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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


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Posted
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#24103 (In Topic #5768)
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Well-settled

A descriptive description would go here if I hadn't already described it in the title...

Overall it seems to have a lot of abilities - and yet somehow, no fun.

I'd not the kind of program I'd invite to a party, if you know what I mean. Competent, confident, perhaps a little over-confident, but lacking in funsomeness.

It seems that every possible technical issue is covered. Overly covered in fact. Does one really need to see an archive of previous polls? Does one need to upload an attachment while commenting on a poll, indeed does one need to comment at all? Does one truly need to validate one's html while commenting on a poll? Do we always need a preview? And do we truly need previews that are a list of the exact same things sitting in the form we're about to submit?

Teched-up to the nth degree, but where's the "Who would win?" or "Points out of 10?". Entering a forum post can feel more like setting up a direct debit with your online bank than passing on a cheerful or cheeky comment.

"Competent" comes to mind, "fun to play with" doesn't.

So many things are so lacking in intuitive clickability that I wouldn't know where to start, yet there are vastly more things to click than are really needed.

The catalogue thingy is great, I think, except the only time I've used it it didn't work and it's bizarre to call it a catalogue. The CEDI/Wiki thing is probaly great, cept I've removed it from the front page and no idea how else to get to it, and not sure if I really want to.

Speaking as an internet markerter this prog' reminds me of so many websites - too busy pushing features rather than concentrating on benefits. As I'm typing this for example, right below my text I see "Emoticons popup". OK, but a simple "More.." next to the emoticons would do. As for "Existing attachments popup", please, do we need this? I've been debating and chatting in forums online for nearly 10 years, but I have absolutely no idea what would happen if I were to click that. Is that only attachments I've already added, which others have added on this thread, on the forum in general? Are there any attachments? OK, let's click it.. Waited 20 seconds or so for "There are no entries at this time". Who'd have thunk? But I did get a nifty thingy which I could click and "Proceed" - to download my own attachments?

Why would I want to download some attachment while in the process of posting a new thread?

Why do I need to preview before posting? Why is there so much screen clutter about attachments when I never said anything about adding no attachment? Please, give me an "Attach" button *then* give me the clutter about attachments.

There's a tutorial for everything - but a tutorial that helpfully informs me that if I know how to do XML and CSS I can edit something is meaningless.

The greatest strength of the IBM PC is that you can configure it to do almost anything. The greatest weakness of the IBM PC is that you can configure it to do almost anything. This program reminds me of that expression… The ability to fiddle is great - but it's somehow fiddly to fiddle. I still don't know what users can do, for I see a mass of "yes no yes no yes no.." stuff, and no idea what any of the yes or no's relate to.

Profiles of people give vastly more information than I'd ever need even as an admin. Do we really need detailed statistics and a "Banned? No" for every member? Yet a simple thing like a lump of text - "About me" and there's no room for it, literally, among all the clutter.

I get the impression this is a script worth investing some time and effort into. In fact unfortuanately I think one would have to, and that includes my site visitors.

The wiki that isn't a wiki and comes with the helpful byline "The staff will explain it all" - tricky, as the staff hasn't a clue about it himself yet. About 24 hours after I first started trying to install this thing and I still have no idea how to blog, where my blog is, what users can blog, if the blogs have RSS feeds.. Somehow I suspect they will have RSS, all versions, ATOM, and a means of adding an attachment to comments, with an archive of comments that can be searched alphabetically, downloaded, converted to a pdf and sent to a friend as an email, once validated, previewed, virus checked and sent to the front page as the comment of the week, presuming admin has yet figured out how to give you permissions for this?

Less is more people. Here's a suggestion - start with nothing then let the user add bits, as I've spent some time trying to remove bits.

Much as I may gripe, I feel that once one has removed 90% of the script, it'll be great! :lol:

But one is left wondering, once all the gumpth is gone, what will be left, aside from a forum? Probably still a whole mass of stuff but will any of it be truly sticky and fun for my visitors? One feels it would be more suitable for a team of 1,000 civil servants to communicate rather than a fun place for my bodybuilders and slimmers to hang out in. But I'll keep fiddling with it.

It has one thing that's near priceless though - speedy responses on the support forum here.  Now I'm off to post my first blog entry - if I can find my blog..?



D

(oh please, I just wanted to copy the text in case of a time-out, I didn't need to wait for a full-blown text editor to load!)

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Posted
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#24104
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Well-settled

OK, any idea what this is about:

"FastMail.FM WARNING: URL text and host don't match, possible phishing attempt. URL disabled"

Then when adding the url manually, my OC site claimed it was a hacking attempt?

Any way of turning email verfification off for now?


