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Found 52 results

  1. You'd be forgiven for thinking that RSS feeds belong in some bygone era of the web where Netscape was king and getting online meant listening to your modem scream at your phone line. There's certainly a lot of newer web technologies to share data, but the venerable RSS feed still has a place. Invision Community has supported RSS feed importing and exporting for a very long time now; however, it has been restricted to just Forums and Blogs. Importing an RSS feed is a simple way to populate content on your community. It's even a great way to share content to and from your site without creating blocks or writing custom code. Invision Community 4.5 now centralizes RSS feed importing, so it is available for Forums, Blogs and Pages. You can now choose to import an RSS feed to any Pages database. Better yet, there is now full support for image enclosures. RSS feeds have a special tag to note that the feed entry has an attached image. Lots of RSS feeds use this, such as the NASA Image Of The Day feed. Until now, this image has just been silently discarded. Now, it is imported as an attachment (so it can be moved around in the post or Pages entry). If the Pages database you are importing to has record images enabled, you can optionally import the enclosure as a record image which some template sets can use as a header image, just as our blog here does. But what about exporting enclosures? Happily, Invision Community 4.5 can now export the main content image of an item as an enclosure. This certainly makes the Gallery RSS feed export a lot more useful! While these updates are not revolutionary, they certainly make RSS feed importing and exporting much more useful. We've been asked to support RSS feed importing into Pages for quite a while now. What do you think of these changes? What will you import into your Pages databases? Просмотр полной статьи
  2. scanner

    [ENG] 4.5: Club Pages

    Without a doubt, clubs is one of the most popular features added to Invision Community in recent times. Invision Community clubs allows you to run sub-communities on your site. We've seen clubs used in many ways, including managing geographically local groups and clan groups for large gaming sites. This popularity drives us to keep incrementally improving the feature set for clubs, and Invision Community 4.5 is no different. One thing that was raised many times was a way for club owners and leaders to create simple pages with general information members need. Happily, in Invision Community 4.5, this feature now exists (and more!) In addition to the title and visual editor that allows full formatting of the page content, there is an additional visibility setting which allows owners and leaders to define which types of members can view the page. This is perfect for showing a page that is only visible to non-members which informs them how to join the club. Likewise, it is a great way to display moderation guidelines to the club moderators only. Of course, owners and leaders will always be able to see all pages added to a club. Additionally, once a page is added to a club, a tab will be added alongside others, and the page can be re-arranged just like the rest. Using this, owners and leaders can create an alternative unique index page for the club. default-view.mp4 This is just one of many club improvements finished for Invision Community 4.5. We'll be talking about these in a future blog! Просмотр полной статьи
  3. Invision Community has come a long way over the past five years. We've added many new features and invigorated the front-end user experience to keep it current and in-line with modern interfaces. One area that has remained largely the same is the Admin Control Panel. When we released Invision Community 4.0 back in 2014, the Admin Control Panel was updated but has stayed relatively dormant since. But that's all about to change with the upcoming release of Invision Community 4.5! The Admin Control Panel in 4.5 has received a substantial update, resulting in a modern color scheme and a clean, minimalistic design. We felt that a lighter, more open design allowed the content more space and to feel less crowded. The dark grays have been replaced with shades of blue and aqua which closely reflects Invision Community's new branding, while other colors have been lightened and saturated. Along with the new color scheme, the overall layout of the ACP has intentionally been kept similar to the existing version, resulting in a design that feels surprisingly familiar yet refreshingly new at the same time. We hope you've enjoyed this small sneak peek into Invision Community 4.5 and we look forward to introducing you to some more new features in the upcoming weeks! Просмотр полной статьи
  4. “Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group. We all seek success with our Invision Communities. For too many of our communities, however, we yearn for success but we don’t plot the correct navigation to get there. We haphazardly pursue our strategies, trying new ideas and hoping one will stick. It’s time to take a step back and assess your goals in context to your growth. It’s important to understand the stages of the community lifecycle, and to strategically match your goals with your growth sequence. Alicia Iriberri and Gondy Leroy of Claremont Graduate University surveyed over 1000 publications across multiple disciplines including computer science, information systems, sociology, and management in their seminal 2009 research paper “A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success.” Their research forms the foundation for most modern community management, and in their paper they write, “The impact each design component has on the success of the online community shifts depending on which life-cycle stage the online community is experiencing.” The right strategy at the right time will maximize the impact. Every community goes through a community lifecycle of four stages: Inception, Growth, Maturity, and Mitosis. Setting the wrong objective can not only fail, it can even backfire and destroy goodwill. Here are classic examples of good strategies that go wrong because of poor sequencing: A new community with no activity that builds dozens of new boards A growth community not fostering a unique sense of community A mature community not establishing strong codes of conduct Architecting a community is very different for the first ten users versus the next thousand users. New priorities come into play, community concerns will shift and strategies need tochange. As a community manager, ensure the strategy is appropriate and reflects your community lifecycle to ensure maximum impact. Let’s take a look at proper goal settings for each stage of the community lifecycle. Inception Inception is the start of your community. You’re bursting with energy, enthusiasm, and big ideas. While your Invision Community is full of potential, your goal is to turn your vision into reality: Members: Focus on nurturing a core team of members. Your goal is to get 10 – 12 superusers to consistently engage and support the community vision. Promotion: Your community won’t contain enough content to attract visitors through search engines, so you’ll have to rely on personal referrals, word-of-mouth, and direct acquaintances. Content: Focus on building expertise on core content areas that will make you stand out. You want to be the best in one subject. You’ll need to generate much of the content programming yourself, which should focus on functional value. Organization: Establish organizational parameters for the community, define the vision with stakeholders, write your Terms of Use, and validate the community concept. Community: The community is heavily centered around the community founder at this stage, so set the right tone and lead through example. Growth Growth is where the magic of community happens, balanced against the development of more explicit and formal conduct. Members: Shift your focus from nurturing individual users to creating a workflow that can systematically welcome new members. Promotion: You should be proactive with your self-promotional activities to build community awareness such as email marketing, social media, or mailing lists. Content: Content will now be a mix between self-generated and co-created. You want to highlight community content by others to encourage community expertise. When you create content yourself, you want to start including emotionally-driven questions that connect users. Organization: Measure specific metrics for organization goals, highlight community health and successes, secure funding for ongoing budget and team. Community: A unique sense of community is cultivated at this time with shared experiences and language between members. Members feel excited to be a part of your community’s growth. Maturity Maturity is when your Invision Community becomes critically acclaimed and well-known in the field. Even though your community looks to be run smoothly, there are still areas to address so your community doesn’t stagnate: Members: There should be a clearly defined process and welcome guide for onboarding new members, an established pipeline that constantly brings on new superusers, and a rewards program that recognizes members for different types of member journeys. Promotion: Your site is well-known, so the search engine traffic and content within your community is enough to bring in new users. You can optimize your SEO at this point. Content: Almost all content is user-created at this point, which means your focus needs to shift to content recognition, organization, and moderation. Highlight the best community content; categorize and properly tag new content so the community stays organized; and scale your moderation to handle the size of your community. Organization: The community is a key part of your organization’s larger success and supports multiple areas of the business. Be a strong internal advocate for the community and align your community with your organization’s new profit areas. Community: Superusers not only have the privilege of creating their own content for the community, but they’ve stepped up as mentors and moderators. Your community has a strong culture that’s reinforced by members. Mitosis Mitosis is the stage when your Invision Community grows beyond its original mission, potentially splitting off into new subgroups. Many communities stagnate at this point with falling engagement and plateauing registration, but you’re catching onto the next big trend in your industry to grow into. Members: New member registrations flatlines because you’re tracking with the industry. Your goal is to continue to delight members with new forms of omnichannel engagement like regional meetups, video conferencing, and headline conferences. Promotion: Your community self-generates organic traffic. Your promotion should shift from trying to advertise for yourself to exerting influence with industry partners as a trusted leader in the field. Content: Members can find the most comprehensive set of resource documents and discussion on your community. Your goal is to distill the knowledge into the best tips and guides for newcomers to obtain the most accurate information as quickly as possible. You should also archive areas that no longer receive activity while finding growth topics in your field. Organization: The community is a critical part of all business operations and integrates into all relevant workflows. You should build custom metrics to measure results, help determine new investment decisions, and streamline business efficiencies at the organizational level that benefit the community. Community: Your community becomes an incubator of new sections in a controlled manner for potential spin-off. Superusers control and moderate their own areas of the site like Clubs or Blogs. Online communities evolve through distinct stages of the community lifecycle. At each stage, the needs and activities of members require different tools, features, and community management. Certain strategies are more impactful when they coincide with the right sequence. Invision Community makes it easy to get started with a technology platform packed with features that every community manager can start using right away. But how you get to the first ten users, to the first thousand posts, or even to one billion likes will be a journey that’s truly your own. Share your success story of Invision Community in the comments below. Did you make any rookie mistakes that you wish you knew beforehand? What are some strategies that you’re pursuing right now, and why do you think it’s an impactful decision for this stage of your community’s lifecycle? We’d love to hear your journey along the community lifecycle. Просмотр полной статьи
