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Is Vanilla Forums suited to our existing community?

edited November 2010 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8
We have a social networking & dating community with 20,000+ user profiles (see Right now our site is chiefly custom-coded PHP, and includes no discussion forums. We're considering adding Vanilla Forums as our community forum, perhaps at a separate domain name.

I would be grateful for any answers to the following questions, which could help us decide whether Vanilla is a good fit for us.

1. CUSTOM LOGIN INTEGRATION? What would it take to integrate the Vanilla login with our site's own custom login functionality, so members only have to log in once? (If it's easy enough to do this, we might consider putting the two applications on the same domain.) Would this hamper our ability to upgrades to future versions of Vanilla in the future? If we have to have a totally separate account environment for Vanilla, that is probably be acceptable; but if there's an easy way for me to integrate the two, that would be extra attractive.

2. INDEPENDENT FORUMS? Ideally we'd like to take something of a "let a thousand forums bloom" approach, and enable members of my community to propose their own ideas for a new forum. If approved, then they could create their own posting guidelines, launch the forum, and from that point forward manage the forum themselves, including deciding which other members to allow, which to delete, etc.

When I say "forum" I don't literally mean a new Vanilla install, but rather a section of the site that is devoted to their own topic, with their own rules and membership management prerogatives. Maybe this is what you would call a "category"?

Perhaps the most relevant question here is: Can you restrict members from individual areas of Vannilla Forums, or is it an all-or-nothing thing based on some unrelated variable, like a user's overall role in the community?

3. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS? I'm attracted to Vanilla Forums' "Social Connect," "Vanilla Mobile," and seeming flexibility when it comes to integrating with other software like WordPress and Facebook (and hopefully our own custom application). Those of you who are intimately familiar with Vanilla may know of other advantages that are relevant to my situation. If so, I'd welcome your insights.

Question #2 is probably my most pressing question at this point. If the answer is "No" there, is there any chance this feature could be affordably added through some kind of paid support/development?

Thank you in advance for any insights and recommendations you can provide!

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