The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Nov 03 2019 10:02am

I turned into a lazy admin after butting my head's against certain people's resistance to change, plus the difficulty of working with this platform, plus this isn't my forum and I don't have the authority to be a dictator :lol:

One factor has to change!

Most admins don't have css/php/html/SQL/etc skills. More rare is an understanding of how to manage people. So most online forums are fading, and Facebook is still the go to place which is sad.

I agree that discourse isn't so great for long term info. It's very temporal.
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by kauaicycler » Nov 03 2019 11:47am

Back when I first started developing web sites and was still learning I turned to different forums to get help. That gradually went away when google and stackoverflow became available. I love this forum! It's members are mostly well mannered and helpful with lots of great discussions. Having said that have you considered a questions and answers style site like stackoverfow? I think it would be huge in the EV world. Here's a good open source php/mysql framework if you want to take a look https://www.question2answer.org/.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Nov 06 2019 2:56pm

Those formats are great for question/answer, but really bad about making questions/answers searcheable until you have a very large amount of content. They also aren't good at building friendships and such ( reddit has this problem too ).

There's no such thing as a sticky thread or a build thread in that system.

What would be interesting is to have a specific forum where the question/answer thing is in play - like a troubleshooting section for example. I think that would be rad - however it would require a lot of custom development and that means money/time, a resource we don't have much of here.

So we are still on the hunt for one format that does it all, or at least most of it ;)
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 06 2020 1:11pm

phpbb3.3 is out after 3 years, but doesn't contain much useful stuff for us other than emoji support, different notifications, and a bit better spam protection. I understand that most of the work internally is a big refactoring.

Pretty disappointed :x

I am a one man software developer working on a large commercial LMS.. i push larger changes over the course of a year, and i only work on that system part time. I'd say phpbb's development speed is catatonic compared to mine, considering that they have dozens of contributors.

Very likely that vanilla forums will be where this place lands. I'm still waiting for the next release to see if it's clear of rich text editor bugs... if it is, we can do a test migration and go from there.
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 06 2020 1:43pm

not exactly on topic, but while you're "here":

regarding security, there is presently a problem with a spammer wave on es, probably a form of bot given the profile data given (often a number for country, rather than a word, for example), and the specificity of the forum chosen to spam in (usually the wiki forum), often simply repeating the same spam in the same thread for multiple posts (sometimes multiple pages).

so whatever anti-bot or anti-spammer signup security method we're using is not working for these, and probably needs to be updated or changed.

;)

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by www.recumbents.com » Jan 06 2020 4:22pm

When that happens they are usually all from the same IP and then I start blocking signups from IP ranges. It's mostly China...

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 06 2020 6:30pm

Sigh, the new v3.3.x might help with that, but it might also delay us in transitioning to another format for a while :/

I just got back from vacation and my life has been crazy over the last year... when things get situated, i'll have to investigate... it sucks that these spammers have a way around the current google spam stopper.. this is also a problem for another company i do server work for :/

I may have to merge parts of the 3.3.x code to 3.2.x which will be a huge pain in the ass.. it just depends on what the database format looks like after a change to 3.3.x

Yay, should be fun
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by mark5 » Jan 06 2020 7:01pm

neptronix wrote:
Jan 06 2020 6:30pm
Sigh, the new v3.3.x might help with that, but it might also delay us in transitioning to another format for a while :/

I just got back from vacation and my life has been crazy over the last year... when things get situated, i'll have to investigate... it sucks that these spammers have a way around the current google spam stopper.. this is also a problem for another company i do server work for :/
See the last topic I started in the moderator forum. I gave 4 example solutions. Any one can be put into effect by an admin in 1 minute.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by tomjasz » Jan 06 2020 11:49pm

There are so many sites that are much more user friendly. I suspect the budget here is a pinch point. EBR, oft criticized for other reasons is a good example of a user friendly forum. ModernVespa, owned by an Apple patent holder has all sorts of easy to use features. Especially as handling photos and files goes.

Having a feature that resized images to forum standards would be a huge improvement.

