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How do you USE Vanilla?

edited August 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Hi good people of the Lussumo Community. I've been around for a few months on here, have set up my own Vanilla forum and am just getting around to styling it and such. Not that I'm trying to butter you up, but I think Vanilla's the best and I enjoy hanging out in this community even though I have little to offer from a developer's point of view. I really wish I could contribute in that way, but.... not to be unfortunately.

Anyway, I think the forum's usability is key. But it just made me wonder how other people actually USE it. I just hang-out on the discussions page and read everything that comes up. It's like a game, to crush the red links as they come up. I regularly use an old proprietry forum which uses threads or list view, but has NO features whatsoever. Vanilla is like the best of both, in the sense that you can read down a list view and be alerted to newly added posts. And there are lots of innovative features. But I'm sure others look at the Categories page and sort by Category. How do you and your users make use of your Vanilla?


  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    I almost never use categories.
    It actually annoys me a great deal that they're a part of Vanilla at all.

    I do pretty much what you do - and I designed it that way because I found it was the easiest way to keep on top of what's going on.

    Occassionally I will lose track of the discussions when I get caught up with other work, and I will go way back in the discussions to find ones I haven't read. Now that I think of it, I should make that a filter: "Show all unread discussions".
  • I sit like a derranged coke whore refreshing the discussions page waiting for something i can make a useless reply to in the hope that sometimes by accident i say something beneficial to the other users. I only ever used categories when 0.9.3 was first released and the beta bugs thing went insane (so did you mark, so stop complaining :P)

    That show unread discussions thing sounds good. Though i dont think i have any. Wouldnt it be quite a resource whore?
  • Yeah, I suppose most people do it that way. It makes sense and just works. It's like a river of news approach. I never use categories either. A show all unread discussions filter would be work well too I'm sure.

    Perhaps, also in terms of people's useability experiences, how about the use of closed and open forums etc. Do people move between both at various times, or are those that use closed forums just using Vanilla for specific purposes and projects? I don't know, I suppose it's just obvious really. People use the forum in the way appropriate to the kind of community they are trying to create. I'm liking the idea of a closed forum with invites and I'll wait for someone to knock up an extension. I'm thinking invites can create a sense of exclusivity, whilst keeping it open to new people and ideas, through slow growth. But then, I'm sure some kinds of expression are muted by that exclusivity. So what experiences with Vanilla have helped you to decide to run your forum in the way you do?

    I was just thinking that a few quirky insights might be gained by discussing how people actually use Vanilla.
  • mini: That sounds healthy, but when you install the namewhore extension and continually refresh the results, then you've got a problem! ; )
  • edited January 2006
    I heard only the very best forums in the world were closed and run on an invite only system...

    I just flicked through the code to see how hard it'd be to make an unread discussions thing. Now i'm going to go and lie down. If mark could provide me with OOP lessons it could be useful.
  • "It actually annoys me a great deal that they're a part of Vanilla at all."
    Well, write a tag system and you can turn them off forever :D
  • "It actually annoys me a great deal that they're a part of Vanilla at all."
    Well, write a tag system and you can turn them off forever :D
    My thoughts exactly.
  • I put it in while I'm mixing all the other ingredients together.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    edited January 2006
    Well, write a tag system and you can turn them off forever :D

    I'm two steps ahead of you.
  • An insight into how my forum is used shows that categories do have their place. the prime example is a NSFW category. i.e. Not Safe For Work - thus it can be blocked and only seen at the users' choice.

    Also because my forum is only for friends there is no one particular theme or common interest. So we need broad categories to give it at least a bit of structure and to again allow people to filter what they read.

    e.g. we have a football category and a tech category along with one on film. A lot of our female users block the tech and football categories because it doesn't interest them.
  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    edited January 2006
    I don't use categories ever here. They're so 1.0
  • I don't see the need for categories here.
    I use them *a lot* everywhere else
  • o_O How long has html had irony tags?
  • It's funny because I never use categories either until this discussion and in the other thread on hiding them. I still don't use them, but I never knew about hiding and I've thought how good that would be in organising my forum, where sometimes, as timberford writes, there is not safe for work content, or when some people just can't be bothered with reading a topic, or debate that doesn't interest them, but just keeps coming up over and over in different discusions, for instance. It provides something like a little "room" that those who want to can go in and knock themselves out without pissing everyone else off. The way Vanilla's Discussion page is set up, makes the categories work for organisation. Unlike in phpbb forums et al, where the more categories, the more confusing because you are constantly clicking in and out of "rooms" looking for discussions and updates.

    Now, I like categories. I declare them back in, in a retro stylee.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    edited January 2006
    Well, I'm not going to tell you guys what I'm going to do. But I will say that I think everyone will be satisfied, category and non-category fans alike.
  • "I'm two steps ahead of you."

    Woah, Marks running Web one his own secret internets
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    I've invented .... THE OUTERNET!
  • lechlech Chicagoland
  • On a similar theme, i could do with a way of reading discussions without marking them read. Cause sometimes i come on first thing in a morning when i really have no idea what my name is and read stuff then forget to reply later on. I guess i could just bookmark them. But i'm lazy.
  • Me too, I think a 'mark as unread' button would be most useful.
  • Hey quit knocking categories, some of us actually love the buggers lol,
    I think categories give a theme to the forum, the more you strip away from forum software the more its no longer a forum and your left with a blog or who knows what. Face it people like some of the standared forum bells and whistles, I really don't see how they can annoy anyone, they are just there for people to feel their way around. Once you are a member I can see how you'll spend more time in discussion but still if you have interesting categories, you may want to spend time just in one category instead of seeing the entire list of dicussions.

    Would be interesting for Vanilla to be a face lift for forum software, turn your existing forum into a vanilla like theme, shouldn't be too difficult, just rearrange things that way you have the power and you have the simplicity not to mention security, not sure how secure Vanilla is compared to standard forums.
  • I think Vanilla already meets the need of category fans/haters. For the people that do like them you can use them, to find posts, or as a way to filter posts. If you are a person that does not like them, don't use them! The way Vanilla is setup already allows you to not ever use them at all.

    I thought it was already a good medium. Some people just can't be pleased.
This discussion has been closed.