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liquidfractal

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  1. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, What's new in 4.4.5?   
    Minor releases are almost always just maintenance releases. We gather up a fistful of bug reports and fix them to ensure that every month or so, our clients enjoy more stability and efficiency with Invision Community.
    However, more recently we've noticed that we're running low on bug reports, so we've managed to squeeze in a handful of improvements in Invision Community 4.4.5.
    Let's take a look and see what's new in Pages.
    How should the canonical tag behave?
    While this isn't the most exciting name for a feature, it does explain it reasonably well. We had a recent discussion on the forums where it was pointed out that the canonical tag directed search engines to the first page of any record. While this makes perfect sense for an articles or blog system where the content you create is more important than the comments, it makes less sense if the user-generated content (aka the comments) is more important than the content you put up. A good example here is where you put up a video or link for review. You don't want the canonical tag pointing to the first page as it will ignore the reviews themselves.

    If you didn't understand much of that, don't worry. The idea behind this feature is to provide Google and friends with a better hint about which content is more important. A happier Google bot slurping your site is a good thing.
    How about that Admin CP menu?
    When you create a new database in Pages, it is shown in the ACP menu under 'Content'. This is fine, but when you get a lot of databases, it starts looking a little cluttered, and it can be hard to find the correct one.

    We've reworked the menu so items have their own section, and can be re-ordered using the ACP menu re-ordering system.
    Member fields are now filterable.
    Pages allows specific field types to be filterable. This means you can sort by them with the table's advanced search box, and you can drag and drop a filters widget next to the table to refine the rows shown.
    Now a member custom field is filterable, which is handy if you use them in your databases.
    Other areas of the suite.
    Messenger search
    A while back, we made a change that removed the ability to search messenger by the sender or recipient name. We also limited the reach of the search system to one year and newer.

    Unsurprisingly, this wasn't very popular. We've restored sender, and recipient name searching removed the one year limit and re-engineered the internals of search, so it's more efficient and returns results much faster.
    How many members do you have?
    You can see quite quickly if you have the member stats widget on the front end, but finding out via the Admin CP is a little more tricky. 

     
    Until now! We've added a dashboard widget that not only shows the number of members you have registered, but also a break down of their email opt-in status.
    A happier autocomplete.
    Apple has this cool feature where if you receive a text message for a two-factor authentication login, it offers to auto-fill the code box for you.
    We've had a sweep throughout the suite to ensure two-factor authentication fields allow this autocomplete to happen.
    While we were at it, we made sure that other fields are more easily autocompleted.
    That wraps up the new features in Invision Community 4.4.5. How many have you spotted after upgrading?
    Let us know your favourite below.
  2. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, The benefits of owning your data   
    I noticed something new in the chiller cabinet at the petrol station after filling yesterday.
    Bottles of Grape Fanta sitting alongside the more mundane and pedestrian drinks such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max.
    I grabbed two bottles.
    After draining one in record time, I googled around to see where I could get more of this delicious nectar, and it discovered that it's a new flavour being launched in the UK.
    The really interesting thing was that Coca Cola used data stored in the self service machines that offer different flavours (such as those at cinemas) to determine which new flavours to bring to the market.
    Grape was the second most popular flavour after regular orange, so the company knew they had a market ready for premixed bottles.
    In a world where we fear what Big Tech does with our data, it's easy to forget that data has a valid use in your business.
    It's why we make it clear that with Invision Community, you own your data. We just look after it for you.

    This gives you the freedom to discover new trends within your business and use them to drive sales.
  3. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Guest Writer for an entry, Case Study: Building Safe Spaces for The Trevor Project   
    Every day, LGBTQ young people from all walks of life log into TrevorSpace, the world’s largest moderated safe space for LGBTQ youth online.
    Here, young people can support each other, share their stories, and find refuge from what might be a less than accepting environment offline.
    Launched in 2008, TrevorSpace is housed under The Trevor Project, the foremost suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth in the world. Having an affirming digital community has been an indispensable resource for the youth The Trevor Project aims to protect, but guiding it to the success it enjoys today has had its challenges.
    Shortly after its launch, TrevorSpace rapidly grew to serve tens of thousands of users in just a few years. While the platform initially started on commercial community software, some unique requirements led the organization to go custom, building a community platform from the ground up.

    Faced with increasing hosting and development costs and declining user activity, senior leadership faced a tough decision: either dramatically transform the program, or discontinue it altogether. That’s when Invision Community stepped in.
    “We were already planning a digital transformation, replacing everything from our physical computers to our crisis services software infrastructure, the platforms that young people use to reach out to us, like TrevorLifeline, TrevorChat, and TrevorText,” John Callery, director of technology at The Trevor Project said of the challenges facing the organization at the time. “We had to be very careful with our resources and where we allocated our time.”
    Continuing the TrevorSpace program would mean The Trevor Project needed to move to a solution that could be implemented and managed with very limited resources while still providing the quality of care that the community had come to expect. It also meant meeting the specific needs of the organization’s mission, particularly around safety.
    After looking into the Invision Community platform per the suggestion of a team member, it became clear that they had all of the fundamentals TrevorSpace was looking for, like messages boards, social networking, and private messaging.
    Here was a chance to save the platform.
    Customers rarely have the opportunity to meet the people behind the technology they use. This wasn’t the case for The Trevor Project and the Invision Community team, who made it clear they believed in our mission to support LGBTQ youth in crisis and were willing to partner with us to realize our specific needs and figure out new solutions.
    Through utilizing the Invision Community team’s applications and plugins, we were able to meet all of our community’s custom needs, adding functionality unique to TrevorSpace to protect our users, many of whom are especially vulnerable when it comes to their privacy. None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of the Invision Community team.
    For just one example of how crucial TrevorSpace is to young LGBTQ people around the world, listen to Mani Cavalieri, the community’s product manager: “When the most prevalent forms of social media are so enmeshed with our in-person relationships, LGBTQ youth often lose a safe place to explore their identities. TrevorSpace is one of those special communities that balances anonymity (often a necessity for safety) with real, personal connections.” Since joining the team, Mani has already seen multiple instances of users finding lifelong friends - and even partners - over the years on TrevorSpace - and on the Invision Community platform, it is able to reach more users than ever before.
    In January 2018, TrevorSpace received double the number of registrations than any other month in the program’s 10-year history. We continue to see more than a thousand new registered members each week.
    As we begin international promotion of the program, we expect to break many more records in the coming year. As we continue to grow TrevorSpace, we also continue to rely on Invision Community’s extensibility.
    Our mission is to improve support networks and mental resilience for our users. This requires us to understand our users’ behavior and needs from a different perspective than other online communities, and it will continue to require more custom solutions.
    The marketplace of plugins, as well as the enthusiastic support of the Invision Community team, enable us to be bold in our ambitions, to build out a community that is truly unique in its class, and to improve the lives of those that need a supportive community the most.
    As one user puts in, in their welcome message to each newcomer: “That's our little secret - there's some one here, going through what you're going through. Whether that be mental health, body issues, parents, friends, and whatever else life as someone who's LGBTQ+ can throw at you. Reach out, and someone will be there for you.”
    - This entry was written by The Trevor Project team

    https://www.trevorspace.org
    https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  4. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to HelenG for an entry, How I started my community   
    I'm only one month in to starting a new community and I've already learned a huge amount. I was a little apprehensive at first but I'm taking things one step at a time and I'm happy with how things are going so far.
    The points I'm going to raise are working for me but I'm a beginner and running a website of any description is new. Nothing here is guaranteed and I hope to receive comments from established community admins so I can continue to improve.