I say we double neps salary. :bigthumb:
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 07 2020 5:54pm

i'm sorry i made life even more difficult for you with this. :(

neptronix wrote:
Jan 06 2020 6:30pm
Sigh, the new v3.3.x might help with that, but it might also delay us in transitioning to another format for a while :/

I just got back from vacation and my life has been crazy over the last year... when things get situated, i'll have to investigate... it sucks that these spammers have a way around the current google spam stopper.. this is also a problem for another company i do server work for :/

I may have to merge parts of the 3.3.x code to 3.2.x which will be a huge pain in the ass.. it just depends on what the database format looks like after a change to 3.3.x

Yay, should be fun

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 08 2020 5:12pm

mark5 wrote:
Jan 06 2020 7:01pm
See the last topic I started in the moderator forum. I gave 4 example solutions. Any one can be put into effect by an admin in 1 minute.
Sorry for not seeing that, i'll check it out.
Edit: looks like fechter handled that, correct?
tomjasz wrote:
Jan 06 2020 11:49pm
There are so many sites that are much more user friendly. I suspect the budget here is a pinch point.
We've been waiting for two different platforms to provide a very big improvement over what we have for a long time. Both are very close. A change to any platform will have negative consequences so the upsides have to vastly outweigh the downsides, as there's no going back. I've had my eye on these platforms for 3 years.
tomjasz wrote:
Jan 06 2020 11:49pm
Having a feature that resized images to forum standards would be a huge improvement.
I've actually written an addon to phpBB that does exactly that. However, testing the code to ensure it doesn't corrupt or degrade images in an unexpected way on a 40gb set of images is a holdup and takes dozens of hours :/
tomjasz wrote:
Jan 06 2020 11:49pm
I say we double neps salary. :bigthumb:
I'd love a salary to begin with :lol:
amberwolf wrote:
Jan 07 2020 5:54pm
i'm sorry i made life even more difficult for you with this. :(
That's okay, i think the adaptation would be too rough. I hate how I have to fork phpBB to get certain features we had before.
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 08 2020 5:59pm

neptronix wrote:
Jan 08 2020 5:12pm
I've actually written an addon to phpBB that does exactly that. However, testing the code to ensure it doesn't corrupt or degrade images in an unexpected way on a 40gb set of images is a holdup and takes dozens of hours :/
why? it wouldnt need (or want?) to be used on anything already uploaded to the forum, because those already got uploaded and thus match the "forum standards", right?

it only needs to operate on new uploads to the forum, which should be pretty easy to test. it just needs to pass thru all images already within the forum limits, and antyhign that is above those limits it does the minimal amount of work to get them to be just within those limits.

i can help with that if you have a test server to do it on, uploading variuos images and making sure they look nromal in the resulting posts, and giving you specific step by step bug reports of whatever goes wrong. i'm sure ther's others that can, too.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by Dauntless » Jan 09 2020 1:05am

neptronix wrote:
Jan 08 2020 5:12pm
tomjasz wrote:
Jan 06 2020 11:49pm
I say we double neps salary. :bigthumb:
I'd love a salary to begin with :lol:
Then you could quit your day job and stop taking free moments to work this out.

By the way, they may be on to you. How else do you explain them getting a picture of. . . ?

Image
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by anotherkiwi » Jan 09 2020 6:13am

I feel your pain, I used to look after a phpbb forum or two for a few years.

I looked for Java based forum software and for a while I even migrated to one, it stopped the hacking and defacement but it didn't stop the spam then back to phpbb (I don't need to explain to you the fun of migrating years of data...). The main problem was no modules that imitate the phpbb functions users had come to expect.

Don't get me started on Coppermine image gallery and phpbb integration...

I decided when facebook was started to never have an account there, yes I read the conditions of use and at page three there were too many red flags for me to even continue. "Do I have to bend over while you take my personal data?" were my first thoughts and that was way back before the scandal it has become. Google+ groups was a nice alternative but we know how that ended.

This resource is important enough to require a paid full time admin it is a shame that large corporations with vested interests can't spend peanuts (for them) to make that happen.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 09 2020 9:27am

amberwolf wrote:
Jan 08 2020 5:59pm
neptronix wrote:
Jan 08 2020 5:12pm
I've actually written an addon to phpBB that does exactly that. However, testing the code to ensure it doesn't corrupt or degrade images in an unexpected way on a 40gb set of images is a holdup and takes dozens of hours :/
why? it wouldnt need (or want?) to be used on anything already uploaded to the forum, because those already got uploaded and thus match the "forum standards", right?

it only needs to operate on new uploads to the forum, which should be pretty easy to test. it just needs to pass thru all images already within the forum limits, and antyhign that is above those limits it does the minimal amount of work to get them to be just within those limits.

i can help with that if you have a test server to do it on, uploading variuos images and making sure they look nromal in the resulting posts, and giving you specific step by step bug reports of whatever goes wrong. i'm sure ther's others that can, too.
From being such an old forum, we have a pretty huge amount of stored images which could be cut down to about 50% of the size, which would allow us to have better backups. I believe this can be done using the more advanced ( but rediculously CPU intensive ) JPEG encoder i have set up on this server.

