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Our take on managing successful online communities

Rikki
 

New: Clubs

This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.

We are happy to introduce the next major feature that will be available in IPS Community Suite 4.2 - Clubs.

Clubs are a brand new way of supporting sub-communities within your site. Many people have requested social group functionality in the past and Clubs are our implementation of this concept. Let's take a look at a few screenshots, and then go over what they are capable of doing.

homepage.jpg

The Club directory

club-home.jpg

A Club homepage

club-members.jpg

Club member listing

club-content.jpg

Example of content within a club (topics, in this case)

There's a lot to digest there! Let's go over the basic functionality.

 

Club Types

Four types of club are available:

  • Public clubs
    Clubs that anyone can see and participate in without joining.
  • Open club
    Clubs that anyone can see and join.
  • Closed club
    Clubs that anyone can see in the directory, but joining must be approved by a Club Leader or Club Moderator. Non-club-members who view the club will only see the member list - not the recent activity or content areas.
  • Private club
    Clubs that do not show in public, and users must be invited by a Club Leader or Club Moderator

As the site admin, you can of course configure which club types can be created and by whom. You could, for example, allow members to create public and open clubs, but allow a "VIP" group to also create Closed and Private clubs.

Members 2017-03-29 15-31-37.png

Admin configuration option for Club creations

 

Club Users

Each club has three levels of user:

  • Leader
    A leader has all of the permissions of a moderator, and can add other moderators. They can also add content areas (see below). The club owner is automatically a leader.
  • Moderators
    Moderators, as the name implies, have the ability to moderate content posted within the club. As the site administrator, you can define which moderator tools can be used. You could, for example, prevent any content being deleted from clubs, but allow it to be hidden. Moderators can also remove members from a club.
  • Users
    Anyone else that joins the club.

club_acp.png

Defining the moderator permissions available to club moderators

Your site administrator and moderators, with the appropriate permissions, are able to moderator content in any Club regardless of whether they are a member of it. 

Clubs can be created by any user who has permission. As you would expect, this is controlled by our regular permission settings.

For closed clubs, there's an approval process. Users can request to join and the request must be approved by a leader. Leaders get a notification when a user requests to join; the user gets a notification when their request is approved or denied.

approve.gif

Approving and declining join requests

 

Club Content

Club Leaders can add a variety of content areas to their club - forums, calendars, blogs and so on. It's important to note that these content areas are fully functional just as if they existed as a top-level admin created area. They will appear in search results, activity streams, users can follow them, embed links to them, and so on. If a user has permission to see a forum (for example) within a club it will behave exactly like other forums they see - and the same for all other kinds of content.

Each content area a leader adds can have a custom title, and will appear in the club navigation. This means, for example, that you can have multiple forums within a club, and give each a different name.

club_areas.png

Adding content areas to a club

 

Club Custom Fields

Clubs also support custom fields. Custom fields are defined by the site administrator and can be filled in by Club Owners. The values they enter are shown (along with the club description) on the club homepage.

club_custom_field.png

Custom fields in a club

On the Club Directory page, users can filter by the custom club fields.

club_filter.png

Filtering clubs

 

Club Locations

Clubs have built-in support for Google Maps, allowing users to specify a physical location for their club. Let's say you run a community for car enthusiasts; each club might be tied to a particular region's meetup. The Club Owner specifies the location when setting up the club, and clubs are then shown on map on the directory page:

club-location.jpg

Club locations

And within a club, the location is shown too:

club_location.png

 

Club Display

We offer two ways to display club headers within the club - the standard way, shown in the screenshots you've seen up to this point, but we also have a sidebar option. This is something the admin sets globally for the site, rather than per-club. This is useful where your site design doesn't facilitate another horizontal banner taking up valuable screen real-estate; moving the club banner to the sidebar alleviates this pressure on vertical space.

club_sidebar.png

Sidebar club style

Using Clubs in Other Ways

There's a lot of scope for using clubs beyond allowing users to create their own groups. You do not even have to call them "clubs" if that does not suit your use case. For example, on a company intranet you could rename Clubs to "Departments", and create a private group for each of your main roles. This would allow each department to have its own community, with its own forums, gallery, file sharing and so on, private and separate from other departments.

Similarly, they'd also work well in situations where you as the site admin want to create entire micro-communities. Take for example a video game publisher. Using Clubs, they could create a micro-community for each of their games, complete with forums, galleries and so forth, and then set the Clubs directory as their overall community homepage. Immediately, they have a setup that hasn't until now been possible out-of-the-box with IPS Community Suite.

 

We expect our clients will come up with some really innovative uses for the new Club functionality, and we can't wait to see what you do. We'd love to hear your feedback - let us know what you think in the comments.


Comments



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This is awsome guys, any integration with Commerce?

Will members Club show in their customer data or can you have different subscriptions based on different clubs?

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How exactly is this included?  By that I mean, if someone buys only Nexus or Content (for example), would Clubs still be available?  If so, to what extent (what features)?

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Mixed feelings.. I am glad to see this implementation of Clubs as part of the Suite, since it may grow well into the suite as a whole, at the same time the functionality 'copies' the existing Collabs modul, which I have purchased long time ago and have been using since, I am not sure whether you have been discussing your plan to implement the Clubs with the module author, but from the reactions doesn't seem like so, the amount of the time the author of the script has invested must have been enormous. Similarly, one day we can get to know that Classifieds module has been provided by the team etc. I guess this is life..

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10 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

How exactly is this included?  By that I mean, if someone buys only Nexus or Content (for example), would Clubs still be available?  If so, to what extent (what features)?

You would have Clubs functionality, but the only app that would work with it is Calendar.

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3 hours ago, Rikki said:

You would have Clubs functionality, but the only app that would work with it is Calendar.

