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Social groups as a corporation


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If user accounts are individuals, then it makes sense to think of social groups as a "corporation". A corporation can use many of the services an individual uses: It can have a bank account, a cell phone account, or own a house. In the same way, a "social group" as I see it would have many of the same features as an individual account. It would be able to upload files, images, and it would have a profile. It might even have a blog. I don't suggest allowing a social group to comment on the forum, but the analogy is a pretty good one.

Why use social groups? They might not be useful for some forums, but for my forum they would be extremely useful. My users form game projects. We have the Leadwerks Community MMO, the Leadwerks Community FPS, and other projects. There would probably be more if they were better facilitated. As it is, the most I can do for them is post a sticky thread that becomes 20 pages long.

I have one company using my software that has 6 accounts. They would absolutely love it if they could create a company social group and post images of their game, along with a description of the game. A single private or public forum at the bottom of the page would be perfect for talking amongst themselves.

I would gladly pay extra for a social groups add-on. That's my input on how I would use them, and why I think they would eventually be a good addition.

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1. I would have to create new groups for everyone who requests it. I have hundreds of users and it's hard to keep track of them already.

2. Once I agreed to host a subforum for one group, another group would want one, and I would be dealing with hurt feelings of people I didn't want to bother creating a subforum for. And when projects stopped progressing, I would have people mad at me if I closed the subforum. This way I don't have to worry about it.

3. The group can show off images in their group "profile" to attract attention and interest in their project.

4. The user profile can show the avatars of the groups a member is part of. There are 6 or 7 people on my forum who are working on a game together, but I have no idea who is who, and they don't have any kind of a group presence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I might be misunderstanding but what it sounds like you want is for someone to be able to make a group and then people join that group and those in that group would have access to areas that others wouldn't have access to.

There is a mod for v2.2 (and works on v2.3) called Member Teams. I've been waiting for it to be rewritten for v3.x of IPB but the mod author hasn't had a chance to get to it yet.

This would definitely be useful as an pre-included feature, especially for companies that want to assign team leaders and then those leaders would be able to control who is/isn't in their group, without having access to the ACP at all. So for a business, this would have definite uses.

For the hobbyist running a site, they could allow their members to form social groups (or in your case, work groups that are associates of each other) and would be a definite draw for others.

The Member Teams mod (look at http://compguy.com/ for it) lets you specify if a new subforum is made for that group/team and what its default permission mask it (if I remember correctly, you can set it so that certain members, say admins, will automatically have access to all subforums generated). It also creates a new permission mask that gets added to those who are supposed to have access to it. It's very effective as it lets that subforum appear only to those who should be able to see it.


For business use...
I believe it would be beneficial to allow the admin to specify how many forums/subforums may be made per group, the default access of each group (as mentioned above), who may make a group, whether a new group needs to be approved first or not, etc. Also, if any of the add-ons are installed (blogs, downloads, gallery), then features should be able to be flagged on those as well (whether a group can have an area, its default permissions, space limits, etc). Each group should have 3 default levels of member access (leader (1 person), co-leader (1 person) and group member (maximum being set by admin or unlimited)), with the team leader being able to add and modify levels of access (post/reply, upload/download, invite/remove/approve new members, etc).

With those features, a business could have a project leader create a group, assign someone to be their co-leader, then delegate authority so that different people could be in charge of who is in the group or not, files to be downloaded, blogs to be posted, pictures to be shared, etc.


If that's what you're looking for, then let me know and if IPS gives any hint possibly adding it (as in, not a definite "no") then I could type up a list of features to be considered for inclusion.

If IPS won't include this, then it would be nice if someone were to offer to make it into an application to be used for IPB3 (free please!) This is one of the few things that vB keeps going that seems hard to find for IPB, despite how useful it is.

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Spot on :)

I reckon a thread comes up like this once a month at least.

I believe it was default in VB - so probably many would like it.

Whilst subscriptions would normally work as a get around, it can't as any one member can only subscribe to one group - so whilst you can use it, they have a choice of one group only (which rules out any paying groups)

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If user accounts are individuals, then it makes sense to think of social groups as a "corporation". A corporation can use many of the services an individual uses: It can have a bank account, a cell phone account, or own a house. In the same way, a "social group" as I see it would have many of the same features as an individual account. It would be able to upload files, images, and it would have a profile. It might even have a blog. I don't suggest allowing a social group to comment on the forum, but the analogy is a pretty good one.



Why use social groups? They might not be useful for some forums, but for my forum they would be extremely useful. My users form game projects. We have the Leadwerks Community MMO, the Leadwerks Community FPS, and other projects. There would probably be more if they were better facilitated. As it is, the most I can do for them is post a sticky thread that becomes 20 pages long.



