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We need something new in IPS!


The Old Man
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If your site is relying on forum features to keep your community engaged, then perhaps you should look at your community's focus and work on that as a source of engagement (unless of course your community is about forums, LOL) instead.

New features are nice for sure, but at the end of the day, how engaged (or not) your community is 100% on the forum's content and owners.

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I think that's true, I've also become bored. My community has a regular core of people who have been returning for over 15 years, although they've discussed the main subject matter to death, it's for years now been more about keeping up with people they've known for such a long time, discussing the latest to shows, movies, events etc.

However although my forums and the hosting have cost me a small fortune over the years and continue to do so, I'd still like to see my members rewarded with something new and innovative in the software, that doesn't require me to spend even more money on third party add-ones that eventually mostly go stale or discontinued.

The same could be said for IP.Blogs, my Members haven't used it for years mostly because the necessary easy theming customisation came far too late for them and they like most people are now more into sharing their thoughts on social media, but I still have to retain Blogs for archiving purposes of 1-2 important blogs and the effort that went into them.

The developers bless 'em, have done a great job with IPS4 but in fairness, they've also had a long time to get the product right and stable, the time has come to start getting innovative again. 

Content will always be king, but the software also has a reasonable role to play in keeping our members coming back too.

Thanks for all the thoughts and responses though.

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12 minutes ago, The Old Man said:

The same could be said for IP.Blogs, my Members haven't used it for years mostly because the necessary easy theming customisation came far too late for them and they like most people are now more into sharing their thoughts on social media, but I still have to retain Blogs for archiving purposes of 1-2 important blogs and the effort that went into them.

My members stopped using blogs mostly because they don't see a difference between that and posting in forums.

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2 hours ago, The Old Man said:

Come on IPS! When can we expect to see some exciting new and innovative features in IPS4, to help keep our communities interested? Do you have anything in the pipeline, to help keep our members motivated and keen to revisit? It seems so long since new features like Status Updates were introduced. 

If I had to think of one radical, paradigm-shifting feature to add, it would be: more dynamic menus and fewer instances where you had to click a button and load another webpage to process your changes.  I'm thinking more particularly of file upload menus/browsing Downloads categories, working with members/member groups in the AdminCP, etc.

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  • Management

It was time to take a breather and focus on some internals and improving the core of the product so we could successfully lay the groundwork for more shiny stuff. As you've seen, the bug tracker has been addressed in a big way, there were many stability enhancements in 4.1.14 with more on the way (plus Commerce improvements and enhancements) in 4.1.15. We're then going to do some flexibility focus releases to add more robustness to the suite without a high impact from a development and stability standpoint (ie: things like "topics per page.") 

We're also of course aiming for 4.2 which will have a few new goodies, but we'll get to that later. ^_^ 

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47 minutes ago, Lindy said:

It was time to take a breather and focus on some internals and improving the core of the product so we could successfully lay the groundwork for more shiny stuff. As you've seen, the bug tracker has been addressed in a big way, there were many stability enhancements in 4.1.14 with more on the way (plus Commerce improvements and enhancements) in 4.1.15. We're then going to do some flexibility focus releases to add more robustness to the suite without a high impact from a development and stability standpoint (ie: things like "topics per page.") 

We're also of course aiming for 4.2 which will have a few new goodies, but we'll get to that later. ^_^ 

Hi @Lindy, I'm intrigued by your reference to Commerce, any hints at what you're thinking about adding?

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8 hours ago, Joy Rex said:

If your site is relying on forum features to keep your community engaged, then perhaps you should look at your community's focus and work on that as a source of engagement (unless of course your community is about forums, LOL) instead.

New features are nice for sure, but at the end of the day, how engaged (or not) your community is 100% on the forum's content and owners.

Maybe.  

Or maybe ... we should be forward-thinking and broaden our perspective, by appreciating how new technologies keep our communities relevant on the modern web.  Maybe we should recognize the fact that content alone does not define our communities, but that technological features that enhance, publish, and distribute our content is just as important.  Maybe we should nurture our membership through not just compelling content and discussion but also automated engagement, bulk mailers, and post ratings. And maybe we should leverage technology as a competitive advantage against other digital destinations.  

Because ultimately, I appreciate my IPS suite as a technological "home" for all of my great content, and that without a home, my content is useless.  

That's why I personally care and think that it's justifiable that we request new features.  I don't renew for security and bug fixes alone - that should be a normal business practice for IPS to repair their software.  But I do renew for compelling new features, technology, and software that will help usher ALL  of our communities to be the best home possible for our content.

