What do you think of BLF's forum software?

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ToyKeeper
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I really like BLF’s forum software… more than any other forum I’ve ever used.

It has been very effective at fostering a healthy and productive community. It works on pretty much any device, including low-end “Web 1.0” browsers which I use very frequently. It doesn’t use a ton of RAM or CPU, and doesn’t cause browsers to bloat if a page is left open for a long time. It has a clean layout and a very useful feature set. It responds quickly, and it allows sb to respond quickly when people find creative new ways to make trouble. In general, it “just works”, which is a rare and valuable trait.

And one more big thing, which I haven’t seen in any other forum software — it’s unusually expressive. It doesn’t restrict users to an overly simplistic markup language, so people have a great deal of freedom in how they format their messages. Instead, it allows the majority of HTML and CSS. Want an emoticon the site doesn’t have? No problem — just link it from another site. Want a fancy table in your post? No problem. Want specific fonts, colors, an image which changes on hover, or even animations? No problem. If you can express it in HTML, it’s probably possible… with no need to learn any weird site-specific languages.

For example, the thing I do with custom avatars on a per-post (or even per-paragraph) basis isn’t possible on any other forum software. (or a variety of other fancy formatting… the quoted post there is not a screenshot)

But there are some things I’d probably change:

  • Add HTTPS
  • Add a dark theme, since client-side overrides aren’t always possible

Those are the main things. Given enough time and enough boredom though, I’d probably get into some other enhancements too…

  • Add username notifications
  • Add an Approval Voting option to the polling system, or perhaps even a Condorcet system
  • Add a +1/-1 comment rating system, but not like Reddit. People could see and edit their own votes, but it wouldn’t be visible to others. It would instead track the affinity between people, and emphasize or de-emphasize posts based on whose posts the viewer liked or disliked in the past. If you usually like someone’s comments, it would make those stand out… and if you usually dislike someone’s comments, it would make those look partially faded out. So, kind of like an automatic “follow / ignore” system. Also, if a post/person/thread gets a lot of dislikes in a short time, it could let the admin know there might be trouble to resolve.

Those aren’t really important though; just ideas I think could be neat. As I said, I’m pretty happy with things already, with no changes. Usually when I’m on other forums, I find myself sad that it doesn’t have BLF’s features.

Barkuti
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I am here to point out an issue which I often have to deal with. As most of you should he aware of, this forum has two editors: simple and advanced. The advanced is HTML, has all the bells and whistles, supports emoticons too but for some reason someone forgot to add an emoticon button to it (you can copy and paste their simple post editor Blushing identifiers); the simple can most stuff a regular user may want. However, there is a problem whenever someone using the advanced editor wants to quote a message written with the simple post editor: it needs to be edited for it to look right because the advanced editor doesn't supports the encoding used by the simple post editor in most aspects (text format, images, links, etc.). And when someone mixes and advanced editor post into his simple post editor one, well, let's say I would prefer for the editor to be unified.

Also, please be aware that when you try to post a link which employs non-ASCII characters you must click/tap the link button in the editor. Failure to do so leads to broken links with the simple post editor, and/or formatting issues when super long links (full of tracking crap) are involved.

The Light Innocent I am

Deleting a post and redoing it causes the forum thread answer notifications to become invalid. Thus, if you need to change your just published post, edit it. Thanks.

manithree
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leftdisconnected wrote:
I now recommend it and though it’s free to use even for a 2-person account, I highly suggest paying for the $10/yr Premium or $12/yr Family subscriptions as it’s easily worth that and supports a company whose software is fully open source; it’s rare for a business to operate this way. It’s much cheaper than similar LastPass plans as well, which is still largely closed-source.

I don’t run my own server, mostly because it’s easier for my wife to share my bitwarden vault without having to configure clients and plugins. I switched from keepass recently, and I’ll probably pay for a bitwarden account after I’ve finished my evaluation.

But knowing I have the option to keep using bitwarden, even if they go out of business or are purchased by Oracle is very important to me.

I honestly don’t understand the mindset of people who can convince themselves to use a closed source password manager. I can kinda see how Linux is not for everybody (I guess), but blindly trusting one company with all your passwords, with no way to verify how they are transmitted or stored, is weird to me. I guess it explains why so many scams work, though.

lumenzilla
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manithree wrote:

I don’t run my own server, mostly because it’s easier for my wife to share my bitwarden vault without having to configure clients and plugins. I switched from keepass recently, and I’ll probably pay for a bitwarden account after I’ve finished my evaluation.

+1 for BitWarden.

leftdisconnected
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Barkuti wrote:
However, there is a problem whenever someone using the advanced editor wants to quote a message written with the simple post editor: it needs to be edited for it to look right because the advanced editor doesn’t supports the encoding used by the simple post editor in most aspects (text format, images, links, etc.). And when someone mixes and advanced editor post into his simple post editor one, well, let’s say I would prefer for the editor to be unified.

^^^ This. I had forgotten about that in my initial post, but it is painful to deal with quoted text and links in the different editors. I mostly use the Simple editor myself, but I have to modify quoted text/links so that they’ll work correctly. Many people won’t know much about how to use the markup manually.


I agree with TK that it’s nice to use a forum in pretty much the same way as I did in 1999 Party . I do understand why it became taboo to allow HTML in user submissions, though Evil . Separating post markup from page markup was probably the right move, though obviously some forum developers managed to keep it safe enough to last BLF into 2020 and beyond Beer .

RobAllen

ToyKeeper
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leftdisconnected wrote:
I do understand why it became taboo to allow HTML in user submissions, though Evil . Separating post markup from page markup was probably the right move, though obviously some forum developers managed to keep it safe enough to last BLF into 2020 and beyond Beer .

It still allows some extremely obnoxious things… which I’ll take the opportunity not to demonstrate here. But those things haven’t been an issue because, in general, people either don’t want to or don’t know how. In the rare cases that someone has both the ability and the willingness to attack the forum, sb has been vigilant at taking care of the mess.

If the site were scaled up to millions of users instead of thousands, it would probably be necessary to lock down all potential attack vectors. But we’re a relatively small crowd, so that hasn’t been necessary.

leftdisconnected
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I meant to include,

Separating post markup from page markup was probably the right move, though obviously some forum developers” and administrators “managed to keep it safe enough to last BLF into 2020 and beyond.

RobAllen

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