    The first thing I realised is that I wasn't actually starting a community but instead I'm going to be bringing new tools and ideas to an already existing one. My chosen subject is broad (Dogs) so there is already a well established real life community globally. My aim therefore is not to replicate already available content but to reach this community with unique content and encourage them to contribute their own. More on that later but before I could do that I needed something they could visit.

    The new community site
    Get Started
    You can spend days and weeks planning and writing business plans and these are all good things to do alongside everything else but they shouldn't stop you getting started. The only thing that really mattered to me was starting on the actual idea and to do that all I needed was a platform. You've probably already guessed but Invision Community was chosen for this as it offered multiple apps that would allow me to have both long form articles and forum content. There's also the monetisation options that appealed to me but I am not yet using. It's good to know they are there when I'm ready though. 
    I also considered Wordpress but it lacked the community tools I was already sold on.
    Rope in friends and family and use their skill sets
    I'm not scared to admit where I need help and as I have hit problems or things I don't know I have called in favours. I don't have a large budget for stock photography subscriptions so a friend is providing photos in exchange for attribution. My fiance is more technically minded so he has helped with some of the set up and help with Invision Community features is only a support ticket away.
    There is plenty of general information a quick web search away too but some topics are complex and I thought that if I could free up at least some of my time I can keep focussed on the direction. 
    Help can be as simple as nudging friends into posting new topics or comments to get some initial activity and momentum. It's also a good test to make sure you have everything set up with your registration process and identify some potential problems.
    These helpers are also now active members of the site of course so it's a two for one. I'm sure they'll be calling in return favours at some point but that's fine, they've earned it.
    Encourage all contributions even if you don't agree with them
    Coming from a primary school teaching background I see kids come up with lots of crazy and novel ideas all the time, they might sound silly but you never know, they may grow into something bigger. My aim is to foster a sense of community and belonging and people of all ages who have their ideas valued tend to stick around. If an idea doesn't work that's fine but you never know what will work so I'm trying lots of things and encouraging innovation. The forums are a great tool for this as everything doesn't need to be rigidly structured.
    Be passionate and confident about your subject matter
    Perhaps my top tip…If you don't value your own thoughts and actions then how can you expect others to? Show your enthusiasm and knock away negative thoughts and doubts. 
    Use all of your tools
    Once you've encouraged your initial core group of members, you need to keep them coming back. So far I've had success using the bulk mail feature for a monthly newsletter to rekindle the interest of early members who may no longer be as active. I was warned about bad email practices so I have our notification defaults set very loosely as I want to build trust by not spamming. Everything I send is opt-in and using the newsletter signup block I've been able to make this prominent but not obtrusive. I'm worried I might be missing out by not being aggressive enough with email but it's a risk I'm taking to hopefully get better long term members.
    Get involved with your member activities and conversations
    Join in with conversations on your community where it makes sense and be as active as possible. You're running a website but to do so you don't always need to be in front of a computer. Speak to your members face to face as well as through the keyboard. I've been going on local dog walks with clubs and other community groups which is a great chance to network and give your members and potential members the chance to see the people behind the website. If there are events or shows in your field get involved and spread the word verbally. I'm talking to dog owners face to face about behavioural issues and always in the back of my mind is the fact this could be discussed on the website to help others and build activity. Over time these "real world" relationships should also be represented on the website too.
    Don't get distracted
    I've got into the habit of using a reminders app to keep track of future things I want to do. It is tempting to start lots of things every time you have a new idea but that can take your mind off what is actually important right now. Don't forget about these ideas though, make a note and come back to them later.
    Approvals and applications for things can also take time. I found myself sometimes sitting around waiting for adsense accounts to be approved or Facebook apps to be verified for sign in. Don't let this downtime be unproductive.
    Keep writing new content
    What we have started as new community admins isn't easy, it's going to be a long haul so you need to be consistent and regular with updates. On that note I have a breed profile about Chow Chows to write.
    Thanks for listening to my ramblings and if you have any more tips please let me know in the comments.
    Helen is a year 3 international primary school teacher currently living in Slovakia. She loves dogs (of course), books, and reading whenever possible. She has travelled extensively for work, particularly in South East Asia and has experienced many amazing cultures. She is a qualified Zumba dance fitness instructor and is now building what she hopes to be an invaluable resource for dog owners.
    https://doglymail.com/
  5. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, The hidden cost of doing nothing   
    I'm sure that most reading this blog are running an up-to-date Invision Community and enjoying all the benefits of a modern community platform.
    Little things that get taken for granted now, like being able to view your community on a mobile phone without pinching and zooming just to read a few posts and having multiple automated tools to deal with community toxicity and spam.
    However, a little wander around the web soon uncovers some really old forum systems still somehow creaking along.
    Amazingly, most of these communities are still used daily, often with millions of posts in the archives.
    It might be tempting to ask why keep upgrading and investing in new versions of the software?
    After all, if the community is still running just fine and getting daily visitors, then it's ok to do nothing, right?
    But there is a hidden cost in doing nothing.
    Security
    This is the main one for me. Old platforms often have several published security vulnerabilities. Often these vulnerabilities are exploited by scripts that are shared around hacker communities. This means exploiting a website running an old version of a forum system is as simple as running a script and pointing it at your site.
    Older forums are also less sophisticated. They rely on unsafe hashing methods to store passwords and lack vital features like two-factor authentication.
    Also, consider that the server environment has to be maintained with out of date PHP and MySQL versions. It's a recipe for disaster.
    Could your community survive a major exploit where data is downloaded into the hands of a hacker?
    The cost could be fatal to your community.
    Declining engagement
    Even the most ardent of fans on your community will eventually tire of struggling to access your site on mobile devices.
    I think back to 2002 when we created the first version of our software. We only had to focus on how it looked on a computer, so naturally, that influenced the design of the forum.
    It's not so simple now. More and more of us are using mobile phones to access the internet. A recent statistic showed that mobile internet access outstrips desktop use 2 to 1; and for some countries, mobile internet access is almost the only way people get online.
    It's just a matter of time before new members stop registering and engagement tails off.
    Competition
    At the end of 2018, there were 1.8 billion websites (I Googled it). The competition for attention has never been as fierce.
    Your community may be the go-to place for your niche, but what if another community popped up running the latest version of a platform with all the features your members have been desperately asking for?
    It may not take long until there is a massive drain from your community.
    I'm sure there's a dozen reasons to make sure you're always re-investing in your community by upgrading to a modern platform. This blog merely scratches the surface.
    For those of you that do invest and upgrade? You reap the benefits daily by ensuring you are doing the very best for your community by keeping it secure and accessible for most.
    If you are on an older platform, now is the time to put some serious thought into making the move to something better.
    I put together a little downloadable guide that might help too.
    What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
  6. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, Don't hide your community away!   
    One of the first things I do when visiting a site that I know has a community is to try and find it.
    More often than not, it's hidden away in the footer links or buried in several sub-menus and labelled something relatively obscure like "Fans" or "Support".
    This is a massive lost opportunity!
    We all know that social proof is incredibly important when making a purchasing decision.
    When I buy something on Amazon or book a holiday, the first thing I do is scour the reviews. Are the reviews mostly positive? What did other people think about the product after receiving it?
    I might see two almost identical products and the reviews, not the price that'll always sway me.
    It's that urge to herd to keep safe at play.
    So why bury all that out of the way?
    Your community should be full of fantastic social proof — hundreds of customers using your product and creating a buzz.
    Is it a fear of criticism? We all have had bad experiences with clients who are less than rational with feedback, but that's OK.
    The Harry Potter series of books are beloved by millions, made J.K Rowling a fortune, made a celebrated movie series and opened up several themed attractions which are always busy.
    Yet, there are a significant number of 1-star reviews on Amazon.

