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Marius

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  1. Like
    Marius reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, Anonymous Posting   
    For a very long time Invision Community has allowed community owners to choose how open or private their communities should be. Communities could optionally allow guests to post without registering, they could allow the use of pseudonyms or they could require the use of real names.
    This covers a diverse range of communities but feedback from our clients made us realize that some use cases have not been accounted for.
    For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community.
    With our next release, we are pleased to introduce Anonymous Posting to make this a reality.
    When enabled, members will see the option to post anonymously when creating or replying to content.

    Starting a new anonymous topic
    Author details for anonymously posted content is hidden throughout the community and instead a default profile picture and name is shown.
    Total anonymity is not always desirable however and in some cases it may be necessary for trusted staff members to know who posted the content. Where allowed, these staff members will be shown an option to reveal the content author.

    Author details are hidden but can be revealed by trusted staff members
    Anonymous posting can be enabled on a per group basis and also limited to specific forums, albums and categories etc. The ability for staff members to reveal who really posted the content is a moderator permission.
    We hope this new feature is a useful addition and where appropriate makes your members feel safe or comfortable to share info they might not have otherwise.
    How open or private is your community and what do you find are the benefits or disadvantages of anonymity?
  2. Thanks
    Marius reacted to Matt for an entry, Launching a new community needs purpose, value and emotion   
    One of the most commonly asked questions we get is how to ensure your new community launch is successful.
    You may think that if you have the right features with the correct configuration, success is guaranteed, but it requires more than that.
    Way back in the early 2000s when the internet was in its infancy, there was an explosion of new communities. If you had some webspace, a little technical knowledge and a forum script you were almost guaranteed to attract people into your community.
    These days it takes a little more work to get your new community off the ground. There’s a lot of books and resources out there to help, but focusing on your purpose, value, and emotion will give you a bright star to sail by.
    Purpose
    The purpose of your community should be very clear from the first visit. You want your new visitors to instantly understand the reason your community exists and the benefit they will get from it.
    This can be implicit with a short written mission statement at the top, or it can be through robust visual design and structure.
    When launching a new community, aim to be as specific as possible with your purpose. You can always broaden when it grows. This may go against your instinct to cast a wide net to catch as many people as possible, but resist that temptation!
    For example, a community focused on fitness has a vague purpose. Fitness is a broad topic, and there are many niches inside of it. This could be anything from losing weight, to running faster to increasing the weight on a barbell. Narrowing the focus to running helps a little, but there’s a lot of space in that field. You have marathon runners, ultra runners, Sunday park joggers and everything in between.
    A better starting point for a community may be “Run your first 5k”. This instantly makes it very clear to your audience that you intend to help new runners develop their ability enough to finish a short race. The sense of purpose is clear, and it is easy to know what to ask of this new community and the benefit you may get.
    Asperger Experts has a strong design and mission statement above the fold, which makes its purpose clear from the first visit.

    Asperger Experts
    Make your purpose very clear and don’t be afraid to niche down to a specific area, to begin with.
    Value
    The earliest communities allowed people from all around the world to gather and talk. Anyone who had the technical skill to host a community could be virtually guaranteed members and just being able to meet was all the value needed.
    We now live in more sophisticated times and crave more than facilitation. Your community needs to add value beyond companionship and knowledge.
    One of the simplest ways to give value to your members is through sharing your expertise. A steady flow of written articles or videos gives your members a reason to come back.
    IG, a fintech company use their expert articles to draw their audience back to their community to contribute. IG is a known leader in their field, so their blog is a real draw for those investing in the markets.

