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Feedback from Users: How do I make sense of this?

edited November 2005 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I love the look and many of the ideas around Vanilla. I have a current user base that is (1) made of up hardcore movie fanatics and (2) used to posting on vBulletin. I'd love to implement Vanilla (or a Vanilla-like solution) on my site, but I'm not sure it would take. I posted a list of twenty five common features and asked users to rank them from one to ten. The number one reply received ten points, the number two, nine, number three, eight, and so on. 256 Private messaging 229 Search that works 177 Signature lines 148 Quick Reply (Reply box at the bottom of every thread page) 138 Reputation Comments (Similar to "whisper" functionality) 131 Smilies 127 WYSIWYG/GUI Post Editor 124 Reputation Points (aka Karma) 100 User Title 81 Ignore list 76 Thread Reply Count 69 Thread subscriptions 59 Mouseover on thread title 52 Current Users (list at the bottom of each forum page) 49 Profile Additional Info (birthdays, biography, occupation, etc) 42 Polls 46 Who's Online 34 Member List 19 Location: 18 Thread View Count 9 User profile picture 8 Email Subscriptions 5 Invisible mode 5 Widescreen Avatars 0 Buddy list The number one most important feature has *nothing* to do with the forum at all. I am wary of features like Quick Reply, because it sets up an almost IRC or chat-like interface on the forum. Still others make no sense: the ability to ignore other users is in the top ten, yet on this forum on 8% of the active users employ it. Likewise with polls. People voted for the feature even though it's almost never used. How do I make sense of this? Do I ignore what they *say* is important to them in favor of what actually is? Do I try and nudge them toward Vanilla, or cave and give them exactly what they want across the board, even though I think it might be to the detriment of the overall experience? Many thanks for any thoughts and replies!


  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    edited October 2005
    Ask not what your forum can do for you; ask what you can do for your forum. Erm seriously... at the end of the day you are in the driving seat I guess and have to weigh up the pros/cons of Vanilla... it is based on a very different ethos to most forums so requires a shift of mindset more than anything I think... features like whipserering could be a real killer if people need convincing Interestingly, features like sig lines are a topic of much debate here as start to flip the balance from simple to not-simple.
  • I've said it before, but I may as well say it again: the #1 thing that would help Vanilla is a WYSIWYG editor.

    Anyway, whatever you do, be careful. The last thing you want to do is alientate a userbase that you've spent so much time and work building. A lot of people have the mindset, "Its your website, do what you want", but I feel like with Internet communities, its not really your site, its THEIR site, the people's site, and you really need to try and accomodate them as much as you can.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    edited October 2005
    You could also just set up vanilla the way you like it in a different directory and tell your members about it. Let them come in, test it out, and see what they think. Then decide what to do.
  • The way i see it, 256 Private messaging - this is already incorporated (as i see it this is much closer to whispers than 'reputation comments?' are) 229 Search that works - yup. 177 Signature lines - easily possible as an extension but open to much debate. 148 Quick Reply (Reply box at the bottom of every thread page) - quick enough. 138 Reputation Comments (Similar to "whisper" functionality) 131 Smilies - part of bbcode 127 WYSIWYG/GUI Post Editor - what someone already said. 124 Reputation Points (aka Karma) - i've never quite understood reputations.. 100 User Title - Seems to run with the reputations thing..pointless? 81 Ignore list - already in 76 Thread Reply Count - already in 69 Thread subscriptions - already in 59 Mouseover on thread title - for what? 52 Current Users (list at the bottom of each forum page) - an extension 49 Profile Additional Info (birthdays, biography, occupation, etc) - already in 42 Polls - debateing about extensions 46 Who's Online - um? current users? 34 Member List - search 19 Location: - profile 18 Thread View Count - i thought about this the other day. Could be an extension but really unnecessary 9 User profile picture - already in 8 Email Subscriptions - work in progress. sorta. 5 Invisible mode - huh? i believe this is a function of the who's online ext. 5 Widescreen Avatars - possible 0 Buddy list - possible but not prev. discussed I'd say that *if* you wanted to provide all those, it looks to me like a majority are already catered for in the core or extensions have already been made. The rest, i think, will likely be catered for when extensions take off after the next rev or are a little unneccesary. You could cater for everything with vanilla; maybe what you should do is set up a forum with as many of the requests running, check how bloated it looks/feels, get your users views, and who knows - they might be willing to cut back on a few.
  • Signatures of 1 line is the maximum I can see on a forum ... If users want to say more about themselves, they have personal pages (information about registration, their website, mail, IM, computer configuration and so on). About PM, it has nothing to do with a forum but it is a convenient way to chat with other users w/o the rest of the world knowing about it and without giving mail or having IM. It's convenient. What about a different poll: which missing feature would make you leave a forum? Above 20 yo, I doubt "no sig" would be the #1 result.
  • Reputation comments and Karma are more trouble than they're worth, we switched them off after a month on the forum I run because of the hassle they caused between users. It was also easily abused by people who wanted to stir trouble.

    I don't see the point of them either, if you're a regular user of a forum you know who's who and who has a good rep. An artificial measure of this is also easily gamed by people and so quickly becomes useless.

    I think one thing it's important to remember is that 'people don't know what they want' :). This is a list of what they think they want but I'm pretty sure that once they had a chance to play with Vanilla they'd like it.
  • I frequent a phpbb forum, and its got the "# of user posts" thing, and there are people that post nothing but mindless drivel just to drive their post count up, and to get a new "rank". I have never understood PM'ing people over a forum, except for a quick msg to someone, but I know there are people that do nothing but PM others. That, is what IM was made for...use it. The only thing missing from Vanilla that I would really like to have, is email notification.
  • edited November 2005
    PM's are needed. Some people don't have time to coordinate meeting on an IM, let alone ever use. The whispers, I think, replace PM's well enough.
  • IMO, whispers are PMs, just in a different layout.
  • Theyre PM's but better. You can have them either on or off topic depending what it is you're pm-ing about.
This discussion has been closed.