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Noble~

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  1. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Identify Statistical Trends   
    One of the benefits of using Invision Community as your community platform is that you control and own your data.
    There are several ways to review this data. One of which is via the Admin Control Panel which offers a suite of statistic views which helps to convert the raw data into something easily understood.
    However, it's not always easy to determine trends and community sentiment from these singular views.
    Invision Community 4.5 adds two new interactive views for user and activity statistics.
    This new 'overview' view not only shows you a snapshot of your community but also allows you to compare time periods. In the video, you can see that I select different date ranges, such as "three months". This shows you the data of that time period, and also compares it against the previous three months.

    In this example, you can clearly see that we have 50% more registrations and 33% more contributors compared to the previous three month period.

    Likewise, in this example, you can clearly see that we have a 1200% increase in reactions given with a clear breakdown of the type of reaction given to help understand community sentiment.
    These interactive displays automatically update, so if you are so inclined, you could leave the statistic pages open and watch as the data changes live.
    We hope that you find these new views useful in identifying trends and help to inform strategic decisions within your community.
  2. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, 4.5: Simple Stock Photo Picker   
    We have come a long way since the late 90s when someone had the genius idea of using a small yellow smiling face image instead of the more common colon-bracket representation of a smiling face.
    In Invision Community, there are various places that photography can be used to create visual interest. From uploads in topics, to cover photos for blogs and members.
    The humble upload field has served these areas well, but sourcing images to use can be a pain; especially when you have to walk the minefield that is copyright and attribution.
    Fortunately, there are a few "CC0" online stock photo libraries that offer quality photography that requires no attribution and are not hampered by copyrights.
    One such library is the ever-popular Pixabay, which was established in 2012 and features a very powerful API. Pixabay has over a million images ready to use from llamas to sausages and everything in-between.
    Invision Community 4.5 now includes support for Pixabay which brings those images to your fingertips (or mouse pointer if you're on a desktop.)

    This video shows the feature in use.
    As you can see, not only can you upload into posts from the stock photo library, but you can also use it to add a cover image to your profile and blog entries.
    Finding quality photography has never been so easy!
    For those that love technical details, the stock photo picker is a programmatic option on the upload form field type making it very easy to add to your own code and apps.
    How will you use this new feature? Let me know!
  3. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Joel R for an entry, Happy New Year to the IPS Community   
    On behalf of the Invision Community staff and company, I'd like to wish our clients and community warm blessings and gratitude for the New Year.  
    We're proud to be the community platform of choice for you and your organization over the past year (or decade!), empowering you and your users with the space to debate, discuss, investigate, solve, innovate and celebrate a shared sense of purpose.  The ability to positively touch and connect with the lives of others regardless of location is one of the most transformative benefits of the modern web -- and there's never been a greater demand or need for online communities to connect members in an authentic, branded experience.  
    Your community is the gift that keeps on giving, and we're delighted to be a part of it. 
    Here's a round-up of the 2019's most visited, most commented, and most clicked-on articles from the Invision Community Blog:
    Invision Community managers use tools like Saved Actions and Auto Moderation to work smarter with 5 of the best time saving features Avoid the Engagement Trap, a never-ending race that measures all the wrong metrics in a community The crowd goes wild in the teaser announcement of the forthcoming mobile apps for iOS and Android Go back in a time machine with a Decade in Review - a celebration and testament to the enduring power of community.   Once again, may the magic and wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the year!
  4. Like
    Noble~ reacted to bfarber for an entry, 4.4: Converter updates to make migrating to Invision Community even easier   
    We want to ensure that converting from your existing community platform to ours is as seamless as possible.
    While we do have a migration service available where we take care of everything for you, we do also offer a DIY option.
    We took some time to overhaul the conversion process for those opting to convert using our free tools.
    Ready to convert?
    So you've just purchased your first copy of Invision Community, and you're ready to convert your existing site over from another software package. Great! We're glad you've made the decision to take your community to the next level!
    You've already checked out our Migrations page, confirmed the software you wish to convert from is supported, and you're confident in your ability to work through the process. You install the Converters package and you're ready to go. 
    Lets get started!
    We have overhauled the converters to simplify the process. Beginning with 4.4, you will take the following steps to convert from another software package:
    Rather than choose the application you wish to convert first, you will now choose what software you are converting from, which is a much more logical start to a conversion. Next, you will supply the database details for your source database (the database you wish to convert into your new Invision Community). Then, you will see a list of all applications that can be converted for the software package you are converting from. If any applications cannot be converted (perhaps because you were not previously using the corresponding application in your source software), a message will be shown indicating there is nothing to convert. If any steps require additional configuration, you will be able to specify those details here. And finally, when you submit that form - that's it! You're done, and you can sit back and let the conversion process on its own. Each step for each application will be completed automatically, and the conversion will be finalized automatically at the end. A progress bar will be shown, along with a textual indicator that outlines exactly what is being converted. What does it look like?
    conversion.mp4 Here's a quick video to illustrate the new conversion process.
    The system even remembers where you were at and automatically picks back up where you left off. Closing your browser, losing internet connectivity, or some other unforeseen issue won't stop you dead in your tracks and force you to start all over again.
    We hope that these updates make it even easier to switch from another community platform.
     