    IG.com
    Never post for the sake of it, always inform, educate or entertain your community.
    Emotion
    At the heart of every conversation is emotion. We pride ourselves on being logical and thoughtful creatures, yet our emotional brain responds first and makes a judgement often subconsciously.
    Setting the pitch and tone of your community is critical from its earliest days. As the community manager, you get to define the tone by modelling the behaviour you want to see in your own content. Some communities do well with dark humour and snark; while others require positivity and fun.
    “Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn respect and approval of our peers. Such inclinations are essential to our survival. For most of our evolutionary history, our ancestors lived in tribes. Becoming separated from the tribe—or worse, being cast out—was a death sentence.” - James Clear
    Hang out where your audience hangs out and develop your tone so that it resonates with your community.
    Starting a community is a rewarding experience, but you need to do more than just open your doors to ensure a successful launch.
    Checking to make sure your site has a strong purpose, that you offer value to your members and the emotional pitch is right will set you on the right course. 
  3. Like
    Marius 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.
  4. Like
    Marius reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Fluid Forum View   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first.
    If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media.
    Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics.
    A fan site for a band is a good example of a community that will benefit with fluid view. There will likely be forums for album reviews, tour dates, general discussion and so on. Even though there are many forums, the common topic is the band. This makes fluid view ideal as your members can see all those related topics in one view. If your members wanted more specific topics, they could select a single forum to view.
    Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.

     
    The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.

     
    Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working.

     
    You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it.

     
    You have full control over the display options. This screenshot shows that the control panel option to choose the default view. There is also an option to control which views your members can select. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose.

     
    You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some screenshots. We added the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view.

     
    This feature color also works on the table view.

     
    We added a feature color hint to topic view to enforce the association between the forum and its color.
     

     
    This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don't lose your place when you go back to the listing.
    The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for your audience. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. Your members will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page.
    We hope that fluid view is an asset to your community and your members enjoy this new functionality.
    Technical notes.
    The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.
     
  5. Like
    Marius reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, New: Member History   
    This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    In previous versions of IPS Community Suite we have had an account history feature in our Commerce application. This feature showed many important actions that may be relevant to the customer such as when an invoice was generated or when a customer changed their account details.
    In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have expanded this functionality and moved it into the core functionality of the suite.

    Member History Member Overview
    Member actions that will be logged include (but are not limited to)
    Email address change Display name change Password change Account merge Primary group change (The reason will be shown when triggered by an automatic group promotion) Secondary group change Flagged/Unflagged as spammer Multi-Factor Authentication (Enable / Disable / Opt-out) Social media (Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Google, Twitter, IPS Connect) for enabling, disabling and which (if any) were used to register an account. The Commerce customer account page will now show actions that may be related with a transaction or account.

    Member History on the Commerce customer view
    Discoverability
    Each action is also discoverable via the IP Address tools built into IPS Community Suite 4

    Member History in IP Search
    We’ve also made the data table filterable

    Member History Search
    Notes for developers:
    The new Member History system has been designed with interoperability in mind. In IPS Community Suite 4.2 you will be able to integrate your own applications into this system. Member History replaces the display name changes system.
  6. Like
    Marius reacted to Charles for an entry, Video: 4.2 So Far   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
    I made a quick video to demo things we have already announced for 4.2 so far.
    Enjoy  
  7. Like
    Marius reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Device Management   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    One of our more technically-oriented features for 4.2, we have added more detailed logs of user logins, and the devices and IP addresses used. This brings several new features:
     
    Notification of a new device sign in
    If enabled, users can receive an email notification when a new device is used to log into their account:
     

    Email sent when a login from a new device is detected
    When a user signs in for the first time, a special key is set to recognise the browser on subsequent logins. This mean the notification email does not trigger on a new IP address, which would be annoying when travelling or if using a network where the IP address changes regularly. Instead, the notification is only triggered if someone signs into your account from a new physical device or web browser.
     
    UserCP Device Management
    If enabled, a new page will show in the user's settings page showing all the devices which have been used to log into their within the last 90 days (which is recent enough that could still be logged in if "Remember Me" was checked).

    Recently Used Devices
    Users can see the device, browser, physical location (obtained by a GeoIP lookup) and if applicable, how the login was processed (for example, if the sign in was with Facebook or Twitter, this will show). If they chose "Remember Me" when logging in, they can undo that (handy if you realise you accidentally left yourself signed in on a public computer).
    If they see anything they don't recognise, a page to walk them through the necessary steps to re-secure their account is available.

    Secure Account Information
     
    New Two-Factor Authentication Setting
    "Logging into the front-end" is one of the options of when to prompt for Two Factor Authentication. In 4.2, this has been separated into two distinct settings:
    Logging into the front-end from a new device Logging into the front-end from a known device If you enable the former, but not the latter, and the user has previously logged in devices, the system will automatically show an explanation to users alongside the other available recovery option. This can be useful especially if you do not want to offer other recovery options.
     