  5. Two headlines caught my eye today as they appeared side by side in my newsfeed. On first glance, they seemed contradictory. The first was that the UK lost nearly 2,500 shops and stores last year and the second is that discount fashion retailer Primark has just invested ?70m in a new store in Birmingham. This new store covers 161,000 sq ft over five floors and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio, a gents hairdresser and a Harry Potter themed section. If the UK is closing thousands of stores, and a recent department store has just fallen into administration why would a brand invest ?70m in a new store? The answer is that they are not building a store, they are building an experience. It's clearly not enough to just stack products and open the doors anymore. You have to offer more to entice people in through the doors. This is why Toys R Us failed in the end. I maintain that if they had reduced shelf space and installed soft play, cafes and product demonstration areas, they would have had a chance at turning around their failing business. Primark has learned from other's mistakes. With themed "shops in shops" and child-friendly cafes, they are offering more than discount clothes. It is exactly the same as your community. Offering a space to facilitate conversation is often not enough unless you dominate your niche. Are you known for well thought out reviews? Perhaps you write valuable articles that get people to your site. Or you might be focusing on building an audience with a photo competition as Helen from The Dogly Mail has. What are you doing to encourage more people through your doors? Просмотр полной статьи
  6. In a move that surprised many, British cosmetics firm Lush has chosen to quit social media. With a combined following across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, Lush has a combined audience of over 1.2 million followers. Lush are being a little cryptic about its reasons but cite having to pay for visibility and getting tired of trying to produce content so just that algorithms will rank it highly. "Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead." It feels like sacrilege for a brand to come off social media, but I'm not surprised. Social media is about broadcasting more than it is about meaningful conversation. And now, even with a huge following, broadcasting doesn't get the same reach it did a few years ago with platforms pushing paid options more and more. Lush also targets a very young demographic that simply aren't using social media anymore. The firm said it was "cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush community". It remains unclear which direction Lush is going to take to facilitate conversations, but using an independent community platform like Invision Community should be considered. It cuts out any algorithm biased, money hungry platform. It opens up the conversation between the brand and its customers in a meaningful way, and the brand is completely in control of their data and what their customers see. At Invision Community, we're seeing more and more brands looking for a solution outside of social media. Perhaps this will accelerate the trend. Просмотр полной статьи
  7. Invision Community is used by some of the world's biggest game brands, proudly enabling gamers to connect with the creators of their favourite titles. These sites attract millions of visitors between them and thousands of posts are added daily because of their high profile. But what if you're just starting out, how do you convert casual visitors to members, and what's the best way to set up your community? I got talking to new customer Darrell, interestingly named Mr. Fierce God on our community. While you may expect that this portrays a fire and brimstone hothead, you'd be wrong as Darrell is one of the nicest people you'll meet. Darrell runs the Fierce Gaming Network and I was impressed by the way he's set up his site and wanted to share my thoughts on what he's done well. The first thing I noticed is that the forum index is not the home page for the site. For a gaming community that wants to focus on more than just user conversations, this is a good move. Let's break it down. A. The home page has multiple points of entry, and the sidebar menu unobtrusively offers short-cuts to various parts of the community. B. We have a large call to action to either login or register. This box also explains the benefits of registration clearly and enforces that registration is a very quick process. One optimisation that may be worth looking at here is to add the "Sign in with Facebook / Microsoft" buttons on the box to persuade even more to register right away. C. Fierce Gaming Network also makes great use of Clubs to segment their audience to specific software titles. Re-using instantly recognisable artwork as the club cover image will entice fans of those games to visit. Scrolling down a little shows the "Member of the month". As humans, we are drawn to faces instantly, and this humanises the site and "unmasks" some of the popular members, making the site less intimidating. Moving down a little more we see the "Our Picks" section which highlights the best content from the community. Our Picks is a great way to get visitors to engage with your content. Good use of cover images draws attention and makes it clear the kind of content you're going to read. Darrell makes great use of several lnvision Community apps to build the site, and has set it up well. New users get to the site see handpicked content, fellow members and the benefits of joining all in one place. It's a great start and I look forward to seeing Darrell's site succeed. Are you using Invision Community to build custom homepages for your community? Share them in the comments below. Просмотр полной статьи
  8. A successful community only needs three core elements to flourish and begin producing results. Your community will require some care and effort to flourish, but with the right strategies in place, you'll ensure that the value your community produces continues to increase as time goes by. Let's take a look at the three elements that make for a successful community. Content Content is the life-blood of any community. Content is what is posted by your members, and by your team. In the early days, you'll need to seed discussions and respond to customers posts regularly. It's important to demonstrate that you're actively involved with the community and encouraging others to post and extend discussions. Over time, user-generated content will begin to propel your community forwards. A great way to bring in new users is to write valuable articles using Pages, or the Blog apps. Writing about issues relevant to your community can help position you as an expert and will be shared widely by your community. You don't have to be an expert writer to create articles. There are free apps such as Grammarly to help polish your prose. A great way to quickly generate new content is to quote other news sources and offer your own commentary. For example, if your community is based around TV shows, right now you could easily create a new article for your site based on Game of Thrones by quoting a small part of two or three existing articles denouncing how the quality of writing on Game of Thrones has slipped and offer your contrasting thoughts. Just remember to link back to the original article and check the source site to make sure they are happy for this to happen. HubSpot has a great article on how to quote without stealing. Traffic To really start building your community, you need a steady flow of visitors from outside sources. The content you create will drive traffic into your community, but it sometimes needs a helping hand. Content from inside established communities can drive millions of impressions a month from search engines. It's worth making sure you're making good use of the built-in SEO tools. We recently performed a thorough review of how Invision Community optimises for SEO including adding features such as lazy loading. It is also a good idea to put your community link in your email signature, and share it widely via social media. A good number of our successful community owners have created a Facebook page, and a Twitter account for their community and share their best content over those social channels. Email is still a very powerful tool for creating an audience. We send out a monthly newsletter here at Invision Community, and articles we share with it are viewed at least four times as much as other articles. Engagement Once you have a steady stream of visitors consuming content on your site, you need to engage them to convert them from a casual visitor to a registered member, and then beyond. The first step is to get your visitor to register. While we recommend you make many forums open for guest viewing, we do recommend that you ask for guests to register before posting. We recently added a new feature called 'Post Before Registering' that allows guests to reply and sign-up in one simple activation flow. Most members initially join for selfish reasons. Perhaps they have a broken iPhone and want to ask for help. Or perhaps they came to ask how to fix a code problem. Generally speaking, they do not join out of altruism and a strong desire to help others. To convert a one-time poster to a regular contributor can take some work. Ensuring the default notifications include email when a new post is made will help encourage the poster to return. You can also tag the member in other discussions you feel may be interesting to them. We recently added a few new engagement features that also showcases other interesting content in notification based emails. Taking the time to welcome the member, and showing them how to access the best from your community can go a long way to making your site stand out. Taking the time to focus on these three core elements will help your community grow and prosper. You may not see overnight results, but over time you will start to see a huge difference in visitors, registrations and returning members. That wraps it up for this article. We'd love to know your thoughts on our suggestions and any strategies that you've used in the past that have worked well. Просмотр полной статьи