    Not everyone will get you or your business.
    You always have the opportunity to reply and explain your side, and you are always in control with moderation tools.
    Let's face it; if you are to handle negative feedback, it's better to manage it on your community than see it all over social media, Google reviews and review sites like TripAdvisor.
    Maybe you're a little embarrassed because the community platform is old and doesn't match your branding.
    If that's the case, then come and talk to us! We specialise in migrating communities from legacy platforms with poor mobile support. We offer brand matching services too.
    Maybe it's just that you're unsure of what to do with your community.
    I get that too. It can be hard to know how it fits in with your brand. I'm happy to help there also. Feel free to drop a comment below.
    Our product has several ways to pull content from the community and feature it on your site.
    We've helped big brands like LEGO®, Sega, Warner Bros. and more nurture a prosperous community that enhances their business.
    The bottom line is that a well manage community should be central to your brand and website.
    Hiding it among the "Privacy Policy" links is a huge missed opportunity.
    - Matt
  7. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.4: New Email Features   
    It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps.
    And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email?
    Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention.
    In 2017, over 269 billion emails were sent and received per day. Of those, 3,360,250,000 are opened, read, and a link clicked.
    Email is still very much a critical tool in your quest for retention.
    Invision Community knows this. We have options to notify members of replies by email, weekly or monthly digests by email and members can opt-in for bulk emails sent from your community team.
    Given how important email is, it was only fair that we invested in some love for our email system for 4.4.
    Email Statistics
    Just above, I mention that 269 billion emails are sent, and 3.4 billion are opened, read and clicked.
    How many emails are sent from your Invision Community daily?
    (No cheating and checking with SendGrid)
    You probably have no idea as we didn't record email statistics.
    As of Invision Community 4.4 we do!

    Chart showing the number of emails sent daily
    We now track emails sent, and the number of link clicks inside those emails.
    Email Advertisements
    Email notifications are a powerful way to get your members to revisit your community. The member welcomes these emails as it means they have new replies to topics they are interested in reading.

    While you have your member's attention, you have an opportunity to show them a banner-style advertisement.


    The new email advertisement form
    When creating a new email advert, you can choose to limit the advert to specific areas such as topics, blogs, etc. - and even which forums to limit by.


    Subliminal messages
    This is a new way to reach your audience with your promotions.
    Unfollow without logging in
    Despite spending most of this blog entry shouting the virtues of email, it's inevitable that one or two members may wish to stop receiving notification emails.
    In previous versions, the unfollow link would have taken you to a login page if you were signed out. For members that haven't been back in a while, this may cause some annoyance if they do not recall their login details.
    Invision Community 4.4 allows non-logged in members to unfollow the item they received an email about or all followed items without the need to log in.

    You no longer need to log in to unfollow items
    Respecting your member's inbox is vital to keep on good terms with them and to keep them engaged in your community.
    We'd love to know which of these features you're most keen to try in 4.4. Please drop a comment below and let us know!
  8. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, Guest Blog: Joel's 5 Secret Interface Tips   
    Yet again, Joel hijacks our company blog for another generous slice of knowledge from the front-lines of administrating a successful community.
    Inspired by Invision Community client @Joey_M who discovered the emoji of serendipity and chief architect @Matt who literally knows everything about Invision Community in ACP Tips and Tricks, they both made me realize there’s always something to learn no matter your level of experience. 
    You know how to post.  You know how to react.  You sometimes spice it up and make a poll.  And for the most part, you and your users go about your forum lives with a secure sense of certainty and satisfaction that you know how to interact with your community.
    But what if I told you there’s a whole world of wonder at your fingertips, young grasshopper?  Your Invision Community includes stars to navigate by; magical pictures that appear and disappear; and little yellow men who giggle, laugh, and sometimes roll over in delight. 
    Here are 5 hidden tips to help you discover a little more of the IPS magic for you and your users.  

    How do you know what you don’t know?
    1. Click-and-hold
    Be sure to dazzle your users with this secret way of changing your content title.  Change titles of your content items such as topic titles, album titles, and download files by using the click-and-hold strategy. Go to your forums and click-and-hold down the mouse over any topic title until you see that you’re able to edit the title.  Surprise! Use this secret strategy as the perfect way to quickly mass edit titles.

    Click-and-impress your users with the click-and-hold strategy
    2. Stars and Dots
    Active forum users jump around dozens of boards every day to stay involved.  And within a loooong topic with many pages, you need a fast way to jump to the most recent unread topic.  Before each topic is an icon: either a dot or a star.  Clicking these icons will always jump you to the latest unread post, so you can quickly dive back into the conversation.  Dot means unread; Star means you participated in the topic.

    My forum icon constellation tells me that I’m most compatible with a Capricorn.
    3. Emoji Short-codes
    One of the newest features to be included in Invision Community is emojis.  While there are ways to insert emojis from both mobile keyboards and the editor, you can also start typing “:thumbs up:” to reveal the secret emoji menu.  Try it now in the comments of this article. Last person to give me an emoji thumbs up wins! 

    Be a 💯 with 🙂 
    4. Image Attachments
    Forum posts come alive with image attachments that add color and vibrancy. But adding thumbnails to the bottom of your posts is a missed opportunity to enrich your post at the appropriate spots within the post.  After you upload an image attachment to a forum post, double-click on the image attachment.  You’ll be presented with a secret menu with options to align and resize, so you can create stunning forum posts with images.

    Much color. Much alignment. So much wow.
    5. Profile Banners
    Banners play a prominent part in multiple parts of the community, such as the Calendar, Profile, Clubs, and Blogs.  But usually the page only displays a portion of the banner, and most of the banner is hidden.  If you ever want to see the full banner in all of its glory, click near the top of the banner to auto-magically reveal everything!  Now you see, now you don’t.  

    The iceberg is a metaphor
    How many of these five secret tips did you know?
    If you knew all five, give yourself a round of applause!  It’s rare for even the most seasoned Invision Community administrator to know all five, and you’ve mastered them all.
    Did you know four?  Congrats, you’ve done a great job of exploring your community suite and you should keep it up.
    Did you know three or less?  You should do some serious soul searching. Kidding. 
    But it’s a definite sign that your soul would benefit from reading Invision Community News for more useful tips.  
    Becoming a great community manager is a combination of community strategy and product knowledge.  By empowering yourself with more functional knowledge and tools, you’re giving yourself the ability to leverage a bigger toolkit.  Whether you’re typing emoji short-codes to laugh with your members or inserting attachments into a tutorial on hidden tips for your community, I hope you learned something new, something surprising, and something perhaps even a little wonderful. 
    Let us know in the comments below what hidden tip surprised you the most.     
  9. Haha
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, Team Talk: What's your favourite movie?   
    This month, I thought I'd ask a trick question. "What is your favourite movie?"
    I fully expected to be told "but Matt, we work so hard on Invision Community, we don't have time to watch movies." just so I didn't have to complete this month's entry.
    But no. Apparently, most of our team have MULTIPLE favourites. Hmmm.

    And here they are.
    Jennifer
    Favorite movies are a pain to choose because there are so many great (and greatly terrible) movies out there. So I'm going to choose a few that I just really adore and explain why.
    So the first one is "Halo: Forward Unto Dawn". I have never played a Halo game in my entire life. I just find the movie intriguing and smooth. It has an amazing pace and of course there are aliens. It's also one of those movies that I can just put on when I don't feel like watching anything else but I want to watch something. The replay value for me is amazing.
    The Next one is a psychological thriller called "Pandorum" this movie is a thriller about a man that wakes up in a broken space ship that was on its way to another world. The way it's put together is amazing, the story is twisted and it's just an amazing watch. It's something that I can easily say was a quick favorite from the first time I saw it.
    I can never forget the lovely "Dredd" in this list of my favorite movies. Muricer for the win! It has all the elements of a great Sci-Fi plus Karl Urban and Lena Headey. I win all around on this movie. Plus, it's even better in 3D with the Slo-mo drug.
    While I can list more I'm going to round off my answer with 2 Series movies. "Tremors" and "Sharknado". What most of you don't know about me is that I'm a sucker for horribly trashy horror movies ("Zombeavers" is another favorite with the same reason as these two series). Scantly clad women, screaming, monsters, corrupt people and lots of blood. There is no better thing to watch. I love a good day of Monster Movies and beer. The trashier the better.