So more or less useless, except to watch events. :lol:

 

No sort of Nexus related functions, like products that would only be visible to members of certain clubs?  Maybe something to consider for 4.3. ;)

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I knew there would be new developments in 4.2, but I never anticipated that something like this would come about which fits so precisely - PRECISELY with what I have wanted for tutoring clients - spaces which constellate all the other apps and that can be custom-tailored for my clients with complete control over visibility and privacy.

Obviously the product of a lot of work and consideration, and I am truly looking forward to using this on my site.  Awesome!

 

Edited by liquidfractal

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59 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

 

Read it again.  What you quoted is about buying access to a club.  What I mentioned was a club members having access to certain products.  Unless you know of some way of being able to buy access to a club when that subscription option is only available to members of that same club.  (Catch-22)

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16 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

Read it again.

Ok:

1 hour ago, Wolfie said:

No sort of Nexus related functions

That's what I quoted. Buy access to a club IS a sort of Commerce integration.

Edited by Adriano Faria

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9 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

Ok:

That's what I quoted. Buy access to a club IS a sort of Commerce integration.

Read the whole thing...

 

5 hours ago, Wolfie said:

How exactly is this included?  By that I mean, if someone buys only Nexus or Content (for example), would Clubs still be available?  If so, to what extent (what features)?

5 hours ago, Rikki said:

You would have Clubs functionality, but the only app that would work with it is Calendar.

1 hour ago, Wolfie said:

So more or less useless, except to watch events. :lol:

 

No sort of Nexus related functions, like products that would only be visible to members of certain clubs?  Maybe something to consider for 4.3. ;)

 

With Clubs, forums can be included within the club if the Forums app is purchased, likewise with the other features that apps like Blog, Download, and Gallery offer, if purchased.  So the context of the question was, what functionality would Nexus bring to the Clubs feature, not the other way around.

 

Edit: Also, the feature you quoted is potentially not already included, but is in consideration as a future addition.

Edited by Wolfie

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I'm still a little bit confused about this feature.

Is this going to be a separated application, like forums, blogs, gallery, downloads ? thus paid separately 
Or will Clubs be included with the forums application by default?

and if this is a separated application, will we have to pay for it the first time ?

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14 hours ago, svit said:

Mixed feelings.. I am glad to see this implementation of Clubs as part of the Suite, since it may grow well into the suite as a whole, at the same time the functionality 'copies' the existing Collabs modul, which I have purchased long time ago and have been using since, I am not sure whether you have been discussing your plan to implement the Clubs with the module author, but from the reactions doesn't seem like so, the amount of the time the author of the script has invested must have been enormous. Similarly, one day we can get to know that Classifieds module has been provided by the team etc. I guess this is life..

The concept of these social groups has been around for ages, e.g. in vBulletin and people asked for a native IPS implementation for ages. IPS is just fulfilling that wish, not copying what this third party app “invented”. 
Personally, I have been waiting for a native social groups feature. I would hate if IPS would not implement such a feature just because something similar is available from a third party vendor already. That shouldn’t be their concern. 

 

13 minutes ago, gabs007 said:

Is this going to be a separated application, like forums, blogs, gallery, downloads ? thus paid separately 
Or will Clubs be included with the forums application by default?

It’s a core feature, so you don’t pay extra for it. What is available within the clubs (gallery, forums, blogs …) depends on whether you have these apps installed. 

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So what do you think your members will use Clubs for? Some of my members like to discuss favourite TV shows in a single long running topic, so I think they may like to set up say a Walking Dead Club. I could then move all of the existing Walking Dead topics into it, to get things started.

I can see how some might be confused with the concept. I always imagined social groups would be used on my main community for say a group of members who work on special projects like writing Virtual Seasons or or other creative projects like putting on some community event like at Halloween. Without a 'wall' as such, it makes me think Clubs are a bit like a group Blog (but with topics and Gallery images if you have those modules) or possibly a dedicated hidden team forum for specific members to view it, but Clubs seem a much better implementation.  

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22 minutes ago, AlexJ said:

Can I move all members of group A to club A? As of now we have group functionality but it would be very nice to have some kind of cross moving of members from groups to club directly through ACP. - Thanks

Agree.  I have groups and corresponding forums now for admins/moderators and committees who run the competitions.  It would be nice to be able to move them into clubs easily...

8 hours ago, The Old Man said:

So what do you think your members will use Clubs for?

Since my site is already dedicated to a club, I've just proposed creating local geographic chapters -- and am soliciting feedback on that idea....

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There is some default setting for requirements to join? (minimal global posts?)

this could be useful to reduce user effort and reduce moderation routine...

Edited by BomAle

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2 minutes ago, BomAle said:

There is some default setting for requirements to join? (minimal global posts?)

The club owners can define whatever rules they want, but it would be up to them to check if they are met for an application. 

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11 hours ago, The Old Man said:

So what do you think your members will use Clubs for?

My first task will be to set up virtual spaces for my paying tutor clients I can discuss their projects with them in forums topics, aid them in research by contributing to their media gallery, allow them to use a blog to track their own insights, etc.  With Clubs (well, "Spaces") they can let others join to collaborate if that's what the project calls for (although essay writing and critical argument building will probably be 1 on 1).

I can't tell you how excited I am to see Clubs, as up until now my clients had their own password-protected forum - some not visible, others visible - and blogs where desired, which is not nearly as graceful and professional a solution as Clubs.

After that, I want to organise groups around literature and philosophy (British/Australian/Canadian/Etc lit., Romanticism, Speculative Realism, German Idealism etc etc) and then promote like hell once I have the time!

 

Oh...there will also at some point be a Club dedicated to the Zombie Apocalypse.  But I expect it'll be pretty dead in there ZING

Edited by liquidfractal

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