XF 2.2 Forum and thread types

Forums contain threads and threads contain posts. It's been the essential framework of forums on the Internet since the public migrated from usenet to the web.

The structure is well known and well understood - though the origins of some of the terminology are lost in the mists of time. Who ever came up with the notion of your site being a forum, but these separate containers for related threads also being forums? 🤷🏼‍♂️

But back on topic, and we all know that visiting a forum (the second type) will usually show a list of threads ordered with the most recently updated near the top, and that clicking on any of those threads will show a page with the oldest post first and newer posts underneath and on subsequent pages.

Bending discussion forums to varying purposes

Over the years, forum administrators have been inventive and used the simple messages-in-named-containers structure of forums to build all sorts of content - let's look at the XenForo community as an example.

First, we have announcements and these "Have you seen" threads. These are quite focused on the initial post (or first few posts in some HYS threads), with these posts containing a lot of information... a bit like an article with subsequent comments.

Then we have the suggestions forums, where we ask people to up-vote the ideas they're interested in.

There are also support forums where people are looking for answers to questions or solutions to problems.

And of course there are also forums for general chat and discussions, which most closely fit the original notion of a discussion thread and where you can't really say the threads fit the same model as the other types.

Up until now, these forums and the threads within have all been displayed the same way.

But not any more

With XenForo 2.2, we are introducing the concept of Forum and thread types. This is a massive change with enormous ramifications for forums. Today, we're only really going to talk about the admin and user experience of the new systems, but in a few days we're going to follow up with a developer-focused HYS where we will talk about what's going on behind the scenes here, because we're really rather excited about the potential it unlocks.

There is a lot to talk about, but let's just dive into some examples...


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Well-known member
What happens if a mod changes type? eg a question becomes an article? is the marked answer lost?
Articles do not have ‘answers’ so necessarily, the answer would be lost if such a change were made. So we would not encourage such.

in a similar vein..

what happens if i have a forum with an article option, compose articles, and then uncheck articles as being a thread type on that forum?
does old content stay as an article or does it fall back to default? and if so, what is default? is that delectable? or is it normal thread/discussion?


Well-known member
The vote up/down score for suggestions, is it available in widget templates.
In a question forum/thread with up/downvoting, does it make sense to have like button? Most likely, the actual votes will be divided between voting and liking. Just thinking...

There is the first post reaction score and then the vote up down score. Suggestions then have 2 scores which seems seems confusing. I'd also want to extend the vote up/down to other types of content, making the first post reaction score redundant but then thats used in widget.s


Well-known member
@arn, how about floating the vote off in the left margin.
  • avatars all line up
  • no weird nesting look
  • vote takes up white space, not shrinking margin.


Well-known member

Sorry, I had to leave suddenly, couldn't do what I promised.
Here it is, the corrected version but it is still not perfect. I am doing it with Photoshop, it is just to get the gist of it. Perhaps the voting numbers thingy could be made much slimmer aswell. I just did it with copy/pasting from what is already there.
Basically, imo it should be between the avatars and the posts. The design could be worked on of course.

My idea:



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Well-known member
Personally I like the original XF version.

If they didn't "sort" based on the votes I would agree with you. But the most will always be first, etc. So seeing the "familiar" look on the left is nice, the numbers on the right with the actions (the vote buttons up/down as well as reply/quote, all on right so makes sense).


Well-known member
The best thing would be if we could have a setting in ACP to choose in what place the votings will be displayed. 3 positions and everyone can choose for himself.

At the worst, I hope we can easily make a template change and can put that easily between, left or right.


Well-known member
Thanks for your time :)

That does look better, but I still feel that having the voting options next to the userinfo seems odd, after all the voting relates to the answer/post - not (directly) to the user.

In forums, usually a lot of emphasizing is put on user info (avatar, fields, ranks images, etc.) - Q/A-sites like Stackoverflow on the other hand put much more focus on the content whereas the user info are toned down a lot as they are not (that) important.

Question forums are a bit of a hybrid by combining both elements, so to me it makes more sense to have voting on the right side as an equally important part of the whole post, but still disjunct from user info.


Well-known member
I would use stock and not change anything just to see how my users act. What will happen is all of this will be adjusted over time. It will be released and we will all see how usage goes including XF using it live in Suggestions etc. It's a proof of concept model at this point.


Well-known member
All good.
My eyes wander automatically from left to right, so I will definitely prefer a choice which is on left. That would also align with the thread upvotes, which is already on left. But everyone has his own tastes, so all angles are correct.
I hope the template edit will be easy enough to adjust it like we want it, that is all I am asking for.


Well-known member
Sure, but you are going to vote after you read it, not before... so maybe right makes sense too :)
I think that is the 2nd purpose. If you look at reddit (or other examples), the first and most important part is to determine popular posts.

So, it firstly is there so you see how popular that post is. Then you read that post. Then, if you want, you can vote, but that is not needed. So that is the purpose of it in first place and as my eyes wander from left to right, I want to know how popular a post is before I even read the post itself and afterwards I vote.


Well-known member
How popular it is is also the order. And XF is still a forum first and foremost. I like the familial look of their design but only practice will tell.


XenForo developer
Staff member
what happens if i have a forum with an article option, compose articles, and then uncheck articles as being a thread type on that forum?
Any of the thread types that can be located in discussion-type forums can always be located in discussion-type forums. What the options in the ACP do is to allow and disallow creation of each thread type within that forum.

So in answer to your question, any articles that exist within a discussion forum will remain as articles if the 'articles' option is deselected in the ACP, but no more will be able to be created until the option is re-enabled.

However, moving a thread from a discussion forum that can contain articles to one that can not will result in the thread being converted into a basic discussion thread.