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  1. One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can! Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6. We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways. Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules! Here’s what you need to know... Points Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community. Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!! This is done through creating Rules. Rules Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel. Here are what members can earn Points for: When a... Member joins a club Reaction is given New poll is created User follows a content item Review is posted Member logs in for the first time that day New club is created Content item/comment is promoted or featured Comment/reply is posted User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc User votes on a poll User is followed New content item is posted Post is marked as best answer There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above. When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens. Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded. Badges Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges. For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days. Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created. Ranks In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements. Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system* Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated. Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment. Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community: There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn? When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have. Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
    73 points
  2. As we approach the release of Invision Community 4.6, I wanted to take you through some improvements for using Invision Community on a mobile device. Web push notifications For some time, we've used the local browser notification API to show users notifications. There's a big drawback though: users had to have the site open in a tab for these to work. This is particularly problematic for mobile devices. In 4.6, we've added support for the WebPush API, which allows sites to push notifications to users' browsers & devices even if the site isn't open - or even if the device is asleep. We already have support baked in for push notifications via our beta mobile app, so we've piggy-backed on that system and expanded it to support browser-based push notifications. Choosing push notifications For users, it's a simple process. A little while after joining a community they will prompted to accept notifications from the site when they open the notification list dropdown (or they can opt-in any time from the notification settings screen). After accepting, they will be able to choose a "Notification List + Push" option for any of the available notification types. Push notifications enabled Existing users, who may have already granted permission to the site in the past, will be re-prompted to accept push notifications upon logging in after the 4.6 upgrade. Push notifications typically show on the homescreen of a phone or in the notification tray of a desktop computer, so receiving dozens of notifications could be overwhelming. For that reason, Invision Community will automatically merge related notifications - for example, multiple mentions from the same topic, or multiple new topics from the same forum. Grouped push notifications And, of course, users can stop push notifications across all of their devices with a single click if they want to opt out. We're excited about the engagement potential of push notifications, since they allow you to immediately reach users who aren't currently on your site - a job previously left to email alone. On the subject of notifications, one more thing: we've heard your feedback about notifications for new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6. We're acutely aware that making notifications annoying results in users turning them off, so we're always looking to ensure there is a reasonable balance. Splash Screen Images When you add a website to your phone's desktop, it appears like a native app. Tapping to launch the site can show a blank screen for a few seconds while the website is loaded. Fortunately, you can now set a 'splash' image in the Admin CP which is shown when launching the app. Sharing using native share options Another enhancement coming in 4.6 is the addition of the device share sheet when sharing content from within Invision Community. Users will now see a "More Sharing Options" button (providing their device/browser supports the underlying API) which, when tapped, will open the device share sheet. The options available depend on the device, but typically include actions like sharing links in WhatsApp, posting to Facebook or creating a note. Offline support With a larger share of users now using mobile devices for most of their browsing comes the problem of patchy phone signal and internet connections dropping out. For a dynamic web-based platform like Invision Community, it's difficult to offer much in the way of full offline support, but starting in 4.6 we will present a branded offline page to users when they have no internet connection and try to access the community. We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!
    44 points
  3. The support tool has served us well for many years. You can identify, at a glance, potential issues with your community both presently and down the road, right from the comfort of your AdminCP, and you can often resolve those issues with just a few clicks. But what if we could do better? What if we could make this useful administrative area of the software even more useful? The next version of Invision Community introduces a new "Health Dashboard" which replaces the previous support tool and helps you get a better overview of potential issues within your community while retaining all of the functionality you've come to know and rely on to resolve issues with your community. When you launch the new health dashboard, the first thing you will notice is that the previous "Wizard" process is now gone, in favor of a single page giving you access to everything you might want or need. Central to the page are blocks that identify specific areas of your community, server, and configuration which could be problematic now or in the future. Invision Community will check for available updates, modified source files, server software configuration issues, whether your server is running required and/or recommended versions of important software and more. Additional checks and recommendations have been added to this page, to help identify other adjustments that could benefit or prevent harm to your community. Issues are color coded and classified as informational, recommended, or critical and a summary is provided at the top of the page with an easy "check again" button which will do so without taking you away from the screen. If we become aware of an issue, we can quickly notify communities through a bulletin which will be displayed in the "Known Issues" block on this page. These bulletins can also trigger AdminCP notifications, however they will continue to show on the Health Dashboard so long as they are relevant, even when the AdminCP notification is dismissed. A graph showing system, error and email error log activity has been added to the page to help you identify spikes in logged issues. Commonly, if an issue begins to surface on your community there will be an increase in these types of error logs, so the graph here is intended to allow you to identify an increase in these logs, allowing you to investigate and react quicker. The right-hand sidebar surfaces common tools you may need to access. The first block allows you to see our most recently featured guides, as well as search our documentation. While this functionality was available in the existing support tool, we found that it was rarely used because people more often visited the tool to allow the software to check for common issues, and the ability to search the documentation required a separate work flow through the support wizard. With the block always available (and searches performed "live" via AJAX), we expect users will find the ability to search our documentation from the AdminCP much more useful now. Next up, the Tools and Diagnostics block gives you access to common tools you may need to use. You can quickly clear your system caches, as well as access phpinfo, the SQL toolbox (for self-hosted clients only), and disable all third party customizations. The process and behavior for disabling customizations is very similar to the existing process within the support tool, with the list of customizations disabled opening in a modal window and the ability to re-enable all customizations, or selectively re-enable individual customizations, still available. Disabling customizations is still simple Finally, the ability to submit a support ticket is still available right from this screen. Upon clicking the button to submit a support ticket, you will be presented with a form inside a modal dialog that behaves very similarly to the existing form with one minor but useful addition: if there are any patches not yet installed on the community, you will be alerted to this right on the form before submitting your ticket. Think of this as one last reminder that your issue may already be solved by installing any available patches before reaching out to us for official technical support. Submitting a support ticket is still just a few clicks away We believe the improved workflow and user experience will help administrators and support technicians alike more quickly identify any issues that need addressing on the community.
    40 points
  4. Matt

    What's new in 4.6.0?

    Well, friends, what a journey we've been on since we started work on Invision Community 4.6.0. With 11 developers accumulating 934 commits over 3,157 files changing 120,281 lines of code, we're ready to show it to the world. Along with over 260 bug fixes, this new release contains some great new functionality. Let's take a look at what's new. Achievements Achievements, badges, ranks, rules, gamification, whatever you want to call it, this is the most significant feature for Invision Community 4.6.0. This brings a whole new level of earning and showing trust to other members while gently nudging more quality contributions to your community. Zapier integration Do you want new member registrations to magically appear in a Google spreadsheet? Perhaps you want members who opt-in for newsletters to be added to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. Cloud and Enterprise customers can do all this and more without writing a single line of code, thanks to Zapier. Web app and push notifications We took the time to round out our PWA (progressive web application) framework for 4.6.0 to include service workers, push notifications and more. I barely understand it, but Rikki takes you through the changes in our blog entry. Anonymous posting For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community. Solved content In Invision Community 4.6.0, we have rounded out our "solved" feature by allowing the feature to be enabled on a regular forum, along with notifications, statistics and more. Show when a team member has replied When you're scanning a list of topics, it's helpful to know when a community team member has replied, as these replies tend to have more authority and are more likely to resolve an issue. 4.6.0 adds a feature to show when a member of the team has replied. Health dashboard As Invision Community is a top of the line community platform with excellent developers and an amazing QA team, it's unlikely ever to go wrong. On the infrequent occasions that you need to identify potential issues within your community, the new health dashboard makes it easier to diagnose problems and request support. Spam improvements Our Enterprise customers run very visible and very busy communities. One of the pain points they had was identifying and limiting the annoyance of spam within the community. We created a new round of improvements based on that feedback to mitigate spam, and these changes are available to all Invision Community owners with 4.6.0. Cloud and Enterprise customers will also benefit from multiple under-the-hood optimisations for our cloud platform, including better caching of resources for faster response times. Let me know in the comments which feature you're looking forward to the most!
    29 points
  5. For a long time, Invision Community has supported a Question and Answer mode within the Forums application which allows a reply to be flagged as the "best answer" to the question posed. With the release of 4.5, we also introduced a way to allow topics to be marked as "solved" which introduces similar functionality without transforming the look and feel or other behavior of the forum itself. Based on the popularity of this new addition in 4.5, we have made some further improvements to solved topics and answered questions in our next release. Notification to topic/question starter While notifications were available to the poster who answered a question or solved a topic with the release of 4.5, this release also adds notifications for the topic or question starter so that they can be made aware that an answer is available to their question. Topic and question starters now get notifications for solutions AdminCP Statistics Solved topics and answered questions provide for measurable statistics that can help you determine the health and direction of your community, particularly for support communities. To that end, we have introduced two new content statistic blocks that can help you measure how well areas of the community that support answers and solutions are faring. New AdminCP statistics You can now quickly see the percentage of topics/questions that have been solved (relative to the total number posted in areas that support solutions), as well as the average time it has taken for a solution to be marked on a topic or question (relative to the time the topic or question was initially posted). These statistic blocks support time period filter, time period comparisons, and node filtering to narrow down the statistical data for your specific needs. User profile enhancements User profiles now show the number of solutions the user has posted, and also allows you to view all of those solutions, in a manner very similar to reputation. Prolific problem solvers will now be called out boldly Answers can be quickly found on user profiles These improvements should help reward the most helpful users on your community by giving them more prestige and helping other users find their answers quicker. Collectively, we hope that these changes make the question and answer and topic solution features in the Forums application more useful for your community members, and the administrators behind the community.
    29 points
  6. Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting. But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6. As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration. These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release. Spam Defense Scoring I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system. These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions. Spam Defense Blocking The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not. In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published. This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public. Word Filters We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts. For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts. This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval. We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community! I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.
    29 points
  7. Nearly two decades ago, Invision Community President, @Charles , set out to make a leading online community platform. Around that time, Charles also met his now-husband of 18-years and hasn't looked back since. Until now. Behind the code, product updates and newsletters are a group of people who share a passion for community building. Considering how volatile and toxic the Internet can be, we want to become more visible, transparent and vulnerable. To help you familiarize yourself with the masterminds behind Invision Community, starting with Charles, we're kicking off a new series that'll highlight our team. I interviewed Charles for the first installment. In it, he commented on the state of the Internet: "I do think some times, for or better or for worse, people forget there are real people on the other end," he said. Mr. Warner also touched on Invision Community's evolution over the years. "People don't like change. No one likes change," Charles said, adding "sometimes you say, 'we really need to change something' either in the software, or how you do things, and people push back. It might be we change a feature or maybe internally we change the way we do something. Sometimes you have to move forward. Sometimes it's irritating at first. 'Why did you change that?!' And also you have to recognize that sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes you might change something [and think], 'no, it's not better...' I really find that that's a big thing – to constantly be looking at all those other options and try stuff out. It doesn't harm [anything] to try things." And in the spirit of Pride Month, Charles opened up about being part of the LGBTQ community and also President of a successful company. He hopes it'll inspire others. The full interview is available to watch up top. After watching, please drop us a line in the comments and let us know your thoughts! 🌈
    28 points
  8. For a very long time Invision Community has allowed community owners to choose how open or private their communities should be. Communities could optionally allow guests to post without registering, they could allow the use of pseudonyms or they could require the use of real names. This covers a diverse range of communities but feedback from our clients made us realize that some use cases have not been accounted for. For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community. With our next release, we are pleased to introduce Anonymous Posting to make this a reality. When enabled, members will see the option to post anonymously when creating or replying to content. Starting a new anonymous topic Author details for anonymously posted content is hidden throughout the community and instead a default profile picture and name is shown. Total anonymity is not always desirable however and in some cases it may be necessary for trusted staff members to know who posted the content. Where allowed, these staff members will be shown an option to reveal the content author. Author details are hidden but can be revealed by trusted staff members Anonymous posting can be enabled on a per group basis and also limited to specific forums, albums and categories etc. The ability for staff members to reveal who really posted the content is a moderator permission. We hope this new feature is a useful addition and where appropriate makes your members feel safe or comfortable to share info they might not have otherwise. How open or private is your community and what do you find are the benefits or disadvantages of anonymity?
