Welcome to the new forums! Still working out technical difficulties...

Discussion in 'RayGator's Swamp Gas' started by Solari, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Solari
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    Solari GC Janitor Staff Member GC Staff

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    Greetings, folks.

    Long story short, we're finally ready to move to our new message board software this Sunday late evening/very early monday morning. It's been an ongoing process with a lot of fits and starts because we had to develop a completely new piece of software to integrate the new forums with our new billing software and website.

    Our site will likely be down for a few hours during this time, so we appreciate your patience.

    Just so you know right off the bat, your username and password will still work, your threads, posts, post counts, rep points and such will be transferred. Your login will be integrated with the front page where you'll be able to post comments and read premium stories.

    Why are we migrating to new message board software? In short, ours is very old (5-7 years dated) and it's time to improve the user experience here after upgrading our front page.

    The software we're migrating to is called XenForo.com. Many other big boards have migrated to it as well and in fact, I'm borrowing some of their information here to share with you to show you what we're doing.

    As info, we will be using a custom template, so the look and feel will not be the same as the default Xenforo.com look that you might see elsewhere.

    **What is Xenforo? And why are we changing to it?**

    Xenforo is a relatively new forum platform released in 2011 by the original developers of vBulletin. These guys built vBulletin and grew it to be the market leader in forum software. But while vBulletin is, in my opinion, failing in the hands of new owners, the Xenforo team have moved on to create an efficient, user friendly, innovative, contemporary forum platform which we will all benefit from using.

    Who else is using Xenforo? Here's a list of other Big Boards: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/the-big-forum-list.26352/

    **What's new? A lot. Here's the basics, though:**

    **New User Interface (UI)**


    The new UI will be the biggest change you will notice about SwampGas using Xenforo.

    The fundamental way that the forums work is the same. We have forums, threads and posts. Though they are referred to as forums, discussions and messages.

    The approach taken to developing Xenforo was to look again at how everything works and build the new forum platform from scratch, from the ground up, taking the best possible approach.
    The new UI moves some elements around, adds some neat, new features and removes some out-of-date techniques.

    While the new UI is intuitive by design, some elements are different to what people are currently familiar with, and it will take a little time for all of us to get used to the new way of using the forum.

    **Responsive layout**

    The new forums will also be responsive like our front page, meaning it will automatically resize to the size of your screen, whether it's your computer or mobile phone. This will be very useful, esp. for those of you who prefer to access the forums through the browser instead of our mobile app.

    **Speed**

    I'm not going to make any promises that the new forums will be faster than the current one. In the first few hours after the migration, the site will likely be slower because we have caches to rebuild. But beyond that, under normal operation, Xenforo is vastly more efficient than vBulletin, and in theory, there absolutely should be a performance improvement. Whether or not people will notice that is unknown. In our experience it's faster but that may vary for others.

    **Private Messages become Private Conversations**

    With the following improvements:

    * A conversation is presented like a thread rather than as a series of single messages which means you can easily read the whole conversation from the start.
    * Option to allow the conversation starter or all participants to invite other people to join.
    * New participants can see the whole conversation.
    * Participants can leave conversations.
    * Multiple recipients, recipient groups, an autoresponder, conversation attachments and even more features will be available to our more active members.

    **Usergroup Promotions**

    Still under consideration is the proposition of allowing more active members to earn more features and privileges, although paid subscribers will definitely have enhanced features.

    By participating in the forums more (e.g. by getting your posts Liked or Thanked, or by writing your own reviews), members will be able to earn extra privileges like larger inboxes, the ability to bookmark messages and enter exclusive competitions.
    At launch, current members will find themselves with access to more features and privileges than they have now. There has been much emphasis on adding rather than removing features.

    **Likes, Thanks and more**

    In keeping with the latest internet methods, Xenforo uses a Like system on messages. By accumulating Likes, members increase their trophy points (awarded for positive contributions to the community).

    We will also implement a post ratings addon for Xenforo which gives us the ability to express additional things like:

    * Like
    * Thank
    * Agree
    * Disagree
    * Funny
    * Useful

    All the above ratings except for Disagree count as a positive rating towards the poster's overall post rating count. Disagree is a neutral rating because we don't believe in giving negative ratings.