    When Mark Wade is challenged in a git review

    Marc
    I think I will go for 3 different points in time for favourite movies. One from growing up, one which is a classic IMO, and one more recent that I've enjoyed.
    Growing up, it has to be 'Labyrinth' staring David Bowie. It's the first movie I ever watched at the cinema with my parents, and one I can still watch to this day. I'm very much guilty of singing along to every song, and I'm actually banned from watching it anywhere near my wife as I say every single word in the script a split second before they say it. I think its safe to say I have seen it a few times.
    A classic for me would be 'Schindlers list'. To me this is one of the best movies ever made, and while I'm sure it will have been greatly adapted for a movie audience, it also shows what many went through during WW2 which are not so common knowledge. A great movie for children to sit there and watch who don't know about it, as it gets them asking questions that all children should ask and learn from.
    For a more recent movie, I quite enjoyed 'Sully: Micracle on the Hudson'. I generally like movies by Tom Hanks anyway, but I did particularly enjoy this one.
    Bonus recent movie - Baby Driver I really enjoyed. Great movie, and the star somehow looks familiar I'm sure 'ed' will find a suitable image to illustrate.

    Disapproving Wade
    Mark W
    Airplane. I must have seen it dozens of times, it never gets old, I quote it constantly... I just love it.

    When Wade is reviewing your branch

    Andy
    Zathura - Jumanji in space, no more words are required.

    When you're late reviewing Wade's branch
    Brandon
    This is a fairly challenging question to answer, as someone who watches a lot of movies. I own somewhere around 1500 DVDs/BluRays, though in recent years I've been buying fewer and renting more. A few of my top movies would include (in no particular order)...
    1. The Matrix Series - while I've overplayed the series at this point, the story was amazing at the time and it had so many allegories to real life that were fun to think about even when you were done watching.
    2. Doom - it was campy and silly overall, but a lot of fun. Karl Urban and The Rock together was a cool mix.
    3. The One - I have always been a fan of Jet Li, but when this came out I thought the cinematography was awesome. The way they did the slow-mo movements was neat, and the story was quite unique. Plus, Jason Statham is awesome, and he was a supporting role instead of a lead.

    When you challenge Wade in a review
    Jim Morrissey
    The Beatles’ “Help!” has got to be my favorite movie due to the special place it holds with my family. My sister growing up was a huge Beatles fan and being the younger sibling, it kind of got forced on me but grew to be a fan as well. This movie, in my opinion, was my great due to the music (great album) and very dry comedy that is hilarious.  Think I can recite each line of the movie as I’ve seen it too many times. It definitely isn't a movie set out to win any acting awards but if you haven’t seen it and like the Beatles, I would recommend it.

    When you get a list of 'recommendations' on your branch

    Daniel
    As Daniel Son I have to say Karate Kid 🥋
    Nah, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is just to sick and amazing and gets never boring!

    Daniel likes to commit on, then commit off

    Mark H
    Like the others, I can’t pick just one movie.
    For documentaries, that would be “The Longest Day”, the story of the Jun 6, 1944, allied invasion of Normandy, with perspectives from all sides of the conflict. The book by Cornelius Ryan on which it’s based is a very long read, but gripping and factual, and this movie is one of the few that actually did justice to the book from which it was derived. Anyone with a passion for history should both see the movie and read the book.
    The runner-up in this category would be “Saving Private Ryan”, although it did take liberties with historical fact.
    In the Sci-Fi category, the original “Blade Runner”. The city in which it is set was once described as “a cross between Hell and Hong Kong on a bad day”, and that’s disturbingly accurate. It’s a warning about the future of humanity if we do not curb our use of the planet’s natural resources, and do not carefully overwatch technology in the hands of corporations driven only by profit and without any societal morals.
    Two close runner-ups in this category would be the film “Soylent Green”, another cautionary tale that is similar to Blade Runner in its warning about the future of humanity, and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, a speculative tale about our own evolution and our future.
    For other general fiction it would be “The Silence Of The Lambs”. Few movies have creeped me out like this one did. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lecter was truly chilling,
    Two runner-ups would be the mini-series “Lonesome Dove”, based on the books by Larry McMurtry, a fictional work about the frontier Wild West, but could easily be true, and “The Thorn Birds”, a similar genre set in Australia and based on the book by Colleen McCullough.


    When you run out of logical facts during a developer's meeting
    We'd love to hear which movies you love, or that have inspired you in some way.

    Let us know below!
  10. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.4: Increase visitor registrations with Post Before Registering   
    It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community.
    It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off.
    Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members.
    Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
    However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many.
    Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with.
    Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community.
    This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site.
    Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works.
    When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address.

    Posting as a guest
    This works in any application for new content (topics, Gallery images, etc.) as well as comments and reviews. It will only show when a newly registered member would be able to post in that area - for example, it will not show in a forum that only administrators can post in. 
    After submitting the post, the post will not be visible to any user, but the user will immediately be redirected to the registration form with an explanation to complete the registration. The email address they provided will already be filled in.

    Registration form after posting as a guest
    At this point, the user can either fill in the registration form, or use a social sign in method like Facebook or Twitter to create an account. After the account has been created, and validation has been completed if necessary, their post will automatically be made visible just as if they had registered and then posted.
    If the user abandons the registration after they've submitted their post, an email will be sent to them to remind them to complete the registration.

    Email reminding user to finish registering
     
    Some Notes
    Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks.
    This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4.
  11. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, Video Tip: ACP Tips and Tricks   
    Work smarter, not harder is a motto we hear a lot of in our modern age.
    This is of course great advice. Invision Community's Admin CP is packed full of tools and settings to help you configure your community to your needs.
    In this short video I show you how you can work smarter in the Admin CP.
    Dashboard Blocks
    I show you how create a dashboard perfect for your needs. The dashboard is perfect to show a snapshot of what is happening with your community.
    Search Bar
    The search bar is the most powerful tool in the Admin CP. From finding members, settings and Commerce tickets, it's something I reach for every day.
    Re-order the Menu
    Prioritise the menu to put often used sections of the Admin CP within easy reach.
    Copy Settings
    With a few clicks, you can copy a single setting from a forum across multiple. This saves a lot of time moving between the forum list and forum settings. This of course works across the suite including downloads, blogs and more.
    Copy Nodes
    Got a forum or blog category set up perfectly and want to add one more like it? Just hit the copy button and save the hassle of filling in the form again.
    These are our tips for using the Admin CP as effectively as possible. Do you have any tips? Let us know below!
  12. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.3: Announcements   
    We have a very important announcement to make!
    There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition.
    Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved.
    Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier.
    The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations;
    Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar
    The three new announcement locations
    Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed.
    Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement.

    New customisable options
     
    The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details.

    Modal showing announcement content
    We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)!
  13. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, Happy 16th Birthday To Us!   
    This month, we turn sweet sixteen!

