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Suggestions and feedback regarding the XenForo.com forums

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Dominion, May 13, 2011.

  1. Dominion

    Dominion Active Member

    I've begun to think (prompted in part by this other thread) that this board could benefit from a bit of reorganization. A few changes could help make the division between the public forums and the official support forums even clearer than it already is. These are the changes that I would suggest:

    Move the "XenForo Bug Reports" to a support category. Do non-customers really need the ability to view or make bug reports? I can imagine a non-admin user of a XenForo site wishing to report a bug, but such users should probably ask their site admin to bring the matter to XenForo's attention. And any bugs noticed by potential customers whilst demoing the software could be reported via the Pre-Sales forum.

    Make the support forums invisible to users who lack a customer account. Since these forums are resources intended to support paying XenForo customers, they need not be visible to anyone who hasn't paid for the software. Removing them from the public eye will clarify this distinction.

    Beef up the public forums to give potential customers the info they need. Making the support forums private would deprive potential customers of information they need to make an informed purchase decision. This can be remedied by augmenting the public forums. For example, a "XenPlus Showcase" forum would give third-party developers a place to repost or excerpt information publicizing their add-ons, styles, and language packs. (Such a forum could be writable by customers but viewable by all.) And perhaps some of the information in "Tips, Tricks, and Guides" could be moved to a public forum, as prospective customers will want to see guides and tutorials for basic operations before deciding to buy.

    Enable even visitors to click and enlarge thumbnails in the public forums. Prospective customers want to know how XenForo works, what sorts of add-ons and styles are available, and so on. Looking at screenshots is often the best way to get that information. Forcing people to register in the forums to get this information can deter interest in XenForo and put a damper on sales. Anything published in the public forums should be fully available to the public (though this means more attention must be given to the appropriateness of information posted in these forums).

    ... This last point was something that particularly irritated me when I was trying to decide if I was even interested in considering XenForo. I hate it when forums force me to register just to get the information that I need in order to decide whether I want to register.

    The above list may not be exhaustive, and I certainly won't insist that any of them are necessary. They're just a few thoughts off the top of my head that I respectfully present for your consideration and discussion.

    My apologies in advance to the mod staff if this results in an increased workload. ;)
     
  2. User

    User Well-Known Member

    I can totally relate to this. I am looking at Styles and I can't actually view them unless I purchase XF first. Irritating.
    Some stylists thankfully addressed the issue by offering offsite image hosting so that prospective customers can have a look beforehand.
     
  3. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    That has been planned for some time and the new structure is being discussed amongst the staff.

    This is a very bad idea and will just create more work for the staff having to move bug reports from pre-sales into the correct forum.
    A significant amount of bugs have been reported by non-customers and I see no reason why that can't continue.

    That's not possible as already stated. It is not possible to distinguish between image files or any other file type so allowing thumbnails to be viewed would also allow add-ons to be downloaded.
     
  4. Dominion

    Dominion Active Member

    So someone would have to police the attachments and make sure only images were posted. Yes, that would be a fair amount of work; I can see why you'd want to avoid that.

    Thank you for the explanation.
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I suspect the reorganisation of the forum will take place once the add-on system is released, as that would make perfect sense.

    There is little point in reorganising everything now, just to have to do it again when the new system is available.
     
  6. Dominion

    Dominion Active Member

    Yes, that makes sense. I didn't mean to suggest this should be done right away.

    Regarding the thumbnails, perhaps developers could be encouraged to post images of a reasonable size instead?

    ... But I suppose I should wait until the add-on system makes its debut before making any further suggestions, as that will probably have a huge effect on how things work around here.

    Again, thanks, and I apologize if my suggestions offended.
     
  7. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Not at all, all feedback is welcomed :)
     
  8. Onimua

    Onimua Well-Known Member

    I think I'm following you right on this...

    We do post large enough screenshots, but the thumbnails are generated by XenForo and their size is based on settings with the ACP; we can't control the thumbnail size outputted in our posts.

    Like I've said elsewhere, I'm sure Kier and Mike have these sort of things figured out. I honestly can't wait to see what they are. :D
     
    Peggy likes this.
  9. Dominion

    Dominion Active Member

    When uploading image files, we're given the option of inserting them as thumbnails or full images. I was suggesting that devs could be encouraged to post the latter instead of the former, so unregistered guest viewers could learn about their add-ons and styles.

    Or am I misunderstanding how it works? Do images get turned into thumbnails if you don't have the right permissions?
     
  10. Onimua

    Onimua Well-Known Member

    Ah, that option.

    The negative aspect of that is you end up with a bunch of large images which then becomes difficult to scroll through. ;) I myself have like 8 images or so for my add-on, and I personally can't see myself using the large image option to display them and allow people to easily read the descriptions/features/other important information.
     
  11. Dominion

    Dominion Active Member

    Agreed, it's often hard to make out details on a scaled-down image that will comfortably fit in the forum (especially for things like nearly all styles, where you really have to see the whole browser window to get an idea of what it's like). But that's still better than a thumbnail. As User said, linking to offsite images is an option, but many add-on devs omit to do this as well.

    All I'm saying is, screenshots of various appealing add-ons and styles could be an important means of promoting XenForo to casual visitors who have just wandered by and are wondering if XF is worth looking into. Conversely, when a visitor clicks on a thumbnail and only sees a screen saying he doesn't have permission to view it, that can be a real turn-off. I dunno about most people, but when that happens to me I'm not likely to register just to view the picture; I just say "tsk, tsk" and Google for the next item of interest on the web.
     
  12. User

    User Well-Known Member

    Let me pre-face what I am about to say by saying that I am not a coder; I would like to think that it can't be too hard to look at the file extension and allow image file extensions to be viewed and downloaded by non-customers and everything else only be downloaded by customers. I understand that the current functionality doesn't make that distinction but at the same time isn't this just a matter of putting a conditional in that checks for the file an checks for the user account?

    Something like:

    if user equals non-customer
    if attachment-extension equals jpg or attachment-extension equals png​
    display attachment​
     
  13. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    To clarify, it's not possible to do it because it hasn't been coded in.

    Whether that will change or not in the future, I couldn't say.
     

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