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IPSDev

IPSDev

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IPSDev last won the day on September 1 2017

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 is available to download now. After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the final release. You can download the beta from your client area. If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. These include: We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. View the full article
  12. To monetize, or not to monetize, that is the question that preoccopies our administrators! Ok, I'm no Shakespeare, but a vital question community owners are faced with at some point is: can we and should we make some money from our community? Let's first look at the "should we?" Absolutely! You don't need to frustrate your users or risk goodwill by starting monetization. Running a community comes with tangible costs in terms of paying for the monthly cloud plans or license and hosting costs. Not to mention your own time which must be factored into this decision. If the community sustained all or part of your income, could you commit more time to help it grow? Now lets look at the "can we?" Absolutely! You made a great choice by building your platform with Invision Community. We have built in monetization tools that allow you to collect micro-payments from third party systems; and we have tools for selling products and services. Advertisements An obvious choice, many sites will turn to advertisements through Google Adsense or a similar service to generate income from their community. Whether this approach will work for your community or not is dependent upon many factors. Do you generate enough traffic that you will actually earn an income from advertisements? Do enough of your audience browse your site without tools such as Adblock installed? Is your site compatible with any of the many advertisement services out there? This is worth checking to make sure. Advertisement services are a relatively easy solution for generating micro-payments. It's unlikely you'll be able to retire any time soon on advertising payments alone though. An alternative approach to using advertisements is to sell advertisement space on your own site through Commerce. This can be an especially attractive option if your site holds a captive audience in a specific niche, as advertisers will be certain their ads are targetting the niche they are aiming to target effectively. Viglink Viglink is a service that looks for commercial product references in user-generated content, and links to those products using referral links that can generate revenue. Generally speaking, there is no real harm in using such a service as the functionality is transparent for most users. Invision Community features integration with Viglink out of the box. You simply need to enter certain account information into the AdminCPand the software will handle the rest. Charging for products If you sell digital or physical products, you can leverage Invision Community to help facilitate the sale of such products through your community site. If you are an expert or leader in your field, then why not write a short e-book on your subject and put it up for sale? Low cost e-books under $10 tend to sell really well and it's a great way to generate some passive trickle income. Sale, renewals, invoicing, shipping, customer support and more are all possible through our Commerce product with powerful features that allow you to easily sell products locally and around the world. Charging for additional access The simplest way to monetize your community is to charge for VIP access. This may be for elevated permissions, such as being able to upload larger files, post more content per day and access specific features like user signatures, special badges and so on. You can also set up VIP forums that regular members do not have access to. In fact, Invision Community can be tailored towards being an e-learning platform simply by setting up a subscription in Commerce and creating a private forum only the VIP group can access. Simply post a new topic with each learning module. Topics can contain embeds from YouTube and Vimeo if you prefer to deliver training over video. Be sure to give previews of such areas if you do sell access to additional areas of the community. For example, you can allow all users to "see" that a forum exists, but show an error message to regular members who attempt to read topics in the forum, while allowing subscribers full access to those topics. This helps naturally entice users into subscribing to gain additional access by allowing them to see what they will gain access to. Charging a fee for facilitation Another possible avenue to monetize your community is by charging a fee for facilitating file sharing between your members. The Downloads application allows users to upload and even sell their files to other users on the community, while also allowing the administrator of the community to retain a percentage of all sales. If your community serves a niche that may see online sales of files in a marketplace-type setting, you can earn some money by administering such a marketplace. As you can see, there are several opportunities available with Invision Community to monetize your community. Do you use any other methods of monetizing your community? View the full article