    25 points
  9. I'm thrilled to introduce the newest member of team Invision Community. You may recognise Jordan from his photo as he's been an active member of our community as BreatheHeavy. Jordan has been running his site BreatheHeavy.com using Invision Community for nearly a decade. Jordan's official title is "Community Advocate" which means that he will be working very closely with our community to guide and curate feedback, assist with support questions, to help educate and inform and to bring you news of the latest developments being cooked up by our development team. Jordan says: Your feedback, ideas and questions matter. I've spent the last decade discovering what it means to be a community leader in my own Invision Powered community, BreatheHeavy. Community building is an ongoing journey that's taught me invaluable lessons, namely the importance of absorbing feedback from the community then taking decisive action. I'm excited and honored to share that insight with the Invision Community. My new role is designed to shed light on what Invision Community members (that's you!) want and share it with the team. I'm looking forward to getting to know you! We're very excited to start a new chapter within Invision Community to improve communication, engage more Invision Community owners and make the most of the excellent feedback we receive. You'll be seeing more of Jordan on the forums in the coming days.
    25 points
  10. You’ve probably already noticed that something looks a little different in our community today. As part of our ongoing community improvements, we’ve performed some housekeeping to streamline the forum structure, make more distinction between areas and open up a few areas to guests and friends. The big visual change is that we now have four separate areas: support, community, marketplace and developers. It should hopefully be clear what each section does, but let's go through a few examples. Support This area is where you can leave feedback on existing features, help shape Invision Community’s future by suggesting new functionality and also where you can get quick support from fellow Invision Community owners and our team. Starting today, you can post in the Help & Support forum to get help from our team. If you’re unsure what a feature does, or think you’ve spotted an issue that needs our help, then you’re welcome to start a topic. Of course, if you want private support, then you are welcome to create a ticket in the client area as normal. Community Even the most seasoned community manager needs a little help from time to time. This section is the place to ask about strategy, to blow off steam in the lounge or to ask for fellow owners to help with support requirements outside of official support, such as configuring servers, databases and so on. Marketplace Our Marketplace brings hundreds of new features, themes, language translations and plug-ins to your Invision Community. If you need support or have a request for something you’ve purchased from the Marketplace, drop into the forums here. Developers Invision Community is blessed with a strong developer community extending the rich functionality of Invision Community. If you’re looking to develop an idea for Invision Community, these forums will let you connect with our development team to answer questions as well as get help from other marketplace authors. Other Changes There are a few other changes of note that I’d like to go through. Firstly, ‘Visitors’ (that is a registered member without an active license) are now ‘Friends’. Who doesn’t need new friends? Guests and Friends can now view the official support forums, but cannot post a new support request or reply to existing ones. We’ve merged ‘General Chat’ in with the Client Lounge to form ‘The Community Managers’ Lounge’. This is still a perk for active customers and the topics are not viewable unless you have an active license. Finally, we’ve gone through and spruced up some of the forum rules, descriptions and custom error messages. I hope these changes make it easier to find what you need and get a little help when you need it.
    23 points
  11. Wouldn't it be great to know if a staff member had replied to a topic before you clicked to open it? When you're scanning a list of topics, knowing which have had a reply by a member of the community team can help decide which to read. Currently, you need to open the topic and scan the posts to see if there's a reply from the team. Happily, in our next release, we've made it clear which have had a reply by a member of a specific group. You can specify which groups to show as having replied via the Groups form in the Admin CP. The per-group setting in the Admin CP You can select to detect the group based on the member's primary group, secondary group or both. When viewing a list of topics, you will see a badge showing that a member of that group has replied. This simple feature will make it easier to highlight when important replies have been made to topics, which is a great addition for forums using the new 'solved' feature. Let me know below if you'll use this new feature and what you'd like to see in the future.
    22 points
  12. Moats have been used for centuries as a way to defend a building from potential attack. A flooded ditch around a castle is a great way to make it harder to be taken. You can't push battering rams against walls, and neither can you dig under the castle. Quite frankly, a moat is a pretty decent deterrent when there are plenty of other castles to pillage. What does this mean for your business? A community can be an economic moat, or in more simple terms, your competitive advantage. When your product or service is surrounded by an engaged community that feels invested in your brand, you'll be able to resist challenges from competitors looking to tempt your customers away. Humans are social creatures, and we love seeking out and joining a tribe that aligns with our values. The intangible value of belonging creates a sense of momentum for your brand and helps champion it to others. The statistics back this strategy; 88% of community professionals said in a recent survey that community is critical to their company's mission and 85% said that their community has had a positive impact to their business.[1] Your competitive advantage One of the cheapest ways to create momentum for your product is to build a community around your startup. A community is much more than a one-time marketing campaign and can help you throughout your company's life cycle if you take the time to grow it right. [2] Creating a buzz around a product can take a lot of time, effort and money. Traditionally, this buzz would be created with a mixture of videos, websites, influencer reviews, and heavy advertisement spends across multiple channels, including social media. Your community can create a shortcut and reach an audience without those costs and increase the chance of your product being shared virally. Your community creates a bond over a shared interest that continually re-enforces loyalty to your brand. This creates a personal investment which makes it less likely your customers will try a competitor. Put simply, if a company can move from just shipping a product to building a community, it can benefit from several competitive advantages such as: Engaged members help acquire new members, lowering the cost for customer acquisition. Increased customer retention through community loyalty. Members won't want to abandon the community they enjoy. Reduced support costs as members support each other. This benefit forms a loop that generates more value as the community grows. Brand building Another area of opportunity for social marketing is "brand building" - connecting enthusiastic online brand advocates with the company's product development cycle. Here, research becomes marketing; product developers are now using social forums to spot reactions after they modify an offer, a price, or a feature in a product or service. Such brand-managed communities can have real success. One well-documented example is IdeaStorm, Dell's community discussion and "brainstorming" website, which saw a measurable increase in sales following its launch, by providing a forum for meaningful dialogue and "to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant to" the public. [3] By creating a community around your product or service, not only do you create brand advocates, but you also gain powerful insights into what your customers want through research which drives marketing. Consumers today crave a stronger bond with brands. It's no longer enough to give them a customer support email address and a monthly newsletter. They want a much more in-depth interaction with the company and other users of the product or service. One tactic for success is for brands to move away from the hard-sell to instead embrace the notion of "co-creation". This means moving beyond "old-school" approaches to website advertising to embrace the principles of relationship marketing - building virtual environments in which customers can connect with each other to share insights and relevant information. To capitalise on currently available opportunities, marketers need to find or establish real brand communities, listen to them, and then create special programs and tools that will empower potential and existing community members, rewarding existing consumers and eliciting behavioural change from potential consumers. [3] Evernote, the note-taking app, is a great example. Their lively community encourages customers to interact directly with staff, post their wish-lists for future versions and learn more about what happens behind the scenes. The community creates evangelists for Evernote and makes it harder for competitors to gain a foothold with a potent mix of dialogue, access to other customers, transparency from the brand and many opportunities for co-creation of content. Co-creation fundamentally challenges the traditional roles of the firm and the consumer. The tension manifests itself at points of interaction between the consumer and the company where the co-creation experience occurs, where individuals exercise choice, and where value is co-created. Points of interaction provide opportunities for collaboration and negotiation, explicit or implicit, between the consumer and the company. In the emergent economy, competition will center on personalized co-creation experiences, resulting in value that is truly unique to each individual. [4] In simple terms, a community allows your customers to feel closer to your brand and the products you sell. What are you waiting for? Nearly 80% of founders reported building a community of users as important to their business, with 28% describing their moat as critical to their success.[1] Our team at Invision Community has over two decades of community building experience and are trusted by brands of all sizes. Whether you have an existing community, or you're taking your first steps to create your own, our experience and expertise will guide your success. [1] https://cmxhub.com/community-industry-trends-report-2020 [2] https://viral-loops.com/blog/your-company-needs-a-pre-launch-campaign/ [3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268200746_Social_media_and_its_implications_for_viral_marketing#read [4] https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jhm/Readings/Co-creating unique value with customers.pdf
    17 points
  13. Invision Community is growing! We're currently recruiting three new roles, one full-time and two part-time. Applications are now closed, thank you to all those that applied. We'll be going through them over the next few weeks. It's been a very busy year for all of us at Invision Community and our continued success means that we're looking to expand our team even further with three new roles to fill. Invision Power Services, Inc. is behind the leading community software platform, Invision Community. Our tailored solutions serve clients of all sizes, from smaller communities to the world’s biggest brands. We are looking to kick start 2021 with a tight-knit customer-obsessed support team to build a positive support culture for our clients. All roles are fully remote-working. Customer Service Superstar We are in need of a full-time Customer Service Superstar, a new position within the company. You are solution-driven, customer-obsessed and passionate for cultivating a positive support culture for our clients. The person in this role: Answers client questions in a public-facing forum. Triages client requests to developers according to our processes. Deescalates problem or potential problem communications. Advocate for customers to our development team. Is comfortable with technology and willing to learn our platform. Why should you apply? You are a Customer Service Star - solution driven when helping clients. You are confident in conversing via forum style, public-facing support. You can clearly communicate both in writing and verbally. We primarily provide customer service in English. You see opportunity to streamline improvements to help our team better serve our clients. Excited about interacting with our clients within our community to build a vibrant support culture. You work well with a team remotely. You are personally organized, suited to excel in a remote work environment. Part-Time Community Support Assistant We are looking to add two part-time community support assistants to our growing team. You are self-motivated and focused on helping customers with support enquiries. Your role will be in assisting customers via a public-facing support forum. Ideally, you will have customer support experience, be familiar with our community platform and comfortable with technologies such as FTP, Amazon S3, PHP and MySQL. Work Location: Our company is headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia with staff located around the world. These positions are remote working. Interested? Share your resume and characteristics that make you the best fit for this role. Please include your available work hours (timezone). As we are open to both entry-level and experienced applicants, you may choose to include a desired starting salary based on your own evaluation of your relevant skillset and experience. Apply now! Applications are now closed, thank you to all those that applied. We'll be going through them over the next few weeks.
    16 points
  14. If you're preparing to upgrade to Invision Community 4.5, there's now an easy way to test it out. We have updated our Invision Community demo system to use Invision Community 4.5! This is a quick and easy way to take 4.5 for a test drive and test all the new functionality before making your upgrade plans. Taking out a demo is very simple, just head over to our demo sign up page, follow the instructions and within a few minutes you'll receive your own private demo log in. We'd love to know what you think! Please let us know in the feedback forum.
    16 points
  15. Invision Community's latest update, 4.6, is officially out! To celebrate, we hosted a live event on Zoom. I, alongside two of the three Invision Community co-founders @Charles and @Matt (shout-out to @Lindy) sat down for a roundtable talk to chat about some of the slickest features 4.6 has to offer. If you'd like to refresh your memory with exactly what features we implemented in 4.6, check out our detailed blog post (after you're done watching our live event above, of course). It includes: Achievements Spam Improvements Health dashboard Web app and push notifications Anonymous posting Solved content Show when a team member has replied Did you catch the low-key Smart Community announcement? 🙃 We also wanted to take the time to answer a few questions we received during the live event that we couldn't get to in the moment. Question: regarding the anonymous posting... is it completely anonymous (like no record is stored of who posted it) or is just a pseudo thing, like it shows "anonymous" but admins/mods can see who posted it? Answer: The community owner can choose whether moderators can see the true identity of the user. This uses the built in moderator permissions so they can have it so all moderators, just specific moderators or nobody can see this info. --- Question: Is the translation service be hosted by IPS or do we need to use Google or Bing services on our community? Answer: It will be a turnkey service provided by Invision Community. --- Question: Does Achievements show how many x Points are left to the next level? Answer: Yup! --- Question: When will Smart Community be available? Unsatisfying Answer: We are excited to share more details on Smart Community soon! --- We appreciate you participating / watching our first-ever live event. We're planning on doing more, so keep an eye out for the next one. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Concerns? Drop us a line in the comments!
