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sobrenome

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  1. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Editor Stock Replies   
    Wouldn't it be nice if the Invision Community editor could re-use whole replies, text snippets, and even reply templates?
    As we get ready to welcome more customers into our staffed community support area, this feature idea has become a reality to help form personalized replies.
    Invision Community has a saved actions feature that allows the community team to perform multiple actions on multiple topics. For example, you might want to add a title prefix, move the topic and add a reply. This works great for 'canned' responses and actions, but it is less useful if you want to edit the reply to personalize it.
    Stock replies allow you to set up entire replies, partial replies or even reply templates.

    Stock replies via the editor
    Once you have these set up in the Admin Panel, they are visible on the editor.

    Stock replies are configured in the Admin Panel
    You can choose multiple stock replies to build up a message with handy re-usable reply snippets.
    stockreplies_video.mp4
    Each stock reply has full permission capabilities, meaning you can specify which member groups can use each stock reply. For example, you may wish to create partial replies for your team but encourage members to use a reply template to report bugs, etc.

    Using stock actions as a template
    We hope you like this feature, which is coming to our 4.6.7 October release.
  2. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, What's new in 4.6.0?   
    Well, friends, what a journey we've been on since we started work on Invision Community 4.6.0.
    With 11 developers accumulating 934 commits over 3,157 files changing 120,281 lines of code, we're ready to show it to the world.
    Along with over 260 bug fixes, this new release contains some great new functionality. Let's take a look at what's new.
    Achievements
    Achievements, badges, ranks, rules, gamification, whatever you want to call it, this is the most significant feature for Invision Community 4.6.0. This brings a whole new level of earning and showing trust to other members while gently nudging more quality contributions to your community.
     
    Zapier integration
    Do you want new member registrations to magically appear in a Google spreadsheet? Perhaps you want members who opt-in for newsletters to be added to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. Cloud and Enterprise customers can do all this and more without writing a single line of code, thanks to Zapier.
     
    Web app and push notifications
    We took the time to round out our PWA (progressive web application) framework for 4.6.0 to include service workers, push notifications and more. I barely understand it, but Rikki takes you through the changes in our blog entry.
     
    Anonymous posting
    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.
     
    Solved content
    In Invision Community 4.6.0, we have rounded out our "solved" feature by allowing the feature to be enabled on a regular forum, along with notifications, statistics and more.
     
    Show when a team member has replied
    When you're scanning a list of topics, it's helpful to know when a community team member has replied, as these replies tend to have more authority and are more likely to resolve an issue. 4.6.0 adds a feature to show when a member of the team has replied.
     
    Health dashboard
    As Invision Community is a top of the line community platform with excellent developers and an amazing QA team, it's unlikely ever to go wrong. On the infrequent occasions that you need to identify potential issues within your community, the new health dashboard makes it easier to diagnose problems and request support.
     
    Spam improvements
    Our Enterprise customers run very visible and very busy communities. One of the pain points they had was identifying and limiting the annoyance of spam within the community. We created a new round of improvements based on that feedback to mitigate spam, and these changes are available to all Invision Community owners with 4.6.0.
    Cloud and Enterprise customers will also benefit from multiple under-the-hood optimisations for our cloud platform, including better caching of resources for faster response times.
    Let me know in the comments which feature you're looking forward to the most!
  3. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, 3 Improvements to Spam Management in 4.6   
    Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.
    But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6.
    As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration.
    These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release.
    Spam Defense Scoring
    I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system.  These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions.
    Spam Defense Blocking
    The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not.
    In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.

    This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public.
    Word Filters
    We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts.
    For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts.
    This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval.

    We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community!
    I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.
  4. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, Drum roll please… announcing Achievements!   
    One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can!
    Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6. 
    We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways.
    Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules!
    Here’s what you need to know...

     

    Points
    Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community. 
    Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!!
    This is done through creating Rules.

     

    Rules
    Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel. 
    Here are what members can earn Points for:
    When a...
    Member joins a club Reaction is given New poll is created User follows a content item Review is posted Member logs in for the first time that day New club is created Content item/comment is promoted or featured Comment/reply is posted User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc User votes on a poll User is followed New content item is posted Post is marked as best answer There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above. 
    When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens.
    Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded.
     

     
     

    Badges
    Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges. 
    For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days.
    Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created.
     

     
     
    Ranks
    In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements. 
    Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system*
    Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated. 
    Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment. 
    Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community:
     
     

     

    There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn? 
    When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have.
    Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
  5. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, Take Your Community to the Next Level With Content Curation   
    Community sharing is community caring.
    Take it from me: prominently curating your members’ content will profoundly accelerate growth. It’s also pretty darn fun. 
    I’ve run my company, BreatheHeavy, since 2004. While many online businesses shuttered because of social media’s looming presence, mine thrived because of the community. Full disclosure? I had no idea creating a community back in 2004 would become the not-so-secret ingredient to staying alive. Ahh, if only I knew then what I know now.
    Hindsight is 20/20 (that number gives me anxiety, am I right?), but I never fully understood or appreciated how immensely game-changing community building is. 
    Related: The Importance of Moderation, err... Community Guidance (New Video!)
    In the past, I focused my efforts on writing news articles (in Wordpress) while my Invision Community community ran rampant. I felt my presence needed to take center stage. That cast a shadow on my community and thus my members. I unintentionally muted their voices by exclusively promoting mine. 
    That was a colossal mistake, but the greatest learning lesson. 
    One year ago, I decided to pivot and shift all my energy towards fostering my community; the results were astounding! I saw more than a 100% increase in unique visits compared to the previous year. 


     
    The most powerful change I made was shining a light on the content my members created.
    My website went from being a news site to a community. 
    I constructed a new homepage that featured topics created by myself AND my members. This not only manifested a dynamic, constantly varied homepage, but also incentivized members to post thought-provoking and engaging topics in the hopes their content gets featured. 
    In my community, topics that are featured on the homepage are considerably more viewed and commented on than topics that aren’t. I suspect you’d find similar results.
    Here’s how I set up my new homepage:
    I utilized Invision Community’s custom blocks feature. It’s available with the Pages application.
    I created a new block plugin, selected “topic feed” from the list, then set the permissions in the Feed Configuration tab to only show “featured” topics from members. I also used @opentype's SuperTopics plugin to give a more-polished look. Might sound a bit complex, but it’s rather intuitive. 
    Community leaders can “feature” members’ content by selecting their topic and in the moderation panel, tap “Feature.” 
     


    Our Picks
    “Featuring” content isn’t the only powerful tool Invision Community has baked into its software to highlight your members’ content. We’ve also carefully crafted a promotion option to manually select content that’s included on the “Our Picks” page and corresponding block. This is another powerful method to curate community content. 
    We created a guide on how to set up promotion/our picks.


