Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features

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Karl_
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PostUpgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Karl_ » Wed May 29, 2019 11:34 pm

=
There is another relevant idea: Use of forum software different to PhpBB. Feel free to mention that here, and this there, where relevant.
=

This is a proposed changelog of upgrades to the base forum software. The updates to the software and theme are listed first.

Then, we list extensions I think we should install (not counting our own in-house extensions).

    SOFTWARE AND THEME

  • Upgrade to PhpBB 3.2, which adds the following features:
    • Quotes link to the quoted post
    • Support for emoji Unicode characters to be used (though no "emoji menu")
    • Speed and efficiency enhancements
  • Upgrade to the PhpBB 3.2 version of our theme, Simplicity

    BASIC FORUM FEATURES

  • AJAX Base makes certain parts of the forum update without refresh

  • Password Strength encourages users to set strong passwords

  • Remember Me Checked By Default for convenience

  • 24 Hour Activity Stats displays some basic usage stats for the last day, might be a better barometer than "Who Is Online"

  • Hide Bots further improves the activity view by making it so that those entries for search engine crawlers aren't visible to normal users

  • Copyright in Footer to give us back our custom credits message

    EASE OF USE

  • Breadcrumb Menu makes it easier to jump from forum to forum

  • External Links Open In New Window to maintain current expected behaviour for users

  • Mark Read Confirm so you can't mark a topic or forum read by accident

  • PM Name Suggestions so you don't have to copy-paste the exact name into that little box

  • PM Box Status Bars is a really tiny quality of life change, but worth the two clicks to install

    MEDIA

  • Magic OGP (Open Graph Protocol) Links shows link thumbnails, like you'd expect on modern social media websites like Facebook

  • PhpBB Media Embed Plugin allows a wider selection of embedded website views, including media sites like YouTube and Vimeo, social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, and even shops like Amazon and news sites like the BBC

  • Advanced BBcodes
    • gives extra font formatting options
    • [mod] tag so moderators can semantically speak "officially"
    • nicer BBcode bar
  • Lightbox for PhpBB for nice fullscreen image viewing

  • Quoted Image as Thumbnail to prevent quote-chaining a huge image

    CONTENT

  • Topic Authors tells you who the OP of a thread is on their posts, this is standard on most other platforms

  • Thanks For Posts allows users to thumbs-up a comment, again, standard on most other platforms

  • Username BBcode lets you type [user]Username[/user] to tag a user in your post, and notifies them; once again, every other platform has this

  • Precise Similar Topics makes it easier to find other / previous relevant topics

    ADMIN

  • Board Announcements gives us an alternate way to make a brief announcement to everyone

  • Mass Notifications could be a nice way for mods to draw attention to a new announcement

  • Authorised for URLs helps combat spam by disallowing new users from posting links at all

  • Database Optimise and Repair Tool unfortunately can't fix the kind of issues we have, but the statistics might be useful and the defragmenter could help us improve performance

    ADS / TRACKING

  • Google Analytics for PhpBB for our internal analytics tracking

  • Advertisement Management for integrating our Google AdSense ads into the forum

  • PayPal Donation Management for a PayPal donation progress bar

All users: Does this sound a good feature list? Are there entries you'd find annoying and wouldn't want to be installed?

People with Discourse experience: How much of this do we get for free if we switch?

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by OrangeRKN » Thu May 30, 2019 9:29 am

Karl_ wrote:Remember Me Checked By Default for convenience


Is this convenient? People who check "Remember Me" will only log in once (per device). People who don't want to be remembered will log in every time they visit the site.

That's a one time only click removed for people who want to be remembered, but for those who don't it adds a new click every single time they log in.

The counter argument is if the vast majority of people want to be remembered, we should support that as the default case. Also granted that while I belong to the "Don't Remember Me" group, it won't affect me whether it is checked or not as I automatically clear browser data on close anyway.

Karl_ wrote:24 Hour Activity Stats displays some basic usage stats for the last day, might be a better barometer than "Who Is Online"


A quick glance suggests this is mafia friendly *thumbs up*

Karl_ wrote:External Links Open In New Window to maintain current expected behaviour for users


While I'm dead set against this (browsers include a mechanism for opening a link in a new tab, enforcing it removes that choice) I know I'll lose this argument (business interests have conditioned users to expect the anti-choice behaviour).

A checkbox in your user profile though to change the behaviour... 0:)

Karl_ wrote:PM Name Suggestions so you don't have to copy-paste the exact name into that little box


Yes pls

Karl_ wrote:Magic OGP (Open Graph Protocol) Links shows link thumbnails, like you'd expect on modern social media websites like Facebook

PhpBB Media Embed Plugin allows a wider selection of embedded website views, including media sites like YouTube and Vimeo, social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, and even shops like Amazon and news sites like the BBC


Grouping these together, one of my current big issues with GRcade is that I don't see embedded tweets (because I block them with noscript/privacy badger for privacy reasons). In order to get the link, I have to quote the post, because the link is replaced with the embedded tweet rather than added to.

