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New member and scared!

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by MistyMeanor, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    I have been a LONG TIME vBulletin user. I JUST spent a buttload of money buying a vB license because I wanted to open up a forum for all people living with a neuromuscular disease. There are thousands in the world, and a LOT of different types of NMDs. Many people commonly know the terms, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Lou Gherig's disease, Duchenne, SMA (spinal muscular atrophy).

    I have fun vb forums before, but it was about 10 years ago. Back then it was for exotic pet owners. There were never any problems with it then, and it was considered the top forum platform on the market.

    Well, I just launched this forum of mine and have been SLOWLY getting registrations, but really expected them to roll in much quicker as my team and I belong to other FB group discussion groups and such. But, it seems as if the platform scares members. Like it is too busy and overwhelming. A couple of my members have stated it's confusing or difficult to navigate. It was like pulling teeth just to get my moderators SOMEWHAT familiar with it! So I am sitting her scratching my head, saying to myself, what is so hard? what am I doing wrong? and I did/do think it should have a more clean looking skin... but there is so much more to it than just the skin. I hired on some people to help me with my site and upgrades and such and they highly suggested I switch to Xen. At first I said absolutely not, because I just bought this license. But began to look more into it and try the demo and was impressed with how clean it was, smooth, and seemed to be fairly user friendly.

    But I am scared. I have asked some questions of the people that told me this, and one of the things I am REALLY NOT liking is that I have gender specific forums and over 18 age forums that are password protected. How in the heck would I set up usergroup permissions to allow only men? only women? and must be over 18?

    The other thing is, I am being told I need to purchase a couple of add-ons, one being xencarta, moderator essentials, and one to set amount of posts needed to post in certain forums. All I see is $$$$... I have already dropped so much money on this current forum, and bought a skin and hack for it recently as well, hired on my new team of "helpers" should I say to manage my forums monthly, and now may need to switch platforms to maybe gain some active members.

    So yeah, I am scared on if I am doing the right thing. This forum only has 35 members. That includes the mods which there are 4, and maybe only 3 or 4 of the members have been posting. Otherwise its been me and my team trying to create content to get people involved.
  2. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    Well, I can't go into your pocket, but the license for XF is $140, and xencarta is another $30. To develop an add-on for age/gender restriction is another let's say $30-50, and Moderator Essentials is another $40. So total cost would be around $260, not including porting your current design. This cost is the same cost of a license from vB, so it's not that bad. You can sell your vB license for about $100-150, so the cost would be much less then that.

    Anyway, all your requirements are possible, especially the gender/age restrictions - it's pretty easy add-on to develop. I may even ask to release an add-on like this in several days (I already have something like that, but I can expend it to gender/age).

    Good luck with your board.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  3. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    Oh that sounds great Moshe! Well, the good news is I don't have to pay for porting of my current forum... the group of folks I have recently hired will be doing that for me. :) If you could make an add-on for gender/age specific I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that! I really don't want my forum to be 18+ only totally because there are a lot of teens out there with these diseases that need a place to talk. However, we have forums dedicated to talking in depth about sex for our adult members that need to maybe discuss sexual issues due to being disabled, yet may get too graphic for 13-17 year olds. This is why I have 18+ password protected forums. Also, then have a forum just for women to talk about private things, and men to talk about private things, so these are password protected also. Will you keep me posted on your add-on?
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Well-Known Member

    You can easily make an 18+ secondary group and utilize that to restrict sections.
    Shelley likes this.
  5. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify is it password protected because you can really verify their identiy or it can also be set by personal details in user's profile? Let's say a user is registering to your board and this user set his/her age to 18, then the restricted section in your bard opens up automatically because this is user is 18. However, this is really easy to fake, so I'm not sure how you verify your users even with a password based restriction.
  6. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    Well we don't but the users don't normally know that when entering their age at registration that that means there are certain forums they can or cannot enter.
  7. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    How they get the password to the restricted section? What if a user would change his/her age after they register?
    If you can't verify them, then I can't see a benefit in password protected nodes (sections/forums in XF's language). It would be better doing it by the age users are setting when they register, and maybe developing an option that even if they change it later on in their user's profile, the nodes would still be restricted to them (if they are underage at the time of registering to your abord. For example, I set that I'm 15 when I register to your borad, but then change it to 20 after 2 weeks in my user's profile, I will still be blocked from accessing nodes that are restricted to 18+).
  8. jadmperry

    jadmperry Well-Known Member


    I was a long time vBulletin user and, before the last few versions (4.x, 5. (Dis)Connect), that software was very user friendly. I am sorry you had to find out the current state of things by paying for vB. Anyways, it seems to me, you have come to the conclusion that vB will not meet your needs. Further seems to me (though, I understand the thought process), that you are concerned with spending additional money to get a forum software on your site when you have already invested in previous software (via vB). I hate to say it, but that is "sunk money." That is, you probably shouldn't look to what you have already spent on something that does not work (or meet your needs). That is "bad money" spent that you will only be able to recover-partially- by selling your license. XenForo is, in my (and many others) opinion, the best forum software on the market.

