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Fragmented content for images posted in forums vs gallery


SJ77
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Image board owners face a major struggle between forums for images and Gallery. They are disconnected.

For those of us that run image boards IP4.x has some issues I've been thinking over. There is some disconnected logic regarding images. I have boards for posting images but I also want to use gallery. I am going to end up with fragmented content all over the place and no easy way to find content from a specific user.

  1. It's difficult to view IMAGE attachments per user in profile. You can see "posts" or "topics" but not attachments. 
  2. If we have boards that are set up for posting images AND Gallery installed there is a logical disconnect.  We end up with some images in the forums and other images in the gallery but no way at all to tie the two together.  (see screen shot, this user has posted MANY images to the forums but under images there isn't anything posted.)

 

Recommendation: An option to allow images posted in the forums to automatically be considered part of gallery and be view-able in both places. Forms feeding gallery would avoid any fragmentation or disconnects. Also a place in profile to view "attachments"

 

Note: VB5 actually works by integrating user "image" content in forums or gallery into one single thing. It's one of the few things I really like about VB5. No more fragmentation or struggle between images posted in forums verses gallery

profile.JPG

Edited by superj707
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There's actually a disconnect among all the content in all the apps but that's a larger discussion. Each app is a silo of information and is a problem that plagues a multi-app community.

The OP brings up a powerful example of a very unique weakness in the IPS suite.  Admins often have a fractured content base because images in IP.Board have no way of relating to images in IP.Gallery. It's a major, fundamental concern that I share as well.  

The OP shared one solution: to combine image content from forums and gallery into user content.  

I'm more a fan of generating a 'virtual' album in IP.Gallery where the images are linked from the forums.  

In any case, the cross promotion of content is one area that IPS hasn't even started to address but is a very real problem on complex multi app communities.  

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12 minutes ago, Joel R said:

There's actually a disconnect among all the content in all the apps but that's a larger discussion. Each app is a silo of information and is a problem that plagues a multi-app community.

The OP brings up a powerful example of a very unique weakness in the IPS suite.  Admins often have a fractured content base because images in IP.Board have no way of relating to images in IP.Gallery. It's a major, fundamental concern that I share as well.  

The OP shared one solution: to combine image content from forums and gallery into user content.  

I'm more a fan of generating a 'virtual' album in IP.Gallery where the images are linked from the forums.  

In any case, the cross promotion of content is one area that IPS hasn't even started to address but is a very real problem on complex multi app communities.  

THIS!!! well stated. I am concerned about fractured content but especially images. Although, as aforementioned, VBulletin has solved for this issue.

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I'm curious if you are basically wanting Forum posted images to also be posted into the Gallery or in Gallery type content?

I'm not sure I fully support that idea.

To me that sounds counter intuitive as to me the gallery is a showcase, it's a place that you upload your images to view sort of like going to a gallery to view an artists work. The forum images are normally meant for conversation or discussion and not meant to be "showcased".

If both were being streamed together it wouldn't make sense to me as it's not the purpose of the two apps. I would certainly love to have the "Insert media from Gallery" feature back and improved upon to include all other apps (insert media from downloads etc) which doesn't do that silly block that you get when you insert links from other parts of the site. I'd prefer that the block be designed more "pretty" and have like the teaser paragraph from articles or a truncated part of the content field and the like.

For me, it doesn't seem like this would be helpful. It would also get messy as I have a forum that currently has a gif war going on.

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15 minutes ago, Morrigan said:

I'm curious if you are basically wanting Forum posted images to also be posted into the Gallery or in Gallery type content?

I'm not sure I fully support that idea.

To me that sounds counter intuitive as to me the gallery is a showcase, it's a place that you upload your images to view sort of like going to a gallery to view an artists work. The forum images are normally meant for conversation or discussion and not meant to be "showcased".

If both were being streamed together it wouldn't make sense to me as it's not the purpose of the two apps. I would certainly love to have the "Insert media from Gallery" feature back and improved upon to include all other apps (insert media from downloads etc) which doesn't do that silly block that you get when you insert links from other parts of the site. I'd prefer that the block be designed more "pretty" and have like the teaser paragraph from articles or a truncated part of the content field and the like.

For me, it doesn't seem like this would be helpful. It would also get messy as I have a forum that currently has a gif war going on.

It's a fair point if you're not running an image board. However people who run image boards have entire forums setup for posting of content (IMAGES) -showcasing images

Thus it's confusing for users to have content strewn about between forums and gallery. There is no way to go to a users profile and see ALL the images they have posted.

