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Thinking of switching from PHPBB

Hey guys, Last year I took over the running of a popular PHPBB powered forum. I hate PHPBB with a passion and absolutely love everything that Vanilla stands for, but I have to be sure that moving is the right move for the community, so I have a couple of questions for those of you that have already made the jump: How is Vanilla at fighting spam? Aside from being less likely to be targeted, has anyone had spam problems? My PHPBB installation is getting the crap kicked out of it! Are you getting many automated signup attempts or are spammers ignoring Vanilla at the moment (like they used to ignore pun-bb) How did your users find the difference? I see I can restore 'old style' PM functionality with a plugin, were there any other issues? (i.e. not having the categories as the homepage). How did migration go? I've done a test run already and it all seemed to come across ok. (aside from PM's). Anything else I should be aware of? I would really appreciate your feedback as I'm desperate to dump PHPBB - I spend more time deleting spam nowadays than taking part in the community!


  • One more thing... any recommended addons?
  • Spam is pretty well covered if you do manual user approval. Even without it I'm pretty sure you're less likely to be affected than you are currently with phpBB. You can install the captcha extension to try and help things too. Some users hate the move and some dont - it depends what kind of userbase you have. In an effort to please the people who dont like it I'd suggest the Discussion Overview and PM extensions (though the PM extension still has slight flaws). Hopefully the migration would be alright but not perfect...
  • Depending on what kind of users you have, they might complain about the tiny avatars/icons, and a lack of email notification. There are three extensions for notification (RSS, Atom, and Notify), but they have issues.

    As for other extensions, you could add BetterBBCode and the Insert BB Bar (although there is a new BBCode extension as well, which might be better, I haven't checked it out). The Preview extension is pretty nifty. And of course, I think you should add the Vanillazilla extension and add your forum to the Vanillazilla site.
  • I would recommend running Vanilla parallel to the old board for about a week to give some familiaraty before the switch. Import just the user accounts and avatars and invite testing and feedback about what else is desired.

    You might need to adjust the stylesheet to match the usual avatar size, but don't do it unless your users ask.

    Complaints about appearance can many times be appeased by installing the custom styles extension and several other styles.
  • I think if you start a new thread as a whisper then the whole thing is a private conversation. So lack of PMs isn't actually a problem if it's possibly to have email notification. (have not tested either myself yet).

    With phpBB I added a totally custom field to the reg form and this has stopped 100% of bots. NONE of the mods on the official phpBB forum work.

    The only problem with Vanilla is if you get loads of new threads old ones disappear quite quickly due to everything appearing together on the index page.

    I need to move from phpBB, may I ask which method you used? I heard the add-on here no longer worked properly (and now doesn't seem to be appearing in the search). Writing a script from scratch is a time consuming option.
  • edited January 2007
    You can only use partially the CAPTCHA with the Applicant Email Verification extension (except if you use it with the flite option); see the readme.txt for more info.

    I have to put the two extensions in one, but since spambots don't hit vanilla forums yet, as far as I know, I didn't put any time in that.
  • I switched from phpBB because I was getting a couple of spam posts a day - and little else once I fixed the script people come to my site for :). I have not had one spam sign up since switching five days ago. Which is a pity that I spent all those frantic hours making a plugin to add the NOFOLLOW attribute to links, as I could have saved myself some stress. Nice list, Stash. I like the IP history especially.
  • @Ziyphr - I used the old migration tool (I can't remember where I got it from). It seemed to work fine last time, although I'll have to do it again as several months have passed since then. Thanks for all the comments guys - I've had it up to here with PHPBB and can't wait to get moved!
  • Good to hear you're moving onto Vanilla :)
  • I have a phpBB2 forum with 30 categories, more than 1.000.000 posts, over 30.000 new posts and 10.000 private messages per month, over 20.000 registered users, over 26.000 unique visitors per week, approximately 600 users online peaks. Would Vanilla be a good choice when I'm looking for a lighter and more flexible forum platform? Important things for me would be: * ability to convert all the 1.000.000 posts to the new forum (also convert all the PM's to a new PM system if such system could be done within Vanilla) * grouping users to different user groups * ability to have private categories with restricted access to certain usergroups * ability to use forum user authentication also for other parts of the website * ability to replace the user profile of the forum with our own user profile page * ability to show certain forum categories on their own
  • 1. It sounds like andy206uk has a script that made the transition for him. You may have to write your own script to do so, or solicit here (or elsewhere) for someone to write one.

    2. That is included in the core of Vanilla, see this video.

    3. Included in the core, briefly mentioned in above video. Within Vanilla, this feature can be found at Settings -> Categories

    4. as long as you set your cookie settings correctly, it is possible. Difficulty will depend on the platform of the rest of your site.

    5. This is not currently possible, but it seems simple to execute with an extension.

    6. Look at the "categories" tab on the vanilla forum. There's also an extension that allows you to modify the default page that vanilla goes to (if you want it to be one specific category, or the category listing)
  • 4: rest of the site's platform would be custom made to "fit" whatever forum we choose, but I was after if somekind of simplified code snippet or class exist to use the authentication but I guess I already figured that out from the documentation 5: this might be a feature we would make an extension for use more facebook-like user profiles 6: i was looking for a solution to run one category on it's own, maybe even in own layout.. or should this be done with different Vanilla installations using just one user database? Is it possible to run several independent forums with just one user database?
  • 4. possibly PageManager is more what you're after?

    6. I think that has been discussed, but never actually done. it would be some project, and displaying each category independently may be a better option. You could also create an extension that assigns users to specific categories, and does away with the "choose a category" dropdown. PageManager can hide the Discussions and Categories tabs, or just the Categories tab, and (via an extension) have the discussions tab reflect whatever category the users are assigned to. The possibilities are endless, depending on your needs.
This discussion has been closed.