    Is your forum "monetized"? Do you charge subscriptions, or support it through ads?

    I think it would not be too hard to set up usergroups based on age/gender. This should be somewhat easily do-able out of the box. Seems to me that if you have additional requirements, it should not be to hard to find a coder to implement what you are looking to do for a reasonable price. (I guess I have one additional question- seems further to me that you are relying on the person/member on self-reporting their "demographic info." Are you looking for some verification of the self-reported info? That might be more involved.

    I think you will find the community here at Xenforo.com very helpful and willing to provide tips, information, and guidance. Based on the relative pricing models, I think XF is a bargain.

    Anyway, I am not sure how helpful my input has been. I tend to think that if you use XF, you will be pleased with the results you get. It is a very user-friendly interface and software.

    (BTW, my forum deals with disability issues, too. The focus is on military disability issues, but, covers all types of conditions- from neurological, orthopedic, mental health, endocrine, respiratory, cardiac, to basically any type of disability).

    Whether you decide to go with XF or not, hope all goes well for your forum and your members.
  9. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    They can't change it afterwards in the settings per vbulletin. They get it from moderators.
  10. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    So yea, you can choose:
    1. Do it like in vB, give user's password manually when they are 18+/male/female

    2. Do it automatically based on user groups permissions (less work for you and your moderators).
    The system would automatically detect who set a date of birth that is 18+, male/female in their registration form, and would give these users an access to the specific nodes/section you want.

    I will try to remember to post here when this kind of add-on would be released. You can also visit the Resources section here:
    (You need to have a license for XF in order to download/see pictures or any other attachments)

    You can't change date of birth after registration on XF like on your vB board, so it was irrelevant scenario on my part, sorry.
  11. Liam W

    Liam W Well-Known Member

    Oh come on ;)

    xF is miles user friendlier than VB, and cheaper. You don't need those paid addons - I don't have them!

    Most of the things you said can already be done using user groups and promotions :)

    jadmperry likes this.
  12. Da Bookie Mon

    Da Bookie Mon Well-Known Member

    Long time vB user too (since vB 2.x). Welcome to he dark side. Did I mention we have better cookies?
  13. Liam W

    Liam W Well-Known Member

    Surely this is the bright side? We have better everything ;)
    Mrs.T likes this.
  14. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    Moshe1010: Doing it automatically would be fantastic!! vB, to my knowledge, unless there is a hack for it, would not detect automatically so it is up to us moderators. The method to our current madness has been where I put on the description of these forums that "due to the sometimes explicit nature of the discussions here, this forum is only for members 18+ and you must ask one of the moderators for a password to enter. We would then, upon request, check of course to make sure either over 18+, or for the gender specific forums; male or female.

    Right now, the team I am using to assist me with a lot of the in depth technical aspect and maintenance of my forums is setting up a mirrored test site of Xen for me using one of their licenses which should be done in the next few hours. This way I can truly wrap my mind around the madness. It's one of those kind of things where sometimes you don't realize the differences until you are actually using it for YOUR site versus just using a blank demo. So then I will decide for sure if I am going to purchase the license.

    LOL! Yes, this is why I failed on my end to do proper research on forums before opening and dropping a ton of hard earned money on the vBulletin forum. I also had been a long-time user of vB, back in the 2s! I had an exotic pets forum on vB back over 10 years ago. At that time, vB was superior to any other forum software on the market. I thought and ASSumed it still was, especially basing on the ridiculously high cost of it. I knew something seemed fishy when even the tech support guys for vB were telling me NOT to install vB5. Sigh... should have ran for the hills then! But no... I went on because I knew the platform so well and went with what I thought was the best. Good to know you have better cookies... good cookies are always well... good. LOL!

    Jadmperry: It's not that vB doesn't meet MY needs. It actually meets all of my needs. The problem mostly is that I just launched my forum about 2 weeks ago and had hoped for a much larger amount of registrations and participation than what ended up happening. One of the main reasons I started this forum was because I was a part of a few FB groups for people with NMD's and there was a lot of complaints over not being organized, easily searchable, and management/moderation stunk! So I thought well I will start a discussion board style forum like I used to have back in the day. Everyone seemed very excited about it... at least two of the FB groups combined have nearly 1000 members. I created a FB landing page for my forum so it could be shared, etc. and messaged a lot of people. But it was like dead in the water it seemed. Then I began hearing members using the terms like "confusing" "difficult to use" "overwhelming" etc. These people are physically challenged but not mentally, but these people, about 90% have never used a discussion board platform such as vB or Xen. With the day of age of FB, and hindsight being 20/20, I can look at my forum now and see how it could appear just "busy" "cluttered" or "overwhelming" to people that have never used something like this. I brought up my issues to the guys I just hired to help me with maintenance on my forum, and they brought up Xen and how a few of their customers that had a really specific-type usergroup, that were small forums and were having trouble with either registrations in general, or once registered members ever participating and how once they moved to XF, most had a shift in registration and participation. At first I said "hell no! I just bought vb!" but upon further looking, doing my own google searches for vb vs. xf and seeing the majority seemed to state that XF was superior. So here I am!

