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IPSDev

IPSDev

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IPSDev last won the day on September 1 2017

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  1. This month, we ask the team the age-old question: If you won a million dollars (or denomination of your choice), how would you spend it? The question was almost guaranteed to bring a raft of hilarious replies that showcase our amazing humour and wit. Once again, we fall short and instead worry about taxation and retirement. You can't give it away these days. Marc S I couldn't decide on whether to answer this with what I would 'like' to do with it, or what I would actually do with it, so figured I would answer both. [So you just upgraded to $2,000,000? geez - Editor] If it was just what I would like to do with it, then I would probably follow the F1 season around the globe for a few years until I got bored. I'm very much into the sport, and with the locations, it would make for some great destinations to visit in between the races. What I would actually do is pay off my mortgage, buy another 3 reasonably priced houses to rent out to others, and live off the investment. Given I would then have a constant income without doing much, I would then try my hand at starting a business. Not entirely sure what that business would be to be honest [How to understand people with strong accents? - Editor], but I'm not the kind of person who would be able to just retire, without it driving me to insanity. I know nothing of F1, so hopefully this is OK Jennifer Pay off all of my debts. Buy a house. Put away some in a nice savings account both for me and my kiddos. Buy a serious amount of shoes, and get a few cosmetic tweaks. Who doesn't love shoes? Brandon If I had a million dollars, I'd pay off debts, stash some money away for savings and to have a healthy cushion [You give your soft furnishings a health check? - Editor], and I'd probably use a good chunk of it for travel. There are a lot of places I'd like to see in the world still and travelling is expensive. I’d like to visit some of the top touristy spots in South America, like Rio, Galapagos islands, Peru, Machu Picchu, etc. I’d like to see Australia, Japan, China, Alaska, the northern lights in the Arctic, and I would like to make it back to Europe at some point, particularly to see more of Italy and visit Greece. It's where we first met. Daniel I’ll go with my sailing boat dream which is still is a thing for my retirement, but if I would get tomorrow $1,000,000 I would do it right now too. [How? You're not getting the money until tomorrow - Editor] Get a Katamaran and sail sail sail... depending on time and budget and people.. mediterran sea, caribbean sea, then around South America, US west costs , Hawaii, Philippines , India. Around Africa .. back to Mediterran Sea. Stuart If I had $1,000,000 tomorrow, I'd probably be fairly sensible [Boring- Editor] by paying off the mortgage and spending some cash on finishing renovating the house. Then I'd buy either a Mustang GT or a Tesla Model 3 Performance (I know, one is an eco-machine and one is a gas guzzler!). The remainder I'd split between savings and stock market investment. Mark H A million dollars….. well, the government takes about 1/3 of that first off, so after taxes you get ~ $650,000. With that I’d pay off the house and credit card, buy a reliable vehicle, then the rest goes in the bank. Would not have enough to retire, even at my age. [It wouldn't last 2 years? - Editor] But it would eventually make retirement easier. The fun answer. Jim I would pay off my mortgage, buy a 2019 Corvette ZR1 (plus pay off following speeding tickets) and probably go to Australia. Then save the rest for a rainy day or you know, retirement. Mark W I live in Sydney, so probably buy a small apartment and carry on as normal. [How small is your current apartment? - Editor] Good day. Matt I'm not a huge fan of travelling, but I'd like to see a little bit more of the USA. I've been to Los Angeles, Nevada, Las Vegas, New York and Virginia but I'd like to see more of the middle bit too. Definitely Miami and New Orleans. [Dude, you need to check a map to see which states are in the middle - Editor] I love my work too much to think about retiring but I'd put some away for when I do. I might give some to my family if they ask nicely and are reading this (hopefully they are not). Yes I can. Andy (Andy did not contribute this month, so this reply is 100% fictional) I'd be too depressed with the massive income drop to think about how to eek out such a pittance. Lindy (Lindy never contributes, despite being threatened with a fabricated answer) I'd probably invest in a gas-tech company, buy more cars I'll only drive 3 days a year and spend the rest in Vegas. Charles (Charles also never contributes, so this is also fabricated) Please do not say funny things about me. Charles also has edit permissions to this blog. So there you have it, that's how we'd choose to spend a cool $1,000,000. We'd love to hear how you'd spend your imaginary windfall. View the full article
  2. Today, we're handing over our blog to long time client and friend to Invision Community, Joel R. @Joel R is often found hanging out in our community offering his insight and wisdom when he's not harassing the team in Slack. Over to Joel. Invision Community releases a variety of blockbuster features in every major update, which usually hits once a year. You may think those updates are not enough (it’s never enough!), but I wanted to spend some time talking about how to survey and incorporate those features into your community systematically. This blog post is not about any specific feature, but more a general and philosophical approach in integrating the newest features. My goal is to help you get the most out of every new IPS update! You may think that many of the features in the updates are easy to assess. You either want them or don’t. But it’s not that easy. I was inspired by some recent personal experiences when I found myself revisiting features from 4.2 and earlier. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I still had so much to experience and learn from those features, all of which I had previously reviewed when they were initially released. Invision Community comes packed with rich features, and no community manager is expected to be a master at everything. But a systematic approach is your best chance at making sure you get the most out of every feature. To give a personal example, I jumped into Social Media Promotion when it first came out in 4.2. The new Social Media Promotion offers several powerful tools for social media cross-posting, and I immediately wanted to learn how I could use it to cross-post content to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s an easy drop-in replacement for services like Hootsuite or Windscribe and allows community managers to drip interesting content to their social media pages for constant advertising and social engagement. Well, it turns out my Facebook and Twitter reach is nil because I have no followers (wish I was more Internet famous!), so I soon lost interest and dropped Social Media Promotion as a tool. A couple of months ago, I was assessing my homepage versus other popular websites when I came across a startling realization: I could make a gorgeously visual homepage on par with Instagram using Our Picks – a feature of Social Media Promotion. I would intentionally ignore the social media component, but use the other component of Our Picks for a beautiful new homepage. The context of using Our Picks for a homepage opened my eyes to a whole new way to evaluate Social Media Promotion, and what was once a feature on the back burner is now – literally - the front page of my Invision community. I love it! To help you incorporate new Invision features, I’ve brainstormed 5 strategies on how to make the most out of Invision feature updates. Each strategy comes with a mini-lesson for an action plan. 1. Learn the knowledge, not the feature. This is my personal motto when Invision Community releases a new feature. I’m more concerned about the knowledge and broader usage of the feature than implementing the feature itself: What’s the potential scope of the feature? In what context could the feature be used? How did Invision Community intend for the future to be used, and what are other ways it can be used? I’ve never worried about the technical configuration of the feature. You enable or disable some settings, and that’s it. But what’s more important is how the functionality can best be integrated and in what context. You never know when you might come back to the feature for the next great idea, and you can only do that if you possess the knowledge and application behind the feature. Lesson: Try every feature at least once, even if you don’t need it. 2. When at first you don’t succeed, take a nap. Some things take a while to think about. Don’t try to cram through all new Invision Community features. There’s too many to digest in one pass. Assess the features you’re most interested in one by one, play with each feature until you’re satisfied, test them, find out how they work, and when you get frustrated, take a nap. Eat some ice cream. Go jogging. And revisit in a month. The bigger the feature, the longer you should think about it. The biggest “aha” moments didn’t come to me right away. When you try to rush through a feature, you can get rushed results. Take your time to bounce ideas around your head and try to think through the context of how to best utilize the feature. Lesson: For features that you like, set a calendar to revisit after a month. Then take a nap. 3. You’re running the marathon, not a sprint. Successful community managers have evolved with the changing needs of our audiences. While our mission remains the same, the backdrop of user expectations and digital trends has dramatically changed. When you implement a feature, you should be evaluating it for both sustainability and longevity. Is this a sustainable mechanism to keep up with? Is this something that I want to continue for the foreseeable future? It’s nice to play with new features; every major update is like a Christmas unwrapping of new features. But you need to prudently pick-and-choose which feature is most appropriate and how it can give you an impact for the long-term. Sometimes it’s better to do a few things very well than many things not well at all. Lesson: Ask yourself if you see yourself using the feature 3 years later? 