Vanilla 1 is no longer supported or maintained. If you need a copy, you can get it here.
HackerOne users: Testing against this community violates our program's Terms of Service and will result in your bounty being denied.

Open or Closed?

edited November 2005 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I find that it's a kinda nice feeling to have a closed group. Where a person is asked to commit to registration and identification when visiting, and reading a board. Having had more than one community destroyed by worms and malice, this appeals to me very much. However, people really hate that... it deters a lot of people from coming around who might have been involved had they been able to browse first. Closed boards also become limited in function. It's hard to offer support that way... Still, the idea of a commited group is a (perhaps falsely) secure one. How did you decide?


  • Why not have both? Certain parts of the board can be accessible only to certain members.
  • I'm a little confused at your statement. For a community such as this, i think that being an 'open' community where people can browse even if theyre not members is absolutely vital - it allows people who havent been accepted or dont require membership to search for support before they find alternative methods of request. Vanilla itself will never be released with the ability to be entirely open as that just isnt how the system works and mark has said he has no plans to make it as such. In the cases of a *real* community, i suppose it depends just how private the ideas you're talking about are. Nothing on here is a secret (maybe because we know it cant be? i guess it's a psychological thing) so/because its entirely public. Back in the days of o8 it was entirely private because thats just how things worked. Due to the way vanilla works with its inability to allow anonymous posting, and with mark/jonesy filtering the applicants, we've ended up with a committed group here (to an extent far greater than if it was anonymous, atleast), but retained the ability to be a support forum - so in a way it's the perfect compromise. Whats more, with the next revision you'll have much more control over permissions - at present you can control what level of member can read/write where and this is gonna get even better. SO technically you could have a public forum and then just make a category only members can even see. Utopia. Anyway, i hope this mini rant's helped a little :)
  • edited November 2005
    minisweeper, yes, it does actually.

    I think that the choice for closed or guest browsing is really a technical choice to make based on the content of your forum, and the desires of the community.

    The question of how to decide, and what to do comes up mainly because of how people behave, totally a psychological thing.

    I am not a sociologist, but i see a few types of people in my day to day admining of one particular site:
    1) the members:
    people who arrive, register and post as well as reply.

    they break down into several sub categories:
    a.) wide open:
    these folks come, write and read a lot. upload avatars, include their aim address, support others, and want to belong to the community.

    b.) on the down low:
    these folks will rarely start a thread, but often comment. they choose to be hidden from any who, or member list, and don't include avatars, or personal information about themselves.

    c.) needy-nancy:
    ubiquitous and often unhappy, these types are staccato and usually very annoying. they come, and begin slowly, but eventually start spamming your forums with personal things, links, hotlinked images, and drone about how lonely they are and how much they "love you guys." This person doesn't have real boundaries, or much sense of how they effect a community. Often they can become so obsessive that all other activity drops off completely until they are spoken to, curtailed, or banned.

    d.) the troll:
    someone who is either a banned needy-nancy, or former member who has hard feelings, or they are members with an opinion (usually malicious, but stated as humor) which they are not able to say as themselves. So they make false identities to slap or mock others for "fun."
    2) the users:
    People who are not interested in "joining," rather, they have a support issue and want to make use of the forum to get an answer. "where's my order?" or "how did you do that?" are often the questions a user will ask.

    3) the readers:
    some are members, others are not. they rarely, or never post. but they do aim you, email you and others about what they have read. good to have around, but in terms of a community forum, dead weight.
    What I see is that to close things up for registered users only leave the readers out completely, it seems to also steeply curtail the users, and promote the needy-nancy and the troll.

    Still, in a perfect world I would prefer to admin a forum which asked for some degree of accountability, and participation. Personally, it would be fine if that were only 50 people. Search engines, and readers are nice if what you offer is a public resource, but for a private community of conversation, ideas, and thoughts, it seems like closing things up is the best way to go.

    the question arises when the members of the community themselves are mainly on the down low, and yet, resist re registration, and dislike a closed forum. This, in my experience, seems to be the predominant feeling. I can't get my head around basically wanting to participate invisibly in an open public forum and being uncomfortable with anything else...

    So i can't decide: open or closed?
    How did you decide this for your forum?
  • I have a small forum, like, no users, haha, but its open. Anyone can come in and read it, and anyone can register, then post. I have it this way to try and get people to come in. If it was a closed forum, no one would know what it is, whats on it, who is there, etc. No one is going to blindly join a community, they have to have some sort of reason. Plus I have a few friends that dont like to register for things (stupid bastards) so I have to have it open so they can see my posts, or they wouldnt bother at all. Im barely hanging on. If my community already existed (and was big) and I was switching over to Vanilla then maybe I would go closed, to keep it all nice n tidy. But its not, so its open to try and attract people. If you already have a large community of people that have nice discussions and stuff then maybe a closed forum will work. But if you have the forum to offer support for something or to advertise or something like that then an open forum is probably a better idea. I think it all comes down to how many users you have, and what kind of forum you are trying to run. And by closed do you mean you cant read any posts without being regged and logged in, or closed as in your account must be approved before you can join and post/read?
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    Fernando, I think it's reasonable to say, that nearly any and every forum ever run eventually boils down to a wide (and possibly even wider) array of users. I've had my share and have experienced (and in some cases been) one of those groups you just described (we all have at some point). Open or Closed, it all becomes the same thing, same kinds of people, newbies here, bans there, trolls galore and everyone complains. All in all, it's a forum for those who like to use it. While I may have misinterpretted (I haven't been paying attention much lately), with the permission settings in the coming revision, you should be able to tweak certain discussion categories to be open to all, while having others completely blocked off to only users on your forum. At least, I hope that's the way it will work. Thus allowing you to have a bit of both worlds (mark, any input or corrections needed there?). Either way, there's a 50/50 chance your forum will eventually tip over into a boiling puddle of insanity, spam and total chaos. It's all reall the matter of what you're willing to put up with and how strict of an admin you are. That's usually a deciding factor of how your users will behave.
This discussion has been closed.