  5. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, Don't hide your community away!   
    One of the first things I do when visiting a site that I know has a community is to try and find it.
    More often than not, it's hidden away in the footer links or buried in several sub-menus and labelled something relatively obscure like "Fans" or "Support".
    This is a massive lost opportunity!
    We all know that social proof is incredibly important when making a purchasing decision.
    When I buy something on Amazon or book a holiday, the first thing I do is scour the reviews. Are the reviews mostly positive? What did other people think about the product after receiving it?
    I might see two almost identical products and the reviews, not the price that'll always sway me.
    It's that urge to herd to keep safe at play.
    So why bury all that out of the way?
    Your community should be full of fantastic social proof — hundreds of customers using your product and creating a buzz.
    Is it a fear of criticism? We all have had bad experiences with clients who are less than rational with feedback, but that's OK.
    The Harry Potter series of books are beloved by millions, made J.K Rowling a fortune, made a celebrated movie series and opened up several themed attractions which are always busy.
    Yet, there are a significant number of 1-star reviews on Amazon.

    Not everyone will get you or your business.
    You always have the opportunity to reply and explain your side, and you are always in control with moderation tools.
    Let's face it; if you are to handle negative feedback, it's better to manage it on your community than see it all over social media, Google reviews and review sites like TripAdvisor.
    Maybe you're a little embarrassed because the community platform is old and doesn't match your branding.
    If that's the case, then come and talk to us! We specialise in migrating communities from legacy platforms with poor mobile support. We offer brand matching services too.
    Maybe it's just that you're unsure of what to do with your community.
    I get that too. It can be hard to know how it fits in with your brand. I'm happy to help there also. Feel free to drop a comment below.
    Our product has several ways to pull content from the community and feature it on your site.
    We've helped big brands like LEGO®, Sega, Warner Bros. and more nurture a prosperous community that enhances their business.
    The bottom line is that a well manage community should be central to your brand and website.
    Hiding it among the "Privacy Policy" links is a huge missed opportunity.
    - Matt
  6. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, The incredible power of anonymity when growing your community   
    We attach a significant amount of personally identifiable data to our social media profiles daily.
    I regularly use social media to share photos of my kids and holidays. I post my personal thoughts on products I've used and TV shows I've watched. I'm even tagged in location-based check-ins.
    It's all there in my news feed for anyone to see.
    I'm not alone. More and more of us live our lives through the prism of social media. We share things we love, things we loathe and things that make us laugh.
    With just a few clicks, you can discover a lot of information about a person. More often than not, you can see where they work, where they live and what school they went to.
    Scrolling through their timeline often reveals their stance on hot topics such as gun control, the current President and other recent headline news items.
    This information follows you when you join a Facebook Group. Your past Tweets are always available to trawl through.

     
    Indeed, there may be some groups that you decide you cannot post in as people would be able to identify you. 
    This is particularly true for stigmatised conditions, such as financial help, illness and mental health.
    After all, if you were seeking help with a large amount of debt or managing an embarrassing medical condition, you wouldn't feel comfortable knowing that work colleagues, friends and family could read your posts.
    The benefit of anonymity for stigmatised topics
    "Forums can all offer some initial anonymity, a community, and information that geographically proximate others may not have. What stigma-related forums uniquely offer is that the anonymity protects those who are not ready to be publicly associated with sensitive topics; the community helps to neutralise the “spoilage” of identity that accompanies stigma." (1)
    Unlike social media where reams of personal data is willingly added, and which can identify you to other online users, forums allow you to add as much information as you are comfortable with.
    Support communities for mental health and illness flourish using forums for this reason. An individual may feel devalued in society and unwilling to share their condition over social media.

