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  1. #1
    Non-Member Siltrince's Avatar
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    Free forums have a negative effect on the identity of your website ?

    Hi people , I've been thinking about all those free forums that you can find everywhere.

    I think these forums are not good, and I don't mean this in the way that they are coded bad or don't do what they should do , but they are getting overused.

    Those forums are poping up everywhere and this has I think a bad effect on established webforums who also use this free forumsoftware.

    What I actually try to say is ... Your forum will not stand out if you just use the basic skin , basic functions cause there are thousands of boards EXACTLY the same.
    I know a fews people are probably thinking that the content on the forum is most important but this content comes from users and you have to pursuede these people first to join your forum. It's also possible that I'm the only one who feels this way because I'm a design freak and normal users probably don't care how your forum looks like.


    note: yes I do realise this is a vBulletin forum but it has been adjusted enough so looks like its part of the rest of the website.

  2. #2
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure this is common sense. Hardly any professional sites use default forum skins/styles.

  3. #3
    Non-Member Siltrince's Avatar
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    Yeah it probably is , I'm saying this to the wrong people

  4. #4
    Degrading Gracefully PalmerB's Avatar
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    I totally agree. I have been to several forums that use phpBB. So many of them have the default subSilver skin. Some don't even bother to remove the phpBB logo and add their own. You don't have to know php or asp to change some images.

    I use InvisionBoard at Design Outpost and all I did was change the images in Paint Shop Pro then uploaded them. It's not rocket science and it makes your forum match the rest of your site. Sometimes I feel like I've gone to a completely different site when I visit other sites.

    Palmer

  5. #5
    ********* Poet X Q mano's Avatar
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    I also agree very much with this...

    It's not a long time ago since I discovered the virtues of joining forums, I've mostly overlooked them in the past.

    But since I've started looking into them, it really bugs me when I see the same design on a host of different forums. And when many of them aren't active at all, it really gives a bad impression. And that rubs off at the ones with the same design, but are actually active...

  6. #6
    Ex-SitePointer silver trophy
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    This isn't a phpBB issue. It is a forum issue. Actually, its a human nature issue. A lot of people don't want to put any time into developing their site. You have to spend some time and put some effort into your site. It's that simple.

    I also feel that this same rule can be applied to anything. Some bad xxx give a bad impress of an entire group of xxx. Its part of the world. It doesn't hurt forums more than it does anything else, really.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast antibob's Avatar
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    This is an interesting debate. My forum is running off of YabbSE (free) and I am very happy with it. I have taken some time to integrate it into my site and change a few icons to jibe w/ my site so that it does not just look stuck on. At the same time, anyone who has been to a yabbse forum will recognize this off the bat.

    One of the things I like about free BBS is that I can experiment with community building and have the support of the "MOD" community to customize my forum.

    I considered buying vBulliten but when I found that there are some very nice free BBS out there, I thought that I would try to get things rolling with YabbSE and make a decision on a retail board later.

    Now I can imagine moving from YabbSE (free) unless it was to phpBB2 (free).

    you can check out my forum here: http://www.diywebserver.com/yabbse/

    thanks,
    ab

  8. #8
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    IMHO, a forum being run on a basic unmodded install of a free script is almost always not a serious venture. Not that it can't be a nice community, but it shows that the owner of the site hasn't invested much time, thought, or resources into the site. I do use phpbb in a couple of sites I run, but I've also taken the time to customize the templates, change colors, do some custom graphics, so it is at least evident that some time and thought was put into it. I'm also starting to rely more heavily on vBulletin. None of the freebie scripts stands up to it. Not even close.
    Peter T Davis

    I buy forums - PM me if you're selling.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Although we're currently useing the free IBF, we have had a skin made just for our site, so I don't think it looks like "every other forum". <<ADVISOR EDIT: Keep self-promotion in your signature.>>
    h
    Last edited by mjames; Mar 9, 2003 at 11:40.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru
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    I use vBulletin on my site and I was never satisfied with just changing the logo and I couldn't figure out how to integrate it well into the feel and look of the rest of my site, so I bit the bullet and spent $25 on a vb skin and I couldn't be happier!

    My member numbers have since increased at a steady rate.... coincidence?!?!

    Josh

  11. #11
    ********* Shroom mydster's Avatar
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    I find Invision Power Board even better than vBulletin in certain cases. I installed that forum software and skin it up to suit my client's need. Anyways, who wouldn't think that putting an unskinned forum for use is unpro?

    As for a free forum script having an effect rather than buying a forum script; who cares? I sure don't... it's a forum, not a car.