I have one company using my software that has 6 accounts. They would absolutely love it if they could create a company social group and post images of their game, along with a description of the game. A single private or public forum at the bottom of the page would be perfect for talking amongst themselves.



I would gladly pay extra for a social groups add-on. That's my input on how I would use them, and why I think they would eventually be a good addition.



I think social groups are a trend that is unstoppable.
I agree with them! Software of any kind, will in future have a disadvantage compared to those that have what social groups.
Who does not want this, should can disable it via the ACP.
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That is a very interesting idea. Add my support.



Same. I never used social groups on my vbulletin, because the way it's used would take away from activity in my main forums (a bunch of little cliques posting side topics privately amongst themselves, like a high school cafeteria). But if it's optimized for collaborative projects and even competition, it could become quite useful.
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Same. I never used social groups on my vbulletin, because the way it's used would take away from activity in my main forums (a bunch of little cliques posting side topics privately amongst themselves, like a high school cafeteria). But if it's optimized for collaborative projects and even competition, it could become quite useful.



For sites that specialize in certain games, I know they would benefit from it because they can let them team mates into the group and then there's the public view where people can talk, but then there's the private groups where they can make game plans.

I'm split between it being pre-included and it being an officially supported application add-on. If it's an application add-on, we might get it sooner. If it's pre-included, then it's less work for someone to do in order to start using it.

Either way, I'd love to see it get done with some sort of IPS support (either IPS itself or the resource community, although they seem to have a lot on their plates right now). Would also like to have a way to convert the current "Member Teams" data that I have from v2.x to v3.x, so that nothing is lost.
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I may be misinterpreting, but based on your post, why can't you just create a subforum for each group with each group being the only one able to access its respective forum?




I currently use this method for the car club on my site and it's a royal PITA when you have many chapters who all need forums/sub forums, etc. It would be so much easier if IPB had social groups built in and they could just add them themselves. I hope they will consider adding it in the future.
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For sites that specialize in certain games, I know they would benefit from it because they can let them team mates into the group and then there's the public view where people can talk, but then there's the private groups where they can make game plans.



I'm split between it being pre-included and it being an officially supported application add-on. If it's an application add-on, we might get it sooner. If it's pre-included, then it's less work for someone to do in order to start using it.



Either way, I'd love to see it get done with some sort of IPS support (either IPS itself or the resource community, although they seem to have a lot on their plates right now). Would also like to have a way to convert the current "Member Teams" data that I have from v2.x to v3.x, so that nothing is lost.



Yeah, I'd rather see it as an add-on since it could take away development time from features everyone can use. This is really more of a niche.

I'm sure if I used it for a while, I'd feel differently though. :whistle:

Maybe by 3.1.0 it will be default.
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Maybe by 3.1.0 it will be default.



I rather doubt it. It's a feature that I'm sure would have had to been included by now (plan wise) and whoever develops it will probably have to dedicate a couple of months to making it.

What I'm thinking is that a few people could try to make one and then the one that seems to be the best could be adopted into the next release of IPB (like 3.2/3.3 or 4.0). Perhaps it could be included with IPB but not be installed by default (like the included chat add-on, it's in there and all you have to do is install it via applications).
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Not sure about 3.1.0 - all I know is in October Rikki said there was [url=" demand, but back in July Charles said they were [url=" it.

To make it worse Matt said in [url=" post in June that 'social groups, as implemented by our competitors, offer very little to the overall community, they just fragment it further'.

Which I have to disagree with - if a community is based around groups then it can only strengthen the existing community as it allows these groups to retain their identity and so enlarge those groups.

Mark then said in [url=" post in June that IPB 3 will not have social groups.

I just hope IPS will listen to their customers who think that social groups would enhance not reduce the product. Or that someone can write a mod to enable it.

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To make it worse Matt said in [url="

post in June that 'social groups, as implemented by our competitors, offer very little to the overall community, they just fragment it further'.



For the overwhelming majority of forums, this is probably true. That's why I'd rather see it as an add-on personally. Let the developers concentrate on features we will all use.
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Yeah, I'd rather see it as an add-on since it could take away development time from features everyone can use. This is really more of a niche.




We have a static number of developers, so development of any feature (addon, or built into IPB itself) takes away from development of other features.



Not sure about 3.1.0 - all I know is in October Rikki said there was [url="

demand, but back in July Charles said they were [url="

it.



To make it worse Matt said in [url="

post in June that 'social groups, as implemented by our competitors, offer very little to the overall community, they just fragment it further'.



