Our forum software, phpBB has grown long in the tooth and after years of work a new version is finally ready. In order to stay current Speculative Vision will soon change to the new version of phpBB. In actuality, phpBB has already announced end-of-life for this version (phpBB2) meaning they will no longer provide security updates. In other words, the upgrade has to occur at some point so it might as well be now!
The new forum will deliver improved security features and a vast performance improvement that might be hard to see from a user perspective but will certainly make my web host happy! Some features our members can look forward to:
- -Subcategories! No more will we be limited to one giant list of forums. For example, Lycoria can be a whole board of its own. We can have an authors section with forums for different authors. A TV section with forums for each show. Etc. The ability to organize our forums in this manner is one of the main features we lost when we first changed to phpBB so this is a quite welcome change.
- Attachments. Want to post an image? You will no longer need to host it elsewhere. Multiple attachments are supported.
- Ability to embed YouTube and other video sources in your posts.
- Advanced post formatting options including custom buttons that will give you more options for making your post look just the way you want it to look.
- A vastly improved moderation system that will make our moderator's lives a lot easier . Users will be able to help out with the ability to report offensive posts to a moderator for review.
- Improved member profiles. Memberlists are searchable.
- Searching can be done per topic instead of searching the entire forum. An "Active Topic" instant option will let you find popular, recently posted to, topics independently of the "Posts Since My Last Visit" option.
- Draft posts: You can work on a longer post/story and save it as a draft copy for posting when you are ready.
- Forum/topic subscriptions and a bookmark feature for your favorite topics.
- "Friends and Foes" system. If you make someone your Friend their posts are specially highlighted so you can find them quickly. If you make them your Foe their posts will be ignored automatically and display will be suppressed (you will be able to see that they posted, but you don't have to read it). Note that this does not affect private messages.
- Individually disable the display of smileys, images, avatars and even signatures as you wish. Dial up users will appreciate these lower bandwidth options!
- User selectable topic display. Default display in most forums is to show the newest posts first. User selectable display will let you change the sort order to show oldest topic first, hide topics older than a certain date, or even sort topics by the creator's name.
Now for some bad news.
Our blog system is a modification applied to the base forum. Unfortunately it has become vaporware...totally abandoned by its creator with absolutely no plans for conversion to use with the new pbpBB3. The bottom line is that all existing blogs will go *poof* when the forum conversion is made. I deeply regret this unavoidable side effect of upgrading and the impact it has on our members who enjoy the blogging feature. I highly suggest that if you currently have a blog and wish to retain its contents that you copy your posts to your own PC prior to our conversion.
There is a silver lining: If all goes as planned we will be offering new blogs powered by Word Press! Word Press is probably the most well tested and solid blogging software choices around. Because its database will be separated from the forum any future forum upgrades shouldn't cause a total wipe of blog posts.
So when will all this happen?
Good question! Um....soonish? heh. The new forum requires a whole new template so I am in the process of getting that finished. Then I have to add several modifications to enable all of the features I want to provide, such as bridging the forum authorization system to Word Press. I am trying to get this stuff done as quickly as possible but honestly expect that it will take a few weeks to be ready. I am making the announcement well in advance primarily to give blog users plenty of time to save their work if necessary. I am also freezing new blog accounts because there is no point adding users to a system that is doomed. When the new forum is working I will reopen blog memberships.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask