things that 99% of people don't use, just look at all this:



I think things like that scare off many new posters. Hyperlinking, italics, bold, should all work the same as microsoft word or gmail, no need to have some buttons like on SMF for it...

2. Integrate with DDMS would be huge, it would give a single website experience which would easily integrate great content from what is currently 2 sites.

3. Based on point 2, the deals section would be able to be optimized to get more views, have a real voting system, easier to scan for good deals, and not clog up the unread messages on DDF, as it'll be more sortable.

4. With it being easier to access from DDMS/a more user friendly format, that means more users joining, more information being added to wikis, more trip reports, yes more noobs initially, but I think people can realize with time noobs become very helpful users as well.

5. Integrating with comments on DDMS for usernames, so you can know/recognize who you are talking to on a DDMS post.

It's a long road, and I think @Suave can design an awesome WP forums that takes the best of what DDF SMF has to offer and simplify/add to it on WP.

I think the most helpful comments here would be what reasons people have for not or for moving, and what is their wish list for new features as well as features they do not want to change, i.e. we need wikis, we need all the image codes from BBCode to be integrated, etc.

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2020, 08:57:28 AM »
I think a huge change would be the ability to just copy/paste images (I don't know that it is possible or easy to implement, but will definitely make it easier for many).

Simpler/easier multi-quoting.

Like notification / tracking.

Some kind of system to standardize thread titles and avoid duplication based on (required?) keywords. (Similar to help bots on many websites).
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 10:27:55 AM by ExGingi »
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2020, 09:41:46 AM »
I think a huge change would be the ability to just copt/paste images (I don't know that it is possible or easy to implement, but will definitely make it easier for many).

Simpler/easier multi-quoting.

Like notification / tracking.

Some kind of system to standardize thread titles and avoid duplication based on (required?) keywords. (Similar to help bots on many websites).
+1 on each one of those points.
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Offline Euclid

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2020, 09:44:19 AM »
My vote is for anything that moves away from Tapatalk.

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2020, 10:23:43 AM »
+1 for all the advantages of moving.

BUT although SMF isn't mobile optimized it is very light (basically text only with some RGB colors and loads very quickly)  therefore while the two examples you posted above have a better layout and look nicer, I found they took longer to load, overall weren't too functional on mobile. "Less is more"

Do you have a way to make a lightweight mobile forum with a mobile layout?
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2020, 10:39:25 AM »
+1 for all the advantages of moving.

BUT although SMF isn't mobile optimized it is very light (basically text only with some RGB colors and loads very quickly)  therefore while the two examples you posted above have a better layout and look nicer, I found they took longer to load, overall weren't too functional on mobile. "Less is more"

Do you have a way to make a lightweight mobile forum with a mobile layout?
+1
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2020, 10:51:29 AM »
My points in bold.

  • Easier User Experience Honestly if someone can't figure out how the UX here works after reading/playing around for a few days they shouldn't cross the street without an adult's help. Sure, some advance features can be less than obvious, but basic reading/posting/formatting cannot be any simpler.
  • Lighter & (less bloated) fresher User Interface Can't get any lighter than what's essentially pure text. Your examples below are packed full of random stuff along the side, with less than 50% of the page width dedicated to the forum. That's ain't "lighter".
  • SEO Friendly Could be, that's not my forte. Although I would say that UX comes before SEO, so see my above points.
  • Much better for community deals (shopping deals submitted by community members would automatically show up on DDMS (after being approved by a mod) and users would be able to earn rep points, HT, likes etc Sounds interesting, which is why I voted to apply changes only to the deal boards.
  • Ability to get push notifications on new topics, post replies, quotes & mentions I get emails for that, but push would of course be better. No need to screw up the entire forum for that though, especially when Tapatalk exists for those things.
  • SSO - Single Sign On - Your user details stay the same on DDMS & DDF (you only need to sign on once) Meh. Never saw the need for that. If I want to be Identified on DDMS I put my name as SF. More often than not I specifically don't want that.
  • Better Image Attachments etc. Show me how. I've yet to come across a forum with a decent/less terrible/easier/whatever way of adding pictures in-line. Having images hosted on the DDMS site wold be a pretty good thing though, as it'll free us from the whims of image hosting sites (remember the Photobucket debacle? Some TRs are still screwed up.)
  • Mobile Friendly (and should theoretically work well with the DDMS app (if & when that happens) Would be nice, but not if it functionality was gimped in any way. The regular site on mobile already does 95% of what I need.
  • Modern code would make it more future proof No idea what that means in practice, unless you're worried about SMF shutting down without a proper way to migrate.

Here are some bbpress forums I like:
https://okclarity.com/forums/ (Built & designed by me)
https://okclarity.com/ - scroll down to see the card/grid layout that shows latest active forum posts
https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/front-end-not-loading-assets-from-wp-content-wphb-cache/

Nothing personal, but those are absolutely infuriating layouts. 40% of the page is furoms and the rest is just wasted space. How on G-d's green Earth is that an "improvement"?

