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Thread: Planned Forum Migration

  1. #1
    Administrator Paul's Avatar
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    Planned Forum Migration

    Robin & I are planning to migrate this forum to a new server and (hopefully) switch from vBulletin to XenForo as part of that migration. Of course we're going to bring over all the data and try to set up automatic redirects so existing links to forum threads will still work. The main reason for choosing XenForo is its ability to import vBulletin data, and because it is written and maintained by the original programmers who created vBulletin.

    My hope is to make the switch-over within the next 2 months. This migration has been tentatively in the planning for years, but it's one of so many things which were put on hold to focus on developing Teensy 4.0. Now we're finally going to try. We recently purchased (leased) a new & faster dedicated server to run XenForo, so we can keep this server intact while attempting the migration. The existing server is up for renewal in early November, so my goal is to get this done well before that deadline.

    I don't have an exact date when we'll make the switch-over, but I wanted to let you know as early as possible about this upcoming change.

  2. #2
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    Looks good. They seem to have added brightness and readability but left the browsing new posts like here if their forum is a good example :: xenforo.com/community/

    Recent use of another forum the UI is not as nice as vBulletin for tracking new posts - XenForo seems promising.

  3. #3
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    Having seen many suboptimal forum migrations, I have one request. Please find out ahead of time what character encoding is currently in use (hopefully, UTF-8) and what character encodings are supported for import on the new platform (also, hopefully UTF-8) so that non-ASCII characters are actually round-tripped rather than turning into strings of garbage.

    (I was once on a forum that had three botched UTF-8 to Latin-1 to UTF-8 steps, so that a single arrow, degree symbol, accented letter became nine garbage Latin-1 characters (encoded in UTF-8).

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member+ mjs513's Avatar
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    Agree with @defragster. Looks interesting but think its going to take some getting use to.

  5. #5
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    It will be interesting to see when you import from vBulletin to XenForo how much you can (or want) to retain the look at feel of current forum.

    Personally I wish we had the ability to easily see new (to us) messages and ability to mark them read or not.. I sometimes miss responses or new messages that come over night and does not show up in the new posts list. Yes I can and do go back to Activity list...

    But regardless it will be interesting.

  6. #6
    Junior Member KE4EST's Avatar
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    We moved our forum over to Xenforo 4 years ago and have never looked back. You will find you will like Xenforo much, much better. Way more customizable, and their support is great and normally very fast!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs513 View Post
    Agree with @defragster. Looks interesting but think its going to take some getting use to.
    in particular the dominating user pictures turn me off.

  8. #8
    Junior Member KE4EST's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMXZ View Post
    in particular the dominating user pictures turn me off.
    Those can be turned off in the user preferences. Along with signatures and most other things that can be annoying. That is another thing I like about Xenforo so much more control for the users.

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    Does it allow to simply paste images from the clipboard (e.g. screenshots) to posts like in GitHub?

  10. #10
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luni View Post
    Does it allow to simply paste images from the clipboard (e.g. screenshots) to posts like in GitHub?
    Did search on above forum link : xenforo.com/community/threads/xenforo-2-1-9-cannot-copy-and-paste-to-hotlink-images-from-clipboard-with-image-attachments-turned-off-worked-in-1-5

    Reading that thread - it looks like it can and has worked to clipboard paste in XF 1.5? Not clear as far as I read if XF 2.1 broke that - or it depends on settings?

    The good thing is the search "Search results for query: clipboard paste" used two words and gave a decent set of results!

  11. #11
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luni View Post
    Does it allow to simply paste images from the clipboard (e.g. screenshots) to posts like in GitHub?
    I sure hope it does. I *really* want quick & easy pasting of pictures. vBulletin makes such a simple thing way too complicated.



    Quote Originally Posted by KE4EST View Post
    Those can be turned off in the user preferences. Along with signatures and most other things that can be annoying.
    FWIW, vBulletin also came with many annoying features which we turned off years ago.

  12. #12
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    I'm been debating whether to keep private messages enabled. Looking for feedback on this. Please share your thoughts. Is PM valuable?

    The main problem with PMs is spam. With normal public messages, inevitably someone will see and report any spam pretty quickly. We have a tiny patch installed where reported posts automatically go to the moderation queue, so everyone else isn't also burdened with seeing already-reported spam. But sometimes a spammer will register and then start sending PMs rather than posting publicly. It's hard to imagine how this can be economically viable to spammers, and since it (so far) happens only infrequently, maybe it isn't. But my concern about keeping PM is we really don't have much defense against spammers.

