ADKGamers reacted to Matt for an entry, We're now using Invision Community 4.3!
Cue the music; switch on the dramatic lighting, we've got fantastic news!
We're now running Invision Community 4.3 on here for some advanced testing before we unleash the first beta release.
There's a subtle hint above
If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights.
As this is a pre-beta release, expect some funkiness as we scurry around and tidy up our custom theme wrapper and other areas as we spot them.
If you you find a bug, we'd love for you to report it with as much detail as you can muster in the bug report area.
We'd love to know what you think, let us know below.
ADKGamers reacted to Matt for an entry, 7 ways to nurture new members and encourage more participation
There are many different reasons to build a community. It might be based on your business or a hobby. It may be to talk about your favourite sports team. Whatever the content, the key to success is to engage your community.
We've been helping successful communities for over 15 years. During that time, we've picked up a handful of tips that we are going to share with you today.
Pick one to try this week and let us know how you get on.
Welcome every single member
A great way to make members feel welcome at your community is to post a daily or weekly topic welcoming your new members. Post a short message asking them to introduce themselves and tag new members.
This will encourage them to start a discussion that others can get involved with. It won't be long before friends are made and what may have been a passing member will be part of your core community.
Host a "lurker week"
Every few months, host a "Lurker week" where you encourage non-posting members to join in. You can explain the benefits of the community and encourage them to say hello. It's a great way to get people to introduce themselves.
Suzi Nelson pioneered this over at Digital Marketer. She created a lurker themed week and was able to activate 44% of her previously inactive members in only five days!
Spotlight members you want others to model
Often you will see a member do something amazing in the community. Maybe they posted a really good question or perhaps they have been very active and helped many other members.
Create a topic about it. Highlight how and why they are an asset they are to the community. This sends a positive message to other members that these kinds of actions will be celebrated.
You can even turn this into a weekly or monthly ritual where you celebrate the member of the week or month.
Educate about notifications
The notifications system in Invision Community is the best way to get return visits.
Why not put up a pinned topic in a visible area reminding your members how to get the best from the notification system, and asking them to enable them and follow any interesting forums or topics.
This way they won't miss out of any discussion while they're away and as a bonus, they're more likely to return to catch up.
This is a very simple but often overlooked tip. As the community manager your purpose is to facilitate discussion. Make sure you show up regularly and create new discussions as well as reply to existing ones.
People are more likely to post if they feel they will get a reply. Often your reply will send off a cascade of more interaction as different facets of the conversions come out.
Ask for feedback
Members love to be involved in brainstorms and to share their thoughts. Asking for feedback works on two levels. You get great ideas on how to improve your community. It is also a great tactic to get discussion going.
Taking action on feedback makes that person feel more invested in your community and will champion it to others.
Try and be specific when asking for feedback. Try "How can I increase the level of activity" or "Do you need any articles or topics written on specific subjects". The more specific, the easier it will be for your members to narrow down their thoughts.
These tips might give your community a short burst of engagement. To build a long lasting and highly engaged community, you have to be persistent and keep at it.
The key to building a community is simple: put in the work and care about your members. If your members see how much you care and that you are showing up every day, they are more likely to show up too.
Which of these tips are you going to try this week?
ADKGamers 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.
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.
ADKGamers reacted to Rikki for an entry, New: Richer Embeds
This is an entry about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
You are probably already familiar with our content embedding feature in IPS Community Suite. When a link to content in the community is pasted into the editor (e.g. a topic, or a post, or a gallery image, etc.) it is automatically expanded into a preview of the content, usually with an accompanying image, allowing users to click through to that content if they are interested.
An embedded Gallery image in IPS Community Suite 4.1
While it has proved a useful feature to members, each embed used essentially the same structure - a small thumbnail on the left, a title, and a few lines of text. This works fine for topics, but isn't ideal for other kinds of rich content that might be posted.
In IPS Community Suite 4.2, we greatly improved upon our embedding handling, giving every type of content within every application its own customized embed style, allowing that content to be displayed however works best. This means larger high-res previews of Gallery images, a button to download a file right from the embed for Downloads files, showing a map for Calendar events, and so on. We worked to keep a consistent overall style between apps, but allow each to display its own relevant information.
For users, things will work exactly as they do now - they simply paste a link to content, and it will continue to expand automatically. The changes are also backwards compatible. Any existing embeds in your community will automatically show the new styling you see below - no rebuilding necessary.
