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Posts posted by Matt

  1. 24 minutes ago, Rikki said:

    I clicked into this very excited, thinking you'd be showing off an AI-generated 'executive summary' of topics. Genuinely curious: why not feed those posts with high impact signals into an LLM to summarize? Not long ago your approach would have been great, but now I think will be in danger of feeling pretty clunky, manual and old fashioned. This seemed like it'd be the perfect opportunity to use a modern tool to solve the problem.

    The problem is that too many people want to throw AI at everything. I've seen loads of AI based 'executive summaries' on things like Helpscout, Amazon Reviews, etc that honestly do not offer much value.

    We are happy with using signals and a mathematical model for this feature. @Matt Finger has been discussing building a LLM for many things, so it's an area we are interested in.

  2. 59 minutes ago, Adlago said:

    To be honest, I have abstracted from your version 5. Why??? There are many factors - the entry of AI, especially in social networks, and probably also in forum systems, which is basically yours... There is something elusive, but irritating entry into the IT sphere... And unpredictable. .. I personally find it puzzling and wakes up my conservative thinking... Sorry, I can't be of any help to your version 5 for now...

    Me too, actually, I don't expect anything in terms of speed...ha ha...🥰

    We are not using AI models at this time.

    Client browser speed will be greatly improved in v5, we're already hitting high 90s in Pagespeed scores for mobile out of the box.

  3. 9 hours ago, Dreadknux said:

    This is a very interesting development on the SEO/Google Search side. I definitely hear the concerns about opening things up so wide, but on the other hand if it can help position my community's content on the same level as content posted on social media that can only be a good thing in my eyes.

    Since we're talking about this, I figure it might be worth asking a (sort of) related question to IPS: are there any considerations being made as to how different node content is being served/displayed on Google Search results? For example, how prominently a community's forum topic might appear under a search result as opposed to an Event entry, or a CMS Pages record?

    One reason why I ask, is that I have CMS Pages databases that have relationships with certain forums (so comments on the CMS Page record and the Forum Topic are practically identical), but in the case that someone searches for some terms I'd rather the CMS Page record be the primary result (and maybe a nested result for the forum topic version of that same content underneath). But I don't know how much control IPS has over that sort of thing, or whether that's something that it entirely in Google's power/wisdom to design.

    So call it a question of curiosity rather than a proper SEO-related feature request. 😄

    It's an interesting question but I don't think we'll have that much influence over what Google decides short of 301 redirecting forum content to the CMS content which would be a terrible idea. 😅

  4. Whether you have hours to browse a community or are short on time, scrolling through a very long topic can be more than a little frustrating when you want to follow the topic's core journey.

    Recently, we discussed another feature designed to help support-based communities find helpful answers quickly, but what about social topics that do not have a simple question-and-answer format?

    We've all come to a lengthy topic for the first time and found it a little intimidating to find the most relevant content among hundreds of posts, which don't always further the topic. These off-topic posts are important because they help social cohesion and build relationships between members at the time of posting. Still, those visiting later often want the truth of the topic.

    Invision Community 5 brings a topic summary feature designed to make the most of your time.

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    The topic summary is generated by an algorithm that uses many touch points such as average read times, reactions, number of shares, external linking and more to determine how useful a post is via a numeric ranking.

    The summary shows an estimated read time of the entire topic and an estimated read time using the summary, which gives your members a good idea of the time they'll save.

    A shorter read time will make longer topics more accessible to a greater audience.

    Could contain: Page, Text

    Adjusting the summary
    We believe that algorithms should be used to support human decisions but not override them. Those with permission can add posts from the summary if they feel they are more relevant. Likewise, posts can be removed if you think they are irrelevant.

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    Interactions with Helpful Posts
    Invision Community supports a broad range of communities, including support-based and social communities. We are improving our toolset to help both.

    You can have helpful post-voting enabled as well as topic summaries enabled. When this is the case, the topic summary will show until the helpful post-voting meets a threshold. Once that threshold is met, the helpful post information will replace it.

