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Koby

What to Expect in the Upcoming 4.2.0 Update

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IPS will soon be done with beta testing 4.2.0 and when that happens, at some point down the road we'll be upgrading the forum suite. This a big update full of a lot of feature changes, many you'll see, while many of course will backend or admin stuff. Here I hope to detail at least a portion of what you, the end viewer can expect to actually see and notice with the update when it arrives.

 

Clubs

Clubs are a brand new way of supporting sub-communities within communiry. Many people have requested social group functionality in the past and Clubs is an implementation of this concept.

 

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Club Leaders can add a variety of content areas to their club - forums, calendars, blogs and so on. It's important to note that these content areas are fully functional just as if they existed as a top-level admin created area. They will appear in search results, activity streams, users can follow them, embed links to them, and so on. If a user has permission to see a forum (for example) within a club it will behave exactly like other forums they see - and the same for all other kinds of content.

 

Each content area a leader adds can have a custom title, and will appear in the club navigation. This means, for example, that you can have multiple forums within a club, and give each a different name.

 

Clubs also support custom fields. Custom fields are defined by the site administrator and can be filled in by Club Owners. The values they enter are shown (along with the club description) on the club homepage. On the Club Directory page, users can filter by the custom club fields.

 

Clubs have built-in support for Google Maps, allowing users to specify a physical location for their club. Let's say you run a community for car enthusiasts; each club might be tied to a particular region's meetup. The Club Owner specifies the location when setting up the club, and clubs are then shown on map on the directory page.

 

We offer two ways to display club headers within the club - the standard way, shown in the screenshot above, but we also have a sidebar option. This is something the admin sets globally for the site, rather than per-club. This is useful where your site design doesn't facilitate another horizontal banner taking up valuable screen real-estate; moving the club banner to the sidebar alleviates this pressure on vertical space.

 

There's a lot of scope for using clubs beyond allowing users to create their own groups. You do not even have to call them "clubs" if that does not suit your use case. For example, on a company intranet you could rename Clubs to "Departments", and create a private group for each of your main roles. This would allow each department to have its own community, with its own forums, gallery, file sharing and so on, private and separate from other departments.

 

Similarly, they'd also work well in situations where you as the site admin want to create entire micro-communities. Take for example a video game publisher. Using Clubs, they could create a micro-community for each of their games, complete with forums, galleries and so forth, and then set the Clubs directory as their overall community homepage. Immediately, they have a setup that hasn't until now been possible out-of-the-box with IPS Community Suite.

 

Reactions

IPS Community Suite has long had a reputation system; first we had a simple up/down system, later updated to introduce a Likes system as an alternative. Whichever system you chose to use, it tied in with our reputation system.

 

We're pleased to introduce the latest updates to the reputation system, and it's something that has been requested for quite some time: Reactions.

 

Quite simply, reactions allow users to offer more fine-grained sentiments towards content than a simple up/down or 'like'. They are now in common usage on social networks, and so users expect to be able to be more nuanced in their response to something they see.

 

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Complete Your Profile

Completing long and complex forms online is tedious. It can be off putting having to fill in a lot of information before you can join a site or service. You may find that potential members never bother to convert from a visitor.

 

How to convert guests into regular members is an often asked question. The simple answer is to lower the barrier to entry. Invision Community 4 already allows you to register with Facebook, Twitter, and other networks with ease.

 

"Complete My Profile" is a system that will lower the barrier of conversion. Guests only have to complete a very basic form to gain membership. Members are then asked to complete any custom profile fields you require.

 

You can also set up steps that group items together to encourage existing members to add more information to their public profile.

 

Members with a complete profile and user photo provide others with much more engagement and personality.

 

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Leaderboard Enhancements

For 4.2 we made some improvements to the Top Members section of the Leaderboard. A new overview page tab shows a selection of the top members across different criteria. The filter menu allows you to view more members in any chosen category, and a new AdminCP setting controls which categories should be available.

 

Another small change is the Popular Contributors widget now contains a link to the appropriate section of the Leaderboard.

 

Richer Embeds

You are probably already familiar with our content embedding feature in IPS Community Suite. When a link to content in the community is pasted into the editor (e.g. a topic, or a post, etc.) it is automatically expanded into a preview of the content, usually with an accompanying image, allowing users to click through to that content if they are interested. For users, things will work exactly as they do now - they simply paste a link to content, and it will continue to expand automatically. The changes are also backwards compatible. Any existing embeds in your community will automatically show the new styling you see below - no rebuilding necessary.

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Group promotion improvements

The ability to automatically promote users from one group to another based on set parameters has been a staple of community software for some time. Traditionally, the most common determination of promotion has been post count. Additionally, the 4.x Community Suite supports promoting members automatically based on the time elapsed since the user joined the site and based on their total reputation count.

 

With 4.2, they've completely overhauled and enhanced the group promotion feature bringing many new options to administrators looking to promote members through different group levels.

 

Fluid Forum View

When you have a diverse range of topics within your community, it makes good sense to separate topics within forums and categories. This will ensure that the viewer can find relevant content by scanning the list of forums first. If you have a more focused community with fewer forums, presenting your community with a list of them can be daunting. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. Fluid forum view allows your visitors to get right to the meat of your community; the topics.

 

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Of course, you can permit your members to change the view to better suit their way of working. You will notice a "grid" option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for your members to choose, if the administrator permits it. You have full control over the display options. You may also decide to not allow your members to switch views at all. This will ensure that they all use the view you choose.

 

You may have spotted that forum names have a colored background in some of the screenshots shown. There will be the ability to define a feature color per forum. This feature color helps the forum stand out in a more visual way. This is especially useful when you select many forums in a single view.