If we have more embedded media that I'm more than likely going to block, please please can we ensure that the raw link as written in the post body remains visible and clickable.

Karl_ wrote:Lightbox for PhpBB for nice fullscreen image viewing


Could be okay but I'm worried about implementation details. Could be ugly and we don't want to lose functionality like turning images into links in posts.

Karl_ wrote:Quoted Image as Thumbnail to prevent quote-chaining a huge image


Definite approval

Karl_ wrote:Thanks For Posts allows users to thumbs-up a comment, again, standard on most other platforms


*downvote*

Yes this is just thumbs up, so you can't downvote, but I still hate the idea. It's one of my biggest problems with modern social media and I think it only encourages group-think and discourages actual responses (in favour of just clicking like).

Karl_ wrote:Support for emoji Unicode characters to be used (though no "emoji menu")


:msgreen: :dread:

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Thu May 30, 2019 10:15 am

Reading the above post sounds like OR has paranoia.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by OrangeRKN » Thu May 30, 2019 10:32 am

We are all living through a kafkaesque nightmare, any paranoid tendencies are entirely justified

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Thu May 30, 2019 11:23 am

Everything is listening/watching you, may as well give in ;)

For those that use the Android app getting on GRview is easy as peeing. At the very top of the app is "GAMES "STUFF" and "GRVIEW".

I thought that would have increased views on GRview alone? I guess it had little affect. I don't know any numbers tbh, and and the views on GRview from people here or people who stumble across it on the internet?

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Winckle » Thu May 30, 2019 11:23 am

My main issues with upgrading phpbb are as follows:

  • The phpbb developers are rude and old fashioned in their outlook
  • It feels like a dying software project
  • Other platforms, such as Discourse are run by more professional developers with more modern outlooks
  • Maintaining all those mods/plugins just to get modern features will be much more difficult than any migration

We should migrate GRcade to Discourse.
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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by OrangeRKN » Thu May 30, 2019 11:33 am

Pedz wrote:For those that use the Android app getting on GRview is easy as peeing. At the very top of the app is "GAMES "STUFF" and "GRVIEW".


Do we have stats on what percentage of people use the app?

Regardless the website should have feature parity, and is lacking a similar GRview link

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Thu May 30, 2019 12:15 pm

Yeah, I was just wondering if people even noticed it and used it?

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by jawafour » Thu May 30, 2019 12:31 pm

I didn't realise that GRview was still around... but, hang on, it is!

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Thu May 30, 2019 12:48 pm

Yeah, I asked Gecko to get it back up. I just need a way to publish stuff. Only Errkal did it before, I think.

Means when I bring back Retro Monday I'll also do the little articles and I also publish the Twitchcast on there.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Ad7 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:50 pm

Super GRcade :datass:

Hexx wrote:Ad7 is older and balder than I thought.
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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Minty14 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:50 pm

So, from my experimentation with Discourse, these are the features from Karl's list which I believe it would provide identical or equivalent support of:

BASIC FORUM FEATURES

AJAX Base - As far as I can tell, everything is live. EG, replies are shown live when viewing a topic.

Password Strength - Built in minimum password options, although no enforcement for unique characters etc as far as I can see. Also supports SSO, and 3rd party auth providers inc Google, Twitter etc. This is secure but I also believe it breaks down a major barrier when it comes to new sign ups.

Copyright in Footer - Not built in as far as I can tell, but there's a built in HTML & CSS editor so it can be easily added.

Breadcrumb Menu - A jump menu is shown on all pages by default.

External Links Open In New Window - Option is available, but off by default.

PM Name Suggestions

MEDIA

Magic OGP (Open Graph Protocol) - 'Onebox' is the equivalent of this.

PhpBB Media Embed Plugin - Seems to be almost identical native support.

Lightbox for PhpBB - Thumbnails and lightbox are supported natively, although I haven't got it working yet.

CONTENT

Thanks For Posts - There's a built in 'Like' system which provides this functionality.

Username BBcode - Users can be @'d and includes auto complete

Precise Similar Topics - Suggested/similar topics included natively, hard to tell how accurate it is without a full base of posts though.

ADMIN

Board Announcements - Posts can be pinned, including on the main category page.

Mass Notifications -A brief look around makes me think there's a way of doing this by creating a tag or category and then setting that category to watched by default.

ADS / TRACKING

Google Analytics for PhpBB for our internal analytics tracking
Advertisement Management for integrating our Google AdSense ads into the forum
PayPal Donation Management for a PayPal donation progress bar
This area isn't really my forte, but a cursory glance at the plugins available makes me think we can do these.



