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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



Recommended Comments

1 hour ago, RObiN-HoOD said:

Can an entire forum be "converted" to a club and visa versa?

Yes. 

1 hour ago, RObiN-HoOD said:

If yes, will it be possible to show clubs in forum index as if they where subforums just for the sake of organization?

No. 

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3 hours ago, RObiN-HoOD said:

If yes, will it be possible to show clubs in forum index as if they where subforums just for the sake of organization?

 

2 hours ago, opentype said:

No. 

Pitty because I guess people wil not have a quick view of everything in one screen.  I believe this should be adress somehow, perhaps using widgets or something but still now the same.

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13 minutes ago, RObiN-HoOD said:

 

Pitty because I guess people wil not have a quick view of everything in one screen.  I believe this should be adress somehow, perhaps using widgets or something but still now the same.

Clubs are clubs. They don’t belong unter forums, since they aren’t regular forums. They can have forums – but also galleries, blogs, calendars and so on. 

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14 minutes ago, RObiN-HoOD said:

 

Pitty because I guess people wil not have a quick view of everything in one screen.  I believe this should be adress somehow, perhaps using widgets or something but still now the same.

I agree.  The implementation in Groups Collaboration was better I thought.  It allowed listing of forums (or any other node) in the original app and the club.  Right now, the club compartmentalizes the information and partitions the community.    

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3 minutes ago, opentype said:

Clubs are clubs. They don’t belong unter forums, since they aren’t regular forums. They can have forums – but also galleries, blogs, calendars and so on. 

Yes this is why they are separated. They are their own things. It's not just a forum but can be anything in a Club.

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2 hours ago, Joel R said:

I agree.  The implementation in Groups Collaboration was better I thought.  It allowed listing of forums (or any other node) in the original app and the club.  Right now, the club compartmentalizes the information and partitions the community.    

I can see your concern, but the main purpose behind a groups like app is to have a single community that groups themselves into 'sub communities' .  It allows one member to have a group that their family/friends/colleagues/etc can be a part of, under their direct control, instead of having to rely on a staff member to create different forums/galleries/etc and handle the access of the members.  It also helps to keep the main community areas 'clutter free', which in turn can encourage someone to join the overall community if the site doesn't look overwhelming and complicated.  Can you imagine a site that has 50+ clubs, with the forums to those clubs appearing on the main forums index page?  As a guest who comes across that site, I would be like, "Wow, that's a long list, how will I ever find what I'm looking for?"  If some of the groups have forums with similar interests/titles, then it's even worse...  "Seems rather unorganized.  I think I'll move on."  That would be my feelings on it.

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1 minute ago, Wolfie said:

I can see your concern, but the main purpose behind a groups like app is to have a single community that groups themselves into 'sub communities' .  It allows one member to have a group that their family/friends/colleagues/etc can be a part of, under their direct control, instead of having to rely on a staff member to create different forums/galleries/etc and handle the access of the members.  It also helps to keep the main community areas 'clutter free', which in turn can encourage someone to join the overall community if the site doesn't look overwhelming and complicated.  Can you imagine a site that has 50+ clubs, with the forums to those clubs appearing on the main forums index page?  As a guest who comes across that site, I would be like, "Wow, that's a long list, how will I ever find what I'm looking for?"  If some of the groups have forums with similar interests/titles, then it's even worse...  "Seems rather unorganized.  I think I'll move on."  That would be my feelings on it.

I understand your concern but I never stated that the club forums would be required to be included in the main forum listing.  In the implementation of Group Collaboration, it was an option in the club settings whether to include or not include.  As such, some admins like yourself would be able to wholly segregate your website into subcommunities.  Other communities would be able to retain their content in the primary app while still focusing a club on a particular subset of content.  

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4 minutes ago, Joel R said:

I understand your concern but I never stated that the club forums would be required to be included in the main forum listing.  In the implementation of Group Collaboration, it was an option in the club settings whether to include or not include.  As such, some admins like yourself would be able to wholly segregate your website into subcommunities.  Other communities would be able to retain their content in the primary app while still focusing a club on a particular subset of content.  

So what you're saying is that instead of segregating it in one way, you want to do it but in a different way.