Edited by Joel R
Making my post even more amazing. As if that's even possible. Just "like" my post already.
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2 hours ago, Joel R said:

Maybe.  

Or maybe ... we should be forward-thinking and broaden our perspective, by appreciating how new technologies keep our communities relevant on the modern web.  Maybe we should recognize the fact that content alone does not define our communities, but that technological features that enhance, publish, and distribute our content is just as important.  Maybe we should nurture our membership through not just compelling content and discussion but also automated engagement, bulk mailers, and post ratings. And maybe we should leverage technology as a competitive advantage against other digital destinations.  

Because ultimately, I appreciate my IPS suite as a technological "home" for all of my great content, and that without a home, my content is useless.  

That's why I personally care and think that it's justifiable that we request new features.  I don't renew for security and bug fixes alone - that should be a normal business practice for IPS to repair their software.  But I do renew for compelling new features, technology, and software that will help usher ALL  of our communities to be the best home possible for our content.

New features are nice, but let's make sure we aren't getting distracted by bells and whistles, or shiny objects. Making things better, easier to use, quicker, more stable, great. But I want to make sure they aren't just adding in things just to say they did. 

"More is not better, better is better." - Attributed to about 30 different people

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I can also confirm that i am missing something new or more on the way of time or maybe some try of innovation and not only basic parts which has everbody other too - for sure IPS has a perfect system where everything is hand in hand as well it has same style.

But if you look just a little bit around the corner - you find wordpress where is nearly everything possible - i know that you have there not everything with one style and not everything is 1:1 good in same code, but system is free of charge and addons are very cheap without every some months renewal - but you have there sooo much things what you can offer and give to your community or to get new members into your community because you offer something which is not the default basic what you find everywhere.

There is not just WP, there is much more .... 

I am also 100% sure that IPS clients will pay for additional good addons - which are not some little addons on the ground system, like coloring in posts or some changed things which are still exist 

I had also the problem with Blog for example, that the community does not use it any more because it is to similar with classic forum posts or also in pages with the comment system - blog is in the form of now a addon which will die

I hope IPS bring soon something to have fun with the system still in the future as well to continue with paying renewal fees, because you get something for the 6 months charges - not just bug fixes 

Edited by m@t
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I guess I'm just a Luddite. Something can be said for keeping things (Boards) simple. As an admin and owner and moderator of an almost 15 year old "Discussion Community" I feel like I'm in an episode of Silicon Valley when I read Topics on this IPS Community Board. Most here are very tech, script and code savvy, some like me are not and rely heavily on Support, and stay 'native' with IPS with no third party add ons, etc. The simpler and more problem free the better. It largely depends on your audience or demo; mine is largely the somewhat older variety due to my Boards main subject matter. Throw a bunch of bells & whistles at my Members and they go numb. I had pretty much the entire IPS Suite at their disposal and much of it gathered dust. The basic Forums, with Uploading capabilities for certain Donating Groups, and a Messaging System is the marrow and the rest extras. It's always been the Members, not the software that dictated the success of my particular online community. My viewpoint may be clouded by the old Board I kept for too many years. (Yikes....Ikonboard in PERL...), so IPS is like a wonderland of functionality, not perfect but as competitive as Board software can be to the social media giants. Sure, keep coming up with more cool functionality, for those who need and demand it, no sweat, I understand. 

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12 minutes ago, m@t said:

@Brad Eden

the time of a "board" / forum only is long over & i think IPS must/should be also more than board/forum with some addons to it

I don't disagree. That can certainly be true in many instances and online communities. Particularly tech savvy demos simply demand constant change and advancement. But, I have personally concluded that there is no way to stop or truly compete on a level playing field with the draw and reach of Facebook, or even Instagram, or Twitter. And that its the basics, or again marrow of ....gulp....traditional Boards that keeps Members engaged and communities alive.

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@Brad Eden

social media is a very very important point of use - but here it is a small cliff that you get/keep the user to your community / website and not have the most of it on the social media channels 
For example there would be a social media stream addon great for ips which is 100% integrated and takes part of your website - there are some great resolutions at other systems & a lot of companies, media use this at their pages

maybe a little problem is too that the way of communities are moving from the old traditional way - and if you don't bring something new you will lose this part to other ways and this can be very very fast and a website is dead & you can delete it

Edited by m@t
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12 hours ago, Joel R said:

Maybe.  

Or maybe ... we should be forward-thinking and broaden our perspective, by appreciating how new technologies keep our communities relevant on the modern web.  Maybe we should recognize the fact that content alone does not define our communities, but that technological features that enhance, publish, and distribute our content is just as important.  Maybe we should nurture our membership through not just compelling content and discussion but also automated engagement, bulk mailers, and post ratings. And maybe we should leverage technology as a competitive advantage against other digital destinations.  

