Ok, that sounded a little ominous, but hear me out.
Looking into different forum software, since future of Vanilla Open Source is looking a little iffy at the moment.
The development of Vanilla Forums open source has slowed down considerably enough for me to look into a few other options when it comes to forum software. I threw this setup together just by going with what I
think makes a good forum and my (surprisingly lengthy) history of being part of the staff here. I figured I would actually ask you guys what you want in a forum this time around.
Now this is not something that will happen in a few weeks or anything. I need to do a whole bunch of prototyping and figuring things out. The 2019 migration was like two years in the making, but on the other hand I built this whole site myself, so I have more access and am quite a bit better at coding than I was back then, so it should be a lot quicker and might turn up a bit nicer.
For options I've been looking at Flarum
, since those look like forums I might be able to wrestle into a classical
category based forums instead of some awful mobile-first timeline type of deal. Unless a slick modern forum is what you would like to see instead? Let me know.
I've also been thinking about the markup language we use. We're currently set up for BBCode
since that's what the old vBulletin forum used, and I think it's a perfectly capable little language, but I've also been considering switching to markdown
, since that's what Discord uses and it's quite a bit quicker to work with once you get the hang of it. Recent Vanilla updates have also made it very tricky to add new tags to the forum, which was the main appeal of BBCode for me. How do you like to edit your text?
Our Vanilla is pretty damn customized so I thought I'd make a quick list of the things I've added to it:
- Custom theme (7 themes, technically)
- Gamification (badges)
- Liking posts and hooking that up to the gamification above
- App icons in profile
- Social icons in profile
- Commissions open icon
- Thread thumbnails
- Thread prefixes (3D, 2D, Animation and so on...)
- Tagging (Star Trek, Star Wars and so on...)
- A whole bunch of user data improvements like autosave options for drafts, exporting your own data and deleting your account
- Sketchfab and Marmoset embedding (kinda busted at the moment though )
- Necropost tags and warning no one seems to read
- Antispam measures
- A bunch of little quality of life things
I guess the main question is, which of these features you enjoy and which you can do without? Are there ones you particularly dislike? Are there any absolute must haves for our potential new forum?
So, three quick questions for you:
- Which forum software would you like to see us use in the future? Stick with Vanilla? Flarum? NodeBB? Discourse? Something else entirely? The goal will be a classical forum setup in any case. None of these tagged timelines nonsense, if I can help it.
- Which markup should we use (ie. how do you want to write your posts? Stick with BBCode? Markdown (like Discord)? Some fancier WYSIWYG editor?
- Which features must be included in the potential new forum? Are there any features we're missing currently?