  13. Invision Community has been going strong for over sixteen years now. Many of those who work for us were customers first before they signed away their souls and became staff. This month, we part the mists of time and ask: How did you first come across Invision Community? Andy (Developer and man of mystery) Way back in 1998 I was involved with an online investment club in the UK (of course you were - Editor) and we set up a directory of national share clubs with a threaded “bulletin board”. This was based on a freely available perl script (as everything was back then (did they claim it would always be free? - Editor)) but it just wasn’t up to the job. This was my first exposure to writing web based software as I started customising it for our needs. Soon after, we switched to UBB which moved away from messy layouts and to a more structured forum, topic, post experience. With the release in 2004 of Invision Community 1.3 we switched again and I’ve been working with Invision Community software ever since (and you had such a promising life planned out - Editor). Around the same time the investment club moved to Invision Community, I also started up two other sites, one for modified cars which was an extremely popular niche at the time and one for my home town of Bedlington which is still running to this date. When developing for Invision Community I find it very useful to have that historical experience and real world insight. A lot of my input when we discuss new features as a team comes as a direct result of this first hand experience. I was part of this Investment Club when I was younger Marc (Support and fan of bouncy castles) My first real experience trying to set up forums/communities for myself was somewhere around 2000 (lol slow down grandpa - Editor). Me and a few friends used to host gaming servers for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and wanted something for storing stats on, so I set up UBB which I remember thinking was really cool at the time. I never really did much with it other than setting it up for people to use, and remember at the time backing things up on a 1mb hard drive (can't even fit a picture on that these days (need a push on that rocking chair? - Editor)). Over the years, I ran a few more sites and the software at some point became vBulletin (cant recall when, but just seemed to happen) which I ran through version 2 and late into version 3. At that point I was starting to add things for myself, usually learning from other peoples "FIND abc, AFTER ADD, xyz" which is how we all used to add our own modifications at the time. The thought of an upgrade at the time, I know used to make me cringe. At some point during vBulletin 4 release, I was becoming a little disillusioned with the whole community software scene in general (other disappointing platforms are available - Editor), and hadn't really used Invision Community before, but ended up using that for a site for my wife. I was using Invision Community more and more. Purely because it was the site that was most active at the time. This led me to becoming very interested in the new Invision Community 4 release, and was becoming a bit of an social addict on the alpha forum that was released, helping out people who weren't sure of things, and generally asking questions. It was around this point I was asked to join the team here at Invision. And you guys have had to put up with me ever since! My sincere apologies for that. (apology accepted - Editor) This has nothing to do with Castle Wolfenstein but it's late and I need this blog entry done Mark H (Support and keeper of Dropbox) The internet was in its infancy in 1985 (and there goes 80% of our readers - Editor), and I was using BBS's on a dial-up 1200 baud modem. In 1986 I took over a BBS from a friend, running it on a 2400 baud modem and single phone line. It was just a few years later that I got my first look at the real "Internet", using Netscape and now a 9600 baud modem (we just lost another 10% - Editor). At some point I discovered online communities, then only "Forums" with perhaps photo gallery software similar to Coppermine. My focus was gaming at the time, so I gravitated to forums for such things as (like Marc) Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and the first RPG-type text-based games. I also joined a number of MUD's (multiplayer real time worlds - Editor), and am a (now retired) staff member of the MUD, Ancient Anguish. I've seen the progression of technology and software which, today, we take for granted. But back then if someone had told me where we would be today, (oh boy, here we go - Editor) I'd have been...... skeptical. Over the years, I've used a verity of "forum software" but well over a decade ago started using Invision Community version 1.3a. Today I am a partner with another person running a site using Invision Community software, and it's the highest-ranking result at Google for its (admittedly niche) speciality. Since I was using Invision Community, having purchased it at version 2.3, and given that background, it seemed a natural progression to join Invision Community as an employee when the opportunity arose, and I have never looked back! (must be dangerous when reversing - Editor) Actual footage of Mark listening to an internet podcast back in 1985 Jennifer (Designer and sock fanatic) Communities, for me, started on AOL. The chat rooms was where I started. I evolved to javascript chat rooms later and eventually into Neopets clubs followed by a community software called Avidgamers and eventually stumbled across InvisionFree forums. It was while I was adventuring through Avidgamers that I discovered an art type called "pixel" art which truly explains my passion. I was personally never good at it but I found a community called "Eden Enchanted" where all these really awesome pixel artists were. So I started to develop my own Pixel art community (because back then I thought I might eventually get good at it so I should admin). I started on the free community software of "SMF" but envied the ease of use and the beauty of Invision Community (which this awesome pixel community used (they have outstanding taste - Editor)). After what felt like forever, which mind you was really only like 2-3 months, I bit the bullet and purchased an Invision Community license. I wanted this gorgeous piece of software and I couldn't live with the second rate free stuff anymore (there's our new advert slogan - Editor). So I bought Invision Community 2.3 and delved in (this was back in 2007). I really haven't looked back since. I've been developing skins since I got it and I've made a few mods/applications on it back in the 3.0 days. I've owned and ran many communities, and roleplays, on Invision Community since. My current community, which has officially been running on Invision Community since December 2013, was transferred from InvisionFree (not my choice but god were we happy when we left). Ah the memories. Terrible, terrible memories Brandon (Developer and XP log in screen enthusiast) Back in roughly 2004-ish I got into customizing Windows XP (specifically I created custom login screens (this was actually a thing? - Editor) but knew a lot of people who did the full alternative to Windows Blinds by hacking dlls) and eventually opened a site to host my work and to allow others to share theirs: bfarber.com. I used Invision Community v1.3 which was free at the time (2.0 was just getting into beta testing as I recall) and needed a file manager to share my work and to allow others to do the same. I downloaded a free file manager by a modder named 'parkeet' and after installing it on my site (which required those good ole "find X and replace with Y" PHP file modifications) I found that it was lacking in a few areas, so I set out to customize it. From this desire I taught myself PHP (I was already familiar with HTML, CSS and javascript) and learned how to modify the modification. Eventually, the original author left the mod scene (this was back in the ibmods days for those of you who have been here a while (I have - Editor)) and turned the work over to me. I was hired by IPS back around 2006 and shortly after I came on board I built a new Downloads manager from the ground up as a core offering for the company (Now I know who to assign all Download tickets to - Editor). While I don't run my own site anymore (especially a third party hack site for Windows XP), I do have fond memories of my roots. This was both my start with web development (beyond building a few static HTML pages in the early days of the web) as well as my start with forums specifically. Never used this, apparently it was OK Stuart (Developer and owner of large computers) My story is rather similar to the other ones here (selling this story from the off - Editor). My story starts around 2000 when I started a car club with my brother, being the technical one, one of the first things to do was to set up a forum. We started with Ikonboard (imagine Perl & flat-file databases etc), we swiftly followed Matt over to his new PHP-based project "Invision Power Board" (pretty sure the restraining order prohibited that - Editor). With the introduction of the new licensing structure unfortunately with being very low budget we had to then move over to WBB (er... - Editor). Soon after we moved back to Invision Community (It was the best and totally worth it! (I made him say that - Editor)) and I started to get interested with PHP (up to this point, I had only really used HTML/CSS) and learning how to make some changes that we needed for working with 'members' and tying our website in with our community. -- A really simple SSO type approach where the main website would show the user that's logged in and save data they submit, such as a tech spec and images of their vehicles. That community is still using Invision Community and in the meantime I've also converted (and run) some other car club communities that I've been involved in over the years. From there, I was asked to start writing SSO (single sign on, you're welcome- Editor) integrations in early 2014 for Invision Community and soon after became a full member of staff. I still run a number of communities to this day which gives great insight into how end users interact with the software and generally what their feelings of the platform is. Quite often, I'll deploy Alphas to these communities to gather feedback. Oh, he said Car Club... Jim (Support and his name is a bit like the lead singer from The Doors) The first community I really heavily participated in was around 2003. Being a nerd and liking wrestling at the time (Ultimate Warrior FTW- Editor), I joined a wrestling forum that ran a very beginning version of IPB. A lot of time was spent on this website and after becoming a moderator, I really feel in love with IPB. A sub-forum on this community that was pretty active was around graphic design. Feedback/showcases and competitions with the main point of focus around the wrestling world. This really took my interest and while my interest in wrestling kind of faded, graphic design led to the next step in my life and naturally joining graphic design communities. After being a part of quite a few graphic design forums (that were ran quite badly (honesty is always good - Editor)) came time for me to try my hand at this. Being technically inclined, I thought I could run a better show. We started out on PHPBB due to cost but after some frustrating moments, I persuaded the move to Invision Community. Come sometime around 2008 or 2009 and my new passion around cars had reached its peak, I came back onto the forum scene. In 2010, my favorite brand had become defunct so I decided to open a community dedicated to keeping its memory alive. First and only choice was to come back to Invision Community! (Believe early version 3 at the time) This community is still alive and I still have a lot of fun with it! I've been waiting months to post this GIF Rhett (Hosting and boasting) My time on forums started in the late 90's, with a few motorcycle and photography forums I visited often. During the years as time progressed some of these went astray from what the core members wanted, so I started a few of my own Motorcycle forums with the core members following, that lead to other online communities such as Android (is that the cheap iOS knockoff? - Editor) in the late 2000's, and a few other communities. In about 08-09 I had enough of the main platform we were using and made the move to Invision Community (a man of fine taste - Editor). I started digging in, converting all the sites to Invision and haven't looked back (seriously, how do you guys get out of parking spots? - Editor). It's a great product, a great team, that I'm proud to be a small part of. Instagram in the 80s Daniel (Developer and owner of a shop and spa in Arendelle) My Journey started 2003 at an Austrian electronical music forum which was also written in perl. After years where I was only a member, the owner lost interest and a handful of people(incl. myself) took it over (hopefully you asked nicely first - Editor), but we realized that perl was such a pain to work with (I could have told you that - Editor), so we restarted the whole project with phpBB. This was also the time, where I got really interested into coding and customizing stuff. After a long journey from phpBB, to vBulletin(2006), and others, I landed finally here (the best one of course (someone's getting a bonus - Editor)) The forum doesn't exist anymore , I blame facebook and all the european laws, but TBH, I'm just too busy to run one 😁 Probably not Daniel Those are our stories, but we'd love to hear about your first experiences with Invision Community. Let us know below! View the full article