  9. When I wrote my last entry, The Dogly Mail had just reached the 100 member milestone but since then things have grown impressively. The photo competition has proven very successful at encouraging new signups and we are now at around 1400 members picking up 15-20 new members a day. This is far better than I could have hoped for but there a few caveats… Not all traffic and content is equal In building website traffic I’ve realised that high member numbers are great and help to validate your ideas but member quality is far more important. I have been able to boost the member growth non-organically with a minimal Facebook ad spend in conjunction with the competition but we’re still trying to find those super contributors. The members we have are not yet invested in the site themselves and the sense of community that is required to be sustainable long term is still in its infancy. We have also found that with the opt-in mailing list, around 50% of the registered members are signing up for the newsletter during registration. This is encouraging to me based on the non-organic growth so hopefully, with more organic growth this will rise further. What are we doing to get higher quality contributions? We are collaborating with a vet on professional articles to give the site more credibility in the areas I am not an expert in and Andy is covering dog news where he has time. Hopefully, over the long term, this will help to improve the organic traffic to the website. With the articles, we now have high-end long-form content covered although I would like to get a more varied team of writers on board to broaden the appeal of the subject matter. We also have more fun commenting, likes and meme social interaction covered in the photo competition section. This leaves a gap in the middle for more serious user-contributed discussion and opinion and what ultimately will make or break the website. For this, we’re working on getting the blogs application ready for when we feel the traffic is sufficient to launch another area. When it’s ready we will slowly transition the ad spend towards the new blog section and forums to provide more balanced traffic coming to the site. We will also be able to promote the new sections via the newsletter. I am almost at the end of the school year so my time on the site should increase and I can get more involved with discussion topics to try and foster that sense of community. What else have I learned? Keeping people’s attention is not easy and once a member has left the site you need to work really hard to get them to revisit. It’s something I read a lot of on these forums so hopefully, Invision is working on this to help us keep people engaged. As you can see we’re still in the try lots of things to see what works stage but the learning experience is part of the fun. We were running AdSense ads and getting a little back from the spend we were doing ourselves but I feel at this stage it is counter-productive. We have decided to stop AdSense for the time being in order to concentrate on building traffic and the membership and will revisit the monetisation options once the site has grown. Not running the adverts has also given the site a substantial speed boost which will hopefully help us with organic rankings. If you’re running your community as a hobby you may not wish to spend anything on advertising to start and may prefer to slowly add to your website content. With so much competition for traffic online though this would be a very slow strategy for us for what I still hope to be a commercially viable micro business. On the current growth path, I hope to be profitable in 12-18 months and will keep you updated with the highs or lows along the way. Просмотр полной статьи
  10. scanner

    [ENG] 'UserBar'

    Do you recall that scene in Harry Potter where young Harry is sitting in his Uncle’s living room when hundreds of letters from Hogwarts burst through the fireplace, filling the room? Sometimes, when you log into the administrator’s control panel, it can feel a bit like that. As the administration control panel has evolved, there has been more of a need to display notifications, alerts and warnings to the administrators. There are several things which may require an administrator's attention which may show a notice on the AdminCP dashboard, a banner on the community, or send an email. For example: When a new version of Invision Community is released. A new member registers and requires administrator validation. A configuration issue is detected, for example if dangerous PHP functions are enabled on the server. There are items Commerce which require manual action, such as transactions pending manual approval or items to be shipped. Up until now, each such area would manage how these notifications show and are sent independently. In 4.4 we have introduced a new section of the AdminCP which shows all things which require administrator attention in one place, easily accessible from any AdminCP page. AdminCP Notification Menu Clicking on any of these notifications will take you to the relevant area of the AdminCP, or there is also a full-screen Notification Center which allows you to quickly take common actions such as approving members. AdminCP Notification Center While the best approach is to take the appropriate action (which will automatically dismiss the notification) so you always have an empty Notification Center, most notification types can be hidden, either temporarily on a per-notification basis by clicking the cross in the top-right, or administrators can hide all notifications of a certain type from their individual settings. Administrators can also choose which type of notifications to receive an email notification about. Notification Settings Each notification has a severity indicated by the coloured bar on the side and certain notifications can also show banners either across the AdminCP, or also on the front-end (to administrators). Notifications group automatically (so for example, if there are 5 members pending approval, you will see 1 notification rather than 5 separate ones) and where appropriate each administrator can choose if they want to receive a single email, or a separate email with each occurrence. Now you won't miss an invitation to Hogwarts, or anything important again. This is a blog about our upcoming Invision Community 4.4 release, due later this year. Просмотр полной статьи
  11. This month, we ask the team the age-old question: If you won a million dollars (or denomination of your choice), how would you spend it? The question was almost guaranteed to bring a raft of hilarious replies that showcase our amazing humour and wit. Once again, we fall short and instead worry about taxation and retirement. You can't give it away these days. Marc S I couldn't decide on whether to answer this with what I would 'like' to do with it, or what I would actually do with it, so figured I would answer both. [So you just upgraded to $2,000,000? geez - Editor] If it was just what I would like to do with it, then I would probably follow the F1 season around the globe for a few years until I got bored. I'm very much into the sport, and with the locations, it would make for some great destinations to visit in between the races. What I would actually do is pay off my mortgage, buy another 3 reasonably priced houses to rent out to others, and live off the investment. Given I would then have a constant income without doing much, I would then try my hand at starting a business. Not entirely sure what that business would be to be honest [How to understand people with strong accents? - Editor], but I'm not the kind of person who would be able to just retire, without it driving me to insanity. I know nothing of F1, so hopefully this is OK Jennifer Pay off all of my debts. Buy a house. Put away some in a nice savings account both for me and my kiddos. Buy a serious amount of shoes, and get a few cosmetic tweaks. Who doesn't love shoes? Brandon If I had a million dollars, I'd pay off debts, stash some money away for savings and to have a healthy cushion [You give your soft furnishings a health check? - Editor], and I'd probably use a good chunk of it for travel. There are a lot of places I'd like to see in the world still and travelling is expensive. I’d like to visit some of the top touristy spots in South America, like Rio, Galapagos islands, Peru, Machu Picchu, etc. I’d like to see Australia, Japan, China, Alaska, the northern lights in the Arctic, and I would like to make it back to Europe at some point, particularly to see more of Italy and visit Greece. It's where we first met. Daniel I’ll go with my sailing boat dream which is still is a thing for my retirement, but if I would get tomorrow $1,000,000 I would do it right now too. [How? You're not getting the money until tomorrow - Editor] Get a Katamaran and sail sail sail... depending on time and budget and people.. mediterran sea, caribbean sea, then around South America, US west costs , Hawaii, Philippines , India. Around Africa .. back to Mediterran Sea. Stuart If I had $1,000,000 tomorrow, I'd probably be fairly sensible [Boring- Editor] by paying off the mortgage and spending some cash on finishing renovating the house. Then I'd buy either a Mustang GT or a Tesla Model 3 Performance (I know, one is an eco-machine and one is a gas guzzler!). The remainder I'd split between savings and stock market investment. Mark H A million dollars….. well, the government takes about 1/3 of that first off, so after taxes you get ~ $650,000. With that I’d pay off the house and credit card, buy a reliable vehicle, then the rest goes in the bank. Would not have enough to retire, even at my age. [It wouldn't last 2 years? - Editor] But it would eventually make retirement easier. The fun answer. Jim I would pay off my mortgage, buy a 2019 Corvette ZR1 (plus pay off following speeding tickets) and probably go to Australia. Then save the rest for a rainy day or you know, retirement. Mark W I live in Sydney, so probably buy a small apartment and carry on as normal. [How small is your current apartment? - Editor] Good day. Matt I'm not a huge fan of travelling, but I'd like to see a little bit more of the USA. I've been to Los Angeles, Nevada, Las Vegas, New York and Virginia but I'd like to see more of the middle bit too. Definitely Miami and New Orleans. [Dude, you need to check a map to see which states are in the middle - Editor] I love my work too much to think about retiring but I'd put some away for when I do. I might give some to my family if they ask nicely and are reading this (hopefully they are not). Yes I can. Andy (Andy did not contribute this month, so this reply is 100% fictional) I'd be too depressed with the massive income drop to think about how to eek out such a pittance. Lindy (Lindy never contributes, despite being threatened with a fabricated answer) I'd probably invest in a gas-tech company, buy more cars I'll only drive 3 days a year and spend the rest in Vegas. Charles (Charles also never contributes, so this is also fabricated) Please do not say funny things about me. Charles also has edit permissions to this blog. So there you have it, that's how we'd choose to spend a cool $1,000,000. We'd love to hear how you'd spend your imaginary windfall. Просмотр полной статьи
  12. Once again, we hand over the reigns of our blog to client and friend to Invision Community Joel for another client view of our community suite. Today @Joel R tackles Activity Streams, and how to make them "your awesome". Activity Streams is one of the best new features of Invision Community 4 with more flexibility and options than ever before. It can be an amazing and easy way to dive into interesting and new content, constantly feed new content to your users, and uncover different parts of your community. Your community contains amazing content. Activity Streams empower your users to discover the awesome in your community! While earlier versions of the software contained New Content streams, they were pre-defined and shipped by default. Now, everyone from users to community managers to admins can create their own unique Activity Streams, customized for the needs of the community or your own browsing interests. These new options in Invision Community 4 give incredible power to both you and your users to discover new ways of looking at your content. You can reference Invision’s Guide on Activity Streams. Let’s take a look at all the different ways to strategically use Activity Streams. 1. Home Stream Make the Activity Stream your homepage! It’s a beautiful, automated, chronological stream of recent content that constantly replenishes as new content is posted. Rather than a blocky homepage that is literally stacked with blocks in a chunky mix-and-match, you can offer a blended homepage that unifies all of your content into one continuous stream. It’s easy to browse, and you can still decorate the page with blocks in the sidebar and hot zones. To make the Activity Stream your homepage, go to the ACP > Applications. Set System as the default app by clicking on the ? star. Then open up System, and make Content Discovery the default module by clicking on the ? star. Bedlington.co.uk uses “All Activity” as its homepage. Look who just moved into town! 2. Default Stream The default Activity Stream is always one the most significant links in your entire Invision community. After the homepage, the default Activity Stream is usually the most popular page to which returning users will consistently use. On some Enterprise boards, the default Activity Stream drives up to 20% of the initial clicks from repeat members. It’s no wonder why. The default Activity Stream is the portal to the rest of the website and easily shows recent content. But how many of us have customized or self-critiqued it? Review your default stream and filter for the primary content you want to display. Make your best stream the default stream. 