Jump to content

Invision Community Blog


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

It dawned on me that I could create a secondary member group and then assign it to a group blog but i) I don't really want to add new member groups every time something like this comes along, and ii) that puts the emphasis on me as the admin to be adding members (by moving them to secondary groups) instead of the person who's nominally in charge.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Meddysong said:

It dawned on me that I could create a secondary member group and then assign it to a group blog but i) I don't really want to add new member groups every time something like this comes along, and ii) that puts the emphasis on me as the admin to be adding members (by moving them to secondary groups) instead of the person who's nominally in charge.

Last I remember, you can set it so that one person can create a blog, then they can manage those who can make entries on that blog.  Basically, all members could make a blog entry, but only one group can create new blogs, and the one in charge of that would be the one who has that as a secondary group.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Joel R said:

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.  

My answer is neither fair nor unfair. It was simply based on the status quo, which is all that matters for him. He learnt that his use case isn’t possible – at the moment, which is implied. 

Otherwise I would have to answer any “how to …” or “can I do this …” question with “sure, once IPS implements it”, which is kind of pointless. 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Himadri Goswami said:

why pages cant be added to clubs??/??

I asked a very similar question on the 4.2 test site.  The response was Pages is a very different animal and will take more work to do.  IPS wants a chance to see how people use clubs and how pages can best be implemented to support it.  

I've said it before elsewhere...  there is a TON of potential for clubs, especially once pages are incorporated.  

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Randy Calvert said:

I asked a very similar question on the 4.2 test site.  The response was Pages is a very different animal and will take more work to do.  IPS wants a chance to see how people use clubs and how pages can best be implemented to support it.  

I've said it before elsewhere...  there is a TON of potential for clubs, especially once pages are incorporated.  

Without pages its incomplete

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Himadri Goswami said:

Without pages its incomplete

IPS has indicated that 4.2 is now feature complete.  This means they're no longer introducing new functionality into the release and instead focused on polishing it so that bugs are addressed and that the UIs are as optimized as possible.  So I would not expect to see pages in clubs until sometime after the 4.2 release.  

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've changed my mind, I no longer think Clubs needs Pages with their databases etc, that's all a bit overkill.

Too much like having members basically creating  mini websites for free that your server is powering and you are paying for to host, and they would suffer identify crisis with links and references to the host community. Plus Pages is too generic out of the box but more importantly over complicated for Admin's, never mind members who just want to type and post.

However I do think it disappointing that there is still no built-in support to add simple rich text custom content/widget blocks to Forums, not only would Forums benefit hugely from custom content blocks that could be easily drag and dropped where you want them like widgets, but then Clubs would inherit the feature and it would give Club owners that bit of extra choice and customisation to easily make their Club stand out and look different to all the others (besides a header). 

Then we could position ads  (inside the block) somewhere in the sidebar other than just the top slot of the side bar, without having to buy Commerce just to achieve that. You could also then quickly add or external/third party content like a Twitter feed, PHP or Jquery accordions, tabbed blocks, sliders etc.

Pages provides that ability but limiting custom content blocks to Pages isn't the best idea or use of the system. They used to be Blogs years way back when.

There again, I think Pages should be redisgned to a database solution and their should instead be a new much friendlier app created (or perhaps Blogs taken to the Wordpress pages level) for those who want a site home/webpage front end for their website with a range of news articles layouts to choose from out of the box and custom blocks like Wordpress has. This way Admin's would have the 2 sets of member registration databases and members could respond to news comments and post in forums, clubs, gallery etc.

Clubs needs just the custom blocks aspect of Pages, at least I think for the majority.

Edited by The Old Man

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, The Old Man said:

I no longer think Clubs needs Pages with their databases etc, that's all a bit overkill

I think, what some of us wish is some sort of an individual "Webspace" in clubs, where members can style and customize their profiles. I'm not sure if it requires pages databases (which would be nice) but moreover, we had a lot discussions about how members can style their own homezone, their homepage, their virtual presence, apart from their personal user profile.

Therefore a member profile is not enough as soon as it comes to commercial use, f.e. offering paid downloads. It requires a special profile page, where members can integrate texts and images in a beautiful manner, in a complete custom layout, like a club startpage, like a features wall. Every website has a "homepage" with the most important informations and preview about the rest. Us, f.e., are operating a lot about downloads and our members wish to have their "own shop communitys" inside the big community. It would make them feel way more important. This includes a "club/company profile" page.

