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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.


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3 hours ago, eoebrian said:

Just upgraded and not seeing any links to anything called club in the admin panel nor on my forum. 

I think it's in the Community Enhancements section.

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I have a question, is there a way to integrate Nexus with the Clubs? I want to create a pay-to-join club. Kind of like how people can pay to be a part of a member group.

If not, will that be a feature in the future?

Thanks.

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1 minute ago, mfriedman421 said:

I have a question, is there a way to integrate Nexus with the Clubs? I want to create a pay-to-join club. Kind of like how people can pay to be a part of a member group.

If not, will that be a feature in the future?

Thanks.

 

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Nice feature...

I wonder if we could enhance the "private" clubs by adding functionality such as:

  • Encryption of topic content.
  • Encryption of stored files.

In my opinion this could give users / admins much more functionality on the clubs...

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9 hours ago, EarthDog said:

Nice feature...

I wonder if we could enhance the "private" clubs by adding functionality such as:

  • Encryption of topic content.
  • Encryption of stored files.

In my opinion this could give users / admins much more functionality on the clubs...

This would be pointless.  The files shouldn't be accessible to anyone (except club members and site admins/global moderators).  If someone is able to get the file, then there is a bigger concern than their being able to make use of it.

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12 hours ago, Wolfie said:

This would be pointless.  The files shouldn't be accessible to anyone (except club members and site admins/global moderators).  If someone is able to get the file, then there is a bigger concern than their being able to make use of it.

My point is that you need a completely private area even from site admins/moderators. In THAT case encryption of content & files would helpl. Of course the club moderator would have the encryption decryption key... But i dont know how many would want such a thing . I do for sure but ia m just one :)

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4 minutes ago, EarthDog said:

My point is that you need a completely private area even from site admins/moderators. In THAT case encryption of content & files would helpl. Of course the club moderator would have the encryption decryption key... But i dont know how many would want such a thing . I do for sure but ia m just one :)

Then you don't want to use a community based site for that.  Either that or protect the contents prior to posting/uploading.  For files, WinRAR let's you password protect not only the contents of an archive, but the internal filenames as well.  For posts, there might be something similar to PGP/OpenPGP/GPG/etc that will encrypt content to paste as a post and automatically decrypt upon reading, if it has a matching key, etc.

The way I see it though, if you need to keep it that secure, then you're better off using other resources to handle the content.

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2 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

Then you don't want to use a community based site for that.  Either that or protect the contents prior to posting/uploading.  For files, WinRAR let's you password protect not only the contents of an archive, but the internal filenames as well.  For posts, there might be something similar to PGP/OpenPGP/GPG/etc that will encrypt content to paste as a post and automatically decrypt upon reading, if it has a matching key, etc.

The way I see it though, if you need to keep it that secure, then you're better off using other resources to handle the content.

For Files ok....Regarding this automatic encrypt /decrypt based on a personal key would be the requirement for me...

And you are right..I have tried and created proof of concept solutions in other platforms (custom Laravel, Wordpress Plugin). The WP works fine ..but i like the idea to work for this with IP...

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Well 12 pages of reading about clubs wasn't bad for an hour LOL.. I've got a rather empty (ish) forum anyway so maybe I'd just have some empty clubs hmmm...

OR maybe I could ask a couple of people to come along and do all the self promoting they wanted in a club... ie add all their Youtube vids as club content?  Then again they probably wouldn't want all the extra work when they are already running a FB group or page and they might think why bother moderating another club ( on an empty (ISH) site) ?

Poor me eh?  How can I win?  Need to get my thinking cap on. At least I can say I'll promote all your club posts out onto social networks cant I?  They haven't got that much to lose I guess have they?  My site/and the club gets some content added and who knows millions of people might come over???

What came first the chicken or the egg? Build site up first then add clubs or add some clubs and THEY WILL COME!!!

Such are the dilemmas of life eh? 

Glass of wine needed... 

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18 minutes ago, kar3n2 said:

Well 12 pages of reading about clubs wasn't bad for an hour LOL.. I've got a rather empty (ish) forum anyway so maybe I'd just have some empty clubs hmmm...

OR maybe I could ask a couple of people to come along and do all the self promoting they wanted in a club... ie add all their Youtube vids as club content?  Then again they probably wouldn't want all the extra work when they are already running a FB group or page and they might think why bother moderating another club ( on an empty (ISH) site) ?

Poor me eh?  How can I win?  Need to get my thinking cap on. At least I can say I'll promote all your club posts out onto social networks cant I?  They haven't got that much to lose I guess have they?  My site/and the club gets some content added and who knows millions of people might come over???

What came first the chicken or the egg? Build site up first then add clubs or add some clubs and THEY WILL COME!!!

Such are the dilemmas of life eh? 

Glass of wine needed... 

1.  Wine makes everything better, so pour yourself another glass.

2.  You can allow club content (eg. club topics) to appear in the primary application (eg. forum), so your empty-ish site won't be as empty.  

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1 minute ago, Joel R said:

1.  Wine makes everything better, so pour yourself another glass.

2.  You can allow club content (eg. club topics) to appear in the primary application (eg. forum), so your empty-ish site won't be as empty.  

oh thats ok then .... might as well have a club instead of just forum posts     ...

1 minute ago, Joel R said:

You're drunk, how do you know what face I'm making??  :rofl:

Cos Im psychic too!   Now Ive got a full bottle to get down before i add a club and wait for all those folks to come trying to register overnight :sorcerer:

 

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