Forum software upgrade (for real now)

Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
Awesome, thanks for the update. I agree that we can tweak / iterate on the design slowly over time, I mean it took a while before we had the materia balls and shit earlier.

I'll be away this weekend, but I think we should be able to pick a (rough) date range for the migration, start announcing it. Given my previous experiences in the migration, I'm going to guess the full thing will take at least three days - mostly spent waiting, off course. I should set up a proper environment on my local machine to do the migration, the previous one was err, not very successful - mostly, things that are calculated after the move (ranks and such) didn't finish / locked up.

I'd propose letting people know (via a banner or whatever appearing on all pages) that after a certain date, anything they post on TLS will not be transferred over to the new thing.
 

Lex

Administrator
Hi folks,

Yop and I had a discussion about this and we're going to set a go-live date now that Discourse has been skinned (here is the forum).

This will be a drastic change for the users of TLS - I anticipate that it may be too drastic for some members. In the event that we don't like it, we'll revert back to this version of TLS and I have offered to purchase a Xenforo license. Xenforo is the spiritual successor to vBulletin, and it's what ResetEra uses. It's much more similar to vB but with all the modern features you'd expect, including post notifications, intuitive post reply, subscription/ highlighting quote options and mobile compatibility. Discourse can also do all of this, but it's far less familiar.

Everyone is encouraged to give Discourse a fair chance before we disregard it as a possibility though.

All that said, please know that regardless of what software we stick with, we'll be limiting customisation options and enforcing stricter rules about signatures and avatars (re: size etc) in order to maintain readability and an overall look. TLSF is legendary and that's the awesome people + vB3, but it can look like a dumpster fire at times :monster:
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
we'll be limiting customisation options and enforcing stricter rules about signatures and avatars
HOW FUCKING DARE YOU.

edit:

So maybe im blind but I don't see when the actual go live date is in the post, but I assume its "Soon tm.
With that said umm are we sure we want to switch to a new style that is very unlike contemporary forum structures so close to E3 when all of our article and media teams are going to be pumping out content and hopefully pulling in new people?


As with my other post like a year ago in this thread I understand my post reaks of "old man yells at cloud" but the new software is rather different and not to be an ass, but seemingly less polished, with E3 around this timing really doesn't feel right.


That or we use Xenforo :monster:
Seriously, posting on Reset feels so good.

edit:

Thinking on it and ranting a bit on Discord Imma just copy and paste what I said there. Look it's going to be cynical as all hell and demonstrates a serious lack of faith in the community and im going to sound like an asshole but idk I just feel like I gotta say it.

I wish we would skip Discourse all together
I know work was already put into it and all that jazz, but the posting experience on it is so trash compared to xenforo
heck i know its an upgrade over vB, but it doesn't feel like it imo
Plus I get the feeling post switch a lot of sentiment regarding the idea of switching back to vB or getting Xenforo will end up going like " We already put so much work into Discourse, and vB is a security risk, and we shouldn't expect people to buy Xen " etc. which will trump the "This version of the site feels like junk, looks like junk and I don't like it because subjective" posts

hella cynical, but I feel like it will stick around not because people like it, but because it will be a sunk cost fallacy
And from grumbling on the discords over time I know I'm not the only person who feels like this or is rooting for Xenforo to eventually become the forum software we use. I applaud the work that was put into making Discorse look the way it does, I understand it was a huge undertaking to get it there.


But imo it's just not close enough in so many aspects even beyond aesthetic. Choosing Discourse over Xenforo really just feels like choosing HD-DVD over Blu-Ray. Why are we taking a half step here?


Clearly it's not because of time. This threads how many years old now? Is it money? Were all adults we can make that work easily. I understand theres some behind the scenes stuff that like only Yop and a few others get that make it better, that's fair.

I keep editing this post because I really just don't want to be an asshole here, and I know I'm making a ton of assumptions and I really don't want to come off like I'm fearing change, I'm cool with change! It's hip! Kids still say hip right!? , I just think we should just skip the fluff and get what seems like the better all around choice right off the bat. This is like what, the second thread we've had regarding upgrading the forum, and this thread alone is 2 years old How long would a Discourse > Xen swap take?


I just. Idk, Idk how someone can look at



and say "close enough!" , without like the idea of knowing someone put a lot of work to get it there playing a factor in there decision to say its "ok". And again that's just aesthetics, theres just a bunch of other stuff about using that software that are fairly meh as well. And not meh because it's different, but just meh because it doesn't feel good. Again biased because I do browse Reset and have an account there but still.


The forum is the backbone of our community and think it should be looked at the same scrutiny our other work is too.

When I made the last 2 videos for our Youtube Lex sent them both back several times, he didn't ask how many times I tweaked them or how many versions I made before I uploaded the one I thought I was good enough. He didn't ask me how many assets I made before hand. He saw the video, sent me a text file with his critiques and told me to try again.

