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Prevent guests from seeing full size image


zyx
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Apologies if I am requesting something that already exists, but if it does, I really cannot find the setting for it.

It would be great to allow guests to view images at a smaller size, but when they click on them to view full size, ask them to login/signup.

I know vbulletin has this as this feature has made me register to several vbulletin sites in the past!

It would be great to save on bandwidth from guests (but without blocking their access to topics entirely) but also give an extra incentive for registering. 

Thanks.

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11 hours ago, Jordan Invision said:

Heyo! This sounds like a great plugin idea 💡 

Just out of curiosity, is there a reason this would be more suited to a plugin than a core feature? 

I was guessing this could be quite a widely used setting as it's both a bandwidth saver and an incentive to register - (although I admit I may be way off the mark and nobody else wants this) 😂 But I've definitely seen it put to good to use on quite a few other forums.

Edited by theipsguy
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We store the post content as already generated HTML, which means the same content is served to members and guests. In order to accomplish what is being asked here our options are limited, as such. We could in theory...

  • Link to a script that serves the image (instead of to the actual image), and let that script serve an error/alternative "no access" image to guests. Main con: you lose the benefit of using a CDN (such as Cloudfront) to serve your images.
  • Use javascript to provide an alternative experience for guests. Main con: simply disabling javascript circumvents the "protection", so it's not really that useful if you truly want to block guests from seeing the images.
  • Store different content for guests and members. Main con: you duplicate the bulk of your database, and all existing content would need to be rebuilt on upgrade.

Realistically there's not a great way to handle what you are asking for when you factor in other considerations as above.

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5 hours ago, theipsguy said:

a bandwidth saver and an incentive to register

I can see good reasons to want to only provide a preview, but nothing would make me go find another web site on the internet to find whatever it was I was looking for instead. I may be in the minority, but this "Experts Exchange" mode of teasing the content away and trying to force a registration is nails on a chalkboard, and unless you're the only game in town, I'd avoid doing this. This might not apply to highly motivated consumers for image content (i.e. adult content).

You can eliminate the bandwidth issue by going with a CDN like Cloudflare or Cloudfront. You can encourage registration by becoming the defacto source for whatever it is your community provides. You can protect resources by doing things like using feature images to show a snippet of a screenshot of what might be downloadable, and turning off attachments for guests altogether.

I'd venture to say that this is something that might backfire on you, and you'd not realize it until it was too late. Yet, caching multiple copies (guest & members) is how I'd engineer this. If this were a feature important to me, the extra cache space would be more than worth it.

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3 minutes ago, Paul E. said:

I can see good reasons to want to only provide a preview, but nothing would make me go find another web site on the internet to find whatever it was I was looking for instead. I may be in the minority, but this "Experts Exchange" mode of teasing the content away and trying to force a registration is nails on a chalkboard, and unless you're the only game in town, I'd avoid doing this. This might not apply to highly motivated consumers for image content (i.e. adult content).

You can eliminate the bandwidth issue by going with a CDN like Cloudflare or Cloudfront. You can encourage registration by becoming the defacto source for whatever it is your community provides. You can protect resources by doing things like using feature images to show a snippet of a screenshot of what might be downloadable, and turning off attachments for guests altogether.

I'd venture to say that this is something that might backfire on you, and you'd not realize it until it was too late. Yet, caching multiple copies (guest & members) is how I'd engineer this. If this were a feature important to me, the extra cache space would be more than worth it.

I tend to agree with you on this 🙏 

From a UX standpoint, if I saw an image as a guest but had to register to see it in full size I might be like 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

But at the same time I do get wanting people to register. I have a registration wall that pops up if guests try and read more than 2 topics in a day without an account. 

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Just now, Jordan Invision said:

I have a registration wall that pops up if guests try and read more than 2 topics in a day without an account. 

This is why I get all my Spears news from weightedrespiration.com.

