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Interferon

Discord is killing our forum

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Posted (edited)

I recommend adding a good chat implementation to IPB. Our users requested a Discord server, and it's been successful. Too successful. People now hang out on our Discord server and post there instead of our own website.

There are three problems:

  • We want our users' content to be on our own website so it attracts more traffic.
  • Having Discord available discourages people from creating an account for our site, so we are losing customer data and the ability to sell them more products.
  • I don't like giving control of our community over to some third party that might go under, start charging us money, or delete our data for any arbitrary reason.

There are many bad chat applications our there. We used to use CometChat but it's buggy and they raised their prices ten times. I just visited the ArrowChat site and they can't even keep their SSL certificate up to date. IPS should be concerned about this, because I can see our forum dying off in real-time and the activity on Discord keeps going up. I'm not sure what to do. I want to delete our Discord server but I am afraid people won't move back to the forum. If the forum had a decent chat feature it would be easier to persuade our users to move back into our own system. I would actually not worry about voice or video at all, because no one in our community ever uses it.

Edited by Interferon

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Posted (edited)

IPS must provide instant interaction without reloading of pages and infinite scrolling, just like discord, vk, and any other modern website does.
Without this features using of IC is too slow and uncomfortable for users who ever tried discord/vk/discourse etc and we will loose them.

Edited by Mr 13

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Posted (edited)

It looks like Discord actually already charges community owners money or else you are blacklisted from search results:
https://blog.discordapp.com/empowering-developers-with-community-and-commerce-68d9c0712662

So now we have to pay them for the privilege of having them steal our user activity.

They also have a store for selling software. It's not hard to see which way this is going. They are trying to steer us into their system and charge 30% on all our sales. My alternative right now is to shut down the server without providing any viable alternative for chatting, and my users of course would think I was paranoid, irrational, etc.

Edited by Interferon

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Mr 13 said:

IPS must provide instant interaction without reloading of pages and infinite scrolling, just like discord, vk, and any other modern website does.
Without this features using of IC is too slow and uncomfortable for users who ever tried discord/vk/discourse etc and we will loose them.

I'm not so sure that's such a good idea. Most forums have themes/skins that can be quite heavy on CSS and images and such... If content keeps getting loaded I'd imagine that it would eventually slow down the browser. Especially for a topic with say... 400 pages of posts. I've already noticed this on some sites that use this feature already, when I get down to a certain point even on my desktop PC (Which is modest, but not by any means weak) it slows down my browser to the point that it's like a slideshow. I can only imagine how that would work on a mobile. 

And then how do you deal with new content? Does the site have to load all those posts before you even get to the last post? It's all well and good just saying "They should do this" but if you actually think about it, this kind of format has a whole host of technical problems in implementation and in real use scenarios. I suspect it'd require a radical overhaul of the GUI.  

If it was something that was done, it would need to be carefully considered for short topics and large topics alike; and don't even get me started on topics with loads of YouTube or picture links. Because if you use IPS's built in image proxy, for converting HTTP images to HTTPS via imageproxy.php. you can basically say good bye to your server resources whenever someone loads up the topic. I'm just not sure - personally - that forums are a good fit for this kind of thing. Or the many features that IPS has. 

But I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Edited by Tripp‚ėÖ

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49 minutes ago, Tripp‚ėÖ said:

I'm not so sure that's such a good idea. Most forums have themes/skins that can be quite heavy on CSS and images and such... If content keeps getting loaded I'd imagine that it would eventually slow down the browser.

This is not about loading the entire site but a bit like Activity Streams work. If there is new content, then it there is a a message about without reloading the page. If you click on the message, new content is loaded into the page. No reloading as well. And if you try a button "Load more activity" you will see that more old messages are shown (no reloading of complete page).

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I too miss the IPS chat facility. We now have a Discord server (just like everybody else) but it's very much not the days of old.

+1 for some kind of chat re-implementation, even if only a small, light and simple one. Don't need all the bells and whistles.