Which I have to disagree with - if a community is based around groups then it can only strengthen the existing community as it allows these groups to retain their identity and so enlarge those groups.



Mark then said in [url="

post in June that IPB 3 will not have social groups.



I just hope IPS will listen to their customers who think that social groups would enhance not reduce the product. Or that someone can write a mod to enable it.




Social groups is something that is often considered. It's not like we are just ignoring any requests for a given feature (specifically social groups, but this goes for any feature really). We have discussed it. We just did not feel it was suitable for the first release of IPB3. As Matt pointed out, to implement in a fashion we would be happy with, it takes a lot of planning and forethought. We don't want to slap it on as a feature and say "hey, have fun" and then get complaints it doesn't do x, y or z properly, and needs a, b and c features to be useful and so on.

It may or may not make an appearance in a future version (by future, I'm not saying IPB 4 or 5, but any future version). It wasn't in IPB 3.0. I don't foresee it being included in IPB 3.1. As for versions beyond that, I'm not clairvoyant.

I would say there is some demand, especially from users converting from vBulletin. I would say it is not a feature in top-demand. There are others I can think of that everyone would benefit from, where-as social group type functionality is only going to be used by a certain percentage of our customer base.
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We have a static number of developers, so development of any feature (addon, or built into IPB itself) takes away from development of other features.



I assumed add-ons were made by customers/developers/hobbyists. If the same people programming mods are also updating the core software, that's all the more reason to expand your mod community.
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Brandon you made a very clear analysis and many of us are quite happy to hear that on IPS they are hearing and considering our wishes.

Of course I am sorry to hear that IP. Social Group will not be on IPB 3.1, but happy that you are considering to introduce it in a future version hopefully before IPB 4.0

:)

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We have a static number of developers, so development of any feature (addon, or built into IPB itself) takes away from development of other features.



Just be sure those developers don't walk across a carpet before they do the programming, or it could wipe out all the hard work. :D



It may or may not make an appearance in a future version (by future, I'm not saying IPB 4 or 5, but any future version). It wasn't in IPB 3.0. I don't foresee it being included in IPB 3.1.



For arguments sake, let's say that it definitely won't appear in 3.1... What is your personal belief (not guarantee) that it will appear in the 3.2 series?

Also, in your viewpoint and opinion, would this be better as an in-built feature or as an application that we download separately (or is pre-included but not pre-installed)?



Of course I am sorry to hear that IP. Social Group will not be on IPB 3.1, but happy that you are considering to introduce it in a future version hopefully before IPB 4.0



:)



I'd prefer to call it IP.Groups, as it's shorter. Either that or IP.Work Groups (not shorter but at least we could call it IPW for short). Would seem more appealing to businesses, but could still be used by hobbyists and such.
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I assumed add-ons were made by customers/developers/hobbyists. If the same people programming mods are also updating the core software, that's all the more reason to expand your mod community.




Allow me to clarify. If you meant it should be developed as a third-party addon, then no, we have no involvement with those. Generally suggestions in this forum are for things to include in the base package, or to make a first-party application from (that we would directly sell) in which case the same developers working on IPB manage those.

A better example: I work on IPB, Download Manager, Chat and Content (as well as other things, but this is enough to serve the point). If I start working on "Groups", I obviously have to spend time on that, rather than one of the other products I work on. Same goes for any in-house developer here.


For arguments sake, let's say that it definitely won't appear in 3.1... What is your personal belief (not guarantee) that it will appear in the 3.2 series?



Also, in your viewpoint and opinion, would this be better as an in-built feature or as an application that we download separately (or is pre-included but not pre-installed)?




My personal opinion is that it is unlikely, but not ruled out, for 3.2. We have a huge list of things we want to take care of, many of which will be beneficial to a larger number of customers. But there's no way for me to really say, since 3.2 feature list hasn't been finalized.

I would expect it would be part of IPB when/if it is done, and not a separate feature, but again that's just speculation. I've no way to know how something that may or may not be developed in the future will be handled. ;)
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My personal opinion is that it is unlikely, but not ruled out, for 3.2. We have a huge list of things we want to take care of, many of which will be beneficial to a larger number of customers. But there's no way for me to really say, since 3.2 feature list hasn't been finalized.



I would expect it would be part of IPB when/if it is done, and not a separate feature, but again that's just speculation. I've no way to know how something that may or may not be developed in the future will be handled. ;)



Good enough for me. Tells me enough to not hold my breath (ie, it'll be awhile). Until then, I hope someone comes along and makes an application that does the job well enough that it gets taken over (with permission of course) by IPS. I would imagine that would be a speedier way, as the features would have already been developed and methods(concepts) already laid out. Even if that didn't happen, it could be a good reference for what features people like and would else people would like to have.