  12. #12
    oh hello. JoshU's Avatar
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    This isn't a phpBB issue. It is a forum issue. Actually, its a human nature issue. A lot of people don't want to put any time into developing their site. You have to spend some time and put some effort into your site. It's that simple.

    I also feel that this same rule can be applied to anything. Some bad xxx give a bad impress of an entire group of xxx. Its part of the world. It doesn't hurt forums more than it does anything else, really.
    I agree... This is not a phpBB issue. Like iFroggy said above it can be anything. Look at how Yahoo looks with their directory. Since the first days of directory sites everyone has copied the way Yahoo did theirs.

    Just because other people don't customize phpBB dosen't mean you can't. Same with any other script that is used alot (especially cms systems like PostNuke).

    I use phpBB for Developer Cube and we have changed all of the colors, added a navigation bar, added a graphic header, and even added Flash to the logo. Our next step will be to add custom buttons.
    Josh Ulfers

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict Athorn4941's Avatar
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    I first started using phpbb then i used phpnuke for my site. And then I got frustrated about how hard they were to mod.
    So I reinvented the wheel and wrote my own portal and forum from scratch with php and has almost all the features that the people on my site requested.

    I don't know to me the forum on your site should be a personal thing that you know the ins and outs of it.

  14. #14
    SEO Link Building Master I, Brian's Avatar
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    Your forum will not stand out if you just use the basic skin
    Same applies to vBulls and co as well.

    I have to agree, I'm very happy with YaBB SE. One of the great things about it is that you only need to know a little HTML to actually customise the template - whereas for php.bb and vBull's you need to be on the close side of being a php programmer just to change basic colours.

    YaBB SE is free, has great support, and I'm constantly amazed they haven't commercialised the product.

    So in the end it's not free BBs that are the problem at all - it's unimaginative use of any that remains the issue.
    Internet Business Forums - free business help & advice

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict
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    vBull's you need to be on the close side of being a php programmer just to change basic colours.
    That is not even close to being true. You just plug the color code into the admin CP. As for the rest, it's flat-out HTML.

  16. #16
    Ex-SitePointer silver trophy
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    I don't know if its "not even true." Its just an opinion.

    As far as phpBB, I customized subSilver virtually 100% a couple days ago and it only took me an hour and a half or so. Just have to go in the CSS file and change everything and sometimes change and check, etc. Just takes a little patience, a little knowledge and not much else.

  17. #17
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't think integration problems are per forum specific, meaning you can't single out a certain forum software because they all have to be customized. I am still working on getting my IPB templates to look nice.... It just takes work.

  18. #18
    Ex-SitePointer silver trophy
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    Yeah, exactly. The "knowledge" I speak of is software specific. Each forum software requires you to learn a little bit before being able to customize it and the best way to learn is to do it.

  19. #19
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    It should not be about free v. pay.

    Linux is free. Apache is free. PHP is free. MySQL is free. OScommerce is free.

    Being free does not make something unprofessional.
    Last edited by aspen; Apr 27, 2003 at 11:50.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  20. #20
    i'm a girl silver trophy Toni's Avatar
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    The first thing you need to do is change the logo file on any forum software...otherwise it confuses many visitors.

  21. #21
    Degrading Gracefully PalmerB's Avatar
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    I wonder if your typical visitor has any clue whether your forum cost money or not. I think the biggest mistake is not making it match the main pages of your site.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Member alight's Avatar
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    I'm Impressed

    Hello,
    I'm new to this forum. I only subscribe to a few forums and do it selectively. Translation: I've signed up with quite a few forums, then, for various reasons, narrow down to a few where I feel I can both learn and share.

    As a result I belong to a couple of small community forums (e.g. VisorCentral) and a couple of large ones (e.g. Lockergnome).

    I must say, I'm really impressed with SitePoint (I think I remember you from earlier days). This is an exceptionally nice board.

    One of my biggest problems with boards is the same complaint I have with a lot of web logs - can't read the type. Then, to make it worse, posters decide to overcompensate with giant, glaring fonts sizes that are blinding. Add that to giant avatars and animation and, no matter the quality of the content, I gotta' get out of there.

    I dropped into this thread to get some ideas. I have a fiarly active web site that has been going and growing for well over three years. I'm considering experimenting with a second community-oriented member only site. My current site is hosted on Windows and I want to learn Unix/Apache with another host.

    vBulletin may be the way to go.

    Thanks very much.


    P.S. nice smilies (you've probably noticed, there are some really primitive and downright ugly ones out there - why bother?!)


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