A few suggestions for the forum

Sheepings

Senior Programmer
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Messages
277
Location
UK
Programming Experience
10+
I thought I'd put a few suggestions together, and put them inside one topic, but to keep it uncluttered, I will bullet them and briefly explain what each suggestion is underneath each bullet.
  • Personal Messenger Access : Give back personal messenger to all users or users who belong to a post based group. Just like it was suggested here
There really is no reason for the option to engage in personal messenger dialog to be disabled. As I explained on the link above. Users profile privacy settings allows you to control who can message you. If you set Start conversations with you: to People you follow, this will disable all users from being able to message you unless you are following them. (I believe admins are exempt from this rule, and if they're not, this should be configurable from the admin back-end.) I'd imagine, there should also be an option to set all user profile fields to use this option by default?
  • Auto Code Tags : Adding some simple checks to the post template file to check if a post contains an array of different code snippets, and if it does, it encapsulates those lines within code tags automatically.
Editing the main template for posting content should be relatively easy to do. If the posting template can check whether or not a specific line contains any variations of text which could be construed as code, it will then wrap that line in code tags automatically. This reduces the load on moderator actions where they need to edit such posts. When the board gets bigger, I'd imagine more people will likely be reporting topics for not using code tags; thus also reducing the amount of future reports moderators will receive. A feature like this is relatively easy to create and also fairly lightweight if created correctly. As it stands without a feature like this, I tend to not reply to topics where the OP has not inserted code tags, but this is down to the horrible readability of the un-formatted indentations. But that's just me.
  • Reputation For Correct Answers And Helpful Posts : Add a reputation point scoring system for developers
While I am aware of the like system on this forum, It's not quite what I had in mind, and its not like its actually used much or serves much of a purpose apart from a communicational way of agreeing with a post. Reputation points give developers a sense of purpose when answering topics. Rather than just aimlessly answering topics for the sake of it. (Which is what I do), but in my experience while working on other boards, reputation systems can encourage other developers to participate in topics for a reputation status kinda like ranks.

It also gives developers an opportunity to compete for reputation points on a reputation leader-board. It adds a sense of purpose, a reason to post, but also a reason to post a decent answer which can be rewarded by one positive reputation point per each user who agrees with a given answer. Any user should and would be able to add a positive reputation point for any post that gives clarity and most importantly; a solution to a OPs problem. These systems do encourage developers to not only participate in the system and the forums, but they also encourage developers to put more effort into their replies.

On the downside, these systems tend to need a slight bit of moderation if you allow negative reputation points. Some malicious users may smite another user by down-voting (negatively lowering their reputation) a users replie(s) simply because they don't like that user or a reply they received from a user. While these are trivial problems, they can be ironed out, by adding rules to how often a user can smite another user in a row and in a given time-frame. Admins and moderators should be able to reverse any reputation change to what it was before it was changed. Users who abuse the reputation system can have their permissions rescinded, so they can no longer access it.

As an aside note, allowing negative reputations is not something I am in favour of, as it can also make some people hostile, feel judged, or made feel they're being made a fool of for adding a misleading answer to an OPs topic, and they're less likely to participate in such system. It is also my personal opinion that a user giving a wrong or misleading answer, should be made aware of their mistake instead of being smite'd by the reputation system. Systems that operate in this way tend to work best from what I've experienced. If this is something which may be considered, there is a mod already available for this board and it looks pretty good. There is a cost of $20 for this mod, but I think it would work well integrated on this website. If you'd be willing to install and test it, I'd be happy to send you a donation to cover the cost of it. ;)

Let me know if any of the above needs any clarity?
 
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