CFD Online Discussion Forums

CFD Online Discussion Forums (http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/)
-   OpenFOAM (http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/openfoam/)
-   -   Forum software (http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/openfoam/62637-forum-software.html)

foamy March 16, 2009 04:58

Forum software
 
I like the new features brought to the OpenFOAM forum by cfd-online.
Is this something like an extended phpBB, or which software is used?

Jan

pete March 16, 2009 05:16

It is based on vBulletin, see http://www.vbulletin.com

sega March 16, 2009 06:50

I think the new forum will be a great improvement!
Thank you for that!

alberto March 17, 2009 02:18

Yes, I like it too! Especially the post digests, so that email is not filled ;-)

Thanks for the improvement and also for the really fast and not painful transfer.

jola March 17, 2009 04:47

I'm glad that you like the new software, especially the post digests. One of the main concern from old OpenFOAM forum users has otherwise been that the new forum software does not offer the possibility to send instant email notifications of each new post for an entire forum. This feature is only available for individual threads. With the quick growth of the OpenFOAM forum over that last year we will soon approach more than 100 new posts every day. I would personally prefer a daily email digest of all new posts instead of getting 100 emails every day for every new post, but I still know that many of you prefer the instant emails and if the forum works out well and does not bog down the server too much we might start experimenting with an addon to offer this instant email possibility for entire forums.

The transfer was quite well prepared. Peter Jones has done a fantastic job preparing the vBulletin installtion and Mattijs has helped us to organize the new OpenFOAM forum structure and test the imports before we now finally went live.

gschaider March 18, 2009 05:37

Hi!

Again: I appreciate the effort put into this and I don't want to glorify the old forum software. I also understand the stress that the old mailing solution put on the server

It is my impression that the new software puts more emphasis on WRITING postings (here it is a clear improvement) and less on reading them (without an excessive amount on clicking). I mean the mailed digests are nice, but they only consist of a long list of links (and for long threads they don't beam me to the last posting of along thread, but to the first). Clicking on 32 links (todays digest) and then closing the windows again (maybe searching the last postings if it is a long thread)) is not an option for me. So it would be nice if the text of the posting or a part of it was included in the digest so that be glancing at it I can judge whether this is of interest (I can learn something here, I can help, ....). With mails I had a very clear interface ("I read that", "Let's earmark this for later answering")

But maybe there is a setting where I can change that. I just didn't manage to find it

But to accentuate the positive (so that I don't come accross as the grumpy old man that I am): the new forum will save me time as writing messages is easier and I will spend less time answering in threads that I didn't take part in before (the auto-subscribe is quite a nice feature) because I propably won't have read them

Bernhard

PS: And editing messages after the fact is much easier, too

dmoroian March 18, 2009 05:53

Tree browsing
 
Hello everybody,
Nice interface, much nicer than the previous one, I have to admit.
However, due to my clumsyness I find a little bit difficult to browse the tree. For instance, if i go to Forums->OpenFOAM->Installation, then it is not very straight forward to go back to OpenFOAM, but I have to browse again the Forums. Is there any link I missed to go back one branch in the tree?

Dragos

pete March 18, 2009 06:09

There is a forum jump menu in the bottom right corner of most forum pages which gives you the ability to quickly jump to another forum. We would also like to somehow improve the forum bread crumbs at the top to better show the forum tree, but we haven't figured out how to do that yet.

mbeaudoin March 18, 2009 21:47

Hello,

Like Bernhard, I can appreciate the difficulty and effort of moving the OpenFOAM forum from the old platform to this new home. This was certainly a tough job, and it was done with a lot of expertise and efficiency. So yes, kudos to the Forum sysadmins for doing this difficult task without spilling any beans.

The next challenge now, in my opinion, is to get the "growing pains" out of the system asap so that we can forget the old OpenFOAM forum software for good.

Bernhard, in just a few words, put the finger on what I consider is the most obvious limitation with this new Forum software: this software put emphasis on WRITING postings. Don't get me wrong, this is obviously a nice feature. But for any message posted on any Forum, we are always hoping that tens if not hundreds of people will have the chance to read our message because this is the whole point of the exercise in the first place.

