Possible future changes to chrons

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,479
Location
Highlands
Just to update as well, although the forum software has seen a version 2.0 release, I'm going to stick with the 1.5 branch of the software that we're already running - for now - partly because I can do everything I really need with it, but also because there is no blogs option as yet for 2.0.

I'll wait until xenforo 2.x has blogs and other addon features I'll be using here, before I consider moving over to it. I presume I'll have the choice to do so.
 

Abernovo

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
2,872
I like both the present SFFChronicles scheme I use now, and the 1.5 version, but for different reasons. Using a laptop, the present scheme is nice, open, welcoming, and easy on tired eyes (working long days at the mo).

The SFFC 1.5 layout is more compact, and covers less of the laptop screen, but it is perfect for my phone. The 'severity' mentioned by Teresa is probably the harsher, more pronounced format, but that helps me on a smaller screen, making sections stand out better. Could you set it as a mobile-friendly site default, or is having default formats for different device types going to be too much work?

Totally agree that the dimming of the top bar sections when hovering over them with the mouse is something to tweak. In general, though, I like it, Brian.
 

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Supporter
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,603
Location
Edinburgh
I gave the 1.5 version a good go this week...but I had to change it back to the default.

I found it far too severe and it wore me down! ;) It was a relief to get back to the warmer original.

Prefer the older format on my aging Galaxy 5 Neo too.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,479
Location
Highlands
I'm seriously tempted to move ahead with this within the next week or so, with these intended changes:

- upgrade the forum software from Xenforo 1.5 to 2.0
- set up one or more new styles to replace the existing ones (they won't work on Xenforo 2.0)
- set up the portal homepage, so that instead of a list of all forums, instead will be a list of featured discussions on the link "home" while the normal forum layout will be found through the "forums" link
- eventually set up a paid supporter option, with the single benefit of using limited signature links and/or small images (such as book covers) - which other members can hide if they want to
- move most of the Featured Author boards to tags instead. Our tag box can be found here: Search Tags | Science Fiction & Fantasy forums - but I'll put the tag cloud on the homepage and sidebar. I've already begun tagging most of the author discussions, ready to remove all but the biggest and busiest boards (such as Tolkien, GRRM). [This will stop people complaining that certain authors don't have a board and should, while also stopping author discussions being spread about Author Board, General Book Discussion, Reviews, and even Interviews].

I *think* those are the main things I'm planning.

WARNING! The blogs will no longer function! There currently isn't a blog feature for Xenforo 2.0, but apparently there's at least one in development. I think it makes better sense to move forward with the upgrade, and reactivate the blogs once that feature becomes available in Xenforo 2.0, rather than allow the blogs to stop the upgrade especially when most people are using their own blogs anyway.

If I do move forward with the upgrade, I probably won't give much notice - probably better to do so when I have time and energy to do so, and know there should be no problems.

However, I want to post an update on my thoughts here, so that if there's resistance to leaving the blogs aside for a while - possibly a few months - then I at least know to hold off on the upgrade.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,592
Have you got a screenshot of what the portal homepage would look like? Although I suppose there's nothing to stop us just going straight to forums.

The only thing I have a big opinion on is forum merger, which I think is an excellent idea. In fact, so much so, that you've reminded me that I'd like to suggest merging General Writers and Resources, as there's a lot of overlap, only Resources gets a tenth of the traffic.

No blogs is a bummer - although I suppose those who don't have their own blogs could maybe have blog threads in a temporary blog sub-forum?

Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,479
Location
Highlands
Have you got a screenshot of what the portal homepage would look like?
Here's an example I have:

Normal forums page: Spurscommunity
New portal homepage: Front Page

Obviously chrons would look different in terms of style and colours, but the envisaged set up would be similar. In simple terms, the front page would feature 10-20 threads from the forum, and these featured threads would be updated during the week.

I am working on some content to include, but I think I'd rather push on with the upgrade first than wait for writing to be completed.

I would also like to encourage chronners to consider writing awesome content threads I can feature - reviews, commentaries, interviews, etc. However, all in good time. :)
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,592
You want more review threads? You greedy so and so... :p Come to think of it, if you're happy with them being double posted, I could also put up interviews here.