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Posted (edited)

So first and foremost I believe if Discord is killing your forum that is a little on the way you run your discord chat. I have been using discord personally since it basically came out. Per my check I've had a site Discord server for my site since June 16th, 2016. The onus is on you to create the separation of site and chat. Having a "chat option" on site is not going to help you with this. It may uptick your registrations because people want to join your chat (but unlikely) but overall you're not going to fix the obvious problem that you are having which is getting people to enjoy or use your site more.

First off, you need to make a larger separation. I have things in place for my staff to direct members to post on the site if a topic comes up that is relevant to the site or its topics. I also keep all questions to the site specifically. I have a questions room that exclusively redirects my users back to the site and is non-postable. Additionally, I've made a wall for users that aren't members by forcing new members to the discord to post their profile link to gain full access to the discord server. I also post things from my site into my discord server to get users attention back to the site at hand.

By using these methods personally I've lost no sleep over having a discord server because at the end of the day its just another feature of my site (like having a chat that's directly on site) that I use to chat with users off topic and that's all its meant for.

If you're looking to integrate discord onto your site to make it feel more like a chat I recommend looking into Titan Embeds or Widgetbot embeds. I personally don't use them as they are unnecessary for me but they may provide you with that "on site" chat feel that you want. It does not, by any means, change that users can join the chat and access your chat from the app though.

 

On 8/25/2019 at 4:46 AM, Interferon said:

It looks like Discord actually already charges community owners money or else you are blacklisted from search results:
https://blog.discordapp.com/empowering-developers-with-community-and-commerce-68d9c0712662

I'm not sure where I read that you're black listed from search results. For the most part discord chats aren't searchable in a list anywhere, you have to be invited period. That entire post is about game developers.

Edited by Morrigan

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, PoC2 said:

+1 for some kind of chat re-implementation, even if only a small, light and simple one. Don't need all the bells and whistles.

IPS could just make PM instant, like in vk.com, that's a good starting point for this kind of improvements. I hope they will.

Making of yet another chat is not good idea (they removed it because of constant decline in terms of popularity).

Instead, nowadays everything should work in chat-like instant manner, so chat as independent app just not needed. I hope in future they will put more effort on instant interaction (messaging) directly in all existing apps including PM and forums.

Edited by Mr 13

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I too didn't like switching to Discord after IPS discontinued the Chat module. Just for the same reasons the OP listed, I don't like Discord (although it didn't affect my community like the OP).

So, I recently got @onlyME ChatBox+ - it's actually better than IPS Chat ever was, and integrates seamlessly into the forums/my community. It is updated on a regular basis and support for it is stellar (sorry if this is sounding like a review), and gives me the control I want back over my community's chatting experience.

I'm going to be discontinuing my Discord soon now that I have ChatBox+, but I will say this - the key here is to sell this to your community as a positive move, and let them know that now a new, better solution has been implemented, the Discord chat will be discontinued at some point in the future, so your users know it's coming.

You'll likely get resistance, but if you can successfully sell the benefits of an integrated chat, you can make that transition and ditch Discord if that's what you'd prefer.

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20 hours ago, Morrigan said:

I'm not sure where I read that you're black listed from search results. For the most part discord chats aren't searchable in a list anywhere, you have to be invited period. That entire post is about game developers.

I can search for a game, see the result, and join it with no invitation, but our server is not searchable. So I am bringing traffic to Discord but they are failing to return the favor. You have to read between the lines of their carefully crafted PR speak:
 

Quote

Starting now, we’re mixing in some tapioca starch and thickening up Verified Servers for devs in a big way. For a small development fee, devs will have access to store channels and news channels. Once approved, they’ll receive a verified checkmark, get vanity perks, and appear in server discovery.

Translations: Pay us or you are blacklisted from search results.