     
    With great power comes great responsibility
    The ability to “feature” content is a privilege only moderators in your community should have access to – at least in the beginning. Avoid giving any member the ability to freely feature their own content onto the homepage - instead, focus on manually curating the content. Be selective and choose what topics you want to represent your community. 
    By creating a standard, your homepage won’t feature any and all content. Instead, it’ll display items you believe will pack the greatest punch. 
    Featuring your members' content visibly shows your desire to embrace your community. It’s one thing to comment on members’ topics, it’s another to feature and promote them for all to see. That’s the secret sauce of curation. 
    Do you agree? Disagree? Have any suggestions? Curate content in your own community? How many questions can I ask in a row? Drop us a line in the comments below! 
  6. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, The Importance of Moderation, err... Community Guidance (New Video!)   
    Moderation feels a bit like an outdated term created pre-social media, but it stuck. We’d like to re-frame your thinking in terms of guiding your community versus moderating it.
     

    Guidance is an essential component to any thriving community because it creates structure and boundaries for the community.
    Oftentimes, people think community guidance is about restriction, but in reality it allows your community to express itself in a healthy way. 
    All communities run into issues unless there are clear guidelines laid out for all members. It only takes a couple of toxic trolls to bring down an entire community of thousands of members.
    As a community leader, it's important to find the balance between allowing freedom of speech and restricting what people can and can't say. 
    An Internet troll tends to want to see what they can get away with and push the boundaries to the brink. They’ll claim that they are not allowed to speak their mind, but I want to stress the importance this:
    Freedom of speech has some limitations. 
    For instance, you can't just shout ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded room because you believe you have the right to freedom of speech (though some would argue you can, which is why guidance is imperative). There are certain rules that everyone needs to follow in order for an online community to function.


     
    The first thing you'll want to do when guiding your community is... to create community guidelines.
    These guidelines must be visible and easy to access. There, you can lay out all the nitty-gritty rules you want, but essentially it should boil down to this:
    Be kind. 
    Treat people with respect when posting and remember that there’s a person behind the user name. It's important not to hide behind anonymity just because you can. 
    Being a part of the community means that all members must abide by these guidelines.
    Now what happens if someone "breaks the rules” or ignores these guidelines? As your community’s leader how do you proceed?
    You do so by creating actionable rules that can adversely affect a member’s standing in your community if they break them. 
    I know that sounds kind of threatening, but it's important to establish to your community that you're there for them and that your priority is to hear them out, but at the same time you must take action to keep the peace. 
    Invision Community has automatic moderation tools and a warning system section baked into the software. Below is a snapshot of Invision Community's administration panel where community leaders may set up custom automatic moderation rules:
     


    Tap here for more specific information on how to implement community guidance/moderation to your community. 
    One important component to these rules is that you enforce them across-the-board to all members and do so consistently. 
    If you leave the door open for one member and not another, it's going to create an unwanted hierarchy and instigate chaos.
    One of the best ways to be consistent is by walking the walk. 
    Show your community how you want them to post by posting and contributing that way yourself. What that does is it sets a visible precedent.
    From there, you'll begin to notice other community members contributing in a way that is similar to you (lead by example).
    This is a great opportunity to consider them to join a new moderators team. Whether they are paid moderators or are volunteering their time, you still want them to be mini leaders inside your community. It's important that you are a positive role model for them. 
    Watch the video up top, then drop us a line in the comments! And hey, while I've got you... check out what our own community has to say about moderation (aka community guidance 😉).
     
    Remember, guiding your community starts from the top (a.k.a. you!). Now get out there and moder-... guide!
    Stay tuned for more Invision Community video content coming soon!
  7. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Rikki for an entry, Web push notifications, native sharing & offline support   
    As we approach the release of Invision Community 4.6, I wanted to take you through some improvements for using Invision Community on a mobile device.
    Web push notifications
    For some time, we've used the local browser notification API to show users notifications. There's a big drawback though: users had to have the site open in a tab for these to work. This is particularly problematic for mobile devices.
    In 4.6, we've added support for the WebPush API, which allows sites to push notifications to users' browsers & devices even if the site isn't open - or even if the device is asleep.
    We already have support baked in for push notifications via our beta mobile app, so we've piggy-backed on that system and expanded it to support browser-based push notifications.

    Choosing push notifications
    For users, it's a simple process. A little while after joining a community they will prompted to accept notifications from the site when they open the notification list dropdown (or they can opt-in any time from the notification settings screen). After accepting, they will be able to choose a "Notification List + Push" option for any of the available notification types.

    Push notifications enabled
    Existing users, who may have already granted permission to the site in the past, will be re-prompted to accept push notifications upon logging in after the 4.6 upgrade.
    Push notifications typically show on the homescreen of a phone or in the notification tray of a desktop computer, so receiving dozens of notifications could be overwhelming. For that reason, Invision Community will automatically merge related notifications - for example, multiple mentions from the same topic, or multiple new topics from the same forum.

    Grouped push notifications
    And, of course, users can stop push notifications across all of their devices with a single click if they want to opt out.
    We're excited about the engagement potential of push notifications, since they allow you to immediately reach users who aren't currently on your site - a job previously left to email alone.
    On the subject of notifications, one more thing: we've heard your feedback about notifications for new replies/mentions being merged with notifications for likes/quotes, and will be separating these two types into their own permissions in 4.6. We're acutely aware that making notifications annoying results in users turning them off, so we're always looking to ensure there is a reasonable balance.
    Splash Screen Images
    When you add a website to your phone's desktop, it appears like a native app. Tapping to launch the site can show a blank screen for a few seconds while the website is loaded. Fortunately, you can now set a 'splash' image in the Admin CP which is shown when launching the app.
     

    Sharing using native share options
    Another enhancement coming in 4.6 is the addition of the device share sheet when sharing content from within Invision Community. Users will now see a "More Sharing Options" button (providing their device/browser supports the underlying API) which, when tapped, will open the device share sheet. The options available depend on the device, but typically include actions like sharing links in WhatsApp, posting to Facebook or creating a note.

    Offline support
    With a larger share of users now using mobile devices for most of their browsing comes the problem of patchy phone signal and internet connections dropping out. For a dynamic web-based platform like Invision Community, it's difficult to offer much in the way of full offline support, but starting in 4.6 we will present a branded offline page to users when they have no internet connection and try to access the community.

     
    We hope that you are looking forward to these PWA improvements coming in Invision Community 4.6!
  8. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, No-code automation with Zapier   
    Cloud and Enterprise Community customers can create automated workflows between Invision Community and over 3,000 other apps including Google Documents, MailChimp, Facebook and Twitter with just a few clicks.
    If you haven’t integrated your Invision Community with Zapier yet, you’re leaving organic growth on the table!