    **Trophy Points**

    Trophy points are awarded for activity on the website such as posting messages and receiving Likes.

    When the migration is complete, members logging in for the first time will get several alerts that they have been awarded the trophy points. These points will be awarded for the posts and Thanks which the members have accumulated to date.

    **Alerts, Watching and Tagging**

    Members have an all new Alert system which they can configure to show them an alert when various events happen which relate to them. So, for example, if you chose to Watch a thread (the equivalent of subscribing to it), and someone posts a reply, you will get an alert.

    Also if someone Tags you in a post, then you can also get an alert.

    When typing a message, to tag someone you can type a @ symbol followed with a member's login name.

    By default your alert preferences will be set to notify you when someone tags you in a post. But you can turn this off in the alert preferences page of your profile.

    **Additional add-ons, etc.**

    As soon as our migration is stable, we'll start adding new features to the forums, some which will be fun and games like an online Sportsbook and a "Pick 'em" where you can compete with others in scoring games, and much more. Unfortunately, the popular Casino doesn't work on Xenforo but we will keep looking for viable replacements as well as other add-ons to make this a fun place to be while getting your daily dose of Gator news. :)

    We'll also be adding an advanced and far more robust user reputation system once things settle. You'll also be able to vote a post as "Best answer" to a thread. There's much more to come, so stay tuned!

    **Mobile app**

    Although our new forums responsively resize to your mobile device, our mobile app will continue to work with the forums too (although we will be rolling out a new app soon afterwards). Just be aware that for a day or two after the migration the app may not work while things are being updated/refreshed.

    Again, thanks for your patience this weekend! Hopefully a win will help smooth things over ; )

    Ray and the GC Staff
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  2. tilly
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    tilly Superhero Moderator VIP Member

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    Cant wait!
  3. MtownGator
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    MtownGator Well-Known Member

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    Looks good -

    thanks guys
  4. MyakkaGator
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    MyakkaGator Well-Known Member

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    Sounds very cool!
  5. tilly
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    tilly Superhero Moderator VIP Member

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    Nope. This web site will work :wink:
  6. MyakkaGator
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    MyakkaGator Well-Known Member

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    And we won't be charged higher than advertised rates for it...already a winning situation!
  7. TheGator
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    TheGator Premium Member

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    Why not tonight? This board could already be in meltdown mode if the unthinkable happens.
  8. MyakkaGator
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    MyakkaGator Well-Known Member

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    Might as well send it out in style!
  9. qwghlmgator
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    qwghlmgator Well-Known Member

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    Ray, can I go ahead and disagree/dislike this comment? :roll:
  10. Jonas
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    Jonas Well-Known Member

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    I really love the current forum layout so I'm hoping it doesn't change too much.
  11. TheGator
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    TheGator Premium Member

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    You may want to shut down the boards tonight!!!
  12. KronoGator
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    KronoGator Well-Known Member

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    Might want to make the move this second.
  13. The_Ultimate_Gator
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    The_Ultimate_Gator Active Member

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    Where's the rep button?
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  14. UFGator05
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    UFGator05 Well-Known Member

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    You guys did an excellent job with the new layout. Love it!
  15. alphaomegator
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    alphaomegator VIP Member

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    Currently navigating around the forums..So far, everything is going well..Does seem a little slow to load but I have a crappy computer.. The lay outs are outstanding!
  16. tilly
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    tilly Superhero Moderator VIP Member

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    Just making sure...Our post counts and all will migrate right?
    Currently I am a dreaded Newbie! :( :/
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  17. ApexNC
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    ApexNC Well-Known Member

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    FYI, I saw an Edit link on another user's post. Out of curiosity I tried it and it let me edit a post made by rserina. Probably not intended?

    uhhh testing
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  18. mac4lyfe
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    mac4lyfe Well-Known Member

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    Wow, wow, wow... I LOVE the new site. The layout/displays are awesome.

    Great work. WOW!!!
  19. The_Ultimate_Gator
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    The_Ultimate_Gator Active Member

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    Yep, regular users seem to have full-on moderator powers.

    Probably ought to take care of that before it's used for nefarious purposes. (too late!)
  20. tilly
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    tilly Superhero Moderator VIP Member

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    Where are my rep points and Heisman Status? Who am I, Reggie Bush?:D
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
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