But SMF, as many of you know, is showing its age, and it has myriad issues that make using it an exercise in patience: poor spam control and inelegant code, among other things. What SMF had, though, that has been indispensible to the creative writers who grew attached to PoetryCircle over the years was an editor that preserved user-inserted spaces, a feature that was and is essential to creative writers, who sometimes produce works like this by typing them directly into the editor or pasting them from Word and who demand that their creative works be presented exactly as conceived.
Xenforo, like many other popular forum software packages, does not preserve user-inserted spaces, at least not out of the box. So while I've wanted to move to Xenforo for quite a while, years perhaps, this one issue has prevented me from doing so, and it's been frustrating.
Thanks, however, to the work of @cclaerhout and his TinyMCE Quattro add-on, or more specifically his willingness to add the ability to preserve user-inserted spaces, to a great degree, to the add-on, I was able finally to say "yes" to the move to Xenforo. Knowing that a jump from SMF to Xenforo would require a "dual conversion" because there is, as of this writing, no direct import utility for SMF to Xenforo, I contacted @Jake Bunce , who agreed to take on the job of importing the site. Jake also, to my delight, tackled the issue of user-inserted spaces (an issue he is continuing to tweak) using the stock redactor editor in Xenforo, and I have encouraged him to release his work as an add-on or, even better, convince the other developers of Xenforo to make the preservation of user-inserted spaces an option in a future release.
So it's early days yet, but the reaction to Xenforo has been, for the most part, positive. Forum users--especially, perhaps, writers--are of course not thrilled by the same kinds of things that we admins sometimes are, so while the "notifications," "likes," and other interactive elements of Xenforo are nice, what they really want is to be able to type in their text and have it be shown the way they typed it. So there are a few who are just "tolerating" the change to see whether they can warm to the new system.
I, meanwhile, am loving the ease with which I can customize various aspects of the system without spending days mired in code about which I know very little or nothing. And I am hoping for a much-improved search-engine ranking. I've always been confounded, for example, about why a search for "poetry forum" on Google left us on page 2 or 3 when PoetryCircle clearly had superior content, and much more of it, than the sites that were ranked ahead of us.
So I'm happy with the move, overall. I'd like for the editor to recognize user-inserted line breaks (not strip them out) at the beginning or ending of a post, as was the case with SMF, and the writers on PoetryCircle would like this as well, but we can make do, for now, with adding, say, a period at the beginning and coloring it white so that you can't see it in order to get the editor to add some white space at the beginning of a post. But otherwise, so far so good.
Check us out. Give me your feedback. And if you know of any good writers, by all means send them our way.
Over and out.