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Managing successful online communities

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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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Hello ! :)

This sounds very interesting, but is not clear. I have a few questions :

What will my existing board and it's 5 millions posts become and look like ? 

I have 5 major categories on my board, each containing about 30 forums. Will each category automatically become a club ? Will I have to create clubs and add the existing forums to the clubs ?

How are we going to proceed to apply changes to our community ?

Can we have a video showing how to set this up ?

Thank you. :)

Edited by SecondSight

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1 hour ago, SecondSight said:

Hello ! :)

This sounds very interesting, but is not clear. I have a few questions :

What will my existing board and it's 5 millions posts become and look like ? 

I have 5 major categories on my board, each containing about 30 forums. Will each category automatically become a club ? Will I have to create clubs and add the existing forums to the clubs ?

How are we going to proceed to apply changes to our community ?

Can we have a video showing how to set this up ?

Thank you. :)

It doesn’t change existing functionality at all. It’s a new section for your site, if you want to use it. 
The point of social groups (here called “clubs”) is that members can set them up themselves. They create their own community within your community, so to speak. 

So there also isn’t much to set up really. You can however define what club types members can create, what apps they can use and what moderator options the club owners will have. Everything else is done by your members when they create clubs. 

Edited by opentype

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4 hours ago, Il_Picasso said:

Is this like group collaboration? 

Yes. There was some comments few days ago about similarities between clubs and the application of @Kevin Carwile.
The only things that seems to be different is that Group collaboration application support categories and clubs doesn't seems to allow that (for now).

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6 hours ago, TLeM4 said:

Yes. There was some comments few days ago about similarities between clubs and the application of @Kevin Carwile.
The only things that seems to be different is that Group collaboration application support categories and clubs doesn't seems to allow that (for now).

yes, without categories discussions wont be attractive in Clubs

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3 hours ago, Adriano Faria said:
13 hours ago, TLeM4 said:

The only things that seems to be different is that Group collaboration application support categories and clubs doesn'

 

I think they meant forum categories.  From the looks of it, and this is only based on the supplied images (and thus could be incorrect), only one 'forum' is available to a club/group, vs multiple forums or categories/forums.

 

So it brings to question, just how much of the forum app is used?  Can a club/group have more than one forum (and if so, can it also have more than one category)?  If only one forum, then a future enhancement to consider would be to allow up to X number of different forums.  Not sure multiple categories would be a good idea though, though I could see some benefits to it.

 

To put this out there, if multiple forums becomes an option, might be a good idea to make them all single level and not allow nesting.  I can just see communities erupting in chaos because clubs go overboard with creating forums/subforums, to the extent of having many duplicates.  At least, that's my view on it.

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12 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

Can a club/group have more than one forum (and if so, can it also have more than one category)?  

You can add an app multiple times, each time creating a club tab with its own name. So you can have one forum or many if you want. Once you click a tab, there is no further categorization below that. 

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17 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

Judging by the other apps in the screenshot (Downloads Categories, Gallery Categories), I think it's safe to say that by forums they meant regular forums and categories, which is a forum with a flag).

Look at this screenshot, specifically at the breadcrumbs...  Home > Clubs > (club name) > Topics.  If it allowed multiple forums (or categories), where is that link at?  Why wouldn't it be 'forums', then the forum name, with "Topics" at the end?

If I were to make a bet on anything (which I'm not, I've learned not to do that when it comes to the IPS crew), it'd be that the forums integration enables one 'forum', where all topics are placed.  I believe allowing multiple (but not nesting) forums would be a great inclusion, but I'm doubtful that it's the case.

 club_sidebar.png.eb515db94ee4cf407ec8645

 

Edit:

5 minutes ago, opentype said:

You can add an app multiple times, each time creating a club tab with its own name. So you can have one forum or many if you want. Once you click a tab, there is no further categorization below that. 

Just took another look and it does allow multiple (as mentioned in the blog entry).  I think that implementation is rather smart, as it keeps it all as one menu, vs app/area > section > content, which can get a bit bloated.