3. Content Streams By default, Invision Community ships with a handful of global streams. While those are appropriate for a new community, they aggregate all content in the community. This can be problematic if your community emphasizes one content type over another since all content is mixed together and content types with high volume can overwhelm less popular types. For example, a recent upload of IP.Gallery images can flood the Activity Stream with new images, pushing discussion and blog posts too far down. One thing you can do is to create new Activity Streams per content type or exclude certain content types. Make separate streams for Forum Topics, Gallery Albums, Blogs, and more depending upon your community. This will delineate content and makes it easier to navigate exactly what you want. And even within content types, you can filter down to specific boards or categories. You can create special streams specifically for Introduction or New Member boards; Gallery images and albums, so they don’t clutter up your primary stream; or Club discussions open to all members. 4. User Streams One of the most creative ways to use Activity Streams is to show content from specific users. This can be strategically used to create streams for specific users or accounts: staff members, special contributors, or leadership accounts. You can also stealth stalk your most favorite IPS staff members! Create an Activity Stream of all recent activity, then each user can customize the stream to follow the people most important to them. Each user can track the members most important to them and survey a quick overview of those members’ most recent activity. Follow the most interesting users in your community. 5. Mobile Streams There are a couple of options that can help your stream be optimized for mobile. By default, the Activity Stream can be packed with information. You can include every detail of when a member registers, changes their profile photo, reacts to an item, and more. You can also show the Expanded view, which includes up to three lines of text. If your website receives a lot of mobile traffic, you should toggle on Condensed view. This streamlines the Activity Stream and packs more content items onto the viewport. In a typical smartphone, you may only see 2 – 3 items in Expanded View, but see 5 – 6 items in Condensed view. That allows users to see twice as much content, even on a smaller device. Pack more into less with Condensed view 6. RSS Streams For community managers who run an IPS community in support of an enterprise or organization, you can activate an RSS feed per stream. This allows you to push the content to your other digital properties. Turn a feedback and testimonial board into a showcase of product reviews; turn Q&A boards into a live stream of ongoing customer support; turn a New Customer introduction board into profiles of actual customers; and tap into the best parts of your community-generated content to fit into other parts of your support channels, brand marketing, and sales outreach. Leverage your passionate community elsewhere with Activity Streams, and its built-in feature of RSS feeds. Like most advanced features, learning to ‘surf the Activity Stream can be tough. The streams are usually tucked away into the menu or an icon. And many users are unaware that it exists! What your users will say when you introduce Activity Streams. That’s okay, just put on a life vest and hold on for dear life. Activity Streams are such an incredibly powerful and flexible tool, which is why I personally love it. You can slice-and-dice your community in any number of ways, and you gain an instant overview of the parts of the website that are most important, most engaging, and most interesting to yourself. Spend some time sharing a quick tutorial with your community. Show them where to view streams. Show them how to customize it. And let them discover the awesome in your community! Просмотр полной статьи
  13. Dealing with spam can be an annoying problem for community moderators. It's bad enough that our inboxes get clogged up with it daily. Invision Community comes with several tools designed to mitigate spam, and make it hard for spammers to get a foothold in your community. This short video takes you through several key areas: The Invision Community spam defense system CAPTCHAs Question and Answer challenges Group Promotion Flagging a member as a spammer Do you have any tips on dealing with spam or spammers? We'd love to hear them. Let us know in the comments. Просмотр полной статьи
  14. Who remembers the earlier days of the internet? Back when you popped your logo at the top left of your site and you were largely done? Invision Community has continually developed to account for all the new services that have been built during our 16 years. We now have social media sharing images, favicons and more to consider. Invision Community 4.4 also adds mobile application icons, Safari mask icons and data for an application manifest. Handling of these logos and icons was a prime candidate for improvement in 4.4. Moving our current options Step one for improving our handling of these images was to move our current options out of themes and to allow them to be managed suite-wide from a single area. You can still upload a logo image per-theme (which shows in the header area), but the rest of the options have now been relocated to a new area: Customization > Appearance > Icons & Logos. Adding new options After giving favicon and share logo management its own dedicated area, we took a look at enhancing the configuration options made available through the interface without requiring theme template edits. Multiple share logos You can now upload multiple share logos. If you elect to upload more than one share logo, Facebook and similar sites will generally either show a carousel to allow you to choose which logo to use when sharing, or simply use the first image referenced. Application icons You can now upload an image to represent your website which will be used to generate the "home screen" icons for iPhones and Androids automatically. Uploading a single image will result in several different copies of the image (in different dimensions) being generated, and mobile devices will automatically choose the best option from the list as needed. Safari mask icon You can also now upload a Safari Mask icon, which is used to represent your website in certain areas on Apple computers (such as on the "touchbar" of certain keyboards). This image must be an SVG image with a transparent background, and all vectors must be 100% black. Additionally, you can specify the mask color which is used to offset your image when necessary (e.g. to represent it as "selected" or "active"). Application manifest In order for devices to support the application icons that you upload, a file known as a web manifest must be generated and delivered to the browser. This now happens automatically, using details and icons specified in the AdminCP. Certain details, however, can be configured explicitly from the Icons & Logos page: Short name This is a short name to represent your site in areas with limited screen space, such as below your application icon on a mobile phone home screen. Site name This is the name of the site. The "Website name" setting is automatically used if you do not explicitly override it when configuring the manifest. Description A short description of your site Theme color You can choose a (single) color to represent the general theme of the site. This color may be used by devices in areas such as the address bar background. Background color You can also choose a (single) color to use as the background color for your site when the application is launched from a shortcut saved to the user's device home screen. Display mode Finally, you can specify the display mode your site should launch in. For our more astute designers and developers, you may have already realized that generating the manifest file lays the groundwork for future PWA (Progressive Web App) development and support. Additionally, some Android devices will automatically prompt users to add your website to their home screen now that a manifest file is generated by the site. Oh, and for the sake of completeness, we also generate the special browserconfig.xml file that Microsoft products (including Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, X-Box, and Microsoft-based mobile devices) look for when pinning sites and generating live tiles. There are no additional configuration options for this file - everything is automatically generated from the aforementioned options. The end result? Your community can now better convey, automatically, certain details to the myriad of devices out there that may be accessing your site, and you now have much better control over those details. You can more easily fine-tune the "little things" that help paint a complete picture of your web presence, and the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the future as standardization and adoption of PWA functionality improves. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4. Просмотр полной статьи
  15. Yet again, Joel hijacks our company blog for another generous slice of knowledge from the front-lines of administrating a successful community. Inspired by Invision Community client @Joey_M who discovered the emoji of serendipity and chief architect @Matt who literally knows everything about Invision Community in ACP Tips and Tricks, they both made me realize there’s always something to learn no matter your level of experience. You know how to post. You know how to react. You sometimes spice it up and make a poll. And for the most part, you and your users go about your forum lives with a secure sense of certainty and satisfaction that you know how to interact with your community. But what if I told you there’s a whole world of wonder at your fingertips, young grasshopper? Your Invision Community includes stars to navigate by; magical pictures that appear and disappear; and little yellow men who giggle, laugh, and sometimes roll over in delight. Here are 5 hidden tips to help you discover a little more of the IPS magic for you and your users. How do you know what you don’t know? 1. Click-and-hold Be sure to dazzle your users with this secret way of changing your content title. Change titles of your content items such as topic titles, album titles, and download files by using the click-and-hold strategy. Go to your forums and click-and-hold down the mouse over any topic title until you see that you’re able to edit the title. Surprise! Use this secret strategy as the perfect way to quickly mass edit titles. Click-and-impress your users with the click-and-hold strategy 2. Stars and Dots Active forum users jump around dozens of boards every day to stay involved. And within a loooong topic with many pages, you need a fast way to jump to the most recent unread topic. Before each topic is an icon: either a dot or a star. Clicking these icons will always jump you to the latest unread post, so you can quickly dive back into the conversation. Dot means unread; Star means you participated in the topic. My forum icon constellation tells me that I’m most compatible with a Capricorn. 3. Emoji Short-codes One of the newest features to be included in Invision Community is emojis. While there are ways to insert emojis from both mobile keyboards and the editor, you can also start typing “:thumbs up:” to reveal the secret emoji menu. Try it now in the comments of this article. Last person to give me an emoji thumbs up wins! Be a
