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PAGES: 'Copy to Database' Improvement Suggestions

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Hi guys

Long time InvisionCommunity user, almost-first-time poster. ūüôā¬†I've been using this software to power my community forums for about 15+ years now and I'm looking to take the next step by building an integrated site for my users. I recently purchased the Pages app to experiment with it - the idea is that, one day, I might migrate a long-running Wordpress blog into Pages. With that in mind, I had a few ideas that would greatly help with improving workflow and ensure more consistent connectivity between Forums and Pages. I hope you'll consider them!

To keep things concise, my ideas here are focused on the 'Copy to Database' feature of Pages (I do have other ideas but this is the biggest area of concern for me - I'll post the other suggestions in a separate thread).


My Setup

  • In AdminCP > Pages > Databases > Articles > Forums, 'Post Topic' and 'Use Forum For Comments' are enabled.
  • Post Topic is enabled because not every article we write will be sourced from a forum topic or Copied to Database, and we want to make sure that all news stories we write have an associated topic posted (i.e. if a topic does not exist already, we want to create a topic, but if a topic¬†does¬†exist we want to Copy to Database and use that particular topic as the news story's associated topic)
  • Use Forum for Comments is enabled because we want to always marry the comments in news stories with the replies in the associated topic. We never want this feature to be disabled.


My Scenario

  • A regular user in my community discovers some interesting news that they may have read elsewhere, and posts a topic on a particular forum.
  • A member of my community's "News Team" usergroup sees this topic, notices that our Articles database has yet to cover this news topic.
  • The News Team member chooses to 'Copy to Database' the original topic.
  • The original topic is written in a way that works fine for a community environment, but it needs editing in order to read well as a news article. So the News Team member modifies the original topic content to suit the tone of voice we want to present within our news stories.


The Issues

  1. When the News Team member posts the news story, a duplicate topic is made (in the forum selected in AdminCP). This has the result of confusing the community as there are now two separate topics in which to submit replies/comments to.
  2. When rebuilding synchronised topic content, the original topic's content is modified to match that of the news story which was created from it. This is not desired behaviour; if copied to database, the expectation is that the original topic remains the same, with any edits made for the news story living solely on the page record/database.
  3. There's no topic meta to illustrate to users on the forum that a news story was created from it.


The Solutions:

1. 'Post Topic' Override (per Record basis)


A simple checkbox could be added to a record creation page, if the 'Post Topic' setting is enabled for that database in AdminCP. What this will do is ensure that a topic is not created when the record is created. This will be useful for users who want to use an existing topic as the basis for a record's comments/replies without splintering it into a duplicate topic elsewhere. However, some users might find posting a duplicate topic useful (for instance, they might want to dedicate a specific forum for record entries), which is why having this as an ad-hoc option is the best solution here.


2. AdminCP-level Option to Keep Topic/Record Content Separate


Provide a toggle which allows the content in the Original Topic to remain unaffected/does not sync with the copy written in the Page content. I would have thought that this would be standard behaviour, so it's surprising that it's not. I doubt many community members would appreciate their topics being edited without their consent, so this option would fix that issue. This could be a new setting added to AdminCP, which applies to all records made in a database (as illustrated above).


3. Add Topic Meta to Copied Topics

Upon using 'Copy to Database', have a setting/toggle (default setting: On) that automatically inserts a new Topic Meta box in the original/source topic, detailing that a user has used the thread as a basis for a new 'record/story/article'. Clicking the Meta box could dynamically expand it, revealing an excerpt of the new story/record/article (Title, Author, Date, Excerpt, Link to Full Article). Some ideas as to how that would look like below.

Idea 1:


Idea 2:


This could also be a setting in the Database options page in AdminCP. A feature like this would be a more elegant solution when copying topics to databases, instead of simply syncing the topic content and record content to be identical. It can also allow users who create interesting topics to see that their posts have been considered worthy of interest from the moderation/news team. You could even tie Achievements/Points/Rewards to this - users who create topics that a moderating team deems interesting for a story, could be awarded points for 'sourcing' the content.


Hopefully these suggestions are worth considering and implementing in a future update. I know the next update of the Core app is at the forefront of the development team's minds right now, but I think these would be great QOL updates for the Pages app that can make it even more unified with the Forums/Core. Thanks for reading!

Edited by Dreadknux
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Really enjoying the release of 4.6, now that it's released I wanted to re-suggest this as an important feature to consider for a next version of the Pages app. I think it would really help integrate the Core app and Pages app further, in a way that other solutions (i.e. XenForo + Wordpress bridge - which I'm looking into as an alternative) will be unable to. I'd really love to have a one-stop shop for my users to view and comment on news and forums using a consistent design and account system, and the above suggestions would go far to making Pages the perfect app for this.

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  • 7 months later...

Any chance someone from Invision Community team offer some feedback/thoughts on this? Whether it will be considered, and if so what the roadmap looks like for this? I think it will be an incredibly useful feature that will enhance your Pages app significantly. Appreciate the time in reading this.

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  • 1 year later...

I wanted to revisit this topic as I've recently been using the 'Copy to Database' system on a live community situation and have been polling feedback on how it works. For context, I ended up using a plugin to sort of 'hack' my way around the suggestions made in the OP - so with the plugin installed, using 'Copy to Database' will 100% prevent the original topic content being overwritten by the resulting Pages record that is written from it. However, the link between Page and Topic is still established, meaning comments and replies are still synced.

What I am now interested in exploring/suggesting, is a means to allow the Topic OP to be overwritten by the Page Record content after all... but instead MIGRATE the Topic OP content into its own new Topic/Comment meta that is inserted into the top of the comment/reply list.

I've mocked up an example just to illustrate what I mean. First, this is the original Topic, before it is made into a Pages Record using Copy to Database:

Could contain: File, Webpage

Next, I Copy this to Database and rewrite the entire post copy, to suit my own site's needs as I see fit. Below is a mockup of that Page record being published.

Could contain: Animal, Mammal, Rodent, Rat, Squirrel

And below is a mockup of how I imagine my new suggestion would look like on the original topic. Note that the OP has been changed to sync correctly with the Page Record, but the original topic content has been saved and inserted into the topic as a Meta so as not to lose any context from the following replies/discussion.

Could contain: File, Webpage, Animal, Lion, Mammal, Wildlife

It could also be inserted at the top of the Page Record's Comments section too, so that it can be visible and highlighted. Perhaps there could be a way for that OP content to be edited within the Post editor page as well? But that's the general idea that I'm having with this thing now.

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