4. Make it uniquely yours Invision Community ships with default features ready to use out of the box, but those features are just that: default. We like to dress up our theme with custom colors, designs, and logos. You should apply the same flair for customization with your features. Some features are ready to be customized: reactions, ranks, and group promotion. Others, however, might take more thinking. Here are some examples to spark your creativity: • Social Sign-in Streamline – are you using the default message, or did you customize it with a unique and clever introduction? • Fluid Forum – did you activate fluid forum and hope it went well? Or did you use it as an opportunity to re-analyze your entire forum structure for the modern web? • Leaderboard – did you leave it as a Leaderboard, or could it be Genius board for a technology company, or Joyboard for a nonprofit, or Loyaltyboard for a consumer brand? Lesson: Make the feature uniquely yours. 5. Talk through your scenario Every battle-tested community manager knows that the only thing constant is change – whether it’s our forum software, ACP settings, user expectations, and broader digital trends. It’s important to find a trusted circle of friends and users who can help you steer and implement features. It may sound great in your head, but other users may look at it very differently. On my site, I have a trusted group of users called “Champions.” In my pre-planning stage, I float my ideas by them as early in the process as possible. They’ve provided valuable feedback of user expectations with differing perspectives. I’ve nixed certain features based on their veto, and I’ve tweaked continuously based upon their continuous input. Talk through your scenario with your trusted friends, and not just with the voices in your own head! Community management is such a uniquely rewarding and challenging role because every community demands and needs a different set of features. Invision makes it easy with regular releases of exciting features, but you also need to make the most out of those features on your own. Don’t just turn on the next feature: turn on excitement, joy, and community. If you notice, I didn’t include a lesson yet in my last strategy when you’re ready to talk about your scenario. And that’s because it’s the ultimate lesson: Write the next guest post in the Invision Community Blog and share your own success story in how you adopted a new Invision feature. We’d love to hear about it. Thanks Joel! We love this angle on how to best evaluate the myriad of opportunities the Invision Community software allows. What is your biggest take-away from Joel's advice? View the full article
  3. In between complaining about the temperature of the United Kingdom, a hot topic in staff chat was what jobs we've done in the past, and which jobs we'd be terrible at. Mark said that Matt would be terrible at being a software engineer. Once all the laughter and clearing desks and leaving the building immediately had finished, we settled on these answers. Jennifer I'd be a terrible runway model. For most of my life I've had the height and the general look of a decent runway model (even like people staring at me) however I am terrible at it. This was not Photoshopped I get really nervous in front of large crowds of people, wobbly knees and everything. My mum does costume design and has used me as her model a few times and that whole "stand at the end of the runway for a few seconds and pose thing"... Nope. Stood there, turned around and walked back. Marc I think the job I would be terrible at would be 'Handy Man'. Picked this rather than just saying a joiner/carpenter, plumber etc, as it encompasses more areas of complete ineptitude. My DIY skills are legendary, but for all the wrong reasons. Whilst I'm actually attempting to learn how to do things myself more lately, I have had a history of doing things incorrectly. I am that guy who has 8 pieces left after putting together flatpack furniture, creates swimming pools whilst fixing a tap, and don't even ask me to put a hole in a wall as I can do so with dramatic effect. [Should have shared the picture of your workbench - Editor] I think the one which springs to mind, which most would find simple, would be putting up a shelf. I put up a DVD shelf above my head which was a fair weight. This lasted 1 week before falling off the wall on to my head which was underneath it. [That explains a lot - Editor] Not a problem, because with my 'expert' DIY skills I put it back on the wall with 8 inch screws and to ensure it didnt come down again I covered the wall facing side with extremely strong glue. 3 years later when my wife wanted this taking down to decorate, I took it down along with half of the wall behind it. This was the point where the decorator was called to fix my mistakes. Brandon I couldn't be President (or any major political position for that matter). I'm a very middle-of-the-road people pleaser type of person usually, and I could never handle having to make important decisions that affect everyone [like in git? - Editor], especially with half of everyone agreeing with me and half of everyone thinking it was the worst idea ever. As much as people like to criticize those in power and feel like they have all the answers, I know it's just not that easy and I would never want to be in their position. A nightmare vision of the future Jim Morrissey Cold call telephone sales/telemarketing. I often say I couldn't sell water to someone stuck in the desert. OK, maybe not *that* bad but definitely cannot get on the phone and convince someone product XYZ is the one for them. I'm also not that big of a talker in person and don't have that personality to just grab people on the phone and persuade them to purchase something they may not otherwise want. Half my personality, half ethics which would make me horrible Mark W I was struggling to come up with anything (because obviously I'd be great at anything, right?) but as the token vegan around here I guess I have to say butcher. The last time I ate meat was about 10 years ago and even walking past a butcher's makes me feel ill. Mark is Ultra Spiritual FAQ: Lots of things have protein; I kind of miss chocolate but not much else; Yes, I would eat you if we were on a desert island. [Well, that got dark at the end - Editor] Andy I would be an awful chef. I wouldn’t even be able to heat up pre-prepared meals in a pub [Do you not have a kitchen at home? - Editor]. Apparently I make a good sous-chef in the home but I require strict instruction. In other words I get the job of chopping onions at dinner time. Like Gordon Ramsey, except nice Ryan The job I would most suck at, I actually did. Back in 2008, I was a factory worker for a paving company, where I packaged pavement crack sealant at approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to various other types of sealant (for driveways, parking lots, etc.). It was a lot of heavy lifting, and because the material was so hot, I had to wear heavy long sleeve shirts in a factory that hit approximately 120 degrees each day. I lasted about four months. Oozing Confidence Matt Anything on a production line. I have a very short attention span and having to do repetitive tasks would finish me off. Back in the 90s [1890s? - Editor] I used to work in a print and design studio. One of the tasks was producing 15,000 copies of a 8 sheet magazine. It'd run through the collator, through the stitching head, under the folding arm and slide out to a tray. For about two days straight a month we'd be running this machine. Counting copies as they came out, freeing jams and filling up the paper. It was really tedious work. Those are the jobs we'd think we would be terrible at. How about you? What would be your nightmare job? View the full article