  14. Are you a member of a busy Facebook Group? Do you find it overwhelming trying to sort through all the posts to find something posted the day before? Are you now missing new posts and only seeing them a few days later? Facebook Groups are tempting to use as they are free to set up but is this the best decision for the future of your business? At the beginning with just a handful of members, things may fun fine. But fast forward to where your group becomes busy with thousands of members posting and reading. Your group becomes overwhelming. You find it hard to locate posts made on previous days and search is of no use. It is getting harder to keep on top of troublesome and spamming members. Worse still, Facebook's changing algorithms mean that your members are not seeing every post you make. You do as Facebook asks and link your page to your group to find that you must now boost posts to reach your members. This is getting to be a very common scenario. Even more worrying are rumours that Facebook is bringing advertising to groups. Will this allow your competitors to target your hard won membership? Will Facebook roll out the "Discover" tab across all continents? This alone has destroyed organic reach for many brands. What would you do if Facebook blocked your account for a week? Would your sales suffer? There is a way to take back control of your membership and secure your business' future. Building your business on your own land is a powerful way of retaining complete control over your community regardless of what happens to Facebook longer term. Created in 2002, Invision Community has always adapted to the changing habits of the internet. Our latest product is clean, modern, mobile ready and equipped to integrate with social media. It can power your conversations, website and shopping cart. It features single click Facebook sign in and tools to promote scheduled content to your Facebook page. We recently wrote why you shouldn't settle for a Facebook Group when building a community. The benefits of an owned Invision Community are: You own your own data. Your data is not mined for Facebook's benefit. Make it yours by branding it your way You're no longer boxed in by the Facebook format Seamless integration to your shopping cart for more monetization opportunities Set up permission levels to better control what your members can see Lets dig in a look at some of the tools you can leverage to make the migration easier. Mobile Ready Invision Community works great on your mobile. It resizes the page perfectly to match whichever device you are using. You don't need to install special apps or mess with themes. It just works out of the box. Facebook Sign In The first thing you'll want to do is turn on Facebook Sign In. This adds the familiar Facebook button right on the sign in page and register form. Clicking this logs them into your new community with their Facebook account. It even imports their profile photo so they are familiar with other members. Make use of embeds A great way to keep incorporating content from your Facebook Group or Page is to use embeds. Post a link to your content on Facebook and it transforms into a rich media snippet. Social Promotions Share your community content with your Facebook Page. Click the "Promote" button on any content item and you can customize the text and images shared. The promotion system offers a full scheduling system much like Buffer or Hootsuite. This is all built in at no extra cost. Find Your Content Unlike a Facebook Group, your Invision Community makes it easy to find older content. A powerful feature is activity streams. These are customizable "feeds" much like the Facebook News Feed but completely editable to you and your members needs. You can even make this the first page your members see for easy content discovery. Use Clubs Clubs allow sub-communities to run inside your main community. Let's look at a real world example. A FitPro has several different fitness products for sale. Each product is a Facebook Group. She posts daily workouts and answers member's questions. Using many groups can be very time consuming to manage. Clubs puts these sub-communities right on the page making it easy to drop in and update. These Clubs can be private and members invited to join allowing full privacy. This is like a closed Facebook group. We're only scratching the surface of what Invision Community can offer you. You can take back control of your membership and be free from the fear that Facebook will change something that will impact your sales. We're experts in this field with 16 years of experience. We've helped grow thousands of communities from the very biggest brands to the smallest of niches. We'd love to talk to you about your needs. View the full article
  15. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 Beta is available to download now. After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the beta release. You can download the beta from your client area. Be sure to read the full information on support and service limits that go along with beta releases. You will see this in client area prior to downloading. If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. If you you find a bug, we'd love for you to report it with as much detail as you can muster in the bug report area. We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. View the full article
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