: Building a forum and community like this one


MazterCBlazter
Sep 2nd, 2009, 12:54 PM
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johnnyspade
Sep 2nd, 2009, 02:14 PM
There are a number of options out there for bulletin board software, and a few decent open-source ones. have a look at phpbb.com (http://www.phpbb.com/), I have worked with it before and it's a good stable solution, with lots of features.

If you're looking for more of a networking soluton, than a bulletin board one, have a look at BuddyPress (http://buddypress.org/). It's my current favourite networking platform and I work with it often.

winwintoo
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:04 PM
You might already know this, but I'll tell you anyway just in case.

I have my domain hosted at hostgo.com - costs about $8/month CAD - and you can also register domain names through them. I think the last time I registered a domain name it was $15/year.

Hostgo - and probably any other hosting company - has a long list of software that you can install on your domain by just clicking a button and filling in a couple of things. They have website software for everything from mailing lists to web stores to blogs and bulletin boards. All those apps are free. If you want to use a paid app, most are pretty easy to install from the control panel provided by the host company.

If I can do it..........

Margaret

MazterCBlazter
Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:22 PM
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chas_m
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:17 PM
My project means a lot to me. I either want to do it right or not at all.

As a former forum moderator myself (in the wild and wooley world of Usenet, no less!), I appreciate your sentiment, but cost is not the factor you should be looking at here. It's time. You will have to commit an incredible amount of it to "do it right."

BB software is cheap and plentiful, but establishing a vision for a forum, being the sole moderator for a long time (sleep? what's that?) and then finally finding a few blessed souls who genuinely "get" the mission and can stand in your stead and help out -- this is a process that takes a LONG time (years!).

Ask the Mayor. Ask this guy (http://gallifreybase.com/forum/member.php?u=1). Talk to other owners of hugely popular forums. Especially about the time involved.

MazterCBlazter
Sep 4th, 2009, 05:43 PM
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ehMax
Sep 4th, 2009, 10:55 PM
Hey MB... I will try to reply early next week when I have a bit more time. I've been doing this for over 10 years now, and have certainly learned a thing or two. ;)

mguertin
Sep 5th, 2009, 01:57 PM
I'd recommend against phpbb ... it's a HUGE target for spammers and has some security issues that they have never addressed (which makes it more appealing to spammers who can get around all the anti-spam mods without hassles).

My current forum software of choice is free and runs very well. Spammers haven't been an issue on any boards I run it on to date. It's called SMF and is available at Home of SMF: Free PHP and MySQL forum software (http://simplemachines.org) ... the 2.0RC even has built-in anti spam options (custom questions at signup). Lots of skin choices and a built-in packaging system to install mods (lots of mods available too).

MazterCBlazter
Sep 7th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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MazterCBlazter
Sep 7th, 2009, 11:32 AM
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MazterCBlazter
Sep 8th, 2009, 08:35 PM
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Kaiu
Sep 9th, 2009, 12:43 AM
You might already know this, but I'll tell you anyway just in case.

I have my domain hosted at hostgo.com - costs about $8/month CAD - and you can also register domain names through them. I think the last time I registered a domain name it was $15/year.

Hostgo - and probably any other hosting company - has a long list of software that you can install on your domain by just clicking a button and filling in a couple of things. They have website software for everything from mailing lists to web stores to blogs and bulletin boards. All those apps are free. If you want to use a paid app, most are pretty easy to install from the control panel provided by the host company.

If I can do it..........

Margaret


15 bucks is crazy expensive for a domain name though @[email protected]


I liked SMF, but phpBB is really nice too... regarding spammers and bots, it still happens on almost every forum system. phpBB, because of its HUGE community, gets alot of security updates too, so regarding spammer/bots I personally think there's no way around that. The only 100% way is to force admin authorization before they can post, which isn't efficient though...



Although pricey, you can also look at vBulletin, which is arguable one of the best forum systems. Only problem is you need to pay for a pricey license. But yeah, this forum uses it, so does many others such as redflagdeals.

MacDaddy
Sep 9th, 2009, 12:21 PM
I really like the SMF forum system myself, and I know phpBB is really good as well. They are both free too, which is a huge plus.

