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posted by mattie_p on Saturday February 22 2014, @07:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the slashcode-will-solve-all-your-problems dept.

technopoptart writes:

"I need advice from people more experienced that I am with open source forum software. I am going to be setting up a forum system for computer science students from the various colleges in the area.

I have been running a closed SMF forum for my wife for a year. I wanted to solicit advice about SMF or any other systems that I may consider. I have played with phpBB but I found it labor intensive, as newly created sections are made invisible even to the admin by default, I don't want a laborious permissions system. I appreciate any advice you can give."

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by FuckBeta on Saturday February 22 2014, @07:58PM

    by FuckBeta (1504) on Saturday February 22 2014, @07:58PM (#4927) Homepage

    Well you've come to the right place, given that it runs on open source software forked from one of the most venerable sites on the 'net.

    So what about using http://slashcode.com/ [slashcode.com] for your project?

    --
    Quit Slashdot...because Fuck Beta!
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Lagg on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:26PM

      by Lagg (105) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:26PM (#4937) Homepage Journal

      As much as I loved the slashdot that soylent is forked from I can't say I recommend it. Maintaining perl is hard enough, decade old perl is not much better. From what NCommander tells me it's a pain in the ass to get running period on the older version of apache and mod_perl much less the current stable versions and he's still trying to get it working last I checked. If for some reason PHP is your thing you could try out xenforo. I've deployed it for a few places and it's written by the same guys who did vbulletin, but it's so much better. The way it does templates makes doing layout changes easier and the user and group management is fairly acceptable. I'd usually not recommend something like this due to it being PHP and riddled with problems that implies but given the environments teachers are restricted to on campuses it'd likely be the most easily deployed. Unfortunately though it's proprietary, but if you don't mind that it should still be fine. The code isn't obfuscated or anything and I've successfully done various patches in the past.

      Another option which I've only deployed once is Vanilla. Which is also written in PHP but is GPL licensed. It looks okay for the most part but I haven't used it enough to say much more than that.

      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
      • (Score: 0) by crutchy on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:24PM

        by crutchy (179) on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:24PM (#4981) Homepage Journal

        I gotta agree about the perl thing. PHP as much as it gets bagged a lot is quick, easy, and forgiving.
        I prefer to write my own stuff (no third party stuff off the interwebs) but there are probably a lot of good forums out there.

        phpbb3 is in debian's repos so i would probably trust it over anything just downloaded generally off the web.

        The soylent slashcode has too many folders. I know folders are useful for some stuff, but I just use gedit for development and if I need to quickly open a file I don't want to be hunting through ten levels of directories. At least if there is a heap of files in a single directory I can type the start of the name and the file browser will take me there.

        Templating is useful, but I'm of the opinion that if it makes the application a heap more complicated then the benefits of templating are eroded.

        If it's for CS students, maybe something like FusionForge (available in debian repos as gforge).

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @11:06PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday February 22 2014, @11:06PM (#5001) Journal

          PHP as much as it gets bagged a lot is quick, easy, and forgiving.

          The last thing you want for a web programming language is to be forgiving. The more forgiving it is, the more likely your mistakes will turn into security holes.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 0) by crutchy on Sunday February 23 2014, @12:40AM

            by crutchy (179) on Sunday February 23 2014, @12:40AM (#5024) Homepage Journal

            The last thing you want for a web programming language is to be forgiving. The more forgiving it is, the more likely your mistakes will turn into security holes.

            true, but if it's not forgiving enough nobody will use it (or pay for it)

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tynin on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:33PM

      by tynin (2013) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:33PM (#4943) Journal

      Not that I've looked at the code, but from what I've read from others, was that slashcode might just take a bit of skill with a few people pitching in, in order to get it setup and running. That fails on his not labor intensive request.

      Still, having no idea what the licence is on slashcode, it sure would be awesome if whoever is looking at the code these days would modernize up the install process/backend if only so the awesomeness of this moderation system could be used in the educational world. As I agree, it is worlds better than any forum I've been forced into using.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:40PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:40PM (#4946) Journal

        That is planned, but it is not top of the todo list by any means, and it will be some time before an updated and working version can be released.

        --
        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
        • (Score: 1) by tynin on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:56PM

          by tynin (2013) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:56PM (#4950) Journal

          That is really fantastic news. Keep up the great work :)

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Foobar Bazbot on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:29PM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:29PM (#4958) Journal

        One relatively short-term goal is to create a VM image that lets anyone spin up soylent-in-a-box -- this will give contributors who don't have access to the staging servers a way to try out modifications and submit working patches. That's not precisely what you asked for (which also being looked at longer-term), but it sure doesn't hurt.

