XF 2.2 Forum and thread types

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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...

tl;dr

We're prefer you to read all the details below, but if you just want the juicy bits:
 
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Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Just noticed closed suggestion threads have the text This suggestion has been implemented. Votes are no longer accepted.. The second sentence is generic enough but is the word "suggestion" something that is being set dynamically from with the ACP somewhere or is that hard-coded in the phrase?
It’s in the phrase. Injecting words dynamically into phrases isn’t an option because languages are weird.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
It’s in the phrase. Injecting words dynamically into phrases isn’t an option because languages are weird.
Thanks for confirming. For our photography site I'm thinking "suggestion" might not be the best wording because, for some topics, the correct answer (and hopefully most upvoted 😆) would be a technical response that is not a suggestion but the actual definitive answer. Just semantics, I k now, but I'll have it on my 'To Do' list to make the phrase wording a bit more generic. (y)
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Thanks for confirming. For our photography site I'm thinking "suggestion" might not be the best wording because, for some topics, the correct answer (and hopefully most upvoted 😆) would be a technical response that is not a suggestion but the actual definitive answer. Just semantics, I k now, but I'll have it on my 'To Do' list to make the phrase wording a bit more generic. (y)
I might be missing something, but this doesn't seem like a usage for the suggestion forum/thread system then.

That sounds a little bit more like a question thread?
 

Kevin

Well-known member
I might be missing something, but this doesn't seem like a usage for the suggestion forum/thread system then.

That sounds a little bit more like a question thread?
I'm thinking along the lines of a generic 'Help' type designated node where people could ask for help with issues they're having and the responses could then be upvoted / downvoted to bubble up a best answer. (cough Stack Overflow type questions but related to photography gear cough)
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
I'm thinking along the lines of a generic 'Help' type designated node where people could ask for help with issues they're having and the responses could then be upvoted / downvoted to bubble up a best answer. (cough Stack Overflow type questions but related to photography gear cough)
That’s a question forum/thread then, not a suggestion forum/thread.

That’s one of the new types we support.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
I'm thinking official contests could be run in the Suggestion type. If your site has contests, let's say "Best Hot Rod of July," for example. Members post their thread with pics as their entry. All month they are voted up and down. At the end of the month a winner is named and they are moved to an archive forum and the next month starts.

Of course this takes a lot of manual work, but you may already be using polls and this could work (I think?).

Maybe an add-on developer will create a contest type based on this type with some automation, like number of entries allowed, the date entries are closed, and announce the winner etc. ;)

However as-is I think it is doable. Especially if you have been doing this all along in the regular forum.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
@Chris D & @Mike: Dang, for some reason I missed that "Suggestions" were a totally separate type from "Questions" type. Well, now I feel silly. :p


I'm thinking official contests could be run in the Suggestion type. If your site has contests, let's say "Best Hot Rod of July," for example. Members post their thread with pics as their entry. All month they are voted up and down. At the end of the month a winner is named and they are moved to an archive forum and the next month starts.
You are making me think that maybe I can also use the new types for some of our 'photo challenges'. 👍
 

beerForo

Well-known member
You are making me think that maybe I can also use the new types for some of our 'photo challenges'. 👍
Question forums could work for that, as in you the admin post the contest thread and the replies are the entries, but this does not allow for discussion and the Suggestion type would, and each thread would be an entry. Just food for thought.
 

arn

Well-known member
I'm thinking official contests could be run in the Suggestion type. If your site has contests, let's say "Best Hot Rod of July," for example. Members post their thread with pics as their entry. All month they are voted up and down. At the end of the month a winner is named and they are moved to an archive forum and the next month starts.

Of course this takes a lot of manual work, but you may already be using polls and this could work (I think?).

Maybe an add-on developer will create a contest type based on this type with some automation, like number of entries allowed, the date entries are closed, and announce the winner etc. ;)

However as-is I think it is doable. Especially if you have been doing this all along in the regular forum.

Then we need a random order option until voting is closed. :)

arn
 

Kirby

Well-known member
Hmm, it might be just me but Reply on articles does look a bit strange, I do not reply to an article - I comment on it.
 

Kier

XenForo developer
Staff member
Hmm, it might be just me but Reply on articles does look a bit strange, I do not reply to an article - I comment on it.
That's actually a discussion we're having internally as well - we don't like the notion of someone quoting an entire article, but if we were to drop the control, we'd also lose select-to-quote, which is not ideal. A solution is something we are looking for.
 

sbj

Well-known member
I sincerely realized something today. I used the upvote system for posts almost zero times.

For real, my eyes wander from left to right and 90% I didn't even notice which posts were upvoted and by how much. Some minutes ago I realized that I have spent the whole day upvoting threads in the suggestions forum as they are clearly present in the thread list.

But posts in question threads? I didn't care which answer was upvoted.

I believe the votes should not be far away on the right. It should be more present on the left side and encourage people to upvote helpful posts.

It happened like I've foreseen this and I swear I didn't try intentionally to be right. It just happened so.
 
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