Both systems have decent spammer protection as well as hack protection. My forum has been running for over 6 years with only 2 spam attacks and no hacks.

MazterCBlazter
Sep 14th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Macified
Sep 14th, 2009, 02:01 PM
I have used phpbb and smf. Either is pretty simple to manage. Neither has been spammed or hacked but then my forums are small with little interested to a broad community (a family BBS for keeping in touch and a snowboarding site which is just getting started).

MazterCBlazter
Sep 18th, 2009, 04:26 AM
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Ottawaman
Sep 18th, 2009, 06:40 AM
3 sites that helped me a lot.

vBulletin Community Forum - Powered by vBulletin (http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/)

vBulletin.org Forum (http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/index.php)

vBulletin FAQ Forums (http://www.vbulletin-faq.com/forum/index.php)

Carter
Sep 18th, 2009, 09:30 AM
For a Free Board your two top options would be phpBB (http://www.phpbb.com/) or SMF (http://www.simplemachines.org/). In my opinion SMF is a much better board for ease of use or phpBB unless you want to get into hacking/coding of the forum. I worked on a few phpBB forums & a lot can be done with a phpBB forum but I really never want to start another one again. To much time spent trying to change/add coding and files to get the look and feel I want. With SMF everything is done through an install package.

If you have some money vBulletin (http://www.vbulletin.com/) & Invision Power (http://www.invisionpower.com/) I would say are the top two. Plenty of support and ease of use.

If I were to start up a new forum right now it would definitely be SMF do to it's ease of use, community support and overall functionality and add-ons, themes etc & it's all free.

Carter
Sep 18th, 2009, 09:39 AM
I'm still working on this thing.

Anyone recommend a good hosting service? Bravenet looks good, link above, lots of features. I'm wondering how to back up the forum and also if need be, transfer to other hosts if need be for more server power or other issues I'm learning about.

Any hints on moderation, keeping the spammers and hackers away, and also search engine optimization or other important things I may have missed.

Thanks.

Well, as Bravenet - Web Hosting, Free Web Hosting and Web Tools (http://www.bravenet.com/) home page is all messed up at least when I went to it I would not go with them :)

There are a couple options. If it will be a small community from the start maybe go with a shared hosting plan which is cheap and then down the road when you find you have a lot of users and activity you can upgrade.

Just to give an idea, I'm on a shared server and for August my site used up 68GB in bandwidth and never had an issue & I only pay $2/month but that being said I signed up for a 3 year package to have that cost plus a free domain name for life. The package includes "Unlimited" bandwidth, space, email accounts etc.

So ya, get an idea of what your needs would be. If new and you only see your site in the low thousands of users then a shared server should be good and then look at upgrading down the road.

As for backups, most have something similar to CPanel which has an add-on for backups or you can look at a ftp program that can connect to your server and download backups at a time interval.

For Spam most forums have add-ons to help with spammers such as signing up to the site as well as after a possible spammers sign up.

Also, as you already pointed out there is one key feature that is needed with every forum .... a ehMax .... I mean good admin/moderators :D but sounds like you will be on top of that :cool:

MazterCBlazter
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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Niteshooter
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:39 PM
You might already know this, but I'll tell you anyway just in case.

I have my domain hosted at hostgo.com - costs about $8/month CAD - and you can also register domain names through them. I think the last time I registered a domain name it was $15/year.

Hostgo - and probably any other hosting company - has a long list of software that you can install on your domain by just clicking a button and filling in a couple of things. They have website software for everything from mailing lists to web stores to blogs and bulletin boards. All those apps are free. If you want to use a paid app, most are pretty easy to install from the control panel provided by the host company.

If I can do it..........

Margaret

Wow that's a pretty good deal, thanks for the info Margaret.

Kevin

Niteshooter
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:58 PM
As a former forum moderator myself (in the wild and wooley world of Usenet, no less!), I appreciate your sentiment, but cost is not the factor you should be looking at here. It's time. You will have to commit an incredible amount of it to "do it right."

BB software is cheap and plentiful, but establishing a vision for a forum, being the sole moderator for a long time (sleep? what's that?) and then finally finding a few blessed souls who genuinely "get" the mission and can stand in your stead and help out -- this is a process that takes a LONG time (years!).

