Community

Some thoughts on the new forums

Some background color to distinguish between categories and topics would help a lot.

On the page where you enter a PM, there’s no indication that you’re entering a PM

I don’t see a way to mark anything as solved. Maybe I’m missing it or maybe I’m not a moderator any more.

I think the solved indicators should be larger and show more green.

Pasting text into a message can be very weird. When pasting text that contains either HTML or BBcode, the forum will “entify” some tags but not others. Specifically, <br> almost always gets turned into &lt;br&gt;, but If I enter the br tags manually, they’re left alone. Worse yet, sometimes the preview panel looks fine, but things turn to crap when I actually post. There’s probably nothing that can be done about these issues, I thought I’d mention them just in case.

The forum keeps asking me if I really want to post a link to Bob’s Guides that I’ve already posted. I’ve got almost 300 blog posts and at least 100 other MODX pages there. I often point people to a page containing the solution to their problem and being constantly asked if I really want to do it can be pretty annoying.

Signatures? Lots of regular forum users had them on the old forums and I think having them there encourages people to contribute. Very rarely, some miscreant or bot would abuse the privilege and get almost instantly banned by me or someone else, so I don’t seen the downside.

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This was already discussed elsewhere; at the moment there are no plans to add signatures. The lead developer of Discourse is quite adamant about that topic, and I also agree that they can be distracting, especially in the minimalistic design we have now.

The user profile (shown clicking the user icon) is where you can add your calls for donations, link to your site, etc.

Bob,

agree on several points.

The Solved indicator is already been discussed here

Spot on about the pasting code issue. I’ve already found the same difficulties as you in getting this to work and no solution yet.

To paste in code, start with a single backwards tick (`) or three of them to open a code block; that stops it from encoding the HTML for you. Seems to work fine with Bob’s example of the <br>.

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Re: Signatures

I haven’t been able to find anything I would call a “discussion” on this topic. What I’ve found here and on Slack has the flavor of an edict rather than a discussion. The tone there and here basically says to me, “we’ve made this decision, so shut up.” Maybe I’m misunderstanding.

So far, I’ve only been able to find four people’s opinions on signatures. Two are in favor, two opposed. Of those opposed, only one (Markh) has made an actual argument against signatures. Not much of a discussion imo, but again, maybe there’s a discussion somewhere that I haven’t found.

It may well be that the general community here agrees with the new policy, but I’ve seen no evidence of it at this point.

There is a signature plugin for Discourse, so clearly not everyone agrees that signatures are a bad thing.

It was decided internally, early on, that signatures look out of place when it comes to content. In some cases, it’s much longer than the content itself, and there’s another place for the content you’re wanting to share.

There was also a discussion that came up on the forums about it. We’re just trying to keep content easy to search, easy to view, and easy to digest.

EDIT: Furthermore, that signature plugin only works with images, originally, as you can see from the screenshots. It was done more of a parody than an actual usable plugin. They later on decided to add a full featured editor, but from the feeling I get among the Discourse community the plugin isn’t seriously maintained.

The problem with you just adding your signature to the content of you post is it is in the search of every post. If someone tries to search for “Bob’s Guide” it’ll show every one of your posts. Or if someone wanted to search for A2 Hosting for a review, the same thing would happen.

I’m pretty sure signatures are meant to be somewhat out of place to their main content and more of an aside. I don’t believe anyone on the legacy forums used it as a means of spamming gifs or the like, but rather as a chaser to more relevant resources, content or just to give a subtle heads up that you could help us too, since we spent our free time helping you.

I feel that the positioning of such aside content into a hidden box only visible if users decide to ‘stalk’ us a little bit too irrelevant and concealed to yearn anything back to contributors.

Are signatures a kangaroo court decision or are you open to the possibility of them? Either allowing us to manually type in some content, or even if we developed our own plugin with smaller text, less opacity and a character limit? Maybe even a feature for specific members and contributors only?