    It’s been a wild year, so we’d like to refresh your memory regarding the very powerful Invision and Zapier marriage (hey, remember when weddings were a thing?). 
    Zapier is a service that allows you to connect over 3,000 web apps. 
    Last year, Invision Community released the 4.5 update, and with it a beta service of Zapier integration.
    Zapier is the first smart community enhancement available for Cloud and Enterprise Community customers exclusively.
    It’s worth it’s weight in gold. Or, crypto? However we quantify value these days, Invision Community and Zapier together creates real value and has the potential to elevate your community (and bottom line). 
    If you haven’t yet set up Zapier, you can follow our guide to creating your first ‘Zap’ with Invision Community.
    As @Matt previously mentioned in our announcement post, the Invision and Zapier integration can communicate with some of the Internet’s most wide-reaching platforms, including Google Docs, Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Trello, Facebook Ads, ActiveCampaign, Zendesk, Asana, Salesforce, Hubspot, Discord, Stripe and more.
    There are three key items we want to highlight:
    Triggers Actions Self-integration Triggers: Invision → Zapier

    A “trigger” takes place when there’s a specified signal in your community. For instance, a member registering or a topic being posted. 
    A trigger can be sent to Zapier to then run actions in other apps.
    Here are a few examples:
    When a member registers, add their email to a Mailchimp list. When a moderator posts a topic in a news forum, share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. When a member posts something that requires moderator approval, send a message to a Slack channel for your moderators. Actions: Zapier → Invision

    An “action” is similar to a “trigger” in that there’s movement, but it happens by setting up an action in Zapier first which then tells your community to perform X action. 
    Whereas a “trigger” happens by setting up an action in your Invision community first, which then tells Zapier to perform X action.
    Here are some examples to wrap your mind around:
    When you add an event in a Google Calendar, create a Calendar Event on your community. When you receive an email to a feedback email address, create a topic on your community in a forum for moderators. When you create a task in Trello, add a record to a Pages Database on your community. When a new member registers, add them to your mailing list via MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, etc. Self-integrated: Invision → Invision

    We also included a self-integrated option that allows community owners to connect an Invision Community trigger to an Invision Community action. For example: when a member registers, create a topic in a welcome forum.
    In a nutshell:
    Triggers = Invision talks to → Zapier, then Zapier takes action.
    Actions = Zapier talks to → Invision, then Invision takes action.
    Self-integrated = Your Invision community talks to → your Invision community, then your Invision community takes action.
    If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below! I’m here to help you transform your Invision community into an engaging and efficient world with automated systems powered by Zapier. 
    Already on Zapier? What’s been your experience? Sound off and let us know what features you’ve utilized thus far and which triggers or actions you’d like to see for the future.
  9. Agree
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Updates to our community   
    You’ve probably already noticed that something looks a little different in our community today.
    As part of our ongoing community improvements, we’ve performed some housekeeping to streamline the forum structure, make more distinction between areas and open up a few areas to guests and friends.
    The big visual change is that we now have four separate areas: support, community, marketplace and developers. It should hopefully be clear what each section does, but let's go through a few examples.
    Support
    This area is where you can leave feedback on existing features, help shape Invision Community’s future by suggesting new functionality and also where you can get quick support from fellow Invision Community owners and our team.
    Starting today, you can post in the Help & Support forum to get help from our team. If you’re unsure what a feature does, or think you’ve spotted an issue that needs our help, then you’re welcome to start a topic. Of course, if you want private support, then you are welcome to create a ticket in the client area as normal.
    Community
    Even the most seasoned community manager needs a little help from time to time. This section is the place to ask about strategy, to blow off steam in the lounge or to ask for fellow owners to help with support requirements outside of official support, such as configuring servers, databases and so on.
    Marketplace
    Our Marketplace brings hundreds of new features, themes, language translations and plug-ins to your Invision Community. If you need support or have a request for something you’ve purchased from the Marketplace, drop into the forums here.
    Developers
    Invision Community is blessed with a strong developer community extending the rich functionality of Invision Community. If you’re looking to develop an idea for Invision Community, these forums will let you connect with our development team to answer questions as well as get help from other marketplace authors.
    Other Changes
    There are a few other changes of note that I’d like to go through. Firstly, ‘Visitors’ (that is a registered member without an active license) are now ‘Friends’. Who doesn’t need new friends? Guests and Friends can now view the official support forums, but cannot post a new support request or reply to existing ones.

    We’ve merged ‘General Chat’ in with the Client Lounge to form ‘The Community Managers’ Lounge’. This is still a perk for active customers and the topics are not viewable unless you have an active license.
    Finally, we’ve gone through and spruced up some of the forum rules, descriptions and custom error messages.
    I hope these changes make it easier to find what you need and get a little help when you need it.
     
  10. Like
    sobrenome reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.4: Extend Invision Community with the REST API   
    Ever since its first release, the REST API built into the Invision Community software has proven to be a very powerful and well-received feature.
    We love seeing what our clients and modification authors are able to do with the level of integration afforded to them through this capability, and so it is only natural that we have looked to expand the functionality in our upcoming 4.4 release.
    Poll Support
    Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to create and update polls for both topics and blog entries through the REST API. Of course, modification authors can use this new endpoint.
    Warn Reasons
    You will also now be able to manage warn reasons through the REST API. This includes fetching a list of reasons, as well as fetching an individual reason, creating warn reasons, updating existing warn reasons, and deleting warn reasons.
    Event Venues
    Event venues can now be listed and individual venues fetched through the REST API, and you can now add, update and delete event venues through the REST API.
    Member Notifications
    You can now retrieve a list of notifications for a specific member through the REST API, useful if you were to attempt to recreate the notifications menu on a third party website (for example).
    Warning Users
    The REST API will now expose the warnings a user has received through a new endpoint. Additionally, you can fetch individual warnings, issue new warnings, undo and/or delete issued warnings, and acknowledge warnings through the REST API. If you are building a site wrapper around your community, you can leverage this functionality to ensure that users are unable to post elsewhere on your site if they have unacknowledged warnings within the community (and also to provide them with a way to acknowledge those warnings right on your site).

