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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Why would moving polls to a tab indicate that we now support multiple questions?
Maybe a misunderstanding based on my post about this:

Polls used to be an addition to a regular thread, but defining them as a thread type allows additional behaviours

I did wildly speculate that additional behaviours might hopefully mean multiple questions. But we did learn that it didn't mean that.
In my opinion the difference between an article, a question and a regular thread is quite distinctive. A poll feels more something that is added to a thread.
I can only speak from my view here, but I'd type a post out and want to add a poll to it on the go. Feels more like it should be included in the kitchensink of the editor, as if you were adding an image instead of making it prominent as a post type.

I don't want to bash on new features without having it seen at all, but the poll option seems kinda misplaced there.
I think @Kier is working on a video to accompany the text of this HYS so perhaps you will feel better about it once you've seen that.

But just to avoid any doubt, this is what we currently do in XF 2.1:


The poll controls are entirely hidden and you have to click this row to expand it to see the poll options.

By which point you've probably already written your post and not even realised creating a poll was an option.

This is what it looks like in XF 2.2:


The poll controls are still hidden - just like they are in XF 2.1 - but the way to show those poll options are front and centre, right before you even start composing your content.

Clicking "Poll" reveals the poll options:


I struggle to see how this is any worse than we had it before and in may ways I think it is actually much better and much clearer.
Very informative!
1. Can articles be expanded in forum view in a mixed content type forum?
2. What is the use case of a question forum with the question action: No selection? Why not make it a discussion?
3. Is the pausing option for questions related to edit time?
4. When you deactivate a questions forum and the question remains intact, it is essentially paused correct? No more voting or yes?
5. I learned in The UK it is pronounced BEE-TA. ;)
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I must congratulate the XF team for these new features
And you yourself for such a great video, which explained it so well.

I am really looking forward to the Articles Type, as I was planning to add a sort of blog style to my website which is attached to my Xenforo forum
The idea of this was to be to improve the acceptance and profile of my forum as being a good source of information.
I am up against a lot of competition on my topic in the forum of Blogs and I feel this article feature will really up my froums appeal.

The only down side I see, is that due ot my age (70) I am not sure If I would be able to handle all the different threard types, and the various options with the ability to move them around etc.
Top work gentlemen! ”Save this out” is a new one on me but I like it. It is reminiscent of Stack Exchange with the up and down voting, which should be useful whenever someone asks a question. Thanks for taking such a big step in development.
@Kier Very nice presentation video. I'm really looking forward to the 2.2 updates. On a side note, you would make a very good "Presenter" should you ever decide to stop coding. :) Clear, concise, and informative.
Also what happens to the Question filter bar in forums where you allow articles etc?
Remember there's two separate concepts. Forum types, and thread types.

The only forum type that allows multiple thread types is "discussion".

The question filter bar only appears on forums that are a question forum and only question threads can appear in those. The suggestion filter bar only appears on forums that are a suggestion forum and only suggestion threads can appear in those. The expanded article forum view only appears on forums that are an article forum, and only article threads can appear in those.

A discussion type forum is a very generic container with few custom behaviours assigned to it, but it can contain multiple thread types.
I think I've got it now.
Discussion type can have all types except Suggestion, Suggestion is always sole.
Article type can be sole or part of Discussion type.
Question type can be sole or part of Discussion type.
Poll type is an addition to Discussion type which can also include Article and Question types.
I have a question regarding the Suggestion thread type. Is there a way to filter the most popular suggestion by date? Like the most popular suggestions in the last day/week/month/year/all time?
The one thing that I didn't see in Kier's very informative video was whether it's possible to change an existing "discussion" type forum node to a new type of forum node. As you say, most boards now existing have suggestions or FAQ forums already, and if we could just convert those nodes into the correct type that'd be great! In the video, it looked like when editing an extant node that field is fixed.
confirmed in another thread!

i do wonder what happens if we move a discussion from an existing node with tons of posts to a new node type. and what happens to votes when new thread types are moved to discussion forums. should be fun once the beta is out.
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