  16. It's very easy to focus on a single metric to gauge the success of your community. It's very common for community owners to look at page hits and determine if their SEO and marketing efforts have paid off. Getting traffic to your site is only half the equation though. The most valuable metric is how many casual visitors you're converting to engaged members. Invision Community already makes it easy for guests to sign up using external services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. However, there has to be a conscious decision to click that sign-up button. For some, this may be a barrier too many. Invision Community 4.4 reduces this barrier by allowing guests to create a post to a topic they want to engage with. Once they have posted, they are asked to simply complete their registration. They are more likely to do this now they have invested in your community. This will be incredibly valuable when you consider how much traffic a forum receives from inbound Google searches. With Post Before Registering, you'll increase your chances of turning that inbound lead into a registered member contributing to your site. Let me take you through the feature and show you how it works. When browsing the community guests will see the ability to submit a post, with an explanation that they can post now and complete registration later. The only thing they have to provide in addition to their post is an email address. Posting as a guest This works in any application for new content (topics, Gallery images, etc.) as well as comments and reviews. It will only show when a newly registered member would be able to post in that area - for example, it will not show in a forum that only administrators can post in. After submitting the post, the post will not be visible to any user, but the user will immediately be redirected to the registration form with an explanation to complete the registration. The email address they provided will already be filled in. Registration form after posting as a guest At this point, the user can either fill in the registration form, or use a social sign in method like Facebook or Twitter to create an account. After the account has been created, and validation has been completed if necessary, their post will automatically be made visible just as if they had registered and then posted. If the user abandons the registration after they've submitted their post, an email will be sent to them to remind them to complete the registration. Email reminding user to finish registering Some Notes Invision Community already has a feature that allows guests to post as guests without registration if granted permission. That feature has not been removed and so if you already allow guests to post, the behaviour will not change. This new feature is only available when a guest can't post in a given area, but a member would be able to. The entire feature can also be turned off if undesired. If the area the guest is posting in requires moderator approval, or newly registered members require approval of new posts, the post will enter the moderation queue as normal once their account has been created. Third party applications will require minor updates to support this feature. Once your casual visitor has invested time in your community by crafting a post, they are much more likely to finish the registration to get it posted. If you have set up external log in methods, then registration only takes a few more clicks. This blog is part of our series introducing new features for Invision Community 4.4. Просмотр полной статьи
  17. This month, I thought I'd ask a trick question. "What is your favourite movie?" I fully expected to be told "but Matt, we work so hard on Invision Community, we don't have time to watch movies." just so I didn't have to complete this month's entry. But no. Apparently, most of our team have MULTIPLE favourites. Hmmm. And here they are. Jennifer Favorite movies are a pain to choose because there are so many great (and greatly terrible) movies out there. So I'm going to choose a few that I just really adore and explain why. So the first one is "Halo: Forward Unto Dawn". I have never played a Halo game in my entire life. I just find the movie intriguing and smooth. It has an amazing pace and of course there are aliens. It's also one of those movies that I can just put on when I don't feel like watching anything else but I want to watch something. The replay value for me is amazing. The Next one is a psychological thriller called "Pandorum" this movie is a thriller about a man that wakes up in a broken space ship that was on its way to another world. The way it's put together is amazing, the story is twisted and it's just an amazing watch. It's something that I can easily say was a quick favorite from the first time I saw it. I can never forget the lovely "Dredd" in this list of my favorite movies. Muricer for the win! It has all the elements of a great Sci-Fi plus Karl Urban and Lena Headey. I win all around on this movie. Plus, it's even better in 3D with the Slo-mo drug. While I can list more I'm going to round off my answer with 2 Series movies. "Tremors" and "Sharknado". What most of you don't know about me is that I'm a sucker for horribly trashy horror movies ("Zombeavers" is another favorite with the same reason as these two series). Scantly clad women, screaming, monsters, corrupt people and lots of blood. There is no better thing to watch. I love a good day of Monster Movies and beer. The trashier the better. When Mark Wade is challenged in a git review Marc I think I will go for 3 different points in time for favourite movies. One from growing up, one which is a classic IMO, and one more recent that I've enjoyed. Growing up, it has to be 'Labyrinth' staring David Bowie. It's the first movie I ever watched at the cinema with my parents, and one I can still watch to this day. I'm very much guilty of singing along to every song, and I'm actually banned from watching it anywhere near my wife as I say every single word in the script a split second before they say it. I think its safe to say I have seen it a few times. A classic for me would be 'Schindlers list'. To me this is one of the best movies ever made, and while I'm sure it will have been greatly adapted for a movie audience, it also shows what many went through during WW2 which are not so common knowledge. A great movie for children to sit there and watch who don't know about it, as it gets them asking questions that all children should ask and learn from. For a more recent movie, I quite enjoyed 'Sully: Micracle on the Hudson'. I generally like movies by Tom Hanks anyway, but I did particularly enjoy this one. Bonus recent movie - Baby Driver I really enjoyed. Great movie, and the star somehow looks familiar I'm sure 'ed' will find a suitable image to illustrate. Disapproving Wade Mark W Airplane. I must have seen it dozens of times, it never gets old, I quote it constantly... I just love it. When Wade is reviewing your branch Andy Zathura - Jumanji in space, no more words are required. When you're late reviewing Wade's branch Brandon This is a fairly challenging question to answer, as someone who watches a lot of movies. I own somewhere around 1500 DVDs/BluRays, though in recent years I've been buying fewer and renting more. A few of my top movies would include (in no particular order)... 1. The Matrix Series - while I've overplayed the series at this point, the story was amazing at the time and it had so many allegories to real life that were fun to think about even when you were done watching. 2. Doom - it was campy and silly overall, but a lot of fun. Karl Urban and The Rock together was a cool mix. 3. The One - I have always been a fan of Jet Li, but when this came out I thought the cinematography was awesome. The way they did the slow-mo movements was neat, and the story was quite unique. Plus, Jason Statham is awesome, and he was a supporting role instead of a lead. When you challenge Wade in a review Jim Morrissey The Beatles’ “Help!” has got to be my favorite movie due to the special place it holds with my family. My sister growing up was a huge Beatles fan and being the younger sibling, it kind of got forced on me but grew to be a fan as well. This movie, in my opinion, was my great due to the music (great album) and very dry comedy that is hilarious. Think I can recite each line of the movie as I’ve seen it too many times. It definitely isn't a movie set out to win any acting awards but if you haven’t seen it and like the Beatles, I would recommend it. When you get a list of 'recommendations' on your branch Daniel As Daniel Son I have to say Karate Kid
  18. You have probably spoken to us in support tickets and on our community forums, and you've likely seen our photos. But what about our workstations? What do they reveal about our personalities? Do none of our team have lights in their office? Mark H This is an old picture [Not as old as your Facebook photo -Ed], I now have a 4K monitor in the center, attached via Thunderbolt to my MBP. But that image was taken when I used my PC, a now-old EVGA x79 Dark mobo, i7 3930k, twin GTX 580's, and all watercooled. When I game, I swap out the leads so the PC can use all 3. At the moment I'm revisiting an old, but still apparently very popular game. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Where's the light switch? Marc S For my main machine I have a late 2014 iMac with 2 x iiyama external monitor, which I spend most of my day on. When out of the house or just generally wanting a break from the office, I have a MacBook pro. Great for what it is, but I hate sitting on a laptop [You're supposed to sit in front of it -Ed], so I'm generally found hiding away in my office. When I'm not responding to tickets from you lovely lot, I'm generally doing some of my own development. As a Windows developer primarily [That explains a lot -Ed], I have parallels desktop set up so I can work with visual studio and sql server as if they were native mac applications. I also spend a fair amount of time with Ableton live and Logic, where I play about with trance production, as its something nice to immerse yourself in during spare time. Who let the dogs out? Jim M The few, the proud, the Windows users of IPS [We only keep them so we can assign all IE bugs to them -Ed]. Love my two 27" Dell monitors. Plan to add a third eventually. I may also be a big Tom Petty fan. Our Tom Petty fan Matt M I switched from a desktop only set up to the new retina MacBook Pro last year. It's nice to work in the office with the LG monitors but have the flexibility of unplugging and taking the MacBook with me to work elsewhere [What? Like the garden? -Ed]. Clowns, Drug Lords and Funny Men Daniel It took hours to clean up for a picture. [This is literally all Daniel supplied as text for this month's blog. For example, he could have pointed out the little keypad thing shown under the right hand monitor which acts like an app launcher, but didn't. So thought I would -Ed] Precise angles and a lot of work to clean up Ryan My office is actually going through a slow renovation process so that it can double as an office as well as a studio, so this will all likely change in a few months (you can see color swatches for paint options on the left) [We can't see anything. You have an expensive Philips Hue set up but clearly never switch it on -Ed]. I'm currently working through a Late 2014 iMac Retina 5k, and apparently I'm one of the few that doesn't have any external monitors (I used to, but I find them cumbersome most of the time, so I took them down [Were you holding them up yourself? -Ed]). When working remotely, I use a 2011 13" MacBook Pro. My favorite thing, though, is the "poster" I have on the right - my father gave it to me for my thirtieth birthday this year, and it's actually a sheet of uncut one dollar bills (funnily enough, though, there are actually 32 rather than 30). Coke and Coffee Mark W I'm currently in the process of moving from the UK to Australia so I don't really have an office right now, but this is what my office back home looks like [it's always this tidy. He is obsessive -Ed]: Captain Raymond Holt Jennifer 2 x 32" inch curved Samsung Monitors a 4K Samsung Smart TV. Razer Chroma Keyboard, Razer Chroma Death Adder, Corsair Yellow Jacket Headphones and a really awesome PC. I am basically surrounded by screens [FYI, keep an eye on J.A.R.V.I.S, he has a Vision -Ed]. Tony Stark's first set up Stuart Up until this month my wife has been studying in Cardiff, so half of my time has been spent working on a dining table in our apartment [Can't wait to see how the table turned out, if you've spent a month on it -Ed]. Now, back home I have my desk set up with the worlds largest laptop [Dear reader, you have no idea -Ed](i7-4720HQ, GTX960M, 16GB Ram, 17.1" 1080p) connected to an external 22" 1080p monitor. We're still in the middle of restoration so my office is really the lowest priority buy my long term plans include a standing desk, Surface Book 2 (or similar) with twin external 4k displays. Those two PC towers aren't really used anymore (one is Windows Server 2008 which used to be used as a local file server, the other is my old gaming PC) We're huge fans of LEGO® Andy Like Mark I’m constantly on the move so my working environment tends to be wherever I can find that’s quiet with a good Internet connection. When I’m “home” though my office looks like this: [Seriously, switch on a light -Ed] Dark and moody, just like his coffee So there we go. We've exposed our team's set ups, expressed our concern about a lack of lighting in many offices and found out who had to tidy up their desk before taking a photo. We'd love to see your workstations too, post them below! Просмотр полной статьи