So with that in mind, let's take a look what the new embeds look like! I won't show every single embed here because there's a huge number, but I'll try and give you a feel for how we approached the embed styles for each app.
Comment on a Gallery Image
Review on a Downloads File
Comment on a Calendar Event
Record from a Pages database
I hope that gives you a good overview of what to expect when your users try out the new embeds for themselves. As always, please share your feedback in the comments below!
ADKGamers 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
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.
ADKGamers reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Editor Uploading
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
IPS Community Suite has supported drag and drop uploading to the attachments area at the bottom of the editor since 4.0. In 4.2 we're pleased to add the ability to drag and drop right into the editor, so you can drop your attachment exactly where you want it to show without having to add it afterwards.
Drag and drop into editor
If your browser and OS supports it you can also copy and paste, either from the desktop or from other content on the web:
Copy and Paste
Naturally this works for ordinary files as well as images:
Drag and drop a file
ADKGamers reacted to Mark for an entry, New: Commerce Improvements
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release
Improved Stripe Integration
Stripe is a popular payment gateway that supports card payments. In IPS Community Suite 4.2 we have made some improvements to our integration:
When viewing a transaction in the AdminCP, it will show the last 4 digits of the card used, and the result of Stripe's risk evaluation. More information is sent to Stripe for easier cross-reference between Stripe's control panel and your AdminCP. This includes the customer's name, billing and shipping addresses, email address, associated transaction/invoice/customer IDs, and the invoice title.
Stripe Transaction in the AdminCP showing risk evaluation and card details
Transaction in Stripe's control panel showing customer and invoice details
Anti-Fraud Rules now have some additional filters:
Products being purchases includes... Account was registered more/less than [x days] ago Customer is/isn't in group Customer has previously spent more/less than Time since last purchase is more/less than [x days] ago Custom profile fields (both at member and customer level) IP address is x (exactly, contains or matches regular expression) Customer has previously made transactions that failed (opposed to "were blocked by fraud rules") Email address matches regular expression
Some of the new Anti-Fraud Rule options
MaxMind per gateway
A new setting has been added that allows you to run MaxMind only against transactions using particular payment gateways.
New MaxMind gateways setting
You can now enter the transaction ID provided by the payment gateway in the AdminCP search box to find a transaction.
Looking up a transaction by gateway ID
If you have a product with multiple renewal terms, a new setting allows you to show alongside each option how much is saved. This can be shown either as a monetary value, or as a percentage.
Product showing savings for different renewal options
ADKGamers reacted to Matt for an entry, New: Promoting Content
There are many strategies for growing your community, such as newsletters, mailing lists and advertising on other sites.
IPS Community Suite 4.2 puts a new tool at your disposal: promotions.
There’s no denying the popularity of social media. Worldwide, Facebook has 1.86 billion users active monthly. Every day, millions of people are using Facebook to speak with friends, to talk about their interests and to find new people to connect with.
Of that 1.86 billion people, a good portion of those are actively discussing topics your forum covers. There is a huge opportunity to tap into social media to join in the discussion and to promote your community and provide a venue to carry on the discussion.
For a while, we’ve had social media log in extensions, which means that your users can sign into your community simply by clicking a relevant button. We’ve also had the ability to share things to a personal Facebook account. These tools are great for your users, but how do they help you, forum owner?
IPS Community Suite 4.2 introduces a way to promote your content directly to your brand’s Facebook page and your brand’s Twitter account.
You can curate fun and engaging topics and share them. The workflow is simple. Simply browse your community and queue up interesting topics, comments, gallery items, blog posts or database articles for posting throughout the day to your brand’s social media accounts. You choose the schedule, the hashtags and the wording to send.
Let’s look at the feature set in more detail.
Your first stop is to set up the feature from the admin panel. The system will guide you through the necessary steps of connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once Facebook has been set up, you can select any page that you are an administrator of on Facebook.
The admin panel also offers scheduling options and permissions.
You can pre-set the times for when content will be posted. Facebook and Twitter both have analytic tools to determine when your visitors are most frequently online. A good tip here is to set the time to a slightly odd number, so 11:45am is better than 12:00pm as you are likely to catch the attention of someone waiting for lunch, or a lunchtime meeting.
You have full control over who can promote items to your social media accounts. You can specify by group or pick individual members who may not be in those groups.
Now that you’ve set up the backend, we can get promoting.