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13 minutes ago, Wolfie said:

So what you're saying is that instead of segregating it in one way, you want to do it but in a different way.

 I'm saying you can segregate the content for the Club, but not everybody wants to segregate the content in the App.  

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18 hours ago, Adriano Faria said:

 

 

Thank you for the response, especially since I see you had to answer this already for someone else. Sorry about that. I hope conversion is included from the start so we don't have to have duplicate installations.

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We talked about a yet missing category frontpage feature previously. As far as I understood the clubs announcement and comments, categorizations will only be available via a sort filter, not as a standalone template which only shows category contents.

I would be interested, if it could be possible, to create a independant overview page in IP.Pages (an artificial, independent category page), showing only big preview images with some text on it. And just link them directly to the already filtered search results per category in clubs. This could be a workaround if possible.

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11 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

I would be interested, if it could be possible, to create a independant overview page in IP.Pages (an artificial, independent category page), showing only big preview images with some text on it. And just link them directly to the already filtered search results per category in clubs. This could be a workaround if possible.

If you set those images up manually, then it would be possible. You can link to the club filter results. That works. There is also a “my clubs” filter option. 

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Sorry if this question has already been answered in any of the past 5(!) pages (or even in the last two messages): but I was wondering if one could create pages using IP.Pages that were exclusively for X Club and its members?  I get that all the main apps can be segregated into a Club space, but I haven't heard so much specifically about Pages.  I'm assuming this is possible (thus essentially enabling a mini-website in a Club with feeds possible on every page), but I'm not 100% clear on that.

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33 minutes ago, liquidfractal said:

Sorry if this question has already been answered in any of the past 5(!) pages (or even in the last two messages): but I was wondering if one could create pages using IP.Pages that were exclusively for X Club and its members?  I get that all the main apps can be segregated into a Club space, but I haven't heard so much specifically about Pages.  I'm assuming this is possible (thus essentially enabling a mini-website in a Club with feeds possible on every page), but I'm not 100% clear on that.

Clubs can’t use pages or Pages databases. 

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Interesting (and worrying) about the lack of Pages/database in Clubs. I have online modules in a database (very much like the IPS guides) that I would club members to be able to click through to on their club menu. Will it be possible to create a tab (i.e. as an external link) in the club menu? Thanks

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8 hours ago, Lindsay Snow said:

Interesting (and worrying) about the lack of Pages/database in Clubs. I have online modules in a database (very much like the IPS guides) that I would club members to be able to click through to on their club menu. Will it be possible to create a tab (i.e. as an external link) in the club menu? Thanks

I agree...but realistically, we can't expect everything everyone wants all at once :).  The IPS staff have been working on a lot of different updates for 4.2 so I assume this is a jumping-off point and that Club-specific Pages/database functionality will be the next logical step.

@Lindy Hint hint. ^_^

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I've been playing on the fullaccess preview and trying to make sense of the descriptions of the different club types. I don't think my permutation exists.

I want something that anyone can read and comment on but only club members can post new content. In my case, my club members will be authorised to write blogs which the general public can see and comment on. But because they're short texts in a language which people are learning, I can only have approved people (ie members) adding the entries.

I can't seem to get that working. Whether I have an open or closed club, people who aren't members can't see the blog entries. They can see that there are x entries in the blog header, but get the message "there are no blog entries" when they scroll down. Is this working as intended?

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9 minutes ago, Meddysong said:

I want something that anyone can read and comment on but only club members can post new content.

Then clubs aren’t for you in this case. It’s not the point of clubs to have writers and readers as separate groups in there. Either you get in the club or you don’t. If you’re in, you’re in and you can use it like any other member. 

If you want “authorization” you can do that already outside of clubs with member group permissions. 

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36 minutes ago, opentype said:

Then clubs aren’t for you in this case. It’s not the point of clubs to have writers and readers as separate groups in there. Either you get in the club or you don’t. If you’re in, you’re in and you can use it like any other member. 

If you want “authorization” you can do that already outside of clubs with member group permissions. 

Clubs may be for him but club permissions don't permit it.  I don't think it's fair to say an app is not for a client's usage when IPS has hardcoded four use cases.  

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