Cons:
  • Costly
  • Time consuming
  • Will take some time for users to readjust & adapt Most will eventually adapt, just like any other site redesign. Question is what are we adapting to, something genuinely better, or just something new for the sake of it.
  • DDF may have to be turned off for a week to complete the migration safely Together we shall overcome!
  • We may lose some post/topic formatting, stats, attachments, etc Yeah, this is gonna be the fun one. I (and countless others) have dozens of TRs and literally thousands of pictures on DDF. If those get screwed up in any way, it's gonna be a heckuva situation.


1. Cleaning up things that 99% of people don't use, just look at all this:



I think things like that scare off many new posters. Hyperlinking, italics, bold, should all work the same as microsoft word or gmail, no need to have some buttons like on SMF for it...

Some people (hint: me) use them and would be royally annoyed if they were to be removed. I think you're underestimating our users if you think a toolbar is scaring them off. Sure, having Word-like controls would be a nice thing, but honestly I think everyone can figure out that if Ctrl+B didn't work, the button with the international symbol for "bold" might be worth clicking on.

2. Integrate with DDMS would be huge, it would give a single website experience which would easily integrate great content from what is currently 2 sites.

As I mentioned above, I don't see the great need for that. Convince me where the practical benefits are and I'll be happy to change my mind.

3. Based on point 2, the deals section would be able to be optimized to get more views, have a real voting system, easier to scan for good deals, and not clog up the unread messages on DDF, as it'll be more sortable.

I'm all for updating the deal boards, as mentioned above.

4. With it being easier to access from DDMS/a more user friendly format, that means more users joining, more information being added to wikis, more trip reports, yes more noobs initially, but I think people can realize with time noobs become very helpful users as well.

Show me a successful forum where the layout is radically different than DDMS (like the examples Suave posted). One.

In this industry, for example, FT, Airliners.net, and everyone else has the same foundational layout.


5. Integrating with comments on DDMS for usernames, so you can know/recognize who you are talking to on a DDMS post.

Already commented above.


In short, my thoughts:

- The overall layout is pretty perfect. Going with Suave-example-style instead of SMF/FT/etc would be horrible.
- People come to the forums for information, not too look at pretty tiles and crap. There should be absolutely zero dead space. DDF now does a great job of packing in the content - don't screw with that.
- DDF now is not that complicated. If you can't figure out how to bold text you should probably stick to DDFB.


Upgrades I personally feel would be worth it:

- DD-side image hosting, but with the ability to embed remaining
- Draft auto-save (How has this not been mentioned yet? I'm sure everyone here has at one point lost a post. I know I've had several TRs disappear before I learned to constantly copy and paste into a text doc or something)
- Better deal organization
- Everything else is peanuts and just not worth it.


At the end of the day, I feel that there are three basic requirements here:

1. Change should only happen if significant benefits to the user are added.
2. Overall look and layout should remain similar to the existing.
3. No existing content or functionality should be lost.

If all three of those are not met, I vote stick to what we have.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 01:29:15 PM by Something Fishy »
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2020, 11:17:06 AM »
I'm a if it's not broken, why fix it guy.

But if it weren't for JJ and Suave then DDMS would still be based on the 2007 template...

But personally, agree that a better photo upload solution and a mobile theme for DDF would be great.
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2020, 11:23:16 AM »
My points in bold.



In short, my thoughts:

- The overall layout is pretty perfect. Going with Suave-example-style instead of SMF/FT/etc would be horrible.
- People come to the forums for information, not too look at pretty tiles and crap. There should be absolutely zero dead space. DDF now does a great job of packing in the content - don't screw with that.
- DDF now is not that complicated. If you can't figure out how to bold text you should probably stick to DDFB.


Upgrades I personally feel would be worth it:

- DD-side image hosting, but with the ability to embed remaining
- Draft auto-save (How has this not been mentioned yet? I'm sure everyone here has at one point lost a post. I know I've had several TRs disappear before I learned to constantly copy and paste into a text doc or something)
- Better deal organization
- Everything else is peanuts and just not worth it.


At the end of the day, I feel that there are three basic requirements here:

1. Change should only happen if significant benefits to the user are added.
2. Overall look and layout should remain similar to the existing.
3. No existing content or functionality should be lost.

If all three of those are not met, I vote stick to what we have.
I agree with most of @Something Fishy's points. As for SEO - do we really want to send @TimT to retirement?

And I think the "better deal organization" ties into my suggestion regarding thread titles/bot.
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Re: New DDF Forums
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2020, 11:30:38 AM »
I'm so used to this dated platform so i don't want change. but I know it can be way better and easier and I will embrace it and enjoy in the end