Edited by Cyboman

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

I think, what some of us wish is some sort of an individual "Webspace" in clubs, where members can style and customize their profiles. I'm not sure if it requires pages databases (which would be nice) but moreover, we had a lot discussions about how members can style their own homezone, their homepage, their virtual presence, apart from their personal user profile.

Therefore a member profile is not enough as soon as it comes to commercial use, f.e. offering paid downloads. It requires a special profile page, where members can integrate texts and images in a beautiful member, in a complete custom layout, like a club startpage, like a features wall. Every website has a "homepage" with the most important informations and preview about the rest. Us, f.e., are operating a lot about downloads and our members wish to have their "own shop communitys" inside the big community. It would make them feel way more important.

I think what you are wanting is for the club owner (or club admis) to be able to, within reason, drag and drop content boxes to their own liking, with control over background, coloring, etc.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if a future update allows the selecting of an included skin/theme to be chosen, that wouldn't necessarily be shown on the rest of the community.  Also, wouldn't surprise me if customizable club pages were to become a thing as well, though I image it would be limited on what can be included and where it can be used.  (For example, main content blocks may be limited to the main area, where as summary blocks, ie, latest topics, list of members, etc, are limited to a sidebar.)

 

I think the best bet for people will be third party vendors, who provide plugins/etc that provide the desired functionality, though I would recommend keeping it simple, instead of becoming dependent on functions that may not continue to be updated.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

On 2017-05-06 at 7:25 AM, The Old Man said:

I've changed my mind, I no longer think Clubs needs Pages with their databases etc, that's all a bit overkill.

Too much like having members basically creating  mini websites for free that your server is powering and you are paying for to host, and they would suffer identify crisis with links and references to the host community. Plus Pages is too generic out of the box but more importantly over complicated for Admin's, never mind members who just want to type and post.

I see the point that Pages (as it currently stands) could be a bit complicated for non-Admins, but I do think that Clubs at some point needs the ability to create a more robust environment which doesn't necessarily have to be a "mini website" (although I'm not sure how blocks would function without the concept of the page).  One could limit the amount of "pages" (let's call them pages for the sake of argument) a Club (or any Club) can have; one can charge a subscription fee to create a Club; or if one wanted to one could manage all the Clubs on one's site, depending on how many there are.

It's really the issue of multiculturalism transferred to the idea of the website: how much do you want other Clubs/"cultures" to be able to articulate themselves on your site before there is a crisis of identity?  There is no one right answer of course, but I think it's better to have the tools for expansion than not.

For me, the philosophical issue is that successful clubs will grow and evolve, and while one can control this growth like for example limiting pages or whatever, it isn't clear to me how blocks will cut it without the potential to narrativize one's Club content through, for example, consecutive pages (with or without blocks).  As I said, I agree that Pages on the Admin side is not for the beginner, but maybe there's an alternative for the Club owner side of things - in the future.

Edited by liquidfractal

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 18.4.2017 at 8:47 AM, liquidfractal said:

Thanks opentype.  IMHO, this would be a great further step for Clubs, which is not to dismiss the great features which are already lined up for 4.2!

+1 for Pages in Clubs!

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

1 - You can add a specific or all members from a group as MEMBERS in the club:

Very useful. Is the group option a one time action or dynamic? i.e. if someone is removed from the admin group for example, will the user remain in the admin club or not?

Edited by opentype

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

Any other suggestion?

Charles has said that they're looking at extra club types but if they don't go this far, then I'd like a Club where the members can create new content (start a new topic, add a blog entry or event) but other people can only add to it (ie posts, comments and reviews).

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
Just now, Adriano Faria said:

Actually, just made the member stuff. I can make it check secondary groups. 

That would be awesome.

A suggestion, and I'm not sure if this would be possible for extension, but the ability to restrict clubs to specific groups (or secondary groups). At least the joining of a group. So if the owner chooses to restrict the group to only members promoted to "full member" than the "member" group cannot join or attempt to join until they are promoted to "full member".

For my site it would be awesome because I have a secondary group for adults and this way I could still make sure that adults are the only accessing anything specific for adults.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Adriano Faria said:

Actually, just made the member stuff. I can make it check secondary groups. 

Yeah, I would need that too. I already have manual “pseudo-clubs” managed through secondary member groups. With your plugin I can easily convert that to 4.2 clubs. With the 4.2. stock functionality, every club owner would have to manually invite every member back into every club. 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

If possible, might work better to have it be a global club setting, then per club, could be changed via the ACP, but not allow the member to change it on the front end.  After all, when making a club, who would try to limit the size of their club?  If given the option, most people would go for unlimited, and to go back and limit each club via the ACP could become a tedious task.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...