    We made our own card this year.
    I know, it's hard to believe with our youthful looks and energetic personalities, but it's true. Charles and I have known each other longer than I've known my own children and we still make each other laugh on a daily basis.
    Over the past 16 years we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
    When we started, AOL dial-up was the preferred method of choice (and probably the only method of choice). Compuserve were flying high and I think I'll stop this walk down memory lane before I turn into my own grandfather and start talking about how things were better in my day.
    A lot has changed. We've seen the rise of social media and how it disrupted habits. We've seen MP3 players become iPods, and iPods become iPhones and iPhones become iPads (other digital devices are also available).
    It's crazy to think that our company pre-dates Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

    Click on this image to see it unless you have excellent eyesight
    We're still here because we are always innovating and adapting. The software we're working on right now is vastly different from the one we started out with. And that is how it should be. We listen to our customers and we implement the great ideas.
    Of course, we'd not have lasted a year without our customers. We're genuinely thrilled to still be doing a job we love and serving customers who have trusted their community with us.
    Thank you all for choosing us and we're looking forward to the next 16 years.
  14. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Commerce Subscription Manager   
    We've recently spoken about how we've brought our Gallery and Blog apps up to date with interface overhauls to bring them inline with the high standards our customers expect.
    Keeping this in mind, we're thrilled to announce that we've taken Commerce right back to 2009.
    This needs an explanation.
    Way back in 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Minecraft was put into beta, Slumdog Millionaire was released to critical praise and we had a product called IP.Subscriptions.
    IP.Subscriptions was a lightweight member subscriptions manager that allowed members to purchase elevated permissions via a user group upgrade.
    It was a fine little app. However, on the horizon we had a brand new eCommerce app in development. Then called Nexus, now called Commerce (we took months to come up with that).
    It made sense for us to merge the products into one app given they both had overlapping functionality. They both could create packages to promote members to a new user group. Commerce was much more developed as an invoicing and billing system.
    Everyone was happy.
    Almost.
    Commerce has grown to be an incredibly powerful app. It can sell anything from physical products like t-shirts, to digital products such as license keys and it can even manage your hosting set-up.
    We use it for our support and billing systems, so we know how robust it is.
    While it's an incredibly powerful commerce system, setting up basic subscriptions packages became a little more complex.
    Over the past few years we've received a lot of feedback on this.
    We've listened.
    Commerce Member Subscriptions
    We've built a brand new section into Commerce specifically for membership subscriptions.
    Let's take a look at this in more detail.
    On the front end, there's a very clear and easy to understand page for membership subscriptions.

    The main subscriptions interface
    Here you can see all the available packages, which one you're currently subscribed to and the upgrade and downgrade options.

    A simple way to upgrade
    There's several choices for costing upgrades in the Admin CP, here we have chosen to charge the difference between packages.

    Get to your subscriptions easily
    Your subscriptions are easily found in the user menu.
    If the Admin allows, the package you're subscribed to appears as a badge on your profile.

     
    There's also a little widget showing the packages which you can drag and drop to the sidebar for an additional prompt for non-subscribers.

     
    This gives Invision Community a very clear and easy to understand interface for subscriptions which lives outside of the Commerce store and its packages.
    Now, let's dive into the Admin CP
    The main engine for this feature is the package list. This is in a separate area within Commerce.

     
    The list also shows the number of currently active and inactive subscribers. This links to the list of subscribers.

     
    Other than Bob having a total nightmare, you can easily view which members are currently active. The buttons link you to the Commerce invoice and purchase.
    If you wish to add a member to a subscription without charging them (you generous soul, you), then that is easily possible.

     
    Creating a new subscription package is very straight forward. We've built a new form which is stripped down to the fundamental items you'll need for a subscription.

     
    As you would expect, there are several settings to control the system.

     
    A few things worth mentioning here:
    You can force new members to purchase a subscription on sign-up You can show or hide the profile badge indicating which package they purchased. You can choose to allow upgrades or downgrades. You can choose how you'd like to charge for upgrades or downgrades Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback over the years. We're really pleased to present this new feature and hope that it'll make your daily lives just a little easier.
    Let us know what you think!
     
  15. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, January Wrap Up   
    What an exciting month we've had!
    The big news is that it's all systems go on Invision Community 4.3, our big update to our apps.
    We've already talked about Automatic Community Moderation, Emoji, Sign in from other sites using OAuth, blog updates, Scaleable search and interface improvements, Apple Pay (and more) support, Paid club memberships, and other club improvements and massive gallery updates.
    Our team take a short breather to discuss their hidden talents, including the ability to solve a Rubik's cube in under two minutes.
    In our community management series, we look at how you can brand your Invision Community in just a few minutes without knowing how to code.

    This month's featured articles are:
     
     
     
    You can see our full newsletter here.
  16. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.3: Leverage your data with our statistic improvements   
    "The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data", the Economist wrote recently.
    Invision Community software stores a lot of important data that can be leveraged to analyze and improve upon the traffic and interactions with your site.
    While there are some various statistics tools in the AdminCP already, we spent some time with 4.3 enhancing and improving upon our existing reporting tools, as well as adding some new analytics tools you may find useful.
    Chart Filters
    Beginning with 4.3, any dynamically-generated charts in the AdminCP that support filtering will allow you to save those filter combinations for easier access in the future. When you open the Filters menu and toggle any individual filters, the chart will no longer immediately reload until you click out of the menu, and 'All' and 'None' quick links have been added to the filters menu to allow you to quickly toggle all filters on or off.
    Here is the 'Sales' chart for Commerce, for example. You will see that the interface is now tabbed.

    Commerce's Sales chart
    After opening the 'Filters' menu, selecting all of my products named 'test', and saving this filter combination as a new chart, I can quickly come back to this chart in the future.

    Specific filter configurations allow you to run reports easily
    Note that each user can save their own chart filter configurations independent of other users.
    Top income by customer
    Speaking of Commerce, we have also added a new chart to the 'Income' page, allowing you to view reports of your top customers. As with other dynamic charts, you can save filter configurations here for easy future access, and you can view the results as a table to get a raw list of your top customers' purchases. Further, we have tidied up the table views for the other existing tabs on this page.

    Looks like brandon is my top customer
    Reaction statistics
    We have introduced several statistic pages to expose information about the Reactions/Reputation system and how your users are interacting with it. For instance, you can now view information about usage of each of the reactions set up on your site.

    Yes, I'm definitely confused a lot
    You can also see which users give and receive the most reputation (which is the sum of their reaction points, keeping in mind that negative reactions can reduce a user's total reputation score), you can see which content on your community has the most reputation (which might prompt you to promote it to the 'Our Picks' page, promote it to social media, or otherwise continue to encourage interaction with the content), and you can see which applications reactions are given in the most. This could allow you, for instance, to focus more efforts in areas of your site to drive more activity, or to foster activity in areas you did not realize were as active as they are.

    Some areas of the community aren't as active as they could be
    Additionally, when viewing user profiles on the front end you can now see a breakdown of which reactions each user has given and received when you click the "See reputation activity" link in the left hand column.

    Apparently I'm not so much confused, as I am confusing
    Tag Usage
    Another useful statistic introduced with 4.3 is the ability to review tag usage on your community. As with other dynamic charts, you can filter however you like and save those filter configurations for easy future access.

    Not all tags are equal
    Trend charts for topics and posts
    When viewing the New Topics and New Posts charts, there are now tabs for "New Topics by Forum" and "New Posts by Forum", allowing you to see which of your forums are the most active. Additionally, you will see a trend line drawn on the chart to show you the trend (e.g. whether activity is increasing or decreasing). You can also filter which forums you wish to review, so you can compare your most active forums, the forums that are most important to your site, or the forums that need the most attention/may not be relevant, for instance.