 

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The database stores the members' view choice. This remembers the selection across devices. Guests are not permitted to change between views.

 

Authy Integration

In 4.1.18 we added Two Factor Authentication. Already in 4.2 we have announced a new setting to trigger 2FA when logging in from a new device, and in 4.2 we are also adding Authy as an authentication handler.

Authy can send a user a text message, make a phone call, or send a push notification to a smartphone app to authenticate the user. You can enable whichever of these options you like.

 

To set up Two Factor Authentication with Authy, the user will enter their phone number. To verify their phone number they will then enter a code shown in the Auhy app or have a code sent by text message or phone call. The system will automatically show an appropriate interface based on what options you have enabled - for example, if you don't want to enable the app as an option, it will not reference Authy.

 

When the user needs to verify their account, the system will automatically show an appropriate interface. If you allow verification with the Authy app and either it is the only option you allow, or the system knows that the user has installed the Authy app, the system will prompt them to use the app. This can either be done using Authy's OneTouch option (where the user will receive a push notification to the app, and when they click approve, the screen will automatically refresh) or their SoftToken option (where the user will be instructed to open the Authy app and enter the code they see). If you allow authentication by text message and/or phone call as well, the user will also see options for using those instead.

 

Device Management

One of our more technically-oriented features for 4.2, we have added more detailed logs of user logins, and the devices and IP addresses used. This brings several new features:

 

If enabled, users can receive an email notification when a new device is used to log into their account:

 

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When a user signs in for the first time, a special key is set to recognize the browser on subsequent logins. This mean the notification email does not trigger on a new IP address, which would be annoying when traveling or if using a network where the IP address changes regularly. Instead, the notification is only triggered if someone signs into your account from a new physical device or web browser.

 

If enabled, a new page will show in the user's settings page showing all the devices which have been used to log into their within the last 90 days (which is recent enough that could still be logged in if "Remember Me" was checked).

 

Users can see the device, browser, physical location (obtained by a GeoIP lookup) and if applicable, how the login was processed (for example, if the sign in was with Facebook or Twitter, this will show). If they chose "Remember Me" when logging in, they can undo that (handy if you realize you accidentally left yourself signed in on a public computer).

 

If they see anything they don't recognize, a page to walk them through the necessary steps to re-secure their account is available.

 

"Logging into the front-end" is one of the options of when to prompt for Two Factor Authentication. In 4.2, this has been separated into two distinct settings:

  • Logging into the front-end from a new device
  • Logging into the front-end from a known device

 

If you enable the former, but not the latter, and the user has previously logged in devices, the system will automatically show an explanation to users alongside the other available recovery option. This can be useful especially if you do not want to offer other recovery options.

 

In the AdminCP, administrators can see all the device and IPs a member has used. They can also disable automatic login for any device.  The system can also detect if another user is using the same device and will show this in the list of devices.

 

Delayed Deletes

I am sure we have all accidentally clicked delete on a post in your community and then realized you needed it. Luckily we now have Delayed Deletes to easily restore deleted content.

 

You can delete just as you normally do as you moderate and your posts will be removed just like now. The main difference is that you can now view recently deleted content and restore as needed in the Moderator Control Panel. All you have to do is click the deleted item and you will be taken to that item in context of where it used to be. This makes is much easier to understand why it was deleted and decide if you should restore.

 

Content Message

Content Message is a small feature available in all IPS Community Suite content areas (forums, blogs, gallery, etc.) and allows a moderator to put a message at the top of any item.

 

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This is useful if you have a special use for the area people are posting in, need to encourage conversation to stay on topic, or perhaps the conversation is becoming heated and you need to remind people to behave. Sometimes the smallest features can prove the most useful. I am sure you will enjoy the ability to add custom notes to any area of the Suite.

 

Recommended Replies

Sometimes you may find situations where you want to highlight one or more replies to a content item to bring attention to a really great response. This is especially true on busy communities where you might have dozens or even hundreds of replies in a single discussion. There is now an ability for a moderator to Recommend a reply (or multiple replies) and even leave an optional note explaining why they think you should view that post.

 

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When a reply is Recommended you will see a snippet at the top of the content item along with the optional moderator note and a link to jump right to that reply.

 

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You can Recommend more than one reply. We really think this will allow moderators to bring attention to some of the best replies and guide users to the best content the community has to offer.

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Yay for delete recycle bin feature. That'll make me feel a lot safer about my more complex threads >.>

 

rip likes though. I actually always preferred straight up/down rep systems like vbulletin, but I know reaction options are all the rage now. Whatevs. 

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Just now, Catar said:

rip likes though. I actually always preferred straight up/down rep systems like vbulletin, but I know reaction options are all the rage now. Whatevs. 

Regardless of what "Reaction" is given, it will still increase your "Reputation" in the same way just having the option for "Like" did. So it's not changing how it works, it's just giving it a bit more personality.

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Just now, Koby said:

Regardless of what "Reaction" is given, it will still increase your "Reputation" in the same way just having the option for "Like" did. So it's not changing how it works, it's just giving it a bit more personality.

Yeah, that's the part I don't like =P but then I also hate smileys and emoji, so I'm probably just no fun. 

 

See if you can find some silly anime reaction faces though to replace the defaults. Give us a bit more character. Bonus points if the "love" one is Toradora themed. 

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You hear that @Catar? Now we can finally be in a club together. Just you and me buddy....

 

*ahem*

 

Anyway, I do agree with you. The like system is very straight-forward and simplified. I don't really see the need for it to be changed. Whenever I want to express more gratitude I always just leave a comment and a like. Obviously this doesn't apply to non-upload threads/comments though.

Edited by Scyrous

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These look like a nice set of features. Those preview screenshots remind me of facebook which I don't use anymore. lol

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