    14 points
  16. Promote kindness and foster interpersonal relationships through the power of vulnerability to outshine toxicity in your online community. Before my time as a Community Advocate with Invision Community, I focused all my attention on my own online community, BreatheHeavy. Pop music and Britney Spears news are the bread and butter of BreatheHeavy. As you can imagine, fans of pop stars are energized, vocal and unapologetic. There’s real potential for conversations to slip into negativity. 16 years ago when I launched BreatheHeavy, I hadn’t realized I took the first steps towards becoming a community leader. It never occurred to me such a role existed. My mission evolved from forum administrator to community leader, and during that process, I discovered a love of community building. Along the way, I’ve learnt invaluable lessons about toxic community culture (shade a pop star then let me know how that goes for you). What is online community building? It’s the act of cultivating culture and creating connections on the Internet. It’s an essential aspect most businesses don’t focus on enough because it’s hard to quantify its value A.K.A. the bottom line. I spent the majority of my career writing news articles. My resources went into content creation on my company’s blog section while my community members, completely segregated from my news posts, ran rampant. I recall thinking, “negative comments are better than no comments!” That thought eventually led to the demise of my community. The trolls had infiltrated and won. Credit: Unsplash A mob of toxic commentators had free reign, thus scaring away quality members. Freedom of speech is imperative, but it also has limitations (screaming “fire!” in a crowded theater is not applicable to free speech). To better understand how we can combat negativity in our communities, let’s first define what makes a community toxic? When a member or group of members devalue the community. Their negativity permeates throughout the community in such a profound way that it repels others from contributing, engaging and worst of all: not returning. As much as I hate to admit it, toxic members are powerful. They can influence your community, albeit in the opposite direction of what community owners want. Their role deteriorates the community they call home. The compounding effect of flippant responses, snide remarks, indifference, arguments and attacks ultimately creates chaos. The sad thing is... they’re usually unaware their behavior is adversely affecting the community. If they’re oblivious, there’s no opportunity to turn things around. In an effort to better understand their motivation (and avoid smashing the ban hammer), I personally reach out to these members in a private message. Call me a sap, but I’m a firm believer that people can change if you communicate with them. This is a great opportunity to send them a private message. People just want to be heard. When someone exhibits toxic behavior... ask yourself why, and more importantly... can you help them? Typically, a troll’s demeanor stems from what’s transpired in their real life, and it manifests onto your community (lucky you!). Know there’s a motive behind the negativity; a harsh reality they may not want to face. You’re not necessarily required to reach out, and a suspension is a lot easier, but taking this upon yourself as a community leader to uncover what’s really going on is an unrequited and selfless act that’ll set your community apart. In other words: it’s a very kind thing to do. Credit: Unsplash Kindness in communities The most profound way to fight toxicity in an online community is by not fighting at all. It’s by offering kindness to those who need it the most. That’s done through outreach and personal displays of vulnerability. Members on the other end want to know they’re talking with another person. A person who also encounters struggles in life, but found ways to not only overcome those hurdles, but lean into them as they forge mental fortitude - an important component for successful community leaders. Your past challenges can inspire change in peoples’ futures. A powerful way to do this is through being vulnerable. Dr. Brené Brown, who’s extensively researched what it means to be vulnerable, said it best: “The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” It’s easy to expect others (in our case toxic members) to share with you some real life hurdles they’ve encountered. It’s much more difficult for us (the community leader) to shine a light back on ourselves and share that vulnerability back. However, it’s the secret ingredient to creating a perfectly baked community cake. The act of opening up to an anonymous person in need not only can inspire them to change, but it opens a door towards further self-discovery. Being vulnerable with your members empowers them and you. So the next time you notice a toxic member’s pattern regarding how they post, take a pause. Remember there’s more behind the curtain, that hurt people hurt people, then take the opportunity to be kind, practice being vulnerable and watch your community garden blossom. How do YOU battle toxicity in your Invision communities? Sound off in the comments below. Hero Image Credit: Unsplash
    13 points
  17. Harness the force as a community leader. A long time ago in the Interwebs far, far away... I proudly signed off all my posts and emails with the title: Owner, Administrator. Anyone in a 10-mile digital radius from me was made well aware: I AM AN OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR. I AM IMPORTANT I PROMISE. I OWN AND ADMINISTRATE!!! Granted I held off on the all-caps, but still. My assertion permeated throughout all areas of my online presence. Though well-intentioned, my identity as an administrator pushed me away from the community I fostered. I focused more on growing the group rather than being part of the group, thus creating an unspoken hierarchy that placed my members below me. Recognizing your members are living, breathing, sentient people is one of the most important aspects of community building, but I couldn’t see the forest from the trees. Part of me enjoyed the authority and power attached to my role as the website’s administrator. But with that power came isolating separation – the dark side if you will. A community I unknowingly built was unrelatable to me because I was unrelatable to them. Is it possible to remove “me” and “them” from the equation entirely and replace it with an “us?” Our community members aren’t naive to the fact that someone does technically own the community, and that part of your role as a community leader is administrating. It’s less about the title and more of the mindset. How can you connect with your community? By being relatable and approachable. Better yet? Leading by example. Become a community leader Shifting your interpersonal narrative from administrator to community leader can profoundly change your community’s culture for the better. As a community leader, you’ll inevitably perform administrative tasks, including the nitty gritty like group promotions, moderating and reputation (all critical functions for a high-functioning community). However, it’s possible to execute said functions while cloaked under anonymity that the administrator title can provide (that’s not necessarily good or bad, it just is). An important component to community leading is visibility. For many years, I made sure my Invision Community software was up-to-date, licenses paid, the registration system worked, spam defense was light-saber slicing the plastic-surgery-gambling bots to Tatooine. I was a fantastic administrator, but my presence from my community, the very place I worked tirelessly to keep running, was sorely missed. The moment I went “all-in,” meaning I decided to become an integral part of my community outside of the administrator role (by commenting on members’ topics, responding back in private message group chats, reacting to content, listening to feedback and opening up about real-life success and failures) is the moment I evolved into a community leader. I wanted to be seen. My deliberate change of self perception produced exponential growth in terms of traffic and new registrations. More importantly, I became a better community leader. I feel compelled to not only share pop music news with my community, but also what’s going on in my life. It wasn’t a comfortable transition, but a necessary one. Upon stripping away my title from administrator to community leader, I became a role model. I became someone my members came to for more than just technical forum advice. They wanted to see how I was doing. They wanted to share their wins and losses with me after seeing me succeed and fail in public. They saw me as a person; a leader. At the end of the day, community leading means forging connections, sharing your highs and lows and showing up for your members. That starts from within, which may feel incredibly awkward at first, but get comfortable with discomfort and watch you and your community blossom. Thoughts on transforming from administrator to Jedi community leader? Sound off in the comments! And may the +1 be with you.
    12 points
  18. One of the most commonly asked questions we get is how to ensure your new community launch is successful. You may think that if you have the right features with the correct configuration, success is guaranteed, but it requires more than that. Way back in the early 2000s when the internet was in its infancy, there was an explosion of new communities. If you had some webspace, a little technical knowledge and a forum script you were almost guaranteed to attract people into your community. These days it takes a little more work to get your new community off the ground. There’s a lot of books and resources out there to help, but focusing on your purpose, value, and emotion will give you a bright star to sail by. Purpose The purpose of your community should be very clear from the first visit. You want your new visitors to instantly understand the reason your community exists and the benefit they will get from it. This can be implicit with a short written mission statement at the top, or it can be through robust visual design and structure. When launching a new community, aim to be as specific as possible with your purpose. You can always broaden when it grows. This may go against your instinct to cast a wide net to catch as many people as possible, but resist that temptation! For example, a community focused on fitness has a vague purpose. Fitness is a broad topic, and there are many niches inside of it. This could be anything from losing weight, to running faster to increasing the weight on a barbell. Narrowing the focus to running helps a little, but there’s a lot of space in that field. You have marathon runners, ultra runners, Sunday park joggers and everything in between. A better starting point for a community may be “Run your first 5k”. This instantly makes it very clear to your audience that you intend to help new runners develop their ability enough to finish a short race. The sense of purpose is clear, and it is easy to know what to ask of this new community and the benefit you may get. Asperger Experts has a strong design and mission statement above the fold, which makes its purpose clear from the first visit. Asperger Experts Make your purpose very clear and don’t be afraid to niche down to a specific area, to begin with. Value The earliest communities allowed people from all around the world to gather and talk. Anyone who had the technical skill to host a community could be virtually guaranteed members and just being able to meet was all the value needed. We now live in more sophisticated times and crave more than facilitation. Your community needs to add value beyond companionship and knowledge. One of the simplest ways to give value to your members is through sharing your expertise. A steady flow of written articles or videos gives your members a reason to come back. IG, a fintech company use their expert articles to draw their audience back to their community to contribute. IG is a known leader in their field, so their blog is a real draw for those investing in the markets. IG.com Never post for the sake of it, always inform, educate or entertain your community. Emotion At the heart of every conversation is emotion. We pride ourselves on being logical and thoughtful creatures, yet our emotional brain responds first and makes a judgement often subconsciously. Setting the pitch and tone of your community is critical from its earliest days. As the community manager, you get to define the tone by modelling the behaviour you want to see in your own content. Some communities do well with dark humour and snark; while others require positivity and fun. “Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn respect and approval of our peers. Such inclinations are essential to our survival. For most of our evolutionary history, our ancestors lived in tribes. Becoming separated from the tribe—or worse, being cast out—was a death sentence.” - James Clear Hang out where your audience hangs out and develop your tone so that it resonates with your community. Starting a community is a rewarding experience, but you need to do more than just open your doors to ensure a successful launch. Checking to make sure your site has a strong purpose, that you offer value to your members and the emotional pitch is right will set you on the right course.
    12 points
  19. Cloud and Enterprise Community customers can create automated workflows between Invision Community and over 3,000 other apps including Google Documents, MailChimp, Facebook and Twitter with just a few clicks. If you haven’t integrated your Invision Community with Zapier yet, you’re leaving organic growth on the table! It’s been a wild year, so we’d like to refresh your memory regarding the very powerful Invision and Zapier marriage (hey, remember when weddings were a thing?). Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 3,000 web apps. Last year, Invision Community released the 4.5 update, and with it a beta service of Zapier integration. Zapier is the first smart community enhancement available for Cloud and Enterprise Community customers exclusively. It’s worth it’s weight in gold. Or, crypto? However we quantify value these days, Invision Community and Zapier together creates real value and has the potential to elevate your community (and bottom line). If you haven’t yet set up Zapier, you can follow our guide to creating your first ‘Zap’ with Invision Community. As @Matt previously mentioned in our announcement post, the Invision and Zapier integration can communicate with some of the Internet’s most wide-reaching platforms, including Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. There are three key items we want to highlight: Triggers Actions Self-integration Triggers: Invision → Zapier A “trigger” takes place when there’s a specified signal in your community. For instance, a member registering or a topic being posted. A trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps. Here are a few examples: When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators. Actions: Zapier → Invision An “action” is similar to a “trigger” in that there’s movement, but it happens by setting up an action in Zapier first which then tells your community to perform X action. Whereas a “trigger” happens by setting up an action in your Invision community first, which then tells Zapier to perform X action. Here are some examples to wrap your mind around: When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community. When a new member registers, add them to your mailing list via MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, etc. Self-integrated: Invision → Invision We also included a self-integrated option that allows community owners to connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum. In a nutshell: Triggers = Invision talks to → Zapier, then Zapier takes action. Actions = Zapier talks to → Invision, then Invision takes action. Self-integrated = Your Invision community talks to → your Invision community, then your Invision community takes action. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below! I’m here to help you transform your Invision community into an engaging and efficient world with automated systems powered by Zapier. Already on Zapier? What’s been your experience? Sound off and let us know what features you’ve utilized thus far and which triggers or actions you’d like to see for the future.