  19. Do you have a community but are looking to move to a more modern and feature rich platform? There's a lot of ways Invision Community can breathe new life into your community. With our engagement features, advanced promotion features and mobile ready responsive themes, your members are going to love the changes. Invision Community can power your entire site, from the content management front end right through to your download areas and shopping carts. Imagine not having to juggle a dozen plug-ins and make several different applications talk to each other. We offer a range of migration tools for vBulletin, xenForo, phpBB, Vanilla, bbPress and more. These tools convert your data such as members, passwords, forums, topics, posts and more across to Invision Community. But first, let's look at how to make your migration a success. Take our demo for a spin Hands down the best way to get a feel for Invision Community is to take out a free demo. Once you are comfortable with the suite and know what it can do, the more confident you will be in discussing it with your members. There's a lot of functionality to discover. Keep in touch with our sales team to get the most from the demo. We recommend that you consider three uses. Your community. Look at how they will settle in with the new interface and how they will use the new features on offer. Your moderators. Take a moment to look in the Moderator Control Panel. Run through all the tools that are available, such as the warning system and content review system. Moderator Tools Your administrators. Probably the largest change between platforms will be in the Admin Control Panel. It's worth spending a little time getting familiar with it and looking at what's new, and where common tools are such as forum and member management. Tip: Invision Community's Admin Control Panel has a global search bar to look for settings, members, invoices and more. If you ever feel a little lost, enter in what you're looking for. Make your plan Using the demo and speaking to our sales team will help you draw up a migration plan. You'll know which apps you'll need, and what data can be migrated over. You may want to browse the marketplace to look for apps, plugins and themes to extend the functionality even further. Tip: We offer a VIP migration service where we work closely with you to draw up your plan and take care of the conversion for you. Educate your community Keep your community up to date with your migration plan. Show them the platform they'll be using. Take videos and screenshots showing them the exciting new features coming soon. Make it a positive and fun experience. Post something new every few days to get your community used to the idea and get them involved by asking them if they have any questions. Our sales and support teams are here to help you if you have any further questions at this point. Getting the majority of your community excited about the change is the best way to make the transition a smooth one. Make sure you explain the benefits of the switch too. If there's a good reason for it, your community will get behind it quickly. Some benefits may be: It works better on your mobile device and tablets, so you don't need to struggle with pinch and zoom to get around. Mobile ready out of the box The built in embed system allows you to post images, YouTube videos more easily and you can preview it instantly as you type. The crowd sourced moderation makes reporting bad content more beneficial. It'll help to keep the community clean from undesirable comments and moving a positive direction. More features on the way. Invision Community is always adding new functionality based on our customers' wishes. These releases happen often so there's always something to be excited about. Pick a day The best migrations are planned down to the date and time when the data conversion will occur. Our team can give you a rough idea of how long the data conversion will take. It will vary but we can give you a ballpark. Your members will feel happy knowing what is going to happen and when. There will be some downtime while the data is converted, so it's always best to announce this well ahead of time. Set up a test site Once you are committed to switching, set up a test site. A single Invision Community license can be used for a development installation as well as a live installation. This is the perfect time to work on your theme and look at any tweaks you'd like to make. Invite in your team and a trusted few from your community to offer feedback and advice. It's worth taking the time here to make sure everything is perfect for when you do the final conversion. Make it comfortable Take some time to theme your new Invision Community so it has a similar look and feel to your existing community. Change resistant members will feel more comfortable if there are areas that are familiar to them. Ensuring your branding is up, and the colours match what you had before is a good start. The easy mode theme editor is a great place to start. Mind your language! There are always little differences in the interface language that may throw some of your older members off. For example, some systems use "threads" instead of topics and "messages" instead of posts. The easy language editor Invision Community has a built in translation system so you can change our interface language to match your existing site. Help your members Set up a temporary questions and answer forum where your members can ask how the new system works and give you feedback. Pin a handful of topics explaining where common items are now, such as how to edit your profile, how to send personal messages, how to mark the site as read and so on. Think about the daily activities your members make and explain how to do them with Invision Community. You can use the pre-move time to ask your community what actions they do daily and may need assistance with on the new platform. Be patient Some of us dislike change. We are creatures of habit. You may find some members are very resistant. That's OK, they'll come around in time as long as you continue to make them feel valued and understood. Take the time to explain how the new system works and what the benefits of Invision Community are. In our experience, members love the following Invision Community features: Notifications Invision Community has a variety of granular notification options, from browser to email so you're sure to not miss a thing. Mobile Friendly We're mobile friendly right out of the box. Our theme has a responsive framework, which means that it resizes perfectly to any device you're using. No need for extra themes or styles, it's all baked in. Gamification We all love a little friendly competition don't we? Invision Community has features like the leaderboard and member titles to reward activity. Who doesn't want to win the day? Reactions Liking content is fun, but being able to express thanks, laughter and more is even better. It's all baked into the system ready to use. Educate your team Invision Community has a whole host of moderation tools that your team will love as it makes their daily routines much easier. From the comprehensive warning system, to the crowd sourced moderation feature, which can automatically hide content and notify moderators once it has been reported multiple times, Invision Community makes your moderators lives easier. The best approach is to pin topics in a team area that explains how to use these new features and where to find them. Summary Investing in a new community platform and migrating your community across is a big decision. With the right planning and forethought, it will be a smooth and positive migration with lots to look forward to once complete. We offer free conversion tools for you to use, or we offer a VIP conversion service where we take care of it for you and you get one-to-one help and support throughout the process. We'd love to hear from those who have successfully migrated across from other platforms and how they made it a positive experience for their members. Просмотр полной статьи
  20. Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner. Last week to wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community. We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week. Downloading Personal Data Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV. However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable. You can access this feature via the ACP member view The download itself is in a standard XML format. A sample export Pruning IP Addresses While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content. There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold. The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value. This new setting is under Posting Deleting Members Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name. We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses. Deleting a member Privacy Policy We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you. The new setting Finding Settings Easily To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change. These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required. Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week. Просмотр полной статьи
  21. You've no doubt heard about GDPR by now. It's a very hot topic in many circles. Lots of experts are weighing in on the best approach to take before the May 25th deadline. Which reminds me of my favorite joke: "Do you know a great GDPR expert?” Yes, I do! “Could you send me his email address” No, I'm afraid not. I wrote about how Invision Community can help with your GDPR compliance back in December. I've seen a lot of posts and topics on GDPR in our community since then. First, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. I'm a humble programmer and not a GDPR expert or a lawyer. The information here is presented to assist you in making decisions. As always, we recommend you do your own research and if you're in any doubt, book an appointment with a lawyer. It is also worth mentioning that GDPR is very much a living document with phrases like "legitimate interest" and "reasonable measures". None of these phrases have any real legal definition and are open to interpretation. Some have interpreted them severely, and others more liberally. GDRP is about being a good steward of the data you store on a user. It's not designed to stop you from operating an engaging web site. There's no need to create stress about users linking to other sites, embedding images, anonymizing IP addresses, and such on your site. These don't impact any data you are storing and are part of the normal operation of how the web works. Be responsible and respectful of your users' data but keep enjoying your community. Let's have a quick recap on the points we raised in our original blog entry. Individual Rights The right to be informed Invision Community has a built in privacy policy system that is presented to a new user, and existing users when it has been updated. What should your privacy policy contain? I personally like the look of SEQ Legal's framework which is available for free. This policy covers the important points such as which cookies are collected, how personal information is used and so on. There may be other services out there offering similar templates. Right to erasure I personally feel that everyone should listen to "A Little Respect" as it's not only a cracking tune, but also carries a wonderful message. The GDPR document however relates to the individuals right to be forgotten. Invision Community allows you to delete members. When deleting members, you can elect to remove their content too. There is an option to keep it as Guest content, thus removing the author as identifiable. It's worth using the 'keep' option after researching the user's posts to make sure they haven't posted personal information such as where they live, etc. Emailing and Consent Invision Community has the correct opt-in for bulk emails on registration that is not pre-checked. If the user checks this