  4. It's 2 am, and my bleary red eyes are fighting sleep. My thumbs are still glued to the Playstation controller as I try and persuade my on-screen avatar to complete the level. If I manage it, I've won another trophy. Many of us have been there. Investing a considerable amount of time into a game just to get to the next level, win a trophy or better yet, complete the entire game. I still remember the thrill of finishing Metal Gear Solid. I had become a recluse and lost track of time. Each time I thought about putting the gamepad down, there was just one more tiny thing to achieve. For decades, game designers have been using gamification to keep players plugged in and wanting more. A well-designed game hooks you completely, and you can't help but keep playing. In more recent times, social media has switched onto gamification. Each like and share you receive triggers a little dopamine kick in your brain. It's a pleasurable sensation which keeps you coming back for more. How many times have you opened Twitter back up moments after closing it? What does this mean for communities? Applying game mechanics to your community can have a powerful effect on member retention and engagement on your site. There are three main areas we can use gamification for: onboarding, driving engagement and encouraging positive behavior. Let's look at these areas in more detail. Onboarding When a new member joins your community, you want them to complete as much of their profile as possible. Ideally, this would mean that they upload a photo and complete any custom profile fields you have created. The more information a user provides, the more chance there is that they will come back and that others will start to engage with them. A relatively anonymous member will not be taken seriously by your veteran members. Traditionally, new members are presented with either a massive registration form or they are never prompted to complete their profile after sign up. Presenting a sizeable complex registration form is a sure way to reduce your guest to member conversion rates. A persons attention is a rare resource so do not waste the one opportunity you have for a new sign up! Invision Community has a profile completion feature which displays a progress bar at the top of each page. Members are encouraged to complete their profile This is a great way to add gamification to the onboarding process. You get the best of both worlds. A short compact registration form and a very persuasive reason to upload a photo and complete any profile fields. Very few can resist the temptation to leave their profile 90% complete! Gamification can help you convert a new lurker into a contributing member by leveraging the member groups and promotion feature. Set up your default Member group with specific restrictions that would be attractive to your community. This may be custom signatures, or it could be custom member titles. Perhaps limit the number of images that can be seen per day in Gallery. The key is to limit access in a way that doesn't agitate or annoy your new members but encourages them to level up. Create a new group "Full Members" and remove those restrictions. Create a promotion rule that after five posts, they get to level up. This will encourage lurkers to join in the discussion, so they reach the next level. You will want to be careful with this feature. You don't want to encourage noise and vapid posting just to reach the next level. 5-10 posts are enough to get them engaged. Meet Player One The number one thing you need to have a thriving community is constant user engagement. It is the lifeblood of any discussion focused site. Game mechanics will help drive user engagement using Invision Community's features strategically. But first, we must understand the types of players that will frequent your site. The High-Status Seeker We've all come across this type of forum member. These members tend to wear their content counts with pride. They cite how long they've been members for. They are the elite member's others look up to. The High-Status Seeker will want to be in the top three of your leaderboard every single day. In many ways, the High-Status Seeker is the ideal member. They want to move up the levels as fast as possible and show their experience and dominance to others. They will have an eye on becoming a moderator and getting access to exclusive private forums. The Social Butterfly This type of forum member isn't as interested as status as others. They are content to be active and participate in many different conversations. They typically like open-ended games like MMORPG where the reward is just playing the game. The Social Butterfly can be reluctant to engage with gamification elements in your community, but in many ways, they do not need to as they are likely to become long-standing members anyway. Engagement and Loyalty Now we have met the players, let's look at some of the features Invision Community has built in to create a game-like environment to drive up engagement and retention. Content Count The humble content count has been around since the dawn of the forum age. In simple terms, it displays the number of posts and comments the member has added to the community since they joined. When content is deleted, the post count is typically untouched. High-Status seekers love their content count and protect it with their life! Getting to 10,000 posts is a real achievement and sets them apart from newer or less engaged members. Reputation Allowing others to like your posts is a powerful way to not only get more engagement but also encourages quality content to be posted. Content with actual value, humor or flair tends to receive more likes than average. This gives the author a good morale boost which they will want to replicate. In many ways, this is the critical driver for the Social Butterfly. Acknowledgment for their efforts is what keeps them happy and content. Leaderboard While the Social Butterfly may be content with receiving likes on their content, the High-Status Seeker will want to top the leaderboard for as many days as they can confirming their status. The leaderboard is generated each night and adds up each person's reputation given for that day. The winner is crowned for all to see. The leaderboard The winner also gets a trophy on their profile for 'winning the day.' High-Status Seekers love this feature and do all they can to ensure they are in the top three. Our Picks Invision Community introduced the social promotion feature to 4.2. We use it to promote our blogs and good content we see members posting on our forum. To have your content picked for promotion is a huge thrill, and will undoubtedly put a smile on the face of the author. Both High-Status Seekers and Social Butterflies will love seeing their content promoted on social media and on the site itself. It is also a great way to keep your social media feeds topped up with quality content. Our Picks We are seeing a good number of communities using Our Picks as their home page to give their site more of an Instagram feel. Level up with member groups Who doesn't love being invited into a VIP area to sit in the good seats with the red ropes making it clear that not everyone is invited (yet!) This is a key strategy to engage High-Status Seekers. With member groups, you can create exclusive VIP areas that normal members can see, but cannot view topics or post into. In practice, it is as simple as creating a new member group called "VIP Members." This member group has access to specific forums. Group promotions A member group promotion rule can then be used to level up members who reach specific goals, such as 5,000 posts. This feature can be used to stretch members to achieve a large goal, or you can use it for a series of mini-goals. Either forum access or increased feature access can be leveraged to encourage goal completion. Become part of the team "Welcome to the team!" is a message that most members would love to receive. Being handed access to the private team forums where strategic discussions are held, topics are discussed and where the cool kids hang out is probably the ultimate goal for the High-Status Seeker. Wearing the moderator's badge is a tangible benefit and validation for all their work in the community. Inviting great members to become moderators is not only a massive boost for the member, but it is an excellent way to offload some of the workload for day to day moderation tasks such as flagging spammers, checking reported content and dealing with minor squabbles in topics. Final Thoughts Gamification is definitely a strategy that you should use to build the base of your community, but it should not be the only strategy you deploy. Extrinsic motivation in the form of reputation points, member titles and badges are effective, but at some point, those rewards run dry. I would encourage a mix of short-term rewards such as winning the day and mini-goals to level up through member groups along with longer-term goals such to stretch members. Long-term goals can be access to the "5k" club when the member hits 5,000 pieces of content. However, you will need mini goals to keep them moving forwards, or you risk the ultimate goal being too distant to want to reach. Once your members are hooked on your gamification, social bonds will grow, and members will want to come back just to engage with their friends. When you reach that point, you know you have an excellent robust community that will stand the test of time. View the full article
  5. Work smarter, not harder is a motto we hear a lot of in our modern age. This is of course great advice. Invision Community's Admin CP is packed full of tools and settings to help you configure your community to your needs. In this short video I show you how you can work smarter in the Admin CP. Dashboard Blocks I show you how create a dashboard perfect for your needs. The dashboard is perfect to show a snapshot of what is happening with your community. Search Bar The search bar is the most powerful tool in the Admin CP. From finding members, settings and Commerce tickets, it's something I reach for every day. Re-order the Menu Prioritise the menu to put often used sections of the Admin CP within easy reach. Copy Settings With a few clicks, you can copy a single setting from a forum across multiple. This saves a lot of time moving between the forum list and forum settings. This of course works across the suite including downloads, blogs and more. Copy Nodes Got a forum or blog category set up perfectly and want to add one more like it? Just hit the copy button and save the hassle of filling in the form again. These are our tips for using the Admin CP as effectively as possible. Do you have any tips? Let us know below! View the full article
