Can YAGA be used to create a Virtual Economy where members gain points which can then be transferred to other members at their discretion?
I don't think you can use it like that out of the box, so you would have to write some plugin. The same applies for the question concerning the Karma plugin.
The Karma plugin and the YAGA addon are both written very well and with extensibility in mind. Nevertheless you would have to learn how to write Vanilla plugins. But if you need any help, just ask. If you have a good understanding of any programming language or if you are eager to learn, you will find that writing plugins for Vanilla is easy (and fun!)
I certainly need help lol. My understanding of PhP is virtually nil. [I've started taking a video course on it, but I won't have a basic understanding for weeks if not months and I'm looking to build and open my website within a week or two.]
You will need a wizard then. Even if you could pay a Vanilla guru, one week or two would be an unrealistic goal.
You should consider starting your website with what you can get from out of the box. Prioritize the features you need and start working on them/paying for them one by one. Afterwards look at the features you would like to have.
Do you know any other programming language? That would help...
Do you know what if/else conditions are and which loops generally are available? Do you know what classes, methods and functions are? Do you know what MVC stands for and have a basic understanding of it?
If most of the above apply, you would be able to start soon, otherwise you have a longer way to take before you can start.
What you are trying to achieve is not too simple. Maybe you have other ideas/needs which would make a better start for your first steps to developing plugins in Vanilla.
By the way: although the most of the above might sound frightening, I promise Vanilla is a very good choice if you want to extend your forum software by yourself.
Other scripts promise you faster results which might be true for nano-tweaks, but if you want to do bigger or more tweaks you will soon get lost. Vanillas source code is very readable and so are the plugins. Without a deeper understanding of any programming language, you will understand what simpler plugins do just by reading their source code.
And from understanding what you read to being able to write is not a very big step
If you plan to do something, find plugins which do similar things in order to have references. You want to extend YAGA? Go and download all YAGA related plugins you can get!
Use a text editor able to do full text searches (sublime text or notepad++) or even a complete IDE (NetBeans). Study the code others have written and copy without any scruples the part that you need. (If you feel to, give some reference in the readme of your plugin as to where you have stolen code ;-) ).
And don't forget to ask if you get stuck.
Thank you so much for the wisdom RJ.
I'm leaning towards _possibly _just going with myBB which has a plugin that does exactly what I want [just have to experiment with it on the local test server a bit to see if I can get it to look the way I want and get it all to function smoothly.]
I am eager to learn the programming, and based on what you've said Vanilla is likely a great platform to learn to experiment on, but for the time being I really want to be able to get up and running. I have intended users who are eager to join and start recruiting others and getting our forum up and running with a bang.
This type of points exchange is definitely a longterm need... if YAGA allows manual deletion of points by staff then in the short term I suppose staff could handle exchanges as well as any personal payments to be made...