Each item, that is a topic, gallery album, blog entry or article has its own Promote button.
Each post and comment can also be shared individually, which is an easy way to share great content your visitors add to existing conversations.
Clicking this brings up the sharer.
This is where you can customize the text that is sent out to each social media channel. You’ll also notice space to promote this item within your own community in addition (or instead of) Facebook or Twitter, we will explore that shortly.
The sharer is smart enough to pull attachments already added in the post, and you can upload your own images to be sent. Generally, shared items that have an image get better organic reach than just text alone so you’ll almost always want to choose or add an image. Twitter can use up to 4 images, and Facebook allows 1000 pictures per album, but you’ll never want to upload that many!
Once you’ve filled out your content and picked your images, you can schedule the promotion. Generally, you’ll want to use the auto schedule option as this allows you to just stack up multiple items and let the auto scheduler post the items according to your pre-set schedule. You can also set a specific date and time if you are looking to run a promotion or other time sensitive event.
The promoted content viewed in Facebook and Twitter
It’s easy to see the status of your queued and sent items from the moderator view.
This area allows you to see previous promotions and modify pending promotions.
Earlier, we mentioned that the system has the ability to promote content internally. Promoting items to your own community lets you, the community manager, curate interesting items and comments and present this to your community. This is a great way to allow your visitors to explore content you think they’d enjoy.
Promoting content to your community via Our Picks also allow you to promote content if you cannot or choose not to use social networks. It has the advantage that social networks do not have over a community platform like IPS Community Suite: consistency. The content on your community is always there whereas a social network is all about right here right now. Miss it and you miss out. On your community you can engage and re-engage a subject all you want.
Of course, we’ve built a widget that you can drag and drop to most pages to make this curated list more visible.
IPS Community Suite 4.2 gives you, the site owner and community manager the tools you need to reach out and engage new users already discussing the topics on social media your community covers. With single click sign in and the built in retention functionality the suite offers, you’ll have a powerful way of growing your user base. It furthers that goal by created a list of that promoted content for continual reference and promotion for visitors already on your site.
We’ve got lots more to discuss on this subject, and in the coming months we’ll be putting together some guides on social media best practices and how to leverage Facebook’s excellent post promotion / pay per click tools to further boost your site’s visibility to social media users.
We’re here to help you make a success of your community and to give social media users a venue for when they outgrow Facebook.
ADKGamers reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, New: Social Sign In Streamlining
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
Social Sign In has long been a feature of the IPS Community Suite but we are always looking for ways to make interaction easier for your visitors. A small but significant improvement we are able to add for 4.2 is to include social sign in links directly at the point where your customers are ready to contribute.
Hassle free inline sign in brings your customers right back where they need to be to comment
Visitors are much more likely to comment when the registration process is as fluid as possible and social sign in has fast become a familiar and efficient way of doing so. After signing up via these methods users are logged in and brought right back to where they started ready to comment.
Feedback from our testers has already shown that this change has an immediate effect on the volume of new registrations and we look forward to making it widely available with 4.2.
ADKGamers reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Recommended Replies
This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
Sometimes you may find situations where you want to highlight one or more replies to a content item to bring attention to a really great response. This is especially true on busy communities where you might have dozens or even hundreds of replies in a single discussion.
There is now an ability for a moderator to Recommend a reply (or multiple replies) and even leave an optional note explaining why they think you should view that post.
Optional note for recommended reply
When a reply is Recommended you will see a snippet at the top of the content item along with the optional moderator note and a link to jump right to that reply.
A topic with a recommended reply.
You can Recommend more than one reply and this feature works through IPS Community Suite in forum topic, blog entries, gallery images, and so on. You can set this permission along with other moderator permissions in the AdminCP.
We really think this will allow moderators to bring attention to some of the best replies and guide users to the best content your community has to offer.
ADKGamers reacted to Charles for an entry, IPS Community Suite 4.2 Coming Soon
We are well into development on IPS Community Suite 4.2 and are excited to start announcing all the new features and improvements.
Our next big release is focused on engagement with your members. You will see enhancements to our Reputation system, new ways to encourage people to register on your community, and enhancements to existing features to make them more interactive. There are also entirely new capabilities we cannot wait to show you ranging from new ways to organize content to tools to help promote your community.
Version 4.2 also features a refreshed AdminCP and default front-end design. Theme changes in 4.2 are mostly in the CSS framework so your existing themes will either work without issue or require minor changes to work in the new version.