A jpeg/gif/png recoder will be critical for the future of this forum when we make image uploads easier.

Amberwolf, would you be willing to go through a side by side comparison of 5,000 random images to see if there are any discrepancies? I could make a web based tool that would make the job fairly easy but it is tedious and also requires attention to detail, which i believe you have..
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 09 2020 10:16am

anotherkiwi wrote:
Jan 09 2020 6:13am
I feel your pain, I used to look after a phpbb forum or two for a few years.

....

This resource is important enough to require a paid full time admin it is a shame that large corporations with vested interests can't spend peanuts (for them) to make that happen.
I've done worse. Wordpress can be a big bag of fun.. :lol:

I have a lot of thoughts on the topic of funding and how to pay ALL staff using crowdfunding ( instead of ads ) etc, but that's a topic for a future thread. Just replying to let you know that's been on my mind for years.
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 09 2020 5:33pm

neptronix wrote:
Jan 09 2020 9:27am
From being such an old forum, we have a pretty huge amount of stored images which could be cut down to about 50% of the size, which would allow us to have better backups. I believe this can be done using the more advanced ( but rediculously CPU intensive ) JPEG encoder i have set up on this server.
ah. well, thats' a different thing than what's needed by people posting. ;)

the quote below is what people posting need right now.
A jpeg/gif/png recoder will be critical for the future of this forum when we make image uploads easier.
even just a very simple image autoresizer like at32resizer is, scripted to run non-gui automatically upon any image upload, to simply resize every uploaded image to the max the forum handles, would be a bajillion times better than having to teach every single new member how to deal with this. ;)

(since most of them won't even bother, and will instead either not post pics at all, or instead end up just linking to some site that will only have the pics a little while then gone, leaving their posts and build threads worthless becuase so much critical info is in the pics. )

even if it only did jpg/jpeg and simply passed all others thru as-is it would serve 99% or more of posters' needs of making attaching and posting images really really easy.

an actual inline image editor/converter/etc might be nice...but not necessary at present.

baby steps. ;)
Amberwolf, would you be willing to go through a side by side comparison of 5,000 random images to see if there are any discrepancies? I could make a web based tool that would make the job fairly easy but it is tedious and also requires attention to detail, which i believe you have..
that many images owuld take a long calendar time to do, not being able to alwyas spend much time at it at any one moment, but it wouldn't be much different from way back when i was using galaxyzoo when it first started years and years ago.

you could infact make a thread here about it and have it explained and linked here, so that anyone with a moment and interest could do a few now and then. each time someone did one, it'd check it off your list of images. if you know any other places where people have time /interest in that sort of thing youcoudl post it there, too, and if enough people were doing it you could even have each image be tested by at least two or three people before it takes itself off the list completely.


somethign to think about is that except for stuff with tiny text in it, almost everything posted here could be easily compressed more than twice as much as it is now, maybe many times more, without lsoing any useful information. but there's no simple automated way to determine which of those pics can be automated that way, so if you want to recompress everything already here in one big batch, by that kidn of amount, some information is going to be lost in those images.

the only thing you could really do would then be to have backups of everyting preserved, and hten go thru every image afterward to see which ones have to be restored from the backups. it won't be very many, and it may not even be information that's critical in most cases, but there wlll be some, probbly schematics or pcb pics, that will have lost info making them useless or at least a lot less useful than before.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 09 2020 5:35pm

anotherkiwi wrote:
Jan 09 2020 6:13am

This resource is important enough to require a paid full time admin it is a shame that large corporations with vested interests can't spend peanuts (for them) to make that happen.
unfortuantely the place presently paying for es to stay online is a pretty small business. no idea what kind of money they have laying around, but i bet it's not much, since they spend on r&d for new ebike stuff and improvements of old stuff too.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 09 2020 8:04pm

Oh you mean something that would resize images as they're being uploaded to make uploads easier.
Yeah that's a huge code change and future maintenance nightmare that i'm not willing to take on. It's a key reason we want to get away from phpbb. it's shocking that phpbb hasn't added some basic code to do this already.