    The REST API Reference
    Node permissions
    Beginning with 4.4, you will now be able to set the permissions for a node when adding or updating it through the REST API (for example, you can now adjust the permissions for a forum or a downloads category through the REST API). Many clients noticed that while they could create new nodes through the API, the nodes would be unusable until an administrator manually went in and specified the permissions, so this change can eliminate this extra step in many situations.
    Event filtering
    You will now also be able to filter the events you pull through the Calendar REST API endpoints by start and end date (e.g. so you can show events within a specific time frame, such as the current week), and you can now also specify to sort the events returned by the event start date or the event end date.
    Clubs
    And finally, for those who leverage clubs on their communities, we have built in full REST API support for clubs. You can list all clubs, return a specific club, create new clubs, update existing clubs, and delete clubs through the REST API. Further, you can list all members in a club, add a specific member to a specific club, remove a member from a club, fetch the content types available for use within a club (i.e. so you can determine which applications are installed and have club support on a given site), fetch the nodes (displayed as tabs/sections within a club) created within a club, and delete nodes from a club. Important behind the scenes steps, such as generating invoices for members requesting to join paid clubs, are all handled automatically for you when using the REST API.
    We believe these changes will help clients better integrate with our software and open up new possibilities with their websites.
    Would you like us to add any other endpoints? Let us know in the comments below!
  11. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Jordan Miller for an entry, Battling toxicity in communities with kindness and vulnerability   
    Promote kindness and foster interpersonal relationships through the power of vulnerability to outshine toxicity in your online community. 
    Before my time as a Community Advocate with Invision Community, I focused all my attention on my own online community, BreatheHeavy. Pop music and Britney Spears news are the bread and butter of BreatheHeavy. As you can imagine, fans of pop stars are energized, vocal and unapologetic. There’s real potential for conversations to slip into negativity.
    16 years ago when I launched BreatheHeavy, I hadn’t realized I took the first steps towards becoming a community leader. It never occurred to me such a role existed. My mission evolved from forum administrator to community leader, and during that process, I discovered a love of community building. Along the way, I’ve learnt invaluable lessons about toxic community culture (shade a pop star then let me know how that goes for you). 
    What is online community building?
    It’s the act of cultivating culture and creating connections on the Internet. It’s an essential aspect most businesses don’t focus on enough because it’s hard to quantify its value A.K.A. the bottom line.
    I spent the majority of my career writing news articles. My resources went into content creation on my company’s blog section while my community members, completely segregated from my news posts, ran rampant. I recall thinking, “negative comments are better than no comments!” 
    That thought eventually led to the demise of my community. The trolls had infiltrated and won. 


    Credit: Unsplash
     
    A mob of toxic commentators had free reign, thus scaring away quality members. Freedom of speech is imperative, but it also has limitations (screaming “fire!” in a crowded theater is not applicable to free speech).
    To better understand how we can combat negativity in our communities, let’s first define what makes a community toxic?
    When a member or group of members devalue the community. 
    Their negativity permeates throughout the community in such a profound way that it repels others from contributing, engaging and worst of all: not returning. 
    As much as I hate to admit it, toxic members are powerful. They can influence your community, albeit in the opposite direction of what community owners want. Their role deteriorates the community they call home. The compounding effect of flippant responses, snide remarks, indifference, arguments and attacks ultimately creates chaos. 
    The sad thing is... they’re usually unaware their behavior is adversely affecting the community. If they’re oblivious, there’s no opportunity to turn things around. 
    In an effort to better understand their motivation (and avoid smashing the ban hammer), I personally reach out to these members in a private message. Call me a sap, but I’m a firm believer that people can change if you communicate with them. 
    This is a great opportunity to send them a private message.
     



    People just want to be heard.
    When someone exhibits toxic behavior... ask yourself why, and more importantly... can you help them? 
    Typically, a troll’s demeanor stems from what’s transpired in their real life, and it manifests onto your community (lucky you!). Know there’s a motive behind the negativity; a harsh reality they may not want to face.
    You’re not necessarily required to reach out, and a suspension is a lot easier, but taking this upon yourself as a community leader to uncover what’s really going on is an unrequited and selfless act that’ll set your community apart.
    In other words: it’s a very kind thing to do. 


    Credit: Unsplash
    Kindness in communities
    The most profound way to fight toxicity in an online community is by not fighting at all. It’s by offering kindness to those who need it the most. That’s done through outreach and personal displays of vulnerability. 
     


     

    Members on the other end want to know they’re talking with another person. A person who also encounters struggles in life, but found ways to not only overcome those hurdles, but lean into them as they forge mental fortitude - an important component for successful community leaders. 
    Your past challenges can inspire change in peoples’ futures.
    A powerful way to do this is through being vulnerable.
    Dr. Brené Brown, who’s extensively researched what it means to be vulnerable, said it best: “The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.”
    It’s easy to expect others (in our case toxic members) to share with you some real life hurdles they’ve encountered. It’s much more difficult for us (the community leader) to shine a light back on ourselves and share that vulnerability back. However, it’s the secret ingredient to creating a perfectly baked community cake.
    The act of opening up to an anonymous person in need not only can inspire them to change, but it opens a door towards further self-discovery. 
    Being vulnerable with your members empowers them and you.
    So the next time you notice a toxic member’s pattern regarding how they post, take a pause. Remember there’s more behind the curtain, that hurt people hurt people, then take the opportunity to be kind, practice being vulnerable and watch your community garden blossom. 
    How do YOU battle toxicity in your Invision communities? Sound off in the comments below.
    Hero Image Credit: Unsplash 
  12. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Welcome to the team, Jordan!   
    I'm thrilled to introduce the newest member of team Invision Community.
    You may recognise Jordan from his photo as he's been an active member of our community as BreatheHeavy. Jordan has been running his site BreatheHeavy.com using Invision Community for nearly a decade.
    Jordan's official title is "Community Advocate" which means that he will be working very closely with our community to guide and curate feedback, assist with support questions, to help educate and inform and to bring you news of the latest developments being cooked up by our development team.
    Jordan says:
    Your feedback, ideas and questions matter.
    I've spent the last decade discovering what it means to be a community leader in my own Invision Powered community, BreatheHeavy. Community building is an ongoing journey that's taught me invaluable lessons, namely the importance of absorbing feedback from the community then taking decisive action. I'm excited and honored to share that insight with the Invision Community. My new role is designed to shed light on what Invision Community members (that's you!) want and share it with the team.
    I'm looking forward to getting to know you! 
    We're very excited to start a new chapter within Invision Community to improve communication, engage more Invision Community owners and make the most of the excellent feedback we receive.
    You'll be seeing more of Jordan on the forums in the coming days.
  13. Like
    sobrenome reacted to bfarber for an entry, Health Dashboard   
    The support tool has served us well for many years. You can identify, at a glance, potential issues with your community both presently and down the road, right from the comfort of your AdminCP, and you can often resolve those issues with just a few clicks.
    But what if we could do better? What if we could make this useful administrative area of the software even more useful?
    The next version of Invision Community introduces a new "Health Dashboard" which replaces the previous support tool and helps you get a better overview of potential issues within your community while retaining all of the functionality you've come to know and rely on to resolve issues with your community.