For example, people stuck with any kind of OpenFOAM-related problems will take the time to write a post because they want as many people as possible to read it, hoping that at least one of them will answer their question ASAP. Likewise, people having any kind of pertinent knowledge to share and wanting to contribute with answers will also want as many people possible to read their answers.

So I think that the emphasis of this Forum software should be on easing the READING and SEARCHING of posts.

Right now, there are just too many OpenFOAM threads to follow, thanks to the old and inefficient Forum's threads structure that was imported as is.

I find the reading of recent posts more difficult with this new Forum software because they are basically harder to find, or it just takes too much time to find them.

And the search mechanism appears to me as a bit too limited, although I would love to be proved wrong here.

For example, I need to be able to search for all the new posts in the last 3 days, or the last 2 weeks, or the last month. The old Forum software was at least offering a quick overview of all the posts from the last day or the past week; this was pretty usefull for people like me than do not read the Forum messages on a daily basis.

I also need to be able to search for 3-letter words, because my main field of interest for the past years and the ones coming are, and will be, filled with a bunch of 3-letter words: GGI, HPC, SVN, GIT, SGE, PBS, GCC, HRV, etc.

Right now, I cannot search for posts with the word GGI in them, and the posts discussing about the GGI are now lost in a sea of more than 5000 threads, not including the Fluent or other Forums threads that get mixed into the "Recent posts".

So as of now, this new OpenFOAM Forum is of very limited use to me, either because I don't have enough time to spend roaming around for grabbing new information, or because I have a too limited understanding of it's basic search features.

I am obviously hoping to see some improvements because a Forum like this is a powerful tool for getting the OpenFOAM users community sharing information and moving forward. The old Forum was a very efficient tool for me to learn about OpenFOAM, and I still need to learn.

I hope my comments will be seen as constructive.

Martin

gschaider March 19, 2009 09:49

Hi!

Don't want my Nickname to be changed to TGWWOBHWTFTIAGML (The Guy who will only be happy when this Forum turns into a glorified mailing-list). Apart from being unpronounceable it is also not appropriate. So I thought "What would Chuck Norris do?" "He'd stare at the computer until it gives him the information he needs"

So I surfed around a bit. There seems to be a whole lot of Plugins for vBulletin around but is hard to find one that does what one wants when one doesn't know the name (these people like to organize - for obvious reasons - their repositories in vBulletin without classifications). But anyway. The one that struck my eye http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=197485 but the functionality there isn't described very detailed (whether a user can restrict it to certain forum hierarchies) and the phrase "database thread marking system" makes me think "maybe that stresses the database for a large installation and the problem is only shifted from the mail server to the database server"

Another solution would be to "fix" the search restiction Martin was talking about in the other posting. If I could search for all postings in the last x days in the OpenFOAM-Hierarchy (all of which works) with NO keyword nothing would have to be changed about the installation.

One last crazy idea occured to me while composing this message: "can't the Blogging system be abused?". The idea would be to create a Blog to which only the software can write (let's call it OF-Blog). Now every time somebody posts to a forum in the OF-hierarchy an entry in the OF-Blog gets created. The advantages of this would be:
- only one additional action per posting for the software (not 249 mails)
- a one-stop-shop (the OF-Blog) for those who don't want to miss a single posting
- the Blogs have RSS: voila - (almost) instant notification without mailing
The same would of course work for the Fluent/CFD/WhateverotherFlowProgramYouHave.
The hard part is of course "the software creates a Blog-Entry". But the idea is THAT obvious there should be a plugin for that (I'll have a look)

Bernhard

PS: But maybe this reading issue is a minority problem
PPS: The original joke is of course "Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares at them until they give him the infromation he needs"

BTW: didn't get a digest in my mail today. Is this just me or a general problem?