    So the question is whether PMs matter to anyone?

  13. #13
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    PM's have some limited value for 'offline' connections without exposing an email or other link to the public.

    They can be counter productive to the forum content when Teensy questions don't end up leaving a trail in the forum when it was a generic question/problem answer.

    Ideally when XenF comes online some barrier to random entry to slow down the spammers might be enabled? Captcha or other? Maybe it has a built in link to lists of known offender IP's?

  14. #14
    All the other vBulletin forums that I visit have switched to XenForo, and it seems pretty good.

    As for PMs, I think they're good to have, especially for exchanging contact information that you don't want to expose to the world. Perhaps prevent new users from sending PMs until they have made several posts over a period of time, like a week, for instance. Then you have a chance to delete (or perhaps just put limits on) any user who makes low-quality posts after they join.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markb View Post
    As for PMs, I think they're good to have, especially for exchanging contact information that you don't want to expose to the world. Perhaps prevent new users from sending PMs until they have made several posts over a period of time, like a week, for instance. Then you have a chance to delete (or perhaps just put limits on) any user who makes low-quality posts after they join.
    Yes. Github doesn't have a way to talk privately and it is an issue if you want to send something physical to someone, for example.

  16. #16
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    For what it is worth, may I suggest Discourse https://www.discourse.org/ It is modern community software, authored by people behind StackOverflow, in many ways better than vBulletin and classic BB. Especially strong in combating spam/bots. I speak from experience because I am running Discourse based forum for 3 years now and spam is no issue. It handles post->email and email->post as well. It runs perfectly fine on $20/month VPS.

  17. #17
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Can Discourse import our existing vBulletin data?

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    There is an import script/procedure and tutorial: https://meta.discourse.org/t/importi...lletin-4/54881
    But I did not do VB import myself, so I can't comment about how good or bad the importer is.

  19. #19
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    I played a little bit with discourse. Works nicely, here a test post https://try.discourse.org/t/test-of-.../1396?u=lntest (post will be deleted after one day)

    Has some syntax coloring, pictures can be simply cut and pasted. It is easy to use. Here a screenshot of the post:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture1.PNG 
Views:	38 
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ID:	21258

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture2.PNG 
Views:	49 
Size:	349.8 KB 
ID:	21259

  20. #20
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    @luni - thank you for the feedback, yes pasting images straight into post is huge time saver.

  21. #21
    Something I noticed in the Discourse demo that I didn't like was the way it threads messages. It appears, at least, that when you reply to a post within a thread, your message shows up as a subthread (which is collapsed by default). That makes some logical sense, but in using vBulletin/XenForo for years, I've come to appreciate flat threads. They are much easier to read, except perhaps in really long threads where the topic drifts. But if threads are generally short and/or moderators keep the threads on topic, I think flat threads are a lot better. Perhaps that is configurable? Or maybe I just don't understand what it's doing. It looks like maybe messages are collapsed as a subthread, but the same messages appear in the main thread? Confusing!

    My general impression is that XenForo maps to vBulletin better, and from a user point of view, it might be a less dramatic change. I surmise that it's an easier change for admins, too, given almost every other vBulletin board that I frequent has switched to XenForo. But I can't say for sure what's gone into those decisions.

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    All Discourse setups I have seen work with flat threads. So frankly, I don't know what you saw.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by tomas View Post
    All Discourse setups I have seen work with flat threads. So frankly, I don't know what you saw.
    I think what I saw was this:

    https://try.discourse.org/t/the-room...tion-topic/289

    See the second post in that thread, from user codinghorror, which starts: "Au contraire, mon frère!"

    At the bottom of that post, it says "1 Reply" with a downward-pointing carrot, which you can expand to show the reply. Upon further inspection, the thread is flat, and the expandable reply just shows you the reply that is further down in the flat thread. So that was confusing me. So I guess my criticism is just that that feature is confusing to a new user.

  24. #24
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    OK, I see what you meant. The thread is flat, no threads are shown by default, as you noticed. A clickable "1 reply" button reveals direct replies, just making easier to locate them. You don't need to click on that button though. Also this button can be hidden by forum admin.

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