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
That’s correct.

Essentially you’ll never lose the main discussion content like the title, attachments and message content but if you switch from a type that has specific data (such as votes or marked solutions) to a type that does not have that specific data then that specific could be lost.
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
On related note... after a while, the two-step process to convert thread types in thread view gets annoying. I do understand that there is a possibility that one might accidentally convert a Q&A thread to discussion type losing all the votes in the process so it has value.
 

Serpius

Active member
Thanks to the team for the great new features and improvements!



This message will surely make me concerned before changing a node type including 5 million posts even I would do that in the test environment first.
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Especially the "This may cause some data loss" part.

Basically, this is a question that needs to be answered BEFORE the admin decides to change the node from one type to another.

"This may cause some data loss" is very vague and not clear to the admin what data loss might occur.

What kind of data loss will there be? Which data will NOT be "carried" over if the node is changed?

What would cause that data loss? Meaning... what set of circumstances within that node that is being changed over will trigger the data loss?

I think if Xenforo is a bit more clear on the consequences (or in some cases... lack of consequences) of changing the node, then the admin can make a better decision whether or not to change that node.

Just my 2 cents.
 

gogo

Active member
The main data like the main content, replies, images, dates, reactions will be there.

If you change a poll forum to discussion only form, of course you'll lose all voting results. But the discussions below will still be there.

I think it's easy to understand.

If you're still not sure. Create some test threads to try the conversion out before making any real conversion.

Yes, a data matrix might help to visualize which type contains what data.
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
this reminds me... it is kind of annoying that (from my understanding) we can not have polls in articles/questions/suggestions threads? it should not have been a separate thread type imo 😛
 

ChrisTERiS

Active member
this reminds me... it is kind of annoying that (from my understanding) we can not have polls in articles/questions/suggestions threads? it should not have been a separate thread type imo 😛

Haven't tested 2.2 yet, but if this is true (Polls can't be in an Article, Question, Suggestion), then it's a wrong approach. Polls (one question) was always part of a post in all scripts (Forums, WP etc).

If someone wants to separate it as post type, then it must be Survey (multiple questions) and not Poll. A survey fits perfectly for separate post type.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
The forum structure is designed around the suggestion function.

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The only work together - there's no point in having a suggestion thread mixed in with regular discussion threads when the point of them is to surface the most popular suggestions.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
there's no point in having a suggestion thread mixed in with regular discussion threads when the point of them is to surface the most popular suggestions.
That may be true here, but for years I have had a forum called "About the forum: Posting issues, questions and suggestions"
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Just have two, one for issues/questions (with the questions forum type), and another for suggestions. Problem solved?
No it isn't solved. I am very keen on the forum index page being nice and uncluttered, every new (and unnecessary) forum/subforum is adding that clutter.

It has worked really nicely for us as a single forum about the forum (issues, problems, suggestions etc).

That is why I'm asking this - I do realise I could make (yet another) subforum, but I don't want to.
 

Frode789

Well-known member
No it isn't solved. I am very keen on the forum index page being nice and uncluttered, every new (and unnecessary) forum/subforum is adding that clutter.

It has worked really nicely for usa as a single forum about the forum (issues, problems, suggestions etc).

That's fair enough.

But then it seems like you just have to live with not being able to use the suggestion forum type there, or go into custom development for getting this done in a sensible manner.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
You can hide the sub-forum so it only shows inside the forum and not on the index. It's tidy and surprisingly, it works very well. Throw a notice up as well if you need.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
General setting:
Sub-forums display style: None
Node setting:
Display in the node list: Yes
Thanks, but in this case if it was different forums they would need to be on the same level, ie you wouldn't have suggestions as a sub forum of questions.

In fact the forum at the moment would have be split into three as it is for:

  • Questions
  • Suggestions
  • Bug reports
 

smozgur

Active member
Though, @arn I've just implemented a new permission to allow admins to prevent users from being able to mark the solution to their own questions, so if this is disabled and staff don't select solutions, no solutions will ever be selected and the entire concept of 'solutions' would be more or less invisible.

View attachment 228939

@Kier - I am a bit confused. Either I can't find if this was discussed before, or unlikely but nobody though about this.

What about if we don't want members to accept their own posts as the solution in their questions? I really hope that I am missing it, but I can't find any option to turn this off - which is really a must.

If I am not missing anything, and it is "as designed", then is it the only solution to customize the application for this requirement?
 
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