    10 points
  20. Invision Community has an exciting opportunity for an experienced PHP developer to join our team. Invision Power Services, Inc. is behind the leading community software platform, Invision Community. Our tailored solutions serve clients of all sizes, from smaller communities to the world’s biggest brands. We have been on the forefront of independent and white label engagement communities since 2002. The Role As a back end PHP developer, you will be working closely within a tight nimble team. You are a clear thinking problem solver and are able to demonstrate skills in creativity and innovation with the ability to meet deadlines. You thrive when given a brief and create well structured efficient code. Your role will be varied and involve bug fixing, peer reviews, helping refine a technical specification and contribute code towards new functionality for Invision Community. The position is remote, but it will require significant overlap with the EST working day. We offer a friendly relaxed environment with an established team who have a passion for what they do. There is an opportunity to learn from others and progress into more senior roles. Key Responsibilities Write well designed testable efficient code by using sound development processes Cooperate with other team members to develop new features Gather and refine specifications are requirements based on technical needs Create and maintain software documentation The most important characteristic is a willingness to learn and to take on new challenges. The role is varied and you can be working on a launch with an enterprise customer or crafting code for our latest features depending on priorities. Skills & Experience Significant experience as a PHP developer in a commercial environment Experience with MySQL. Experience with github. Experience with various web services such as OAuth, SAML, REST, etc. Experience working within a team with a strong culture. Some experience with HTML, CSS and JS. Worked on large scale applications. Confident with modern OOP standards including traits, etc. The depth of experience can vary between developers. Please apply even if some of these areas are not your strongest points. We can offer training and mentoring for the right candidate and our team is very supportive. Location Remote but must be available for a significant portion of 9-5 EST working day. Salary Dependent on experience. Please submit your salary expectations on the application form. How To Apply Please complete the application form giving us as much information as possible.
    10 points
  21. Moderation feels a bit like an outdated term created pre-social media, but it stuck. We’d like to re-frame your thinking in terms of guiding your community versus moderating it. Guidance is an essential component to any thriving community because it creates structure and boundaries for the community. Oftentimes, people think community guidance is about restriction, but in reality it allows your community to express itself in a healthy way. All communities run into issues unless there are clear guidelines laid out for all members. It only takes a couple of toxic trolls to bring down an entire community of thousands of members. As a community leader, it's important to find the balance between allowing freedom of speech and restricting what people can and can't say. An Internet troll tends to want to see what they can get away with and push the boundaries to the brink. They’ll claim that they are not allowed to speak their mind, but I want to stress the importance this: Freedom of speech has some limitations. For instance, you can't just shout ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded room because you believe you have the right to freedom of speech (though some would argue you can, which is why guidance is imperative). There are certain rules that everyone needs to follow in order for an online community to function. The first thing you'll want to do when guiding your community is... to create community guidelines. These guidelines must be visible and easy to access. There, you can lay out all the nitty-gritty rules you want, but essentially it should boil down to this: Be kind. Treat people with respect when posting and remember that there’s a person behind the user name. It's important not to hide behind anonymity just because you can. Being a part of the community means that all members must abide by these guidelines. Now what happens if someone "breaks the rules” or ignores these guidelines? As your community’s leader how do you proceed? You do so by creating actionable rules that can adversely affect a member’s standing in your community if they break them. I know that sounds kind of threatening, but it's important to establish to your community that you're there for them and that your priority is to hear them out, but at the same time you must take action to keep the peace. Invision Community has automatic moderation tools and a warning system section baked into the software. Below is a snapshot of Invision Community's administration panel where community leaders may set up custom automatic moderation rules: Tap here for more specific information on how to implement community guidance/moderation to your community. One important component to these rules is that you enforce them across-the-board to all members and do so consistently. If you leave the door open for one member and not another, it's going to create an unwanted hierarchy and instigate chaos. One of the best ways to be consistent is by walking the walk. Show your community how you want them to post by posting and contributing that way yourself. What that does is it sets a visible precedent. From there, you'll begin to notice other community members contributing in a way that is similar to you (lead by example). This is a great opportunity to consider them to join a new moderators team. Whether they are paid moderators or are volunteering their time, you still want them to be mini leaders inside your community. It's important that you are a positive role model for them. Watch the video up top, then drop us a line in the comments! And hey, while I've got you... check out what our own community has to say about moderation (aka community guidance 😉). Remember, guiding your community starts from the top (a.k.a. you!). Now get out there and moder-... guide! Stay tuned for more Invision Community video content coming soon!
    9 points
  22. Community sharing is community caring. Take it from me: prominently curating your members’ content will profoundly accelerate growth. It’s also pretty darn fun. I’ve run my company, BreatheHeavy, since 2004. While many online businesses shuttered because of social media’s looming presence, mine thrived because of the community. Full disclosure? I had no idea creating a community back in 2004 would become the not-so-secret ingredient to staying alive. Ahh, if only I knew then what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20 (that number gives me anxiety, am I right?), but I never fully understood or appreciated how immensely game-changing community building is. Related: The Importance of Moderation, err... Community Guidance (New Video!) In the past, I focused my efforts on writing news articles (in Wordpress) while my Invision Community community ran rampant. I felt my presence needed to take center stage. That cast a shadow on my community and thus my members. I unintentionally muted their voices by exclusively promoting mine. That was a colossal mistake, but the greatest learning lesson. One year ago, I decided to pivot and shift all my energy towards fostering my community; the results were astounding! I saw more than a 100% increase in unique visits compared to the previous year. The most powerful change I made was shining a light on the content my members created. My website went from being a news site to a community. I constructed a new homepage that featured topics created by myself AND my members. This not only manifested a dynamic, constantly varied homepage, but also incentivized members to post thought-provoking and engaging topics in the hopes their content gets featured. In my community, topics that are featured on the homepage are considerably more viewed and commented on than topics that aren’t. I suspect you’d find similar results. Here’s how I set up my new homepage: I utilized Invision Community’s custom blocks feature. It’s available with the Pages application. I created a new block plugin, selected “topic feed” from the list, then set the permissions in the Feed Configuration tab to only show “featured” topics from members. I also used @opentype's SuperTopics plugin to give a more-polished look. Might sound a bit complex, but it’s rather intuitive. Community leaders can “feature” members’ content by selecting their topic and in the moderation panel, tap “Feature.” Our Picks “Featuring” content isn’t the only powerful tool Invision Community has baked into its software to highlight your members’ content. We’ve also carefully crafted a promotion option to manually select content that’s included on the “Our Picks” page and corresponding block. This is another powerful method to curate community content. We created a guide on how to set up promotion/our picks. With great power comes great responsibility The ability to “feature” content is a privilege only moderators in your community should have access to – at least in the beginning. Avoid giving any member the ability to freely feature their own content onto the homepage - instead, focus on manually curating the content. Be selective and choose what topics you want to represent your community. By creating a standard, your homepage won’t feature any and all content. Instead, it’ll display items you believe will pack the greatest punch. Featuring your members' content visibly shows your desire to embrace your community. It’s one thing to comment on members’ topics, it’s another to feature and promote them for all to see. That’s the secret sauce of curation. Do you agree? Disagree? Have any suggestions? Curate content in your own community? How many questions can I ask in a row? Drop us a line in the comments below!
    7 points
  23. I'm excited to reveal that we are making Invision Community native apps for iOS and Android! For the past few months, our staff has been using an internal test build right here on our community. Now we are ready to widen testing to a larger pool of customers. Information on how to become a tester is at the end of this post. But first, let's take a look at the app itself. Technology Preview We have a lot of exciting plans for the Invision Community app. We wanted to take full advantage of a clean slate and build a brand new experience that embraces a native app's interfaces. While the app is unmistakably Invision Community, it features new ways of interacting with your content. We want the app to help shape the future of Invision Community, and we're asking for you to help. What we are opening up for testing today is a technology preview. This slim app covers the essentials with a view to much more expansion later. The technology preview is locked to our community. The app we will release will be a 'multi-community' app; a directory of communities users can browse and save. We’ve taken this approach because the app stores have clamped down on ‘template’ apps, and the cost involved in building and maintaining a separate app per-community won’t be an option for many of our customers. A multi-community app is a great approach for most: simple setup, minimal cost, still fully-featured, and a great way for new users to find your community too. What The App Does For the initial phase of this technology preview, discussions are the main focus which is the foundation of every Invision Community. Also available are profiles, streams, search and notifications - including (at last!) push notifications. Any areas that the app does not currently support will open seamlessly in a web view within the app. As we build new functionality into the app over time, users will encounter fewer of these hybrid views. Your feedback will allow us to target the highest priority areas during the technology preview phase. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4 Pricing Note: The information below outlines our current intentions, but may change as we finalize the app's release to app stores. The good news is we intend for the app to be free to both our customers with active licenses and their end-users. In time, we will offer a premium option to communities. This funding will secure the app's long-term future. The premium option could enhance their listing in the directory, or provide special functionality when users use that community in the app. Availability We intend to release the app alongside the next significant point release of Invision Community, expected to be 4.5. Communities will need to upgrade to this version to allow their users to use the app. Questions? Why not a PWA (progressive web app)? Invision Community 4.4 already supports several PWA features. However, until iOS supports Push Notifications (and other features) in PWAs, we don't feel they are a fully-rounded solution to using communities on a phone. Building native apps allow us to experiment with new interfaces and approaches. As PWA support improves in the years to come, we'll feed what we learn back into the main product for the benefit of all users. Why now? Those with a long memory will recall that we've had a few attempts at providing an app in the past that weren't successful. We are great at building apps with web technologies but creating native apps ourselves wasn't sustainable. Enter React Native. React Native is an open-source technology for building native apps. React Native allows teams to build native apps using web technologies, but crucially, React Native doesn't build hybrid apps. They are compiled into real native apps - not browser wrappers, but native buttons, text, dialogs, animations and more. A year or so ago, we started experimenting with React Native to see if it might be a viable approach for us. And it was. Finally, there was a technology that enabled web engineers to build delightful cross-platform native apps. As we can build native mobile apps using the technology we are familiar with allows us to incorporate mobile app development into our existing processes. Why just forums? Invision Community is a large, fully-featured platform, and building the entire platform in a native app from the get-go didn't seem to be the best approach. Instead, we've focused on the most active area of most communities - forums - with other areas still supported in the app via webviews. Over time, additional features and tools will be built into the app so that it eventually reaches feature-parity with the web version. We'll take feedback from our customers to determine which areas to support next. How will I add my community to the app? The next significant point release of Invision Community (expected to be 4.5) will have app support built-in. Including your app in the directory will be as simple as enabling the feature in your AdminCP and configuring a few options. Is the app ad-supported? There are no ads of any kind in the app right now. We may include ads or allow communities to run their own ads as a premium option in future. Can I get a white-label version for my community? We aim to offer a white-label option in the future. Will my plugins work in the app? Probably not. We're intentionally building the app to work with standard Invision Community features and apps right now. If your plugins add new UI elements or change the functions that users interact with it's likely they will not work with the app. What about themes? Themes won't work in the app because the app doesn't use HTML. However, some branding/customization will be available via the AdminCP, and we may expand upon this in future. Have other questions? Let us know in the comments, and we'll answer them! Sign Up For Testing For the next stage of our testing process, we will be inviting several customers to try the app and provide feedback/bug reports. As part of the sign-up process, we'll ask for some information about your own community. We'll use this to select further testers once we begin testing of the 'multi-community' version of the app later. The answers you provide will not affect your chance of testing the app on our community. Interested in joining the testing group? Click here to sign up. RPReplay_Final1568062287_1.mp4
    6 points
  24. Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 2,000 web apps. In Invision Community 4.5 we are launching a beta service of Zapier integration for Invision Community in the Cloud. What does Zapier do? Zapier acts as a bridge between Invision Community and other apps, such as Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more. Zapier has over 2000 apps registered currently, and that number grows every single day. Let us look at a real life example. Right now, if you wanted to add a member to a Google Sheets document each time a new registration was completed, you'd need some fairly complex code to be written that was "triggered" by this registration event. This would take days to write at some cost. Zapier simplifies this by allowing you to connect Invision Community with Google Sheets without needing a single line of code. Zapier allows you to streamline your workflows in minutes. Zapier has two types of events, triggers and actions. Triggers When a certain thing happens on Invision Community, like a member registering or a topic being posted, a trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps. For example, you might create a zaps to... When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators. Invision Community Integration with Mailchimp through Zapier Actions You can also set up Zaps so that when something happens in an external application, it triggers an action in your Invision Community. For example, you might create a zaps to... When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community. Invision Community Integration with Google Calendar through Zapier Self-Integration In addition to using Zapier to integrate with third party services, you can also connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum. Self-Integration through Zapier Frequently Asked Questions What integrations are available? In the beta launching with Invision Community 4.5, Zapier will be able receive a trigger when a member account or content (forum post, gallery image, etc.) is created and send actions to create the same. More triggers and actions will be added over time. When will this integration be out of beta? Later this year. Will third party applications and plugins be able to create Zapier triggers and actions? Because the integration requires an app hosted with Zapier (which is written in Node.js) and this has to be submitted directly by the vendor, it will be difficult for third party applications and plugins to integrate with Zapier through Invision Community's integration. In the future we may be able to provide basic abstracted integrations for third party applications and plugins through an extension API. In the meantime, third party authors can of course write their own Zapier Apps if desired.
