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Hey Invision fam, I'm interested in contributing blog posts to Invision related to either community building, social media and/or handy features in Invision. 

Before I put pen to paper, err... finger to keyboard, I wanted to loop you guys in and see if you had any suggestions/ideas for blogs you'd enjoy reading.

These future stories will be fun, digestible content, but before I dive in I'd love your input!

Drop me a line in the comments 🙏 

 

Just as a little FYI, I'm Invision's new Community Advocate. More on that here.

 

Let me know!

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  • Matt pinned this topic

Reposting here, for the kids not in the cool club:

Can Jordan Jig It?

rube goldberg loop GIF by Slanted Studios

In this weekly series, Invision's own Mr. Invision, @Jordan Invision, takes a deep dive into building real-world solutions using nothing but two sticks of gum, a paperclip, VS Code, and the IPS documentation and developer guides.

There's no better way to improve your documentation than to ask someone to use nothing but it to solve the world's greatest problems. We'll gather up a list of commonly asked user stories and challenges, he'll walk us through the process, include step-by-step guides on how to achieve the end results, and find and correct the documentation gaps that inevitably exist.

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You could write up about the lamentable help guides which are anything but helpful to those wanting to learn how things work in the IPS arsenal.  For example, there are very few real-world examples of 'how to' - to further this look at custom fields, there is a brief look but no real examples of how you would put those custom fields to use in templates, in various locations and uses etc.  Anyone wanting to learn would need to understand (or be experts) in PHP, HTML, etc when all they want is to add a custom field in a forum, or pages, or a blog.

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15 hours ago, MEVi said:

Hello,

Talk about the future developments that will be in the next version. You have also changed the system for the support, we should talk about why? ...

We will def have development updates for you guys! We were thinking of creating more bite-sized content that includes updates so you're in the loop more frequently. For example instead of waiting for a blog post with 10 development updates, we create a string of Topics here in the forum for you guys to sink your teeth into.

As for the changed support system, that is an exxcceellenntt idea. Noted!! 🙏 

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15 hours ago, Paul E. said:

We'll gather up a list of commonly asked user stories and challenges, he'll walk us through the process, include step-by-step guides on how to achieve the end results, and find and correct the documentation gaps that inevitably exist.

I know you were low-key joking but also this is a pretty great idea 😆 

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9 hours ago, Davyc said:

You could write up about the lamentable help guides which are anything but helpful to those wanting to learn how things work in the IPS arsenal.  For example, there are very few real-world examples of 'how to' - to further this look at custom fields, there is a brief look but no real examples of how you would put those custom fields to use in templates, in various locations and uses etc.  Anyone wanting to learn would need to understand (or be experts) in PHP, HTML, etc when all they want is to add a custom field in a forum, or pages, or a blog.

I see what you're saying. Essentially, simplify and condense certain important processes so someone with only a little understanding would be able to follow along and understand. Am I accurate in saying that based off your comment? 

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5 hours ago, bfarber said:

As an old person here, you could explain how you choose the most appropriate memes for every situation. Meme images to steer clear of, whether to use the built in giphy integration or fetch memes manually from third party sources, those sorts of things. It would be a fascinating read.

john mulaney snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

The Invision team getting blasted with memes, GIFs and emojis once I signed on 

200.gif

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12 minutes ago, Jordan Invision said:

I see what you're saying. Essentially, simplify and condense certain important processes so someone with only a little understanding would be able to follow along and understand. Am I accurate in saying that based off your comment? 

Speaking for myself (while cleverly hijacking your exchange with @Davyc), I find that what I'm usually missing - whether in trying to follow the guides or in getting advice from other users - is that I lack the "connector" knowledge that will allow me to implement the advice. I know a smattering of self-taught stuff about website making and administration, HTML, CSS, and a few other things one will find in a tech-knowledge junk drawer. However... I majored in music. What I know about this kind of thing is generally stuff I cobbled together in the pursuit of trying to complete past projects with no money and no one to learn from.

So when I describe what I'm trying to achieve, I get answers that are entirely accurate and reasonable, but they tend to assume that my knowledge base has a direct connection from point A to point B, when in fact, there's a sinkhole somewhere between those two points for me.

Actual footage of my attempts to fill in the blanks and make the solutions work: 

computer monkey GIF

So... yeah, I forgot what I was trying to ask for. I guess, ways to help people succeed with customizing their forums when they don't have quite the right level of knowledge to just pick up and run with the stuff that's in the guides?

