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What's new?

GuerrillaGuerrilla781 HelsinkiPosts: 2,860Administrator
edited July 2019 in Site News #1
So, as you may have gathered, there's been a couple of changes around here. The big obvious ones are:
  • New server
  • New forum software
  • New owner
  • Some new rules

This thread will serve as a kind of a quick guide to how things work on the new platform. You can use the links below to jump to a specific section.

1. What the hell is Vanilla?
2. Posting
3. Profiles
4. Rules
Post edited by Guerrilla on
Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
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  • GuerrillaGuerrilla781 HelsinkiPosts: 2,860Administrator
    1. What the hell is Vanilla?

    Glad you asked. Vanilla Forums is Modern Cloud Based Online Community software that is used by many known brands for their cloud-based community needs. We, however, are not a known brand nor made of money, and we felt like customizing things to a silly degree, so we went with a self hosted open-source version instead.

    What's wrong with vBulletin?

    Security mostly. We've had a number of severe security incidents on the old site, and while most of them were tidied up in the end, the attack surface remains massive, and difficult to reduce. vB is still one of the most popular forum software suites around, which means it will remain a worthwhile target for attackers. We also felt that ever since version 4, we never really had any use for the new features (and new attack surfaces) that were introduced. We just need a nice lightweight forum that does forum things really well, and leaves the CMS, blogging and other extra features to people who actually need them.

    So, why Vanilla?
    Actually, I just wanted a forum with a smooth user experience (remember how fun attachments were in vB?), but that still functioned like a traditional forum, where you have topics in forums in chronological order instead of some awful timeline or popularity contest that offered thread thumbnails and embedded major formats easily. Anything else would've been extra baggage.

    Also, migrating from vB to Vanilla was supposed to be a pretty straightforward process (it wasn't).

    So what's so great about the new forum?
    Well, posting images and commenting on them is very straightforward, which is what we're all about in the end. As an added bonus, we have some fun gamification going on (simple points system and some badges). You can like people's posts. Thread thumbnails now work in all topics. You can choose from three themes (Blue, Gold or Red) from your user profile. There is (or rather will be, once I finish it) a proper mobile theme. The new private messaging system is pretty slick (conversations instead of just individual messages). Embedding is really nice. Youtube and Vimeo embed directly, and you can even embed Sketchfab (there's a button) and Marmoset Viewer scenes (you'll need to host Marmoset (.mview file) yourself though). You can @ people, and they get notified of your post. There's a tagging system to make finding things easier. All sorts of little quality of life improvements all over the place.

    In addition to these there are a lot new security features and updates, such as proper https all over the site.

    What did we bring from the old forums
    Lots of things. We left a lot of things behind too.

    We brought:
    • Users
    • Work in Progress forum
    • Finished Work forum
    • Q&A forum
    • Tutorials forum
    • Requests forum
    • General discussion forum
    • Attachments
    • Private messages (for the most part)

    Additionally we managed to restore the Old Gallery and the Downloads section that had been offline for a couple of years. The gallery has been integrated in the Finished Work forum, and the Downloads have their own sub-forum under Releases.

    A lot of users are missing!
    That is true. We didn't particularly feel like bringing over thousands of spammers, so we dropped those. Additionally, to keep the members list tidy, and to minimize the amount of personal information we store, we pruned anyone who had no posts and had not visited the site in 5 years or so (at the time of import).

    I discovered a bug on your fancy new forum!
    Great! You can report it here.
    Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
    Join our fancy Discord Server!
  • GuerrillaGuerrilla781 HelsinkiPosts: 2,860Administrator
    edited June 2020 #3
    2. Posting

    So, posting on the forums is what we're all here for. How does all that work?

    Pretty much the same as before. You can hit the New Thread button to make new topics and you add replies by scrolling to the very bottom, typing it in and hitting Post Reply. You can still use BBCode, although not quite as much as before. (Mostly for accessibility and security reasons).

    You drafts get saved every couple of minutes, so you can come back to a reply. You can check your drafts in My Drafts on the side panel. You can now also edit your autosaving options.

    Thread thumbnails
    Thread thumbnails are generated from the very first image of the first post. Doesn't matter if it's linked or attached. Animated GIFs work fine. Exact dimensions are 240x135, but anything in 16:9 aspect ratio should show up correctly on the forum index. Different aspect ratios will get zoomed. If you're posting videos, you should include a still image.

    Attaching things
    Simply drag and drop whatever you're attaching to the text box you're writing in. Alternatively, you can hit the Attach Image and add an URL or a file from your computer. Regular BBCode IMG tags work as well.

    The tags you have available are:
    [b] for bold
    [i] for italics
    [s] for strikethrough
    [list] for lists (ordered or unordered)
    [quote] for quoting
    [code] for code (which is what this here box is)
    [spoiler] for spoilers
    [url] for links
    [img] for images
    [vid] for video files (mp4  should work best)
    [left][center][right] for text alignment

    The easiest way to use them is to hit the relevant button in the post editor. Keyboard shortcuts work as well, so CTRL-B for bold, CTRL-I for italics and so on.