Ask the Mayor. Ask this guy (http://gallifreybase.com/forum/member.php?u=1). Talk to other owners of hugely popular forums. Especially about the time involved.

110% correct. It's not the cost of the sw or the hosting but the time needed to invest in the project. Years ago I was part of a Mac network that spanned across the world called OneNet. It took a lot of work, mainly because at that time in the dark ages of dialup you were a hub which fed other sites on the network and this was all done via telephone lines.

This network is still limping along even today though no where near what it was during the hayday of BBS'. Oldtimers might remember such sites as TVO, Magic, DigitalNation, Insane Domain, Deep Blue, SoftArc, OneNet Boulder, etc.

On top of the workload was the challenge of keeping the users happy because they more than anything else will make or break the site. That was the reason that Magic thrived and eventually I suspect why Magic died as well as any other site out there.

ehmac is a good example, you have a very solid core group of users and a pretty tight control over the 'lunatic fringe' that can quickly ruin a nice place to sit and chat.... probably took a while to sort that out.

So regardless of fancy graphics and neat ideas the big trick is to find folks who will make the site their own.....

Kevin

MazterCBlazter
Sep 29th, 2009, 10:36 PM
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Niteshooter
Sep 30th, 2009, 12:45 AM
It's funny but the setup and logistics of the process don't scare me.

What was the biggest PITA was when the users went berserk and made your life as administrator living hell..... XX)

Carter
Sep 30th, 2009, 12:58 AM
So far I now just feel confused about what to do and how to proceed. This sure looks like a big pain.

Maybe I'll figure it out, or drop the idea. Undecided. it sure takes a lot of time to look up all the info.

To keep things simple perhaps go with a free forum software and go with one that's easy to work with as for add ons etc. over having to mod the forum files itself. I would suggest SMF (http://www.simplemachines.org/) for the forum software and as for hosting, I use WebHostingPad.com (http://www.webhostingpad.com/) which is cheap as hell. I hit over 70gigs in bandwidth last month with my website that is hosted with them and not an issue.

"MazterCBlazter" if you would like and have an idea on the forum software you want to test out and you want to test before buying space then let me know. I can set you up with an ftp account and space to do up a test site. Simple to do and it keep your money in your pocket until you decide what you want to do & I can give you a hand if you want get'n it going.


MazterCBlazter
Oct 2nd, 2009, 01:02 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Oct 12th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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MazterCBlazter
Oct 12th, 2009, 03:15 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Oct 23rd, 2009, 12:34 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Oct 23rd, 2009, 01:26 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Oct 23rd, 2009, 05:26 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Nov 1st, 2009, 04:46 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Nov 3rd, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Macified
Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:53 PM
Not sure why you're having trouble with external images.

I have an smf based board (that gets little use) and it can run an image inside a post simply using the [ img ] url [ / img ] tags (without spaces inserted). I can also "attach" images to post using the additional options button on the post generator page.

Yeah, it's not the prettiest of sites and I don't bother with mods, themes, etc. but it is functional and relatively easy to use.

MazterCBlazter
Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Macified
Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:19 PM
In SMF attachments work fine, but the image will not work between the

It sure is ugly and clunky.XX)

works just fine for me. I'll check and see if there is an "allow external images" type of setting in the admin area.

Macified
Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:27 PM
I found no special setting to allow the tags to function. Just works. Are you sure the images you are testing fit within the criteria that is set for images?

MazterCBlazter
Nov 4th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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Carter
Nov 4th, 2009, 04:47 PM
Which version of SMF are you using? SMF 1.1.10 or 2.0 RC1.2. I'm in the middle of rebuilding one of my forums with SMF 2.0 RC1.2 but more for testing. Waiting for the full release. Right now themes are slow coming as most are waiting for the full release of SMF 2.0

MazterCBlazter
Nov 4th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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MazterCBlazter
Nov 28th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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HowEver
Nov 28th, 2009, 01:03 PM
The best way? Pay people to become new members.

Or, free t-shirts. Or both.

What is the best way to get the word out and attract newcomers to join my online forum?

This place being a raving success and all.

MazterCBlazter
Nov 28th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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