    AdminCP Device Management
    In the AdminCP, administrators can see all the device and IPs a member has used. They can also disable automatic login for any device.
     

    Edit member page shows most recently used device and IP address
     
     
    Viewing a device's details
    The system can also detect if another user is using the same device and will show this in the list of devices.
      
    Users sharing the same device
     
  8. Like
    Marius reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Content Message   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    Following on from our previous entry about the new Recommended Replies feature, we also have one more small feature change that will be very useful.
    Content Message is a small feature available in all IPS Community Suite content areas (forums, blogs, gallery, etc.) and allows a moderator to put a message at the top of any item.

    Topic with a moderator message
    This is useful if you have a special use for the area people are posting in, need to encourage conversation to stay on topic, or perhaps the conversation is becoming heated and you need to remind people to behave.
    Sometimes the smallest features can prove the most useful and already I have found myself reaching for this feature out of habit from using it on our test 4.2 installs and missing it on our production site. I cannot wait to have it available and I am sure you will enjoy the ability to add custom notes to any area of the Suite.
     
    Development Note
    For our power users: this feature and the Recommended Replies feature use a new content meta data capability. This allows you to store miscellaneous data that is attached to a content item which does not need to be otherwise searched or exposed unless you are viewing that item. We will provide technical details on this later but it is a really easy way to store data about content without having to create additional tables or methods.
  9. Like
    Marius reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Leaderboard   
    We are excited to announce the Leaderboard as the latest all new feature of IPS Community Suite. The new Leaderboard is designed to better highlight your most active members and content based on reputation and other metrics. The Leaderboard will greatly enhance both member and content discovery on your community.

    Leaderboard Home
    First you will notice the new feature of member leaders based on a specific time frame. In the example above it is set to All Time showing those members with the most reputation overall on your community. It also shows the content with the most reputation for the same timeframe so you get a snapshot of both popular members and popular content in one view.

    Past Leaders
    The Past Leaders tab shows the "winners" of each day in a history. The system counts all reputation made each day and logs the members who had the top reputation counts that day. Using reputation rather than post count encourages your members to post quality of quantity which is really important to any site.

    Winner Profile Badge
    Those who win the day also get a badge on their profile page to highlight that they were the member with the most reputation for a particular day.

    Top Members
    Top Members shows you a list of all members sorted by various metrics. By default you will see members sorted by reputation but you can also easily sort by total post content Suite-wide or per-app. All of these views can be linked directly to so if you wanted a menu item to show members who post the most files in Downloads you can just directly link to that sort view.

    Leaderboard Settings
    There are various settings to control the default behavior of the Leaderboard. You can define the default view and how many members to show which is helpful to tailor it to your needs.
    We hope you enjoy this initial launch of the new Leaderboard feature. We are excited about the new content and member discovery abilities this offers and look forward to adding new options to the Leaderboard as we continue to develop!
     
    This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
  10. Like
    Marius reacted to Charles for an entry, Post Color Highlight   
    Often when you are reading a topic, comments, or other posts, you will see team members replying. Although IPS Community Suite already allows groups to set up custom images and member titles, these replies can get lost in the noise.
    Version 4.1.13 now allows you to switch on post highlighting per member group. This makes sure the reply stands out from the rest of the replies.

     
    Of course, this feature works everywhere; from calendar comments to article replies.

     
    The feature is switched on via the Group form in the ACP.

     
    You can edit the look of the highlighting via the theme’s settings which allows for different color schemed per-theme.

     
    We have also ensured that theme designers can get the most out of the system by embedding a data attribute noting the group of the author. This means that you can add custom CSS to use different colours per member group.

     
     
     
    We think post highlighting will be a simple way to bring attention to member posts in groups that you define.
     