D.
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Posted
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#24105
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Community saint

I use and like that existing attachment.
I like ocPortal sure I have had problems with it but nothing I have found does what ocPortal does.
Some say it is over complicated and I get that comment about my site at times.  I think I like over complicated and maybe I like ocPortal cuz it fits perfect with my personality.
I actually have fun with it cuz I am always learning new things about it and I like to constantly learn.
I do agree on the preview as its not really needed, one reason I use the quck reply a lot.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24106
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Community saint

After reading all that you said I wonder if ocPortal could be site up like IPB.
IPB has lots of features but oly the basics are active tell you go to commponents and add the features you wish, which  I like. It has a list of several that you can buy like a gallery, blog, chat and a some thing else but I for got what.
And there are so many sites that make add on and mods for IPB it could probably do what ocPortal can do, but would cost more, like for instance the gallery cost, and so does the wiki. I do not like the ipbwiki as it is hard to use compared to the cedi.

In my opinion the attachment thing for ocPortal is much like that of IPB, except for the fact when you ad an attachment on ocPortal it takes you back to the top of the page, which is annoying but I got used to it.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24109
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Well-settled

By IPB you mean invision power board? That's my default, if all else fails choice, as I'd rather have something a little unique or different.

As I recall the price is about $160 and then about $50 for add-ons. Still cheaper than Fox or Handshakes for example, and a lot cheaper than the full-blown BAC stuff. That's $200 for the basic package but start adding stuff and it adds up. For private start pages like I give my current members they want about $1100 or so.

This certainly seems like good value considering the work that's gone into it.

I still can't find the blog thingy, I guess I need to set them up from the admin zone or something.

Mmm, still can't find. How does a user actually blog, where are the blogs?


D
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Posted
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#24110
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Community saint

I have not used the blog for ocPortal as I use the free blog for IPB which is made by easyipb.com.
Also I have not used BAC.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24111
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Well-settled

Is a blog system something you have to pay extra for with OC?

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Posted
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#24112
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Community saint

nope it is free I just have not used it.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24113
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Well-settled

Like pulling teeth.. OK, where is it, any idea?

 ;)
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Posted
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#24114
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Community saint

I honestly can not find it.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24117
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You use the news system. Each member can have their own personal category, into which they can blog. :)

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Posted
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#24125
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Hi dateofbirth,

What you say is perfectly valid, but unfortunately mostly these are problems we can't solve. All the things you have chosen as redundant are actually vitally important for some users, and ocPortal is a tool designed to match the needs of many people.

If you want some software that meets your needs precisely – no more – no less – then really there's no alternative to either learning how to customise and streamline something like ocPortal, or paying someone lots of money to make the site for you. Due to how the needs of different sites vary, there's no chance something as specific as you want could be made – but what we do do is make it so everything in ocPortal is customisable, so the endpoint you want can be reached if you work to it. For instance, if you don't like attachments being prominent (important for many site types), you could do a template modification to hide them behind some kind of button.

As an example, before version 3 we had a user hopping mad that he couldn't set write permissions differently for different categories on his website. So we worked hard to make a permissions scheme that was both flexible and relatively easy to use. But now we also have the problem that quite a few users can't understand the permission scheme. Whatever we do or do not add, or change, it's always a decision that is a compromise to try and do what's best for the majority of our users. If we add options for everything, we add to the problem – because then we'd have 1000s of options and people would complain about not understanding them or having to spend ages turning things on.

The reason there are features in some places that might not be very useful, is that we work very hard for consistency. This is related to ease-of-use.

Things like phpFox or the many instances of myspace cloning software that have popped up, cater to the needs of websites that basically fit in a certain pattern, and thus make lots of assumptions that streamline it 'out of the box' for those kinds of sites. We're strongly against that, because we want ocPortal sites to be able to be however they wish. On the other side of the spectrum, software like Drupal is very simplistic, and you have to strugge with hundreds of non-uniform addons if you want to get anywhere; to get it nicely integrated wouldn't really even be possible.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#24135
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Well-settled

Thank you for the thoughtful and in-depth reply Chris.

As I mentioned I sell software and a book, in both instances one has to struggle for a combination of flexibility and usability. It's not exactly easy is it?

I'm still testing the latest version of my SW, one new feature is lap times. Some people would like to know their lap times - but I've already had some trial users say "But I don't USE laps times!?" No, and they don't have to but the very fact the option is there confuses them. They worry that if they don't fill the field in "something will happen". It's quite the opposite, nothing happens.

Again I *could* hide it behind a "Did this exercise involve laps?" kind of button, but that just makes life awkward for those that use them or those that just don't fill it in - and don't worry about it.

