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Advice: vanilla vs. punbb

fuchkafuchka New
edited March 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
I have an active forum with over 300 members at the sam time. I am using XMB forum on my dedicated server (dual xeon 2,4ghz with 1gb ecc ram) and the forum along with magazine cms and profiles produces high load on my server which makes it run extremly slow. I am now thinking on moving to the new software. I really like vanilla forum and I use it on other small sites I have. But reading here about load balancing and other related issues I am wondering is vanilla for me or should I use some other software like punbb. Any advice someone can give to me or?
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Comments

  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    If you like Vanilla, then it's definitely worth a shot. I've seen Vanilla run very well on similar machines with way more traffic.
  • depends allways on your server, ive never had "dramatic" problems on my dedicated server .

    300 active members with pure vanilla on a cheap shared server = no problem.
    300 active members with vanilla and a good bunch of extensions = problem (depends on the amount and the kind of the extensions)

    my expierience so far.
  • yeah, I'd say be careful with the extensions you use

    oh and be careful, your users may hate vanilla unfortunately.
  • I am running vanilla and have way over 300 members and we are still on a shared server with no problems. http://gliving.tv/community
  • thnx for info. I'll certainly will give a vanilla a chance ... it's great.
  • adrian, did you have that experience? (people hating vanilla). If so, how 'experienced' is your crowd (in terms of BBrds)?
  • I'm not sure about Adrian's users but mine are not enjoying Vanilla.
    I'm part of a community that has been hosted on proboards forever. Recently, they got banned from within the mainland and we were "homeless" for a bit. I set up a backup board with Vanilla since i always wanted to try it but now, 2 months later, I wish I had not.
    They're having a hard time getting used to whispers, discussions are not going into their categories and information is all over the place. Moreover, we got used to wishing each other happy B'days and had password protected categories that dindn't require role changes.
    Basically, all the other admins are clueless at what to do and literally afraid of Vanilla, leaving me with all the moderation duties.

    Right now, I have about 15 extensions just to get half of the functionality we got used to a proboards but it's getting too much.

    I've already started exploring potential migration to PunBB or SMF to recoup some more basic functions...
  • same here,

    for my person, i like vanilla pers. and i love to c the process and progress here and there, but i lost also more than 7o% of the whole memberbase , they really disliked vanilla.

    it was a switch from ipb to vanilla.
  • TomTesterTomTester New
    edited February 2007
    I asked because despite my enthusiasm about the Vanilla code, the nice people here,
    the plugins, EVERYONE I asked to test a demo forum was a little unhappy...

    Somehow it seems that a 'default interface' evolved from IPB, vB, phpBB, which people
    don't necessarily LIKE, but they simply KNOW/remember and thus takes less time to
    grasp.

    Hence I'm wondering what to do next... try to emulate the 'others' on Vanilla, or skip
    Vanilla and switch to something people 'know'...

    I'm actually in a bad mood since I'd spent quite some time fiddling with Vanilla, and
    really grew to appreciate the way it works, but I wonder if my visitors will have the
    patience. 70% fewer posts would be disastrous for my community...

    Moreover, the issue of non-cachability of forum pages due to the whisper mechanism
    (btw, the most reviled/misunderstood Vanilla feature) makes the choice even more
    difficult, since I want to build something that scales big

    TT.

    PS I know about the big forums on vanillazilla, but I know very little about their backend
    hardware/budgets...
  • Hey Tom,
    I was in the same boat as yourself.
    My members did not like Vanilla's sparse "looks" and simple interface (compared to other forums they visited).
    Like yourself, I appreciate the workings and ideas behind the Vanilla concept but others said it looked "cheap" and way too basic.
    I persisted, jazzed it up a little and I think they are now happy, if not thrilled they are more accepting.
    I pointed out that the content of a forum, member contributions, are more important than the look or perceived "un-cheapness" and that Vanilla stood back and let the content shine, instead of being a complex interface that took the limelight, and more often than not, daunted newbies.
  • phpBB->Vanilla
    Un-nerds unhappy, opposite for nerds. 15% nerds
  • Perhaps (and Mark may hate this idea...) we should collectively work on a theme/style and extension combination that basically recreates the phpBB/punBB/IPB/vBulletin standard look, feel and functions (obviously still prettier) that allows you to incrementally turn things off so you can ease people into things. Forum users seem to hate change, so changing a LOT of stuff very quickly might be counter productive and something like this may ease the transition?

    We would need to come up with a list of the most commonly missed things in these "standard forums" that the users miss and then work towards having most, if not all, of these things availale. Hell, it may be that we end up creating an extension collection with a new theme.