option, this is recorded with the member's history. Likewise, if they retract this permission, that action is also recorded. When you edit the terms and conditions or privacy policy, all users are required to read it again and opt-in again. Cookies A lot of GDPR anxiety seems to revolve around these tiny little text files your browser stores. If you read the GDPR document (and who doesn't love a little light reading) then you'll see that very little has actually changed with cookies. It extends current data protection guidance a little to ensure that you are transparent about which cookies you store. Invision Community has tools to create a floating cookie opt-in bar, and also a page showing which cookies are stored and why. This is the page that you'd edit to add any cookies your installation sets (if you have enabled Facebook's Pixel, or Google Analytics for example). Your GDPR Questions Now let's look at some questions that have been asked on our community and I'll do my best to provide some guidance that should help you make decisions on how to configure your Invision Community to suit your needs. Alan!! Is the soft opt-in cookie policy enough? What about the IP address stored in the session cookie? Great question. There's conflicting advise out there about this. The GDPR document states: The ICO states that session cookies stored for that session only (so they are deleted when the tab / window is closed) are OK as long as they are not used to profile users. This is re-enforced by EUROPA: My feeling is that GDPR isn't really out to stop you creating a functioning website, they are more interested in how you store and use this information. Thus, I feel that storing a session cookie with an IP address is OK. The user is told what is being stored and instructions are given if they want to delete them. Given the internet is very much driven by IP addresses, I fail to see how you can not collect an IP address in some form or another. They are collected in access logs deep in the server OS. Finally, there is a strong legitimate interest in creating a session cookie. It's part and parcel of the website's function and the cookie is not used in any 'bad' way. It just allows guests and members to retain preferences and update "last seen" times to help deliver content. Do I need to delete all the posts by a member if they ask me to? We have many large clients in the EU with really impressive and expensive legal teams and they are all unanimous in telling us that there is no requirement to delete content when deleting a user's personal information. The analogy often given is with email: once someone sends you an email you are not obligated to delete that. The same is true with content posted by a user: once they post that content it's no longer "owned" by them and is now out in public. Ultimately, the decision is yours but do not feel that you have to delete their content. This is not a GDPR requirement. What about members who haven't validated? They're technically not members but we're still holding their data! No problem. The system does delete un-validated users and incomplete users automatically for you. You can even set the time delay for deletion in the ACP. What about RECAPTCHA? I use this, and it technically collects some data! Just add that you use this service to your privacy policy, like so: I see many companies emailing out asking for members to opt back in for bulk mail, do I need to do this? Short answer: No. Since Invision Community 4.0, you can only ever bulk email users that have opted in for bulk emails. There's no way around it, so there's nothing to ask them to opt-in for. They've already done it. There is a tiny wrinkle in that pre 4.2.7, the opt-in was pre-checked as was the norm for most websites. Moving forward, GDPR asks for implicit consent, so this checkbox cannot be pre-ticked (and isn't in Invision Community 4.2.7 and later). However, the ICO is clear that if the email list has a legitimate interest, and was obtained with soft opt-in, then you don't need to ask again for permission. What about notifications? They send emails! Yes they do, but that's OK. A notification is only ever sent after a user chooses to follow an item. This falls under legitimate interest. There is also a clear way to stop receiving emails. The user can opt-in and opt-out of email as a notification device at their leisure. Do I need to stop blocking embeds and external images? No. The internet is based on cross-linking of things and sharing information. At a very fundamental level, it's going to be incredibly hard to prevent it from happening. Removing these engaging and enriching tools are only going to make your community suffer. There's no harm in adding a few lines in your privacy policy explaining that the site may feature videos from Vimeo and Youtube as part of user contributions but you do not need to be worried. As stated earlier, GDPR isn't about sucking the fun out of the internet, it's about being responsible and transparent. Phew. Hopefully you've got a better understanding about how Invision Community can assist your GDPR compliance efforts. The best bit of advice is to not panic. If you have any questions, we'd love to hear them. Drop us a line below. Просмотр полной статьи
  22. If you've already got a Wordpress website, and have recently added an Invision Community, you might want to show recent posts or topics right on your Wordpress site. You might think this involves complex programming and custom themes, but thanks to some Pages magic, it's a very simple task that you can do in under 5 minutes. This very short video walks you through the process. If you'd prefer a written step by step, then head over to our help guides. As you can see, the whole process is very quick and very easy. Adding the latest topics on your site is a great way to drive discussion into your Invision Community. Let us know if you have any questions! Просмотр полной статьи
  23. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 is available to download now. After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the final release. You can download the beta from your client area. If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. These include: We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. Просмотр полной статьи
  24. To monetize, or not to monetize, that is the question that preoccopies our administrators! Ok, I'm no Shakespeare, but a vital question community owners are faced with at some point is: can we and should we make some money from our community? Let's first look at the "should we?" Absolutely! You don't need to frustrate your users or risk goodwill by starting monetization. Running a community comes with tangible costs in terms of paying for the monthly cloud plans or license and hosting costs. Not to mention your own time which must be factored into this decision. If the community sustained all or part of your income, could you commit more time to help it grow? Now lets look at the "can we?" Absolutely! You made a great choice by building your platform with Invision Community. We have built in monetization tools that allow you to collect micro-payments from third party systems; and we have tools for selling products and services. Advertisements An obvious choice, many sites will turn to advertisements through Google Adsense or a similar service to generate income from their community. Whether this approach will work for your community or not is dependent upon many factors. Do you generate enough traffic that you will actually earn an income from advertisements? Do enough of your audience browse your site without tools such as Adblock installed? Is your site compatible with any of the many advertisement services out there? This is worth checking to make sure. Advertisement services are a relatively easy solution for generating micro-payments. It's unlikely you'll be able to retire any time soon on advertising payments alone though. An alternative approach to using advertisements is to sell advertisement space on your own site through Commerce. This can be an especially attractive option if your site holds a captive audience in a specific niche, as advertisers will be certain their ads are targetting the niche they are aiming to target effectively. Viglink Viglink is a service that looks for commercial product references in user-generated content, and links to those products using referral links that can generate revenue. Generally speaking, there is no real harm in using such a service as the functionality is transparent for most users. Invision Community features integration with Viglink out of the box. You simply need to enter certain account information into the AdminCPand the software will handle the rest. Charging for products If you sell digital or physical products, you can leverage Invision Community to help facilitate the sale of such products through your community site. If you are an expert or leader in your field, then why not write a short e-book on your subject and put it up for sale? Low cost e-books under $10 tend to sell really well and it's a great way to generate some passive trickle income. Sale, renewals, invoicing, shipping, customer support and more are all possible through our Commerce product with powerful features that allow you to easily sell products locally and around the world. Charging for additional access The simplest way to monetize your community is to charge for VIP access. This may be for elevated permissions, such as being able to upload larger files, post more content per day and access specific features like user signatures, special badges and so on. You can also set up VIP forums that regular members do not have access to. In fact, Invision Community can be tailored towards being an e-learning platform simply by setting up a subscription in Commerce and creating a private forum only the VIP group can access. Simply post a new topic with each learning module. Topics can contain embeds from YouTube and Vimeo if you prefer to deliver training over video. Be sure to give previews of such areas if you do sell access to additional areas of the community. For example, you can allow all users to "see" that a forum exists, but show an error message to regular members who attempt to read topics in the forum, while allowing subscribers full access to those topics. This helps naturally entice users into subscribing to gain additional access by allowing them to see what they will gain access to. Charging a fee for facilitation Another possible avenue to monetize your community is by charging a fee for facilitating file sharing between your members. The Downloads application allows users to upload and even sell their files to other users on the community, while also allowing the administrator of the community to retain a percentage of all sales. If your community serves a niche that may see online sales of files in a marketplace-type setting, you can earn some money by administering such a marketplace. As you can see, there are several opportunities available with Invision Community to monetize your community. Do you use any other methods of monetizing your community? Просмотр полной статьи
