One forum to rule them all
Hey forum monkeys! I'm trying to accomplish some changes around here but need your input.
Recent conversation about cruise topics swamping other discussion in the forums has revitalized my interest in solving this problem—and it is a problem. The forums are a place for all JoCo fans, regardless of sea monkey/land pony/sad vampire status, and it distresses me that any members are feeling pushed away.
So what can we do about it? My ideal solution is the "unfollow category" option that was present in a previous version of this forum software. This would allow each user to unsubscribe from any category they don't wish to see on the main page, while leaving everything accessible from the "Categories" menu. Unfortunately, the newer version we're running broke that function. I found a plugin that I thought would work the same way, but it turns out to be an admin-level tool: I can hide the cruise topics from the main page, but they will be hidden from ALL users, and accessible by anyone only through the Category menu.
The authors of the Vanilla forum software say that the unfollow function will be fixed in the next major release, but given timelines of open-source software, who knows when that will be. So I spent a few hours last night digging through the codebase. I'm confident that I can code something to do exactly what I want, but I won't have time for it for a few weeks.
Immediately implement the Hide Category pluginPros
- Instantly makes the non-seamonkeys less alienated in the forum.
- Easy to use.
- May confuse people who are looking for cruise topics, especially those who don't come here often.
- Categories sidebar currently not available in mobile version of site.
Don't change anything for now, but actively work on developing a more refined, user-specific Hide Category functionPros
- Changes not forced on anyone who is happy with the status quo.
- More flexible solution in the long run.
- Will take time to write and test; at the earliest I'd expect to have time in July. Unless someone else has the skills and time and is willing to put up with me trying to micromanage.
Some other solution, which one of you clever people will suggest
JoCo is serious about wanting to make the community happy, but since I have far more enthusiasm for forum software, he and Scarface have given me a lot of leeway over deciding what to do. I've promised to collect feedback, and they'll turn anything we decide on into reality.
What do you think?
PS - Since I was looking at code anyway, I dug into some other highly-requested features from the original forum update thread. Specifically, proper RSS feeds (which are sort-of fixed, though the links to them aren't) and a search that actually works. I'll get into those when it's not 2am.