That was probably irrelevant. lol

But. I just feel strongly about this here. I don't think it's good enough for TLS. Sorry to people who put in the work to get it that close. It shows. But the software just isn't good enough.
 
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Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
Hey I dunno either, :monster:. We've put the Xenforo vs Discourse debate up a while ago; at the time I set up a Discourse demo site because it's open source / free. I think my main objections to Xen at the time was that it was basically another vBulletin, and it was getting a bit dated. Discourse was aimed a bit more at modern web practices and mobile, too. Although I'm sure one can make it work on Xenforo too. Anyway er, I set it up back when because it was free to do so (although the test forums' server already cost me more than a Xenforo license would, lolol), we couldn't really set up a xenforo test forum without paying a license. I was also not a fan of the vB model of having to pay for a license just to keep things updated, that's not of this time anymore due to security issues. But eh, we can slap some ads on there (again) and set up a patreon and we get dank youtube monies now so it shouldn't be a problem. I also still have a well paying job, that helps too :monster:

I'm fine either way, just idk, tell me what to do :monster:. The main problem with this whole issue is that there's not enough strong opinions for one thing or another, or at least not from enough people.

We should avoid the sunk cost fallacy though. Currently I think moving to Discourse is a technical pain in the dick, it's a lot more complicated and it'll be kind of a black box to work with - that is, if there is a problem it'll be harder for me to figure out wtf is going on. I'm also not sure about performance and whether it'll run smoothly on our server - despite it using the latest dankest technology, and even with it using e.g. Redis as in-memory storage and Postgres and everything, it feels a bit more sluggish than vB does.

er. Yeah, stuff, idk :monster:
 
AKA
The Engineer
The biggest issue I have with it currently is that the BBC Code is broken. It's hard for me to judge if this is an upgrade when something as basic (and as widely used) as the spoiler tag doesn't work or hasn't been ported over correctly.

There's a lot of other weird BBC Code formatting that is visible and a lot of large images are now visible. It just looks very, very messy at the moment and that makes it hard to judge fairly.
 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I also pinged Lex and let him know that I'm happy to help cover costs of moving over to a Xenforo license if that ends up looking like the best option. There is a good argument to be made about growing pains and maintaining overall consistency, especially if anything Remake-relevant DOES drop tomorrow, because the less time we can spend as a whole on adapting to the new environment, and the more time we can focus on the community itself, the better.

Also, with the rise of ResetEra I think that there's likely a deal of familiarity that comes along with that software that didn't exist before back when we were first weighing options, but I really have no idea.






X :neo:
 

Lex

Administrator
I feel like we need more community input, but Flint was a big driver of the move to Discourse and now that he's no longer here I don't suspect there'll be as strong a support for it.

You're not wrong X, ResetEra essentially allows those of us who post there to have demo'd it. It's responsive enough and it has all the modern features you'd expect from a forum so when I weigh that up with Discourse I personally prefer Xenforo, but that's not to say we'd be able to provide the same experience with our server etc.

The main take-home is that if we DID move to Discourse, it'll be a dramatic adjustment. And Xenforo exists as an option that's a bit more familiar experience to what we currently have. (The install/ import would also be much easier from Yop's point of view).

But it's a setback if that's a decision we make, because it puts us back to square one on skinning and choosing functionality. It's a sacrifice I'm happy to make if the community deems it the best way forward though.

Also worth nothing is that a big reason Discourse was chosen was that it's free and open source. With Xenforo we may very well find ourselves in the exact same position down the line: saddled with failing/ obsolete software and flailing around trying to find a new alternative.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
If anyone wants to try out Xenforo making an account on Reset seems daunting at first but its rather easy.

All you need is a student email, if you don't have on you can usually generate an email address through your ISP that will work for the registration process as well (that's how I made mine).
 

Channy

Bad Habit
AKA
Ruby Rose, Lucy
I feel like we need more community input, but Flint was a big driver of the move to Discourse and now that he's no longer here I don't suspect there'll be as strong a support for it.
Was he just a driver or did he do a lot of coding an shit for it too? I mean, even with him leaving and what happened, if he really worked on it and put effort into the Discourse one, I feel like it might be a slap in the face to say "no it's shit, let's do Xen"

Saying that though, I looked at the Discourse one and don't like it, so not like I'm pitching a tent for him or anything. Just wanted to see what the deal was with him having a hand or not in the tech stuff.

X raised a good point that if shit drops tomorrow and we get an influx of new members, we need to be as appealing as possible to them. We want to draw in the new crowd and show that everything/new content/etc is easy to find.

If anyone wants to try out Xenforo making an account on Reset seems daunting at first but its rather easy.