    When you launch the new health dashboard, the first thing you will notice is that the previous "Wizard" process is now gone, in favor of a single page giving you access to everything you might want or need.
    Central to the page are blocks that identify specific areas of your community, server, and configuration which could be problematic now or in the future. Invision Community will check for available updates, modified source files, server software configuration issues, whether your server is running required and/or recommended versions of important software and more.
    Additional checks and recommendations have been added to this page, to help identify other adjustments that could benefit or prevent harm to your community.  Issues are color coded and classified as informational, recommended, or critical and a summary is provided at the top of the page with an easy "check again" button which will do so without taking you away from the screen.
    If we become aware of an issue, we can quickly notify communities through a bulletin which will be displayed in the "Known Issues" block on this page. These bulletins can also trigger AdminCP notifications, however they will continue to show on the Health Dashboard so long as they are relevant, even when the AdminCP notification is dismissed.
    A graph showing system, error and email error log activity has been added to the page to help you identify spikes in logged issues. Commonly, if an issue begins to surface on your community there will be an increase in these types of error logs, so the graph here is intended to allow you to identify an increase in these logs, allowing you to investigate and react quicker.
    The right-hand sidebar surfaces common tools you may need to access.

    The first block allows you to see our most recently featured guides, as well as search our documentation. While this functionality was available in the existing support tool, we found that it was rarely used because people more often visited the tool to allow the software to check for common issues, and the ability to search the documentation required a separate work flow through the support wizard. With the block always available (and searches performed "live" via AJAX), we expect users will find the ability to search our documentation from the AdminCP much more useful now.
    Next up, the Tools and Diagnostics block gives you access to common tools you may need to use. You can quickly clear your system caches, as well as access phpinfo, the SQL toolbox (for self-hosted clients only), and disable all third party customizations. The process and behavior for disabling customizations is very similar to the existing process within the support tool, with the list of customizations disabled opening in a modal window and the ability to re-enable all customizations, or selectively re-enable individual customizations, still available.

    Disabling customizations is still simple
    Finally, the ability to submit a support ticket is still available right from this screen. Upon clicking the button to submit a support ticket, you will be presented with a form inside a modal dialog that behaves very similarly to the existing form with one minor but useful addition: if there are any patches not yet installed on the community, you will be alerted to this right on the form before submitting your ticket. Think of this as one last reminder that your issue may already be solved by installing any available patches before reaching out to us for official technical support.

    Submitting a support ticket is still just a few clicks away
    We believe the improved workflow and user experience will help administrators and support technicians alike more quickly identify any issues that need addressing on the community.
  14. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Highlight Topics With Replies From Groups   
    Wouldn't it be great to know if a staff member had replied to a topic before you clicked to open it?
    When you're scanning a list of topics, knowing which have had a reply by a member of the community team can help decide which to read. Currently, you need to open the topic and scan the posts to see if there's a reply from the team.
    Happily, in our next release, we've made it clear which have had a reply by a member of a specific group.
    You can specify which groups to show as having replied via the Groups form in the Admin CP.

    The per-group setting in the Admin CP
    You can select to detect the group based on the member's primary group, secondary group or both.
    When viewing a list of topics, you will see a badge showing that a member of that group has replied.

    This simple feature will make it easier to highlight when important replies have been made to topics, which is a great addition for forums using the new 'solved' feature.

    Let me know below if you'll use this new feature and what you'd like to see in the future.
  15. Like
    sobrenome reacted to bfarber for an entry, Solved Content Improvements   
    For a long time, Invision Community has supported a Question and Answer mode within the Forums application which allows a reply to be flagged as the "best answer" to the question posed. With the release of 4.5, we also introduced a way to allow topics to be marked as "solved" which introduces similar functionality without transforming the look and feel or other behavior of the forum itself.
    Based on the popularity of this new addition in 4.5, we have made some further improvements to solved topics and answered questions in our next release.
    Notification to topic/question starter
    While notifications were available to the poster who answered a question or solved a topic with the release of 4.5, this release also adds notifications for the topic or question starter so that they can be made aware that an answer is available to their question.

    Topic and question starters now get notifications for solutions
    AdminCP Statistics
    Solved topics and answered questions provide for measurable statistics that can help you determine the health and direction of your community, particularly for support communities. To that end, we have introduced two new content statistic blocks that can help you measure how well areas of the community that support answers and solutions are faring.

    New AdminCP statistics
    You can now quickly see the percentage of topics/questions that have been solved (relative to the total number posted in areas that support solutions), as well as the average time it has taken for a solution to be marked on a topic or question (relative to the time the topic or question was initially posted). These statistic blocks support time period filter, time period comparisons, and node filtering to narrow down the statistical data for your specific needs.
    User profile enhancements
    User profiles now show the number of solutions the user has posted, and also allows you to view all of those solutions, in a manner very similar to reputation.

    Prolific problem solvers will now be called out boldly

    Answers can be quickly found on user profiles
    These improvements should help reward the most helpful users on your community by giving them more prestige and helping other users find their answers quicker.
    Collectively, we hope that these changes make the question and answer and topic solution features in the Forums application more useful for your community members, and the administrators behind the community.
  16. Like
    sobrenome 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?
  17. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Community is your competitive advantage   
    Moats have been used for centuries as a way to defend a building from potential attack.
    A flooded ditch around a castle is a great way to make it harder to be taken. You can't push battering rams against walls, and neither can you dig under the castle. Quite frankly, a moat is a pretty decent deterrent when there are plenty of other castles to pillage.
    What does this mean for your business?
    A community can be an economic moat, or in more simple terms, your competitive advantage.
    When your product or service is surrounded by an engaged community that feels invested in your brand, you'll be able to resist challenges from competitors looking to tempt your customers away.
    Humans are social creatures, and we love seeking out and joining a tribe that aligns with our values. The intangible value of belonging creates a sense of momentum for your brand and helps champion it to others.
    The statistics back this strategy; 88% of community professionals said in a recent survey that community is critical to their company's mission and 85% said that their community has had a positive impact to their business.[1]
    Your competitive advantage
    One of the cheapest ways to create momentum for your product is to build a community around your startup. A community is much more than a one-time marketing campaign and can help you throughout your company's life cycle if you take the time to grow it right. [2]
    Creating a buzz around a product can take a lot of time, effort and money. 
    Traditionally, this buzz would be created with a mixture of videos, websites, influencer reviews, and heavy advertisement spends across multiple channels, including social media.
     Your community can create a shortcut and reach an audience without those costs and increase the chance of your product being shared virally. 
    Your community creates a bond over a shared interest that continually re-enforces loyalty to your brand. This creates a personal investment which makes it less likely your customers will try a competitor.
    Put simply, if a company can move from just shipping a product to building a community, it can benefit from several competitive advantages such as:
    Engaged members help acquire new members, lowering the cost for customer acquisition. Increased customer retention through community loyalty. Members won't want to abandon the community they enjoy. Reduced support costs as members support each other. This benefit forms a loop that generates more value as the community grows.

