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Forum improvement

Posted: 12 Jan 2014, 23:43
by Airdawg
Hi guys and gals (or ladies and gentlemen)!

I started this little project two years ago as a continuation of all those other individual forums that lay around on the internet, remote and obscure. I was and I'm still hoping it will be a long lasting project, a helpful hub of information for this programme we're all interested in.

We're barely on our second session and I hope the board will stay alive for at least a few more years. Right now the board is doing fine. The forums have some activity and everything is going as planned. What I want is not a static platform, but an evolving one. I'm an engineer therefore tinkering with things, improvement and optimisation are hard-wired into me. It's in my nature.

Id' like to improve this small project and make it as ergonomic and pleasant as it can get. Of course I'm limited by my own imagination (which sometimes I consider a little scarce), therefore I ask of you, other members and friends, if you have any idea you'd like to see implemented on the forum or any feedback, feel free to message me or leave a reply on this thread.

I'm always willing to listen, and I love receiving constructive criticism.

I'll maintain a list of what has been implemented here:


  • An anti-spam module (we want to keep the baddies out, don't we?)
  • Two small links for the forum's RSS feeds (I personally check feeds regularly through Feedly. Instead of visiting the forum hourly, this is an alternative)
  • Tapatalk integration (I also like getting notifications about new replies on my smartphone. In Tapatalk just search "vulcanus")

Re: Forum improvement

Posted: 13 Jan 2014, 09:46
by Ephel
I don't like the present division in years that are closed with thingss that get moved from year to year.

I think it would be better to just have a section for advices and questions from people who want to try to get into Vulcanus (not binding it to any year in particular) and then either:

1) A "Current Vulcanus" board, not concerned with the year (where old post will pile up and naturally start to be les visible, while new post will be on top as normally is), mixing all years together.
PROS: It avoids the "ghost town effect"
CONS: It will lose consistency if used as an archive (messages from different years could get mixed up)

2) The division we have today between different years of Vulcanus (I'd consider not locking them, though... this way if someone wants to address people from his/her year he/she can do it just by writing there).
PROS: You can keep the years separated.
CONS: Fragmentation and empty forums

You could consider making the current year locked to outsiders, so people will be able to express themselves more freely... obviusly this should not be a "strong" seclusion: if the friend of someone wants to join the discussion and that someone agrees, this friend should be granted access.

Finally, I'd leave the "Other Discussion" and the "Non-English" sections as they are now.

Re: Forum improvement

Posted: 15 Jan 2014, 02:20
by Airdawg
Thanks for the thorough feedback, Ephel. It is concise and well thought.
Indeed the current board structure is a bit flawed. I know I didn't plan much when I started it.
After reading your suggestions, I thought about them a bit and I reached a few conclusions:

(2) as you said it is already in place and it's suffering from the "empty-forum syndrome". That obviously needs to change. Locking the current year's forum has been implemented on Vulcanus2006 (where 2007 and 2008 is hosted but locked for outsiders and regular members) this is also a no-go.

(1) seems to be the reasonable way and I don't see consistency as such a big problem. Posts and threads are naturally ordered chronologically.

I'm trying to make information accessible to outsiders, not obtruct it. I know how much I hate when I have to register for a meager download on a forum. Registering just to be able to read a forum would be just outrageous. Many guests read this small forum. I see it in the board stats and on analytics.

What I was thinking is: A merger between the two session forums (1), followed by a better classification: Posts that are relevant to aspiring applicants and posts for those that already applied can stay readable, a subforum for those that got shortlisted could be visible, but not readable by guests (only by registered members) and writable by shortlisted members, and finally a subforum for those that got selected, hidden from world view, readable and writable only by those that got selected.

A ranking system is already in place, with people grouped based on their status.
phpBB allows for restrictions to be applied over posts, forums and subforums. subforums and forums can be locked or hidden under the same system.

About the former years' forums: I initially thought of it as some sort of incremental backup. It needs to be "reimplemented" it in a different way.

If anyone else has anything to add/say, please do.

Re: Forum improvement

Posted: 16 Jan 2014, 09:07
by Ephel
I agree that information should be as accessible as possible to outsiders, but I can also see how some people could not want to let the whole world know were they'll be eating dinner next saturday. I was thinking about creating a sub-forum for that sort of things, not to lock the whole forum!

Still, I don't think it's really important, so I'll drop it here :-)
I'm not even in Vulcanus, so I really shouldn't be talking about privacy of participants ^^''''

Re: Forum improvement

Posted: 18 Feb 2014, 20:42
by castig
I think we should make a poll about the requested or prefered positions among the shortlisted users, instead of just typing it in... It would help us (at least among this forum's users) to see how are we diveded among the placements. Someone might give up on the best desired position to a not so mainstream one. Though it won't be very legit, at least something...

And I suggest only shortlisted users should be able to see it.

Re: Forum improvement

Posted: 19 Feb 2014, 00:44
by Airdawg
It would've been nice, but unfortunately not everyone shortlisted has announced his status, and therefore will not see the poll. Also, there are over 50 placements available. The phpBB poll allows no more than 10 items per poll.

I think, though, that it can be done the classic way: a list in the first post.