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Follow Topic Button: Unique Way to Create Engagement

David Goldsmith

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Challenge:  For years the forum application has allowed users to follow any forum not matter if it was in an open forum or password protected.  Invision removed this functionality in the last update.

Back Story:  When we started with Invision back in 2010 we were looking for two capabilities.  The first is to have a generic forum to replace another forum platform we were using.  The tools for forums were very basic at this time and Invision appeared to offer a more complete environment.  The second, and more importantly, was to enable us to create Private Forums where we could engage our customers in a separated environment so that dialog could happen between individuals within an organization or a specific group type.

To create a private forum we used the system a little differently and ended up created a multiple of forums under a password for clients...which generated a lot of money because often organizations want their dialog to be within their own group as a means of facilitating dialog.

Obviously the system has worked for years because we stayed with Invision.  Over the past few months we kept on getting emails saying the product was not sending notifications as the system did in the past.  I wrote several times to the team that the follow button has disappeared and I was notified that the challenge was that I must have some sort of blocker on my system, which I then relayed to others (The follow this topic options stopped appearing on our private forums)  This made no sense.

Last night I went into our videos to demonstrate how we've even created tutorials with this function within the service because it appeared the tech was once again going in the wrong direction (FYI - video tutorial would be amazing.  We keep creating our own.)  Below is a screen shot, so the function did exist and has existed.  The image below is from 2013 and through 2015 this function has worked perfectly.


After a few months of dialog with Tech Support, just today I was notified that on the IPS4 the feature is no longer available.

For the Invision team....please turn back on the functionality.  If someone leaves a company we remove them from the capabilities of receiving emails besides the individuals tend to lose their organizational email anyway.  You can also give us the ability to accept the terms of creating a password protected environment and the consequences.

For everyone else... a way to add value, to use in project management, we run projects in the private forums to keep a thread, to offer a service to clients/customers for additional fees, a means of research...and on and on and on.  

We're working with NASA on a project where we are designing the plans for man to live sustainable on the moon and to create a space based economy and we started to use the tool as a means of collaborating. Without this flexiblity we no longer can do so.

and others

We educate companies on New Product and Service Development 

David Goldsmith


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Are you talking about password protected forums?

If you are, I agree with the decision. I don't think that, if the person doesn't have the password anymore, that they should be receiving notifications for it and there is little way to determine that because it's based on a cookie stored on the end user's computer.

There is, however, still the way to follow the topics themselves when replying or creating the topic. It may be more tedious but I think that it's the better option.

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I've got hundreds of people, project managers, and others who've used the system as it used to be. More specifically, they might follow a dozen conversations without being active.  The case often when Sr. Managment, such as the CEO of an organization want's to follow a discussion but has not said anything.  

I've also used the tool as a sort of historical, collaborative, Project Management thread only between a small group of individuals.  This too means we're emailing everyone each time we post.

Do you know of any other forums or products that offer something similar.  Tedious is not a means of keeping people active. 

and....I didn't get a notification that you replied.  Checked spam too. 

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  • Management

I can certainly appreciate your rather unique use case for this feature. Unfortunately, there are other technical limitations at hand that make this an impractical feature to maintain. Respectfully, if you're protecting conversations between your organization and NASA, you would be best served by utilizing a more controlled permission system than simple plain text passwords. 

- You can use the Commerce product to sell member subscriptions that allows access to specific forums for customers. 
- You can use a number of methods to control internal (employee) access to certain forums, including SSO. Likewise, if you're using a project management system, you could leverage SSO for your clients. 

Password protected forums, while they have clearly worked well for you, are very unreliable in general use -- particularly as it pertains to notifications, searchability, etc. We left password protected forums as a feature, however, we have no immediate plans to integrate them into the suite at large from a notification/search standpoint. 

Thank you for the feedback nonetheless and I'm sorry we couldn't do more on this to assist. 

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