Forum implementation

For discussion about the forum itself. will try to move some of the items from the welcome thread to here.

I’ve just happened upon this bit, having just posted a concern to the forum, not sure now which bit - I’ve just managed to log on again following the changes and a trip away.

I really don’t understand - I don’t want to correspond with you lovely people through a forum, I want to see the really helpful IDs and comments made by folks more knowledgable than me which have been so positive in helping me learn. I want to see My iSpot and my Changes restored so I can keep trying to learn. Otherwise, stamp collecting!!?.

I now see that’s what this thread might be about though it’s laid out so I may never find what I’m replying to in future! This bit seems to have what it calls ‘tracking’ but that’s no use to me, I want to see what changes have been made to my observations or to those where I have agreed or commented.

Oh dear! Maggie

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Is this the technology on which the new iSpot forums are based?

This is an off-the-shelf piece of software. Admin have been playing with it since mid 2016, hence some of the dates in Entries.
Some of the facilities are disabled.

I see that Discourse advertises the ability to import from Drupal. (Did I hear someone say that the old site was based on Drupal?)

I’m not certain about Drupal but I don’t think so.
Here’s part of Discourse’ Website
One customer has written
“They’re great folks who are smart and listen to our needs.”
ð…smiles and retreats…

The old site was DRUPAL, the new is is PHP.

I skimmed their web site, and from the features list, they’ve got some under the bonnet features that are useful, but not immediately visible, such as a trust system.

I’m not immediately impressed with the user interface, but I am willing to accept that this may more a matter of what I’m used to than anything in particularly wrong with the system. The one thing which seems a problem is that there’s (I am told) only one level of grouping of topics.

That means we either have to

  1. live with a flat hierarchy, where it’s difficult for a user to focus on the bits they are interested in.
  2. treat the lower level topics as threads, .e.g. all posts on mammals go in a single Mammals threads
  3. set up an index page outside the forum to record the hierarchy (but any integration with the notification system would be non-trivial)

[Though since it’s open source there’s the possibility of changing this. On the other hand, once upon a time some colleagues asked me to help out fixing a bug in a compiler. I knew immediately what was wrong, and what had to be done to fix it, but it still took us 2 or 3 hours to find the code. I suspect that it would be harder this time.]

In that case migrating the posts from the old forums should not be all that difficult, once one has decided how to structure the new forums.

Out of mild curiosity, why the change from DRUPAL to PHP? DRUPAL is a content management system (IIRC) while PHP is just a scripting language.

If it’s possible, perhaps some of the posts in this thread show be moved to a new Forum Implementation (or something) thread.

The Welcome to Discourse perhaps should have been edited to Welcome to iSpot Forums, and locked.

I am going by memory from a while ago: I might have the acronym wrong. These names are just meaningless acronyms to me.

PHP stands for (I looked it up) PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (see also GNU’s Not UNIX and WINE Is Not a Emulator).

WikiPedia tells me that Drupal is not an acronym. It’s based on the Dutch word druppel.

Thanks for asking, miked. It’s good to see someone from admin taking an interest. I’m sure you do, but having posts like this and the occasional response from you makes a big difference.

For me, some sort of hierarchy and an index would be good. As others have said, we need a way to sort out what is relevant to our particular interests and what isn’t.

At the moment discussion seems to be mainly about the site. I hope in time we might get some discussion about wildlife and conservation as well.

At this stage the problems are the site.

However, discussion about conservation and wildlife are going to be impossible to follow in this long and unstructured format. We need to break it up into topics and themes. This setup is working now but by September (when the bugs are supposed to be all fixed - haha) these threads are going to be so long that they will be useless!

The old iSpot forums were heads and shoulders above this one!!! I really admire and respect the programmers who planned and executed that site. By contrast, the current version is a shambles of poorly thought out and shoddily designed pages, that shows no appreciation of the depth and integration of the original site.

(third edit of this page already: and no editing of iSPot comments!!! Utterly debilitating)