    4 points
  25. Almost ten years ago we launched the Marketplace; a place to connect Invision Community owners with talented developers creating new functionality. Over the decade, the Marketplace has grown to hold thousands of applications, large and small. For many Invision Community owners, the Marketplace has become an essential resource. Our aim was always to have the Marketplace available inside your Admin Control Panel to make it even easier to purchase and install extra functionality. I'm pleased to say that as of Invision Community 4.5, this is now a reality. You can browse the Marketplace and install new add-ons without leaving the Admin Control Panel. Obtaining Resources Paid resources can be purchased directly from the Marketplace and are available to install immediately after the payment is complete. You no longer need to download and install the files yourself. You may also notice some additional information with the resource listing, we'll be introducing a new 'tab' to marketplace resources to allow the authors to provide more useful information such as answers to frequently asked questions, or configuration instructions etc. The video below takes you through the purchase and installation of a Marketplace application. marketplace-install.mp4 Installing an Application Updates Some of the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed in the first screenshot that there are more 'bubbles' showing in the menu on the left. These are supported for Applications, Plugins, Themes and Languages. In Invision Community 4.5 every resource available via the AdminCP is automatically versioned, you will see update notifications for everything you have installed (previously, you would only see update notices if the resource author supports them). Installing an update is as simple as clicking on the update notice, then clicking 'update' on the Marketplace listing. Installing Updates Downloads Changes Our Marketplace is built on our Downloads application, during development of this feature we needed to add new functionality. We have included as many of these improvements as possible in our software for the benefit of our customers, some of these are: Custom Fields can now be set to only show to members that have purchased a file. Files can now be set to accept a single file upload instead of multiple. New file versions can now be moderated without hiding the current version from view. Downloads REST API Performance Improvements New /download endpoint that counts the download Added more data to the /downloads/file/{id} response Ability to sort file results by last updated date We hope you're as excited about this feature as we are.
    4 points
  26. If you've been around Invision Community for a while, you'll know our frontend default theme hasn't significantly evolved since the early days of 4.0. Indeed, the last significant refresh came with 4.2. With the upcoming release of 4.5, we wanted to revisit the default theme and give it a facelift for 2020, as well as make incremental improvements to the underlying codebase as a stepping stone to a bigger re-engineering in a future version. In this entry, I want to talk a little about some of the design decisions that went into building the new theme. Goals Redesigning for the sake of it is never a good idea, so we first laid out what we wanted to achieve: A brighter UI with more saturation & contrast and simpler overall color scheme Improved typography Better, more consistent, spacing around and between elements, especially on mobile Better logical grouping of sections of each page Reducing underutilized links/buttons on the page and finding alternative ways of making them available Improving how post states are displayed Modernizing and enhancing the underlying code that powers the default theme Let's talk a little about each of these. Brighter UI The most obvious change will be that our default colors are brighter and more saturated than before. Before making any changes, we first created a color scale for both neutrals and the brand color (blue, of course). This gave us a flexible but consistent palette of colors to choose from, with appropriate contrast built in. Neutrals have a touch of blue too to avoid seeming washed out. We've simplified the style, in particular reducing reliance on background colors to differentiate sections within cards (a card essentially being an ipsBox, for those who are familiar with our framework). Instead, we use spacing, borders and appropriate typography to achieve visual separation. Brighter default colors Simplifying the UI by removing block backgrounds Improving typography We've felt our typography has been somewhat muddled for some time - with a mixture of sizes, weights and colors used depending on the particular context. The first step to improving it was to create a typography scale that we could refer to and implement, to ensure we remained consistent throughout the product. Our typography scale (The keen-eyed amongst you may also notice we've switched our default font to Inter. Inter is a fantastic open source font that is ideal for text on the web, and was recently added to the Google Web Fonts project making it super simple for us to incorporate it into our default theme.) We've been much more deliberate about applying type styles, especially for titles, ensuring that they are always visually distinct from surrounding text. We've done this through both color and weight. As a result, pages should instinctively feel more organized and logical than before. An example of improved typography, from the Downloads app Improved spacing (especially on mobile) We identified that spacing (padding and margins) needed some improvement. A lot of spacing values were arbitrary and inconsistent, leading to poor visual harmony across any given page. Most troubling of all, on mobile sizes we simply halved desktop padding values. While this was a reasonable approach in the days of phones with small screens, it has felt decidedly dated for some time. Phone screens are now typically larger and able to accommodate roomier UIs without appearing comical. In 4.5, we have done away with that approach, and the impact was immediate. Mobile sizes now get a much more pleasant interface, with elements having room to breathe. In addition, we've also made most cards full-width to provide additional breathing space for content. Posts can finally breathe on mobile There are numerous other tweaks across the product too: default spacing has been increased a little, data tables (e.g. topic listing) get extra vertical spacing, and spacing between elements has become more consistent. Improved grouping of related elements Prior to 4.5, most content areas existed inside cards. However, one notable exception to this was page headers and as a result, they could feel particularly disorganized, especially for users who had many controls in this part of the page (such as staff). To solve this problem, we've developed a new, standardized design for content item page headers, giving them their own cards and consistent button placement. Topic view header Some areas don't necessarily fit into the same design pattern above. In those areas, we've tweaked styling to suit the context, while still adhering to our overall aesthetic. Calendar header Messenger conversation header Reducing underutilized links/buttons Finally, another area we identified as needing improvement is the abundance of tools, made up of links and buttons, across pages. Many of these are only used occasionally and so would be better moved out of the main view to simplify the page. Two particular areas we focused on were share links and postbits (both forum posts and comments in other apps). Research shows social share links are used by a vanishingly small percentage of users, so even though they were at the bottom of the page, it was unnecessary to make them so prominent (given their eye-catching colors). To solve this, we've added a share link to the page header, with the social network links themselves in a popup menu. The result is ideal: sharing functionality is unobtrusive but obvious. Share links in content items Comment areas have also suffered from 'button creep' over the years. A typical comment will contain a report link, a share link, a quote link and multiquote button, reactions, plus IP address, checkbox, edit and options links for certain users. That is a lot of visual noise around the important part: the content. We've therefore simplified comment boxes as much as is reasonable. Reporting and sharing comments/posts is now available in the post options menu, as are any tools for the author/staff. Quoting and reacting are two primary interactions for users, so they of course retain their position in the control bar. Simpler postbits, even for staff Improving post states Posts/comments in Invision Community can have many states - sometimes more than one. Posts can be hidden/unapproved, popular, recommended, solved (new in 4.5!) or highlighted because of the author's group. It's always been a challenge to indicate these statuses well. In previous versions, we added a border but the most prominent indicator was a flag in the top-right corner of the post. This had three problems: Due to the lack of space (thanks to report/share links), showing more than one flag was difficult. Showing any flags on mobile was messy because of the space constraints. The meaning of the flags was not obvious, especially to new users. Group-highlighted posts had no flag, just a border, which made them even more difficult to understand. With the top-right corner of posts now tidied up and free from fluff, we were able to much more effectively use this space to indicate post statuses. In 4.5, posts and comments will show badges when they have a particular status, as well as a more attractive semi-transparent border. For group-highlighted posts, we show the group name instead (the colors of this highlight are still controllable via theme settings). A post with two states: group highlighted and popular This works much better on mobile too, where the status badges get the prominence they deserve: Mobile post statuses Modernizing the underlying code I wrote about the technical improvements behind the theme in a previous entry. If you're a theme designer or edit the theme for your own community, go and check it out now! Wrapping up As well as these large-scale concepts, you'll notice many other smaller enhancements as you start using the new theme. I've shown some snippets of pages in the screenshots above, but I've included some full-page views below so you can see the overall aesthetic and how these pieces fit together. Modernizing and refreshing our default theme has been needed for some time, but we view this as just a stepping stone to future work that will be reserved for a major version bump, and we're excited to figure out where we go next. Screenshots Desktop forum views (click to expand) Mobile forum views (click to expand) Activity streams & messenger (click to expand)
    4 points
  27. Invision Community has come a long way over the past five years. We've added many new features and invigorated the front-end user experience to keep it current and in-line with modern interfaces. One area that has remained largely the same is the Admin Control Panel. When we released Invision Community 4.0 back in 2014, the Admin Control Panel was updated but has stayed relatively dormant since. But that's all about to change with the upcoming release of Invision Community 4.5! The Admin Control Panel in 4.5 has received a substantial update, resulting in a modern color scheme and a clean, minimalistic design. We felt that a lighter, more open design allowed the content more space and to feel less crowded. The dark grays have been replaced with shades of blue and aqua which closely reflects Invision Community's new branding, while other colors have been lightened and saturated. Along with the new color scheme, the overall layout of the ACP has intentionally been kept similar to the existing version, resulting in a design that feels surprisingly familiar yet refreshingly new at the same time. We hope you've enjoyed this small sneak peek into Invision Community 4.5 and we look forward to introducing you to some more new features in the upcoming weeks!