    Viewing new topics by forum

    New posts by forum, but viewing only a subset of my most important forums
    Other Improvements
    Some other miscellaneous improvements have been introduced as well, which you may be interested in:
    When viewing Member Activity reports, you can now filter by group. We have also added the content count column to the table so you can quickly sort by top posters if this is relevant to the report you are running. Device usage is now also tracked (mobile, desktop, etc.) and can be viewed on a new Device Usage page. Developers: Dynamic charts now support database joins
  17. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.3: Modernizing our Gallery   
    A picture says a thousand words, they say. If getting those pictures online is troublesome, some of those words might be a little choice.
    Gallery has been an integral part of our community suite for just about as long as T1 Tech Mark Higgins can remember (and he has many years of memories). It has seen many interfaces changes as the years have rolled by. The most recent version received a fair amount to feedback on usability.
    We've listened. We've re-engineered most of Gallery's key interfaces to make uploading new images to your community frictionless.
    Lets take a look through the major changes.
    Improved submission process
    Submitting images has to be simple or else users will give up and your gallery will be underutilized. We have spent a lot of time simplifying and speeding up the submissions process for your users. The first thing that will be noticed is that the submission process is not presented as a wizard anymore, and the choice to submit to a category or album has been significantly cleaned up and simplified.

     
    Choosing a container
    Here, I have chosen the category I wish to submit to, so now I am asked if I want to submit directly to the category, if I want to create a new album, or if I want to submit to an existing album.  Choosing one of those last two options will load the appropriate forms to create an album or select an existing album, respectively.
    Afterwards, the modal expands to full screen and you will naturally select your images next, and there's a lot to talk about here.
     

    Overhauled submission interface
    First and foremost, the interface has changed significantly to both simplify the UI and to make actually using the interface easier. When you click on an image, the form is loaded to the right immediately without an AJAX request needed to fetch the form.
    In addition to quickly setting the credit and copyright information for all images at once, you can now set the tags for all images quickly and easily without having to edit each image individually.
    Images support drag n drop reordering in the uploader here, which means that you can drag n drop images to different positions to control their order. Many users previously would name images "Image 1", "Image 2", and so on, and then set their albums to order images by name in order to control the order the images were displayed in. This is no longer necessary now that you can manually reposition the images.
    The default description editor is a pared down textarea box, but you can still use the rich text editor if you wish. The ability to enable maps for geo-encoded images and to upload thumbnails for videos is still supported as well, and those options will show up when appropriate in the right hand panel.
    The 100 image per submission limit has also been lifted. You can now upload many more images in one go with no hard limit imposed.
    Upon clicking submit images, you will see the typical multiredirector to store all of your images, however you will notice that it processes much faster than it did in 4.2 and below.
    Better submission control
    Administrators can now configure categories such that can accept only images, only albums, or both. This means you can now create categories that cannot be submitted to directly, and you can create categories that albums cannot be used with. This is a feature that has been oft-requested since the release of 4.0, and we are happy to report that it will be available in our next release.
    Additionally, album creators (if permitted) can also now create shared albums.  When you create a new album, you can now specify (under the Privacy menu) who can submit to the album, with your available options being:
    Only me Anyone Only the users I specify Only the groups I specify Prior to 4.3, albums have always been owned by one user and only that user could submit to them. Invision Community 4.3 will open up albums so that anyone can submit to them, dependent upon the album creator's preferences and needs.

    The choice is yours as to who can submit to your albums
    New image navigation
    Another major change with Gallery 4.3 is that clicking an image now launches that image in a lightbox to view it and interact with it. This lightbox is context-aware, allowing you to visit the next and previous images in the listing, whether that is a category or album listing, or the featured images or new images listings on the Gallery homepage, for example.
     

    The new image lightbox
    Firstly, I will note that you are seeing the image here with my mouse cursor over the image area, exposing the title, tags, and some various buttons. When you mouse away from the image those overlays fade away to highlight the image itself better.
    As you can see, you can navigate left and right here to view the next and previous image in this context, and you can otherwise interact with the image as you would have if you had visited the older-style image view page (including the ability to rate, review and comment).
    The new Gallery release will introduce a new advertisement location in the right hand column to allow you to show advertisements, even in the lightbox.
    If you follow a link to a full image view page, the lightbox will automatically launch when the page loads, still allowing you to interact in a familiar manner. Additionally, if you move through enough images in the lightbox to reach a new page (for example, if you click on the last image in the album listing and then click on the next image button), the listing itself behind the lightbox will update for easier usability if the user closes the lightbox.
    One final thing to note is that the interface has been made more mobile friendly, particularly through the introduction of swiping support. You can swipe left and right in the lightbox, and in image carousels, to see the next and previous images.
    Notable performance improvements
    As we mentioned at the beginning, we recognize there is a balance between performance, usability, and attractiveness, particularly with regards to an image Gallery. For that reason, we have made Gallery's performance a major focus in 4.3, and have implemented some changes that bring with them a noticeable performance improvement.
    Firstly, we have adjusted the software to only store two copies of an image (in addition to the original), instead of four. In previous versions, we stored a thumbnail, a small copy, a medium copy and a large copy of an image, all of which arbitrarily sized and designed to best meet our layout needs without showing an image too large or too small in a given space. We have simplified this vastly by storing a slightly larger "small" image, and storing a large copy. Diskspace usage is reduced dramatically as a result, and bandwidth usage is actually lowered as well since only two copies of an image need to be delivered to the browser instead of four.
    Next, we have implemented prefetching of the 'next' and 'previous' pages when you launch the lightbox image view. This means that when a user navigates to the next image in the lightbox, it loads immediately instead of waiting for the content to be fetched from the server. From a UX perspective, this provides a much snappier and responsive interface, making users more apt to interact with the site.
    We have additionally sped up the submission process as previously mentioned. The order of execution for certain events that must happen during submission has been moved around a bit, resulting in a faster experience for the end user actually submitting the images.
    Because we know the details matter, we have implemented other smaller improvements as well. For example, the link to rebuild images in the AdminCP previously resulted in a redirect process that rebuilt the images while you waited, but now a background task is launched so that you can continue with what you were doing while the images get rebuilt in the background.
    From start to finish, the Gallery UI and UX has been touched on and improved, and we hope you enjoy these improvements when you start using the new version.
  18. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Paid club memberships, and other club improvements   
    We released news of Clubs just under a year ago for Invision Community 4.2 and it has been the best received feature to date.
    Clubs opens up new ways to run your community by allowing members to create sub-communities away from the central forum area.
    Since the feature was released, we've collated an immense amount of feedback on the feature. Here's what we're improving for Invision Community 4.3.
    Paid Club Memberships
    If you have Commerce installed on your community, 4.3 adds the ability for members to create paid clubs. Users wishing to join the club will be required to pay a membership fee (which can be one off or recurring) which will be paid to the club owner, minus any commission you want to keep for the site. You can choose which groups can create paid clubs.

    Paid Club Settings
    If enabled, the club directory will show the price for membership in each club.

    Club directory with paid clubs
    The process for joining works a little differently depending on the type of club...
    For open clubs, the user will immediately be prompted to pay the joining fee. Once they have paid, they are added to the club as normal. For closed clubs, the user will need to request to join as normal. Once they have been accepted to join the club, they will then be able to pay the membership fee, after which they'll be added to the club. For private and read-only (a new type in 4.3, which we'll talk about below) users have to be invited to join the club Public clubs have no membership, and so cannot be paid.
    Joining a paid club (a closed club in this screenshot)

    Paid club after request to join has been accepted

    Paying for club membership
    Club leaders can also waive the membership fee, allowing certain users to join the club for free.