  6. We often get asked how to create a portal-like home page for a community. A homepage has many benefits including: Showing your best content first By using the "Our Picks" blocks, you can display your best content first. This content sets the tone for the site and will encourage engagement across your site. Display multiple areas of the suite Each application has its own feed blocks that can be used to display content on the home page. If your members use Gallery heavily, then showcase those photos on the homepage. If you use Calendar a lot to schedule events, then show event feeds. By displaying feeds to content is a great way to showcase all areas of your site on a single page. Reduce confusion For those of us that grew up with forums are used to viewing a list of categories and forums. We find it easy to scan the list of forums and dip into the ones that interest us. For those that are not so familiar, a homepage displaying easily accessible content reduces the confusion and invites true content discovery. In this short video, we show you how to create a homepage in under 5 minutes using the Pages app. Pages is available with all Cloud plans and is available to purchase when buying a self-hosting license. This video shows: How to set Pages as the default application How to create a Page Builder page How to configure blocks to fine tune the feeds As you can see, it's a straightforward task, and you do not need to know any programming or design to create a compelling homepage. Do you have a homepage like this? We'd love to see it! View the full article
  7. Benjamin Franklin once wrote "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Fortunately for me, he'll never see this blog entry. The Invision Community team are a smart bunch. When they're not being support heroes, fixing code or writing cool new features, they occasionally like to pick up a book, although I guess download a book is more apt these days. Here's what's on the team's bookshelves now. Marc S I go through a lot of books, usually audiobooks rather than actual books (I read enough online to last anyone a lifetime). I tend to go through a lot of factual books, rather than fiction. In the past week I've listened to: What if? Serious Scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions - Randall Muroe A short history of nearly everything - Bill Bryson At home - Bill Bryson How to land an A330 Airbus - James May I haven't read any fiction for quite a while now, but if I was to pick any set of books as being my favourite, it would be Kelley Armstrongs Women of the otherworld series. Some books Audiobooks tend to be factual, whereas actual books tend to be fiction. I just feel there is more imagination involved when you actually read something that's fiction [Are you talking about support tickets here? - Editor]. Mark W The last book I read probably won't interest many (if you're curious though, it was "Milarepa and the Art of Discipleship" - a commentary on some of the stories about an 11th century Tibetan yogi) [Yep, we are now less interested - Editor] but the last fiction book I read was 1984 which I'd actually never read before and found it really fascinating - still totally relevant today and absolutely something everyone should read, especially geeks like us. I read quite a lot of non-fiction, especially related to meditation and Buddhism - it's hard to pick a favourite but the book I probably refer to most and recommend most widely to anyone who might be interested is "Buddhist Meditation" by Kamalashila [How does it end? - Editor]. iBooks One thing I really enjoy when travelling driving or on a plane is listening to audiobooks of books I enjoyed as a child - I find I want some kind of background noise but nothing I have to pay any effort towards. [Like the last feature you wrote? - Editor] The Harry Potter series and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" work brilliantly. Jim Last actual "for fun" book and not technology or programming related is probably "Car Guys VS Bean Counters." Very interesting book as Bob Lutz is well, Bob [Good to know - Editor] and he goes through the car business getting squeezed for profitability and how that ruined the soul of the car. Lindy will approve Brandon I don't know how you all have time to read (or listen to audio books), but then again I guess not everyone has 6 kids that keep them busy. I'm a Dean Koontz fan and in terms of reading (which I rarely do as I don't have time) I always read Dean Koontz (paperback novels). Currently I have "The Silent Corner" [This is also where we send the naughty developers - Editor].in my nightstand which I haven't read yet. Can't say I've ever met Jane Hawk Jen The real real is that my favorite book ever is, The Giver. I ❤️ the ignorance=discipline dystopia. I think my favorite series is The Wit'ch series by James Clemens. I own tons of books but those are the ones that I can go back and read. Andy I’m reading Italian children’s books mostly as part of my ongoing learning of Italian. On my bookshelf, there’s also a lot of travel books for places I’ve been and yet to see (this summer we’ll be visiting Romania for a couple of weeks). The Twilight audio set, “Princess, Dragons and Helicopter stories” and other gems in the photo are not mine (honest). Not using the Dewey Decimal Classification system I also have a DVD of “The Legend of Effin Eddie: The Amazing True Story of a Hilarious GAA Match Commentary which has Become Famous Worldwide” that I won at a Slovak Gaelic football quiz night [Wow, I have the same DVD! - Editor]. The Snowball by Warren Buffett is probably the book that has had the biggest practical impact on my life and I keep going back to it… I also have many leather bound books that smell of rich mahogany. Daniel Right now, I'm reading three different books [And writing this answer? Amazing skills - Editor]. On my iPad, I have my scriptum to prepare for the Boat Skipper B license which I'm going to make in 2 months. More books I have some old Poker Books, because I love to gamble [Like when you push a branch? - Editor]. I played a lot in the past and miss the funny times, so I wanted to refresh my knowledge about all the stuff. As you see, no fiction books, just educational books. Matt M I love to read. I'm old enough to remember the days when we made books from a material called paper. These books were quite thick and took up a lot of room. [lol slow down grandpa - Editor] These days I stick to the Kindle and Audible stores. I especially like Audible. It enables me to listen to books when I'm working around the house, or out and about dropping my son off at his clubs. My all time favourite book is probably "The Road" by Cormack McCarthy. It's a dsytopian novel, which is a genre I enjoy. I also enjoy Stephen King's work. "The Stand" is of course one of his best. I quite enjoyed the Mercedes Killer series too. I'm a huge fan of the Jack Reacher series of novels. The quality can vary a little, but Jack Reacher is a great creation and I admire Child's writing style. He tends to just sit down once a year and start working on a new novel. He doesn't often plan out plots and structures, he tends to write and see where it takes him [Bit like this blog - Editor]. Even more books I tend to listen to a lot of psychology. and health and fitness books. I'm currently working my way through "12 Rules For Life" by Jordan B Peterson. If I wasn't a software developer, I think I'd happily be an author [Don't quit the day job - Editor]. Mark H I don't have an all-time favorite "book" (singular), I read series of them. I'd say the first 6 Dune books are my favorite series. Dune (1965) Dune Messiah (1969) Children of Dune (1976) God Emperor of Dune (1981) Heretics of Dune (1984) Chapterhouse: Dune (1985) After that it would be series by Robert Jordan, "The Wheel of Time". There are 15 books in total, but I've only read the first 12 written entirely by Jordan, not the prequel or the 2 that had to be finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death. The Eye of the World (1990) The Great Hunt (1990) The Dragon Reborn (1991) The Shadow Rising (1992) The Fires of Heaven (1993) Lord of Chaos (1994) A Crown of Swords (1996) The Path of Daggers (1998) Winter's Heart (2000) Crossroads of Twilight (2003) New Spring (2004) Knife of Dreams (2005) The Gathering Storm (2009) Towers of Midnight (2010) ** A Memory of Light (2013) ** **finished by Sanderson After that it would be the original Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. I've not read the 3 related books Asimov added to the series after the original 3. That's on my "to do" list. Foundation Foundation and Empire Second Foundation I'm sure I'll think of more which I've forgotten [Happens to us all eventually - Editor], but I am not reading any book now, nor have I within the last several years. Have no time to do so. That's what is on our bookshelves. We'd love to know what your favourite book is, and what you're reading now. Let us know in the comments below. View the full article