    4 points
  28. Matt

    4.5: Marking as solved

    Invision Community has had a question and answer mode for a good few years now. This mode transforms a forum into a formalized way to handle your member's questions. Members can upvote answers, and the topic starter and your community management team can mark a reply as the "best answer". This is great when you want to add rigour to specific forums which encourage your members to find solutions. The existing "QA" mode But how about a way to mark a topic as solved without transforming the look and feel of the forum? We get asked this a lot. Happily, it's now a feature just added to Invision Community 4.5! Those with a long memory will recall we had something very similar way back in Invision Community 3. The new "mark as solved" feature This new feature allows the topic starter or your community management team to mark a post as the solution. This highlights the post within the topic as well as adding an icon to the listing views. The green tick notes that the topic has a solution In addition, it also increases the member's solved count, which is displayed under their name in the post and even in a draggable widget that shows members with the most solutions. We have also added a new filter to the existing post and topic feed widgets to allow only items with a solution to be shown, so you can create a "Recently solved" feed. The new widget Finally, a notification is sent to the author of the post that is selected as the best answer, so they're made aware that their helpful content has been spotted. Let your members know their content was useful We hope you enjoy these changes and look forward to allowing your community to find answers quickly, and to reward the members that provide them.
    2 points
  29. Invision Community has certainly changed a lot over the years as we've moved through major updates and large user interface changes. While large scale changes offer a dramatic difference, it is sometimes the smaller changes that bring the most satisfaction when using your community daily. This blog entry rounds up some of the UI improvements Invision Community 4.5 brings. Content View Behavior What do you want to happen when you click a topic link? Are you taken to the first comment, the last comment or the first comment you've not read? If you speak to 100 people, I'm pretty sure you'll get a good spread of votes for each. Invision Community has always offered subtle ways to get right to the first unread comment. Our infamous dot or star allows you to do this, but it is so subtle almost no one knows this. Invision Community 4.5 now allows each member to choose (with the AdminCP offering a default). Now everyone wins! Who Reacted? Invision Community has had reactions for a long while now. Although finding out who exactly reacted without clicking the counts has proved irksome. We've fixed that in Invision Community so simply mousing over the reaction icon reveals who reacted. Sign In Anonymously For as long as I can remember, Invision Community has offered an option to sign in anonymously via a checkbox on the login form. However, as we've added faster ways to log in via Facebook, Twitter, Google and more it's become less straight forward to ensure your anonymity. Invision Community 4.5 removes this login preference and moves it to your members' settings. Now your members can resume hiding as they move around your community across multiple logins. Resize Before Uploading One of the most popular requests we've had in recent times is to resize large images before uploading. It's quite likely that your giant full resolution image will be denied when attempting to upload, and it's a bit of a faff to resize it in a photo editor. Invision Community leverages the uploader's ability to resize before uploading, which makes it a much happier experience. Switch Off Automatic Language Detection Invision Community attempts to map your browser's user-agent to a specific language pack. When you visit a site, your browser lets the site know which language our browser is set to (often dictated by your operating system) and we use that to show you the correct language if the community you're visiting has multiple languages installed. However, it might be that you don't want this to happen because although your computer's OS is set to a specific language, it doesn't always follow that is the one you wish to use on a website. Invision Community 4.5 allows this automatic detection to be switched off. Quote Collapse We will finish with another popular feature request; the ability for long quotes to be collapsed, reducing the amount of scrolling one has to do. Quite simply, Invision Community collapses long quotes with an option to expand them to read the entire quote. Thank you to all our customers who have taken the time to leave feedback. As you can see, we do listen and action your feedback. Which change are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below!
    2 points
  30. bfarber

    4.5: Club Statistics

    Statistics can help you manage and monitor the direction of your community, giving you valuable insight into how your visitors are interacting with your site and what areas of your community deserve the most of your attention. With the popularity of Clubs in Invision Community, we determined that some statistics aimed at helping administrators review how this feature is being received by their end users was warranted. Club activity statistics overview When accessing the "Club Activity" statistics page in the AdminCP, you will be able to quickly see at a glance which club types are the most popular, see which clubs are gaining the most traction with new signups, and see trends in club creations over time. With the signups chart, you can further filter by one or more specific clubs, and save these filter preferences as new tabs on the chart. See activity across all clubs The "All Club Activity" tab on this page shows you which types of content (topics, images, files, etc.) are most popular across all clubs as an aggregate. If you find that Calendar or Downloads is especially popular throughout clubs then you may wish to promote these features further. Conversely if you find that a certain type of content is not being leveraged, you may wish to promote it, or retire its functionality on your community. Activity by club shows you which clubs are most active You can also view activity per-club, allowing you to identify which of your clubs are the most popular and have the most activity. As with the "Club signups" chart, you can use filters to view just the clubs you are interested in comparing, and save these filters for easy review later on. We hope you find value in these new statistics pages, and that they help you manage the Clubs feature on your site more effectively.
    2 points
  31. bfarber

    4.5: Search Insights

    Every single day, your members are searching your community for answers or interesting conversations to join. Wouldn't it be great if you could learn what is being searched for to identify hot issues, commonly asked questions and discover trends? We thought so too, which is why Invision Community 4.5 comes with search statistics. For the first time, Invision Community gathers anonymized information on what your members are searching for so you can use this to highlight more relevant content and shape strategic decisions with your community's structure. Search statistics help you track searches performed on your community When a member searches, their identity is converted into a unique key that cannot be reversed to identify the member. This allows us to track a single member's search usage over many search sessions without being able to link it to a specific member account. The AdminCP now features a dashboard to review the most popular search terms as well as a raw log of recent searches along with the results they returned. We have a lot of ideas in mind for additional changes down the road with the tracking of popular search terms, but for now, we hope you like the new statistics page and find the information presented useful for your future site plans.
    2 points
  32. We have a very important announcement to make! There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition. Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved. Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier. The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations; Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar The three new announcement locations Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed. Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement. New customisable options The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details. Modal showing announcement content We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)!
    1 point
  33. Ever since its first release, the REST API built into the Invision Community software has proven to be a very powerful and well-received feature. We love seeing what our clients and modification authors are able to do with the level of integration afforded to them through this capability, and so it is only natural that we have looked to expand the functionality in our upcoming 4.4 release. Poll Support Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to create and update polls for both topics and blog entries through the REST API. Of course, modification authors can use this new endpoint. Warn Reasons You will also now be able to manage warn reasons through the REST API. This includes fetching a list of reasons, as well as fetching an individual reason, creating warn reasons, updating existing warn reasons, and deleting warn reasons. Event Venues Event venues can now be listed and individual venues fetched through the REST API, and you can now add, update and delete event venues through the REST API. Member Notifications You can now retrieve a list of notifications for a specific member through the REST API, useful if you were to attempt to recreate the notifications menu on a third party website (for example). Warning Users The REST API will now expose the warnings a user has received through a new endpoint. Additionally, you can fetch individual warnings, issue new warnings, undo and/or delete issued warnings, and acknowledge warnings through the REST API. If you are building a site wrapper around your community, you can leverage this functionality to ensure that users are unable to post elsewhere on your site if they have unacknowledged warnings within the community (and also to provide them with a way to acknowledge those warnings right on your site). The REST API Reference Node permissions Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to set the permissions for a node when adding or updating it through the REST API (for example, you can now adjust the permissions for a forum or a downloads category through the REST API). Many clients noticed that while they could create new nodes through the API, the nodes would be unusable until an administrator manually went in and specified the permissions, so this change can eliminate this extra step in many situations. Event filtering You will now also be able to filter the events you pull through the Calendar REST API endpoints by start and end date (e.g. so you can show events within a specific time frame, such as the current week), and you can now also specify to sort the events returned by the event start date or the event end date. Clubs And finally, for those who leverage clubs on their communities, we have built in full REST API support for clubs. You can list all clubs, return a specific club, create new clubs, update existing clubs, and delete clubs through the REST API. Further, you can list all members in a club, add a specific member to a specific club, remove a member from a club, fetch the content types available for use within a club (i.e. so you can determine which applications are installed and have club support on a given site), fetch the nodes (displayed as tabs/sections within a club) created within a club, and delete nodes from a club. Important behind the scenes steps, such as generating invoices for members requesting to join paid clubs, are all handled automatically for you when using the REST API. We believe these changes will help clients better integrate with our software and open up new possibilities with their websites. Would you like us to add any other endpoints? Let us know in the comments below!
    1 point
  34. Matt

    4.5: Page Builder Widgets

    Invision Community introduced drag and drop widgets many years ago. These widgets allowed anyone to add blocks to existing views, and to build up entirely new pages. These widgets were great for quickly adding content to a page, but they weren't incredibly customizable. For Invision Community 4.5, we've added three new Page Builder widgets which allow you a little more control. For an overview of this new feature, please take a look at the video below. As you can see, these new widgets offer a lot of customization without the need to code any CSS or HTML. You can add background colours and images, adjust padding and borders and even add colour overlays right from the widget menu. The new Page Builder widget options Blandness be gone! Now you can let your creativity loose on your pages and all other views that have the drag and drop zones. I'd love to know what you think of this new feature; please let me know below!
    1 point
  35. We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019. The first feature we announced was a revamped Admin Control Panel interface which created more visual space and brightened it up. Actually, we made it so bright that the first feature request was to add a dark mode (which we did). In the space of three short months, we had spoken about Club improvements, invites and referrals, RSS feed improvements, blog categories, the simple stock photo picker, search insights, security enhancements, user interface updates, new statistic views, and notification improvements. Most will agree that March and April seemed to last months, thanks to a global pandemic. We used these extra days to talk about marking posts as a solution, topic view summary, Zapier integration, forum view updates, post-installation onboarding, private staff notes, page builder widgets, theme designer improvements, a new default theme, language system updates and everything else we missed. We have also revamped the front end user interface to modernise the look and feel but also to introduce new CSS frameworks, variables and other time-saving features our design team have been eager to implement. On the subject of modernisation, we've deprecated some legacy functionality. We've given up trying to make anything look good with IE11 which last saw an update in 2013. We've also deprecated older caching engines like Memcache, APC and Wincache and recommend using Redis instead. The web hosting and domain management features of Commerce are also deprecated as is BBCode. BBCode has its roots in the earliest bulletin-board systems long before rich text editors were common use. It's 2020; we should no longer be asked to type in special codes in square brackets to format text. BBCode is still functional in Invision Community 4.5, but it is likely to be removed in a future version. Now that primary development has finished, we move onto the beta testing stage. This is where you get to try it out and evaluate the new features before scheduling your own upgrades. As always, we do recommend that you only test early betas on staging sites or simple test sites. Many a weekend has been ruined by over-enthusiastic upgrading of live sites; so we don't recommend that. You'll also notice that we're running Invision Community 4.5 on our own site. If you do spot an issue, please let us know in the bug tracker. I've been creating and releasing products for close to twenty years now, and I still get a real buzz out of hitting the release button. It's always a pleasure to see the result of hundreds of hours of coding, dozens of meetings and numerous passionate exchanges among the team. You can access the beta in your client area. We hope you enjoy Invision Community 4.5!