So I appreciate it's a balance - however consistency can also come across as a thoughtless mass-template with no regard for the user. Even consistency needs to be balanced.

One thing you should really look at is the naming of different permission levels and the points system. Is an "old timer" higher than a "local hero"? Or the other way around?

Do all those different names actually have different permissions or are some of the names just for the kudos of it?

From a new user's perspective, they don't come in any order within the system when looking at it, with newbies just below super moderators, so one spends some time trying to figure out who is who and what they can do.

There are many such instances where things are just not intuitive. Remember though criticism shows caring; if I had no respect for the product or your efforts we would not be having this conversation.

No offence but my impression is it was designed in a dark room  :lol: You really need to take a look at what other software is doing - because that will show you what site visitors will be expecting.

My main concern is not simply that it's a bit awkward for me. I could if necessary spend a few weeks figuring it out. No, my concern is that visitors will not even attempt it.

A simple thing such as the fact the home page of the forum is referred to as 'root' and on the right hand side instead of the left, can make a visitor leave. They'll look up and to the left, not see anything and click the logo. You can only dump them out of the forum and onto the main page so many times before they get a gut dislike and leave.

If you have a site that's very important to people they'll stick around, such as if they need to learn it because it's part of their job. For general visitors though, they have the attention span of a gnat, and if they don't see what they're looking for within around 7 seconds the Back button becomes part of the site navigation.

Press it a few times and all their problems go away.

I appreciate you've put a lot of effort into it for the blind - but 99% of users won't have a clue about "validating" their posts. Validate the site - not people's posts.

Again talking of language, I watched my wife go through the signing up process and make her first post. She hated it, she hated the massive list of rules instead of a simple check-box, she disliked having to use email verification on a less than busy site, she disliked the fact her email provider flagged the mail as a phishing attempt, she disliked the fact the url didn't work even when input manually, she really didn't like being told she had made a "hacking attempt" and when she finally got through and posted, and got confused by "validate" (should she or shouldn't she?) she then found, with no explanation, that her post was not there.

This was not a pleasant user experience!

I then had to tell her that I needed to "validate" her post.

"But I did validate it!?"

"Yeah but you're a newby so.."

At that point she gave me a "FFS!" look. I'm her husband, she loves me deeply - what do you think a casual visitor is going to think of me?

What do you think that makes me think of your script?

A simple language change and a helpful message:

"As a new user your posts are pre-moderated."

It's her post, she owns it, how dare I tell her it's not valid? Pre-moderated she understands, not valid is offensive.

"Root" only makes sense to those into computers. "Forum Home" is what they expect.

Seriously, play with some other scripts, get more of a feel for them. Yes, doing the same thing but better is a challenge - it's easier to just do it completely differently.

But not for the really important people.

My visitors.


D.

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Posted
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#24137
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Community saint

Chris Graham said


As an example, before version 3 we had a user hoping mad that he couldn't set write permissions differently for different categories on his website. So we worked hard to make a permissions scheme that was both flexible and relatively easy to use. But now we also have the problem that quite a few users can't understand the permission scheme. Whatever we do or do not add, or change, it's always a decision that is a compromise to try and do what's best for the majority of our users. If we add options for everything, we add to the problem – because then we'd have 1000's of options and people would complain about not understanding them or having to spend ages turning things on.


That happens all the time at my site.

Also I agree with Chris and on the 14th of september I put this on my site about ocPortal.

" Posted 14 September, 2006, 09:38 AM
Submitted by Amy

In my opinion ocPortal is only limited by your imagination as it is capable of a lot more then what is listed on this page. View are example sites page."
The website of ocportal themes - Helping make your site stand out

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24139
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Community saint

Hey Chris what might be good for the permission is allow Some one to set the defaults.
So that when a new catalog or gallery or forum is added it goes to what they set the defaults to be.
Have the screen for the defaults looks just like the screen where you do the permissions to make it easier for the user.
This would save me time I find when I make a gallery I have to go though and set each one, which is a pain.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24174
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You should set the permissions for the gallery module as the defaults, and then just set different ones for each gallery if they need different ones. :)

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Posted
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#24177
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Community saint

I can not find the defaults.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24178
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Community saint

I even looked under that global permisions there is nothing in that that will allow me to set each group to  the permission as they are on the gallries.
I still think there should be some where to set all the defaults so that you do not have to changed them every time.
I will admin its easier then xoops where you had to proceed on every group when setting up permissions for new items.

It needs to be consistant.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#24179
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If you go to the permissions tree editor, expand the site branch of the tree, then click on the galleries module, you can set the permissions for it. :)

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Posted
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#24180
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Community saint

ok how in there do I set defaults?

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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