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improvised mail system: whisper-box

edited November 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Reporting 3 workarounds which use whispers to add features on my forum, in case others find them useful:
  1. a stickied thread called "whispers only". Only whispers allowed - so when you see new posts you know they're whispers to you. Thus glanceable notification of whispers, & a thread repurposed to serve each member as a private mailbox.
  2. suggestion to members: keep a whisper-to-themselves in a sticky thread, serving as: as a place to test things without bothering people; a notepad; and a stash for intra-forum bookmarks (links to threads and posts). (Online storage - accessible from any computer.)
  3. posts deleted by converting them to whispers-to-oneself.
It's a commercial site whose maintainer has no interest in applying extensions, so these user-level workarounds are great for us.


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    edited November 2007
    "whispers only" could (IMHO) rather be named "whisper box", as the title of your discussion.
    The first post explains the purpose of this discussion?

    Note: for intra-forum bookmarks and other very useful browsing help, you have Discussion Filters.

    Do you think Vanilla will beat Google's Notepad ? :P
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    Grahack - re market prospects: our site is about to abandon Vanilla, and my interpretation is that the bare-core-plus-extensions approach has caused this. Basically the site was set up with an inadequate feature set by an unsavvy commercial host/maintainer, and those who care about features (users) are two levels removed from the ability to add them (users / management / maintainer).
    The extension model creates a potential blunder point at initial configuration. Adding extensions is not the same as switching on built-in features: there is a barrier, an actual-or-perceived hassle risk. I'm sorry to be leaving, and wish Mark saw the benefit of standardizing a more complete package; not clear what the gain is in keeping the 3 kB of Discussion FIlters (for example) out of the base product.
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    Problem is: Discussion Filters is not the only addon that really rocks, and as you said "is kept out of the base product". It's even not a matter of disk space, but focus on simple and essential things. I think that Mark's strategy is clear.
    There will always be pros and cons.
    Off topic we go...
    And this makes me think about Smarty's thoughts I'm a bit afraid about. Anyway, I still trust the dev team.
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    To be fair Pogo I don't think having the forum set up by someone completely irrelevant is an ideal situation at all and it's hardly surprising that Vanilla doesn't function well on such a set up. In order for that to work the forum would have to have every extension possible available to it so the actual manager could pick and choose which ones to enable. The program works much better when it is set up and run by it's users so they can choose what's goin on. Even then obviously there is still a group of people who prefer fully featured base forums and those who prefer bare bones forums. Realistically there are a LOT of fully featured heavyweight forums out there and not so many bare bones lightweights. Vanilla is just contributing to this latter market while packing a punch capable of knocking out a few of the heavy weights in certain circumstances. It's not for everyone and never will be :)
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    Point taken... and I'm unclear about how hard it would be to set up, say, a menu of recommended builds, ready to download. Would chop the entry barrier for tech-averse managers, & entice some... if the folks who could do it aren't moved to, a likely explanation is that it's more work than I imagine. But if it really is a minor thing, shame it's not done: meeting needs of a class of potential users without compromising minimalist scruples.
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    Drupal does installation profiles. custom drupal builds with specific modules already installed and configured to work. Idea is to get set and go. How popular is this feature. Looking at the links of installation profiles, i'll say not much popular. Another idea is a custom downloads used by Mootools For eg. you say I want 1) Vanilla core 2) Attachments 3) Account pictures 4) WYSIWYG 5) Discussion Filter . . . . Select the ones you want click download and you get just the things you wanted in one download package. no need to go to lussumo 20 times to download extensions.
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    edited November 2007
    there should be an add-on that does just what pogo is doing manually; by the "start a new discussion" button in the side bar, have a few other links: start a new notepad -creates a discussion that is a forced whisper to themselves (don't even display the "whisper to:" box) -puts it in the "my notepads" category (although everyone's notepads are in there, you will only see your own) -disallow someone from posting anything in the "my notepads" section -by default not display notepads -EXCLUDE NOTEPADS FROM SEARCHES (maybe add "my notepads" as a radio button on the search page?) -maybe only have one posted notepad for each user, and "start a new notepad" simply adds a comment to that post?? send message -create a discussion that must be whispered to someone -change "whisper to" to "send to" on the resulting page -this addon should also: there are a few addons that "force whispers" or convert the whisper system into a messaging system... this addon should not do this to all things that are posted, only when the respective button on the side is clicked, and only in the post directly after the person clicked it -on the send message page, the error for not specifying a whisper-recipient, should be edited to say something along the line of "you must specify who to recieve the message" instead of saying they must specify a whisper-recipient; because to the end-user it is not a whisper, it is a message i am also posting this in the "addon requests" ---reply to it there, not here --> link:
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    edited November 2007
    I can see both sides of this discussion, I understand both.

    My concern about add-ons is that they tend to break with the slightest core update and conflict way too easily with other add-ons.

    Reminds me of the early days with QuarkXPress, buying extensions and plug-ins to cover its shortfalls, spending weeks getting them to work properly then three months later a new version of the application blows everything out of the water and we start again.

    I understand the problem, alas I have no solution.

    I forgot to mention that QuarkXPress now has most of the features that used to require extensions built-in!

    Posted: Sunday, 11 November 2007 at 5:14PM

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    yes --- but if you don't get the functionality from an addon, how else are you going to get it??

    then again, i too see the down side; with every addon and main core update, the chance that something will go wrong is greater.

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    edited November 2007
    Although the creator knows their software better than most others, with every feature added to the core, the change that something will go wrong is greater. Only this time, Mark would have to be the one fixing the problems, and since he provides Vanilla free of charge, I can completely understand why the core is kept simple and manageable. This way, the stability and reliability of the individual "features" are now the responsibility of the addon creators, so that more than one person is responsible. Yes, this is a weakness as well as a strength, but without it working this way you just wouldn't have Vanilla (costing nothing).

    I think it's been said several times before that Mark would welcome a version of Vanilla packaged up with a selection of extensions that a maintainer could then give some assurance that they work together stably and well. No one's done this yet though (to my knowledge), so it would seem that it's not of too great a requirement of the community...
This discussion has been closed.