    There's a button for them. You can use shortcuts too, or just type : and start typing an emotion.

    :) =) ;) :/ :o :s :p :'( B) :# :3 <3 :| :-1: :+1: :angry: :anguished: :astonished: :skull: :no_mouth: and so on. I think we're using Twitter's emoji pack.

    You can edit your posts whenever. Hover over the post you want to edit and click on the cog icon that appears in the top right corner of the post (where your profile info is). Editing will leave a log entry. If you need something more thoroughly removed, contact staff.

    The quote button is on the bottom right of all posts.

    Yes! You can like posts now. These let authors know that you appreciate them and will improve their reputations. Button is on the bottom right.

    Reporting posts (or flagging, as it's known from now on) will generate a report on the staff forum. It should be the first thing you do whenever you spot someone breaking the rules on the forum. The button is located on the bottom right.

    Can I bookmark things?
    You sure can! Click on the little star icon right next to the topic or at the very top right of a thread you're browsing.
    This little guy:
    Post edited by Guerrilla on
    Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
    Join our fancy Discord Server!
  • GuerrillaGuerrilla781 HelsinkiPosts: 2,860Administrator
    edited June 2020 #4
    3. Profiles

    User profiles have been updated to be more useful for members and less useful for spammers. You can access your profile by clicking on your username anywhere on the site, or clicking on it on the side panel, the top navigation menu or this handy link. If you want to edit your profile, click on the little icon on the top right of your profile.

    Edit Profile
    In Edit Profile you can set up a couple of options and add your Social Media and other links, change your theme.

    You can also set your email visible for whatever reason, but we recommend you leave it invisible.

    Profile fields
    You can link to your various Social Media profiles with these. Cute little clickable icons appear in to top right corner of all your posts.
    --Most fields only need your username--
    Copy [THIS BIT] (and only [THIS BIT]) from your profile URLs into the field.

    Location - hopefully pretty self-explanatory
    Homepage - your homepage on the Internet. Include the http:// or https:// bit to ensure the link works.
    ArtStation - a link to your ArtStation profile[THIS BIT]
    Behance - a link to your Behance profile[THIS BIT]
    DeviantArt - a link to your DeviantArt profile[THIS BIT]
    Facebook - a link to your Facebook profile or page[THIS BIT]
    Instagram - a link to your Instagram profile[THIS BIT]
    PlayStation - Your PSN name (doesn't link anywhere)
    Sketchfab - Your Sketchfab profile[THIS BIT]
    Steam - Your Steam ID (doesn't link anywhere)
    Twitch - a link to your Twitch channel[THIS BIT]
    Twitter - a link to your Twitter profile[THIS BIT]
    Vimeo - a link to your Vimeo channel[THIS BIT]
    Xbox - Your Xbox Gamertag (doesn't link anywhere)
    YouTube - a link to your Youtube channel
    Copy the whole URL
    IMDB - a link to your IMDB profile[THIS BIT]

    As always, take a minute to consider before sharing any personal details online. SFM only ever needs to know your username and email (and birthday to make sure you're over 16 years old, and IP for security reasons).

    What the hell? I can't edit my profile!
    New members are allowed to post straight away, but require a couple of verification steps on the back end to make sure they're legit, before we allow them to edit their details. Just sit tight, and you should be cleared in a couple of days. If you need to edit your profile sooner, contact the staff. And remember that you can post straight away, and legit posts are one of the possible ways an account gets verified.

    The reason we have it set up this way is to combat the rampant forum spam problems we had on the old forum. Basically, the bulk of SEO spam we got was just user profiles with dodgy links in them in hopes that those links will improve search engine results. That hasn't really worked for a few years now for search engine optimization, but it does occasionally manage to get the site flagged for phishing or fraud, if enough of those dodgy links accumulate, so we'd rather not offer the possibility.

    What the hell? Where is my old profile?
    Gone, apart from user credentials and posts. We had a lot of spammers just sitting on the member's list with all kinds of dodgy links in their profiles, so we decided to start from scratch. Furthermore, most of the profile fields are different than the standard vB ones, so they wouldn't have mattered anyway.

    Do we get signatures?
    Indeed you do. 280 characters max, no images or videos.
    From your profile -> Edit Profile -> Signature Settings on the side panel.

    How do I change my profile picture?
    From your profile -> Edit Profile -> Change My Picture on the side panel.
    Avatars are 100x100 or smaller, depending on where you are. Anything square will work.
    Post edited by Guerrilla on
    Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
    Join our fancy Discord Server!
  • GuerrillaGuerrilla781 HelsinkiPosts: 2,860Administrator
    4. Rules

    You can find the rules in their dedicated forum. Also, each separate forum has a sticky Forum Info thread you should check out before posting.

    Rules Forum
    Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
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