     
    "Nowadays people can both avoid and proactively cope with this devaluation by turning to online forums populated by others who share the same devalued group membership." (1)
    Forums offer a safe space for these individuals to seek and receive support from others without disclosing large amounts of identifiable data.
    Allowing a level of anonymity encourages more people to register and over time, they will develop ties with other users.
    For an individual with a stigmatized condition, a forum may be a real life-line in coping with the condition as face-to-face support is often limited.
    Adrial Dale, who owns Herpes Opportunity agrees.
    "In order for us to truly be able to work through the shame that stigma can trigger, it's absolutely vital for us to feel safe to open up and tell all. Through opening up, we not only get to share with an understanding and compassionate community (which normalizes our shared experiences), but we're also able to begin to release what has felt like our own solitary burden to bear. 
    Then a magical thing can happen ... an alchemical process that transforms shame into an opportunity for connection. An opportunity for us to be accepted for who we are *behind* the thick wall of shame. And ultimately, an opportunity to accept ourselves.
    Especially in these days of the internet not feeling so private (even in places where it absolutely should be), having true privacy and anonymity is paramount for communities like Herpes Opportunity. Anything other than that is grounds for paranoia and holding back from sharing ourselves. (In fact, just the other day someone messaged me asking "Are private messages really private?") Fear can lead to closing ourselves off, which can lead to isolation and paranoia, which can lead to a downward spiral of self-loathing and depression. On the other hand, safety, connection and compassion creates an an okayness with the nitty-grittiness of what it means to be human."
    The benefit of expressing a new identity
    "People may strategically express identities when they think they will not be punished, and/or connect them to an audience that is valued." (1)
    It is arguably true that not so many years ago, tech-related communities were very much male-dominated, with female contributions valued less.
    Forums allow a way to create a new identity that is either gender-neutral thus allowing the male users to assume a gender, or overtly male to ensure their contributions are evaluated on merit, and not with any gender bias.

     
    Christopher Marks who owns Nano-Reef has seen this first hand.
    "During a discussion with a women’s group in our generally male dominant hobby, a number of women had expressed the benefit of having an anonymous username and profile when asking for help and advice on forums, they receive equal help without the unfortunate gender bias or belittling that can sometimes happen in real life when seeking the same help in person."
    Invision Community's Jennifer has also experience of this on her own community; RPG Initiative.
    "RPG Initiative is a community for all roleplayers. We focus on all text-based roleplaying forms that are hosted on the internet. We encourage roleplayers to find each other, discuss roleplay and grow as collaborative writers here at the Initiative in a safe environment."
    Jennifer relies on, and encourages anonymity. She knows that because her site is predominately female, some female users identify as male to increase the chances of getting others to collaborate with them.
    "Male players are rare, in fact, I recently ran a poll on my site and of those that responded to it less than 15% of them are male (or identify as such). So this gets them more attention and in turn, more people that want to write with them."
    Jennifer explains how anonymity is critical to her site's growth.
    "Anonymity is a difficult thing to accomplish in a small niche like mine, but it's sort of like a small town where everyone knows everyone, and they likely know all of your secrets. So enforcing rules to preserve anonymity is really important to my community and me. This includes prohibiting the "naming of names" or the "site" that the drama is coming from when seeking for advice or help. This doesn't negate that people may know the existing situation or people involved because they are also involved or know some of the people involved, but it helps cut down on the drama and the spread of negativity and false information about people."
    With a forum community, you can truly be who you want to be.
    This is not so with social media where others can create bias based on your gender, looks or topical preferences.
    Together, together
    "In her early work, Turkle argued that the internet provided myriad positive opportunities for self-transformation, but more recently, she argues that the explosion in social media options has led us to develop superficial, emotionally lazy but instantly available virtual relationships." (1)
    It's hard to argue against this statement when you consider the content that predominates social media. And often an endless stream of self-focused content.
    "Indeed, we provide clear evidence that online forums afford users a way of being genuinely “together, together”, as opposed to what Turkle calls “alone together.”(1)
    The bottom line is that it has been proven that allowing a degree on anonymity increases engagement across all niches, but especially those that are built to support those with stigmatised conditions. These forums have a greater sense of community and depth than those built on social media.
    When you allow your members to take back control of their privacy, you are empowering them to make decisions about what to share.
    Given how eroded our privacy is in our modern always-connected world, this is a precious gift.
    If you are looking to create a new community then consider this before choosing your community platform.
    References:
    1: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074756321500268X
    2: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10410236.2017.1339370
  7. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, Happy 16th Birthday To Us!   
    This month, we turn sweet sixteen!