    Of course, not all communities and not every forum will have the support features enabled, meaning the topic summary will be the only way to reduce the topic complexity.

    Less is more
    Browsing the summary gives you a concise view of the topic's journey with no distractions, a vital strategy for growth. 

    By allowing members to focus on the core journey, you reward the time they spend on your community and make it more accessible for those short on time.

    We hope you've enjoyed this feature introduction and would love to hear your thoughts!

    View full blog entry

  5. 16 minutes ago, Canis said:

    Can you explain the reason behind this?

    See the links in the original post. Google are making large changes to how forum posts are presented in their search results and they include more data on the author including a link to their profile page.

    Could contain: File, Page, Text, Webpage

    If you do not want to have profiles indexed, then you can simply adjust the robots.txt via the ACP to exclude them again.

    We would still add 'noindex' meta tags to profile without any valuable content to avoid loads of thin pages being indexed and sucking up the crawl budget.

  6. Just six short weeks ago, Ehren hit record on a video that changed everything for Invision Community.

    The blog was called "Introducing a fresh new vision for Invision Community 5," and it ripped up the rule book on what forums should look like and revealed a slick new look featuring a new forum home feed view and sidebar navigation.

    A lot has been discussed, but we're not even close to done!

    Before we bring you news of more features after Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a mid-season break to recap what we've seen so far.

    First up was the introduction video, which gave a broad overview of the new UI Invision Community 5 would be sporting. Ehren takes us through many new elements, including the sidebar navigation, forum feed view, simplified post view and more.



    Up next was a focus on dark mode, accessibility and mobile views. Invision Community 5 features the ability to have native dark mode without additional themes or complex variables to set up. Our aim with Invision Community 5 is to hide the complexities and technology and just let you focus on creating a great community experience for your audience.



    Bringing complex theming to everyone was the message in the blog talking about the new theme editor. Now, you can make wide-ranging changes to your theme without the need to edit CSS or manage HTML templates, all driven by a smart and simple interface.



    Next, it was my turn to talk about a new feature. I introduced two new features designed to help those who run support-based communities. Finding the most helpful answers and identifying community experts help your members do more with less time and frustration.



    Last week, Ehren demonstrated our new icon and badge builder, which is an amazingly powerful tool to produce slick and professional badges along with the ability to customize your community further with emojis and icons for menus, reactions and more. Building ways to reduce the barrier to customization has been a strong theme for Invision Community 5.




    We can all agree that we've showcased a lot of impressive functionality coming with Invision Community 5 already.

    But what does the future hold?

    Lots! We have a lot of new functionality that we're putting the finishing touches on, and we can't wait to show you more. These new features further help to reduce noise in topics, make the community feel alive and bring long-needed updates to core components such as the editor. Not to mention, there is a significant update to Pages underway.

    We also have a lot of less flashy updates, such as the new consolidated Feature/Our Picks feature, which is now a single feature.



    An improved Moderators Control Panel brings a more uniform experience across deleted, hidden, and content waiting to be approved.


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    We're still on course for a release of Invision Community in early 2024 and can't wait for you to experience the future of forums.

    What has been your favourite feature so far? I'd love to know; drop a comment below!

    View full blog entry

  7. 25 minutes ago, Robert Angle said:


    Now the question remains... will there be anything left for theme creators? lol. 

    I have Adobe Illustrator, it doesn't mean I can produce good quality graphics 🙂 Tools are only part of the end result. Or goal was to put more power into Invision Community owner's hands, but that doesn't remove the need for professional themes and graphic sets.

    2 minutes ago, Chris59 said:

    This was indeed cool feature .

    just one question? . will there an option for people like me who have font awesome pro licens??  so we are able to use pro icons?

    I will sure use it 🙂 Thanks alot for this feature, hat off 

    It's not on our roadmap at this point, it'd be tricky given how we load the icons.

  8. Most search engines frown on what could be perceived as cloaking/changing output based on whether it's a search engine or not. You will also lose out on the SEO benefits of Google image search.