    Thoughts?
  • In my forum, installing the discussion overview extension has helped a lot, the only thing that's missing is a different set of roles/permissons on categories where they can be read-only for some people etc...

    If there was an easier option to put categories up front, you'd see less gripping about vanilla.. we like to think and do things differently but sometimes, the end users are NOT ready for it.. unfortunately
  • Sounds like a good idea and a good solution. I especially like the idea of a collective work.

    ranting mode on
    But even if it's in order to make Vanilla more easily accepted, even if I understand very well many people may dislike its look & feel and way of working, I personally won't be happy with making such an effort for lazy and close-minded people.

    Sure, I'm a bit harsh here. But I just hate the "I don't have the habit then I don't like" way of thinking. I know most users simply don't have a clue about the amount of work a webmaster/community manager has to do to allow them posting their stuff easily, I know most of them will always avoid learning a new way of thinking if they can, I know most of them never read stickies, I know most of them don't like change and never ever had a thought about why they don't like change...

    And it kinda makes me sick when I hear these sad stories of yours. I really wish users of "classic" forums could understand why Vanilla's approach is better... but they can't unless we try really hard to explain them.
    ranting mode off

    I agree about the idea of making transition easier, but I'm not sure about making Vanilla looking like old crappy phpBB. Just a thought: what about a dedicated tutorial/transitional/discovery/test forum ? I mean, a website dedicated to explain Vanilla to new users, with integrated tooltips for each "new" feature, small embed flash tutorials like the nice ones Mark made, features comparisons, testing areas... ?

    As a game developer, I know the very importance of explaining clearly and step-by-step how a game works to the player - or the player will just give up and leave, especially if the gameplay doesn't fit in a known category. So, maybe a kind of centralized interactive demo/tutorial, made to explain Vanilla's philosophy, could work. Before migrating to Vanilla, you'll just have to send your users to this special forum, and see if they are ready to make the jump.
  • @nolefan: Did you try Category Roles? It works great.
  • edited February 2007
    So, maybe a kind of centralized interactive demo/tutorial, made to explain Vanilla's philosophy, could work. Before migrating to Vanilla, you'll just have to send your users to this special forum, and see if they are ready to make the jump.

    Hasn't anyone checked out getvanilla.com before? Why not just place a link there?
  • I looked at category roles... just have not had the time to apply it.

    I don't think anyone here wants to make vanilla behave or look like punBB or phpBB.. all the opposite. I think it's the functionality and structure that is missed.
    Keep vanilla the way it is but just have a few more built-in options ( that are not extensions) that could make a transition easier.

    At the end of the day people that want another forum script can go and use it. Not to mention the fact that Marc has different ideas for this script.

    but there is something to be said for making it somwhat more convenient to use.
  • Hasn't anyone checked out getvanilla.com before? Why not just place a link there?

    I did. The videos are great and they're perfect for convincing a webmaster to try Vanilla. But I'm not sure it works the same for the end user, who doesn't care about the administration panel or the language settings.
  • fuchkafuchka New
    edited February 2007
    I read all comments in this topic about possible not acceptance of vanilla forum because users got used to forums like phpbb, xmb and others. But then again, my community right now uses rather modified version of xmb forum software, stripped of all stuff like: ranks, stars, ratings, signatures, member information below username etc. And this was our advantage among other forums which are filled with various add-ons such as ones above. When I was thinking about using phpbb software for new forum, I got a headick when I saw how much template modification I'll have to do to make phpbb more user friendly (clean).

    Concerning my transition from xmb -> vanilla I just need to acomplish following:

    - make vanilla post page look more like xmb forum's post page: avatar and username on the left, post and post info on the right

    And that's it.

    Then I will just need to give users some time to adjust to:

    - all topics apear on forum index page (80% of my forum users are using "today messages" firstly when they visit my forum, so I think this won't be a problem)
    - use of whispers for private discussions in topic (a.k.a. spam or offtopic which is quite high on my forum, but we have a very good set of moderators and rules about that - and users stated that this is also one advantage of our forum)

    So, when I think about my community, I don't think they'll need to much time to adjust to vanilla or they won't accept vanilla. I will probably make my vanilla style in next few weeks, and will post it here.
  • The vids are aimed at the admin IMO. Would be very valuable to the community to have some aimed at the user.

    I'm *kinda* suggesting making vanilla look a little bit like a standard forum as part of a transition. How much you make it look similar would be up to the admin. Simply using the Tabled theme would go part way to achieving this anyway, so it's not a massively revolutionary idea anyhow. It would certainly be worth putting together a collection of extensions that we know work well together that an admin can install and trust that would provide all/most of the common functionality that they have come to expect.
This discussion has been closed.