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new forum software

 
Johannes de Jong
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Personally I think writing one's own stuff will only take up to much time.

My vote goes for MVN, purely based on the fact that we have been using on the moose for so long & the fact that the source is available.
 
Pauline McNamara
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some stats, no guarantee on validity, but maybe a way to see what the big traffic sites are using...
 
Warren Dew
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Bear Bibeault:

There's no distinction between login name and display name. Not sure what ramifications that might have for the naming standard.

This is one of the things I hate about most boards - you have to open an entirely new account to change your display name.

It sounds like the Java port of PHPBB is way behind actual PHPBB, which has many of the features you guys find to be missing.

One question, rhetorical: is there a reason for changing other than "Java site should be running Java?"

One question, real: are people thinking of porting the entire site, or just the message boards?
 
Ben Souther
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Much of the site is already running in Java.
 
Warren Dew
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Pauline McNamara:

some stats, no guarantee on validity, but maybe a way to see what the big traffic sites are using...

Wow ... the top site has a quarter of a Billion messages? I wonder if they will have a problem when they hit 2 Billion or 4 Billion.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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interesting stats for the Ranch there:

Forum software: UBB
Number of posts: 623000
Number of members: 14700
Post per member ratio: 0
Posts last week: 0
Alexa ranking: 27573


Apparently there's over 600.000 posts yet no member ever posted anything
 
Matt Tucker
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Hey all,

I know there's a big reluctance to use anything commercial, but we (Jive Software) would be happy to donate a free license if you decide that's the route you'd like to go. An example implementation of the latest Jive Forums version is at:

http://www.jivesoftware.org/forums/index.jspa

Also, a knowledge base would compliment your forums well and we'd be happy to donate a license for Jive Knowledge Base as well. Finally, Jive Software does Open Source stuff as well (from the jivesoftware.org site). Real-time chats (using Jive Messenger) might be a good feature for JavaRanch at some point. We have group chat on the .org site at:

http://www.jivesoftware.org/group-chat.jsp

The server used for group chat is Open Source although the the web-based client you see on that page isn't -- it will be rolled into Jive Forums as a module when it's out of beta.

Regards,
Matt
 
paul wheaton
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I'm thinking about JForum again ...
 
David O'Meara
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Yes, it would be nice to kick this idea around again.
 
Anonymous
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Functionally, the current forum software works fine. I know you get the occasional "Hah, JavaRanch doesn't even use Java" thread but apart from that the forum seems stable and fast.

I guess the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" could be used here.

With a forum this size surely any transition is going to be more hassle than it is worth.
 
paul wheaton
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That has been a compelling force for a long time.

But there are needs for some features. I suppose the word "need" could be debatable. But with each passing year, these items become more desired. At this point, it feels more like stagnation could be a problem.

I think the feature I've felt the most pain about for years is the ability to watch a thread, whether you are a responder or a just an interested lurker. Further, currently, if your post gets 20 responses, you get 20 e-mails. I think a better algorithm would be to get 1 e-mail for any new post until you return to that thread.

I would like the name change stuff to be better managed so that people will stop changing their name to something that violates the naming policy.

And I wish to require a valid e-mail address. When somebody has become a pain in the butt, I need to e-mail that person and work it out.

I would like to offer folks the ability to attach images or files. And how about some good java code formatting?
 
Maximilian Xavier Stocker
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If I could just add my 2 cents here.

I would NOT move the site to Jive. The Sun forums (running on Jive) are down about 1 day a month on average. I am not sure if more blame rests with Sun or Jive but there are certainly alot of what appear to be software bugs along with the crashing and either way it is highly unimpressive.

I fear watches. The ability to have relatively unlimited watches again on the Sun Java forums site has caused multiple users (with many watches) many many problems. Such as they can no longer login. If they do login then the whole site is very slow for them and I believe contributes to overall site slowness (because there are massive queries running all the time).

I think it would be better to add improvements to the existing code (unless there are some legal reasons this cannot be done)

I recently submitted some JavaScript code improvements that allow actual tagging of selected text on most browsers. I think similar improvements to the cgi code would not be impossible. Some of them could even be done as JavaScript based client side validations as temporary stop gap.

These improvements include

- validating email (well at least it would appear legit)
- validating display names (this can't be that hard. no numbers. no single letter names. a vowel now and again.)
- fix the alignment of the thread views. somewhere the text gets centered which is a real pain if a post runs wide (code tags usually) making the rest of the posts left aligned would fix this so at least the rest of the thread is readable
- change the BBtag for italics from [ i ] to [italic]

PS I volunteer to work on any or all of these improvements in either JavaScript or Perl. As I did before I would build test versions offsite so that the work could be tested/previewed in a development environment.
 
Jim Yingst
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[Paul]: And I wish to require a valid e-mail address. When somebody has become a pain in the butt, I need to e-mail that person and work it out.

As I posted elsewhere, we can do that now with just a little work. If you confirm that you do indeed want to activate that feature.

I would note that the other big use of valid e-mails is for the many people who forget their passwords. Many, many of our current users did not supply valid e-mails, and so they can't get the system to e-mail them their own password. So they have to come pester me at our "Contact Us" address. Having a valid e-mail address would benefit regular users too, not just troublemakers.

