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Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 01:27
by ividyon
Hi all,

posting a poll here to gauge your opinions as a community.

As you're aware, we haven't accepted new sign-ups since 2016 (unless people manually approached me via email) due to a spambot problem. The forum software is all sorts of outdated since 2012, and updating it is generally troublesome.

However, if we surrender certain "nice things", we can update to the newest version (phpBB 3.2), fix the spambot issue, get the newest security fixes in and generally get our forums back up-to-date.

The "nice things" lost in question are:

  • The entire UnrealSP theme. It would be replaced with a generic phpBB theme, styled in white and blue.
  • Permanently: Custom modifications for the 2012 UnrealSP relaunch. They are barely in use, anyway.
  • Temporarily (until further notice): Modifications such as smileys, avatars, custom BBcodes like [sshot] and [spoiler], etc. Those will all be fine!
  • Perhaps more I'm not keeping track of!

The forums would look something like this:


On the bright side, that default style would probably be better optimized for mobile.

I would eventually re-instate an UnrealSP-focused theme, however this would be after the main site re-launch (development on which is going great, by the way; check the Discord chat!)

What do you think? Should I prioritize a safe and secure forum re-launch before anything else, or wait until the new main site is finished and I can devote myself to modernizing the forums and keeping them in-tune with the new main site?

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 01:41
by Jet v4.3.5
Having an eyesore of a theme could be a better motivator than piecemeal, partial changes that are easy to disregard.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 15:57
by Buff Skeleton
At the very least I'm sure there's a dark theme variant we could use as a holdover.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 16:33
by ividyon
I went ahead and did some fixing on our current forums while this decision is pending:

  • Purged over 54k spambot accounts in grueling manual labour of ~900 per batch.
  • Activated some user accounts which were erroneously blocked due to "profile details changes", and never came back.
  • Replaced our Q&A captcha Unreal-themed questions with a fresh batch, which should hopefully hold back spambots for a little while.
  • Re-enabled registration!
  • Wired up the menu to link to the legacy website instead of having dead links.
  • Fixed the legacy Upcoming Maps page's MySQL connection details; it shows the Upcoming Maps forum again.
  • Replaced various references to the IRC chat with links to the Discord. Come to the Discord guuuys!

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 17:48
by editor Dave
Even though my mind likes the black background-white font theme more, my eyes would actually thank you if it was the other way around.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 17:57
by Sat42
Option 1 hehe :D

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 20:33
by papercoffee
I opted for number 1... even so I'm not that active here.
If I'm not mistaken has the basic phpBB a darker theme as an alternate skin in the default set-up.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 20:48
by radios
Perhaps no one saw this?. this can be site wide or selectable from a pull down tab on each members profile..

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 07 Mar 2018, 04:10
by Jigoku
I would just work on one thing at a time. Be less hetic that way without flopping one thing and going crazy.


Posted: 07 Mar 2018, 14:19
by salsaSkaarj
My idea is upgrade as soon as possible, but to 3.2.1 first, not 3.2.2 which has a couple of issues - all of which can be solved but it can be a pain in the *ss to find out exactly what the hell went wrong (I've upgraded or updated 12 forums to 3.2.1 without problems, 3 updates from 3.2.1 to 3.2.2 failed, 1 still unsolved) (in fact I'ld wait for 3.2.3 before updating).
As long as the forum database can be restored to an unmodified state, upgrading shouldn't be a problem (however, it is major upgrade so a test with a copy isn't a bad idea :wink:

Spambots: almost every Captcha has been broken and the new ones don't last 2 months. A simple Q&A (related to this forum) should really suffice.

I think that's the most important now, restyling and extra functionalities can come later. In my experience if I wait until everything is ready, it takes at least twice as long :shake:

As for a new style, there are dark themed styles available and someone with experience and talent with css should be able to change colours and adapt the style.

If I recall correctly there were a couple of CMS extensions in development so the layout as it is now could probably be kept more or less.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 20 Jun 2018, 11:46
by iLikeTheUDK
Option 1, without doubt.