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This is a carryover from the invisionalpha thread I made on this matter. Check there first before commenting here as there was a bit more added there and I don't want to have to re-cover everything unless it's a copy and paste from there.

IPB 4.5 is looking great! I'm stoked for it for sure. However even with all of the improvements I was surprised to see profiles are still as stagnant as ever. While I understand not everything could be covered in 4.5, not seeing some sort of profile update was a bit of a surprise.

We've all see the threads and posts about social media and forums. That while forums still serve a purpose, they seem to be losing the war to social media. A lot of ideas are floated around about how to change that such as you can log-in using social media, share stuff to social media, post links from social media, maybe gain a few social media type of features. But still it's just a bandaid. So where does the real problem lie? It lies with how forums are still stuck in an old way of thinking, as well as the fear of just becoming a social media knock off. VB, IPB, and Xenforo profiles are generally pretty blah. Most people tend not to really do much with them or pay attention to them in general.

When people come to a forum, they are generally limited to just what they see. The key is to engage them. Not just with content, but with each other. It's not always an easy task, but it can be done. Members should do more than just come to a forum for content or to share content. They should be able to engage with members on the forum, but also much more efficiently through the profile on a more personal level rather than just a basic one.

So how do you encourage members to do something with their profiles, while also getting other members to engage with them on their profiles. Part of this I believe lies in the postbit. It's being used wrong. 

Right now even with 4.5 when you hover on their username you get a generic popup with any header they have posted (which for many forums isn't often it seems), last visited, content count, joined, Message, Find, and Ignore User. All pretty generic and useless content overall.  Then you go to their profile and it's generally still pretty generic. Sure admins can make some uneven adjustments, but generally it's still not enough to engage the members to engage more directly with other members. Sure you can add a widget to the homepage showing latest statuses, posts, etc., but how many really pay attention to those?

The profile page and postbit could be used to better enhance member engagement on the forum, but also with each other. Content on the profiles should be more front and center rather than clicking a bunch of tabs. It should want to engage the other members that visit it. Forum owners could have the ability to drag and drop profile specific widgets similar to how Pages works, into specific blocks. 

The post bit should be a window into that profile. Rather than hovering on the name to see a generic useless profile info, why not click on the name that would bring that profile page into the current page? It could take up maybe 25% of the bottom part of the screen (though would be adjustable by owners), pushes the current page up or pops up over that bottom part, then when you are done you can click on the current page you are on and the profile page will drop back down. You're not leaving the page you're on, you're engaging not just in the existing thread but also that members profile. 

The postbit could also be used to share statuses and status updates on the fly. Remember, the profile is to reflect who the member is. Not that they are just a random name with no face. 

These are suggestions and ideas that should be looked at. Social Media is meant to bring people closer together, even if they disagree. Forums easily should be able to be that and more. And while some things could be done by CSS changes or what not to fix the profile issue, it will take some re-imagination on how to make it more than just a static page most people ignore and the closest they get to knowing other members are some random posts on forums. 

Just like with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others, you have a profile. You use that profile to share content but also to have others come to your profile and engage with you. Forums should be doing the same thing rather than just seeing profiles as a generic thing. Involve them. Bring them more front and center. I think it's time to take a closer look at them and how members can become more excited and engaged to use them. It benefits the forum as it not only keeps people on the forum a bit longer, but also helps create a more personal and social atmosphere. 

What are forums? Are they just a place for the faceless and rely on content posted by random members most will never get to really know? Are they meant to just be anonymous sources of info? Or do they help broaden the social aspect by engaging content AND social aspects of members? Time to start asking some of those questions. What is the purpose of the profile page? How can it be used to better motivate members and help create a more social atmosphere? Etc Etc. 

It's absolutely time to re-evaluate their role on forums. I see tons of potential with them and member engagement on the forums but also amongst each other. 


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Anything that can be done to personalize the Profile page would be an added bonus to the what is already an incredible system with what IPB offers.

We do go to forums to discuss topics, but once I've read a comment I like, especially from a new member, I do want to know more about them. This is where I could get ...

3 hours ago, breatheheavy said:

instantly taken into their world

if once I visited their profile page, I could get a better understanding of who they are, what they like, their passions, interests, and more. But most importantly presented to me in style, their style. Each profile page could be unique, as unique as each individual on a forum is.

A Couple Suggestions. 

Integrate the BLOG application in a limited state for the Forum. The new default tab on a profile page instead of being Activity, could be Blog. Members would be able to create content-rich blogs to any length, that would be displayed in condensed, truncated blocks, so they are all the same size, and could include pagination in case they have a lot. Once you click on one of these blog entries, it either opens in a new page, or opens in full right there on their profile page. 

Just as we as admins can Manage Blocks on the forum, pages, etc, make it so members can Manage Blocks designated for them. NO HTML ones of course. Have "Profile Builder Widgets" similar to these:

These could be custom widget blocks made only for Profile pages. This way they set up their profile page and display things they like, how they want, in whichever colors they'd like, etc.

Maybe place a Video Block on the left, they can add a title to it, color the title, change font, size, etc. Have a Image block, where they can place a single image with a header maybe, have the image show in full size with lightbox, if they want, they get some control settings too. Give them the option to link to their Album in the Gallery. Have a slider showing thumbnails of their other photos, when they click one it shows in the main box, in a bigger size. 

Have a text widget block so they can give it a title and say anything they'd like.

My Favorite TV Show at the Moment

Book I Last Read

Movie I'm Looking Forward To Seeing

Instead of us creating custom Profile fields, let me them basically show/display what they would like to express.

A Recent Posts widget, or basically let them highlight posts, instead of Our Picks, give them a My Picks block. They can either highlight some posts they've created or posts from others they have participated in and want others to know about. 


@TheJackal84 definitely understands how to give a profile page some unique customization, he is offering some GREAT plugins:

Profile Backgrounds
Profile Songs
Profile Video


I can go on and on, but basically an integrated Blog style feature for Profile pages with modular blocks they can arrange and manage and completely customize to their liking. It's funny because instead of calling it their Profile page, they could call it *MySpace, which is exactly what it would be. Their own personal space to set up as they wish.

*That name does sound familiar. 😉


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Well here we are. A total turn around from friends to followers. Yea @Lindy and a few others are going to attack this but when it comes down to it people quit looking up profile because who wants to be a follower in the first place. People like making friends and yes some like adversaries as well. But who truly wants to be known as a follower or worse yet a statistic. 

Profiles were meant to be a mini members introduction and information page. One member could look into another's profile and see what information they were interested in. A choice could be made at that point whether or not a collaborator like friendship could be made. Then comes the GDPR and California which totally tore into profiles of what can and cannot be displayed in European or California forums.... What a Joke. What forum software has to appease Social media especially Facebook gets away with After all truth be known there is not anything I can't find out about another on Facebook with a little digging and following right down to idiotic political views.

You want a working usable profile and forum try making friends.

13 hours ago, breatheheavy said:

Everything you wrote 👏 

When I'm on Instagram and I see someone's comment or photo I like, I click their username to check out their profile and am instantly taken into their world. 

I think the Connections app by @Andy Millne was a step in the right direction.


@breatheheavy This really should part of the suite operation and not so much a plugin.

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