    Brand building 
    Another area of opportunity for social marketing is "brand building" - connecting enthusiastic online brand advocates with the company's product development cycle. Here, research becomes marketing; product developers are now using social forums to spot reactions after they modify an offer, a price, or a feature in a product or service. Such brand-managed communities can have real success. One well-documented example is IdeaStorm, Dell's community discussion and "brainstorming" website, which saw a measurable increase in sales following its launch, by providing a forum for meaningful dialogue and "to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant to" the public. [3]
    By creating a community around your product or service, not only do you create brand advocates, but you also gain powerful insights into what your customers want through research which drives marketing. 
    Consumers today crave a stronger bond with brands. It's no longer enough to give them a customer support email address and a monthly newsletter. They want a much more in-depth interaction with the company and other users of the product or service.
    One tactic for success is for brands to move away from the hard-sell to instead embrace the notion of "co-creation". This means moving beyond "old-school" approaches to website advertising to embrace the principles of relationship marketing - building virtual environments in which customers can connect with each other to share insights and relevant information.
    To capitalise on currently available opportunities, marketers need to find or establish real brand communities, listen to them, and then create special programs and tools that will empower potential and existing community members, rewarding existing consumers and eliciting behavioural change from potential consumers. [3]
    Evernote, the note-taking app, is a great example. Their lively community encourages customers to interact directly with staff, post their wish-lists for future versions and learn more about what happens behind the scenes.
    The community creates evangelists for Evernote and makes it harder for competitors to gain a foothold with a potent mix of dialogue, access to other customers, transparency from the brand and many opportunities for co-creation of content.
    Co-creation fundamentally challenges the traditional roles of the firm and the consumer. The tension manifests itself at points of interaction between the consumer and the company where the co-creation experience occurs, where individuals exercise choice, and where value is co-created. Points of interaction provide opportunities for collaboration and negotiation, explicit or implicit, between the consumer and the company.
    In the emergent economy, competition will center on personalized co-creation experiences, resulting in value that is truly unique to each individual. [4]
    In simple terms, a community allows your customers to feel closer to your brand and the products you sell.

     
    What are you waiting for?
    Nearly 80% of founders reported building a community of users as important to their business, with 28% describing their moat as critical to their success.[1]
    Our team at Invision Community has over two decades of community building experience and are trusted by brands of all sizes.
    Whether you have an existing community, or you're taking your first steps to create your own, our experience and expertise will guide your success.

    [1] https://cmxhub.com/community-industry-trends-report-2020
    [2] https://viral-loops.com/blog/your-company-needs-a-pre-launch-campaign/
    [3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268200746_Social_media_and_its_implications_for_viral_marketing#read
    [4] https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jhm/Readings/Co-creating unique value with customers.pdf
  18. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Trial Invision Community 4.5 Now   
    If you're preparing to upgrade to Invision Community 4.5, there's now an easy way to test it out.
    We have updated our Invision Community demo system to use Invision Community 4.5! This is a quick and easy way to take 4.5 for a test drive and test all the new functionality before making your upgrade plans.

    Taking out a demo is very simple, just head over to our demo sign up page, follow the instructions and within a few minutes you'll receive your own private demo log in.
    We'd love to know what you think! Please let us know in the feedback forum.
  19. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Guest Blog: Discover Activity Streams   
    Once again, we hand over the reigns of our blog to client and friend to Invision Community Joel for another client view of our community suite.
    Today @Joel R tackles Activity Streams, and how to make them "your awesome".

    Activity Streams is one of the best new features of Invision Community 4 with more flexibility and options than ever before.  It can be an amazing and easy way to dive into interesting and new content, constantly feed new content to your users, and uncover different parts of your community. 
    Your community contains amazing content. Activity Streams empower your users to discover the awesome in your community!

    While earlier versions of the software contained New Content streams, they were pre-defined and shipped by default.  Now, everyone from users to community managers to admins can create their own unique Activity Streams, customized for the needs of the community or your own browsing interests.  These new options in Invision Community 4 give incredible power to both you and your users to discover new ways of looking at your content.  You can reference Invision’s Guide on Activity Streams.

    Let’s take a look at all the different ways to strategically use Activity Streams. 

    1.    Home Stream
    Make the Activity Stream your homepage!  It’s a beautiful, automated, chronological stream of recent content that constantly replenishes as new content is posted.  Rather than a blocky homepage that is literally stacked with blocks in a chunky mix-and-match, you can offer a blended homepage that unifies all of your content into one continuous stream.  It’s easy to browse, and you can still decorate the page with blocks in the sidebar and hot zones. 

    To make the Activity Stream your homepage, go to the ACP > Applications.  Set System as the default app by clicking on the ☆ star.   Then open up System, and make Content Discovery the default module by clicking on the ☆ star.  
     

    Bedlington.co.uk uses “All Activity” as its homepage.  Look who just moved into town!

    2.    Default Stream
    The default Activity Stream is always one the most significant links in your entire Invision community.  After the homepage, the default Activity Stream is usually the most popular page to which returning users will consistently use.  On some Enterprise boards, the default Activity Stream drives up to 20% of the initial clicks from repeat members.

    It’s no wonder why.  The default Activity Stream is the portal to the rest of the website and easily shows recent content.  But how many of us have customized or self-critiqued it?  Review your default stream and filter for the primary content you want to display.    
     

    Make your best stream the default stream.
    3.    Content Streams
    By default, Invision Community ships with a handful of global streams.  While those are appropriate for a new community, they aggregate all content in the community.  This can be problematic if your community emphasizes one content type over another since all content is mixed together and content types with high volume can overwhelm less popular types.  For example, a recent upload of IP.Gallery images can flood the Activity Stream with new images, pushing discussion and blog posts too far down. 

    One thing you can do is to create new Activity Streams per content type or exclude certain content types.  Make separate streams for Forum Topics, Gallery Albums, Blogs, and more depending upon your community.  This will delineate content and makes it easier to navigate exactly what you want.  And even within content types, you can filter down to specific boards or categories.  You can create special streams specifically for Introduction or New Member boards; Gallery images and albums, so they don’t clutter up your primary stream; or Club discussions open to all members.   
    4.    User Streams
    One of the most creative ways to use Activity Streams is to show content from specific users.  This can be strategically used to create streams for specific users or accounts: staff members, special contributors, or leadership accounts.  You can also stealth stalk your most favorite IPS staff members!

