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Is Facebook killing forums ?

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Posted
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#101282 (In Topic #19868)
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Community saint

Hi,

We have started to see a trend away from our forum to a Facebook group.

There is a clear divide between members that prefer to use FB over a forum, when you ask them why, it usually boils down to "ease of use" and "speed of notification". Some just hate FB and stick with the forum.

The trouble is that the forum element becomes very transitional, i.e. try and find something that was posted last week or the week before on FB and you will have a hard time - by this time FB has long rung out all the advertising capability out of it, so does not care !!

So this got me thinking that I would like to retain ocPortal but do something to give a FB like forum capability on our site - not to compete with FB but to hit it head on.

The key element here is notification, that is what binds the FB users together, some one asks a question and all the followers of a group get notified - so kind of like asking a question in real time, responses are possible quickly because of the number of people that now use smart phones.

How does better notification get implemented to avoid the use of email ? Does there have to be a html/native app available for each target device ?

I am not sure that I have all the answers, or even maybe going down the right path, but at the moment FB is starting to divide communities and I want to try and pull them back together.

Thoughts ?

Cheers
Ade



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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by KingBastLiked by KingBast)  
Rating:
#101284
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v10 will have "web notifications", which are pretty similar to what Facebook have on their webapp (i.e. an AJAX-updated icon of new notifications). Our web notifications system also integrates with the standardised desktop notification scheme, on Windows and Mac OS.

Notifications on native devices are much harder, and it would be a big effort for us to be able to support those. You can't send them direct from the mobile webapp, as webapps pause when you move away from them (as opposed to desktop, which keeps them running). You can't send them direct to the device, because of firewalls etc (and the devices don't support it). I did some reading, and (IIRC) basically for each OS you have to implement a linking process which lets the user give the webapp (i.e. ocPortal) an ID, and the webapp would then use this via speaking through the OS vendor's gateway.
i.e. for iOS, you'd send a notification through Apple's gateway.

So it's prohibitive due to having this convoluted linking process, and it being different for each OS vendor (Apple, Android, …).

The alternative would be to implement a native app, which would also be a huge effort, and it moves things away from web development to full on application development, with lots of complexities with deploying, appstore approval, multi-device implementations, programming to do any kind of branding, and so on.


In the past I've considered the idea of Facebook-sync of content, but it could only work well from Facebook to ocPortal. We couldn't sync ocPortal content into Facebook under a particular Facebook user's ownership.


An interesting possibility, pipe ocPortal notifications through Facebook, for users logging into ocPortal with Facebook:
App Notifications - Facebook Developers


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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#101287
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Community saint

Hi Chris,

You have mirrored a lot of my thoughts !!

An ocPortal app would be cool though - it would really set you apart from the other forum based software out there :-)
I understand it would be a huge commitment though.

So with the web app notifications will that put a number on the icon on the desk top and mobile icons ? Then when you click it will it take you to the post(s) that you are being notified about ?
Will this be back ported to v9 or is v10 close ?

I see the pipe notifications is for desktop only - and they seem very tight about how many and how often to avoid spamming.

I'll do some more thinking !

Cheers
Ade
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Posted
Rating:
#101288
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So with the web app notifications will that put a number on the icon on the desk top and mobile icons ?
IIRC on IE8 (or IE9, not sure) it puts a number on the taskbar icon, as that doesn't support the "HTML5" notification API.

As mentioned, there is no good support for mobiles here. We cannot update an icon because the web app is closed at the point of you looking at that icon. Plus, I'm not sure what icon you mean ;).

However if you meant the icon within ocPortal, yes.

Then when you click it will it take you to the post(s) that you are being notified about ?
The icon in ocPortal yes.

Will this be back ported to v9 or is v10 close ?
Nothing should be expected to be back-ported to v9 except bug fixes, or if there is a specific support ticket with a customer requiring it (funding it). I'm merely advising on what is coming, definitely we don't currently have funded or volunteered developer time to port new features to multiple targets. If a corporation wants to come along and fund a full time developer salary, that could change, but I don't see that as happening soon unfortunately ;).


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
Rating:
#101291
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Community saint

I do a bit of development on Android, so I'll throw my 2c into this discussion from an Android perspective:

Chris Graham said

as webapps pause when you move away from them (as opposed to desktop, which keeps them running).
That's correct if you just use a standard browser, however I don't know if that's always the case if you embed a web app in a custom app.

Chris Graham said

I did some reading, and (IIRC) basically for each OS you have to implement a linking process which lets the user give the webapp (i.e. ocPortal) an ID, and the webapp would then use this via speaking through the OS vendor's gateway.
i.e. for iOS, you'd send a notification through Apple's gateway.
YRC, its "push notification", and its by far the most efficient notification mechanism.

Chris Graham said

So it's prohibitive due to having this convoluted linking process, and it being different for each OS vendor (Apple, Android, …).
Absolutely, and it gets worse. You would essentially need a central account and app in each OS' cloud to do the message distribution for all ocPortal sites to use, as very few ocportal sites could/would make their own.

Chris Graham said

The alternative would be to implement a native app, which would also be a huge effort, and it moves things away from web development to full on application development, with lots of complexities with deploying, appstore approval, multi-device implementations, programming to do any kind of branding, and so on.
Yes, but the app can just be a notification stub, with just enough smarts get and show you the notification so that you can monitor things. While not ideal it might potentially be acceptable, but I don't know if it would be worth the effort for official support.

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#101292
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Honoured member

I'm an advocate of forums, I still think they offer something other social media doesn't offer as well. Google communities seem to have potential but i've not seen a large enough user base to really test one yet.

This all looks good and anything that can bring the  different users together and the possibility of app notifications could be really useful

Just Jarv
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Posted
Rating:
#101295
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Community saint

Notification is key to brining the two communities together and reducing the reliance on Facebook.

I like the idea of a native notification stub app. A simple app that alerts people of new posts in each of the forums. It could then simply launch a browser to show new posts since last visit.

I agree it will probably have to be community built with OCP's help.

iOS and Android are the two biggest requirements.

I am going to have a go at knocking something up on iOS over Christmas - Chris, expect some credits coming your way to answer my questions !!!

One thing our site has started to do is merge the admins from the two, FB kind of just grew and became uncontrolled. We are also posting on FB links to the main site content, trying to draw people back in.

Cheers
Ade
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Posted
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#101296
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Community saint

Lhasadreams said

I am going to have a go at knocking something up on iOS over Christmas
Good luck with that Ade :thumbs: .

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
Rating:
#101297

Non-joined user

Can you just notify of questions via email?

Or use the Facebook Comments plugin in your website?
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Posted
Rating:
#101313
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I still enjoy forums, but these days I often don't bother registering on new forums unless they a Facebook login because it's so fast and I don't have to worry about extra usernames and passwords!


Like ocPortal on Facebook:
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Posted
Rating:
#101328
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Honoured member

Robbie Goacher said

I still enjoy forums, but these days I often don't bother registering on new forums unless they a Facebook login because it's so fast and I don't have to worry about extra usernames and passwords!

This i can agree with. Part of my job is responding to queries about our products on forums and it's a pain when you have to go through the whole register seperately process

Just Jarv
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Posted
Rating:
#101388
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Fan in training

Robbie Goacher said

I still enjoy forums, but these days I often don't bother registering on new forums unless they a Facebook login because it's so fast and I don't have to worry about extra usernames and passwords!

I think now i have to add facebook login on my forum too.

Facebook doesn't compets with forums directly but they do hurting entire web world as they have giving visitors a new thing to do with their time which they might utlize searching on google.
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