My plan

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The_One
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Post by The_One » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:42 pm

I thought this deserved its own thread, and it may also turn out to be quite a long post. So, here we go...

Ok, everyone keeps on going on about the website: how we need one, where's the content etc etc. As you are probably well aware, I volunteered to design and maintain a website for TGU, with the intent of getting it off the ground this Summer. Now, let's just be clear, I still intend to do that, I've just had a lot on my plate recently.

Well, Crook got me thinking with his post in the other thread, and in a conversation on ICQ. He got me thinking about the questions "what is TGU?" and "what is it for?" The way I see it, we've never really had a proper website, and TGU has basically only ever been a community - *that* is its strong point. In all my years of coming to TGU, I've only ever visited the forum - even when we have had a website.

So, why not combine the two? Why don't we make the forum the website? And the website the forum? What we need is some kind of total integration. I seriously believe this is the way forward for TGU. Then, I started looking at ways we could achieve this, and it's blatantly obvious that doing such a thing with UBB Classic (our forum software) is off the cards. What we need is new forum software, which we've been needing for some time anyway, that will allow us to integrate the forums with the site. A change in software would also give us the excuse to give the forums a much needed make over - and the whole thing would just make the place look more stylish, and up to date.

Now, please bear with me, we're still only at stage one here ;) If we're going to upgrade, we might aswell do it properly, and the best forum software out there is vBulletin. Everyone's used these boards before, or at least visited a place using them - they're an absolute dream to work with. A license would cost us £82, and the move over should be fairly simple. I've already looked into doing it, and it really shouldn't be a problem.

Right, stage two. Once we're up and running on brand spanking new forums, we can integrate a website into them. vBadvanced is pretty much the best way to do this. If you visit the website, you'll see what is possible. This website here, http://www.avforums.com/index.php - even though it's not very well laid out - can show you a review system in action. As you can see, reviews and articles can be posted in a dedicated reviews forum, then they simply appear on the front page of the website. Thus, people can easily see the latest reviews from the front page of the website, go and view them, and comment on them after. I personally think that people would be more inclined to post articles or reviews if all they had to do was post a new thread. The latest news can also be done in a similar fashion. See what I'm getting at here? Simply by having a forum and using it, we are generating content for the website all the time. No longer are they two separate entities, they are one and the same thing! This vBadvanced software is free, by the way.

I was talking this over with Crook, and we're both in agreement that this is the way to go. If we were going to do this, the stages would go something like this:

1) Buy a vBulletin license
2) Download and install vBulletin on the server
3) Play around with it, come up with a design we all like - as an aside, the default vBulletin design is very similar to what we've now got in D'HUB
4) Shut TGU down for a day or two, and move the database over to the new forums
5) Stick 'em back online so the members don't get twitchy
6) Install vBadvanced, and work on that whilst the forums are running - can't see a problem with this
7) Once everything is in place, we see how people feel about getting some content together, now that there actually is a website for them to get content to instantly

You see, the beauty of all of this is, the website will always have something fresh on it, even in dry spells.

Now, if you guys go for this, I'd be willing to set everything up, and do the move. However, I don't want to be stepping on anyone's toes, especially TBS's. Now, it is possible to do the migration to the new forum without actually having to touch any admin panel in UBB, or having to physically edit anything in this forum. The script will simply *read* the relevant information from this forum, and then build its own database from that. But, as I say, I don't want to put Paul out of a job, unless this is all cool with him.

Otherwise I think that's just about it. I hope you like this idea, and will go for it, as it would solve so many problems in one fell swoop.

Thanks for listening!

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Crook
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Post by Crook » Wed Aug 10, 2005 1:14 pm

Sounds good, if the powers that be agree, we'll need £82. Thats 17 people to put a fiver in. I'm one.

bzb
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Post by bzb » Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:24 pm

I dont mind the outlay, although i do like it when peeps give me money.... ;)

I dont know the specifics of the forum or hardware requirements off hand, but i do personally prefer infopop stuff.
Ubb threads is based on a database and php as apposed to our current set up which is old so it might be worth looking at, although this can use php but as i recall it was disabled but i cant remember why.
We do have new options now as the newer server can do a little bit more than dear old raq88 could.