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1 hour ago, Interferon said:

I can search for a game, see the result, and join it with no invitation, but our server is not searchable. So I am bringing traffic to Discord but they are failing to return the favor. You have to read between the lines of their carefully crafted PR speak:

It was always their Goal i.e. to make Discord popular and then go by their rules. ūüôā¬†It would be similar to Steam but much better.¬†

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On 8/27/2019 at 4:45 AM, Interferon said:

Translations: Pay us or you are blacklisted from search results.

Translation is be a developer of a game (which the whole platform was developed for) and get some special perks for being a dedicated game developer that partners with discord. There is no reading between the lines there. This isn't a "Lets find a random community directory" it's a directory dedicated to game developers that want to work with discord to host a community within discord.

You're not hosting a community within discord. If you were, you wouldn't be complaining about it dying ON discord. So what does their gaming community matter to you?

 

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Hard to believe it is almost 2020.... and we have to discuss why an instant messaging is necessary.....

Similar to Google Groups saying.... "who needs video?". ūüėČ

Oh right... for those who aren't dinosaurs yet... Google once had it's own forum software called Google Groups which for some reason it stopped improving about 20 years ago.

It tried Google + and failed..... 

I'm rethinking my entire hobby at this point....

signing off folks. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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1 minute ago, TheWorldNewsMedia.org said:

Hard to believe it is almost 2020.... and we have to discuss why an instant messaging is necessary.....

How IPS staff believe in the instant messaging is necessary, determine if we can get an IPS core software with instant message power or not 

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1 hour ago, TheWorldNewsMedia.org said:

Hard to believe it is almost 2020.... and we have to discuss why an instant messaging is necessary.....

Similar to Google Groups saying.... "who needs video?". ūüėČ

Oh right... for those who aren't dinosaurs yet... Google once had it's own forum software called Google Groups which for some reason it stopped improving about 20 years ago.

It tried Google + and failed..... 

I'm rethinking my entire hobby at this point....

signing off folks. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

You seem to be generally frustrated based on this and other posts, so I'd like to take a moment to take a step back with you.  

With all due respect, and this is an important message that any community admin needs to hear, installing a theme or a new app isn't going to make or break a community if you don't have the fundamentals of community building.  The fact that there are huge legacy boards on IPBoard 3, Vbulletin 3, and other legacy platforms is a testament that content and community will always trump technology.  Does that mean technology is irrelevant? No, because as time goes on it's like running with a handicap, but that doesn't mean you can't hop, skip, or drag yourself in the meantime.  

Every Invision admin needs to be able to answer the following questions in less than 5 seconds each: 

1. Does my community offer a unique and compelling value to the world?  

2. Is my community the very best in the world (or at least top 3 in the world) at that specific goal? 

3. If not, then what the hell am I doing to get there?? 

Can you answer those questions without skipping a beat? If not, then full stop.  Go back to the drawing board and figure out how you will offer unique and compelling functional value to the world.  Notice how none of those questions ask you what technology, what platform, or what add-on is needed.  What those questions do ask is the very heart of your community objectives and strategies.  Communities that can offer unique, compelling, and best-in-class content will thrive.  

For myself personally, I have three major multi-year initiatives to grow my community that I'm calling my Vision 2020 goals.  They're big, huge, scary goals to build up authoritative content in new areas and grow my community in meaningful ways.  On top of those long term projects, I always have a half dozen of smaller projects that clean-up or nurture existing sections.  There is literally so much to do, and not a single one of them worries about another platform.  Why? Because as long as I focus on driving unique and compelling value better than anyone else in the world, then the community and activity will follow.  

To be brutally candid (and this isn't directed at anyone in particular), if you're worried about XYZ platform, then you are not worried enough about your own community management goals to help distinguish and grow your own independent community.  

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I have about 1/2 million members in "My community" across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and my invision community.

I understand "communities" trust me.

But the frustrating part is... Invision Community doesn't offer the TOOLS to allow me to SEGREGATE my communities.

I am no longer in the mood to try to build up another top 1,000 URL in the world... I just want software where Atheists and Christians and everyone in between can coexist without stepping all over each other.

Clubs came close.... but recirculation failed us.

Thank god this is my hobby and not my living....