  8. A positive community is a wonderful thing. It's fun to read and almost irresistible to join. You instantly feel welcomed and quickly make new friends. Carefully managed communities tend to be respectful. They may occasionally argue and disagree, but these are short term incidences that do not affect the community. Is this by chance or by design? Your role as a community leader will make all the difference in how your members react to each other. Your community boundaries will have a direct impact in the number troublemakers that infiltrate your community. I'm sure you've come across trolls and troublemakers on your digital travels. You may be unlucky enough to have met some on your own site. Some trolls may be quite benign and productive members of the community. That is, until something or someone triggers them. Some trolls like to annoy others because they are bored. Others because they are angry. Whatever the reason, they can be a handful to manage well. A well managed community offers excellent protection against trolls that may join only to cause trouble. The troll has no fun against a charming community unwilling to engage in hateful behaviour. Therefore, a positive community is essential in protecting your members, as much as it is making a welcoming atmosphere for new members. Community Leaders Your community leaders are there to model good behaviour. How your leaders speak to your members is very important. If they are rude or offensive, then the community will view that as the culture you endorse and act likewise. It's important that your leaders refrain from becoming embattled in aggressive discussions. An ideal leader is cool, calm and impartial. If members see your leaders engaged in heated debate, they may follow suit. A good strategy is to use a leader's forum or Pages database where they can discuss contentious topics in private and agree on a way forward together. Forcing your leaders to remain impartial and discuss the topic elsewhere is a great way to retain professional separation. If your leaders want to engage in debate, then allow them to create a personal account. This allows them to air their personal views inline with your boundaries. It is vital to remember that your leaders carry your brand and message at all times. Create a strong terms of service Invision Community's terms of service feature is ideal to outline your community and what is acceptable. Be positive with your terms and rules. Creating a positive culture from the earliest interaction with your site is important. This sets out boundaries in a friendly way. Invision Community's build in terms editor Avoid using negative words such as "don't" and "can't". People tend to skip over these words. It is better to be positive, for example: "A signature CANNOT have more than one image" Could be better explained as: "Your signature may have a single image". This positive interaction feels better but still enforces your rules. Keep the number of rules to a minimum. Visitors connect better with sites that aren't laden with rules and threats for stepping out of line. Indeed, reading a terms of service that outlines punitive action for every minor misdemeanour makes the site look unruly and embattled. Even good productive members have bad days and may display out of character behaviour. Weeding out the early signs of trouble Not all arguing is bad. We've seen some dynamic and informative topics that have flowered from an initial disagreement. The first step is identifying which behaviours you find unacceptable. Your community and culture will define these boundaries. What is acceptable for a casual community with a very young demographic may not be acceptable for a very formal conservative site. Is this member trolling? A classic troll is someone who seeks to derail rational conversation through abuse, hectoring or needling. A troll isn't someone that disagrees with you, your product or your choices. Civil disagreement is the foundation for any rich discussion. A troll is less tolerant and their end goal is to aggravate others. Is the member new? Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the expectations of your community. New members can often be eager to impress veterans and may come across as over excitable. It is worth noting down topics which have the potential to derail and check in on them often. You can add hidden replies that do not trigger notifications. This is an ideal way to leave notes to other community leaders. The best judge is often experience. It may take a while to develop your sixth sense with your community. Motivation through rewarding good behaviour Invision Community is equipped with a reputation system which is linked to the number of positive reactions a piece of authorered content obtains. The simplest expression is the humble 'like'. To encourage members to like and thank others for useful content empowers individuals and motivates them to post more good content. Thumbs up! You may wish to send a personal message offering thanks for exceptional content to your members. A brief personal note is a welcome gift in today's world of often impersonal automation. We have seen communities that post up weekly topics linking to great content. Likewise, you can leverage featured posts to draw attention to your good content. The Our Picks feature is yet another way you can promote great user submitted content. It must be very rewarding to see your hard work showcased to the rest of the community. Avoid special forums for 'unmoderated discussion' Some communities try and address the balance between the need for rule enforcement through moderation against the desire to offer a venue for raw discourse. This usually presents as a special forum often labeled as "Unmoderated", "The flame zone" or similar. The intention is a good one and the logic makes sense. Provide a venting space for your community in one area to keep the rest of the community friendly. Don't make your members bring boxing gloves to a topic! In our experience, this plan quickly backfires. The unmoderated area becomes hateful, toxic and very unpleasant. Basal desires that are kept in check by your rules and boundaries are left to run amok. It's very likely that these discussions become so heated that members leave your site for good. That isn't a desirable outcome! It's much better to keep your rules consistent throughout all areas of your site. Encouraging contentious discussion is rarely a good thing. Punitive tools are the last resort Invision Community is loaded with excellent moderation tools to handle persistent offenders. We would encourage you to try speaking with a troublesome member first via the personal message system. Give them a chance to explain themselves and remind them of the rules. If you have exhausted all avenues, you have several options to choose from. 1) Warning Invision Community's warning system allows you to pre-set different warning thresholds which trigger specific actions. For example, you may decide that after 10 warns, the member is set to full moderation. This means that their posts are hidden to other community members until you review and approve them. This is an excellent tool and has success in rehabilitating hot headed members that react quickly and often find themselves in hot water with your community leaders. Invision Community 4.3 introduced crowd sourced moderation. This allows the administrator to set up thresholds for actions based on the number of reports a content item receives from other members. The warning system For example, you may decide to hide a post after it receives reports from five or more different members. 2) Full moderation You have the option to enforce review and approval of all members topics and posts. The downside is that it increases the workload of your moderators, so should be used sparingly. It is a very effective tool when used for a short time after a heated debate gets out of control. It allows you to enforce a time out until the situation has calmed down. 3) Short term banning to cool off Invision Community allows you to temporarily ban a member from your site for a specified number of hours. It is especially effective to enforce a break from your site. This allows an otherwise good and productive member time to cool down and reflect on how they wish to contribute. In most cases, the member comes back calmer and ready to post productively. 4) Permanent banning As a true last resort, you can exclude the member from accessing your site completely. A banned member can no longer access forum lists, topics or posts. They can of course log out and view the community as a guest. In most cases, members can be rehabilitated through personal messages, moderation or an enforced cooling off period. A permanent ban can be lifted by an administrator at any time. Conclusion Cultivating a positive community can take a little work from your community leaders but the benefits are numerous. A fun engaging community of respectful members is a real joy. The infectious spirit of the members makes it very easy to join and contribute. There is always a learning curve, so use any issue as a learning experience and give your members the benefit of doubt. You wouldn't want to punish an overzealous and excitable new member and make them feel unwelcome by reaching for a moderation tool too soon. Try and guide conversation by using your community leaders to model good behaviour. Try and keep a sense of fun and take the time to get to know your members. Above all, enjoy the journey! Taking the time to engage in your community is a great experience and offers many opportunities to learn and grow as a leader. Invision empowers you with the tools to manage and reward behaviors, but it's ultimately your stewardship to thoughtfully design a positive community. We'd love to know which of these tips you already practise. Let us know below! View the full article
  9. Pages is one our most flexible applications. We use Pages on this site for our news blog, our release list and our bug tracker. We also use it internally to track customer suggestions, knowledge base articles and more. The most common use for Pages is as a simple articles database. With its built in templates, you can create interesting and engaging pages in just a few minutes. This is how we have it configured for this news blog. In this entry, we'll be looking at something a little out of the ordinary. In just five minutes, you can create a simple curated YouTube video gallery on your website using Pages. All of this functionality is built in. You won't need to learn code, or install any plug-ins. Check out the video below for a walk through which covers: Creating a database and page Using the 'Easy Mode' page editor to drag and drop the database into place Setting up the database's custom fields for YouTube You can take this further by tweaking the built in templates to create something unique for your site. You may wish to use a different listing page and show thumbnails of the videos to entice your visitors into the site. This is ideal for sites which use YouTube heavily but wish to keep the discussion on your site. The built in comments and review sections display just under the video. Pages opens up many different ways of curating and displaying content. We'd love to see how you're using Pages, let us know in the comments! View the full article