Thank you. :)
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In the meantime, I am thinking about creating a usergroup with limited access and creating a new account in that usergroup so a company or group of people can log into it and post files and images, and have a profile page. They won't have a private discussion area, but their project or company could at least have a presence in the community with images, files, and a company blog. I might charge some nominal amount for the creation of the account, so that I don't get too many requests.

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+1. I'd like to add my name to those who would like to see this implemented in IP.Board. I agree with previous posters that there should be a setting to allow the creation of a forum and a blog in connection with a group (modded by the group 'leader') or at least allow the admin to tie in an existing forum and/or blog to a group. Perhaps the group 'leader' should be allowed to assign co-leaders or, for lack of a better word, lieutenants, to help moderate the group.

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+1. I'd like to add my name to those who would like to see this implemented in IP.Board. I agree with previous posters that there should be a setting to allow the creation of a forum and a blog in connection with a group (modded by the group 'leader') or at least allow the admin to tie in an existing forum and/or blog to a group. Perhaps the group 'leader' should be allowed to assign co-leaders or, for lack of a better word, lieutenants, to help moderate the group.




I definitely agree with everything you said. Should be permissions per usergroup if they can create "membergroups" and if they can join other membergroups. Should also be permissions per usergroup if they can create a forum for their membergroup and if the membergroups they create are moderated. Erh, this is getting cloudy. Here's a list instead.

(Admin set) Globally:
- Enable membergroups: Y/N
- Enable albums in membergroups: Y/N
- Enable forums in membergroups: Y/N

(Admin set) Per-usergroup:
- Can join membergroups: Y/N
- Can create membergroups: 0 to how many membergroups they are allowed to create
- Membergroups are moderated upon creation: Y/N
- Can create albums in membergroups where they are part of staff: Y/N
- Can create forums in membergroups where they are part of staff: Y/N (setting this to yes will allow them to create as many forums they want within their membergroups page)
- Can assign co-staff: Y/N (setting this to yes will allow them to create unlimited amount of different co-leader-categories and assign users in their membergroup to the different categories)
- Can pass leadership: Y/N (will be explained later)


Creator permission:
- Membergroup joinability: Hidden/Private/Public (hidden means the group is hidden and cannot be viewed by anyone outside the group, private means users needs an invite to get into the group, public means anyone can join)
- Use album: Y/N (does not show if admin disabled this feature)
- Album visibility: Private/Public (private means only those in the membergroup, can view it whereas public means anyone can view the album. note that if membergroup joinability is set to hidden it will not matter if this is set to public since users outside the membergroup will not be able to see the membergroup at all - even if linked to)
- Use forum: Y/N (does not show if admin disabled this feature)
- Forum visibility: Private/Public (private means only those in the membergroup, can view it whereas public means anyone can view the forums. note that if membergroup joinability is set to hidden it will not matter if this is set to public since users outside the membergroup will not be able to see the membergroup at all - even if linked to)

There should also be permissions for the album and forums so the leaders can control who can upload new images, post new topics, post replies, delete topics, delete replies, delete images, etc. There also needs to be a permissionset for the different co-leader-categories that the creator creates. For instance if they should be allowed to kick members, create new forums, etc.

Regarding the pass leadership feature, that's tricky as hell xD.
If the original creator is in a usergroup that is allowed to create forums for their membergroups, what happens if he passes the leadership to a user who's in a usergroup that does not have permissions to create forums? Will the forums vanish? Will they be completely deleted from the database?
And what if the original creator passes the leadership to a user who's in a usergroup that is not even allowed to create membergroups?
All these, rather negative, sides of the pass leadership makes you wonder if it's such a good feature. However I would say that it's an excellent feature since membergroups can be in need of a change of owner. For instance, let's say you create a musicproject. You create a membergroup for it. It get's really popular and a lot of members join your group and work with you. Later on you realize you don't have as much time as you did when you create the group - it would be a shame if those who wants to continue needs to create a new group just because the leadership can't be passed on. So this needs to be discussed.

Oh, and the admin should also be able to create categories that those who creates membergroups will be able to tag their membergroup in.
For instance the admin can create categories for "Trance", "Metal", "Other". Those who creates musicprojects for trance can tag themselves as Trance. Those for metal can tag themselves as Metal. Those with other can tag themselves as Other. Those with both trance and metal can tag themselves as both Trance and Metal(membergroups can tag several categories to their group).

Then there will be easier to list the membergroups created.
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