Even facebook, combines images posted to the timeline with the archive "users photos". If it suited you better I would propose that gallery contain an album called Forum images (similar to what facebook does)

For example I have a forum called "Pictures of you" ... I don't like having to search forums and gallery for images of a specific user. These images, once posted to the forum, should be able to be found in the gallery with the other images.

16 minutes ago, Morrigan said:

For me, it doesn't seem like this would be helpful. It would also get messy as I have a forum that currently has a gif war going on.

Maybe an option to include which forums feed gallery?

Edited by superj707
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That makes better sense. I think it would be an awesome feature maybe to allow Gallery upload/use from the editor. Like where the uploads bar is have an option to switch the uploads bar to a "Gallery" bar where you can see uploaded gallery images (to a specific category setup by admin) search them and also upload new ones as necessary.

That's likely too much/not what you're looking for but that could be a good feature to include.

Could even be as easy as a toggle that says "Uploads go to Gallery" in the forum setup.

I think the difficulty here becomes, things like "albums" and whatnot because if there is an album would it upload to that album? What if they don't have an album? What if they have two in that category? I guess that could potentially be resolved by an images only category but then you get no separation in the gallery itself if that's what you're looking for.

I see the point but I think the problem is implementation.

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I'm in the same position as @superj707 where I have forums meant to showcase iimage, and then I have Gallery.  

Since the underlying purpose is the same, the it makes sense to be able to 'push' content into the Gallery.  

There are multiple ways to implement and they're all acceptable.  In fact, the grand variety of ways to combine the two apps is what makes the integration such a fascinating and compelling feature!

- you can define uploads in the forum topic  to go to Gallery

- you can define uploads to be pushed into a virtual album that can be viewed in Gallery as well

- you can define a hybrid where you choose to upload to both Gallery and to My Attachments

- you can simply Insert Album into the forum post 

- you can upload to My Attachments per user, which lends more to a social experience tird around users

- users automatically get a Community Album by default

Etc.  I don't actually care how IPS implements the cross-over promotion (that's what we pay them for, so they can figure it out, right?) So long as they implement something. But right now we have nothing.  

Will it perhaps require expanded permissions of categories and Albums in Gallery? Perhaps.  Admins of users will need to decide if they allow forum uploads (or on a broader scale, if they allow any community image).  Will it also require expanded settings in forum topics or in forum boards? Probably.  

Theres a ton of complexity in this that I can't even begin to understand.  But its in that complexity that there's the most potential for growth and entire sets of new features.  

 

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On 31 December 2015 at 5:44 PM, Morrigan said:

I'm curious if you are basically wanting Forum posted images to also be posted into the Gallery or in Gallery type content?

I'm not sure I fully support that idea.

To me that sounds counter intuitive as to me the gallery is a showcase, it's a place that you upload your images to view sort of like going to a gallery to view an artists work. The forum images are normally meant for conversation or discussion and not meant to be "showcased".

If both were being streamed together it wouldn't make sense to me as it's not the purpose of the two apps. I would certainly love to have the "Insert media from Gallery" feature back and improved upon to include all other apps (insert media from downloads etc) which doesn't do that silly block that you get when you insert links from other parts of the site. I'd prefer that the block be designed more "pretty" and have like the teaser paragraph from articles or a truncated part of the content field and the like.

For me, it doesn't seem like this would be helpful. It would also get messy as I have a forum that currently has a gif war going on.

That makes sense 

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  • Management

I completely agree there's room for improvement in cross-interacting with applications across the suite. I think Gallery media should be available throughout the suite and that's something we'd like to work on. I'm not sure I understand the need for attachments to be duplicated in the Gallery, however, so perhaps you could help me better understand your goals. I'm curious why, in the case of a "see you" forum, you wouldn't just use the Gallery app for that... perhaps add a redirect forum or menu item if you're wanting it to be accessible in the forums app. That's really the purpose of the Gallery, so I'd like to understand why you're using the Forums for that purpose and essentially wanting to replicate content... perhaps there's something more we need to do with Gallery? Improve the interaction capabilities (one thing that came up recently is comments in the lightbox, for example), etc. 

I do get the gist of what you're looking for, I'm just trying to understand why so we can step further back and evaluate to best fill the need. 