Some that may be available, but I haven't fully explored;

24 Hour Activity Stats
Hide Bots
Mark Read Confirm
PM Box Status Bars - I can't actually see that there's any limit on PMs.
Quoted Image as Thumbnail
Authorised for URLs
Database Optimise and Repair Tool
Advanced BBcodes - Seems to be some plugins available to support this, but BBcode support doesn't look too robust out of the box.
Topic Authors
Remember Me - I can't see any option to NOT remember your login.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Minty14 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:54 pm

On top of this, you can solve the NSFW/Politics with tags, which can be muted (including by default),

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Green Gecko » Thu May 30, 2019 9:13 pm

Roughly 40-50 people use the app on a regular basis.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Green Gecko » Thu May 30, 2019 9:18 pm

Pedz wrote:Yeah, I asked Gecko to get it back up. I just need a way to publish stuff. Only Errkal did it before, I think.

Means when I bring back Retro Monday I'll also do the little articles and I also publish the Twitchcast on there.

Sorry for the delay on that, I just published it - went and blocked all non-work related sites moments before I remembered to do it yesterday :fp:

GRview is listed on google, but is unlikely to get organic traffic based on the main domains' pagerank because Google treats them as separate websites. For this reason it needs to be moved to a "folder" i.e. /stuff/ or I need to do fancy cross-domain stuff with Google Analytics.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Thu May 30, 2019 9:33 pm

Green Gecko wrote:
Pedz wrote:Yeah, I asked Gecko to get it back up. I just need a way to publish stuff. Only Errkal did it before, I think.

Means when I bring back Retro Monday I'll also do the little articles and I also publish the Twitchcast on there.

Sorry for the delay on that, I just published it - went and blocked all non-work related sites moments before I remembered to do it yesterday :fp:

GRview is listed on google, but is unlikely to get organic traffic based on the main domains' pagerank because Google treats them as separate websites. For this reason it needs to be moved to a "folder" i.e. /stuff/ or I need to do fancy cross-domain stuff with Google Analytics.


Cheers, I should in theory be getting 2 thing up a week on GRview soon. The Twitchcast goes on there for Tuesday at 9am along with the podcast feed via Devlin amd the GRcade Podcast fees and also YouTube. I do set it for Tuesday as we tend to doing the Twitchcast on Sunday.

And I plan to bring back Retro Monday meaning I'll be doing teeny write ups about my 1 hour of a retro game a week on the GRcade Twitch channel.

Not sure what else I personally could add. I did put up my claybook video on there but that was a thing I did on my own YouTube channel and wasn't really sure about doing stuff like it again and if doing it on my channel and sticking on GRview was something I shouldn't really do, ya know?

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Green Gecko » Thu May 30, 2019 11:08 pm

What claybook video do you mean? The game called Claybook? (Just googled it)

I don't have any problem with cross-promoting your own channel through GR stuff. If you upload stuff on GRcade you could also use thumbs at the end of the video that point to your channel for more stuff.

In the industry this is called "guest posting", in other words people "give up" some amount of their content creation to sponsors or sites they just support which are generally bigger than them which in return promotes traffic to their own site/blog and gets their name out there. It's completely normal and it also benefits the "host" site/blog/channel/whatever because it's not an echo chamber.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Karl_ » Thu May 30, 2019 11:18 pm

Minty14 wrote:So, from my experimentation with Discourse, these are the features from Karl's list which I believe it would provide identical or equivalent support of: [...]

This is really useful, thank you very much!

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Pedz » Fri May 31, 2019 12:11 am

Green Gecko wrote:What claybook video do you mean? The game called Claybook? (Just googled it)

I don't have any problem with cross-promoting your own channel through GR stuff. If you upload stuff on GRcade you could also use thumbs at the end of the video that point to your channel for more stuff.

In the industry this is called "guest posting", in other words people "give up" some amount of their content creation to sponsors or sites they just support which are generally bigger than them which in return promotes traffic to their own site/blog and gets their name out there. It's completely normal and it also benefits the "host" site/blog/channel/whatever because it's not an echo chamber.


Yeah, I did s little few minutes long video looking at the game about a year ago. It was a game I got for free. Got the GRcade channel signed up to the same places. Free games do get had, or offered, it's just getting people to stream them or review them.

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PostRe: Upgrading PhpBB to version 3.2 and installing new features
by Minty14 » Fri May 31, 2019 1:18 pm

Karl_ wrote:
Minty14 wrote:So, from my experimentation with Discourse, these are the features from Karl's list which I believe it would provide identical or equivalent support of: [...]

This is really useful, thank you very much!

Another couple of things I noticed, but forgot to include...

In place updates with email notifications.
The build process includes options to use LetsEncrypt, so SSL support is pretty much set and forget.
Built on with docker, so is super portable/recoverable.
Option to back off media uploads to S3.
Support for Redis instead of PostgreSQL (I'm no DBA, so I'm not sure how easy this is and how much of a performance difference it would actually make).
There's a wiki system too which could be handy for posting guidelines etc.

EDIT: 2FA supported, but no email/SMS, only token apps or Google Authenticator.
External Auth providers; Google, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, github.

Last edited by Minty14 on Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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