I can't hand the task of verifying images piecemeal to random people. One person needs to do it and know how to spot potential errors. Some older images may look worse and we want to prevent irreversibly degrading them.
We have something like a million images. It's unreasonable to look at them all of course. a sample size of <1% is fine.

My code is good at guessing whether an image is worse or better after recompression and making a decision based on that.
And when we've got 14 years of content to reprocess, i had better 100% test and verify that my code will do what i think it will do :shock:

I've spent 12 hours writing the thing, because no other tool on the planet can handle dealing with the fact that phpbb stores images without filename extensions. This has greatly complicated testing.

My plan was to hack the phpbb code that handles dimensions and filesize and let the external image recoder process new images in a batch after the fact. Which would be a much easier way to give us painless uploads.
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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by tomjasz » Jan 10 2020 12:38am

I’m on a few forums that aren’t high tech and I know the owners aren’t dumping big dollars. But photo posting really handicaps a lot of threads, at least from my view. I gave up many many times just because of the difficulties getting photos right.

Has anyone asked Justin for help? Is it unrealistic to ask members to kick in donations? There’s a lot of hungry young coders out there. Maybe relying on the generosity of a single fella we could pony up?

Oh you mean something that would resize images as they're being uploaded to make uploads easier.
Yeah that's a huge code change and future maintenance nightmare that i'm not willing to take on. It's a key reason we want to get away from phpbb. it's shocking that phpbb hasn't added some basic code to do this already.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by amberwolf » Jan 10 2020 1:40am

neptronix wrote:
Jan 09 2020 8:04pm

My plan was to hack the phpbb code that handles dimensions and filesize and let the external image recoder process new images in a batch after the fact. Which would be a much easier way to give us painless uploads.
if that means that the present upload restriction of filesize and dimensions would be removed so that any image would successfully upload regardless, that would at least help many people post images.

i may be assuming a lot, but there should be a way to implement that function without it having to resize everythign that's already been uploaded, though, and have it only operate on new files as they arrive.

i would assume, with my incredible knowledge of coding :roll: :lol: :oops: , that there is, or can be made, a way to tell it to just ignore anything prior to it's installation date.

that way it could be implemented as soon as that function c an be verified on a test server, asap, and then tested as time permits for the other function of resizing existing files, instead of having to wait weeks or months or more to get the needed-now function.

:)

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by anotherkiwi » Jan 10 2020 3:10am

At a previous job my boss wrote an automatic re-sizer that scaled images during fike upload (that was for an in-house CMS so we had complete control over the code) and IIRC there is/was a phpbb plugin that did that too using imagemagic or some such tool.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by AngryBob » Jan 10 2020 8:08am

How about approaching this problem from a different direction?

Make a simple resizing script for a free program that will do the job, and make both available for download? Makes the upload easy and nearly idiot-proof, requires no changes to existing website code. Could also enforce all future uploads in jpg format, a single image type standard would at a minimum simplify future changes and operations.

I have seen such things created and made available for MPG files, should be a simple thing for Jpegs.

As for revenue generation - I would not be opposed to small, tasteful, relevant advertising as a steady stream of revenue. For crowdfunding, many youtubers are using a model for automated monthly donations which again creates revenue in a steady, predictable stream allowing for future planning. Somebody giving a dollar once is nice, but does not allow for much planning ahead. One hundred people signing up for two dollars a month as an automated payment provides for a significant level of future planning and enhancement. A larger pool could provide for some serious product examination and perhaps even new development.

Another idea, a bit more difficult to implement and problematic in several ways, but IMO useful to the user base, would be serious, long-term, peer-reviewed product reports, and some product labels such as "ES verified", "ES approved", and "ES recommended". Companies could submit products for examination and pay a listing fee. The money comes in before the label goes on.

Something similar to the old Consumer Reports.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Jan 10 2020 6:28pm

AngryBob wrote:
Jan 10 2020 8:08am
As for revenue generation -
endlessporn.com

https://web.archive.org/web/20200113173 ... 2&t=104205
Image
Last edited by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh on Jan 13 2020 12:33pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The future of our forum - facebook versus web forums

Post by neptronix » Jan 10 2020 7:49pm

A program to resize images is kind of cheesy and we need software that will innately handle this for us for sure.
Forking phpbb would be a pain.

The forum had a revolt in 2011 or was it 2012? over commercialization, which i was a part of...
Touchy subject, to say the least :lol:

We can talk about that later.
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