Register to view, turn off your adblocker, and you've exceeded your free limit of things are maddening. Throw in a "this website wants to send your notifications" and I start setting things on fire.

merciless louise belcher GIF by Bob's Burgers

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1 minute ago, Paul E. said:

This is why I get all my Spears news from weightedrespiration.com.

Register to view, turn off your adblocker, and you've exceeded your free limit of things are maddening. Throw in a "this website wants to send your notifications" and I start setting things on fire.

merciless louise belcher GIF by Bob's Burgers


tenor.gif

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I'll register for something when it has clear utility or when it offers a compelling platform for engagement. I don't think there's a wholesale benefit to force people to sign up for something. Build something instead that they'd want to sign up for, and make the funnel for registration easy and painless. Answer: "What's in it for the person signing up?"

All communities are different though. What works at one might not work at another.

6 minutes ago, Kjell Iver Johansen said:

Kind of strange that vbulletin has this feature and that it is so diffucult here.

It's not difficult; it's just that there are engineering decisions to be made, with tradeoffs. I think it's more a function of the product maturity.

It could be just as challenging a thing for vBulletin developers to add something that may be present here. But moreso because the company they work for is garbage.

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37 minutes ago, Paul E. said:

I'll register for something when it has clear utility or when it offers a compelling platform for engagement. I don't think there's a wholesale benefit to force people to sign up for something. Build something instead that they'd want to sign up for, and make the funnel for registration easy and painless. Answer: "What's in it for the person signing up?"

All communities are different though. What works at one might not work at another.

Agree. My single most important plug-in is the one that hides links from guests. When I installed the plug-in several years ago the new users sign-up tripled. But off-course, signing up for a new site is one thing, another is if the will contribute to the community later on.

But the idea of just showing smaller images or maybe blurred images for guests appealed to me as well.

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1 hour ago, Jordan Invision said:

I tend to agree with you on this 🙏 

From a UX standpoint, if I saw an image as a guest but had to register to see it in full size I might be like 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

But at the same time I do get wanting people to register. I have a registration wall that pops up if guests try and read more than 2 topics in a day without an account. 

This confuses me a little, as a registration wall after viewing just 2 topics a day seems like it would be far more of a frustrating user experience than being prompted to signup for trying to view an attachment full size. But ultimately they're both just different ways of achieving the same goal: converting lurkers into actual members. Once they're registered, you have a much better chance of re-engaging them, or them actually participating and leaving replies/reactions etc. Sometimes they need a little extra incentive to join though, as if they can view literally everything without registering, then there's less need. 

1 hour ago, Paul E. said:

I'd venture to say that this is something that might backfire on you, and you'd not realize it until it was too late.

I agree with you that every site is different, and so this feature would only work if it were configurable. For example, it sounds like your main goal is you want as much traffic on your site as possible, but my goal is as many engaged community members as possible. 

Do I think I might lose a few guests who click away after getting prompted to register? Yes. But to be blunt, a guest who never registers isn't really bringing a lot to the site anyway (in fact they're just taking resources/bandwidth), so I absolutely believe the increase of registered users would be worth it.  

We have an images section of our forum, and as a trial we stopped allowing guests to open topics in that area, along with a custom error message about registering for unlimited access. In the following 24 hours, we had about 4 times the registrations we normally get - which sounds very similar to what @Kjell Iver Johansen mentioned.

I think a crucial point is we make registration incredibly quick and simple - I agree if the form looks like it's going to take 5 minutes to fill in then it's probably not going to work so well.

And of course, from a user perspective I do agree with you. I would obviously rather have as little friction as possible with everything, but sometimes we have to think from our 'evil admin' perspectives of doing what is best for the community overall.

I can honestly say there are 2 vbulletin forums that I joined specifically because I wanted to read the attachment image full size - but then because I then had an account, I ended up adding a few replies I probably wouldn't have bothered with otherwise, and before you know it you're part of the community and getting email updates etc. 

It would just be another useful way of getting more people signed-up and integrated into the community. Not for every site, but for certains sites I believe it'd be very useful. 