  10. You have probably spoken to us in support tickets and on our community forums, and you've likely seen our photos. But what about our workstations? What do they reveal about our personalities? Do none of our team have lights in their office? Mark H This is an old picture [Not as old as your Facebook photo -Ed], I now have a 4K monitor in the center, attached via Thunderbolt to my MBP. But that image was taken when I used my PC, a now-old EVGA x79 Dark mobo, i7 3930k, twin GTX 580's, and all watercooled. When I game, I swap out the leads so the PC can use all 3. At the moment I'm revisiting an old, but still apparently very popular game. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Where's the light switch? Marc S For my main machine I have a late 2014 iMac with 2 x iiyama external monitor, which I spend most of my day on. When out of the house or just generally wanting a break from the office, I have a MacBook pro. Great for what it is, but I hate sitting on a laptop [You're supposed to sit in front of it -Ed], so I'm generally found hiding away in my office. When I'm not responding to tickets from you lovely lot, I'm generally doing some of my own development. As a Windows developer primarily [That explains a lot -Ed], I have parallels desktop set up so I can work with visual studio and sql server as if they were native mac applications. I also spend a fair amount of time with Ableton live and Logic, where I play about with trance production, as its something nice to immerse yourself in during spare time. Who let the dogs out? Jim M The few, the proud, the Windows users of IPS [We only keep them so we can assign all IE bugs to them -Ed]. Love my two 27" Dell monitors. Plan to add a third eventually. I may also be a big Tom Petty fan. Our Tom Petty fan Matt M I switched from a desktop only set up to the new retina MacBook Pro last year. It's nice to work in the office with the LG monitors but have the flexibility of unplugging and taking the MacBook with me to work elsewhere [What? Like the garden? -Ed]. Clowns, Drug Lords and Funny Men Daniel It took hours to clean up for a picture. [This is literally all Daniel supplied as text for this month's blog. For example, he could have pointed out the little keypad thing shown under the right hand monitor which acts like an app launcher, but didn't. So thought I would -Ed] Precise angles and a lot of work to clean up Ryan My office is actually going through a slow renovation process so that it can double as an office as well as a studio, so this will all likely change in a few months (you can see color swatches for paint options on the left) [We can't see anything. You have an expensive Philips Hue set up but clearly never switch it on -Ed]. I'm currently working through a Late 2014 iMac Retina 5k, and apparently I'm one of the few that doesn't have any external monitors (I used to, but I find them cumbersome most of the time, so I took them down [Were you holding them up yourself? -Ed]). When working remotely, I use a 2011 13" MacBook Pro. My favorite thing, though, is the "poster" I have on the right - my father gave it to me for my thirtieth birthday this year, and it's actually a sheet of uncut one dollar bills (funnily enough, though, there are actually 32 rather than 30). Coke and Coffee Mark W I'm currently in the process of moving from the UK to Australia so I don't really have an office right now, but this is what my office back home looks like [it's always this tidy. He is obsessive -Ed]: Captain Raymond Holt Jennifer 2 x 32" inch curved Samsung Monitors a 4K Samsung Smart TV. Razer Chroma Keyboard, Razer Chroma Death Adder, Corsair Yellow Jacket Headphones and a really awesome PC. I am basically surrounded by screens [FYI, keep an eye on J.A.R.V.I.S, he has a Vision -Ed]. Tony Stark's first set up Stuart Up until this month my wife has been studying in Cardiff, so half of my time has been spent working on a dining table in our apartment [Can't wait to see how the table turned out, if you've spent a month on it -Ed]. Now, back home I have my desk set up with the worlds largest laptop [Dear reader, you have no idea -Ed](i7-4720HQ, GTX960M, 16GB Ram, 17.1" 1080p) connected to an external 22" 1080p monitor. We're still in the middle of restoration so my office is really the lowest priority buy my long term plans include a standing desk, Surface Book 2 (or similar) with twin external 4k displays. Those two PC towers aren't really used anymore (one is Windows Server 2008 which used to be used as a local file server, the other is my old gaming PC) We're huge fans of LEGO® Andy Like Mark I’m constantly on the move so my working environment tends to be wherever I can find that’s quiet with a good Internet connection. When I’m “home” though my office looks like this: [Seriously, switch on a light -Ed] Dark and moody, just like his coffee So there we go. We've exposed our team's set ups, expressed our concern about a lack of lighting in many offices and found out who had to tidy up their desk before taking a photo. We'd love to see your workstations too, post them below! View the full article
  11. Do you have a community but are looking to move to a more modern and feature rich platform? There's a lot of ways Invision Community can breathe new life into your community. With our engagement features, advanced promotion features and mobile ready responsive themes, your members are going to love the changes. Invision Community can power your entire site, from the content management front end right through to your download areas and shopping carts. Imagine not having to juggle a dozen plug-ins and make several different applications talk to each other. We offer a range of migration tools for vBulletin, xenForo, phpBB, Vanilla, bbPress and more. These tools convert your data such as members, passwords, forums, topics, posts and more across to Invision Community. But first, let's look at how to make your migration a success. Take our demo for a spin Hands down the best way to get a feel for Invision Community is to take out a free demo. Once you are comfortable with the suite and know what it can do, the more confident you will be in discussing it with your members. There's a lot of functionality to discover. Keep in touch with our sales team to get the most from the demo. We recommend that you consider three uses. Your community. Look at how they will settle in with the new interface and how they will use the new features on offer. Your moderators. Take a moment to look in the Moderator Control Panel. Run through all the tools that are available, such as the warning system and content review system. Moderator Tools Your administrators. Probably the largest change between platforms will be in the Admin Control Panel. It's worth spending a little time getting familiar with it and looking at what's new, and where common tools are such as forum and member management. Tip: Invision Community's Admin Control Panel has a global search bar to look for settings, members, invoices and more. If you ever feel a little lost, enter in what you're looking for. Make your plan Using the demo and speaking to our sales team will help you draw up a migration plan. You'll know which apps you'll need, and what data can be migrated over. You may want to browse the marketplace to look for apps, plugins and themes to extend the functionality even further. Tip: We offer a VIP migration service where we work closely with you to draw up your plan and take care of the conversion for you. Educate your community Keep your community up to date with your migration plan. Show them the platform they'll be using. Take videos and screenshots showing them the exciting new features coming soon. Make it a positive and fun experience. Post something new every few days to get your community used to the idea and get them involved by asking them if they have any questions. Our sales and support teams are here to help you if you have any further questions at this point. Getting the majority of your community excited about the change is the best way to make the transition a smooth one. Make sure you explain the benefits of the switch too. If there's a good reason for it, your community will get behind it quickly. Some benefits may be: It works better on your mobile device and tablets, so you don't need to struggle with pinch and zoom to get around. Mobile ready out of the box The built in embed system allows you to post images, YouTube videos more easily and you can preview it instantly as you type. The crowd sourced moderation makes reporting bad content more beneficial. It'll help to keep the community clean from undesirable comments and moving a positive direction. More features on the way. Invision Community is always adding new functionality based on our customers' wishes. These releases happen often so there's always something to be excited about. Pick a day The best migrations are planned down to the date and time when the data conversion will occur. Our team can give you a rough idea of how long the data conversion will take. It will vary but we can give you a ballpark. Your members will feel happy knowing what is going to happen and when. There will be some downtime while the data is converted, so it's always best to announce this well ahead of time. Set up a test site Once you are committed to switching, set up a test site. A single