Forum Software - opinions & expertise requested

  • administrators

    Ok so after a lot of delving into Luna's code I am pretty sure we are going to move this forum to a different forum software. Luna is a dead end as far as furthe development and in the long term adding sufficient anti spam support is not time well invested..

    Nothing has been decided yet however I have narrowed the field two three OS options:

    MyBB (is the most likely to be able to import Luna)

    I have also considered closed source options such as Xenforo however there does not appear to be a significant advantage to it.

    Of these phpBB and My BB are far lighter weight. Discourse is much richer featured.

    For examples of all three forums:

    So what do people like the most?

    Is anyone have expertise/background in administering/importing any of these forums?

  • Of the forums listed, I've spent lots of hours using phpBB. I've been a happy user, but no experience administrating it.

  • Like the previous response I have used phpBB in the past and it works well. Visually I don't like the Discourse layout.

    If MyBB is the only one to preserve the existing Luna data then I guess that's the one to go for. The look and feel is 'familiar' and seems to work ok.

  • administrators

    By the look of it Discourse is the best supported "professionally" and there is a migration tool for fluxBB there as well (same as MyBB).

    Still looking at the best option.

    I quite like Discourse's ability to sandbox new users until they are clear they are not spammers.

  • Tony one of the forums I moderate on use SMF I think you can have a look at it here and a 3Dprinting one that has recently been set up they both have a database of known spammers etc and does filter most of them tho a few still get thru.

    May be worth a look and there are loads of addons for it and I am sure that Gaz (Gaza07) will be more than willing to chat with you about it if you wish


  • My vote phpbb

  • phpbb/mybb are well known by a lot of users… They both do the job.

  • Phpbb is old and mostly obsolete, use a modern forum engine. My vote is for Discourse.

    I have no experience with migrating forums but I have some database experience. If you really want it, it is not impossible to migrate any forum system to any other one, people just don't want to put in the effort to do so or don't have the expertise required.

  • administrators

    Yes no matter what we move to there is a requirement to map one database of tables to another. Also a requirement to convert the posts format from bbcode to markup in some cases, import avatar links and possibly leave a bunch of redirect messages so links from external pages to threads are not broken

  • If phpbb is not really maintained anymore, it should be avoided. Security problem can occur, without quick solution.

    About modern engines, if it means ugly and complicated, as more and more forums are, well, avoid them too 😉

  • administrators

    Looking at SMF which Dougal linked it appears ok from first look so it's on the list for consideration. There is an obvious split:
    PHP based (phpbb,mybb, SMF, vanilla)
    JS based (discourse).

    The new forum should be better at preventing SPAM. It should be better at notifications. It must have enough expertise (paid is fine) to migrate from Luna.

    Nice to have is better integration with email (email responses to threads), easy configuration of moderators, @mentions. Plugins or core features to host images is also nice to have.

  • administrators

    I should add that the PHP based ones are generally less full featured and (subjectively to me) "feel older"

  • I agree Tony and I do like Discourse (The Zesty Forum is built on that) I was quite surprised at the cost of it though but I guess there pricing includes hosting.

    So out of the 3 on your list I would vote Discourse


  • administrators

    yeah hosted discourse is pricey but it can be hosted elsewhere on the cloud.

  • Tony has nicely stated my concerns of phpbb (also the large amount of spam those get) and why I like Discourse a lot. It fits your requirements nicely. It is on the more expensive end if you want to use their hosted solution, and there are cheaper options for 3rd party hosted Discourse, or self-hosted. I've used Bitnami to deploy Discourse to an Azure VM/ Cloud Service before, when I had the monthly service credit. DigitalOcean is cheaper…

  • I own/run a large forum ( that I started in 2006 and helped run another large forum before that for 4-5 years. I've run phpbb, vbulletin, and for the last many years have been on Xenforo and love it. vbulletin lost its soul years ago. phpBB just doesn't have much development going on. I've used SMF also for another forum I started for smoking meat (and just remembered for our state's mountain bike association as well) and liked it well enough.

  • administrators

    I did look at Xenofora but decided against paying for a non opensource version when I could pay for discourse.

    I have asked on the MyBB and discourse forums about migration.

  • I've been using the Discourse system for a while now and find it quite user friendly and effective (Zesty group and 3d printing general discussion).

  • Small question, would it be possible to add Gravatar integration to automatically fetch profile pictures based on e-mail as an option?

    (Just mentioning that Discourse is rather okay to use (Syncthing is using it) and I'd pick that)

  • We are using Discourse and for me it works exactly as expected.
    It is easy to administer, has a nice collection of plug ins to allow you to extend the functionality and generally feels like a solid performer.
    Setup was a little bit of a niggle as we had issues with the email provider, but it is working well now.

  • As a user I have liked the few discourse sites i visit… is one of them

  • MyBB or Discourse

  • I like Woltlab Burningboard.
    By far the best you can get. (Not free but Features and Designs on mass) 😉

  • I like the one that Velleman switched to. Don't know what it is they use, but it has a killer feature for long archived threads - it's like a slider that lets you zoom to the start or end. There's no 'pages' as such. Great feature, nice design too. Super easy to find what you posted where, replies to those threads, new topics, etc. Just everything done right.

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