Having said all of that... it doesn't sound like it's realistic anyway. 😂 

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3 minutes ago, theipsguy said:

Not for every site, but for certains sites I believe it'd be very useful. 

Agree!

The level of realistic goes up proportional to the amount of demand for the feature. I imagine if some large whale of an enterprise client came up to IPS and asked for this to be added as contingent on some juicy CIC contract, it'd find its way in pretty quickly. We just need this to be important to that guy with the gaming forum thing. Where'd he go?

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3 hours ago, bfarber said:

Link to a script that serves the image (instead of to the actual image), and let that script serve an error/alternative "no access" image to guests. Main con: you lose the benefit of using a CDN (such as Cloudfront) to serve your images.

So it could be a setting for users not using a CDN? (I also wonder whether it would still work with something like cloudflare, which seems to work differently to a 'full CDN' like Cloudfront)

3 hours ago, bfarber said:

Use javascript to provide an alternative experience for guests. Main con: simply disabling javascript circumvents the "protection", so it's not really that useful if you truly want to block guests from seeing the images.

Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but this wouldn't be an issue at all for me. 

If someone really wants to go to the trouble of disabling javascript to view it full size, they could probably just register in the same amount of time. I can't imagine many users would even think to do that. But even if some did, it's not that I'm trying to completely block the images or anything, it was more about increasing registrations, with a possible bonus of less bandwidth/server strain in picture-heavy topics. 

3 hours ago, bfarber said:
  • Store different content for guests and members. Main con: you duplicate the bulk of your database, and all existing content would need to be rebuilt on upgrade.

 

I agree that doesn't sound worthwhile or practical.

And I get your point that it's not exactly straightforward either way, and so I really appreciate you taking the time to explain why. 

But for me at least, option 2 sounds good!

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1 hour ago, theipsguy said:

This confuses me a little, as a registration wall after viewing just 2 topics a day seems like it would be far more of a frustrating user experience than being prompted to signup for trying to view an attachment full size. But ultimately they're both just different ways of achieving the same goal: converting lurkers into actual members. Once they're registered, you have a much better chance of re-engaging them, or them actually participating and leaving replies/reactions etc. Sometimes they need a little extra incentive to join though, as if they can view literally everything without registering, then there's less need. 

Yea I feel you lol. It was a bit of a rollercoaster comment. Ultimately I do think that if you want to be able to control how images are shown in your community, you should have the freedom to do so. My sneaking suspicion is that this might be a good opportunity to create a plugin versus it being implemented into the core suite. Thoughts? 

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1 hour ago, Paul E. said:

Agree!

The level of realistic goes up proportional to the amount of demand for the feature. I imagine if some large whale of an enterprise client came up to IPS and asked for this to be added as contingent on some juicy CIC contract, it'd find its way in pretty quickly. We just need this to be important to that guy with the gaming forum thing. Where'd he go?

Ugh lol. I do feel confident that if there's real momentum behind community ideas that there will be changes/implementations :] 

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On 2/9/2021 at 4:52 PM, Jordan Invision said:

I have a registration wall that pops up if guests try and read more than 2 topics in a day without an account. 

Could you confirm what you're using to achieve this please? Is it a plugin from the marketplace?

And have you found it had any negative impact on SEO, or can you allow crawlers full access still? 

Thanks! 

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8 hours ago, theipsguy said:

Could you confirm what you're using to achieve this please? Is it a plugin from the marketplace?

And have you found it had any negative impact on SEO, or can you allow crawlers full access still? 

Thanks! 

Yes it is! It's this:


I will say that my forum had the most traffic it's ever had in a 30-day period this last month, so I definitely don't think it has hurt me. To the contrary! Sure, I get some people that complain about it, but it definitely has helped with registrations:

Screen Shot 2021-02-12 at 3.28.09 PM.png

 

Because guests / bots crawlers can view a few articles per day I don't believe it's had a negative impact 🙏 

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