Invision Community license can be used for a development installation as well as a live installation. This is the perfect time to work on your theme and look at any tweaks you'd like to make. Invite in your team and a trusted few from your community to offer feedback and advice. It's worth taking the time here to make sure everything is perfect for when you do the final conversion. Make it comfortable Take some time to theme your new Invision Community so it has a similar look and feel to your existing community. Change resistant members will feel more comfortable if there are areas that are familiar to them. Ensuring your branding is up, and the colours match what you had before is a good start. The easy mode theme editor is a great place to start. Mind your language! There are always little differences in the interface language that may throw some of your older members off. For example, some systems use "threads" instead of topics and "messages" instead of posts. The easy language editor Invision Community has a built in translation system so you can change our interface language to match your existing site. Help your members Set up a temporary questions and answer forum where your members can ask how the new system works and give you feedback. Pin a handful of topics explaining where common items are now, such as how to edit your profile, how to send personal messages, how to mark the site as read and so on. Think about the daily activities your members make and explain how to do them with Invision Community. You can use the pre-move time to ask your community what actions they do daily and may need assistance with on the new platform. Be patient Some of us dislike change. We are creatures of habit. You may find some members are very resistant. That's OK, they'll come around in time as long as you continue to make them feel valued and understood. Take the time to explain how the new system works and what the benefits of Invision Community are. In our experience, members love the following Invision Community features: Notifications Invision Community has a variety of granular notification options, from browser to email so you're sure to not miss a thing. Mobile Friendly We're mobile friendly right out of the box. Our theme has a responsive framework, which means that it resizes perfectly to any device you're using. No need for extra themes or styles, it's all baked in. Gamification We all love a little friendly competition don't we? Invision Community has features like the leaderboard and member titles to reward activity. Who doesn't want to win the day? Reactions Liking content is fun, but being able to express thanks, laughter and more is even better. It's all baked into the system ready to use. Educate your team Invision Community has a whole host of moderation tools that your team will love as it makes their daily routines much easier. From the comprehensive warning system, to the crowd sourced moderation feature, which can automatically hide content and notify moderators once it has been reported multiple times, Invision Community makes your moderators lives easier. The best approach is to pin topics in a team area that explains how to use these new features and where to find them. Summary Investing in a new community platform and migrating your community across is a big decision. With the right planning and forethought, it will be a smooth and positive migration with lots to look forward to once complete. We offer free conversion tools for you to use, or we offer a VIP conversion service where we take care of it for you and you get one-to-one help and support throughout the process. We'd love to hear from those who have successfully migrated across from other platforms and how they made it a positive experience for their members. View the full article
  12. Unless you've been living under a rock, or forgot to opt-in to the memo, GDPR is just around the corner. Last week to wrote a blog answering your questions on becoming GDPR compliant with Invision Community. We took away a few good points from that discussion and have the following updates coming up for Invision Community 4.3.3 due early next week. Downloading Personal Data Invision Community already has a method of downloading member data via the member export feature that produces a CSV. However, we wanted Invision Community to be more helpful, so we've added a feature that downloads personal data (such as name, email address, known IP addresses, known devices, opt in details and customer data from Nexus if you're using that) in a handy XML format which is very portable and machine readable. You can access this feature via the ACP member view The download itself is in a standard XML format. A sample export Pruning IP Addresses While there is much debate about whether IP addresses are personal information or not, a good number of our customers requested a way to remove IP addresses from older content. There are legitimate reasons to store IP addresses for purchase transactions (so fraud can be detected), for security logs (to prevent hackers gaining access) and to prevent spammers registering. However, under the bullet point of not storing information for longer than is required, we have added this feature to remove IP addresses from posted content (reviews, comments, posts, personal messages, etc) after a threshold. The default is 'Never', so don't worry. Post upgrade you won't see IP addresses removed unless you enter a value. This new setting is under Posting Deleting Members Invision Community has always had a way to delete a member and retain their content under a "Guest" name. We've cleaned this up in 4.3.3. When you delete a member, but want to retain their content, you are offered an option to anonymise this. Choosing this option attributes all posted content to 'Guest' and removes any stored IP addresses. Deleting a member Privacy Policy We've added a neat little feature to automatically list third parties you use on your privacy policy. If you enable Google Analytics, or Facebook Pixel, etc, these are added for you. The new setting Finding Settings Easily To make life a little easier, we've added "GDPR" as a live search keyword for the ACP. Simply tap that into the large search bar and Invision Community will list the relevant settings you may want to change. These changes show our ongoing commitment to helping you with your GDPR compliance. We'll be watching how GDPR in practise unfolds next month and will continue to adapt where required. Invision Community 4.3.3 is due out early next week. View the full article
  13. You've no doubt heard about GDPR by now. It's a very hot topic in many circles. Lots of experts are weighing in on the best approach to take before the May 25th deadline. Which reminds me of my favorite joke: "Do you know a great GDPR expert?” Yes, I do! “Could you send me his email address” No, I'm afraid not. I wrote about how Invision Community can help with your GDPR compliance back in December. I've seen a lot of posts and topics on GDPR in our community since then. First, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. I'm a humble programmer and not a GDPR expert or a lawyer. The information here is presented to assist you in making decisions. As always, we recommend you do your own research and if you're in any doubt, book an appointment with a lawyer. It is also worth mentioning that GDPR is very much a living document with phrases like "legitimate interest" and "reasonable measures". None of these phrases have any real legal definition and are open to interpretation. Some have interpreted them severely, and others more liberally. GDRP is about being a good steward of the data you store on a user. It's not designed to stop you from operating an engaging web site. There's no need to create stress about users linking to other sites, embedding images, anonymizing IP addresses, and such on your site. These don't impact any data you are storing and are part of the normal operation of how the web works. Be responsible and respectful of your users' data but keep enjoying your community. Let's have a quick recap on the points we raised in our original blog entry. Individual Rights The right to be informed Invision Community has a built in privacy policy system that is presented to a new user, and existing users when it has been updated. What should your privacy policy contain? I personally like the look of SEQ Legal's framework which is available for free. This policy covers the important points such as which cookies are collected, how personal information is used and so on. There may be other services out there offering similar templates. Right to erasure I personally feel that everyone should listen to "A Little Respect" as it's not only a cracking tune, but also carries a wonderful message. The GDPR document however relates to the individuals right to be forgotten. Invision Community allows you to delete members. When deleting members, you can elect to remove their content too. There is an option to keep it as Guest content, thus removing the author as identifiable. It's worth using the 'keep' option after researching the user's posts to make sure they haven't posted personal information such as where they live, etc. Emailing and Consent Invision Community has the correct opt-in for bulk emails on registration that is not pre-checked. If the user checks this option, this is recorded with the member's history. Likewise, if they retract this permission, that action is also recorded. When you edit the terms and conditions or privacy policy, all users are required to read it again and opt-in again. Cookies A lot of GDPR anxiety seems to revolve around these tiny little text files your browser stores. If you read the GDPR document (and who doesn't love a little light reading) then you'll see