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1 hour ago, Lindy said:

I completely agree there's room for improvement in cross-interacting with applications across the suite. I think Gallery media should be available throughout the suite and that's something we'd like to work on. I'm not sure I understand the need for attachments to be duplicated in the Gallery, however, so perhaps you could help me better understand your goals. I'm curious why, in the case of a "see you" forum, you wouldn't just use the Gallery app for that... perhaps add a redirect forum or menu item if you're wanting it to be accessible in the forums app. That's really the purpose of the Gallery, so I'd like to understand why you're using the Forums for that purpose and essentially wanting to replicate content... perhaps there's something more we need to do with Gallery? Improve the interaction capabilities (one thing that came up recently is comments in the lightbox, for example), etc. 

I do get the gist of what you're looking for, I'm just trying to understand why so we can step further back and evaluate to best fill the need. 

Hi Lindy,

Let me just say I am always REALLY impressed with how good you are with customer service. I love that you take time to interact with us and you have a great amount of patience in doing so. Thank you

With that being said, I don't claim to have the perfect solution to the issue of fragmented content between apps. Let me just clearly set up the issue in my personal situation and go from there.

I have a site that has been run as an image board for 7 years. We have forums designated specifically for posting pictures. The majority of my forums are focused around created threads filled with pictures. Forums such as "pictures of you" etc.  In this forum a user will start a thread about themselves and add picture updates whenever they like.

Now that I've added gallery to the mix users are asking often "Where should I post images, in the thread or in the gallery?"

Furthermore suppose I think Sally is a really great user and I want to see all of the images she has added to our website I go to her profile and I can only easily find content she's posted to gallery. Any images she's posted to the forums is near impossible to find without drudging through each topic and post.

So my solution is NOT to duplicate images. My solution is that when content (images) are uploaded to the forums they are stored in a special album in gallery.

This is the facebook solution already! If on facebook I post an image to my timeline, 6 months later I can find it in my "images posted to timeline" album in my facebook photos gallery. Essentially all images uploaded to MY IPS site should be collected in the gallery where they can be reviewed by other users. An image uploaded to my site should be one piece of integrated content that can be viewed in any app (forum or gallery).  I don't want to have to hunt down images in each specific app.

Does that help?

 

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  • Management

That is very helpful - thank you! If I'm understanding correctly, you want to treat media as media - whether it's an attachment or a direct Gallery upload. I do agree that Gallery images should be more accessible in other apps. I have some concern about going the other way from forum posts to Gallery as there's some inherent issues with permissions and end-user expectations on differing sites. It sounds like your site is one of the open type in that if you're a member, you have generally open access to all aspects of the site. If you take another site like a mental health/support, or even internal corporate communities which are quite popular with us it becomes a bit stickier. Many of those sites are divided and privacy is paramount. I can see someone thinking they're posting an attachment to a post in a private forum that's really going to the public gallery being rather devastated. I wouldn't expect it to be an impossible task, but definitely not one to be taken lightly which is why I think it's important that we understand the problem we're trying to solve for you.

Certainly we can do a better job with cross-app integration such as allowing the ability for someone to shoot an image to the Gallery (if they choose to do so) from a topic, comment, etc. I'm mostly concerned why you'd have image only forums instead of using the Gallery. I know you're not the only one who does so; I'm not singling you out, just trying to understand the reasoning. Is it simply because that's what your members are used to or are there things we could improve within Gallery to make that better fit what you're going for? 

Thanks again for the insight. 

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1 hour ago, Lindy said:

That is very helpful - thank you! If I'm understanding correctly, you want to treat media as media - whether it's an attachment or a direct Gallery upload. I do agree that Gallery images should be more accessible in other apps. I have some concern about going the other way from forum posts to Gallery as there's some inherent issues with permissions and end-user expectations on differing sites. It sounds like your site is one of the open type in that if you're a member, you have generally open access to all aspects of the site. If you take another site like a mental health/support, or even internal corporate communities which are quite popular with us it becomes a bit stickier. Many of those sites are divided and privacy is paramount. I can see someone thinking they're posting an attachment to a post in a private forum that's really going to the public gallery being rather devastated. I wouldn't expect it to be an impossible task, but definitely not one to be taken lightly which is why I think it's important that we understand the problem we're trying to solve for you.

Certainly we can do a better job with cross-app integration such as allowing the ability for someone to shoot an image to the Gallery (if they choose to do so) from a topic, comment, etc. I'm mostly concerned why you'd have image only forums instead of using the Gallery. I know you're not the only one who does so; I'm not singling you out, just trying to understand the reasoning. Is it simply because that's what your members are used to or are there things we could improve within Gallery to make that better fit what you're going for? 

Thanks again for the insight. 

To answer your question my specific situation goes back to the old yahoo groups before there even was any real "forum" software. You see, we've had our community evolve through 4 different versions now going back to 1999. First it was phpbb to replace yahoo groups. Well, we setup picture forums as there was no Gallery as part of that package. We converted to SMF (7 years ago)  which had a gallery via MOD but it wasn't as solid as we liked and our community was already locked into forums as a way of life. 