If you look at thegamingunion.co.uk index page you see the newest topics in general discussion? These are called 'content islands' and whilst i have not gone as far as making my own from what i gather from the instructions you can essentially use them to intergrate with a website in a similar way as shown on that link (almost).
Paul would be better to ask cos he knows a bit more about what we got and how to customise it, but he is out of the loop until he wants to come back.
If you wanna have a look at the cp for this forum, Rich, and the options it has it can be arranged. FUCK THE FORUM UP AND I WILL KILL YOU [img]tongue.gif[/img]
It would be £88 less cost if we can at least experiment with what we have to see if its a viable scheme.
Even a mock up might inspire a few peeps to get there wallets out.

Im gonna point Tex down here as he knows stuff about stuff.

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The_One
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Post by The_One » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:10 pm

Yes, we could botch something together with what we have - although it wouldn't be as good, and it would take a hell of a lot longer, and require far more effort to get off the ground.

vB is far more customisable, and is the best forum software available for a reason. Trust me, anything an Infopop board can do, vB can do better. I would have to check with Tex, but I really don't see any problem with this new server running it - he was at one point suggesting us using phpNuke, which I know for a fact is one of the most server intensive scripts you can use.

I personally think my idea is about our best option - it might cost us a tiny bit of money, but the results will be worth it. Rather than us doing a half-arsed job with what we already have (which isn't much).

I'll put a tenner in, no problem. You said yourself, bzb, in the other thread that you'd pay someone £100 to have a website done by the end of the week. Well, instead of paying me, put the money into some new forum software, and I can have everything up and running next week.

Obviously, I don't want you to rush into anything - but I have thought about this, and I've come to the conclusion that this is the way forward, and it's about our best option.

By the way, here is a site I frequent who use a similar setup (I only just noticed what they were doing after having researched it for this proposal): http://www.echonetwork.net/

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Shadow Reaper
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Post by Shadow Reaper » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:37 pm

Howdy, you may remember me as a moderator from certain other boards ;)

Well, the idea is good, but would it change the place a vast amount? Would it entice more people to visit, or come back? How do we bring back old members who were dissatisfied, and new ones who could use the boards? Should we advertise possible space for MODs, communities, guilds, clans etc etc? The boards were the best (IMHO) when the homeworld MODs were up. Now they've pretty much gone, and HW2 is either on the Relic boards or gone to oblivion.

Of course i'd hope it would work, but you can't be totally sure of somethings effect until its applied. In the end I think another possible way of bringing in a number of new/old members, is down to bringing in MODs, or game boards, such for CS, WOW, Galaxies, HL2 etc etc.

I think a website would certainly be an improvement, but would it solve all our problems?

Another thing is that i've actually got all favourite links to the boards (so Political Discussion didn't actually go down for me ) Therefore I wouldn't look at a website at all, unless it was something that was really worth the time, or contributions could be made to it. However, thats probably just me, I dunno how many ppl have direct links to specific forums.

Though, i'd be willing to put a fiver in, just to see the effects, which would hopefully be positive.

Soz if it doesn't make total sense, got a bottle of rather strong ale from Yorkshire by my side.

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The_One
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Post by The_One » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:59 pm

I'm not trying to say it would solve all our problems, but it's a start.

What this plan does, is update and add more to TGU. If we have a brand new website and forums, I think that will inject a bit of enthusiasm into the community, and attract old and new members alike when they see it.

See, the problem is, we'll only ever get content if we have a website on which to display it. Until that happens, people won't be enthusiastic to help. Believe me, I intend to fill TGU's pages with content once we're all up and running. But right now, all TGU has to show for itself is an aging forum.

Also, updating and maintaining a website will be a lot easier if all we have to do is post a new thread to do so. You see, this is a start - and we can work from here.

And Reaper, by looking a the the forums, you WOULD be looking at the website ;)

bzb
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Post by bzb » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:14 pm

I have to post this
Texas Ranger (22:13) :
i am currently locked out because i tried to post illegal code
Cant get the staff [img]tongue.gif[/img]

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Shadow Reaper
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Post by Shadow Reaper » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:16 pm

Ok, you posted your argument quite well there.

Either way i'd still back it, for the hope it would do something.

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Texas Ranger
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Post by Texas Ranger » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:26 pm

http://www.invisionboard.com/ used here http://www.maxbashing.com/forum/

http://www.phpbb.com/ used a few places

http://bashscotland.v1s.co.uk

uses phpnuke platinum edition i have security sentinal enabled which ties it down fairly tight ...
(i am barred from site as i tried to paste some phpcode in to forums [Roll Eyes] )

www.techgfx.com is site for phpnuke platinum

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Texas Ranger
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Post by Texas Ranger » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:34 pm

i could set up a site with platinum to play with & test

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