Over the next several weeks we will be posting news entries with previews of upcoming features fairly often. Be sure to follow our News section, our Facebook, or Twitter to stay up to date.
We expect IPS Community Suite 4.2 to be out in mid-2017 with a public preview available sooner.
Everyone at IPS has worked very hard on this update and we think you will love it!
ADKGamers reacted to Charles for an entry, Avoiding Google Security Warnings
Google has recently been stressing that sites should use secure connections (served via HTTPS) whenever possible. They have recently also started warning sites that collect password on non-secure pages and will also be updating Google Chrome to warn users when a password is being entered on a non-secure page. You can read more information at Google and a good article on Ars Technica.
There are two ways on IPS Community Suite to avoid these alerts. Keep in mind that doing nothing will not cause you any problems, your site will still work, but users will get warnings and this may impact how people perceive joining your community.
Make your Community 100% Secure
The easiest option is to make every page on your IPS Community Suite use a secure connection. To do this you would need to ensure your web host has HTTPS support enabled on your site and then simply edit conf_global.php and change the URL field to https:// and that's it.
One thing to keep in mind is that your users, if you allow it, can still paste in links to externally hosted images which might not be secure. This does not impact the security of your site but it may generate a browser warning indicating your site has "mixed content" meaning some is secure and some is not. You can optionally enable the Image Proxy feature to make externally linked images route through a proxy on your local server to maintain 100% secure content.
Image Proxy Options
Only Login/Registration Forms and AdminCP Secure
If you prefer not to use HTTPS for your entire site, we do have a setting to only use secure connections for login, registration, and AdminCP.
Use HTTPS for Logins and AdminCP
When the login-only secure option is enabled the quick login drop down is also disabled and instead users are sent to a full page to login. This is a small change required to avoid browser warnings. Although the quick login menu submits to a secure connection, the form field itself may show on a non-secure page which would generate a warning.
Quick Login not Available when Login-Only HTTPS Setting Enabled
IPS Community in the Cloud
Those using IPS CiC can get secure connections for a $15 setup fee plus $5 month on our 40, 65 and 100 user Cloud plans. You can either bring your own certificate or we can provide one for you. On the 200, 450 and 750 plans, SSL is completely free - again, either your own or we can provide one.
ADKGamers reacted to Charles for an entry, New: Security and Privacy
IPS is always auditing our software to improve security at the code-level but these improvements are not really visible to you even though they protect your site all the time. We are implementing some new features that you can use to enhance the security and privacy of your site. Many of these features depend on your personal preferences, local laws, or the policies of your own organization. Here is a list of what's new:
You may wish to make birthday viewing only show to admins or you can completely disable prompting for a birthday if you consider that information sensitive.
Member Delete Name Retention
When deleting a member in the AdminCP, if you choose to keep their posts the system currently names the posts with a display name of "Guest user" where user is the previous display name of the member you deleted. You can how choose to retain their name in posts or not so you can either have it as it is now or simple "Guest" on member delete.
You now have two new options for password: show a strength meter and require strong passwords. You can choose to either just show the meter as a suggestion or you can also choose to enforce a password strength. You can choose between three levels of password enforcement parameters depending on how strict you choose to be.
Guest Terms Banner
Guest Terms Banner
We have always had COPPA support in the Suite but we have extended this to be a more generic age restriction feature. You can now set your site to reject registrations from anyone under a certain age you specify. For privacy, the birthday entered on registration is only used to calculate permission and is never stored.
This change will be in version 4.1.17 which is scheduled to be released in early December 2016.
ADKGamers reacted to Rikki for an entry, New in 4.1.13: Personal Messenger Improvements
In line with our aim to make incremental improvements in each release, I wanted to go over a few of the small but useful changes to the personal messenger that you'll find in our next release, 4.1.13.
The first improvement is that you can now filter the message list by read and unread, making it a little easier to browse through just the messages you're interested in.
Next up, the messenger search has been improved in a couple of ways; first, you can now also search the names of both the recipients and the senders, and second, we've added a menu so you can specify which fields in particular you want to search by.
Finally, we've added a popular request - the ability to use the mass-move tool inside the messenger. You can now check multiple messages, and the usual mass-action toolbar will appear that will allow you either move them to another folder, or, has been the case in the past, delete them.
While these are each small improvements by themselves, we hope the incremental changes in each release add up to a more pleasant experience for users.