[Maximilian]: I think it would be better to add improvements to the existing code (unless there are some legal reasons this cannot be done)

Not that we're aware of. If there are, we've ignored them. No, the main impediment here is that none of us are huge Perl aficionados (not to say we can't do it at all, but it's not our first language). And the UBB codebase has some horribly convoluted-looking stuff that gives me a headache whenever I take a look at it. So in the past we've avoided tweaking it unless we really need to. But lately several of us have been leaning more towards hacking the existing code, since it has the advantage of being already in place and working, mostly.

Then too, I've said a few times privately that we should just rewrite the whole thing using Ruby on Rails. Initially that was a joke, but now I'm not so sure...

[Maximilian]: - change the BBtag for italics from [ i ] to [italic]

Is this on account of code that uses i as an array index, e.g. x[ i ]? I'd rather retain the nice short [ i ] tag, but disable it inside [code] tags. Along with disabling smilies, and all other tags.

Your offer of help is noted and appreciated. We'll definitely keep it in mind as we explore options.
[ January 02, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
Maximilian Xavier Stocker
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Well if anyone wants I wrote a bit of JavaScript that validates emails (which I think is redundant) and display names. I am stuck once again though because I can't actually post the code (the system won't let me) but I have posted a sample page and the code somewhere where it can be seen but I don't want to post the link to that publicly. So I have PMed you Jim with the link.
 
Maximilian Xavier Stocker
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The flood control is kind of annoying when the last "post" did not go because the "evil code" detector flagged it wrongly. Should it not only flag actual posts rather than post attempts?
 
Jim Yingst
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Got it, thanks.
 
paul wheaton
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Jim,

My understanding of the changes for required e-mail is that the user would get e-mailed a password. And then they would change it, right?

I'm okay with that, but I would want to update what we have so that when editing settings, the user name is shown as a first name and a last name.

Are there any other problems?
 
Jim Yingst
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[Paul]: My understanding of the changes for required e-mail is that the user would get e-mailed a password. And then they would change it, right?

Presumably. They don't have to, but if they don't the get an auto-generated password which will be hard to remember. Something like (just making this up from a rough memory of the structure I saw) 23HDUDU737. Most people would want to change it.

I'm okay with that, but I would want to update what we have so that when editing settings, the user name is shown as a first name and a last name.

OK. I assume you meant display name rather than username, since the username can be, well, anything. The whole display name issue seems to me to be orthogonal to e-mail addresses. Yes, there's a gap there where people can update their display name to be something which hasn't been validated, and yes we'd like to fix that. But that seems like a separate problem to me. Based on past discussions of possible alterations to our system, I'd prefer to focus on one thing at a time, in hopes of actually getting it done. Patching current gaps in display name authentication seems like a medium-size task, while requiring e-mail authentication seems like a small one. As in, the former would take weeks, while the latter would take days. Of course, both those guesses are for just "making it so", ignoring the lengthy discussions which may occur before or after over whether this is really what we want to do.

Are there any other problems?

Not that I know of. I hadn't really tested the UBB e-mail update process much using UBB's built-in e-mail authentication. As I think about it, it does have some other potential issues, so I'll get back to you on that shortly.
[ January 02, 2006: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
paul wheaton
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The thing is: I think that a new process encouraging the user to change their password would lead them to a page where they could change their name. Thus we might get even more name change headache.

Maybe the thing to do is slightly backwards. Maybe we need a bit of javascript to verify the name stuff on the account page. Once we have that working okay, we can activate the required e-mail stuff. How does that sound?
 
J R Yingst
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OK, I see where you're coming from. It does seem to make sense to try addressing the name validation first.

BTW I just did some more testing of the e-mail validation system, and it looks like the potential concerns I alluded to earlier are not an issue. UBB enforces e-mail validation any time the user edits the e-mail, not just at registration. I.e. much like we want the name validation to work. So I think we'll be in good shape there. I'll look more into what we can do about name validation, including looking at the stuff Maximilian sent me.
 
paul wheaton
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I think that if you see a path where we can have e-mail validation and no increase in name problems, go ahead and try it.
 
Maximilian Xavier Stocker
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Maybe we need a bit of javascript to verify the name stuff on the account page.


That (bolded part) is exactly what I submitted to Jim. A valid name MUST have at least two "words" of at least 3 letters in length. Also words must be formed out of letters only. Is it perfect? No. But it does at least catch names that are one name, or initials etc.

[edit whoops it's all bolded. Removed parts of quote I didn't bold]
[ January 03, 2006: Message edited by: Maximilian Stocker ]
 
paul wheaton
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The naming policy is a bit more lax than your algorithm, but those changes would be easy to make.
 
Maximilian Xavier Stocker
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
The naming policy is a bit more lax than your algorithm, but those changes would be easy to make.


Well I allow hypens too. And you could make it 2 letters. Or if something like A J Smith is allowed I could look for at least two words one of which must be of certain length.
 
Jim Yingst
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I just e-mailed Max a longer reply. I'll look into getting the name validation working first, but if there's a roadblock I'll go ahead and skip to getting e-mail validation working, as I think that would have good benefits with only minor increase in naming problems. If I'm wrong we can back it out easily enough. The only cost, worst-case, would be minor additional enforcement efforts for a short period. Anyway, we can probably get name validation working more effectively, so I'll cut short the "what if?" speculation.
 
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