Sorry, when I said “discussed” earlier, I meant “asked and answered” :wink: I don’t think this is necessary a decision that requires a democracy, as the decision for what platform to use didn’t need to be one either.

I don’t think modx.pro has signatures (or even the pop-up user profiles like Discourse), but that sure seems to be thriving just fine.

What I’d like to suggest is that we give the lack of a signature a chance. This is an all new, fresh platform, and just cause we had signatures before doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to have them. They add clutter that is irrelevant to the discussion, especially when people help a lot and their signature ends up being repeated a dozen times in a single thread. The only real benefit to signatures that I can think of is more opportunity for self promotion and I don’t think that’s the goal for the forum.

The only real benefit to signatures that I can think of is more opportunity for self promotion and I don’t think that’s the goal for the forum.

That’s certainly one way to look at it. Another is that helping MODX developers be successful helps MODX – A win-win proposition, imo.

I think it would be great to see a link to modmore in your signature. It helps MODX developers find extras that will help both them and MODX be successful.

As for modx.pro, this is what I found at the bottom when I translated the first full post I found there:

Of course I want people to learn about modmore too, but not necessarily in a signature that’s irrelevant to a topic.

Someone mentioning Commerce or redactor in a topic about shops or RTEs actually results in targeted clicks; my old signature didn’t seem to have a noticable effect on traffic despite having a couple thousand posts from many years.

I don’t know how much conversion you got from your signature, but I’d assume it’s similar where on-topic links to your blog get far more clicks than a generic one in your signature.

I meant the commenting/discussions under posts on MODX.pro, which is the closest comparison to the forum. I think you posted the author information under a full blog/tutorial post, i.e. something that is shown once on the page only?

Generally I look at signatures as more advertisement on the page, and just ignore it.

I think the best place for signatures is on the user’s profile page. I will often view that if I’m curious about someone.

If we wanted to give someone a place to draw attention to themselves, then maybe give a single “signature” line in the header of each comment right under their name which they can customize as a lure to view their expanded profile info. I think having a picture, username, signature all as a single header section for each comment would still keep the page clean and readable.

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I think you’re probably right, though I’ve never cared enough about monetizing my site to think about click rates, conversions, or calls to action (for the most part, I don’t even look at traffic).

Ironically, I extended my signature because a regular site visitor chided me about his difficulty in finding a way to donate.

You make some good points and I’m fine with not having a signature.

You’re definitely right about MODX.pro, I should have checked more closely.

Hey Bob,

So, I had actually had a conversation with a forum member and I’m discussing internally about giving “approved users” a Donation button in a place on the post. It’ll always be in a consistent place, so it doesn’t look out of place. Would this work well for you? Furthermore, if the subject is relevant, if you have an article on your site (or section in your book) that is relevant to the thread at hand, please do link them!

Hey Elizabeth,

It’s an interesting idea.

I think it might make more sense for it to be a single line, with whatever link text the user chooses. Some might rather just have a link to their web site or something else instead of a donation link. I’m not aware of anyone who has ever donated to me through the forum link in my sig., so a donation link isn’t all that important for me, though it may be to others.

I agree that putting it in a specific location is a good idea.

It would also be fine with me if it only appeared on the user’s first post in a thread, since some people are annoyed by the repetition, though I’m not sure the forum software can handle that.

@bobray I think it’d be similar to what you see above, a single button that says “Donate.” There’s a place for all your information already (when people click your names).

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I don’t like signatures at all way to much repetitive content. Love the minimalism of the new forums.

I really appreciate any efforts to make searches robust and scanning a thread easy(ier)… To me that means not displaying sigs.

Ditto, I actually learnt about Modmore from Mark’s sig, and have bought many plugins since.

It’s like the “website” box in the comment section - you are more likely to comment if they give you the chance to enter your site.

And I see nothing wrong with self-promotion, as long as it is done with taste and it isn’t intrusive - after all, we all have to make a living and i never met one person who was like “Yeah Bob helped me but his signature is contains a link to his site, so now I am incredibly unhappy and want to kick a puppy”

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