  25. Invision Community has been going strong for over sixteen years now. Many of those who work for us were customers first before they signed away their souls and became staff. This month, we part the mists of time and ask: How did you first come across Invision Community? Andy (Developer and man of mystery) Way back in 1998 I was involved with an online investment club in the UK (of course you were - Editor) and we set up a directory of national share clubs with a threaded “bulletin board”. This was based on a freely available perl script (as everything was back then (did they claim it would always be free? - Editor)) but it just wasn’t up to the job. This was my first exposure to writing web based software as I started customising it for our needs. Soon after, we switched to UBB which moved away from messy layouts and to a more structured forum, topic, post experience. With the release in 2004 of Invision Community 1.3 we switched again and I’ve been working with Invision Community software ever since (and you had such a promising life planned out - Editor). Around the same time the investment club moved to Invision Community, I also started up two other sites, one for modified cars which was an extremely popular niche at the time and one for my home town of Bedlington which is still running to this date. When developing for Invision Community I find it very useful to have that historical experience and real world insight. A lot of my input when we discuss new features as a team comes as a direct result of this first hand experience. I was part of this Investment Club when I was younger Marc (Support and fan of bouncy castles) My first real experience trying to set up forums/communities for myself was somewhere around 2000 (lol slow down grandpa - Editor). Me and a few friends used to host gaming servers for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and wanted something for storing stats on, so I set up UBB which I remember thinking was really cool at the time. I never really did much with it other than setting it up for people to use, and remember at the time backing things up on a 1mb hard drive (can't even fit a picture on that these days (need a push on that rocking chair? - Editor)). Over the years, I ran a few more sites and the software at some point became vBulletin (cant recall when, but just seemed to happen) which I ran through version 2 and late into version 3. At that point I was starting to add things for myself, usually learning from other peoples "FIND abc, AFTER ADD, xyz" which is how we all used to add our own modifications at the time. The thought of an upgrade at the time, I know used to make me cringe. At some point during vBulletin 4 release, I was becoming a little disillusioned with the whole community software scene in general (other disappointing platforms are available - Editor), and hadn't really used Invision Community before, but ended up using that for a site for my wife. I was using Invision Community more and more. Purely because it was the site that was most active at the time. This led me to becoming very interested in the new Invision Community 4 release, and was becoming a bit of an social addict on the alpha forum that was released, helping out people who weren't sure of things, and generally asking questions. It was around this point I was asked to join the team here at Invision. And you guys have had to put up with me ever since! My sincere apologies for that. (apology accepted - Editor) This has nothing to do with Castle Wolfenstein but it's late and I need this blog entry done Mark H (Support and keeper of Dropbox) The internet was in its infancy in 1985 (and there goes 80% of our readers - Editor), and I was using BBS's on a dial-up 1200 baud modem. In 1986 I took over a BBS from a friend, running it on a 2400 baud modem and single phone line. It was just a few years later that I got my first look at the real "Internet", using Netscape and now a 9600 baud modem (we just lost another 10% - Editor). At some point I discovered online communities, then only "Forums" with perhaps photo gallery software similar to Coppermine. My focus was gaming at the time, so I gravitated to forums for such things as (like Marc) Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and the first RPG-type text-based games. I also joined a number of MUD's (multiplayer real time worlds - Editor), and am a (now retired) staff member of the MUD, Ancient Anguish. I've seen the progression of technology and software which, today, we take for granted. But back then if someone had told me where we would be today, (oh boy, here we go - Editor) I'd have been...... skeptical. Over the years, I've used a verity of "forum software" but well over a decade ago started using Invision Community version 1.3a. Today I am a partner with another person running a site using Invision Community software, and it's the highest-ranking result at Google for its (admittedly niche) speciality. Since I was using Invision Community, having purchased it at version 2.3, and given that background, it seemed a natural progression to join Invision Community as an employee when the opportunity arose, and I have never looked back! (must be dangerous when reversing - Editor) Actual footage of Mark listening to an internet podcast back in 1985 Jennifer (Designer and sock fanatic) Communities, for me, started on AOL. The chat rooms was where I started. I evolved to javascript chat rooms later and eventually into Neopets clubs followed by a community software called Avidgamers and eventually stumbled across InvisionFree forums. It was while I was adventuring through Avidgamers that I discovered an art type called "pixel" art which truly explains my passion. I was personally never good at it but I found a community called "Eden Enchanted" where all these really awesome pixel artists were. So I started to develop my own Pixel art community (because back then I thought I might eventually get good at it so I should admin). I started on the free community software of "SMF" but envied the ease of use and the beauty of Invision Community (which this awesome pixel community used (they have outstanding taste - Editor)). After what felt like forever, which mind you was really only like 2-3 months, I bit the bullet and purchased an Invision Community license. I wanted this gorgeous piece of software and I couldn't live with the second rate free stuff anymore (there's our new advert slogan - Editor). So I bought Invision Community 2.3 and delved in (this was back in 2007). I really haven't looked back since. I've been developing skins since I got it and I've made a few mods/applications on it back in the 3.0 days. I've owned and ran many communities, and roleplays, on Invision Community since. My current community, which has officially been running on Invision Community since December 2013, was transferred from InvisionFree (not my choice but god were we happy when we left). Ah the memories. Terrible, terrible memories Brandon (Developer and XP log in screen enthusiast) Back in roughly 2004-ish I got into customizing Windows XP (specifically I created custom login screens (this was actually a thing? - Editor) but knew a lot of people who did the full alternative to Windows Blinds by hacking dlls) and eventually opened a site to host my work and to allow others to share theirs: bfarber.com. I used Invision Community v1.3 which was free at the time (2.0 was just getting into beta testing as I recall) and needed a file manager to share my work and to allow others to do the same. I downloaded a free file manager by a modder named 'parkeet' and after installing it on my site (which required those good ole "find X and replace with Y" PHP file modifications) I found that it was lacking in a few areas, so I set out to customize it. From this desire I taught myself PHP (I was already familiar with HTML, CSS and javascript) and learned how to modify the modification. Eventually, the original author left the mod scene (this was back in the ibmods days for those of you who have been here a while (I have - Editor)) and turned the work over to me. I was hired by IPS back around 2006 and shortly after I came on board I built a new Downloads manager from the ground up as a core offering for the company (Now I know who to assign all Download tickets to - Editor). While I don't run my own site anymore (especially a third party hack site for Windows XP), I do have fond memories of my roots. This was both my start with web development (beyond building a few static HTML pages in the early days of the web) as well as my start with forums specifically. Never used this, apparently it was OK Stuart (Developer and owner of large computers) My story is rather similar to the other ones here (selling this story from the off - Editor). My story starts around 2000 when I started a car club with my brother, being the technical one, one of the first things to do was to set up a forum. We started with Ikonboard (imagine Perl & flat-file databases etc), we swiftly followed Matt over to his new PHP-based project "Invision Power Board" (pretty sure the restraining order prohibited that - Editor). With the introduction of the new licensing structure unfortunately with being very low budget we had to then move over to WBB (er... - Editor). Soon after we moved back to Invision Community (It was the best and totally worth it! (I made him say that - Editor)) and I started to get interested with PHP (up to this point, I had only really used HTML/CSS) and learning how to make some changes that we needed for working with 'members' and tying our website in with our community. -- A really simple SSO type approach where the main website would show the user that's logged in and save data they submit, such as a tech spec and images of their vehicles. That community is still using Invision Community and in the meantime I've also converted (and run) some other car club communities that I've been involved in over the years. From there, I was asked to start writing SSO (single sign on, you're welcome- Editor) integrations in early 2014 for Invision Community and soon after became a full member of staff. I still run a number of communities to this day which gives great insight into how end users interact with the software and generally what their feelings of the platform is. Quite often, I'll deploy Alphas to these communities to gather feedback. Oh, he said Car Club... Jim (Support and his name is a bit like the lead singer from The Doors) The first community I really heavily participated in was around 2003. Being a nerd and liking wrestling at the time (Ultimate Warrior FTW- Editor), I joined a wrestling forum that ran a very beginning version of IPB. A lot of time was spent on this website and after becoming a moderator, I really feel in love with IPB. A sub-forum on this community that was pretty active was around graphic design. Feedback/showcases and competitions with the main point of focus around the wrestling world. This really took my interest and while my interest in wrestling kind of faded, graphic design led to the next step in my life and naturally joining graphic design communities. After being a part of quite a few graphic design forums (that were ran quite badly (honesty is always good - Editor)) came time for me to try my hand at this. Being technically inclined, I thought I could run a better show. We started out on PHPBB due to cost but after some frustrating moments, I persuaded the move to Invision Community. Come sometime around 2008 or 2009 and my new passion around cars had reached its peak, I came back onto the forum scene. In 2010, my favorite brand had become defunct so I decided to open a community dedicated to keeping its memory alive. First and only choice was to come back to Invision Community! (Believe early version 3 at the time) This community is still alive and I still have a lot of fun with it! I've been waiting months to post this GIF Rhett (Hosting and boasting) My time on forums started in the late 90's, with a few motorcycle and photography forums I visited often. During the years as time progressed some of these went astray from what the core members wanted, so I started a few of my own Motorcycle forums with the core members following, that lead to other online communities such as Android (is that the cheap iOS knockoff? - Editor) in the late 2000's, and a few other communities. In about 08-09 I had enough of the main platform we were using and made the move to Invision Community (a man of fine taste - Editor). I started digging in, converting all the sites to Invision and haven't looked back (seriously, how do you guys get out of parking spots? - Editor). It's a great product, a great team, that I'm proud to be a small part of. Instagram in the 80s Daniel (Developer and owner of a shop and spa in Arendelle) My Journey started 2003 at an Austrian electronical music forum which was also written in perl. After years where I was only a member, the owner lost interest and a handful of people(incl. myself) took it over (hopefully you asked nicely first - Editor), but we realized that perl was such a pain to work with (I could have told you that - Editor), so we restarted the whole project with phpBB. This was also the time, where I got really interested into coding and customizing stuff. After a long journey from phpBB, to vBulletin(2006), and others, I landed finally here (the best one of course (someone's getting a bonus - Editor)) The forum doesn't exist anymore , I blame facebook and all the european laws, but TBH, I'm just too busy to run one
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