Now that we have IPS which comes with a really fantastic gallery, I talked it over with my mods and we are really torn up about the right approach. We know our users will still want to use the forums but we think the gallery has a lot of potential. We like picture forums because posts with pictures foster a threaded conversation about the respective pictures. This we like. However, the gallery has a lot of added functionality. As it is now our forums are centered around pictures but we want to use gallery and can't figure out how to smoothly marry the two. We want to easily find all the image content someone has posted to the website without having to search for fragmented content in two different apps.

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I've found images are really, really important to folks and they often see them as integral to the conversation  rather than as standalone gallery items per se. It takes some forethought and extra steps to think, "well first I'll post this into to a gallery album so I can reference it and then go back to the chit-chat forum and embed the image that goes with the story I want to tell so we can talk about it."

I suspect the difference may be the subtle difference between a comment and a reply.  You can certainly have a discussion in comments, but forums are set up and people are conditioned to use them as the meeting place, while galleries tend to have more of a museum or portfolio quality.  In the gallery people tend to interact with the image and the poster, while in the forum people interact with everyone else in addition to the image and the poster.

I would like to see increased visibility across image sources, although I don't personally see the need to specifically integrate attachments into the gallery (although that's certainly one way to accomplish it). I would be happy to simply see per-user image results aggregated in a "show content" view from their profile, honoring whatever permissions exist for wherever the content came from. 

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and now this happened. 

two users created different albums for the same thing. At least in the forums all related content could be merged into the same thread. In gallery I have 2 separate albums for the same stuff happening.

 

same album.JPG

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5 minutes ago, superj707 said:

and now this happened. 

two users created different albums for the same thing. At least in the forums all related content could be merged into the same thread. In gallery I have 2 separate albums for the same stuff happening.

 

same album.JPG

Problem is that this isn't even something I want! I would rather a category than an album. Albums are personal, categories are generic. I wouldn't want my album combined to someone elses.

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3 minutes ago, Morrigan said:

Problem is that this isn't even something I want! I would rather a category than an album. Albums are personal, categories are generic. I wouldn't want my album combined to someone elses.

Well I have two sophia adams "albums" ... those are the same photos of the same model. It's awkward from a content perspective.

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Yes, but "albums" aren't the same as categories. And if you compare that to a "social media" aspect as you've done before. That's the same across the board. Which makes this particular point moot. If I have a Christina Hendricks Album on my Facebook, that doesn't negate someone else from having one.

I'm okay with having a streaming album that has no categorizing but I do not promote that albums be combined. This has been a thing since 3.x and is not something I would promote. You want a single place for specific content, make a category. Duplicate albums will happen based on user submission.

Edited by Morrigan
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3 Jan 2016 at 5:27 PM, bradl said:

I've found images are really, really important to folks and they often see them as integral to the conversation  rather than as standalone gallery items per se. It takes some forethought and extra steps to think, "well first I'll post this into to a gallery album so I can reference it and then go back to the chit-chat forum and embed the image that goes with the story I want to tell so we can talk about it."

I suspect the difference may be the subtle difference between a comment and a reply.  You can certainly have a discussion in comments, but forums are set up and people are conditioned to use them as the meeting place, while galleries tend to have more of a museum or portfolio quality.  In the gallery people tend to interact with the image and the poster, while in the forum people interact with everyone else in addition to the image and the poster.

I would like to see increased visibility across image sources, although I don't personally see the need to specifically integrate attachments into the gallery (although that's certainly one way to accomplish it). I would be happy to simply see per-user image results aggregated in a "show content" view from their profile, honoring whatever permissions exist for wherever the content came from. 

I've just installed the gallery app to see how this could work out for my forums. I have a lot of topics that are 'what did you eat today' or 'show your new purchases' in which members post pictures. Asking them to first upload that to a gallery, then go back to the topic and insert it as an image is just too much hassle if you look at it from a user perspective. Of course as admins, we would want them to do that, but reality is that people are used to post image links or just add a photo from their smart phone and dump it in a topic.

I would really like to be able to curate this content (even have a setting that would allow me to download images from external links and add them to my own media database). For instance to be able to display a masonry grid with all images posted in the forum. Showing off this content is a great visual and appealing way to show off forum content, which may then again drive visitors etc.

I am not sure whether the gallery app in its current form is the way to go for me (at least, I do not see the use case), now that the forum topics are really used as the content container.