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2 minutes ago, Moonbeam said:

Speaking for myself (while cleverly hijacking your exchange with @Davyc), I find that what I'm usually missing - whether in trying to follow the guides or in getting advice from other users - is that I lack the "connector" knowledge that will allow me to implement the advice. I know a smattering of self-taught stuff about website making and administration, HTML, CSS, and a few other things one will find in a tech-knowledge junk drawer. However... I majored in music. What I know about this kind of thing is generally stuff I cobbled together in the pursuit of trying to complete past projects with no money and no one to learn from.

So when I describe what I'm trying to achieve, I get answers that are entirely accurate and reasonable, but they tend to assume that my knowledge base has a direct connection from point A to point B, when in fact, there's a sinkhole somewhere between those two points for me.

Actual footage of my attempts to fill in the blanks and make the solutions work: 

computer monkey GIF

So... yeah, I forgot what I was trying to ask for. I guess, ways to help people succeed with customizing their forums when they don't have quite the right level of knowledge to just pick up and run with the stuff that's in the guides?

I hear ya. Sounds like simplifying certain processes is important. 

The biggest hurdle that first comes to mind is prioritizing what processes we would want to look at first considering there's, like, a bajillion things one can do with Invision 😂

In other words, you read certain documentation, but it doesn't make sense mainly because it's slightly too complex, is that right? Also, can you point out a specific example for me please 🙏 

Also, props on majoring in music 👏  music is a big part of my life and my own Invision Community =]

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11 hours ago, Jordan Invision said:

Also, can you point out a specific example for me please 🙏 

This is an example of the guide:

This is an example that doesn't follow the above example:

{{$fields = $movie->customFields();}}
                {{if $fields['field_3']}} 
                {{$MyRating = $fields['field_3'] / 20;}}
                {{$averageReview = $movie->averageReviewRating();}}

                {{if $averageReview != 0 and $MyRating != 0}}
                {{$totalRating = ($averageReview + $MyRating) / 2;}}

                {{elseif $averageReview == 0 and $MyRating != 0}}
                {{$totalRating = $MyRating;}}

                {{elseif $averageReview != 0 and $MyRating == 0}}
                {{$totalRating = $averageReview;}}

The above is actually in use on my site but was done by someone else who kindly got into the templates and made those changes after adding the custom fields in the ACP.  It uses a different approach to the above, so it would be great if something like the above could be exampled in a real use situation explaining the logic and syntax so it can be understood by someone who would like to be able to do this but doesn't have the knowledge or expertise.  Many of us can absorb knowledge if it's explained.

Hope that illustrates what we're driving at (my bad if it doesn't lol) 🙂

 

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7 hours ago, Davyc said:

This is an example of the guide:

This is an example that doesn't follow the above example:


{{$fields = $movie->customFields();}}
                {{if $fields['field_3']}} 
                {{$MyRating = $fields['field_3'] / 20;}}
                {{$averageReview = $movie->averageReviewRating();}}

                {{if $averageReview != 0 and $MyRating != 0}}
                {{$totalRating = ($averageReview + $MyRating) / 2;}}

                {{elseif $averageReview == 0 and $MyRating != 0}}
                {{$totalRating = $MyRating;}}

                {{elseif $averageReview != 0 and $MyRating == 0}}
                {{$totalRating = $averageReview;}}

The above is actually in use on my site but was done by someone else who kindly got into the templates and made those changes after adding the custom fields in the ACP.  It uses a different approach to the above, so it would be great if something like the above could be exampled in a real use situation explaining the logic and syntax so it can be understood by someone who would like to be able to do this but doesn't have the knowledge or expertise.  Many of us can absorb knowledge if it's explained.

Hope that illustrates what we're driving at (my bad if it doesn't lol) 🙂

 

Appreciate that example, thank you! 

I totally agree with this "Many of us can absorb knowledge if it's explained."

As someone who is not a developer, but an Invision client, some times I can feel a bit overwhelmed or lost. Which is why I love this idea of simplifying certain processes. Wondering if the example above is a problem members run into frequently or perhaps this is a one-off issue? Wondering what the community has to say about that. 

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2 hours ago, Jordan Invision said:

As someone who is not a developer, but an Invision client, some times I can feel a bit overwhelmed or lost.

This is why I think it'd be great if you were in the position of blogging your attempts at administering and extending the platform. What's the experience for a non-developer/non-expert trying to create a template modification, or setup a dev environment, or use the documentation to craft a basic application or plugin? You have the experience of a community leader who will have clear asks. I'd really like my community to have feature X.