All you need is a student email, if you don't have on you can usually generate an email address through your ISP that will work for the registration process as well (that's how I made mine).
...why a student email??

A big call to the forum goers may be needed - an announcement on the top of the page like for new staff or something, to try get more input. So far it's the same odd 5 people in there.
 
I am too in love with the current forum. Neither Discourse nor Xenforo are to my liking, but from a security- and stability standpoint I understand that the move is necessary.

I agree that Flintlock (and other members) have spent too much time on Discourse for us to just throw it away. I reckon plenty of us won't know if we like the new forum until we've had time to try it out and adjust. Ergo, we might as well try out Discourse and then see what happens.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
To note: You can setup an account on the test forum right now and see what you think of it, so that you don't HAVE to experience the shock as a transition of everything. I figure that what we do/don't hear 12 hours from now may impact how we handle any transitions either way, but if there're usability concerns it's always better to know about them before when we can focus our efforts on something else if we need to, or if they're things that we can handle in the Discourse format with some haxxx, etc.





X :neo:
 
I've actually tried out the TLS Discourse test forum. It's functional enough. But to actually *get used* to the forum I'd need to use it regularly for a week or so. :monster: After that I'll let the project leads know my final opinion.
 

Channy

Bad Habit
AKA
Ruby Rose, Lucy
I figure that what we do/don't hear 12 hours from now may impact how we handle any transitions either way,:
Totally - if shit hits the fan and we get tons of new members signing up due to our YT videos as well, trying to draw people in, we may want to postpone movement for like.. at least a month or something.
 
I personally think that Discourse is just too much of a drastic change, and having spent time on both the test server and ResetEra ... there really isn't much of a choice in terms of which one to go to for familiarity and accessibility, which, ultimately, is the biggest points of a forum.

But yeah, seriously, everyone should go and have a look at the test server then bring back input here. I just wish this had happened back when it was first put up so that we're not in a situation now where Remake could appear, with a flood of new people and all the joy from that, and we could potentially harm TLS with what forum transition happens next.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
Was he just a driver or did he do a lot of coding an shit for it too? I mean, even with him leaving and what happened, if he really worked on it and put effort into the Discourse one, I feel like it might be a slap in the face to say "no it's shit, let's do Xen"

I agree that Flintlock (and other members) have spent too much time on Discourse for us to just throw it away

From the two posts in slight favor of Discourse the sentiment already comes back around to sunk cost fallacy. The big reason yall are saying we should try it is because it would feel bad to throw away that work, not that the software was genuinely worth using.

That's why I said in my first super negative post I want to skip Discourse all together because when were already there the discussion can easily go from "is this actually good" to "Yeah but people put in effort".


Like no offense to anyone , but i personally believe the amount of time working on something isn't relevant in the discussion on whether or not that something is worth using.

I mean Flints an adult and stuff, additionally the goal of this discussion isn't to make sure people don't feel bad. It's to find and use the better, easier to use, implement and work with software for our community. In all of those categories Xen beats Discourse.

It's just way to many cons than pros it looks like.

Cons.

It doesn't look good, it doesn't feel good, it's apparently a pain to work with in many departments behind the scenes in addition to bunk in front of the scenes, it's already racked up a decent bill just sitting there for months on end, and it's completely different from contemporary forum structures that the rest of the still using forums part of the internet uses. And it doesn't even really have unique features that Xen doesn't have either apparently


Pros.

It's free, and Flint and crew put a lot of hard work into it.

And again I'm not discounting the work that was put in or trying to say the work itself is bad. I'm saying the software is bad, and the reason the site looks and feels like that on Discourse is not for a lack of skill on any of the contributors part. It's just clear that they had to wrestle with the software the whole way through.

And furthermore, Idk what happened with Flint and stuff but if he was the main driver of the software and was putting in all the work and left. And that's what were stuck with? And we gotta find someone else to make it work? That's an even bigger con.

Idk if theres another version of the Discourse site or something that's more up to date, but if it's the one that was linked earlier there's no way we can go live with that. o.O


..why a student email??
Reset was made in the wake of really big , articles are getting published about it, Neogaf drama IIRC. With that in mind and the huge userbase of Neogaf they didn't want it to be an easy place for trolls to slip in easily so non-throwaway ,unique , emails are required to register there. It's not a Xenforo thing, just something thats specific to Reset to help filter trolls since it's a massive community.



edit:

I really want to just reiterate im not trying to be an ass on purpose guys. I just suck massively European dicks at expressing myself. I hope you can look past the rough edges of my points and see the merit of what im trying to say.

I just feel like we can do waaaay better than software whose only real pro is that it's free. If we were just another version of ACF again that's just another form of FB for us like FFoF , of FCF or what ever were then I wouldn't care.

