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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.


Comments



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7 hours ago, openfire said:

Suppose there are dozens of clubs in a small geographic area, will the map use "clusters" as currently featured in the members map plugin?

We debated this, but the current implementation is just pins. For this, and a few other things related to the map (like how to choose what displays by default) we thought we'd wait to hear what feedback we get from you in the beta, once people get a feel for how they'll use Clubs :)

5 hours ago, Adriano Faria said:

Possible to ban a member from clubs that doesn't require invitations?

Yes, Club Leaders can ban a member from the club which will remove them and they will not be able to rejoin.

1 hour ago, Maxxius said:

I wonder if such Club function may have something like a Facebook wall on the front page of the club page where members can post stuff on it and people can comment. Or it is just strictly topics and replies?

The homepage is a feed of all activity in the club including topics, gallery images, etc (including content from third party apps if they add support). It will also show when people have joined the club. We haven't done status updates.

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Thought this would suck. No way IPS could pull it off I thought as I read the title...Oh boy was I wrong! EXACTLY! what I was looking for!

Can I assume we can disable locations on clubs? As that is something I don't want my users to be able to use.

Edited by Netherlord

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5 hours ago, Mark said:
13 hours ago, openfire said:

Suppose there are dozens of clubs in a small geographic area, will the map use "clusters" as currently featured in the members map plugin?

We debated this, but the current implementation is just pins. For this, and a few other things related to the map (like how to choose what displays by default) we thought we'd wait to hear what feedback we get from you in the beta, once people get a feel for how they'll use Clubs :)

Well, you've literally created a monster with Clubs... I can tell you right now that there will be implementations that will definitely require clusters - I know this, because what I intend to do with Clubs will absolutely require clusters!

Maybe pins can be the default, but clusters can be an option in the ACP? Pretty please? :yes:

I can think of many more implementations off the top of my head that could benefit from clusters as well... think outside the box of what clubs is capable of ;)

Was so excited about this that I told my wife about it over dinner last night! lol

Edited by openfire

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Not sure if you have this covered. But will mention it.

Possibly a way to categorize clubs? Maybe tag them with a category club owner can set from a list admin creates. And then just add that to the sort by list type object?

If this is done in a default way ignore me :D

Edited by Netherlord

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1 minute ago, Netherlord said:

Not sure if you have this covered. But will mention it.

Possibly a way to categorize clubs? Maybe tag them with a category club owner can set from a list admin creates. And then just add that to the sort by list? Sort by club type?

If this is done in a default way ignore me :D

You can add a custom field and then filter by the custom field :) 

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Can we have a closed tag system applicable only to a given club or they can't be separated from the core that much? Will it be easy for third party developers to add support for clubs? For example tutorials per club, quizzes per club, etc...

I am kinda looking in to this as a way to refresh the categories in my community. Right now I have forum categories, almost the same gallery categories, etc. It is great to have only one set of categories containing the relevant content!

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As cool as some of the new features are for 4.2 I am bit disappointed in the fact that again, nothing new for the downloads section. The download section is a forgotten part of the suite. 

My members (other peoples members probably would use the new features) wouldn't use the new features at all. Honestly, I don't want all these new features. Just more stuff I have to do. To be honest, I am about ready to check out. Nothing that matters to me ever gets done. 

I am not complaining as I understand how business works and focusing on what matters to the majority is important. 

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4 minutes ago, CP said:

As cool as some of the new features are for 4.2 I am bit disappointed in the fact that again, nothing new for the downloads section. The download section is a forgotten part of the suite. 

My members (other peoples members probably would use the new features) wouldn't use the new features at all. Honestly, I don't want all these new features. Just more stuff I have to do. To be honest, I am about ready to check out. Nothing that matters to me ever gets done. 

I am not complaining as I understand how business works and focusing on what matters to the majority is important. 

We are posting a blog entry practically every day. Just because we haven't posted about a certain are yet does not mean it has not been touched.

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This is an amazing new feature - people who complain about losing their community engagement to the likes of Farcebook and Reddit now have a potentially powerful new tool to re engage their users.

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