Because ultimately, I appreciate my IPS suite as a technological "home" for all of my great content, and that without a home, my content is useless.  

That's why I personally care and think that it's justifiable that we request new features.  I don't renew for security and bug fixes alone - that should be a normal business practice for IPS to repair their software.  But I do renew for compelling new features, technology, and software that will help usher ALL  of our communities to be the best home possible for our content.

Oh, I totally agree - keeping things fresh and innovative for your community is just as important as fostering good content. My point was not to rely entirely on the prospect of new software to make up for any shortcomings in a community, and to address those shortcomings equally.

The reality is software and the internet is inherently about change, and of course IPS has to keep up with the times to remain relevant. I think while IPS4 took longer than it should have to come up to speed, I think overall IPS has done a great job in ensuring a stable new foundation was laid so going forward, true innovation and progress can be made.

As for forums going byway of the dinosaur, I don't think so - I think forums, just like social media feeds like Facebook and Twitter, will continue to evolve and integrate with one another, and offer their own take on content delivery. Likewise, I think it would be foolish to ignore social media in terms of integration with forums, and hopefully IPS is cognisant of this as well and is planning more core integration going forward.

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I would much rather have a bug free set of core features and a lot more optimisation of CPU resource usage than a few more bells and whistles that no-one will use.  If 4.2 was the same but better I would be very happy.  The focus should be on the core product and ease of integration with other web platforms (wordpress, etc) not building more bloat.

The additional features on IPS are generally of little value to me (so far) and not particularly easy to use - for example Pages as a page creator/editor is atrocious and impossible to use sensibly to create attractive web content; the Gallery feature is clunky and unintuitive for users.  Commerce really doesnt offer anything useful to me.  I really don't want more of this stuff at the expense of the best possible core functionality that can be managed.

OK, so I've got a few bits and pieces on my wish list, like easy integration of wordpress front end and IPS forum back end for my site would be a god send.  But much more than that I need a core platform that doesn't cause my server to flake out when traffic spikes because all my members want to be online at the same time.

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On 9 September 2016 at 1:36 PM, m@t said:

@Brad Eden

social media is a very very important point of use - but here it is a small cliff that you get/keep the user to your community / website and not have the most of it on the social media channels 
For example there would be a social media stream addon great for ips which is 100% integrated and takes part of your website - there are some great resolutions at other systems & a lot of companies, media use this at their pages

maybe a little problem is too that the way of communities are moving from the old traditional way - and if you don't bring something new you will lose this part to other ways and this can be very very fast and a website is dead & you can delete it

That's a nice idea, an IPS Social Media Manager, which would facilitate and manage in and outgoing content intergration via various social media platforms, without having to pay for paid versions of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc.

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2 hours ago, The Old Man said:

That's a nice idea, an IPS Social Media Manager, which would facilitate and manage in and outgoing content intergration via various social media platforms, without having to pay for paid versions of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc.

++++++  
A lot of systems/php provider use/offer this - and it is really a great feature and looks great - at wordpress are some abolute great apps available and it is also possible to code with php but i have no time & try to learn how the IPS internal codes work  

Here are 2 great example

Social stream.jpgSocial stream 2.jpg

would be great if IPS @Lindy can think about it - or if they refuse this - maybe anyone of the developer can work on it (maybe @Adriano Faria @CodingJungle  ...) - i think a lot of clients are interessted here about this app

Edited by m@t
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On 2016-09-11 at 9:17 PM, The Old Man said:

I like to think of social media as more suited for quick, almost disposable content that doesn't matter as much such as a quick comment/opinion on a news event, with forums offering more useful, deeper or richer content. I think forums will always have a presence on the web.

I agree.  It's essentially impossible to have a meaningful debate on Twitter, Facebook, or even comments sections.

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On 2016-09-09 at 9:44 PM, Brad Eden said:

It largely depends on your audience or demo; 

Couldn't agree more.  Now granted, my sort of community (academic, arts & humanities, theory, literature, philosophy etc) is by no means the norm, but this sort of community emphasizes content perhaps in ways others don't.  A wave of snazzy new features actually turn many people off, as they just want to come to the site, navigate a familiar interface and get right to the intellectual content.  So there's an argument to be made for keeping things simple and straightforward, and for having the software become as invisible as possible.

But I do think that more time could be spent on streamlining core functions such as search (especially a Search function that searches manually-created Pages hint hint hint :thumbsup:).

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