    1 point
  36. Conspiracy theories have roots in the 19th century and have been popular for decades. Until recently, conspiracy theorists have lived in the margins. They are often convinced the earth is flat, Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone, and the moon landings were faked in a Hollywood sound stage. More recently, with 9/11 and the coronavirus pandemic, these conspiracy theories have become more mainstream, with celebrities and politicians sharing them over their official social media channels. From the evil machinations of Bill Gates, the rise of QAnon, to the conflation that 5G is responsible for spreading coronavirus, it's hard to ignore the impact they have in creating misinformation which undermines attempts at effective communication from governments and public health bodies. Despite reams of facts, logic and critical thinking, those that follow conspiracy theories will not be budged from their positions. They trust their sources implicitly, and a mountain of research disproving the argument does not interest them. The number of people that succumbs to these narratives grows every day. When you consume the content shared by the primary sources of this misinformation, it's easy to see why. Conspiracy theories are created and shared in a way that is engaging and irresistible to many seeking stability in a confusing world. Whatever your position is on these conspiracy theorists, you can leverage these tactics to make your own content more engaging and shareable. Lesson 1: Make it emotive Human beings have two distinct and independent thinking centres in the brain. One works on emotion (the limbic system) and the other on logic (the neocortex). The emotional brain works much faster than the logical brain. It is what has kept us alive as a species. If you hear a loud bang, your emotional brain processes this first and triggers the urge to move before your logical brain kicks in and deduces the bang was from a book expertly pawed from its shelf by your cat. The emotional brain is continually processing the world, and even though it's part of you, you do not have much control over it. Your logic brain, however, works on facts, truths and analysis. When you watch harrowing whistleblower testimony telling of their suffering in a conspiracy theory video, your emotional brain is powerfully stirred. It's why challenging conspiracy theorists who are emotionally committed to the point of view with just logic often fails. The emotional commitment is incredibly powerful, and when you challenge them, the logic brain is short-circuited, and the emotional brain becomes defensive. In fact, the more logic and evidence you provide, the more the emotional brain digs in and refuses the new evidence. How can you use this to your advantage? Work on creating an emotional response with your content. Don't purely rely on facts and logic to persuade your audience. Try and evoke an emotional reaction through imagery, metaphors and similes. President Obama was a powerful orator and used emotion often to create a strong message. When he spoke of investing in education, he invokes emotion by saying "We believe that when she goes to school for the first time, it should be in a place where the rats don't outnumber the computer." Lesson 2: Tell a story Conspiracy theory videos don't just reel off a list of events and facts, they tell a story. Some of the more complex theories are akin to a sprawling TV series with several characters linked by circumstance. Humans have always been curators of stories. From religious texts to morality fables, we learn and process the world through stories. Stories are memorable. Most adults can recite fairytales read to us when we were children. Use a story to link together critical points within your content. Consider how "Gamification has been proven to make communities more sticky and encourage more engagement" reads compared to "It was 3am, the flicker of the TV set was the only light in the room. My palms, slick with sweat, fought to keep the controller sticks moving. Even though I had a 6am start, I couldn't put the controller down. I had to finish the quest and collect the reward. Your community is no different." Take your reader on a journey, and they're more likely to finish your content. Try and make it personal. When we read, we always try and put ourselves in the shoes of the author or the protagonist. Stories and emotion go hand in hand. Recently, the Huffington Post ran a story with the headline "One death a minute" which is a very emotive and powerful alternative to the raw fact that 1,461 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19 on the 29th July. Lesson 3: Make it easy to consume A key strength for any content creator is to know when to create long-form content and snackable content. A single meme is more potent than 300 links to PubMed. A single YouTube video can be more persuasive than an expert in her field. Conspiracy theory creators use over-simplification to reduce a complex issue into an easily digestible entertaining snack. A meme generally contains a single idea that is easy to grasp and engaging. You don't have to work very hard to understand it, your visual brain processes it in 1/10th of a second, and it triggers a moment of delight. Infographics and memes are often smart ways to create an entrance to your content. If an image containing a straightforward idea from a more complex piece of content is digested quickly, it can leave your audience wanting more, and therefore more likely to involve themselves in your more complex work. When creating long-form content, consider the use of iconography, infographics and photography. Visuals help us remember and understand content quickly. I could say that 63% of this blog was written on an iPad, but a piechart would make this easier to process and more memorable. No tin foil hats required Creating compelling content is key to building your community. Your content sets the tone, helps drive re-engagement and positions you as a key expert in your field. Using the techniques many conspiracy theory creators use to spread their narratives will help your content be more memorable and shareable A well-created story with emotional cornerstones made more accessible by key points simplified into snackable quotes or images will help your content find a wider audience, whether you believe Neil Armstrong landed on the moon or not.
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  37. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the world's most trusted source of information on international health, and a foremost partner to public health agencies combating the coronavirus. They also understand the critical need for risk communication and community engagement to respond to the coronavirus pandemic -- a valuable strategy that any online community can adopt in these volatile times. In March of this year as the coronavirus was already rampaging across nations, WHO published a series of guidance for risk communication and community engagement. One of the major lessons they learned during some of the most perilous outbreaks including SARS, Ebola, and MERS was that community engagement was a critical factor in the success of containing any pandemic. Here are 3 best practices from the World Health Organization that can help online communities navigate any crisis. INFODEMICS One of the biggest problems hampering the effective treatment of coronavirus, or any major disruptive event in a community, is the excessive abundance of information - an "infodemic" from multiple and untrustworthy sources that reduces trust in any advice. The flood of information can quickly overwhelm any at-risk population. Community leaders need to proactively communicate. As WHO recommends, "One of the most important and effective interventions to any event is to proactively communicate what is known, what is unknown, and what is being done to get more information." Communication from community leaders establishes the chain of communication and establishes themselves as a source of credible information. By getting out in front of disruptive events and staying in regular communication with your members, you build trust and ensure that proper advice will be followed. PERCEPTIONS OF RISK Different groups of people perceive the same problem differently. In the case of coronavirus, WHO discovered that certain segments of the population didn't understand the risk of the virus as much as they should have - a gap of knowledge that effective communication would have addressed for different populations. Part of the goal of WHO's risk communication and community engagement is to "help transform and deliver complex scientific knowledge so that it is understood by and trusted by populations and communities." Community leaders need to tailor their communication to sub-groups. While regular announcements and general updates are important for the community at-large, it leaves knowledge gaps for different sub-groups of your community membership: clients need to be informed of service interruptions; vendors need to be informed of supply chain disruptions; superusers need to know how to direct users for help. Different stakeholders have differing needs, and each group requires customized and tailored communication to best navigate through the crisis. ADDRESSING THE UNKNOWN & MISINFORMATION One of WHO's recommended actions for leaders was to be prepared to communicate about the first coronavirus case, even before the full picture was known. Even today, much is unknown and data is still being compiled about coronavirus. But in a digital world where misinformation gets mixed in with the ease of a tweet or share, it's more important than ever to communicate factually while acknowledging uncertainty. Address uncertainty by systematically collecting questions and providing answers to all questions. In the beginning of any crisis, you won't have all the answers and events will still be unfolding. It's critical to establish an early dialogue with your community to gather concerns from members, to monitor for misinformation, and to systematically compile questions into a FAQ. Source: Risk communication and community engagement readiness and response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Interim guidance 19 March 2020. World Health Organization. On behalf of the entire IPS team, we wish our clients well wishes during these difficult times! Executive Summary Problems of crisis: infodemics with excess information, different perceptions of risk among sub-groups, and uncertainty with misinformation. Solutions for community leaders: proactive communication, customized communication, and addressing uncertainty.
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  38. Since the feature was announced at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) we have received lots of requests to implement Sign in with Apple in Invision Community. We’re pleased to announce that as of 4.5 this is now available. You will need a paid Apple developer account to use it but once enabled users will be able to sign in using their Apple ID and all the convenience that brings. Touch ID and Face ID is supported natively where available and works across all your devices. Choose to share or hide your email address Isn’t it just another login button? Sign in with Apple is built on similar technologies as other login buttons such as those already available in Invision Community from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The difference is Apple’s unique focus on privacy. On certain community types users can be reluctant to sign up when they fear they need to disclose lots of personal details. Every community is different so allowing your users to share as little or as much info as they like could be important to your success. Apple have stated that no user tracking will take place in contrast to other services where this forms a part of their business model. When signing in with their Apple ID the user can choose whether or not to share their real email address with your community. If the user chooses to hide their email address then your community will receive a relay email address that will forward to their real address. The email address used is unique to your community so the user can retain control. Can users link their existing Invision Community accounts? Yes! If a user signs in using the Apple button and shares their real email address, then providing they already have an account on your community they will be prompted to link their account in the same way as other social login buttons. They can also link an existing account from their account settings. If linking from account settings then the email addresses used do not need to match. Sign in with Apple is already enabled here on our community and is available in the 4.5 beta available to download now.
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  39. One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data. There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood. However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views. Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics. This new 'overview' view not only shows you a snapshot of your community but also allows you to compare time periods. In the video, you can see that I select different date ranges, such as "three months". This shows you the data of that time period, and also compares it against the previous three months. In this example, you can clearly see that we have 50% more registrations and 33% more contributors compared to the previous three month period. Likewise, in this example, you can clearly see that we have a 1200% increase in reactions given with a clear breakdown of the type of reaction given to help understand community sentiment. These interactive displays automatically update, so if you are so inclined, you could leave the statistic pages open and watch as the data changes live. We hope that you find these new views useful in identifying trends and help to inform strategic decisions within your community.
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  40. Matt

    Black Friday Sale!

    It's that time of year again! Have you been thinking about starting your Invision Community? Or perhaps you're currently using another service and want to take advantage of our modern, mobile ready and social media equipped platform? This has been a great year for Invision Community. We've added many new features including Clubs, Fluid View, Profile Completion and more. We've been adding useful articles such as the benefits of owning your own community versus a Facebook Group, how to optimize your community's SEO, and how to stop spam. And we're already working on our next major release due out early 2018. To celebrate, we have two new coupon codes for you! 20% OFF ALL CLOUD PACKAGES Start with Invision Community today with our hassle free cloud packages. There's nothing to upload and nothing to install. You don't need to know your FTP from your MySQL. We do all that for you! Use coupon code during checkout: CICBF2017 15% OFF SELF HOSTED LICENSES Prefer to manage your own hosting? No problem. Grab your downloadable license today. Use coupon code during checkout: SHBF2017 The small print These coupons are valid from today right through to midnight Monday 27th November (EST). Note, the self hosted coupon is not valid for renewals. Thanks and happy shopping!
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  41. Have you ever found yourself muttering "there has to be an easier way" when managing your community? If you have, it's likely that you are not the first person to think that. Invision Community has been refined over nearly two decades, and in that time we've received a lot of feedback from clients running very large and busy sites. We love a short cut, especially when it makes our clients lives easier. There's plenty of time-saving features throughout Invision Community, and here are five of the best. Saved Actions If you routinely perform the same actions to a topic, such as replying before closing it or moving the topic to a different forum, then saved actions will save you a lot of time. Let's look at a practical example. You have a forum where your members can suggest new features for your product. You might choose to move some of these suggestions to another forum to shortlist them for inclusion in a future version, or to discuss further. You also may like to reply thanking the member for their idea, but it's not feasible at this time. Here you would set up two saved actions, one that replies and moves the topic to a specific forum, and one that replies to the topic and closes it for further commenting. Your saved actions are accessible via the moderation menu You and your moderating team can select these saved actions quickly when reading a topic to perform multiple moderation steps in one go. RSS Feeds If your community regularly discusses topics that feature in the latest news, then you can quickly seed these discussions using the RSS feed import tool. Not only can you import almost any public RSS feed into your community, but you also have control over how these topics are displayed, to whom they are attributed to and how the link back to the source article looks. RSS feed import is an often overlooked but handy tool at starting productive discussions without the need to source and post them manually. iCal Feeds The iCal feed can be considered as the sister feature to the RSS Feed Import tool. It works in a very similar way in that it can accept almost any public iCal feed and import events into your community's calendar. This is especially useful if you maintain an event stream outside of the community, but wish to share those events with your members in a native way, or perhaps you already have a calendar product used by your organisation. Using the iCal feed tool to populate your community calendar with key dates relevant to your community can be achieved very quickly. Auto-moderation Moderating a busy community can be a time-consuming task. Trying to review new posts and topics to ensure they meet your community standards as they come in can be daunting. Fortunately, Invision Community has an ace up its sleeve. Auto-moderation allows you to use the power of your community to identify and remove content that does not meet your community standards. The administrator sets up a threshold so that when a specific number of reports for that content item is crossed, the content is hidden. Auto-moderation has a lot of options to configure which we covered in this blog article recently. Group promotion Ensuring your members feel valued and rewarded for their contributions is key to member retention and keeping engagement high. A simple way to reward long term regular contributors is to elevate their permissions. This can mean that they have access to otherwise hidden areas, or they get more allowances in terms of upload space and fewer restrictions. To do this manually would take a significant amount of time. Thankfully, Invision Community has a feature called Group Promotion. This tool allows the administrator to set up specific thresholds such as post count, or time since joining which then move the member into a new group when triggered. This all happens automatically. Just set it up and let it run! We spoke about Group Promotion recently, take a look here to learn more about this feature. How many of you are already using these features, and which ones did we miss off our list? I'd love to know.
