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Forum Software


  04:36:34 am, by Nimble   , 361 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Internet, Programming

Forum Software

It's been a while since I've run a forum.

I used to run a gardening forum, a couple of hosts ago. I ran the forum under the fairly popular phpBB forum software. It was pretty easy to install, but some of the features made it hard to maintain. A dearth of anti-spam features, combined with some awkward user management features and the inability to safely prune peoples' posts (there was an add-on someone made, but it had safety caveats)... for example, the spammers'.

It's hard to know exactly what makes for forum software that just works, and that is appropriate for the given audience. Due to my phpBB experiences, administration and anti-spam features are important.

There are a number of pieces of software that look pretty much the same. A lot of them get very busy-looking, with users throwing around avatars and graphics with abandon. Those seem more appropriate to the likes of gaming forums than forums I would run, like cosmology or gardening.

Having something work with PHP and MySQL (preferably) makes it possible to run the software on my host, and to make minor modifications should I see fit (I have some PHP under my belt, but no Perl).

So what's out there? Simple Machines has a lot of features, some of them which I like, but it does look a lot like the forum software that I don't really like. See their community site.

One slightly different piece of software that gets some good reviews is Beehive. It has some very good-sounding administration features and lets you cross-cut forums, a search feature, as well as run multiple forums from the same database. That said, I'm not sure I like the interface on it either. The threads are all listed on the left, in an awkwardly small area, and do not seem to be sortable.

Are there any other options? Oh, tons. Vanilla, YaBB, MyBB, ImperialBB (so many of them seem very much the same)...

Am I being too picky? Oh, likely :) Second time lucky, though, I hope.

There's a rather large listing of available PHP-based forum software here (though the review ratings seem like they could be spurious).

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