Forum recommendations



  • I'm looking at setting up a forum on a website.  Everyone around here likes to complain about how horrible our forum is, so... what would you use instead, if you had the choice?

    The obvious choice is PHPBB, because it's used everywhere.  But I hear people complaining about how awful PHPBB is all the time, so I'm hesitant to go with it.

    The host has automated setups for PHPBB, Simple Machines Forum, Vanilla, BBPress, and PunBB.  (I have no idea what any of those other ones are.)  And aside from those, I can install anything that will run under PHP or Python, as long as it can be done purely over FTP and HTTP.  (No shell access.)  And I'm looking for a free solution, so vBulletin is out. (Which I have seen, and I like, but it's a bit expensive.)

    So, what are your recommendations for a forum that will run with a minimum of WTFery?  Suggestions are good.  Reasons why are even better.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    The beginner/popular choice is PHPBB, because it's used everywhere. 
     

    FTFY. I've used phpBB for some time, and it wasn't until I used other forum S/W (Invision, amongst others) did I realise just how clunky phpBB was.@Mason Wheeler said:

    But I hear people complaining about how awful PHPBB is all the time, so I'm hesitant to go with it.

    Hell... it's free, provides basic functionality - no reason you can't drop it onto a testbed and play with it, if only to gain experience in using it as a webapp.

    I was going to play with SMF - I'd heard some good things about it - but never got around to it.

    @Mason Wheeler said:

    So, what are your recommendations for a forum that will run with a minimum of WTFery?  Suggestions are good.  Reasons why are even better.

    Just a step back: are you after purely a forum, or something else that will work with it? Only reason I ask is that one of my gaming websites is actually a CMS with a forum module (Xoops) - it worked out easier to drop a forum into some other system than to get something like phpBB to talk to another system.

    Second question is... are you just looking to set it up for someone, or will you end up being the forum admin/mod/whippingBoi?



  • @Cassidy said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:
    So, what are your recommendations for a forum that will run with a minimum of WTFery?  Suggestions are good.  Reasons why are even better.

    Just a step back: are you after purely a forum, or something else that will work with it? Only reason I ask is that one of my gaming websites is actually a CMS with a forum module (Xoops) - it worked out easier to drop a forum into some other system than to get something like phpBB to talk to another system.

    I'm looking for a forum, used for discussion purposes in relation to a project that is nearing a state where I'd be comfortable discussing it in public, but is not actually there yet.

    Bonus points if there's some way I could set it up so that the normal registration is gone, and instead anyone who creates an account on the main project gets a forum account created for them automatically.

    Second question is... are you just looking to set it up for someone, or will you end up being the forum admin/mod/whippingBoi?
     

    I'd be running it, with admins and mods chosen from the project staff and (eventually) the community.

     



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    Bonus points if there's some way I could set it up so that the normal registration is gone, and instead anyone who creates an account on the main project gets a forum account created for them automatically.
     

    So you may be looking at some "main project" with a forum plugin (or threaded comments) - perhaps modding a blog with commenting from authenticated users only...? Just thinking about coming at it from the other end: is it a forum you want, or something that facilitates discussions about specific topics?

    Either way, integrating the both isn't too tricky. I did it with a torrent tracker and forum, and I just abstracted the DB layers out on both to point at a single users table. If MySQL supported views at the time (was MySQL4) it'd be far easier.

    @Mason Wheeler said:

    with admins and mods chosen from the project staff

    If they're already experienced in forum admin/mod duties, have you tapped them up for S/W suggestions at all?



  • If you just want a quick forum with minimal hassle, have a look at www.xobor.de - they have free models and paid for models, and you can jump from the free one to the paid one at any time.

    The sites are funky and modern (to my non-marketing eye), look decidedly non-phpbbish, and the hosts update and add new features regularly.

    Only word of caution is that it's German and in German! However, a lot of the help pages are in English, the support forums are in English. and you can use google translate on the site.
    Your site, of course, will contain all your own text so it's 100% English.

    Considering it's free to both set up, run and even host a forum with lots of features, the Germanness is easily livible with. My friend runs a truck forum on it (www.l200forum.com) and she's neither computer nor german-literate



  • Jeff Atwood seems to think he's got the best solution, and you can try it out.



  • @sinistral said:

    Jeff Atwood seems to think he's got the best solution, and you can try it out.
     

    Oh wow! I hadn't seen that before.   It looks very interesting.  Kind of a shame about the platform it's built on, though.  The host I've got doesn't support Ruby or Postgres...

     



  • @sinistral said:

    Jeff Atwood seems to think he's got the best solution, and you can try it out.

     

    Wow, it's like an almagam of all these little features that I've always liked of various forums and websites I've used.

     


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