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New discussion board software

Joel writes:

"I think probably the biggest visible change will be that when you post something, you'll be able to provide a URL that your name links to."

Am I the only one that feels that this "big change" would take about 5 minutes to code? Maybe 10 minutes if you sipped on a cup of coffee?

What do you need to do anyway? Add another field called "PosterURL" in the database, then add code that will make it an <a href="[PosterURL]">[PosterName]</a> fragment of markup and insert that into the threads?

Hell, I could've finished that in the time I took to type this message.

What's the big deal?

Carnage & Green Goblin
Thursday, September 02, 2004

You're not allowed to post about it.  Your thread will be deleted.

muppet
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Just what the world needs - yet another duscussion board software.  How many wheels do we need to (re)invent?

Are there any why phpbb or php-nuke can't be used?

Ken Ray
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Err.. Ken, with all due respect, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.  The OP isn't creating new software.

muppet
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Funnily enough, since Joel mentioned this it may count as on topic and the thread not disappear (under the no talking about housekeeping rule).  In the unlikely event that's the case:

The reasons that Joel chose to write his own are set out in an essay "Building communities with software".  More to the point, I suspect that the main reason behind the upcoming change is to make sure that posts are by the people they appear to be.  ("Muppet" has been on the receiving end of this quite a lot recently).  Whilst not a big change technically, hopefully it might cut down on some of the sillier flamewars

a cynic writes...
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Anyway Ken, existing message board software kind of sucks.

Why doesn't someone make one with a tree menu for the threads instead of a flat list? I know I've seen it before, just not done very well and not used by many.

Also, there aren't as many options for an ASP/ASP.Net message board as there are for PHP. I'd welcome a few additions there.

Wayne
Thursday, September 02, 2004

>>More to the point, I suspect that the main reason behind the upcoming change is to make sure that posts are by the people they appear to be.<<

How would that help, instead of typing "muppet" in the full name box, I'll also type "http://muppets.url.com" in the URL box...

I think the change is meant to cut down on signatures in the posts.

  -tim

a2800276
Thursday, September 02, 2004

I suggested creating some sort of off-site accounting of valid posts by an individual, with some sort of post-specific signature in the URL, to authenticate posts by X person.  The thread was promptly deleted.

muppet
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Their have been a number of suggestions like that all falling victim to:

"My policy in the past has been that "off topic" includes any discussion of the forum itself, its design or usability. "

(from "Building Communities..." again).  Let's face it, it's touch and go whether this thread surivives.  Tim - re-reading the original article I'm afraid you may be right.  Ah well...

a cynic writes...
Thursday, September 02, 2004

"There" not "their", "survives" not  "surivives".  My typing's getting worse.

a cynic writes...
Thursday, September 02, 2004

tim: "I think the change is meant to cut down on signatures in the posts".

Exactly. There have been a lot recently, and I wonder if Joel is concerned with his PageRank being diluted, or others getting a free ride.

Given that your name will link to a URL, I guess that's the end of the email via the site feature, unless you specify your email address as the URL, which is unlikely. This is probably to eliminate spam via the forum and reduce the load on the server.

Nemesis
Thursday, September 02, 2004

"How would that help, instead of typing "muppet" in the full name box, I'll also type "http://muppets.url.com" in the URL box..."

Who says you could enter the resulting URL directly? You might have a GUID input field. The GUID translates to a URL serverside, that is returned on the page as a link under your name (where Joel has his "Fog Creek Software" tag. You would get the GUID by email.

Remember, for those that put in an email, Fog Creek can already discriminate multiple instances of the same handles (unless someone shared their email address). Getting the GUID proves access to the specified email inbox. URL's need to be unique, but that is a managable problem. Putting in a url without the GUID ) generates a request for a GUID linked to that URL.

Variant A: Instead of the GUID one could use a passphrase supplied by the user. Name+passphrase+url then results in a link to te url, and a s before url's are handed out on a first-come basis.
Advantage: no mailing involved, short latency
Disadvantage: still no proof of email address ownership (ok, inbox accessibility)

Variant B: Use the email field as discriminator.
Major disadvantage: everyone you send a mail to through the JoS system can now impersonate you.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, September 02, 2004

What in the world is going on here?  Will no one read the next sentence?

"It's a small feature that I'm hoping will have a big effect on the anthropology of the discussion group."

So:

1) he says the feature is small, not big
2) he says right here why he is doing it

Oren Miller
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Why not use phpbb or php-nuke? because they're both slow, bloated, over-done irritating pieces of crap with too many features for their own good. Quicker to write something simple and elegant yourself, than learn to configure crap like that into a state where it doesn't completely suck

Matt
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wayne said: "Also, there aren't as many options for an ASP/ASP.Net message board as there are for PHP. I'd welcome a few additions there."

I'm fascinated by this topic...I've written a phpbb-style board for ASP. It's fast as blazes and doesn't have a lot of the clutter you often see with those other boards...email me for a beta account.

Teller
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Plus I don't like it. How long before a "male/female" radio button is added?

And "age". Maybe "Zipcode".

The possibilities...

Alex
Thursday, September 02, 2004

Interesting discussion.  Slightly divergent, but a few years back, I decided to 'roll my own' discussion forum because at that time the alternatives weren't as fully-featured as they now are, and also because there were things I wanted to implement which most if not all fail to offer (still) such as unified topic views and the like.

It's still running, albeit in the context of a call centre forum - www.callcentrevoice.com if you're interested (and I always appreciate any comments from other developers as it helps me plot the path forward) - but plugging that isn't what I want to do here.

No, I am thinking of creating a community dedicated to the merry band of developers who actually have created (or plan to create) their own discussion software.  Talking mainly over issues that crop up regularly - such as categorisation, optimisation, look & feel, etc. plus the softer-skills side like moderation and promotion.

Can I poll to see if anyone would be interested in such a site?  It'd be a free resource for everyone - no commercial intent as to be frank it's a hobby rather than a profession.

OK, back to lurking for now... ;)

John

John Clark
Friday, September 03, 2004

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