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There are so many excellent free forums these days...

Didn't know there were so many options! There are two that I came across today which really impress me.

MyBB - very similar to vBulletin
MyTopix - very similar to Invision Power Board

And then there are others.

Simple Machines - site not working right now

And then there's of course Vanilla. Why don't need a link to that one, do we?

I'm amazed at how far forum software has come. phpBB, IPB, and vBulletin have some serious alternatives now. Best part of all is pretty much every single one of these forums is very young - most haven't even hit release 1.0 yet, and they already look this good.


  • KrakKrak New
    edited September 2005
    Theres also EasyForum.... its super small, fast, and runs via flatfiles. I've used it before. I have used a ton of forums. I used phpBB because it was so popular, there are so many things for it. But after I found Vanilla, I ditched all the others.

    If you ask me, Vanilla is the best. I love it. Its a true forum, focusing on discussions.

    If you still want to check it out....
    EasyForum Forums
    EasyForum Site
  • I'm really starting to enjoy MyBB. I think I'm gonna use it for my forum. My forum is mostly gamers/teenagers, and they don't seem to appreciate the simplicity of Vanilla.
  • edited September 2005
    Easy forum is really cool, actually, and its fast.
  • where were all these alternatives back in the day?
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    there weren't many, else they weren't well documented or popular as they are today. now everyone and their unborn child has a blog/forum/some other type of system for sharing personal activities and news.
  • Most people just stick to phpbb, vbulletin (I fscking hate that one), or whats that other one, ikonboard? Easyforum has been around for a few years, its just small and nothing special, most people dont like that. They need their 800x400 sigs, their 300x300 avatars, their total post count in visual range, total views, etc etc.... Ive tried to setup a different forum other than phpbb for some peeps I know in a clan, and they threw a fit. Had to put phpbb on to shut them up... bastards.
  • we should offer vanilla with tranquilisers. When they come round they'll be satisfied with anything. Then again, vanilla doesnt need that sort of userbase, it'd be an insult to it.
  • HAHAHA, where can I get these, tranquilizers? lol
  • The thing with other "alternative forums" is that they pretty much copy from the bigger guys, like the MyBB and MyTopix, they all look the same, and to me, that is the biggest factor when selecting a forum. I give rats ass if yout forum loads 0.022 seconds faster than the other one, who the fuck cares? Do you care? The thing that was instantly neat about vanilla was the structure and the comment box that resembles that of a blog commenting. Like when I clicked to the MyBB link, I just looked the forum and went "oh it's this again, these guys didn't invent the wheel again, they stole it from the neighbour". It's almost insulting to call Vanilla a forum, it's so much better, more innovative, faster, easier to read, I can keep going on and on.
  • edited October 2005
    Well, and that in itself is a problem with Vanilla.

    I had probably about 30 active members on my old site. When I converted over to Vanilla, I had maybe 10. Many simple refused to use it.

    I head more than one say "it feels like a blog, not a forum". I don't have any problem with reinventing the wheel. Forums are great pieces of software, and its good to see free stuff instead of having to fork over lots of money for the same functionality.

    But I still love Vanilla. I just can't get my users to use it.
  • Many places I have pitched Vanilla are like retards, they don't want to use Vanilla because "it doesn't have so much functionality than the other ones" even tho one place agreed that they'd use Vanilla since nobody, never, anywhere uses 99% of the functionality other than normal discussions. But then they turned it down, because Vanilla doesn't have sigs. So go figure, people are retards.
  • I hear that. I love Vanilla, but I dont know anyone that would use it (outside the ppl in this community). I think the reason is that people have grown accustom the the way those forums work. They have been told "this is how a forum should look/work" and anything other than that is a blog, or crap or not good enough. I do and dont understand that at the same time. Why should how it looks (or what useless features it has) define what it is, or why you'd use it? I know some people that would hate Vanilla (but love phpBB) because its so simple, because its all about discussions and conversing. But they dont care, they want the eye candy, and the "typical" forum setup/look. If its not bloated, if it doesnt have your statistics plastered everywhere, and if it doesnt have that stupid same old layout, they dont like it. I think thats just the way its gonna be. We might not be able to "switch" a lot of people, but hopefully we can at least get some of the "newbies" before they are corrupted. Im all for Vanilla, was a little sketchy at first, but after using this forum for a few days I totally converted. Tore down that phpBB crap and replaced it with Vanilla. I didnt have any users as it was, so it wasnt really a problem. Although Im sure that might be whats keeping a lot of people from converting, their users.
  • I just finished a site for a client using Drupal. They were all happy with it, UNITL they say the forum. Drupal forum doe snot follow the norm set by phpBB and punBB etc., so it was not taken easily. They contracted me to make their forum look like phpBB. Drupal forums are really neat. They allow threaded discussion (commenting on comments. discussions within discussions.). It is little hard for some to get their head around though, so I had to remove that functionality.
  • Vanilla plain has a better layout that anything else.

