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A few ideas

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Here are a few of my thoughts for future versions of ipb. Probably several duplicates on what others have already said...

Incorporate mods
For some of the most obvious ideas on how to improve ipb, take a look at the mods (particularly the easier minor and mid-scale ones, and not forgetting those at invisionize) and try to incorporate what they are doing into the core IPB itself (obviously with the mod authors permission). Some are pretty popular - obviously desired functionality, and a lot of it should really be built in

(Some of the ones I would personally like to see are D21-# Of Secondary Members In Group, (FSY21) Unblockable PM Groups v1.0, (FSY21) Members Online Today v3.1, (FSY21) PM Preferences v1.0, Mass PM Members 1.0.0)

There is some really useful stuff there, but its a major pain in the arse performing upgrades if you use several mods. And lots of it the system should already do in my opinion.

User option to ignore forum
I would like users to be able to ignore a forum. It would still appear in their list of forums, and they can still go in and read topics. However the forum would not be included in "view new posts" or searches (unless that forum is specifically selected)

It would need to be an option on the forum to "allow user to ignore this forum" as I wouldn't want them ignoring announcements forum. In fact, there is only one forum I would use the option on - in reality this is just for one reason: allowing users to ignore our "general chat" forum if they aren't interested. I'm sure many others get the same problem on some forums where the "view new posts" is unusable due to the amount of crap in a general chat subforum. :D

User controlled (private) forums
I currently use several different secondary groups to allow certain users:

  • the ability to use certain "private" forums
  • increase permissioned, e.g. ability to upload files
... as I'm sure many others do too. It works great.

However I want to be able to give a member "forum ownership" so they can decide who is in that forum (rather than being admin-controlled) - perhaps the easiest way is to just allow specific user(group?)(s) to put people in/out of a specified secondary group.

Plus for users to optionally "see" these private forums and request to join them.

Viewing users in secondary group
The "D21-# Of Secondary Members In Group" mod is a great start to this, but I would like to be able to click on the numbers displayed to show who is in that group. The membership list only works for the primary group.

Improve usability
I love the skin. But the ability to turn parts of it on/off easily would be wonderful.

I have a lot of non-techy users, and the UI is somewhat overwhelming to people new to using online forums. So I want to simplify it. Fair enough, I can edit the skin, but then its a pain doing ipb upgrades :) Plus its stuff that would help everybody.

Most of it is achieveable just adding <if= statements throughout the skin. A few changes which I believe would be useful in the default skin are:
  • add ability to turn off display modes (I don't know anyone who doesn't use "normal" anyway)
  • don't show skin selector and language selector if there is only one selection in the list
  • remove "enable emoticons" checkbox from post form - like who is going to turn that off anyway?
  • remove "enable signature" checkbox from post form - like who is going to turn that off either?
  • ability to remove "post icons" section from post form; typically not used by us but I suspect others do use it - would be good to have an easy option to remove it
  • remove calendar completely (i.e. from logostrip) if not using it
  • remove "members" from logostrip if not allowed to use it
  • remove "PM" buttons everywhere if not allowed to use PM (or the receipient has opted out of PM - may be a bit too much of a db hit to look everything up, but any improvement you could do would be good)
All this new functionality added over time is truly wonderful, but the UI has got a bit overwhelming for a newbie, and is full of links for stuff we haven't allowed them to use. Please spare a thought for those of us running forums for non-techy users and trying to keep things easy for them :)

Similiarly there is a lot that could be improved on the users control panel page
  • Hide all PM stuff if not allowed to use it
  • Hide manage download stuff if not allowed to upload files in the first place! :)
  • Should have system option to allow/disallow personal photo, and hide from CP if not allowed
  • Hide subscription stuff if not using it
  • etc.
Basically simplifying the UI (and thus improving usability) for bits of the forum system we haven't got turned on.

Links to ACP items for admins
Similar to the last item, but the reverse - have more options displayed if you are an admin (again, just <if= statements throughout the skin).

I'm particularly thinking that on a user profile you provide a link to "edit this user", but I would also like a link directly to the full "edit members profile" in the ACP (only visible if they are an admin, and they obviously still need to log into the ACP).

Direct "ACP links" could be done in a few other places - e.g. a link to editing user groups, or to editing forum settings from the forum options dropdown. But in reality its the user one thats most needed - its a pain having to log into ACP and search for the user you've just been looking at.

Another improvement for admins on the user profile screen would be to just display the users email address if you are an admin (and not just list it as Private) - if I'm an admin I can get it anyway (albeit currently a pain to login to ACP/find the user) so why not just display it here?

Implementing some of this is probably made more complicated by the ACP permissions, but you get the general gist of what I would find useful :)

Easier setup of rte editor
Have an option to have it on by default. Easier switching between using it or not (there is a mod that does this - switching it on the post form itself). A fair %age of our newbies never visit their control panel, or even know it exists for that matter. :rolleyes:

Admin setup of contact options
The number of IM systems out there is constantly changing, and yet IPB only has AIM/ICQ/Yahoo/MSN by default.

So allow the admin to setup the list of IM systems.

Bulk edit of forum/usergroup options
Mass editing of forum and user group options, e.g. be able to select several forums at the same time, and set "Enable quick reply" on.

Similarly bulk edit of forum permissions. Or there is a mod which allows permissions to be inherited from other forums - that would be awesome to have built into the core system.

ACP - Manage validating
It would be good to use a paged grid for those of us with loads of newbies left in validating (due to them not validating their email address - grr.)

Why does the list of members on that page not correspond with the list of users in the "validating" group?

On the manage validating page, there is a dropdown to approve/delete. Add the option to "resend validation email".

ACP - system config settings
Improve the built in documentation on the config screens, so that the search option is more effective.

On using search, add a link to the config group of each item found. e.g. if i search for "outgoing email" it finds "Board outgoing email address", but for example what I really wanted was to change the Mail Delivery Method. So on the search results for each found item should provide a link to the group it is in (i.e. in this case the "Email Setup" group - /forums/admin.php?section=tools&act=op&code=setting_view&conf_group=12). OK, a trivial example, but it is easy to "lose" where certain settings are configured and searching for them is a pain, often just having to resort to going through each config group in turn.

I often find myself lost as to where a setting is - would be great if the config search could also search for the options on forum setup, user group setup, and user setup pages too.

ACP - View PM log
Theres a great mod that does this, but it really should be build into the system. Add the option to delete PMs from the system (so no longer available to the person it was actually sent to), and to easily PM the abuser, and easily warn(perhaps?)/ban people from using PM system from the one interface.

And finally a couple of quick ideas on Polls.

Multiple question polls list at the bottom "Total Votes: 20", where 20 is the number of questions answered (e.g. 4 people have voted on a 5 question poll). It would make more sense to display the number of voters that votes.

Add ability to close poll at a given date/time, but without closing the topic for further comments.

Ooh. That turned into a bit of a mammoth post. Sorry about that. :D

Thats all for now. Thanks for the great forum. :cool:
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wow that was long...

i agree with most of what you said except that mass pm members script is broken sort of so they would have to re-write one that works 110% but yeah i agree with alot of what you said here...

i would also like to add that the multiple choice / public polls mod is FAN-EFFING-TASTIC and should seriously be thought about adding it to the standard code of the board.

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