        (I'm not involved, I just hang out on IRC too much.)

        • (Score: 0) by crutchy on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:37PM

          by crutchy (179) on Saturday February 22 2014, @10:37PM (#4987) Homepage Journal

          that's an awesome idea.

          that would make new dev involvement much easier if all I have to do to get a working slashcode working is download a vbox drive image and boot it up.

          although having to work it out first might be a useful initiation :-)

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Jerry Smith on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:04PM

    by Jerry Smith (379) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:04PM (#4929) Journal

    Tiki Wiki is reasonably scalable and not really exhausting in maintenance: http://info.tiki.org/tiki-index.php [tiki.org]

    --
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:26PM (#4938)

    Subjects should be more detailed than "Experienced Advice Needed". If I wanted that kind of thing, I'd go read Reddit. Especially considering no content is published in the RSS feed.

    As for the problem, Discourse [discourse.org] is great, GPLv2, can be self-hosted or hosted by then, and the source is on GitHub [github.com].

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by BradTheGeek on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:32PM

    by BradTheGeek (450) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:32PM (#4942)

    Has good theming support, easy to setup.

    We do need better headlines though.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by linsane on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:52PM

    by linsane (633) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:52PM (#4949)

    In order to find what you are after, perhaps think about what you are exactly trying to achieve in a bit more detail, 'a forum' is quite broad, and for example is 'open source' a requirement? The constraint you might be looking for may well be budgetary rather than the shape of the license.

    All too often poor experiences come from someone having found a nice piece of software and then trying to shoehorn it into every single use case that they can find.

    Just of the top of my head, in addition to cost and the complexity of supporting it that have been previously noted, I would also give thought to security requirements and what experience the users are expecting, persistence of data etc. etc.

    0.02btc

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:59PM

    by frojack (1554) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:59PM (#4951) Journal

    Quote:

    I am going to be setting up a forum system for computer science students from the various colleges in the area.

    Make it an extra curricular project for said "Computer Science Students" to install and/or evaluate all of the available systems.

    Also not mentioned was whether you wanted to host this yourself, or use one of the several dozen services that offer this kind of thing. Will it be hosted on one of the colleges system?

    Self Hosting anything for a bunch of CS majors, (each of which views themselves as something of a wanna-be hacker) may be just asking for trouble.

    Finding a service is largely one of evaluating all the offerings, and picking the easiest or most familiar for a startup, then migrating later after said student project.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:00PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:00PM (#4952)

    New sites that popped up recently in the free software / hardware domain use discourse [discourse.org], so maybe you want to look into that.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by technopoptart on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:37PM

    by technopoptart (1746) <jamesNO@SPAMtheorangecrush.co> on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:37PM (#4960)

    XenForo looks very good thank you. I will be self hosting on digital ocean where my wifes form and our email server is. I will set up a test server and get back on know how it goes.

    PS. Im not the professor, i am currently taking a CCNA / IT associates program, and thought a web form for area students / techs would be nice to have.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by technopoptart on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:49PM

    by technopoptart (1746) <jamesNO@SPAMtheorangecrush.co> on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:49PM (#4965)

    Well.. I didnt see that Xen costs money. So I will use SMF probably, until and if I take a few donations. Too bad it looks nice, but i don't have cash to spend, as I have A+,and CCENT tests coming up and eventually Linux+.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by gottabeme on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:20AM

    by gottabeme (1531) on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:20AM (#5131)

    I'm torn: I think this isn't the kind of article or "Ask Soylent" question that "we" want (we being mostly me, probably), but on the other hand, maybe right now we need all the stories we can get.

    But back to the first hand: how long would it take on Google to find recent discussions about good open-source forum software on Reddit, StackExchange/etc, and all over the rest of the Internet? This is exactly the kind of question that the Internet doesn't need Yet Another of--at least, not more than a few times a year.

    "But I want to know what (Soylent|Slashdot|Reddit|insert-site-of-choice) thinks about this, not the rest of the Internet!" To that I think I can only roll my eyes and sigh.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tdk on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:07PM

      by tdk (346) on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:07PM (#5171) Homepage Journal

      This is exactly the kind of thing we want
      Googling is great for finding answers to specific technical questions "what version of perl does slash code use?" "is XenForo open source?", etc
      When it comes to subjective questions ("what is the best X for Y?") you end up wasting hours reading flame wars and rants
      OTOH this is exactly where a moderated forum with only the most insightful posts visible shines.
      "But I want to know what Soylent thinks about this,"
      If high-scoring soylent comments aren't on average better informed than the rest of the web, then what exactly is the point of the site? Do you mean you come here for the articles?