jola March 19, 2009 14:53

Most of the things you wish for are possible to do in the new software, but please give us some time to sort out the start-up problems and implement the things you want. For the moment all admins are overwhelmed with just responding to everyone who needs help to get started with these new forums... we sent out more than 30,000 invitation emails to old forum users. We are three admins and we have our hands full right now just to keep up the communication with all of you users. I hope it will settle down in a week or two and then we'll focus on implementing the changes necessary to make most of you happy I hope. :)

One thing which I think will be difficult to do exactly as some of you want is the email functionality. As Bernhard said this is not a mailing-list and we will never be able to turn a web-based forum into a mailing-list. The mailing functionality in the old OpenFOAM forum was starting to break down and created a lot of load on the server. We do not want to just create a copy of the old Discus forum only to realise that this will bring us back to the problems we had before.

jola March 19, 2009 15:01

I noticed that the default setting for the search function was set to only allow searches for words with 4 letters or more. I reduced this to 3 letters and now Martin can search for all 3-letter acronyms that he was interested in. There is no problem to restrict the searches only to the sub-forum you are interested in. Post in the help forum if you need any assistance in doing this.

pete March 23, 2009 04:52

New reading functionality to find new messages
 
We have now added two new pull-down menus that:

1. Lists all new posts, with the first few lines shown of each message. This new posts display can either be from your last visit to the forum or over the previous day (24 hours). The list can be made from all forums or from special forum sections (like showing new messages in the OpenFOAM tree only)

2. Lists updated threads. Instead of showing all new messages this pull-down menu will just show the threads that have been updated or are new since your last visit or over the previous 24 hours. To see the actual messages you have to click on the small arrow-button that takes you to the last post in each of these updated threads.

Having longer time periods than 24 hours in these functions is not that useful I think. Over 24 hours the forums will normally have received more than 100 new posts and if you are interested in a longer time-period you can either use the "since your last visit" function or just visit the forums you are interested in. Since the threads in the forums are by default sorted so that the threads with the most recent replies come first you will always find the most recent messages by just browing the forums.

Does this alleviate some of your concerns about the "reading" functionality in these forums?

mbeaudoin March 23, 2009 18:05

Very useful additions. Many thanks!

Martin

Quote:

Originally Posted by pete (Post 210370)
We have now added two new pull-down menus that:

1. Lists all new posts, with the first few lines shown of each message. This new posts display can either be from your last visit to the forum or over the previous day (24 hours). The list can be made from all forums or from special forum sections (like showing new messages in the OpenFOAM tree only)

2. Lists updated threads. Instead of showing all new messages this pull-down menu will just show the threads that have been updated or are new since your last visit or over the previous 24 hours. To see the actual messages you have to click on the small arrow-button that takes you to the last post in each of these updated threads.

Having longer time periods than 24 hours in these functions is not that useful I think. Over 24 hours the forums will normally have received more than 100 new posts and if you are interested in a longer time-period you can either use the "since your last visit" function or just visit the forums you are interested in. Since the threads in the forums are by default sorted so that the threads with the most recent replies come first you will always find the most recent messages by just browing the forums.

Does this alleviate some of your concerns about the "reading" functionality in these forums?


gschaider March 24, 2009 08:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by pete (Post 210370)
We have now added two new pull-down menus that:

1. Lists all new posts, with the first few lines shown of each message. <shortened>

2. Lists updated threads. <shortened>

Does this alleviate some of your concerns about the "reading" functionality in these forums?

Yes. Thank you. It improves the reading experience tremendously. If that page could be RSSd it would be almost perfect.

By the way: I got the mailed digest only once (the day after I subscribed) but the forum-software tells me I'm subscribed. Is this a problem only I'm having?

Quote:

Originally Posted by pete (Post 210370)
Having longer time periods than 24 hours in these functions is not that useful I think. Over 24 hours the forums will normally have received more than 100 new posts and if you are interested in a longer time-period you can either use the "since your last visit" function or just visit the forums you are interested in. Since the threads in the forums are by default sorted so that the threads with the most recent replies come first you will always find the most recent messages by just browing the forums.

