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PoetryCircle moves to Xenforo

Discussion in 'Forum Showcase and Critiques' started by jauburn, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    Since 2005, PoetryCircle has been arguably the only site on the internet devoted to creating a community of experienced poets and writers, focused, in other words, on quality rather than quantity. The site was created out of a perceived need. Back then, if you were serious about poetry and other creative writing and wanted to find a group that was not filled with greeting-card verse or other almost unreadable silliness, you were pretty much out of luck (and still are). So I created PoetryCircle, marketed it heavily using direct e-mail to selected poets and writers, and set it up using the Simple Machines Forum (SMF) software along with a fairly idiosyncratic but no-nonsense theme that stripped out most elements other than what writers really want: their written words featured as prominently as possible, exactly as written.

    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.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
    cclaerhout and Matthew Hawley like this.
  2. Matthew Hawley

    Matthew Hawley Well-Known Member

    I'm a good writer, just not into it. I suggest getting another theme. :)
    jauburn likes this.
  3. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    I quite like the theme, actually, and my users do, as well. I'm also happy that I won't have to worry about the compatibility of third-party themes when I upgrade to newer versions of Xenforo in the future. The previous forum that I ran, which had almost 70,000 users, had a highly customized theme on vbulletin, and I always dreaded applying the latest vbulletin upgrade for fear that it would "break" the theme.
  4. cclaerhout

    cclaerhout Well-Known Member

    If I may correct just one thing, the parser patch for white space included in the the TinyMCE Quattro addon will work with any editors: yes you need to install the addon, but you don't need to enable tinymce. Thank you again for your support Jay.
  5. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    This concerns me a bit because Jake has been implementing his own "solution" to this issue. Perhaps you and Jake should touch base? I'm not sure how his changes are interacting with yours. I was under the impression that your "spacing" fix was relevant only when your add-on was active.

    You bet!
    cclaerhout likes this.
  6. cclaerhout

    cclaerhout Well-Known Member

    Your impression is correct, but even if the addon is active, the editor is not (its options as well, except the parser tweaks if you have enable them). You have to enable tinymce by usergroups to really enable the addon. But let's come back to your website, that's not an addon support topic ;)
    jauburn likes this.

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