Forum Software

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Forum Software?

phpBB (2 & 3)
IP.Board (Invision Power Board)
Simple Machines (SMF)
Total votes: 36

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Forum Software

Postby pieaholicx » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:07 pm UTC

Which ones do you prefer, both from a user and an administrator perspective?

From a user perspective I like vBulletin and phpBB mostly. From an admin perspective I like IP.Board, but haven't really tried vBulletin's much.

vBulletin seems to be well built, and everything is properly categorized in the UserCP. I like the built-in calendars, Rep, subscription, and buddy systems. However, the lack of mod display under forum descriptions is a bit of a deterrent (if this can be done, then I like it more).

I liked phpBB2's single page for a UserCP and their separate GroupCP, however it still lacked a lot of the "common" features from other forums, which were added into phpBB3.

As for my liking of IP.Board, I find that the Admin Panel is really easy to navigate, however I dislike how bloated it can be with all the javascript.
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Re: Forum Software

Postby Vempele » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:17 pm UTC

mwForum. There's no useless clutter to wade through when reading and the threaded/flat hybrid view wins.
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Re: Forum Software

Postby Dingbats » Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:46 pm UTC

phpBB is the best. IPB is ok, but it's too bloated compared to the slick look and feel of phpBB (especially phpBB 2). vBulletin is pretty crappy.

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Re: Forum Software

Postby magnum_opus » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:54 pm UTC


though Vanilla isn't bad either

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Re: Forum Software

Postby Memo » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:09 pm UTC

PunBB. It has no bloat at all and it has never failed me

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Re: Forum Software

Postby davean » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:37 am UTC

magnum_opus wrote:though Vanilla isn't bad either

I'd throw up Vanilla for fun somewhere if I didn't get an itchy feeling that the code might have some serious, painful issues buried in it. I have no reason to believe that having not looked at it's code, but I just get that intuition ...

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Re: Forum Software

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:06 pm UTC

User perspective: Pun, phpBB3, IPB
Admin perspective: Drupal

And I positively hate the user interface of Drupal's forum, and hate the admin control panels of Pun, IPB and phpBB.

- Pun is light-weight but has far too few administration options in its core. There are addons, but it is ridiculously difficult to install them - frequently requiring you to actually modify the code files by hand.
- IPB is commercial. It's pretty smooth and easy to the user, but it has a Windows-XP-feel in the admin panel: Looks smooth, but to get to any of the options you want you will wade through a sea of things you don't need. The database schema is pretty convoluted, which is nasty if you need to dive in to fix something.
- phpBB3 is unfairly stigmatized by its predecessors. The user interface is now almost as smooth as that of IPB, but like it its settings pages (even those for users) suffer from bloat.
To give an example, open your control panel and edit your board preferences. You will see a long list of radio buttons saying "Yes / No". There is a thing called a "checkbox" for boolean values, dear web designers. Even the "Email only | Jabber only | Both" thing could be done by two checkboxes, because you can turn off notifications anyway.
- Drupal has a wonderfully smooth and powerful interface when you are building a website, but it is very bad at pretending to be a forum visually. At the index and forum view levels, it is okay, but when you navigate down to a thread, you are suddenly viewing a blog entry with comments. Fortunately, a project is under way to fix this.

Boards I love to hate: UBB, ezboard. Seriously, they're so awful it's funny.
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Re: Forum Software

Postby Auzon » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:53 am UTC

This is a very phpBB centric poll. I realize we're using phpBB here, and that it is quite popular, but it still seems a bit excessive to me. :| Though, phpBB does bug me with some of the user interface stuff. Specifically, the lack of a real menu in a consistent place bothers me. has a phpBB forum that has a decent menu, but in the default theme, items just seem to be thrown around, often in small text (like the "mark forum as read" button. I knew it existed, but had to use ctrl+f to find it). I have no admin opinion on it, since I've barely touched it.

If I had to make a new site with a traditional forum today, I would pick SMF. However, a good nested (like Slashdot's nested view, or PerlMonks' view) forum works so much better than a flat one for conversations that branch off of the initial topic. This fits better with how I like conversations to have the potential to become very off-topic. The best discussions are sometimes found in something barely related to the original topic. So, for the game I am writing, I wrote my own threaded forum system to be integrated into the game (actions in the game can affect forums). It's very simplistic (no text effects, no avatars, no smilies, no quotes, no searching), but it does enough.

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Re: Forum Software

Postby wing » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:37 am UTC

I dislike PHPBB3 as an admin. Skinning it is demented (well, depending on which base skin you start with. Prosilver is the worst, but for some reason my clients LOVE IT. Freaks.) and there's just so much shit in the admin panels that is more or less pointless.

I kind of like SMF because it's mostly the opposite.

Both give me an acceptable UI experience (PHPBB3 only using subsilver, not fucking prosilver. Prosilver is disgusting. There's a reason chat text has the name of the speaker PREFIXED - so we know who's talking before we read the text. Forums are supposed to be the same, but with fucking prosilver you have to scan all the way across the page to find out, and then scan back.)
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Re: Forum Software

Postby enk » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:38 am UTC

wing wrote:Prosilver is disgusting. There's a reason chat text has the name of the speaker PREFIXED - so we know who's talking before we read the text. Forums are supposed to be the same, but with fucking prosilver you have to scan all the way across the page to find out, and then scan back.)

It's just a matter of what you're used to. I use subsilver2 here and prosilver on a board I have with some friends. And I'm not confused! :)

Though if I HAD to choose which one was best..... subsilver. meh.
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Re: Forum Software

Postby Xanthir » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:05 pm UTC

I've had user experience with ubb, phpbb 2 and 3, and smf. I think I like SMF the best. I helped guide a forum through its startup, and though there are definitely some ways to set up an smf board that are really user-unfriendly, when you catch the right ones it feels really slick.
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Re: Forum Software

Postby ash.gti » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:55 pm UTC

Be a rebel, use something non-traditional, get Beast.
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