I think this is a great topic, looking forward to hear your views on gallery / image content curation and the forum software.

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On 1/3/2016 at 0:26 AM, Lindy said:

I'm mostly concerned why you'd have image only forums instead of using the Gallery. I know you're not the only one who does so; I'm not singling you out, just trying to understand the reasoning. Is it simply because that's what your members are used to or are there things we could improve within Gallery to make that better fit what you're going for? 

Thanks again for the insight. 

I've been debating how to respond to this paragraph for 3 weeks, since the integration / fragmentation between IP.Board and IP.Gallery is truly a perplexing problem for me.  You bring up some questions that I'd like to address, even if I can only begin to scratch the surface.

For my particular community, I genuinely don't have a good reason as to why I still use image-only forums AND still offer IP.Gallery.  I actually have duplicate content areas for TWO subjects in both IP.Board and IP.Gallery (yes, it drives me crazy), and it really just depends upon the uploader where he wants to be (which is why I'm a fan of seamless integration either direction to show media).  

Some general observations, in no particular order:

  • In general, the forum tends to be the main 'hang out' area with more activity, so it makes sense to offer space there first.  You just don't get the same feeling of 'activity' in IP.Gallery, so members are naturally more attracted to the forums.  
  • Viewing gallery images is more of a solo activity.
  • Forums are great for progressing image topics. where new updates are posted in new replies.
  • Galleries are great for a curated showcase.   

My personal difficulty with the enormity of this question - how to consume, view, and share content in a multi-app platform - is how you can change your interaction with the same content through multiple perspectives.  For example, you can interact by publishing module:

  • IP.Board -- with categories to publish about Content A, Content B
  • IP.Gallery -- with categories to publish about Content A, Content B

It's equally valid to interact by theme:

  • Content A -- with permission to publish to IP.Board, IP.Gallery
  • Content B -- with permission to publish to IP.Board, IP.Gallery

 

Ultimately though, I decided a long time ago I shouldn't force my members to choose one app or the other.  IP.Board and IP.Gallery both equally valid places to upload, since they can both still serve the fundamental purpose of being an image container.   

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There are many things I dislike about Vbulletin but one thing they do very elegantly is deal with this very issue.

If a user uploads images to the forum they are stored in a "forum" album (which is auto created). The album is then in the users gallery (under a media tab)

 It's fantastic integration and beautifully executed

 

newtopic.thumb.JPG.3666378e9f1148beee955

56a6575147720_addinganimage.thumb.JPG.c8

56a6574fece0f_photolinktoalbum.thumb.JPG

profile.thumb.JPG.df752261cc2e74e15e75a1

56a6574d161e9_albunurl.thumb.JPG.2de4059

.

Edited by superj707
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Would be nice to close the gap.

Members use attachments for posts and Gallery for images usually not associated with written content. Why not tie them all together? Some of the best images are on the forum in topics, or in status updates, or in...

Say...

  • A member uploads images using attachments.
  • If a member has Gallery, these images are stored (or viewed/mirrored) in a special "Apps" album, or even the name of the app it was uploaded to; "Status Updates" album. The image notes where it is attached with a link so the member can check the content out, like "chevy_impala77.jpg is attached to: These are my rides topic." (Notice the cross promotion of apps and content. Possibly even a blurb.)
  • Since these are post attachments they are protected from deletion on the Gallery side, to avoid mistake deletions in posts.
  • When a member goes to Gallery to browse a user's images, now they are all in one place, and they can browse these albums.
  • You could also allow these images to move album to album (or be able to create sub-albums within) as long as they carried the delete protection and attachment info (link), but if you saw a bunch of "Chevy" images in your "Forums" album, you could move them to a Chevy album.
  • Possibly even have a gallery album selector in the editor for attachments so when posting you select where the images go. So to the default app album or one you select. Album creation would not be good here but being able to select an album would be great as well.

Similar to Facebook. You upload directly to the timeline with a status and image or with an image to an album, but you don't have to scroll the timeline to see a user's timeline images, you can go directly to the Timeline Photos album in Photos, where all the albums are. In FB you can also move a timeline album image to another album and the post is not disrupted. Exactly what I posted above. Would be nice!

If the disconnect is because Gallery is a paid app and not core, the solution for IPS could be, the app albums are simply storage folders created in the backend same as is done now. If a user buys Gallery those folders are simply visible in Gallery as albums, through making them Gallery albums or mapping or however they would do that, but the functionality would be within core.

But yes, would love to see integration, there's too much of a disconnect here.

Thanks! :)

Edited by chilihead
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