Only problem with the "since last visit"-function is that my webbrowser saves and restores the last state. So when I have a Forum-page open at shutdown it will automatically open at startup and that is the "last visit". So when I go to "since last visit" immediately after starting the list is empty. But that is my problem and can't be fixed with the server software.

That being said: I think having the possibility to look back more that 24 hours would be great, but I understand that you don't want to crowd that menu with more entries, but if some time later (emphasis on: some time later) the possibility appeared to specify the time one wants to look back, that would be incredibly cool.

Thanks
Bernhard

pete March 24, 2009 08:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschaider (Post 210592)
By the way: I got the mailed digest only once (the day after I subscribed) but the forum-software tells me I'm subscribed. Is this a problem only I'm having?

The digests are working for me at least. Is anyone else having problems with not receiving these digests? I hope that it is a problem with a spam filter or similar at your end because otherwise I don't have a clue why you are not receiving these digests.


Quote:

Originally Posted by gschaider (Post 210592)
So when I go to "since last visit" immediately after starting the list is empty.

I'm not sure I understand the problem. If you have been inactive for a period the "Since last visit" function would use the last time you were active as the date to show messages from. For me the "since last visit" functionality works also if I just leave my browser on. If I, for example, go and eat dinner and just leave my computer and browser on and return to the computer afterwords the list will show all messages that are new since I left for dinner.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gschaider (Post 210592)
I understand that you don't want to crowd that menu with more entries

Yes, that is why we only used the previous 24 hours setting. When you want to have sub-forum functionality and also want to have the post list showing the first few lines of each message, the menu structure gets a bit crowded. Since the forums are sorted based on last reply it should be easy to find new posts by just browsing the forums.

I hope that you are at least a little bit more happy. When we moved over the forums we were a bit dissapointed with the the negative reaction from some OpenFOAM users. The previous OpenFOAM forum was running towards a stone wall - old software not updated any more causing the server to overload and functionality starting to break down due to this. We would have been forced to do something eventually anyway.

pete March 24, 2009 10:24

RSS feed of OpenFOAM forums
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gschaider (Post 210592)
If that page could be RSSd it would be almost perfect.

Is it something like this that you are after? That link gives an RSS feed of all OpenFOAM forums.

lin March 24, 2009 13:59

I could confirm that,after subscription to the forum,I only receive the notification only once.

ngj March 25, 2009 04:15

Hi all

As many other of you, I only received the notification once. After that I unsubscribed and tried to subscribe to the OpenFOAM-forum again. I was met by an "The thread does not accept any postings" or something similar.
I solved the problem by subscribing to the sub-forums, and since then I have received daily notifications.

Thanks for the new software. Besides the missing mailing-list as already described it works wonderfully.

Thanks,

Niels

jola March 25, 2009 05:27

Broken email notifications, probably found the problem
 
I think I know what might be causing these email notification problems. When we launched the new forums we had postings active for all sub-forums. A day or two after the launch we on request from Mattijs turned off posting possibilities in the "Forums>OpenFOAM" and "Forums>OpenFOAM>OpenFOAM" roots. It was like this in the old DiscusWare forum and we wanted to keep it like this so that all OpenFOAM discussions are directed to the appropriate sub-forums and not happen directly in the OpenFOAM forum roots.

When we turned off postings in these forum roots it seems like the subscription possibility also got turned off for these without us knowing that. You who subscribed while postings were active for the forum roots are still subscribed, but after we turned off postings in the roots it was no longer possible to subscribe to these forums and I also assume that the email notifications stopped being sent out.

I just turned on postings in the "Forums>OpenFOAM" root to see if that will solve the problem. Please let us know if you receive any email notifications from this forum now and if the notifications also contain threads from the "Forum>OpenFOAM>OpenFOAM" tree, where postings in the forum root are still turned off. Otherwise we might have to turn on postings also in that root.

If this is what causes the problems we will either have to accept having postings active in all forum roots or we will have to hack vBulletin into allowing forum subscriptions also for forum roots where postings are turned off.


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