    No, my forum isn't monetized, no paid subscriptions or ads. However, this is the direction I want to eventually go. My thoughts were that if I could get a loyal and large group of members, that my dream was that one day maybe I could get medical supply people and/or just members that maybe want to promote a business of their own, or whatever to want to advertise with us. Although I have never quite understood the paid subscribers thing. Like what would be an example as a site such as mine to use this?

    Yes, as of now we are depending upon self-reporting. We do have some additional specific registration questions because privacy is the #1 most important thing to my members, and one of those is what type of NMD do you have? Do you have a FB page and will you provide the link to it? and Can you send us a photo of yourself? (please no head shots). We WERE making the forum to where either a FB page (that was accessible enough to at least see a photo of themselves or other information) OR a photo sent directly to us was REQUIRED for membership. While this is still not full proof, it helped to ease our minds. So with each new registree, we would look at their FB and or photo, see what they put for type of NMD (or if they had an officially "named" diagnosis). We have decided that we think we are going to ease up on the registration policy to where those things will be asked, but the FB OR PHOTO part is not required to gain membership. That we will just do our best to pay attention to members that may potentially be lurkers, trolls, or devotees (for those that do not know what this means, this is people that has a sick obsession or fetish with people in wheelchairs.) -- But yes, the nature of the content discussed with this group of people is very sensitive in nature. So privacy is #1... but at the same time, don't want to stab myself in the foot and make it so stringent that it turns away potential registrees, and I wholeheartedly believe this has already happened a LOT once that person gets down to those questions. I have had 3 already in this short time frame that checked the box "no I will not be providing a fb page or photo and understand this could mean my membership will be denied."

    Good to hear another person out there with your advice and feedback for me also has a forum for people with disabilities. Mine covers respiratory, urology, etc. etc. as well because with having a type of NMD like one of the muscular dystrophies, there are a ton of secondary complications.

    I for one have SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) and was diagnosed at 18mos. old.
  15. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Hey Misty, welcome! While I think in the long run you, and your members, would be much happier with XF, perhaps you should give it a little more time? Two weeks from launch isn't really that long and things could change for you. Just thinking out loud as I hate to see anyone throw away their hard earned dollars if they don't have to. ;)
    MistyMeanor likes this.
  16. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    I have a question as well... I have seen some Xenforo forums that the new thread/post indicator is a cool picture graphic that may pertain to what the category is. Example: I saw a womens website for fashion and it was all in a different language so I couldn't read any of it (LOL!) but, there was a picture of a purse beside one category... a picture of a high-heel shoe on another, etc. One site was for pets and it had a bunny icon, a turtle icon, etc. Obviously I knew what those categories were because of the indicators.

    But I thought that was so CUTE and COOL! How would one go about doing that? How would they indicate new posts though? (background of icon maybe turn a diff color?) ... Is this some kind of specific add-on that has already been created and then people can just upload pictures/graphics of their choice to it? Or is this something you would have to get someone to do custom work for you?
  17. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    Thank you John! That was very kind of you. :) I am not a patient person, and part of the situation I am in now is due to that fault of mine. I am trying to be patient on this, but as each day moves forward, we become more and more stale. I have tried and tried to post my little booty off to encourage discussion, but it's just not happening. My thought was "if you build it they will come" especially after hearing so many folks on the FB groups getting frustrated with the lack of organization and management... but I built it, and well... **crickets chirping** LOL!
  18. mikoo

    mikoo Active Member

    Hi Misty :)
    I have changed from vBulletin some time ago - and it definitely was the right decision. I am sure you will really enjoy working with the back end of xenforo.

    A very warm welcome at xenforo┬┤s! :)
    MistyMeanor likes this.
  19. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Very easy to do with some simple CSS in EXTRA.css. All my forums (the two publicly available and the one under development) have this enabled.
    MistyMeanor likes this.
  20. MistyMeanor

    MistyMeanor Active Member

    Very cool! -- Thank you Tracy! Can I see your public site? I will go to your profile and see if it's listed there.

    Another thought... I saw people can earn trophies and such in the demo version of XF. Does XF have something in place to use like the infraction system and reputation system in vB?

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