    Having all the options in the sidebar is great. Having tabs up top to deliniate between different sections is natural...and most of all, not having that silly category page as the first thing you see is awesome.

    I've never understood the desire to split forums up into hundreds of different categories. It just slows down discussion, imo. I know one guy who has around 10 active members online at any given time, but he literally has 20+ categories for his forum. I just don't understand it.

    Vanilla is plain smart. People have just gotten so used to the worthless stuff. My users HAVE to know who is online and exactly where they are online, and they want their post counts, and they want custom titles, and they want big massive banners as signatures. It drives me crazy, but no matter how much I'd like to use Vanilla, if I use it, 2/3s of my users will leave, and I'll have a major problem attracting more.
  • Drupal is also very simplistic (the forum anyway). Heaps of people refuse to use it for this reason. They say it is powerful, but the forums is 'lacking in features'. (ie. statistics, sigs (it does support text ones), post count etc.) As you say, most people don't use these features. They are a waste.
  • edited October 2005
    nathan, Drupal's forums are interesting. One thing I've always enjoyed about Drupal's forums is it finally follows my mindset that forum posts should be able to show up on the frontpage if an admin chooses so. That just makes sense to me.

    EDIT: Nathan, I've seen the discussion at about forums. I know what you mean.
  • Anyway, I'm pretty much sick of forum systems these days. As much as I like some of the features of MyBB (I'm currently using that on my site due to popular demand), I don't like all the hassle it causes.


    And I don't feel like skinning the forum either. Too many things to worry about. Why can't people just understand that KISS is so true?
  • However, I'd like to add that Vanilla is indeed lacking a few basic things which I do think help discussion flow better. First of all, I think Vanilla needs a WYSIWYG editor. You know, highlight a section of text you are typing, push down the "B" button, and its bolded. It also needs quoting. Quoting is damn near essential to keep some conversations flowing well.

    And signatures...I think they are important, too. Maybe not massive banners for signatures (though the admin should have the option), but the ability to have a "personal quote". You might be saying, "Hey, that's extra stuff that isn't really needed!". However, I think having a small siggy for each user allows other users to understand them better, to possibly see where they are coming from and who they are. Ultimately, that leads to better discussions.
  • I'd like the idea of a sig where you could personally add info you want to display, info which should be stated in the user tab, like country if you set one, post count, join date, www-site e-mail. But the catch is that you use tags to put the info in it like [Kosmo:joindate] and [Kosmo:postcount] or something like that, and it would display your personal info in your sig IF you put it there AND you want to show it, since I'm not so super about having my birthdate or something really stupid in my "avatar" I'm pretty happy with the country, post count and join date, maybe a nick name. A WYSIWYG editor OR atleast a BB/Markdown buttons like the other forums usually have, would be way cool too. Quoting is essential, and making it easy is even more important that just having some <code very much stuff so that you can have a single word quoted>Dude!</that same very silly and long code thing close stuff you know> just doesn't scream "easy to use" or "innovative".
  • All those features have been disussed. And Im sure many will be made into extensions. I know quoting...just use simple <blockquote> tags, and if the style your using (like my Clockwork :) ) has the proper tag, it gets formatted so you can plainly see its a "quote". That and maybe add Quoted by: XXX or something...and toss it into a button. Sigs have also been discussed. I love the fact that Vanilla is just a basic simple core of a forum. So the ones that dont want the bloat, dont have to have it. The ones that do, can simply install the extension for what they want.
This discussion has been closed.