    Create an Activity Stream of all recent activity, then each user can customize the stream to follow the people most important to them.  Each user can track the members most important to them and survey a quick overview of those members’ most recent activity.  
     

    Follow the most interesting users in your community.
    5.    Mobile Streams
    There are a couple of options that can help your stream be optimized for mobile.  By default, the Activity Stream can be packed with information.  You can include every detail of when a member registers, changes their profile photo, reacts to an item, and more.  You can also show the Expanded view, which includes up to three lines of text.

    If your website receives a lot of mobile traffic, you should toggle on Condensed view.  This streamlines the Activity Stream and packs more content items onto the viewport.  In a typical smartphone, you may only see 2 – 3 items in Expanded View, but see 5 – 6 items in Condensed view.  That allows users to see twice as much content, even on a smaller device.

    Pack more into less with Condensed view
    6.    RSS Streams
    For community managers who run an IPS community in support of an enterprise or organization, you can activate an RSS feed per stream.  This allows you to push the content to your other digital properties.  Turn a feedback and testimonial board into a showcase of product reviews; turn Q&A boards into a live stream of ongoing customer support; turn a New Customer introduction board into profiles of actual customers; and tap into the best parts of your community-generated content to fit into other parts of your support channels, brand marketing, and sales outreach.  Leverage your passionate community elsewhere with Activity Streams, and its built-in feature of RSS feeds.   
    Like most advanced features, learning to ‘surf the Activity Stream can be tough.  The streams are usually tucked away into the menu or an icon.  And many users are unaware that it exists!
     
    What your users will say when you introduce Activity Streams.  That’s okay, just put on a life vest and hold on for dear life.

    Activity Streams are such an incredibly powerful and flexible tool, which is why I personally love it.  You can slice-and-dice your community in any number of ways, and you gain an instant overview of the parts of the website that are most important, most engaging, and most interesting to yourself.  Spend some time sharing a quick tutorial with your community.  Show them where to view streams.  Show them how to customize it.  And let them discover the awesome in your community!  
     
  20. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Andy Millne for an entry, 4.5: Sign in with Apple   
    Since the feature was announced at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) we have received lots of requests to implement Sign in with Apple in Invision Community. We’re pleased to announce that as of 4.5 this is now available.
    You will need a paid Apple developer account to use it but once enabled users will be able to sign in using their Apple ID and all the convenience that brings. Touch ID and Face ID is supported natively where available and works across all your devices.

    Choose to share or hide your email address
    Isn’t it just another login button?
    Sign in with Apple is built on similar technologies as other login buttons such as those already available in Invision Community from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The difference is Apple’s unique focus on privacy. On certain community types users can be reluctant to sign up when they fear they need to disclose lots of personal details. Every community is different so allowing your users to share as little or as much info as they like could be important to your success. Apple have stated that no user tracking will take place in contrast to other services where this forms a part of their business model.
    When signing in with their Apple ID the user can choose whether or not to share their real email address with your community. If the user chooses to hide their email address then your community will receive a relay email address that will forward to their real address. The email address used is unique to your community so the user can retain control.
    Can users link their existing Invision Community accounts?
    Yes! If a user signs in using the Apple button and shares their real email address, then providing they already have an account on your community they will be prompted to link their account in the same way as other social login buttons. They can also link an existing account from their account settings. If linking from account settings then the email addresses used do not need to match.
    Sign in with Apple is already enabled here on our community and is available in the 4.5 beta available to download now.
  21. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Welcome to Invision Community 4.5   
    We've been on a little journey together since we announced the first Invision Community 4.5 feature way back in November 2019.
    The first feature we announced was a revamped Admin Control Panel interface which created more visual space and brightened it up. Actually, we made it so bright that the first feature request was to add a dark mode (which we did).
    In the space of three short months, we had spoken about Club improvements, invites and referrals, RSS feed improvements, blog categories, the simple stock photo picker, search insights, security enhancements, user interface updates, new statistic views, and notification improvements.
    Most will agree that March and April seemed to last months, thanks to a global pandemic. We used these extra days to talk about marking posts as a solution, topic view summary, Zapier integration, forum view updates, post-installation onboarding, private staff notes, page builder widgets, theme designer improvements, a new default theme, language system updates and everything else we missed.
    We have also revamped the front end user interface to modernise the look and feel but also to introduce new CSS frameworks, variables and other time-saving features our design team have been eager to implement.

    On the subject of modernisation, we've deprecated some legacy functionality. We've given up trying to make anything look good with IE11 which last saw an update in 2013. We've also deprecated older caching engines like Memcache, APC and Wincache and recommend using Redis instead. The web hosting and domain management features of Commerce are also deprecated as is BBCode. BBCode has its roots in the earliest bulletin-board systems long before rich text editors were common use. It's 2020; we should no longer be asked to type in special codes in square brackets to format text. BBCode is still functional in Invision Community 4.5, but it is likely to be removed in a future version.
    Now that primary development has finished, we move onto the beta testing stage. This is where you get to try it out and evaluate the new features before scheduling your own upgrades.
    As always, we do recommend that you only test early betas on staging sites or simple test sites. Many a weekend has been ruined by over-enthusiastic upgrading of live sites; so we don't recommend that.
    You'll also notice that we're running Invision Community 4.5 on our own site. If you do spot an issue, please let us know in the bug tracker.
    I've been creating and releasing products for close to twenty years now, and I still get a real buzz out of hitting the release button. It's always a pleasure to see the result of hundreds of hours of coding, dozens of meetings and numerous passionate exchanges among the team.

    You can access the beta in your client area.
    We hope you enjoy Invision Community 4.5!
  22. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Stuart Silvester for an entry, 4.5: One More Thing...   
    Almost ten years ago we launched the Marketplace; a place to connect Invision Community owners with talented developers creating new functionality.
    Over the decade, the Marketplace has grown to hold thousands of applications, large and small. For many Invision Community owners, the Marketplace has become an essential resource.
    Our aim was always to have the Marketplace available inside your Admin Control Panel to make it even easier to purchase and install extra functionality.

    I'm pleased to say that as of Invision Community 4.5, this is now a reality. You can browse the Marketplace and install new add-ons without leaving the Admin Control Panel.

    Obtaining Resources
    Paid resources can be purchased directly from the Marketplace and are available to install immediately after the payment is complete. You no longer need to download and install the files yourself.
    You may also notice some additional information with the resource listing, we'll be introducing a new 'tab' to marketplace resources to allow the authors to provide more useful information such as answers to frequently asked questions, or configuration instructions etc.