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  42. It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community. It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off. Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members. Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many. Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with. Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community. This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site. Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works. When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address. Posting as a guest This works in any application for new content (topics, Gallery images, etc.) as well as comments and reviews. It will only show when a newly registered member would be able to post in that area - for example, it will not show in a forum that only administrators can post in. After submitting the post, the post will not be visible to any user, but the user will immediately be redirected to the registration form with an explanation to complete the registration. The email address they provided will already be filled in. Registration form after posting as a guest At this point, the user can either fill in the registration form, or use a social sign in method like Facebook or Twitter to create an account. After the account has been created, and validation has been completed if necessary, their post will automatically be made visible just as if they had registered and then posted. If the user abandons the registration after they've submitted their post, an email will be sent to them to remind them to complete the registration. Email reminding user to finish registering Some Notes Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
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  43. We often get asked how to create a portal-like home page for a community. A homepage has many benefits including: Showing your best content first By using the "Our Picks" blocks, you can display your best content first. This content sets the tone for the site and will encourage engagement across your site. Display multiple areas of the suite Each application has its own feed blocks that can be used to display content on the home page. If your members use Gallery heavily, then showcase those photos on the homepage. If you use Calendar a lot to schedule events, then show event feeds. By displaying feeds to content is a great way to showcase all areas of your site on a single page. Reduce confusion For those of us that grew up with forums are used to viewing a list of categories and forums. We find it easy to scan the list of forums and dip into the ones that interest us. For those that are not so familiar, a homepage displaying easily accessible content reduces the confusion and invites true content discovery. In this short video, we show you how to create a homepage in under 5 minutes using the Pages app. Pages is available with all Cloud plans and is available to purchase when buying a self-hosting license. This video shows: How to set Pages as the default application How to create a Page Builder page How to configure blocks to fine tune the feeds As you can see, it's a straightforward task, and you do not need to know any programming or design to create a compelling homepage. Do you have a homepage like this? We'd love to see it!
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  44. We are improving our integration options with analytics tracking services to better track and credit all page views. Our focus here was to add the ability for IPS Community Suite to communicate with your analytics tracking provider of choice when it does page change events that do not otherwise get tracked. Some tracking providers do not understand that an inline AJAX page load (one that loads new content without a full page refresh) should still count as a new page. Even though your browser did not do a full reload, all your content is different so it should count in your metrics. To solve this issue, IPS Community Suite can now automatically put in custom code to execute on pagination. We include Google Analytics and Piwik code by default and there is also an option to include your own custom pagination event code for other services. Analytics in AdminCP If you already have your Google Analytics code in our existing (basic) analytics system then the Suite will detect this on upgrade and automatically enable the new pagination tracking. The screenshot above shows the "Other" option if you do not use Google Analytics or Piwik. If you have other providers you want us to consider just post a feedback topic. Note: be sure that you embed Google Analytics into your Suite using the built-in analytics system. If you simply pasted the code into your theme templates then we cannot automatically enable the new tracking. We hope this new feature allows for easier integration with analytics tracking providers and also gives you much better insight into your traffic by properly counting all the page views you may currently be missing out on! This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
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  45. As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community. Email Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website. It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests. Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task. With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content. Highlight the best content from throughout your community In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest. Capture return visits with interesting content Social media links in email footers If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails. Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel. Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more. Respond to Reviews We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase. New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme. Matt is talking to himself again One more thing... Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list. We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community.
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  46. In IPS4, it's easy to add custom icons to your forums, simply by uploading them on the Edit Forum screen in the AdminCP. But if you want to replace all of your forum icons, uploading the same icon for each forum can be a bit tedious. It's easy to use some custom CSS to replace all of the icons - lets see how. First, you'll want to upload the image(s) you want to use to the Resources section of your theme so that it can be used in your CSS. To start with, we'll use the same image for both read and unread status, but we'll cover using a different icon for both too. The basics Here's the basic CSS to replace the icon for all forums with your custom image: body[data-pageapp="forums"] .cForumRow .ipsItemStatus.ipsItemStatus_large { width: 50px; height: 50px; border-radius: 0; background-color: transparent; background-image: url('{resource="mushroom.png" app="core" location="front"}'); background-size: 50px 50px; } body[data-pageapp="forums"] .cForumRow .ipsItemStatus.ipsItemStatus_large > i { display: none; } What we're doing here is specifically targeting the item status icons in the forums app, using the body[data-pageapp="forums"] selector. Within this style, we're setting the size of the icon - I've chosen 50px here which is about right in most cases, although you can change this if desired. Next we reset the border radius and background color so the icon looks right. And finally, we set the background image to our icon by using the {resource} tag and the background size to the same dimensions we just set the element to. The next style hides the FontAwesome icon that IPS4 inserts by default, so that our icon can be seen. Using a different 'read' icon By default, your icon will be faded out for 'read' icons, but it's easy to use a completely different icon if you wish. Simply add: body[data-pageapp="forums"] .cForumRow .ipsItemStatus.ipsItemStatus_large.ipsItemStatus_read { background-image: url('{resource="mushroom_faded.png" app="core" location="front"}'); } All we're doing here is using a more specific selector with .ipsItemStatus_read so that only the 'read' state is targeted. In the style, we specify the background image - we don't need to set and reset the other rules again because the styles we wrote in the first step are inherited. Using different icons for redirect or Q&A forums If you want to add icons specifically for redirect or Q&A forums, you can do that by targeting unique classes that are added to the icons for those kinds of forums. Those classes are .cForumIcon_redirect and .cForumIcon_answers, respectively. So, to use a custom icon for a Q&A forum, you would add another style like so: body[data-pageapp="forums"] .cForumRow .cForumIcon_answers.ipsItemStatus.ipsItemStatus_large { background-image: url('{resource="question.png" app="core" location="front"}'); } Notice we've added .cForumIcon_answers to our selector.
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  47. Social media promotion should be a part of any marketing strategy. Curating interesting content from your community and sharing to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Invision Community 4.2 introduced Social Media Promotions to allow this. You hit the promote button, fill out the text to share with each service, click which photos to include and schedule the promotion or send it immediately. We use this feature almost every single day to share highlights to our Invision Community Facebook page and Twitter. This feature has had a significant impact in attracting visitors to our blog. This is now a core part of our marketing strategy. So what's new in Invision Community 4.3? Facebook Groups and Pages A popular feature request was to allow sharing to Facebook groups that you are an administrator of, as well as Pages you own. Not only that, but we now allow you to share to many places at once. When setting up Facebook, you can choose which Facebook properties to be used when promoting. When sharing content, you can choose where to share it to right on the dialog. Here you can see that we're sharing to two of three possible places. "It's a secret" is a Facebook Group (which makes it a pretty poor secret). The "Lindy Throgmartin Fan Club" is my favourite page on all of Facebook. What it lacks in members, it makes up for in enthusiasm. You may also notice that the Facebook box is empty. Facebook have very strict guidelines on sharing content. They prefer that you do not auto-populate the content. You can always access the item's original content on the promote dialog, so you can refer to it. Setting a custom page title When you share to social media channels, you also have the opportunity to add to the 'Our Picks' page. We've made it possible to add a custom title for the Our Picks page so you don't have to use the content item title, although this is still the default. Editing an Our Pick When editing an item shared to 'Our Picks', you now have the option of editing all the data, including the title and the images attached. The Our Picks page showing the custom title Thanks to your feedback, we saw several places that we can improve this already popular feature. We hope you enjoy these changes which makes your social promotion strategy even easier to execute. I know we'll be making good use of them!
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  48. Ever since Invision Community 4.x was launched you have been asking for the ability to categorize blogs in your community. We heard you loud and clear, but sometimes when a feature sounds straightforward, it requires some re-engineering of the framework. Because users in your community can create both blog entries and their own blogs to hold these entries, this was one of those areas. Starting with Invision Community 4.5 I’m pleased to announce that it is now possible for blog authors to categorize their blog entries and it's now possible for administrators to categorize blogs. Blog Entry Categories When creating a new blog entry, your members will now be able to create a new category for the entry or choose an existing one that had been created previously. Choosing your category when creating a new blog entry When a reader then visits the blog they can choose to display only those categories that interest them. Filtering by category Blog Categories Running a community where users can create their own blogs, you don’t only need to make sure individual pieces of content are categorized correctly, you also need to make sure the blogs themselves have a logical place. Well guess what? Now you can! As an admin you can now set up predefined categories in the control panel and Blog authors can then choose which one to create their new blog in. Managing blog categories We realize some of you have been waiting a long time to see these changes so we hope you enjoy this and everything else to come in Invision Community 4.5!
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  49. This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release. IPS Community Suite has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down system, later updated to introduce a Likes system as an alternative. Whichever system you chose to use, it tied in with our reputation system. We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, and it's something that has been requested for quite some time: Reactions. Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards content than a simple up/down or 'like'. They are now in common usage on social networks, and so users expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see. Let's see how they work in a post, and then cover the options you'll have available. What you see above is the default setup for a site that has used the Like system in version 4.1. We include 5 reactions by default: Like Thanks Confused Sad Haha If you currently use the older style up/down reputation system, don't fret - you'll still get the new reactions on upgrade, but they'll be disabled by default and instead the new reaction UI will show up/down reactions. This gives you the flexibility to decide which of the new reactions, if any, you want to allow. So, those are the basics - but what configuration options can you expect to see? First, you can of course add your own reactions! We expect that beyond the default reactions you'd expect to find, some sites will want reaction types specific to their use-case. On an intranet, you might want to have 'agree' and 'disagree' reactions for staff to use when responding to discussions. On a gaming community, you might replace the icons to be some graphic from a video game that means something to your particular userbase. There's a wealth of possibilities. Each reaction you set up can be configured to adjust the original author's reputation count - a reaction can be positive (i.e. award a reputation point), negative (i.e. subtract a reputation point), or neutral (i.e. leave the reputation count unchanged). Our default set won't include any negative reactions, but you are free to configure these and new reactions to suit your own use-case. A user's total reputation count is still shown alongside their content and in their profile, of course. If you don't want to use the new reactions for whatever reason, you can disable all of them except Like, and it'll behave just the like 4.1-and-earlier system: Sites that currently use the up/down system don't show a list of names of users, and instead show an overall reputation score for the content. With the new reaction system, you can enable this even if you don't use up/down reactions. This is great if you plan to use reactions as, for example, an agree/disagree system, or where the content score is more important to your site than the individual reaction types. How the reaction UI looks with the 'count only' setting enabled As you'd expect, you can click individual reaction counts (or the overall reputation score, if you enable that setting) to view who reacted to the content. This remains a permission setting that you can apply per-group. On touch devices, on-hover functionality is not suitable, and so for these devices the reactions UI looks like this: Reactions play well with all areas of the suite, including Recommended Replies: ...and activity streams... ...and a couple of places we aren't quite ready to reveal yet We hope you're looking forward to this new feature as much as we are. It's already been a hit on our internal testing site, and we're looking forward to seeing how clients customize it for use on their own community. Developer note: Reactions are one of two new features (the other currently unannounced) so far that make use of PHP Traits.
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