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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beerForo

Well-known member
Polls are basically how they've always been, so there wasn't much to mention there.

Technically, we've had a really basic thread types system for a long time and that's how we knew there was a poll in a thread, so when you chose to create a poll with a thread, you were basically making a poll-type thread.
Makes total sense! It's just such a legacy feature to threads you don't think of it as a content type along these lines but it is so good thinking on your part to not keep it hidden in the discussion tab.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Yeah I wanted to know/ask if different content types can be merged? Like a discussion merged with an article for example? Is that possible?
They're still threads and posts, so there wouldn't be any reason you can't merge them -- roughly speaking, it's the same as merging a basic thread and a poll now.

You'd (generally) keep the target thread's type.
 

Wildcat Media

Well-known member
Yeah I wanted to know/ask if different content types can be merged? Like a discussion merged with an article for example? Is that possible?
I would think that is an easy task. If not, I wonder if we could copy an existing discussion thread's first post to a new article thread. One of the forums I manage has some of the owner's posts going back to 2002 that are still read regularly, and it would be cool to be able to highlight those as articles instead.

If we created an article forum, too, I wonder if that would automatically change the threads to the article type. That is one concern I would have if moderators were moving threads between different types of forums (article, question, suggestion, etc.).
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
If we created an article forum, too, I wonder if that would automatically change the threads to the article type. That is one concern I would have if moderators were moving threads between different types of forums (article, question, suggestion, etc.).
Threads will be converted to a valid type for that forum when they're moved. If the thread's type will be changed, we detect this on the move overlay and display a warning to make sure you mean this.
 
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