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Forum status?

edited January 2014 in Miscellaneous

What is the status of the forum currently? Are new registrations still banned?


  • As soon as I opened it up again there was spam. That's with captchas, email verification (they're literally verifying then spamming...), all social logins disabled, and the spam plugins enabled and configured. We really need a replacement for Vanilla Forums at this point that can import the old content over...

    Manually approving applicants would be okay, but Vanilla Forums just sucks for managing them, and we're at 17626 applicants at this point. That's just crazy!

  • 17626 applicants! Yikes. It's a shame because I think active forums help enliven projects. I wonder how other Vanilla sites do it...

    I'm willing to help with this; just not sure the best way to do so. (Willing to help with other things, too -- do you have a list of things you're looking for help with?)

  • I'm not sure, but it's definitely a lost cause sorting all those applicants. I've read everything I could find on Vanilla Forums and spam prevention, so I'm not sure there's much left to try there. I'm open to suggestions for a replacement for the forum! ;)

    Other than that, I'm just updating all the docs and then getting the new website up. The new site is just on my laptop for now, but if you want to see where the documentation is so far, you can clone it into an Elefant site via git clone apps/docs then visit /docs. I haven't thought much past those things just yet, but I'll keep you posted.

  • edited January 2014

    One forum I'm active on uses MyBB. It seems fine. It does get some spam. I (very) occasionally participate at a couple of vBulletin forums -- they seem fine, too, but vBulletin is not free.

    Here's a discussion of free forum packages at Low End Talk: LET is also a Vanilla forum, but I think they've had some trouble with it.

    I'm not sure how many forums have importers for Vanilla.

    I also found a couple of spambot stoppers for Vanilla, but maybe you're already using them: and

    A comment on the second one says, "Used in conjunction with BotStop, it has so far blocked all spam attempts."

  • I think I'll look at MyBB, FluxBB and SMF more closely. I'm sure I could whip up an importer if need be. It's the user accounts that could be trickier to move over, but I guess I could just create new accounts for all active users and email everyone with their initial info, that way we keep our post histories as members.

  • One of my first projects after I went solo used punbb, which was later forked into fluxbb. It seemed clean and well-coded at the time (2003-2004).

  • What about not moving people over? Just let active users create new accounts in the new forum. Leave the vanilla forum online, archived, but not active.

    That'd be pretty fast and easy to implement and might get the new forum up and running a little quicker than otherwise.

  • I may do something like that soon. Just realized I had no message for new visitors so I added that quickly. Need more hours in the day! Small but unexpected things keep popping up and throwing me off track... :P

  • I understand completely. I'm still interested in helping any way that would be useful, although time is short for me, too, right now.

  • That chat app requires write access to github, which is a little disturbing. I can't imagine too many people signing up for it.

  • Seems this is an issue with Github permissions that there isn't a good workaround for:

  • Is there any other way people could get in touch with you?

  • My email address is listed on my github profile, although I wanted to discourage new users from just emailing me since that can be a slippery slope ;)

  • Well, requiring github write permissions will certainly rule out the spammers!

  • I didn't actually look at the permissions as closely as I usually do. Usually I'm fairly cautious and notice things like that.

    It seems like Gitter is aiming to be *the* chat tool for Github projects, so I thought this would be a good test trial . I tried running an IRC channel for a while, but my time online is fairly inconsistent so there were always large chunks of time when I wasn't around. This will probably suffer from the same issue, but thought it was worth trying out.

  • I guess it depends what the membership for the forum is going to be composed of. Gitter might be good for developers, but it might scare away people that are just trying to use elefant to build a site.

  • I guess I looked at the github integration as an easy solution since us developers tend to be github users already. Perhaps something like this might work better?

    It seems like chat could be a good secondary form of support on an ongoing basis, in addition to a forum fix, so it would be good to find one that fits us well. I suppose reopening an IRC channel is also an option, and there is an existing page on the site setup for quick access to it (just not linked to from anywhere):

    What do you think?

  • On the semi-open source front, there's also Firechat.

  • They all seem like decent options, but it's all pretty new to me, so my opinion is fairly uninformed. (I didn't have a github account until I started using elefant.) I guess I'm thinking of other noobs like me that are used to forums, email, and that's about it. ;) But that may not be elefant's target audience, and it will hopefully be somewhat moot once the new forum is in place. Or would glassboard, gitter, and/or irc be the replacement for vanilla?

  • I don't think these would replace a forum (and I definitely need to get on migrating that *soon*). Here's a quick assessment of our chat options:

    • IRC: Old school, popular in open source, familiar to older users but not as much to younger ones. Mobile experience will vary, but apps exist.
    • Gitter: Could become the standard chat tool for Github projects, but very new. Github requirement may be off-putting, and the permission request is alarming. Desktop integration is nice, says mobile apps coming soon.
    • Firechat: Open source but depends on a commercial service (could outgrow free), requires a bit of setup ourselves but not much. Mobile app support limited.
    • Glassboard: Sufficient free tier, not open source, but requires no setup. Mobile apps look really nice.
    • Campfire: Insufficient free tier, future uncertain.

    May be best not to invest too much into this and just get the forum moved to something new. I think I'll leave Gitter as the choice for the time being, and worry about the forum instead :)

  • Sounds like a good plan, although glassboard seems like a good option for now, too.

  • Don't think you should rule out VBulletin. It is solid, well-supported, and comes with a full range of import options. It is relatively inexpensive for what you get, and it is extrememly configurable. We have VBulletin forums with over 20,000 users that have been running fine for more than a decade. I'd certainly chip in some dollars towards a licence.

  • I've cleaned up some stuff in the database. Might tackle the user table tomorrow.

  • Wokkie, do you mean that you're working on the vanilla database for this site?

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