    I understand the concern over those companies looking for copyrighted image use, but ultimately user generated content will contain some copyrighted content eventually which is why a robust terms of service is a great idea.

  9. 12 hours ago, Joel R said:

    This was not designed as a special membergroup (but it kind of is! Almost like a secondary membergroups with special privileges!). The drawback is that you can't automate the pathway, when factors like time in the community, number of helpful posts, number of total posts, or completing a course are actually good signifiers and steps of success to community expertise.  Another drawback is that you can't have different variations of these.  We're assuming Community Experts will act and help in only one manner in our communities (aka to answer support topics). 

    This feature was deliberately separate from group promotions and member groups because we wanted something special that sits along side those things. There are plenty of ways to reward time spent, posting volume and so on through group promotions and achievements.

    The community expert featured here is focused around knowledge, accuracy and solutions, which may not be a fit for every type of community.

    I also want to move away from things that are possible but need a lot of set up, thought, and management of multiple tools across the AdminCP into something more pre-built and working out of the box.

    We have a lot of complex functionality but most of it goes completely unused because it needs a lot of thought and set-up to get the most from it.

    Modern communities battle churn, so the longer the pathway towards being seen as trusted, the less likely anyone will remain long enough to complete it.

  10. Long ago, back in the dark ages, forums used the number of posts a member made and how long ago they joined to demonstrate trust and experience.

    Is simply posting a lot and being a member for a long time the best way to know which community members are experts?

    And is there a better way?

    We think so.



    What makes an expert, and why are they important?

    Community experts are the keystones to any thriving community. You probably recognise a handful in your community. They tend to be active regularly, are often the first to try and help others with their questions and help set a positive example within the community.

    Wouldn't it be great if newer community members could discover who these super users were a little easier? These members trying to find their feet in a new community could follow trustworthy individuals, absorb the positive tone of the community, and even get help a little quicker.

    In the past, forums have shown trust and experience through basic metrics like post count and the years since they joined. However, these metrics only show that the individual has been around a long time and posts a lot. It doesn't show that they are potential role models or helpful and trustworthy.

    Community Experts with Invision Community 5

    Invision Community 5 identifies these experts through metrics such as the number of solutions they have, the volume of 'helpful' votes on their replies, the speed of answers and more.

    Each forum will have its own experts, so if you have a very broad community, someone who is very helpful in a particular area will show as an expert in that area only.

    When a member has been picked as an expert, they'll receive an email thanking them, and they can then opt-in to be shown as an expert along with a regular notification or email with any unanswered questions in forums they are experts in.

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    I'm absolutely killing it in the Test Forum

    Every few months, the experts are recalculated to reflect the organic way communities grow and change. After all, there's little point in showing that a non-active member is an expert. It might even encourage new community experts to keep up the great work and remain active longer.

    Could contain: Text, Business Card, Paper

    Community experts have a badge shown with their posts, along with the option to follow them. Encouraging new members to follow trusted community members should be a core part of any community strategy.

    Settings and control

    Of course, not everyone should be labelled as a community expert, and perhaps, in very rare circumstances, an existing community expert could have a bad day and not represent the community well.

    Invision Community 5 gives you the ability to set which groups experts can be picked from and offers you the opportunity to block existing experts, ensuring they won't be selected again in the future.

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    Over to you

    All communities have to be purposeful and provide value. That value may be in close friendships, or it may be in getting answers for problems you have. Either way, locating the most helpful members will help develop trust, provide guidance and increase knowledge within your community.

    For transactional communities such as support-based communities, experts are vital in providing timely answers and demonstrating credibility and expertise to others.

    As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Please let us know in the comments.


    View full blog entry

  11. 5 hours ago, Joel R said:

    IPS has been building upon these signals of expertise, authority, and solutions for many years now. The future is clear: independent communities cannot solely rely upon social conversation, when larger and better platforms ( Reddit, Facebook, Discord, etc) can host social conversations infinitely better. Pivoting into an authority site that provides support and solutions might help you survive. 

    At a fundamental root, every activity we partake in begins with the desire to add value to our lives. Mastering a second language or instrument takes a lot of time but the value is adding ability or knowledge.

    We join communities to add value. It might be making friends all over the world who love running when you don't have much support for that activity in your 'real-life' friends, or it might be finding the best ways to use a piece of software you love.

    Back in the 2000s forum communities were founded to bring people together over a shared interest forming small villages in a landscape of rolling hills and pasture. Forums were really successful because they were peerless. If you had an interest in ABBA, opening up a forum about ABBA gave people a space to talk about Swedish 70s pop and take deep dives in platform shoes and crumbling marriages. They gave an outlet for a passion that your friends in the pub had no interest in. Other's in similar situations would flock to this site, delighted with a space to talk about their disco obsession. As the community owner, you didn't need to try too hard, it was all Gimme, gimme, gimme!

    20 odd years later and we have crowded mega-cities of non-stop conversation about every topic you want to know, and many you don't. Social media is better designed for informal conversations and finding like-minded people due to its huge reach and focus on personalities over topic.

    Forums still very much have a place but they need to provide immediate value to keep and grow membership. That doesn't mean social forums will fail, there are many good examples of them but it means for a new community there needs to be a strong reason to visit and once you have a visitor, you need to give them what they want as quickly as possible. We're all time-poor on the internet with so many apps and dopamine hits to have.

    You can build a social community around a support community, or a community that is designed to solve a problem later.

    Content may be king, but value is definitely (the dancing) queen. Get those both right, and the winner takes it all.

  12. Forum platforms have a wide range of uses, from helping with support to sharing knowledge, ideation and social interaction.

    Topics can span years, and once the initial explosion of replies has passed, the topic lives on in local search and search engines for future viewers to discover and get value from.

    However, it's not always easy to get the best content from a very long topic.

    You may have noticed that when you come to a topic seeking an answer, some replies are less than helpful.

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    How do I fix my Apple Watch? Like this!

    It's common to find a lot of social content mixed in with useful replies. Jokes, GIFs and off-topic musings are all great while the topic develops organically in real-time. Having fun is critical to feeling a sense of belonging in a community. However, those coming to the topic a little later, say from a link Google has suggested, just want to get the useful content in the fastest way possible.

    That's where 'helpful' voting comes in.

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    A very helpful reply

    Invision Community can already mark a single post as the best solution for that topic. Still, not every topic gets a definitive answer, and some community strategies resist quickly marking a post as the best answer to encourage more discussion rather than effectively ending it.

    Even when you have a definitive answer, there is often value in other highly rated posts offering more context, alternative solutions and more thorough explanations.

    With Helpful voting, your members are encouraged to flag which posts they find helpful in the topic. When enough votes are added to a single post, they are suggested as a possible answer. You can also tune out the noise and view the most helpful replies only.

    This is a powerful way to get the very best content from a topic in a short space of time.

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    Want to just view the most helpful replies? No problem.

    If you eventually choose to mark a post as the definitive answer, the suggested post will be replaced with the answer you choose, but you can still see the posts voted as helpful to gain further context.

    The helpful voting works independently from reactions, which tend to cluster around social content. Social media conditions us to add a like or funny reaction to content that gets an emotional response. Indeed, a lot of the most highly reacted content is funny content. Social reactions are valuable when building connections between community members but often don't reflect what is the most useful content.

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    The suggested most helpful post threshold is configuration via the Admin Control Panel.

    Helping your members find the best content within topics helps them do more in your community with less time.

    Forums continue to evolve, and while social content helps develop the community, content that solves problems and helps others is the rocket fuel you need to keep members and attract new audiences.

    Helpful voting also feeds into picking Community Experts, a new feature for Invision Community 5, but we'll talk about that in a future blog.

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    A sneak peak at the new Community Expert badge

    I hope you found this update helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments!

    View full blog entry

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