XF 2.2 Search forums, SEO improvements and dev team news

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 10.47.31.pngA new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

forum-search-list.png


Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

forum-search-view.png
The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

forum-search-add.pngAdd-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.




tl;dr

 
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imno007

Well-known member
Search forums is a good replacement for the Forum Digest addon which (I think) I paid either Daniel Hood or John Wainwright to develop years ago and is now available as a different addon from @Xon here: https://xenforo.com/community/resources/aggregating-forums.6633/.
Search forums will be really useful for creating a 'summary' of the latest threads in, for example, all the TV forums which we have divided into a 'per manufacturer' basis. Nice addition.
Except, from what I can tell, it doesn't appear that it allow you to simply view threads from sub-forums in the parent forum, unless you can maybe set an existing parent node as a search forum and still allow posts in it...?
 
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imno007

Well-known member
It's powered by the same system that powers batch update threads, so you can look at that on your forum to understand the general criteria options there, though there are a couple tweaks in 2.2. It does support both prefix and custom field components.

As it stands, you wouldn't be able to display it within a page without custom development. There was a question earlier about a widget that would make that more viable.
Respectfully, rather than wait for a suggestion and people to upvote it over a period of months, and perhaps years, maybe just go ahead and give us the widget...? Because it must be clear by this point that a lot of people are always looking for an easier way to feature targetted threads on a homepage/page. And now articles - a widget would be good for those too... :LOL:
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Respectfully, we obviously have to prioritise our time so we’re concentrating on the things that we think matter the most. Currently there’s very little that’s a priority beyond getting the features we have announced out of the door (and finished/polished in some cases).

That said, if a suggestion is made and it has a good amount of discussion and support then it is exactly the kind of thing we might be able to do if the opportunity arises.
 

imno007

Well-known member
Respectfully, we obviously have to prioritise our time so we’re concentrating on the things that we think matter the most. Currently there’s very little that’s a priority beyond getting the features we have announced out of the door (and finished/polished in some cases).

That said, if a suggestion is made and it has a good amount of discussion and support then it is exactly the kind of thing we might be able to do if the opportunity arises.
Well, I wasn't asking that you guys do it today, or even for the 2.2 release. Just saying that in my own personal opinion there's plenty of evidence already that people want an easy way to feature targeted content on their pages, judging by how many times over the years I've seen people ask if there's a way to do it. Maybe I'm remembering wrong :whistle:
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
I mean we already allow you to use widgets on pages so perhaps a suggestion is worthwhile so there's a logical place to discuss that further and easy to reference in the future?

And you certainly gave the impression that you didn't want to wait "months, and perhaps years" so I'm pretty sure you were asking for it pretty soon.
maybe just go ahead and give us the widget...?
Even so, in the time we've spent discussing it, you could have created the suggestion or found and contributed to an existing one. We'll keep an eye out for it.
 

imno007

Well-known member
I mean we already allow you to use widgets on pages so perhaps a suggestion is worthwhile so there's a logical place to discuss that further and easy to reference in the future?

And you certainly gave the impression that you didn't want to wait "months, and perhaps years" so I'm pretty sure you were asking for it pretty soon.

Even so, in the time we've spent discussing it, you could have created the suggestion or found and contributed to an existing one. We'll keep an eye out for it.
No, I wouldn't want to wait years. But what I actually said was that I didn't think it should have to sit as a suggestion for months or years - as in months or years before you even got started on it - when it seems apparent to me that people have already made it clear that they would appreciate such things. Again, just going by how many times I've seen people ask if there's a way to do it, and expressed frustration that they couldn't.
 

Russ

Well-known member
I have a suggestion out for a widget already if anyone wants to show it some love!

 

Alpha1

Well-known member
Will there be a criteria for Thread Votes for the Forum index controls? So that we can exclude threads/content from the index that has been downvoted.
 

ibnesayeed

Well-known member
Outbound link adjustments

XenForo has always set the nofollow attribute on outbound links posted by members, with the notable exception of those posted by staff. A new permission gives you more granular control over designating exactly which users’ links should be trusted.

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Last year, Google updated their recommendation for how to best attribute links in user-generated content. Accordingly, we now set the ugc attribute on links posted by untrusted users, in addition to the nofollow attribute for backwards compatibility with search engines which do not yet support the new attribute.

seo-link-ugc.png


Finally, we also work around the 'gotcha' of quoting messages containing links, and set the appropriate ugc and nofollow attributes on quoted links, regardless of whether or not the quote came from a trusted user.
This has always been disconcerting to me that all the links posted by certain users will contain or not contain rel="nofollow". As an admin of a board all the links I post there will not contain this attribute value, even if I wanted them to be present for certain links I share. If in the future I am not a staff member, then all of my posts that earlier did not contain nofollow will suddenly change the behavior.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
There's a couple down the bottom of the forum list in the test section, including:
 

Azaly

Active member
@Chris D, could you please clear, is it possible, that normal forum being a child of search forum like this:

— Search forum (searching normal forum 1, 2, 3)
— — Normal forum 1
— — Normal forum 2
— — Normal forum 3

?
 
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