    Waiving fee when approving request to join

    Waiving fee when inviting members

    Waiving renewal fees on an existing member
    If a member fails to pay their renewal charge, they are moved into an "expired" state. The club leaders can see the status and renewal date for all members, and use the filter tools to just see active or expired members.

    Club members management
    Paying out membership fees works just as it does with paid files in Downloads. Users receive the amount as account credit. If enabled, they can then request a payout of this via PayPal or a manual payout method you want to use.

    Viewing an invoice in the AdminCP where some payment has been given to a member

    Viewing account credit with options to withdraw funds
     
     
    Club content throughout the community
    Currently content in clubs is only visible within the club itself. In 4.3 a new setting allows you to show the content from clubs throughout the community - for example, if a club contains a forum, that forum can show in the main forum list.
     
    Club forums showing on main forum list
    This is a single toggle: if enabled, all content from clubs that each user has joined will show throughout the community, appearing below the normal categories/etc in that application.
     
     
    New Club Type: Read Only
    In addition to Open, Closed, Private and Public, we have added a new club type in 4.3: read only. In a read only club, everyone can (without joining) view everything in the club, but cannot participate unless they are invited by a club leader.
     
    Following
    Users can now follow a club, and will then receive notifications about all new content in the club - the same as if they followed every content area in the club.
     
    List View
    In addition to the current grid layout of clubs, there is a new list-style.

    Clubs List View
    The admin can choose which views are available and what the default should be.
     
    AdminCP Approval
    You can now filter the list of clubs in the AdminCP to clubs requiring approval and approve clubs from within the AdminCP.

    Approving clubs in AdminCP
     
    Deleting Content Areas
    Club leaders can now delete content areas within their clubs. This can be useful if, for example, the leader added a club feature by mistake.
    Content areas can only be removed if there is no content within it, or if you have granted club leaders the ability to delete content in their clubs (since they would be able to empty it).

    Ability to remove features from clubs
     
    Other Minor Tweaks
    You can now set per-group the maximum number of clubs a member in that group can create. A member invited to join a club can now delete the invitation if they do not want to accept it (rather than just ignoring it).
  19. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Charles for an entry, 4.3: Usability improvements to make your day better   
    Often it's the smaller changes that can make a big improvement in the day to day use of your community. We have made quite a few updates that will make your community flow better for you and your members.
    Update files in Pages Media Manager
    Previously when you wanted to update a file in the Pages Media Manager you actually had to upload a new file and then change the references to that file to the new one. This was obviously not so great.
    When you select a file there is now a replace option. We're not sure why we didn't do this earlier but as they say: better late than never!
    Tag Input when Optional
    On communities with tagging enabled, we have often noticed that people tend to feel the need to tag everything even when it's not really necessary. If your site is about cars you don't really need everything people post to be tagged "car" as that's sort of obvious.

     
    So to make it a bit clearer that tags are not required we have hidden the input field behind a Choose link so people have to actively choose to tag if they really think it's necessary. We hope this cuts down on tag noise. If tagging is required then the normal input box will always show.
    Google Invisible reCAPTCHA
    The new Google Invisible reCAPTCHA allows you to prevent bot registrations without the need for all users to fill out the normal captcha process. As often as possible your members will never notice there is even a captcha happening on the page. It's another way to make the flow from guest to member easier.
    Whitelist for Spam Service
    The spam defense service Invision Community provides works very well at combatting spam signups automatically. The issue is sometimes it works too well!
    Let's say you are at work and all your colleagues share the same public IP. You are excited about your new community (of course you are) and your whole office tries to register at once. Our spam service would probably see your office IP as suspicious with that sudden influx of traffic and may even block it.
    The new whitelist tool allows you to specify IPs and email addresses to always allow on your community regardless of what score our spam defense gives it.
    Reply as Hidden
    Sometimes it would be nice if your moderators could reply to an item with a hidden reply. You might want to leave a note for other moderators or perhaps you have a database and want some replies public and some private.

     
    If you have permission you will now see a hide toggle when replying. This works in all apps anywhere you can reply to a content item and have hide permission.
    Exclude Groups in Leaderboard
    You can now exclude certain groups from being ranked in the Leaderboard. This is very useful if your staff or RSS bot tend to get all the reputation points. By excluding those groups you can focus on your actual member participation which is a better reward to encourage engagement.
    On a personal note this will make me very sad as I usually win reputation counts on our site. But, being such a great person, I am willing to make this sacrifice for you.  
    Complete Your Profile Order
    The Complete Your Profile feature introduced in version 4.2 has been a great success for clients. We have heard many reports of increased engagement as the system can walk people through the sign up process. Not having a big, scary registration form is always a huge plus.
    For 4.3 we added the new ability to change the order of completion for your members. This will allow you to stress the items you really want them to complete first and move your less important profile options later in the steps.
    Mapbox Support
    Mapping has been a feature of Invision Community for quite some time but up until now has been limited to Google Maps integration. For 4.3 we have added support for Mapbox which is based on OpenStreetMap data. The maps are beautifully designed and bring greater flexibility with an alternative look. The groundwork is now laid for some exciting new features still to come!
    Some of our existing customers also found Google policies and pricing structure incompatible with their own internal policies which this addition addresses.
  20. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Scaleable search and interface improvements   
    Search. Let's be honest, it's not the most exciting feature in the world. You ask to find things, and it shows you what it found.
    Simple, right?
    It's a lot more complex than that. After numerous tests, a few surveys and many discussions with customers, we've decided that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to search. Invision Community is used on many diverse communities and each has its own needs.
    The bigger the community, the more of a headache search can be when you start hitting frustrating technical limitations of the database.
    Happily, we've addressed all of these issues with Invision Community 4.3 and added a few extra treats.
    Searchable Products and Pages
    Products in the Store and custom Pages will now show in search results.

    Store product in search results
    More Customisable Search Experience
    One of the most difficult challenges with search is anticipating the scope of the search. If, for example, you're looking for something you know you've seen before, you want the search to be narrow - matching only the exact terms you provide, probably only matching against the title, in the specific area you know where the content is located. If however, you're just doing a general search about a particular subject, you want the search to be wide - matching any of the terms you enter, anywhere in the community, in both titles and content.
    For a while, Invision Community has had the option to choose which areas to search, defaulting to the area of the community you're in (for example, if you're in a forum, only that forum will be searched by default). We also provide a number of suggestions on the search result form (in the form of "Didn't find what you were looking for? Try searching for..." followed by a number of options) which adjust the scope of the search.
    In Invision Community 4.3, we have a new interface for the quick search feature which makes some of these options more visible so you're more likely to find what you're looking for on the first search.

    New Search UI
    Along these lines we have also:
    Changed the default "Search In" selection to "Everywhere", regardless of where the user is. Added a new setting which controls whether the "Any words" or "All words" option is checked by default. Added a new setting which allows you to adjust how much of a boost results receive for a match in the title, versus the content body, when searching both content titles and body. You can set default and/or operator.

