WordPress Forums To Be Revamped Soon?

MichaelH who has been a long time contributor to the WordPress.org Forums created his own wishlist for what he would like to see in the forum software, that being BBPress. The reason why this is important is because of Michael’s status on the WordPress.org forums. Some of the things that is mentioned in his wishlist are items that have been preached about before by others so I’m hoping that with Michael’s wishlist, some of those items are finally addressed.

On the other side of the coin, Sam Bauers who is the lead developer of the BBPress project responded to Michael’s wishlist point by point and stated he would use the list as more of a To-Do list. You can read Sam’s response here. Note that the order in which Sam responds to the list is the order for his To-Do list.

Sam states that it’s a bit rough right now because the WordPress forums are running on BBPress 0.9 but they will be migrated to 1.0 when it’s released. As Sam mentions, that would make for a nice test bed for 1.0 features.

I have a few issues with the WordPress.org forum myself. For starters, the search sucks. You can only restrict your search results to documentation, the support forums, WP.org blogs or the bug database. I would love to see more refinement so I can search between non-resolved and resolved threads, search specific forums, etc. Another issue I have is that I have no way of knowing whether a thread I have responded to or have created has received a new reply without either subscribing to the RSS feed for that thread or visiting my profile where it lists recent replies. I’ll come out and say it that subscribing to the RSS feed for every thread I create or respond to is just plain dumb. Also, I should not have to actually visit the site to see if new messages have been created. I check email multiple times a day, not my feedreader. On top of that, I wouldn’t mind a simple subscription manager so I can delete subscriptions to threads I am no longer interested in.

Those two items I just described are standard run of the mill features found in 99% of other forum software on the web. I’ve been told that the issues I have with BBPress have been addressed in the form of plugins. The way I see it, the forums on WordPress.org are the #1 example of what BBPress is capable of and if I don’t see a couple features found in the majority of the other software, the mindset is that the software is way behind the competition. However, I’ve listened to Sam describe BBPress 1.0 and what will be possible in this version and what is currently possible with the software now and when he talks, it makes me wonder if I’ve made a mistake giving BBPress a bad rap. I actually get excited when I hear Sam describe BBPress.

I hope that at some point, I can get the impression that when I use the WordPress.org forums, I am using something modern. Until then, here is a toast hoping for a successful launch to BBPress 1.0 this year which Matt states “is so close to being released, he can taste it”.


8 responses to “WordPress Forums To Be Revamped Soon?”

  1. It feels like we’re on two different subjects here in some ways. The WP.org support forums and bbPress don’t necessarily have to be tied to the same conversation. There are features that should be added to the support forums but shouldn’t be added to the core of bbPress.

    I definitely agree that the WP.org forums could use a little sprucing up — in the form of plugins. Better user-thread management is something that should probably be addressed in bbPress.

    The one thing that’s so great about bbPress right now is that it’s extremely lightweight. It literally serves every need I have. Sure, there are things I want, but I’m not certain they should be a part of the core.

    Even though WordPress is fairly lightweight, more features keep getting piled on. Jeff, even you’ve written about bloat and WordPress. I’d hate to see bbPress go down this road of piling on new features. Sure, many forum users might consider some things as standard compared to other forum software, but the great thing is that it’s very modular — you can pick and choose the features you want through plugins. Granted, a lot of those plugins have yet to be written.

    MichaelH’s list is pretty solid though. It does address some real needs for the support forums on WP.org. Some of these things can be added to the support forums right now and shouldn’t reflect poorly upon bbPress.

    And, as you’ve said, the search sucks. I learned to use Google long ago.

    One last thought: My hope is that one day WPTavern will join in the ranks as a WordPress-/bbPress-powered site.

  2. @Justin Tadlock – Ok, I can see your point of view. I guess I really shouldn’t have grouped both in the same conversation but for some reason, felt it was warranted. I know Matt has said that BBPress is sort of at the position WordPress was a few years ago. As for WPTavern using BBPress, I’ve made the investment into VBulletin and the chances are slim to none on this site ever using the software. So I suppose since I don’t use the software or have used the software, that doesn’t leave me much room to talk lol.

  3. @Jeffro – There’s no problem with adding them in the same conversation. It’s just that in some of these discussions, there’s no real distinction made between the two. As you mentioned in your post, “the forums on WordPress.org are the #1 example of what BBPress is capable of,” which is definitely true. How the software is used there is the “face” of bbPress. It’s what the world sees.

    I feel like WP.org is using pretty much a base theme with a few plugins, which isn’t really representative of what the software can do. Once we get a few more out-of-the-ordinary examples (and if 1.0 is ever released), many views might change.

    If I wasn’t so wrapped up in WordPress, I’d be working a lot more with bbPress. There’s so much potential. As you can tell by now, I’m a bit of a bbPress fanboy.

    And, we’ve gotta get your spellin’ right! It’s “bbPress.” ;) <– At least from what I can tell.

  4. Yeah, I totally agree Jeffro! The biggest thing that the Support Forums needs is a way to subscribe to threads via email.

    I understand that they want to keep the core lightweight, and that’s cool, as long as this feature is available as a plugin. They really need to add it in one way or another…

  5. @Justin Tadlock – LMAO, I guess when Matt starts cracking down misspellings of bbPress we’ll know they are getting serious about it!

    I bet if you made Jeffro a bbPress theme to match the Tavern’s WordPress theme you could sucker him into making the switch ;)

  6. Yesterday, I shifted my support forums back to Simple Machines from bbPress. I decided to give bbPress a proper shot and ran 0.9 version first and then 1.0-alpha6. The software is so badly without feature that it is a pain.

    I get tonnes of spam user signups in spite of plugins to “prevent” this and I can’t do any kind of bulk management.

    Needless to say, I gave up and took the easier route of using SMF.

  7. bbPress straight out of the box is not suitable as a large social network style forum such as what the WordPress.org forums should (presumably) be. But they also don’t need anything like vBulletin as that would simply be adding bloat to the system. A few basic plugins would solve most of the problems which make the WordPress.org support forums so awful. I don’t think they have any intention of making anything to compete with vBulletin as bbPress is niche product.

    It sure would be nice if they made their own support forum a lot better though (with plugins) as it truly is a horrid little forum in it’s current format and it doesn’t seem to attract many people to come and help. I’ve tried offering help there before and just got ticked off at the lack of tools/rules etc. at hand. I couldn’t even find a way to report a post, apparently you need to add a tag to the post to do that, which IMO is a ridiculous thing to expect your users to do.

  8. @Ryan – Well, I don’t need the WordPress.org forums to be anything like Vbulletin or PHPBB but for goodness sakes, I’d love it if the forum provided the tools necessary to make them useful not only for finding information, but keeping abreast as to new threads I have created, new replies, etc.


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