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Old 22-05-18, 09:33 AM   #1
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Default Upgrading the Message Board

Hello everyone,

HDA Head Office are considering upgrading the message board software to a new version and have asked me to collect your views on this.

The current software is not maintained any more (which means there is no support or fixes when things break) and there are increasing problems with spam taking up more time for our moderators so would like to use something more modern. Head Office are looking at Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

Everyone's messages, accounts and history would be preserved on the new system. You would also be able to delete all your content at any time. It would remain the same HDA Message Board it has always been, just with some new features.

Some of the advantages of the upgraded system would be:
* A more modern look that works on smartphones and allows larger fonts and better contrast for ease of reading
* Wiki posts - where people can collaborate to edit pages with resources for people affected by HD
* Get email summaries and reply via email
* Emoji and badges

As part of this Head Office have the option of making the message board private. This would mean the messages were only visible if you log in. The advantage of this is that people can feel more secure discussing HD. The disadvantage is that at the moment people can find messages on Google that might be helpful to them without having to create an account first.

The new software would be installed towards the end of this year so there is plenty of time for you to send your thoughts and ideas.

Head Office won't make any changes without consensus that it is the right thing to do. I'm interested to hear all views. Let me know what you think, you can reply here, send me a private message or email marc@codev.uk

Thanks,

Marc
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Old 22-05-18, 08:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

Hu Marc.

I have gone for the 2 colour approach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webmaster View Post
Hello everyone,

HDA Head Office are considering upgrading the message board software to a new version and have asked me to collect your views on this.

Thanks for consulting

The current software is not maintained any more (which means there is no support or fixes when things break) and there are increasing problems with spam taking up more time for our moderators so would like to use something more modern. Head Office are looking at Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

Everyone's messages, accounts and history would be preserved on the new system.

That is good news. Would you be able to provide any more information regarding search facilities though please? At present it is quite hard to find old posts where the archived messages seem to be in another area.

You would also be able to delete all your content at any time.
Very useful. That said, I assume HDA will be doing regular back up to retrieve if need be?

It would remain the same HDA Message Board it has always been, just with some new features.

Some of the advantages of the upgraded system would be:
* A more modern look that works on smartphones and allows larger fonts and better contrast for ease of reading Good (although I confess I still don't use a smartphone - Just a good old fashioned desktop.)
* Wiki posts - where people can collaborate to edit pages with resources for people affected by HD Sounds really useful that
* Get email summaries and reply via email Interesting.
* Emoji and badges Interesting. I think we defo need a sad or crying emoji as the frown has always been so inadequate at times.

As part of this Head Office have the option of making the message board private. This would mean the messages were only visible if you log in. The advantage of this is that people can feel more secure discussing HD. The disadvantage is that at the moment people can find messages on Google that might be helpful to them without having to create an account first.

Personally I would prefer the Private option but can see how this would exclude those who may be in greatest need of finding out stuff without taking the plunge.

The new software would be installed towards the end of this year so there is plenty of time for you to send your thoughts and ideas.

Head Office won't make any changes without consensus that it is the right thing to do. I'm interested to hear all views. Let me know what you think, you can reply here, send me a private message or email marc@codev.uk

Thanks,

Marc
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Old 23-05-18, 08:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

I concur with comments above and it sounds a positive development. Certainly support the board being private.
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Old 23-05-18, 09:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

I think an upgrade as you are talking sounds positive.

i like the idea of beinv more private after one if my old posts being copied and used by a bogus new user. It will provide people with a safer secure environment to talk ablut their worries. As much as it is nice for people to browse there are always so many people viewing but not members. By becoming members to access still gives them privacy and not the need to post.

I take it when you are talking about an uograde it wont be like the system throughthe NHS (I think) the HDA were looking at previously.

I l8ke the idea of all the old posts being transferred - it has alot of valuable experience and knowledge.
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Old 24-05-18, 06:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

