New forum features coming soon

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Admin, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Likes Received:
    Our tech team has been hard at work in the background on a major forum upgrade, containing a host of new features and user usability improvements. See a list of them below as ranked in the order of importance.

    Mobile-friendly Responsive Layout
    Layout will now automatically adjust to whatever screen size you are using, and browsing even on a phone should be a more comfortable experience. Small phone-sized screens will appear like so:


    Navigation/search options will be hidden as necessary and shown behind menus. User alerts/unread conversation counts will be folded into your user menu. A few more screenshots:

    resp3.png resp4.png resp5.png

    Post Edit Logging
    When a user edits their post, a notice will appear without needing to add anything to the body of the post itself. It will look like this:


    Post Drafts
    A draft of your post will be automatically saved while you are typing it, every X seconds (currently 60). It will be quite difficult to lose work in progress in the future. Even if you refresh or close and open the window later, your message will be automatically re-shown.

    Post History
    Multiple versions of a post will be saved in post-edit history to help prevent "rage-delete" situations as well as allow members to restore an older version of their post, rather than being stuck with the latest incarnation. The interface will appear as follows:


    All-New Editor
    The existing editor had several code and performance issues, so a new editor will be put in its place, looking something like this:



    Some of the features in the new editor:
    • Much lighter code and faster to load. The Editor will depend on jQuery and benefit from that.
    • An image in the Clipboard can be Pasted directly into the editor (if using Firefox and Chrome). If successful, this works exactly like uploading an image and then clicking the "full image" button.
    • And finally, images can be drag-and-dropped directly into the editor:

    User Group/Staff Banners
    Members will have visible banners identifying their membership in various site groups. A sample of what this will look like:


    Conversation Management Improvements
    Most changes can be seen in this one screen shot:


    First, all participants will be listed on the conversation list. You'll also note that conversations can be starred. Starring works like in emails, mostly to help with filtering. You can also bulk manage your conversations to star/unstar conversations, leave conversations, and mark them as read or unread.

    Limited Quote Height
    Long quotes often overpower the rest of the post and to address this there will be a height limit to quotes. You will be able to expand the quote to display the whole text if desired. Embedded media and images with the quotes will be further shrunk as well.

    Thread Title Edits by Users
    A new permission to control whether users can edit the titles of their own threads. This is automatically tied with the post-edit duration.

    Stronger Password Encryption: Bcrypt
    Most sites use schemes for passwords that are designed to be fast, which makes them unsuitable for password storage. Bcrypt (which is expressly designed for passwords) is intentionally slow and is also tunable so it can encrypt even more strongly in the future as computers become faster.

    Notable Members Replacing the Old Members List
    Not only was the old members list useless (and a spam magnet), it's actually a huge performance issue. The notable members page will display users with:
    • Most likes received
    • Most posts
    • Today's birthdays
    • (Non-hidden) Staff members

    @User Tagging
    You can use the @User style syntax to tag users in a post. This allows a member (say, a moderator) to be alerted to your post. Their profile will be linked to in a handy way without needing to jump through hoops trying to search for them.


    Watching a Forum
    The forum watching system will work rather similarly to the thread watching system. When you click the link to watch a forum, you will see an overlay like this:


    Spam Prevention and Management
    The update will include features such as checking new posts against the DNSBL that uses the Stop Forum Spam database, and we will use the Project Honey Pot to check their blacklist. Posts will be checked for commonly-used spam phrases. (This will inevitably evolve over time.) And the spam cleaner will even go through Sent Conversations.

    Robot Identification in Online Visitors
    The online visitors list will distinguish guests from search-engine robots (and other crawlers) based on the User Agent and count them separately. When viewing the list of online users, robots will be displayed differently, showing you a bit of information about the robot.

    Searchable Page Nodes
    Page nodes (such as the Terms and the FAQ) will now be indexed and displayed in search results.
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