 

Edited by Wolfie

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1 minute ago, Wolfie said:

Look at this screenshot, specifically at the breadcrumbs...  Home > Clubs > (club name) > Topics.  If it allowed multiple forums (or categories), where is that link at?  Why wouldn't it be 'forums', then the forum name, with "Topics" at the end?

It is showing the topic name because IT IS in that forum! What do you expected to show?

It would make no sense in allow categories in other apps and disallow in Forums.

But honestly, I really have nothing to do with it, I won't use it and don't like to waste my time in comments like that, since yesterday to be fair. :D

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3 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

It would make no sense in allow categories in other apps and disallow in Forums.

We were both right and both wrong.

You're right in that multiple forums are possible.  The way it's done, multiple categories wouldn't make sense.  It's just one simple menu.  I think IPS took a simple but very smart approach to it.

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On 30/03/2017 at 3:17 PM, Charles said:

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

I'm sorry that it's so confusing. I was talking about clubs/collabs categories not categories inside each app of the clubs/collabs

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21 minutes ago, TLeM4 said:

I'm sorry that it's so confusing. I was talking about clubs/collabs categories not categories inside each app of the clubs/collabs

See all the trouble you caused!  :lol:

Well, you already quoted the answer to your inquiry, so I guess you're happy now. :)

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Yes, to clarify, you can have multiple forums (or downloads categories, or calendars, etc.) but they're flat, so you can't have subforums, etc. If you look at the screenshots shown, each will get it's own tab.

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47 minutes ago, Mark said:

Yes, to clarify, you can have multiple forums (or downloads categories, or calendars, etc.) but they're flat, so you can't have subforums, etc. If you look at the screenshots shown, each will get it's own tab.

Will you be able to categorize one level up? (These 5 clubs are part of club category 1 since they are all related to X, these other 6 clubs are part of club category 2 since they are all related to Y, etc)

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6 hours ago, Morgin said:

Will you be able to categorize one level up? (These 5 clubs are part of club category 1 since they are all related to X, these other 6 clubs are part of club category 2 since they are all related to Y, etc)

As mentioned before, only through filter fields. You can set up custom club fields which categorize the clubs and then members can filter the clubs on the club homepage. 

58e1dff84aedd_ScreenShot2017-04-03at07_38_43.png.52c1c171baadb0f10e0834de43631a3b.png

 

As with other content, you can also feature clubs, which puts them on top. 

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6 hours ago, Morgin said:

Will you be able to categorize one level up? (These 5 clubs are part of club category 1 since they are all related to X, these other 6 clubs are part of club category 2 since they are all related to Y, etc)

This would seem a logical way to organise the Clubs. You have to have good organisation for some communities. For example, you might have a category/group of TV Show-related Clubs, one for Food-related Clubs, one for Car-related Clubs.

Infact, although I do have some concerns about my particular community becoming even more off-topic and fragmented than it is now, I'd suggest the ability to have as many categories and sub-categories as some communities may need, is quite important.

So for good organisation of Clubs, to keep them easy to navigate for visitors, you could have say, a parent category/group of Car Clubs with GM, Lamborghini, Masarati Clubs etc, another parent category for Motorcycle Clubs, but this time with a sub/child categories for Modern Superbikes-related Clubs, itself containing further sub-categories of Honda Clubs, Suzuki Clubs, Ducati Clubs etc.

The Motorcycle Clubs category might also contain another sub-category of Classic and Vintage Motorbike Clubs which contains a further sub-category of BSA Clubs, Triumph Clubs, and Indian Clubs etc.

You might then have a parent category of Sports related Clubs, with say Football Clubs by team, Baseball Clubs by team, Basketball Clubs by team etc.

If you had the option for as many as you need for logical organisation and re-ordering as with Forums now, you'd have that flexibility and future proofing to make them all part of another category in the future, or add further sub-categories, again as with drag and drop reordering of Forums now. 

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1 hour ago, Maxxius said:

can topics be moved from a club to an existing usual forum category? to make it like a real regular topic?

Yes

 

As for categorization of clubs, as has been mentioned you can set up whatever custom fields you like and filter by those fields (so you could have one called "Subject" with options "Food", "Car", etc.). This is a situation where I think it is probably best to wait and see and play with the implementation first, before deciding whether you think additional organization tools are needed.

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