Anyway, I'll comment on the link when those forums are done updating :p
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
9,612
Location
nearly the New Forest
The blogs will no longer function! There currently isn't a blog feature for Xenforo 2.0, but apparently there's at least one in development. I think it makes better sense to move forward with the upgrade, and reactivate the blogs once that feature becomes available in Xenforo 2.0, rather than allow the blogs to stop the upgrade especially when most people are using their own blogs anyway.
When you say "reactivate" will that bring back all the current/old blogs which have been sitting in suspended animation somewhere? Or will they all be lost when you upgrade? If the latter, people might want a bit of notice so they can copy whatever blogs they'd like saving.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,479
Location
Highlands
Indeed, the blogs data should remain in the database - just not be acted upon because there's nothing to use it. Then when the new blog platform is launched for Xenforo 2.0, we should be able to bring it all back online again with no real changes.

That's the theory, anyway. :)

Warning is good - if anyone really wants to make copies of anything they've posted, it would be a good idea just for redundancy purposes.
 

Abernovo

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
2,872
Having more reviews would be good. I try to review a few books. So far, I've put them on Goodreads, or my occasional blog, with some micro-reviews on Twitter. But, I would be happy to put the sff ones on Chrons, if you're going to host more reviews.

Go for it, Brian. You've always done a good job updating in the past.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
13,228
Location
California
[This will stop people complaining that certain authors don't have a board and should
I rather imagine it will have the opposite effect and there will be more people than ever complaining.

And aside from the occasional newcomer who does complain because we don't have a board for their favorite author are there really significant numbers who have a problem with the current author board setup? Because if not, if it isn't broken, why fix it? It seems to me that some might find a new way of navigating the boards intimidating (I realize the tags are not really new—you've been talking about them for quite a while—but of all the boards I've ever been a member of I've never seen a single one adopt them, so in terms of what people are accustomed to they might be new for the vast majority) and rather than being a feature that will attract new members it might put them off on their first visit.
 

Overread

Direwolf of the chrons
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
3,588
Location
Hunting in the woods
I have to agree with Teresa. I'd also say if you move authors to tags it will kill that whole area of discussion very fast. Yes lots of subsections is "frowned upon" by some designers of forums; but honestly sometimes its the best approach. Plus the way Chrons has always shown them they've never taken up a huge amount of space to the detriment of the rest of the site.

If anything the author sections promote far more discussion on author works than they prevent; plus they neatly archive what is discussed without the user having to do any work or searching. Ergo you don't have to go "looking" the authors are right there on the front. Plus the nature of Chrons I think it works well as its presents a selection of topical authors of good quality for potential new readers.

In addition I think that for authors who are on Chrons having the potential of one day having "your own section" is a big thing. A little spot to directly interact rather than relying on tags.



Honestly I feel tags would be a mistake. In my experience with forums things that take things off the front view or put htem behind any kind of (even simple) barrier can be killed fast. One earlier BV version tried with sub-group communities - ergo giving members their own little mini-forum within the forum. Great idea; should have worked wonders - in most cases it worked for a couple of months then died; because posts and updates were not part of the main page - they were a click or two away - and they all died off to the point that the whole feature went unused.

Also consider this - members who comment that an author hasn't got a section are reinforcing the fact of how good the current approach is to authors and display of those authors.



The tagging work shouldn't go to waste, it will still prove very useful for those searching on tagged words; and I'm sure all here are greatly in support of the work you do behind the scenes to keep this little corner of the net working well. But I'd really caution you against such a huge change to the site.
 

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
1,592
I have to agree that on the forums I use that have tags, I very rarely use them.

But I'm not a huge fan of the current author board set-up. I'd rather go into one big forum and see all the discussions. I'm not a fan of using the new posts feature, nor of checking a hundred little forums. Moreover, since I know a lot of the author forums see minimal traffic, I don't see a huge amount of point to posting something new on them.

There would be some things lost - what Toby's doing with his resources thread, the trivia threads would be overwhelming all in a main forum - but I think the general idea is sound.

Not sure whether I count as significant numbers though.
 

Similar threads

Top