that very little has actually changed with cookies. It extends current data protection guidance a little to ensure that you are transparent about which cookies you store. Invision Community has tools to create a floating cookie opt-in bar, and also a page showing which cookies are stored and why. This is the page that you'd edit to add any cookies your installation sets (if you have enabled Facebook's Pixel, or Google Analytics for example). Your GDPR Questions Now let's look at some questions that have been asked on our community and I'll do my best to provide some guidance that should help you make decisions on how to configure your Invision Community to suit your needs. Alan!! Is the soft opt-in cookie policy enough? What about the IP address stored in the session cookie? Great question. There's conflicting advise out there about this. The GDPR document states: The ICO states that session cookies stored for that session only (so they are deleted when the tab / window is closed) are OK as long as they are not used to profile users. This is re-enforced by EUROPA: My feeling is that GDPR isn't really out to stop you creating a functioning website, they are more interested in how you store and use this information. Thus, I feel that storing a session cookie with an IP address is OK. The user is told what is being stored and instructions are given if they want to delete them. Given the internet is very much driven by IP addresses, I fail to see how you can not collect an IP address in some form or another. They are collected in access logs deep in the server OS. Finally, there is a strong legitimate interest in creating a session cookie. It's part and parcel of the website's function and the cookie is not used in any 'bad' way. It just allows guests and members to retain preferences and update "last seen" times to help deliver content. Do I need to delete all the posts by a member if they ask me to? We have many large clients in the EU with really impressive and expensive legal teams and they are all unanimous in telling us that there is no requirement to delete content when deleting a user's personal information. The analogy often given is with email: once someone sends you an email you are not obligated to delete that. The same is true with content posted by a user: once they post that content it's no longer "owned" by them and is now out in public. Ultimately, the decision is yours but do not feel that you have to delete their content. This is not a GDPR requirement. What about members who haven't validated? They're technically not members but we're still holding their data! No problem. The system does delete un-validated users and incomplete users automatically for you. You can even set the time delay for deletion in the ACP. What about RECAPTCHA? I use this, and it technically collects some data! Just add that you use this service to your privacy policy, like so: I see many companies emailing out asking for members to opt back in for bulk mail, do I need to do this? Short answer: No. Since Invision Community 4.0, you can only ever bulk email users that have opted in for bulk emails. There's no way around it, so there's nothing to ask them to opt-in for. They've already done it. There is a tiny wrinkle in that pre 4.2.7, the opt-in was pre-checked as was the norm for most websites. Moving forward, GDPR asks for implicit consent, so this checkbox cannot be pre-ticked (and isn't in Invision Community 4.2.7 and later). However, the ICO is clear that if the email list has a legitimate interest, and was obtained with soft opt-in, then you don't need to ask again for permission. What about notifications? They send emails! Yes they do, but that's OK. A notification is only ever sent after a user chooses to follow an item. This falls under legitimate interest. There is also a clear way to stop receiving emails. The user can opt-in and opt-out of email as a notification device at their leisure. Do I need to stop blocking embeds and external images? No. The internet is based on cross-linking of things and sharing information. At a very fundamental level, it's going to be incredibly hard to prevent it from happening. Removing these engaging and enriching tools are only going to make your community suffer. There's no harm in adding a few lines in your privacy policy explaining that the site may feature videos from Vimeo and Youtube as part of user contributions but you do not need to be worried. As stated earlier, GDPR isn't about sucking the fun out of the internet, it's about being responsible and transparent. Phew. Hopefully you've got a better understanding about how Invision Community can assist your GDPR compliance efforts. The best bit of advice is to not panic. If you have any questions, we'd love to hear them. Drop us a line below. View the full article
  14. If you've already got a Wordpress website, and have recently added an Invision Community, you might want to show recent posts or topics right on your Wordpress site. You might think this involves complex programming and custom themes, but thanks to some Pages magic, it's a very simple task that you can do in under 5 minutes. This very short video walks you through the process. If you'd prefer a written step by step, then head over to our help guides. As you can see, the whole process is very quick and very easy. Adding the latest topics on your site is a great way to drive discussion into your Invision Community. Let us know if you have any questions! View the full article
  15. For most of us, at some point in our lives we've been told we look like someone famous. Maybe it's an actor from a favourite movie, or a member of a popular band. This has certainly come up a few times among the team in chat. We often joke about our more famous doppelgängers. We've often wondered who'd play us in the movie version of Invision Community. I'm holding out for Ryan Reynolds [Keep dreaming - Editor]. More recently, friend to Invision Community @Joel R mentioned that it'd make a really fun blog entry. So please direct all constructive criticism to Joel if this is not as promised, a fun blog entry. Ok, lets get started. Andy is DJ Qualls You may recognise DJ Qualls from comedies such as Road Trip and Road Trip: Beer Pong [Great list there - Editor]. This comparison was straight from Andy. He gets compared to him by his friends quite often apparently [He needs new friends- Editor]. Personally, I think it's just the fact that he also wears the exact same glasses. Andy is DJ Qualls Brandon is Adam Levine Brandon was incredibly quick to mention that his dentist routinely says that he looks like Adam Levine, which seems like an odd thing to mention at most appointments. You may have heard of Adam from the band Maroon 5 and a few movies that I've not bothered watching [Awesome research for this piece - Editor]. Brandon is Adam Levine Daniel is Daniel Brühl Not only do they have the same first name, they also share a nose [Who has it today? - Editor]. You might have seen Daniel playing Nikki Lauder in the movie Rush, as well as that shady guy in Captain America: Civil War. Nose twins Jennifer is Charlize Theron Jennifer had several looks for this blog entry, and chose the one featured below, which is very reminiscent of Charlize's role in Mad Max. You may know Charlize from her many movies. Including Max Max [Again, great research - Editor]. The eyes have it. Lindy is Tony Soprano This is a comparison I've been making for years. Lindy has a certain "aura" that reminds me a little of the the mafia boss with a conscience. There was a hotdog incident at his house which I don't want to go into right now [No, please do - Editor]. Tony Soprano was played by the late James Gandolfini. Both know how to hide bodies Marc is Casey Affleck Honestly, this took a while to figure out because Marc looks like no other human being alive. We even tried those "Who is your celeb twin" apps and they threw errors and deleted themselves in a panic. This is the best we could do. Casey Affleck is of course Batman's younger brother [Have you ever read a comic? - Editor]. Yeah, it's not great is it. Mark is Ansel Elgort So one night I sat down to watch Baby Driver, featuring Ansel. It was uncanny how much he reminded me of our resident developer Mark. Even down to the facial expressions. It's uncanny. I honestly have no idea which is which Mark H is Ben Folds Full disclosure, the photo Mark submitted could politely be described as "vintage" [Not sure that's polite - Editor]. However, as soon as I saw it, I was amazed at how much he looked like my favourite singer/songwriter Ben Folds. I'm not saying this photo of Mark his old, but lets say it cost us $10,000 to have an expert colour it from the black and white original. Classic Mark Matt is David Boreanez Over the course of my 20s and 30s [Clearly not now you're old - Editor], I was often compared to "Angel from Buffy" played by David Boreanez. I thought it was because of my cool but brooding demeanour [lol - Editor] but maybe it's just one of those chance genetic occurrences. Well, similar hair at least Rhett is Bruce Willis Rhett never lets our servers Die Hard [Jeez, you went there - Editor] but he does resemble Bruce Willis. It's not just that they visit the same hair dresser either. Twins! Ryan is Ethan Hawke We've saved the best to last, because this comparison caused actual goosebumps. Someone even said "wow" when they saw it. These two could be related. Ethan Hawke is a huge movie star, so Ryan was quite happy with this comparison. Uncle Ethan? So, there you have it. If there was a movie to be made featuring our lives, then this is the cast that would be our first choice. Who do you look like? We've love to see your pictures too. Let us know below! View the full article
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