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Seeking staff feedback on the forum software

Discussion in 'Ask the Staff' started by Rosemary Tea, Mar 3, 2022.

  1. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    I'd be happy to have this conversation privately instead of on the open board, but couldn't figure out a way to include all staff (at least, all moderators and admin) in a private conversation. I'm asking this out of personal interest: I'm on the moderation team for another discussion site, which is currently hosted on an old version of vBulletin, and we're looking into updating our software. One of the options is XenForo, which I believe is what this forum runs on?

    What's your experience been like with using this software? Any pitfalls? Satisfactory or not? As a user, I find this forum perfectly user friendly; what I'm looking for is experience with moderating on this software.

    Has this forum always been hosted on XenForo, or was it migrated from another platform at some point? If it ever was migrated, were there any issues with that (i.e. features lost, glitches)?

    Is it possible to identify duplicate accounts on this software? The other forum I work with has a semi-regular problem with people creating multiple user ID's in violation of our rules (our clientele is, unfortunately, not as law abiding overall as the folks over here). Our admin says that XenForo wouldn't have the primary features we're using to catch and confirm duplicate accounts. (Please answer this one privately if you choose to address it; let's not create a public primer on how to create multiple accounts and get away with it!)

    Does this software work equally well on traditional computers and mobile devices?

    And anything else we should know.

    Thanks.
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    With the ability to make new email accounts on gmail and other platforms, it is doubtful you can stop duplicate accounts from appearing. The ability to do so would be so easy as there would be nothing anyone needed to read this thread to figure out.

    If someone was diligent, they could attempt to match identities as being too similar, such as pmmg and pmmmg, as likely being the same accounts, but even then you dont really know.

    You could attempt to filter on IP addresses or mac addresses but those too can be spoofed.

    Probably the best thing you can do is make sign up a chore, so only the most determined will go through the process multiple times. Or...make then need a text from a smart phone, of which they may not have more than one.

    Forum sites are nothing more than databases, and databases can be migrated with some effort. Probably the hardest will be the user database, as the passwords will likely be encrypted, and the algorithm may not match. Best would be if there was some type of migration tool from your platform to the new one. If someone is doing this for free, it would have to be a labor of love for them ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2022
    Black Dragon likes this.
  3. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Thanks, but this question is ONLY for forum staff. Since you're not an admin or moderator, you can't tell me from personal experience what using this software is like, as a moderator. That's the information I'm looking for. Everything else is irrelevant.

    If anyone who is not on the staff here has personal experience moderating another site that uses the same software, I'll accept that, too. Otherwise, please do not post in this thread if you're not forum staff.
     
  4. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well... one does assume.
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It's funny you should ask, but we switched from v.bulletin to XenForo a couple of years ago, and it's been great. I'm not the Admin - we'll have to ask Black DragonBlack Dragon about duplicate accounts and behind the scenes issues. But the tools I use as a Moderator are a lot better on XenForo, and it integrates well with the blog on the main page.

    We haven't had any significant problems with spam or duplicate accounts, but I couldn't tell you if Black DragonBlack Dragon achieves that with XenForo's tools or some outside software.
     
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    So....I do hope you get your answer, and anyone who gives you good information is good information.

    I will state though that you have mis-assumed me.

    I was a moderator and admin at Fantasy-writers.org for a very long time, and then a moderator at Scribophile for a while (though, admittedly, I dont feel I shared Alex's vision for the sight, so I may not have been the best fit). Most recently, I was a moderator for a gaming group with 1000's of players over several platforms and chat groups and websites. I quit that recently (about 4 months ago) because I just grew tired of all the adults who think like children.

    I built several forum sites, most prominent was for a gaming group I was a part of, coded and admin and all of it. That I did with word press, but they are all kind of the same.

    But regardless of that, I have been in IT for about 25 years. I have a degree in cyber security and computer networking. I built web applications and databases, the biggest being the pole and conduit tracking system for Verizon. If you have a wire attached to a telephone pole just about anywhere in the north east, I built the system the tracks it and sends you a bill. There were literally millions records, and when that was built, there was huge data migration from an Rbase database to transactional SQL database.

    I am an MSCE, MCDBA, CCNA, CISSP, CCE, CCA, and heck a bunch of other things I forgot about. I am certified in Linux, and just every server technology of the last 20 years.

    And one thing I know is, every site has trolls, and banned members, and some of them dont play nice and ignore the rules. You may find a tool that can assist with keeping multiple accounts from a site, but it wont stop them. The best tool is Mods who care and are putting in the energy, and making it all work. Nothing beats human attention and caring when it comes to managing the users.

    I wish you luck.
     
  7. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    pmmgpmmg did any of the sites you moderated use XenForo?

    If so, please tell me what your personal experience was, as a moderator, using that software. Nothing else. As I already said, anything else is irrelevant.

    If not, then as I already said, please do not post in this thread.
     
  8. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    DevorDevor thanks for your reply! Good to hear this forum, too, migrated from vBulletin... that gives me hope that it could work well for the other one.

    How did the trophy point system work for members who joined before the switch? VBulletin doesn't have it, as you know. Did people who already had hundreds or thousands of posts receive the posting trophies that they would have if the trophy system had existed when they made those posts? Or did they have to start from zero, while those who joined after the switch got trophies from the beginning?

    And what about likes? On the other forum, the equivalent of "like" is a "thanks" button. No points accumulate for receiving thanks, but each member's thanked posts are listed in their stats, as is the total number of thanks they've received. Our admin says the existing thanks wouldn't transfer if we switch to XenForo. Did that happen with this forum, or did the likes or thanks or whatever people had transfer over? Did they get counted for trophy points?
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm trying to remember because I don't think anyone cared about that particularly. I could be mistaken but I think the past Thanks were wiped and the trophies started from zero. I remember caring, just a little, about the post-to-Thanks ratio I was getting before the move, and the move killed that. But we still use post count for the ranking system, and I'm not aware if anyone here is paying much attention to trophies.

    What kind of forum is it? The older your audience the less I suspect that kind of stuff will matter. Still, people will continue to post and get likes just as often, so give it a month or two and the system will play out the way it's supposed to.
     
    Rosemary Tea and Sheilawisz like this.
  10. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Good point about people not paying much attention. I find myself caring somewhat about my post to like ratio over here, but on the other forum, I never really noticed it. Trophies... well, there was a time last summer when I realized that if I could get just 10 more likes in time, I just might get another trophy for my birthday. I quietly celebrated when I won it the day before my birthday. But all that means is I was probably spending too much time on here. :D
     
    skip.knox likes this.
  11. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    We used to get a TON of spam with the old forum software. When we switched to XenForo, it became much easier to manage.

    Still, pmmgpmmg is 100% correct:
     

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