    New Search Settings
    Elasticsearch
    In Invision Community 4.3 we are adding native support for Elasticsearch, a third party search engine which offers a number of benefits over searching your MySQL database:
    Elasticsearch, being designed and indexing data in a way optimised for search rather than data storage, is generally able to match and sort by relevancy with better accuracy than MySQL. Elasticsearch is generally faster. One user performing a search doesn't slow down other users trying to read and make posts at the same time (when searching MySQL, the data has to be "locked" from changes when the search is being performed). It scales very well with very large datasets, and runs very easily on multiple servers. Elasticsearch understands language. If for example, you search for "community", it will also return results which contain the word "communities", understanding that these are the same. Supported languages are Arabic, Armenian, Basque, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Dinnish, Drench, Galician, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sorani, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Thai. Elasticsearch supports custom functions on the scoring algorithm. In our initial implementation this has allowed us to add settings to allow you to control the time decay (allowing newer results to show higher) and author boost (allowing content posted by the user to optionally show higher in results). Unlike with MySQL, there is no minimum query length and a very small list of stop words.
    Elasticsearch Settings
    When enabled, both searches and activity streams will be retrieved from Elasticsearch. The core_search_index database table in MySQL will no longer be populated, so you will not have to store the data twice.
    To use Elasticsearch, you can either install it yourself on your own server, or use any of the many excellent hosted Elasticsearch options. The minimum required Elasticsearch version is 5.5.
    REST API
    Developers and those looking to integrate Invision Community features into their own sites will be pleased to learn that we've extended the REST API to accommodate searching. 
  21. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Welcome to the future, blog!   
    Good news!
    We've taken Invision Community's Blog app by the scruff of the neck and dragged it into 2018!
    There has been a growing trend for imagery to play a very important part of a blog entry. This update reflects that.
    Introducing Grid View
    We have added a new view that shows your blog entries as cards with space for a cover photo.
    We've very visual creatures, and a good photograph can entice readers into your blogs to read more. 
    As you would expect, you can disable this mode from the Admin CP for purists that prefer the traditional list format.

     
    For those who's sense of adventure runs deep, the new grid mode allows you to show a list of latest blog entries as the blog home page.

     
    This puts valuable and engaging content right in front of your audience.
    This list view persists when you view a blog's entries giving a consistent feel.

     
    Viewing an entry
    We've given the blog entry page a little make-over by featuring the cover photo above the content. The slimmed down blog details bar allows your audience to focus on the content.

     
    Default Cover Photos
    You may have spotted that entries without a cover photo have a rather fetching geometric pattern in different colors.

     
    This is a new micro-feature of Invision Community 4.3. Currently, if you do not have a cover photo on a blog, profile or event, the bar is a rather sad shade of black.
    The new default cover photo feature makes it much more cheerful. Here's what a profile looks like.

     
    Much better.
    Here's a few technical details for those that love to know all the things.
    The grid view feature can be turned off in the ACP (but doing so will make me very sad) You can choose the default home page view: Latest Entries or List of Blogs. You can still view a list of blogs when you're on the latest entries page. This choice is stored in a little cookie (GDPR friendly, it doesn't contain any identifying data) so navigating back gets you the last view you chose. Let us know what you think! We love it, and hope you do too.
  22. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.3: Express yourself with Emoji   
    Emoji: built in to Invision Community 4.3! ?
    Invision Community has a long history. We remember the early days of forums, back when graphical "emoticons" or "smilies" were added.
    We have always shipped our products with a basic set of emoticons with the ability to add your own images and has supported emoji from mobile devices.
    Emoji has become a standard across mobile and desktop devices so it made sense to bring them to Invision Community fully.
    You can choose from 3 different styles of Emoji:
    The native style provided by the user's operating system (if you choose this option, users on different platforms will see different styles) Twitter style EmojiOne style
    Emoji Settings
    Once you have chosen one of these options, all of the available Emoji will show in the emoticons selector when making a post. Unlike in older versions, the entire list is scrollable (the categories drop down will jump you to the category rather than filter), you can search, and standard Emoji features like skin tone modifiers are fully supported, and of course, you can make them as big as you like.

    Navigating Emoji

    Skin Tone Modifier

    Make Emoji any size
     
    Autocompleting Short Codes
    In addition to using the selector, you can also use optionally enable standard :short_codes:. These will be autocompleted as you type.

    Autocompleting Short Codes
    You can also enable more conventional ASCII emoticons to be automatically replaced too:

    ASCII Short Codes
     
    Don't Worry: Custom Emoticons Aren't Going Anywhere!
    You can use custom emoticons either instead of, or even alongside Emoji. If you give your custom emoticons a text replacement starting and ending with : they will even show in the autocompletion alongside Emoji.

    Custom Emoticons
     
    Technical Details 
    Whichever style you choose, Emoji is stored in the database as the actual Unicode characters, so you can even change the setting and all Emoji, even those in existing posts, will immediately change.
    If you choose to use the native style (so the Emoji will match the style provided by the operating system), the system will automatically detect which Emojis are supported and the selector will only try to show the ones the platform can render.
  23. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.3: Automatic Community Moderation   
    One huge benefit of running your own Invision Community is the moderation tools.
    Out of the box, Invision Community allows you to turn members into moderators. Better still, you can define what these moderators have permission to do.
    Part of this moderation suite is the report system. The report system allows your members to flag posts that need a moderator's attention.
    There comes a time when your community is so successful that it can be a little tough to keep up with all the content and reports.
    Community Moderation
    This new feature leverages your member reports to automatically remove objectionable content from public view.
    You as the admin will define thresholds for the content. For example, you may say that to hide content, a post needs 5 reports.
    This reduces the workload for your moderators and enables you to crowd source moderation.
    Let's take a look at this feature in a little more detail.
    Reporting Content
    When a member reports a piece of content, they now have the option to set a type, such as "Spam" or "Offensive". These options can count towards the threshold. Once the threshold has been passed the item is hidden.

    The threshold can be set up by creating rules in the Admin CP.
    Admin Set Up
    At its heart of the system are the rules. You can create custom rules in the Admin CP to determine the thresholds.

    For example, you may decide that:
    A member with less than 10 posts only needs 5 reports to hide the content.
    But you may want to give more experienced members a higher threshold as there is more trust.
    You simply add a new rule:
    A member who joined over a year ago with over 500 posts needs 10 reports to hide content.
    You can do that easily with the rules system as it will scan them all and pick the one most suitable for this member.

    It's as simple as that.
    Notifications
    Once an item has received enough reports to match the threshold, it is automatically hidden from view.

    A notification is sent to all moderators who opt in for notifications. This notification shows inline in the notifications center.

    It can also optionally be sent via email for those who want to know without checking the site.

    Restoring the content
    Of course, a moderator may decide that the content is fine and un-hide it. Once a piece of content has been un-hidden, automatic moderation will not hide it again.
    Report Types
    Depending on your community, the default types may not be suitable or relevant. You may also want to set up other report types.

    You can do this via the Admin CP.
    Preventing Abuse
    Your first thought may be that a single member can report a single item multiple times to force content to be hidden. 
    The system will only count a unique member as one point towards the threshold. This means a single member can report an item 5 times, but they are only counted once towards the threshold.

     
    You can also set a time limit between reporting the same item. This will prevent a member reporting a single item multiple times in succession.

    Of course, the member can delete their report if it was in error.

    Report Center
    The Report Center is the hub for all reported content. Invision Community 4.3 adds a filter to view a specific report type. The reports themselves also show the type of report.

    We hope that this new feature will be a huge help and time saver for you and your moderators.
    We'd love to hear your thoughts, please let us know what you think and if you have any questions.
  24. Thanks
    liquidfractal reacted to Rikki for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  25. Like
    liquidfractal reacted to Charles for an entry, Invision Community 4.3 Coming Soon   
    Our recent release of Invision Community 4.2 was the most well-received version ever! The feedback we received on new features like Clubs, Reactions, and Promotes was better than we could have hoped and we really enjoyed seeing all the creative uses as people implemented them on their own communities.
    We have been hard at work on version 4.3 with a goal of improving on all the great new features. It is well under way and we are happy to able to start announcing what's new over the next few weeks.
    Invision Community 4.3 will not only contain new features but also have a core focus on refinement from 4.2's new features. You will see many improvements to Clubs, new integration options, large application improvements, new promotional features, and more changes large and small.

     
    You can expect to see news posts about new features and changes very soon with a release date in early 2018. Follow our news section or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates.
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