    The video below takes you through the purchase and installation of a Marketplace application.
    marketplace-install.mp4
    Installing an Application
    Updates
    Some of the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed in the first screenshot that there are more 'bubbles' showing in the menu on the left. These are supported for Applications, Plugins, Themes and Languages.
    In Invision Community 4.5 every resource available via the AdminCP is automatically versioned, you will see update notifications for everything you have installed (previously, you would only see update notices if the resource author supports them).
    Installing an update is as simple as clicking on the update notice, then clicking 'update' on the Marketplace listing.

    Installing Updates
    Downloads Changes
    Our Marketplace is built on our Downloads application, during development of this feature we needed to add new functionality. We have included as many of these improvements as possible in our software for the benefit of our customers, some of these are:
    Custom Fields can now be set to only show to members that have purchased a file. Files can now be set to accept a single file upload instead of multiple. New file versions can now be moderated without hiding the current version from view. Downloads REST API Performance Improvements New /download endpoint that counts the download Added more data to the /downloads/file/{id} response Ability to sort file results by last updated date We hope you're as excited about this feature as we are.
  23. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Two feature additions   
    As the deadline slowly comes down, two last feature additions race towards the descending door and slide in underneath with seconds to spare. 
    If you've never seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark", then you probably think this is a weird way to start a blog.
    As we wrap up development for Invision Community 4.5, we squeezed in two extra features that I want to talk about today.
    Per Topic Post Approval
    The first is a way to cool down a heated topic without locking it. Right now you can put an entire forum on post-approval. This means that moderators must review and approve all new posts before they are allowed to be publicly displayed.
    As of Invision Community 4.5, you can now choose to set a single topic to post-approval regardless of the forum setting.

    This is a great way to let a topic cool off but still receive new replies to review before adding to the topic.
    Club Terms and Conditions
    The ways that clubs are used throughout the many communities that run Invision Community are becoming increasingly varied.
    A popular request is to allow members to agree to a set of club-specific terms and conditions before they can contribute to the club.

    Invision Community 4.5 now allows the club owner to set up its own terms and conditions. You can optionally enforce that members agree to them before continuing.
    That's it for feature announcements. We're excited to be closing development on Invision Community 4.5 and move towards a beta in the coming weeks.
  24. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Matt for an entry, Beyond the support desk   
    If your brand sells a product or service, the first thing that comes to mind as a benefit to building your community is support deflection.
    And it's easy to see why. It's something you can quickly calculate an ROI for. Let's say every 20 hits to a public question with a solved answer from a client or team member equates to one less ticket. If a ticket costs $10 to solve on average, it's straightforward to see the value by calculating deflected tickets. Let's say your busy public support community had 20,000 hits a month; you've just saved $200,000 a month in support costs.
    Great! But before you finish there, I want you to consider the rewards a brand community can offer.
    A public support desk isn't a community. It's likely most of your customers join because of an issue with your product. They tap in some keywords on Google and come across your site. They see a bunch of solved questions like theirs, and they either get the fix and bounce out, or post and wait for a reply. With nothing to get them to come back, once they have the answer they'll likely bounce out then and only come back when they hit a new problem.
    That's not a community. A community is a place where people return multiple times to collaborate, learn and grow together.
    "[A brand community is] a group of people who share an identity and a mutual concern for one another's welfare - who participate in shared experiences that are shaped by a brand." - Carrie Melissa Jones
    For that, you need to look beyond the support desk and expand into more use cases, and there are compelling reasons to do this.
    Shared experiences
    Allowing your customers to share their experiences with your products can lead to unique brand stories that reinforce bonds between members and creates social solidarity in the community.
    A few years ago, I remember reading a post on a travel community. A family were flying with Delta and their son who has autism was becoming more and more distressed with the change in routine for that day. A Delta employee saw this and came and spoke with the family, helped settle the boy and ensured they boarded early to avoid the crush of passengers.
    It's a small moment of kindness that wouldn't make headlines, but it was very memorable for this family; enough so that they posted about it. This post had numerous replies in praise for the airline and no doubt made many of them think of Delta when booking their next flight.
    "[Social solidarity is] not just passive tolerance but felt concern for what is individual and particular about the other person." - Alex Honneth "The Struggle for Recognition"
    All those stories, connections and moments build social capital and loyalty for your brand.
    Feedback
    Your customers are already talking about your product. Some of it will be good, and some of it won't be good. They are already talking about it on social media, and in numerous communities, they belong to.
    If you do not have space within your community for your customers to leave feedback, then you're missing out on a massive benefit. You get a chance to address negative feedback before it spills out further into the public domain. Likewise, positive feedback makes for compelling customer success stories.
    Feedback is a great way to crowdsource innovation and to guide sales and marketing on how your customers are using your products and where the gaps are.
    Owning your niche
    Allowing space for conversations relating to your product makes good sense. If you sold a fitness tracker, then it makes good sense to have areas for discussions revolving around wellness areas such as sleep, diet and exercise. 
    Likewise, a mobile phone network will do well having areas related to the various brands of mobile phones.
    "There is status that comes from community. It is the status of respect in return for contribution for caring for seeing and being in sync with others. Especially others with no ability to repay you." - Seth Godin 
    Creating these spaces encourages return visits beyond direct support for the product.
    Those return visits are what makes your community a community.
  25. Like
    sobrenome reacted to Mark for an entry, 4.5: Commerce Trials   
    One of the most popular requests we get for Commerce is for a free trial period for subscriptions. We've heard from many clients that wish to allow their members a free, or reduced cost trial period before auto-renewing the full price.
    I'm pleased to say that we've now added this functionality into Invision Community 4.5. Let us take a look at how it works.
    Initial Terms
    In 4.5 you can now specify an initial term that is different to the normal renewal term for any subscription plan or product. For example, you could make the initial term $0 for 1 week and the normal renewal term $10 per month which will allow you to create 1 week free trial. The initial term doesn't have to be $0, you can use any special price for the initial term you like.

    Subscription Plans showing Free Trials
    For developers creating their own applications with Commerce integration, this functionality is also available to you simply by passing a DateInterval object representing the initial term when creating the invoice.
    Collecting Payment Details for Free Trials
    Previously, if you were buying something that is free, the entire of the last step of the checkout would just be skipped and the invoice marked as paid.
    In 4.5, if:
    The user is purchasing something which has a free initial period, but also has a renewal term (i.e. is a free trial), and You have a payment method which can collect card details (Stripe, Braintree, etc) The user will be prompted to provide payment details that will not be charged until after the free trial. If the user already has a card on file they will not be prompted to provide the details again but will see a confirmation screen rather than the order just being marked paid immediately.

    Checkout Process for a Free Trial
    As you can see, allowing a free or reduced cost trial period has never been easier. We hope that you enjoy using this new feature of Invision Community 4.5.
     
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