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

    Click on this image to see it unless you have excellent eyesight
    We're still here because we are always innovating and adapting. The software we're working on right now is vastly different from the one we started out with. And that is how it should be. We listen to our customers and we implement the great ideas.
    Of course, we'd not have lasted a year without our customers. We're genuinely thrilled to still be doing a job we love and serving customers who have trusted their community with us.
    Thank you all for choosing us and we're looking forward to the next 16 years.
  8. Like
    Noble~ reacted to Matt for an entry, 16 Community ideas to ring in the holidays   
    Outside your window, the leaves have burst into fiery reds and oranges.  A crisp breeze floats in the air.  The birds have long chirped their good-byes.
    And you’re sipping a hot cup of apple cider, contemplating the change in season.
    The holidays are almost here.
    The end of the year is one of the best chances to take stock your community and provide an emotive experience for your members.  It’s a chance to reflect upon what you learned, what new initiatives you started, and what you still have ahead of you.  It’s a chance to provide a sense of closure to the year and to ignite one more burst of community-wide goodwill.  In short, the holiday season is an amazing opportunity to bring your community together one last time in 2018.

     
    Here are 16 ideas for the holidays in four categories.  Try to select at least one idea from each category for a holiday plan that runs the gamut of the community experience.  Choose the ones that you especially like; gather your staff members to brainstorm; and put together a plan that’ll navigate you better than Santa’s reindeer through the holidays!
    Design
    One of the easiest and simplest things you can do is to update your community’s design for the holiday to provide an immediate visual impact.  Users love to see fun twists on your theme.

    1.    Tweak your logo with falling snow or twinkling lights.
    2.    Replace your forum icons with holiday ones.
    3.    Go bold and install a whole new holiday theme from the Marketplace.
    4.    Coordinate the holiday design across all of your social media and web properties.
    Remembrance
    Your 2018 was filled with emotional triumphs and tribulations. Did your community accomplish something great?  How many new members did you welcome?  Did you lose any members?  Create a shared experience that binds and connects your community closer together.

    1.    Craft a year-end mailer that chronicles your community’s victories and struggles.
    2.    Post a “Did You Remember This?” topic that reconnects with all the funniest, informative, and most poignant topics.
    3.    Edit a “Top Moments of 2018” montage that highlights the biggest events that transformed your community in the past year.
    4.    Memorialize members who have moved on or departed your community.
    Appreciation
    Holidays are all about demonstrating appreciation for your loved ones, and your community is no different.  Take the time to demonstrate an authentic and warm appreciation for all members who have shared the past year with you. 

    1.    Promote new users who have done a superb job of supporting the community over the year.
    2.    Send out physical or digital gifts as a token of your appreciation to key members.
    3.    Write individualized messages for every staff member that highlights their wonderful contributions.
    4.    Send a thank-you note to Invision Community in the comments below on how using Invision Community has helped propel your community’s growth in 2018.
    Celebration
    Finally, the holidays are a season of celebration.  Spread tidings of joy and merriment to all members in your community, social media, and offline for all-around cheer.
     
    1.    Count down to the holidays with different daily announcement using the Announcements feature.
    2.    Write a year-end “2018 Celebration Message” mailer to applaud all the great events from 2018
    3.    Host a winter giveaway with special holiday packages or gifts.
    4.    Throw a holiday party as a meet-up, using Calendar and Venues, to mingle with your members in person.
    Reconnect your members one more time in 2018 with a rich and shared story of the past year.  The holidays are an intensely emotional time that can provide an occasion for remembrance, an occasion for appreciation, and most of all, an occasion of celebration of all great things that have happened and are yet to come.  Let your community be the gift that keeps on giving.  
    Happy holidays to all Invision Community clients, and may your winter holidays be filled with joyous cheer and community friendship!
    Joel R is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. When he's not running his own successful community, he's peppering Invision Community's private Slack channel with his feedback, community management experience and increasingly outrageous demands (everything is true except the last part).
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