 

Oh... did I mention the missing Instant messaging, lack of an app for smartphones and the fact that the site breaks with every other upgrade?

Or that 1/2 the functionality of my site has to come from the marketplace plugins to do things that should be designed into the suite? (and when any upgrade fails the first thing they always tell you... "it must be a third party app causing it"

So close... yet so far....

 

I actually work in IT... I've seen this whole thing of programmers who say "see...it works!"..... and never look at the big picture.

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Discord frustrates me too as you can repeatedly ask people to do the support questions and stuff on the forums and it gets ignored. On the other hand people who wouldn't be active at all do something there at least. 

I hate that it's some 3rd party we have no control of (read the TOS/EULA...) but getting rid of it would unfortunately bring more trouble than benefits. And the competition who would still use it could make it a "selling point".

Yes, thinking of another ways to engage and grow the community is the only way I think... The problem is that most of the members don't give a flying damn and don't want to be active but you can't force them so you have to work with what you have.

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Our absolute number one aim with Invision Community is to provide a platform that enables rich discussion of a topic with permanence.

There are a hundred directions we could take our software, so we have to choose wisely.

Before we add major new functionality, we ask ourselves "does this enhance multi-person rich discussion of a topic or does it detract from it?"

I can see the value for a strong chat/instant messaging app for some communities. But for others it'll just cannibalise those rich discussions into instant chats which are then disposed. You will move your community from a state of permanence into social media where conversations are lost after a few hours.

Please do not assume that just because we do not do a thing, it means we don't care, or we haven't discussed it at length internally.

If you are screaming at us because our software doesn't provide the functionality you require, then perhaps you are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and you are now just hitting us with a hammer and demanding we make it fit.

If you need instant discussion and accept that discussion will become disposable, then you are probably better off with a Facebook Group.

best gif thumbs up GIF

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I had this concern as well, and I rectified it by integrating Discord directly into my website using an app in the marketplace here.

Members must have a registered and verified website account linked to their Discord.  This is the only way to receive an invite to the server which is randomly generated and unique to each member.  Anyone who attempts to join without an account, or without linking their Discord account on the website, is promptly kicked and a DM sent to them explaining why with a link to register to the website/link accounts. 

I have assigned read-only channels that update with new content as it's posted on the website respectively.  The updates provide a title and/or a tiny glimpse to what was posted that when clicked brings my members back to my website to interact with said content.  This is something some members love because we don't have an application and unless they're on the website, they don't receive their notifications until they revisit the site or check their email spam.  Think of it as a hacky way of getting push notifications.

Nothing in our Discord replaces anything on our website.  We make it very clear from the get that our server is a privilege, not a right, provided for our members to have casual conversation and post about things that aren't normally the topic of discussion in our community, which is art based, though we don't discourage talking about art if they want. We do not allow them to buy, sell, trade, etc. and even encourage them to self-promote their content from the website in multiple areas.

My VIP members receive a special Discord role as well,¬†which I have had some members tell me directly that they purchase a VIP subscription solely for the sake of vanity even if they don't really utilize other benefits.¬† Who doesn't like fancy colored usernames to stand out from the crowd.¬†¬†ūüėČ

This is 100% automated as well.  Discord is becoming a big part of a lot of people's lives no matter what type of community your roots are in, and I've learned from past mistakes that there's no point fighting change, you must adapt to it or be left behind.

Edited by Alismora

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8 minutes ago, Alismora said:

Discord is becoming a big part of a lot of people's lives no matter what type of community your roots are in …

We‚Äôll see. At the moment, I bet 9 out of 10 people in my communities haven‚Äôt even heard of Discord. And the 10th person probably knows it but doesn‚Äôt use it. ūüėȬ†

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@opentype¬† That's interesting, and I don't mean that sarcastically.¬† I have yet to find anyone who doesn't use it, let alone heard of it, but then again I am in a completely different demographic than¬†most people here.. which I might have made minor complaints about once or twice.¬†¬†ūüėÖ

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