.
This is excellent news - it’ll bring the MB into line with the 21st century forums on other charity\disease websites. A new and inviting, interactive setting with tight security should bring in more people to discuss all matters related to their HD situations - with confidence.
  • Web browsers, such as Google, Opera, Firefox, etc. shouldn’t be able to extract specific info\data from message boards and forums - this new MB certainly needs to be secure from their intrusive info and data gathering attacks.
  • There would also be a need, on the website, for an inviting introduction to “what the Message Board is and what it offers to people with HD, their families and friends, the professionals who could use it, other people on the fringes, etc.
  • I wonder if some of the Message Board Categories could reviewed b4 the implementation of the new system, specifically:
  1. Juvenile Huntington’s Disease: Forum concerning all aspects of JHD
  2. Young People: For young people under the age of 35 to share experiences, information and ideas
  3. Fundraising, events, summer camps, support groups: Tell us about your UK fundraising activities and local meetings
Could 1 and 2 be combined? And isn’t 3 covered by Facebook?
  • The HDA Facebook page is poor for communicating when posting specific HD messages as it is basically a funding, “What’s On” and an hd-news platform. It’s also difficult to follow long threads …
  • A MB that works on all portable devices could easily attract people who currently use Facebook HD groups. This would give momentum to all issues (immediate and peripheral) related to HD.
  • As Trish has mentioned, the main attraction for long-term users is that relevant information is retrievable - but finding what you’re looking for at present can be very frustrating with the dated search engine.
  • However, the availability of Wiki posts sounds really good - although there does seem to be a large amount of basic techno-jargon involved. So, is this feature relevant and interesting for this community? Are there any downsides to it? It probably wouldn’t be overused, initially, as it seems to be a learning tool.
What is a Wiki Post? A post that is editable by everyone on the forum and remains editable even after a topic is closed.

Why Use Wiki Posts? They are a useful way of allowing other community members to contribute to a discussion and keep it updated. By having Wiki Posts the MB community can make adjustments or add additional information. You can create and edit pages quickly, and track changes and additions, which should allow effective collaboration between several members - almost simultaneously.

A Wiki can, in time, be a vast source of information compiled by members and social interaction should increase during the exchange of information. They can also build a shared source of knowledge, unlike a blog which can often be quite personal, or a social media message\thread which can be quite bland .

As we all know, moving home can have its ups and downs - trials and tribulations - as follows:

We’re planning to move away from Vbulletin to Discourse

Conversion: Discourse (back) to vBulletin

It needs to be visibly attractive - an easy on the eye colour scheme and layout - and immediately usable.

.
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Old 25-05-18, 08:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your feedback. I'll try and check in once every week or so to respond.

For specific issues:

Search is much better on discourse than on vBulletin so that should help people find older threads.

We would continue to do regular backups but index them by user so we can delete just the bit of the backups relevant to one user if a person decides they want their content deleted. This is required by the GDPR (as well as being a very good idea).

It sounds like the private option is much preferred by everyone. It means that people won't find threads when they are googling for information but instead people can find the HDA main website and then click to join the message board. Anyone with any other views are welcome of course. If it is private there will be an introduction page explaining what it is and why you should register.

It is not like the Health Unlimited site. This message board will be run by the HDA who will be responsible for all the data and no one else will get a copy of the messages.

The categories are less important than on the current system as discourse uses tags instead of different message boards (and you see all the recently updated threads on the main page) but we can review the categories once we have moved all the existing content over.

The look will be very important, clear and easy to read. I will plan to set up a test site in September or October that I can give invitations to people who want to see it and give feedback.

Here are a couple of websites that use discourse to look at:

https://community.infinite-flight.com/

https://community.bnz.co.nz/

Thanks,

Marc
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Old 25-05-18, 10:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webmaster View Post

Search is much better on discourse than on vBulletin so that should help people find older threads.


The categories are less important than on the current system as discourse uses tags instead of different message boards (and you see all the recently updated threads on the main page) but we can review the categories once we have moved all the existing content over.

The look will be very important, clear and easy to read. I will plan to set up a test site in September or October that I can give invitations to people who want to see it and give feedback.

Here are a couple of websites that use discourse to look at:

https://community.infinite-flight.com/

https://community.bnz.co.nz/

Thanks,

Marc
Thanks Marc

Took a very quick look at the example sites. They certainly appear less static than the current Messy Board and more appealing. Much more obvious/user friendly than HU by the look of it which is what was needed.
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Old 25-05-18, 08:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

Yes like the look of new sites.
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Old 02-07-18, 11:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I'm going to set up the new message board in a couple of months to start testing it (the current message board will remain exactly as it is until we start the migration).

If there is anyone who would like to help beta test the new board and give feedback then reply or send me a message and I'll add you to the list to have access when I have a beta version ready.

Also if anyone has suggestions on new categories or changes (Allan has listed some suggestions above) then let me know as we'll do a review of categories before we launch.

Marc
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Old 02-07-18, 11:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Upgrading the Message Board

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Hi Marc

Count me in for the beta testing, please.

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