     
  11. Like
    Marius reacted to Rikki for an entry, Theme Tip: Advanced uses for Pages database fields   
    Our Pages app includes a powerful feature that allows you to create your own databases within the community. Within each database, you create custom fields (we support a number of custom types, from plain text fields, to YouTube embeds and more). And while we provide some generic, simple templates to display your data, custom templates allow you to more precisely control how your database looks in a manner best suited to your site.
    Anyone who has created a Pages database will be familiar with using custom fields. You may have created a field for the title of your item, or an upload field so that the item contains a file for users to download. But beyond these straightforward uses, I wanted to explore some more advanced uses of custom fields. Fields don't necessarily have to be displayed to the user - or at least not in the usual way. We can use them as configuration options for our record display, or manipulate the data in order to show it in a different way. Let's take a look at some examples.
     
    1. Adding an optional badge to records
    We'll start with a fairly simple example. In our Guides section, we highlight guides that have a video tutorial by showing an 'Includes Video Guide' label on the listing:

    We achieve this simply by having a Yes/No field that we turn on as needed. In the field format, we turn the Yes/No value into the label by setting the format to Custom and using this code:
    {{if $formValue == 1}} <span class='ipsType_medium'><i class='fa fa-video-camera'></i> <strong>Includes Video Guide</strong></span> {{endif}}  
    2. Using fields as a way to configure the record display
    Fields don't necessarily need to be shown to users. Instead, we can use them as a means to configure the record display, giving us some really powerful flexibility in how we show records. In this contrived example, I'm going to create a field that changes the background color of the content.
    Create a Select Box field. Each option key will be a hex color, while the value will be the name the record creator will choose. Set the field key to record_background Set the field formatting to Custom, and the format to simply: {$formValue}. This means it will output our hex value instead of the color name. In the display template assigned to this database for records, we can use the field like so: <div style='background-color: #{$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('record_background', 'listing')|raw}' class='ipsPad'> ...rest of the template... </div> Now, when you create a record, you can choose a color and that color will be used when the record is shown:
    You can use this approach in others ways - toggles to control the layout of the record, or options for grid sizes, or even take an upload field for images and set the background of an element as that image.
     
    3. Pass data to 3rd-party integrations
    Pages has built-in support for several 3rd party integrations, such as Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube and Google Maps. But using custom fields, you can pass data to other services too. Let's say we wanted to embed an iTunes album widget into each of our records - perhaps the album is relevant to the Pages record in some way and we hope to encourage some click-throughs. In this example, we'll use the embed.ly service. 
    Create a URL custom field. Set the field key to itunes_album Set the field formatting to Custom, and the format to: <a class="embedly-card" href="{$formValue}">iTunes Album</a> <script async src="//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.js" charset="UTF-8"></script> In your database display template, position the field as desired by adding: {$record->customFieldDisplayByKey('itunes_album', 'listing')|raw} Now when you add an iTunes album link to your record, you'll get an embed automatically!

    This approach is great for a range of uses. Perhaps you have an Amazon Associates account and want to add a relevant product link to each of your records so that you earn a commission when users click through. Using database fields and templates in this way, it's easy to set up.
     
    I hope that's given you some ideas of other ways you might use database fields in Pages. Share any interesting uses you've come up with in the comments!
  12. Like
    Marius reacted to Charles for an entry, Coming soon in 4.1.10   
    We are wrapping up testing in preparation of version 4.1.10 release. This is a follow up to 4.1.9 which introduced a lot of great enhancements.
    Changes in 4.1.10 include:
    Instant notifications are now dismissible. The sidebar has been added back to the Activity Stream pages. You can now sort by most downloaded in Downloads app.  The ModeratorCP and AdminCP IP Address Tools now allow you to track the IP addresses used to vote in polls. A new setting has been added to disable the RSS feed for activity streams. A new setting has been added to specify the minimum display name length. Adds a new "can unban" moderator permission separate to the "can edit profiles" permission being used previously. IP addresses now show in reports. There is now a constant-level setting to disable the ACP IP address check in case of being locked out of the ACP. Several improvements to Commerce to make some features clearer: the Shipping Rates configuration pages now indicate to the admin if a potential mistake has been made, the front-end indicates to admins if no support departments have been set up, and the renewal settings wording has been clarified. And of course countless bugs fixed and performance enhancements. View our full release notes for more details.
    If you are an existing IPS client and enjoy testing pre-release software, a beta release of 4.1.10 is available. We always appreciate help testing upcoming releases.
    We are already well into development on 4.1.11 which include some larger feature changes and additions.
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