But clearly TLS aspires to be more than that with the high quality work we continually put out and strive to create. And with potentially the biggest news this community has ever had, and has been waiting years upon years for now is definitely not the time to just settle.


 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I think that the quickest tl;dr version about public opinion would be that at this point:

There are several misgivings about transitioning over to Discourse.
There are almost no misgivings about transitioning over to Xenforo.

Yes?




X :neo:
 
I think that the quickest tl;dr version about public opinion would be that at this point:

There are several misgivings about transitioning over to Discourse.
There are almost no misgivings about transitioning over to Xenforo.

Yes?
You can add the third opinion:

There are misgivings about transitioning to Xenforo without giving Discourse a try first, considering the amount of work and passion already spent on Discourse preparations.
 
I don't know if this useful, but when comparing software options at work we usually create a spreadsheet with functionality/features requirements and then score the software options out of 5. This gives you a fairly non opinionated winner (as long as you get the functionality list right).

So it might be:

Ease of import/export
Flexibility of theming
Mobile ready
Expected life span
Ease of maintaining
Security
How intuitive it is for new users to learn
etc.

If you get a few different people to score it as well it helps.
That way you can then make a case, like, Discourse is more of a jump but it has better security, mobile friendly out of the box, less ongoing costs...

I have no experience with either piece of software, other than I like things not to change unless there is a good reason for the change.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
I think that the quickest tl;dr version about public opinion would be that at this point:

There are several misgivings about transitioning over to Discourse.
There are almost no misgivings about transitioning over to Xenforo.

Yes?
You can add the third opinion:

There are misgivings about transitioning to Xenforo without giving Discourse a try first, considering the amount of work and passion already spent on Discourse preparations.
I specifically avoided that, because it's just the sunk cost fallacy that Yop already addressed earlier:
We should avoid the sunk cost fallacy though. Currently I think moving to Discourse is a technical pain in the dick, it's a lot more complicated and it'll be kind of a black box to work with - that is, if there is a problem it'll be harder for me to figure out wtf is going on. I'm also not sure about performance and whether it'll run smoothly on our server - despite it using the latest dankest technology, and even with it using e.g. Redis as in-memory storage and Postgres and everything, it feels a bit more sluggish than vB does.
I do think that (like InterfaceLeader suggested) we should make a list of the whats and whys and decide whether it's worth the trouble of sinking EVEN MORE TIME into Discourse at this point, or if Xenforo just flat-out looks like a better option objectively and thus all our time would be better-spent only going down that route.





X :neo:
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
I don't know how much of a horse I have in this race (not a tech person, put zero time into the test site, etc.), but I'm firmly in support of the Xenforo suggestion for the many reasons that have been brought up.
 

Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
We did discuss Xenforo at the time and I think we no u'd it (or were skeptical about it) because just like what Gabe said, it's non-free (both in the money sense and the open sourceness side) and operates under the same shenanigans as vB did / does, that is, you have to fork out money every year to stay updated - and I feel that as time progresses, security weaknesses in forums have only increased, so not upgrading (that is, paying for it) feels like a non-option.

vB (and Xen, but I need to look up if they changed their wotsits) is really weird in that regard; most software is a one-time payment and (security) updates for at least three years after purchase.

Anyway like I said, we discussed xenforo as a valid alternative back then but it felt like it was running behind the times, stuck in the early 2000's like vB is (seriously, its base codebase is from what, 2003?), whereas Discourse is the dank new fresh future of awesome.

There's also another option though: vBulletin 5. I'm still getting emails about that one (although not much about features or whatnot for a while now so I'm getting the feeling it's in maintenance mode and on its way out). We actually tried vB 5 back when, when moving to this server and it turned out vB 3 wasn't compatible with an up to date version of the PHP runtime. That is, we paid monies for a minor update for vB 3. Anyway, vB 5 felt a bit similar to Discourse, in that it wasn't as snappy as vB 3 is, despite having a lot more development hours put into it.

anyway er, just tell me what to do already :monster:. I'm fine with paying for a Xenforo license anyway, I've got a well paying job now and TLS has plenty of monetization options if I can be arsed.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
Ok, so let's break this all down: Discourse Vs. Xenforo Vs. vBulletin 5

We're trying to determine placement/winners for each of the following:

1) Familiarity for Existing Users (vB > Xf > Ds)
2) Ease of Access for New Users
3) Ease of Data Migration
4) Theme Capabilities
5) Mobile-View Compatibility
6) Moderation & Staff Learning Curve (vB > Xf > Ds)
7) Ease of Back-End Troubleshooting
8) Security Concerns
9) Shelf-Life / Sustainability
10) Cost: Monetary & Time

Which of those ones can you weigh in on, Yop?





X :neo:
 
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