Were you to go through that process, document lessons learned, and share the results, I think that would be a great way to find opportunities in what's out there now in terms of documentation, highlight for others the thought process and challenges you had in going about doing it, and create a library of examples that others can build from and use to get started. It's win-win-win. Wasn't a low key joke at all. Except for the part about the name, and only slightly.

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1 hour ago, Paul E. said:

This is why I think it'd be great if you were in the position of blogging your attempts at administering and extending the platform. What's the experience for a non-developer/non-expert trying to create a template modification, or setup a dev environment, or use the documentation to craft a basic application or plugin? You have the experience of a community leader who will have clear asks. I'd really like my community to have feature X.

Were you to go through that process, document lessons learned, and share the results, I think that would be a great way to find opportunities in what's out there now in terms of documentation, highlight for others the thought process and challenges you had in going about doing it, and create a library of examples that others can build from and use to get started. It's win-win-win. Wasn't a low key joke at all. Except for the part about the name, and only slightly.

I like this a lot. Do you have any specific examples in mind? I can't recall any time I've needed to create a template modification. I do recall once wanting to set up a test site for upgrading to the latest version of IPB, but that process seemed arduous that I actually "risked" it and just made backups and went for the upgrade. Fortunately, it went off without a hitch. Something like that? 

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1 hour ago, Jordan Invision said:

Do you have any specific examples in mind?

Oh, hundreds. But! Here's two to start:

  1. Setting up a local dev and test copy of IPS. Bonus points if you build it in a virtualized/containerized way. This is the basis of everything one needs to develop new templates/plugins/applications/translations/etc., and test things out without running the risk of impacting their production community.
  2. Building a public facing feature request tracker for IPS using Pages. Collect votes from customers on utility of a feature, commenting, status/roadmaps, etc.
1 hour ago, Jordan Invision said:

I do recall once wanting to set up a test site for upgrading to the latest version of IPB, but that process seemed arduous that I actually "risked" it and just made backups and went for the upgrade. Fortunately, it went off without a hitch.

Exactly. This is something that has no reason to be arduous, so as you find the pain points, you can identify where there are gaps in the documentation, leverage your relationships with IPS developers, and fill in the gaps with a guide that other customers will be able to follow step by step and it won't feel so insurmountable.

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15 minutes ago, Paul E. said:

Oh, hundreds. But! Here's two to start:

  1. Setting up a local dev and test copy of IPS. Bonus points if you build it in a virtualized/containerized way. This is the basis of everything one needs to develop new templates/plugins/applications/translations/etc., and test things out without running the risk of impacting their production community.
  2. Building a public facing feature request tracker for IPS using Pages. Collect votes from customers on utility of a feature, commenting, status/roadmaps, etc.

Exactly. This is something that has no reason to be arduous, so as you find the pain points, you can identify where there are gaps in the documentation, leverage your relationships with IPS developers, and fill in the gaps with a guide that other customers will be able to follow step by step and it won't feel so insurmountable.

On the surface this sounds like a big undertaking, however I do believe it would be invaluable. I will digest this and relay to the team to see their thoughts 🙏 

Appreciate the examples. The dev environment setup guide would be 💯 

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12 hours ago, SammyS said:

You guys receives a lot of feedback from others admins.
People likes histories about success. I´d love to read, for example, how some guys used Clubs to create microcommunities... Thats kind of things are inspiring as well as informative

I do think a story about clubs would be super valuable 👏 Thanks for the idea/input!!

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Think about what makes a community successful and how a person without the experience of managing and administering a community might not have that innate knowledge. Onboarding both members and administrators.

Start with the basics. The Help Guides tell you what options there are, but they don't help guide the important factors to consider when thinking about what a setting should be or how something should be configured. Draw connections between what your goals may be with your community, and the configuration decisions that best enable getting there.

A new administrator too often will enable something or configure something because of the technical novelty of it. A good recent example was the thread statistics sidebar. Just because something is there doesn't make it useful or appropriate when considered in line with the culture and direction of a community.

The successes of communities and the ability for IPS to translate features into culture only serves to increase the successes of the company and its clients.

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Common knowledge is "pay for Google ads and make money" and it's totally wrong.

Mailing lists and affiliate systems are probably 10000% more powerful than shouting into the wind on Twitter.

Keep this in mind and maybe attend some startup events, get advice starting from this mindset, and find out how things are really done. That information would be extremely useful.

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