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Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 01:27
by ividyon
Hi all,

posting a poll here to gauge your opinions as a community.

As you're aware, we haven't accepted new sign-ups since 2016 (unless people manually approached me via email) due to a spambot problem. The forum software is all sorts of outdated since 2012, and updating it is generally troublesome.

However, if we surrender certain "nice things", we can update to the newest version (phpBB 3.2), fix the spambot issue, get the newest security fixes in and generally get our forums back up-to-date.

The "nice things" lost in question are:

  • The entire UnrealSP theme. It would be replaced with a generic phpBB theme, styled in white and blue.
  • Permanently: Custom modifications for the 2012 UnrealSP relaunch. They are barely in use, anyway.
  • Temporarily (until further notice): Modifications such as smileys, avatars, custom BBcodes like [sshot] and [spoiler], etc. Those will all be fine!
  • Perhaps more I'm not keeping track of!

The forums would look something like this:


On the bright side, that default style would probably be better optimized for mobile.

I would eventually re-instate an UnrealSP-focused theme, however this would be after the main site re-launch (development on which is going great, by the way; check the Discord chat!)

What do you think? Should I prioritize a safe and secure forum re-launch before anything else, or wait until the new main site is finished and I can devote myself to modernizing the forums and keeping them in-tune with the new main site?

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 01:41
by Jet v4.3.5
Having an eyesore of a theme could be a better motivator than piecemeal, partial changes that are easy to disregard.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 15:57
by Buff Skeleton
At the very least I'm sure there's a dark theme variant we could use as a holdover.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 16:33
by ividyon
I went ahead and did some fixing on our current forums while this decision is pending:

  • Purged over 54k spambot accounts in grueling manual labour of ~900 per batch.
  • Activated some user accounts which were erroneously blocked due to "profile details changes", and never came back.
  • Replaced our Q&A captcha Unreal-themed questions with a fresh batch, which should hopefully hold back spambots for a little while.
  • Re-enabled registration!
  • Wired up the menu to link to the legacy website instead of having dead links.
  • Fixed the legacy Upcoming Maps page's MySQL connection details; it shows the Upcoming Maps forum again.
  • Replaced various references to the IRC chat with links to the Discord. Come to the Discord guuuys!

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 17:48
by editor Dave
Even though my mind likes the black background-white font theme more, my eyes would actually thank you if it was the other way around.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 17:57
by Sat42
Option 1 hehe :D

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 20:33
by papercoffee
I opted for number 1... even so I'm not that active here.
If I'm not mistaken has the basic phpBB a darker theme as an alternate skin in the default set-up.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 03 Mar 2018, 20:48
by radios
Perhaps no one saw this?. this can be site wide or selectable from a pull down tab on each members profile..

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 07 Mar 2018, 04:10
by Jigoku
I would just work on one thing at a time. Be less hetic that way without flopping one thing and going crazy.


Posted: 07 Mar 2018, 14:19
by salsaSkaarj
My idea is upgrade as soon as possible, but to 3.2.1 first, not 3.2.2 which has a couple of issues - all of which can be solved but it can be a pain in the *ss to find out exactly what the hell went wrong (I've upgraded or updated 12 forums to 3.2.1 without problems, 3 updates from 3.2.1 to 3.2.2 failed, 1 still unsolved) (in fact I'ld wait for 3.2.3 before updating).
As long as the forum database can be restored to an unmodified state, upgrading shouldn't be a problem (however, it is major upgrade so a test with a copy isn't a bad idea :wink:

Spambots: almost every Captcha has been broken and the new ones don't last 2 months. A simple Q&A (related to this forum) should really suffice.

I think that's the most important now, restyling and extra functionalities can come later. In my experience if I wait until everything is ready, it takes at least twice as long :shake:

As for a new style, there are dark themed styles available and someone with experience and talent with css should be able to change colours and adapt the style.

If I recall correctly there were a couple of CMS extensions in development so the layout as it is now could probably be kept more or less.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 20 Jun 2018, 11:46
by iLikeTheUDK
Option 1, without doubt.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 02:13
by Ironword
I'm with Jigoku. Just one thing at a time. The easiest thing to do--if the new main site really is progressing nicely--is just to wait for it. That means option 3. (Though boy, am I in the minority on this one!)

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 18 Aug 2018, 23:19
by Hellkeeper
So is this place dead? Haven't followed since the switch from old UnrealSp to v2. Looks slower than slow nowadays.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 19 Aug 2018, 00:17
by UBerserker
Hellkeeper wrote:So is this place dead? Haven't followed since the switch from old UnrealSp to v2. Looks slower than slow nowadays.

To be fair, it's just the whole U1/UT community slowing down as a whole and be near death (the series is forever dead now that UT4 development has been stopped). This place definitely more dead than others; I'll be honest: USP has lived off the hype of things such as Firestorm and TCO ever releasing but since those are never coming out, people got finally convinced certain stuff remains just dreams, and they stopped giving a shit. Plus, a lot of us have grown, we got older, we have jobs and can't care too much about old stuff anymore.

I did my part this year by releasing some real solid stuff but when you feel the community isn't just there, your mapping will fades away. Mappers need an audience. Hard Crash came and went, Xenome has headed this way too with part 3, and what else, at this point there isn't even something coming anymore. Turboman apparently got convinced to work again on Firestorm thanks to the Unreal 20th anniversary (and still doesn't want the betas to come out) but I doubt the honeymoon will last a lot. Huge ass projects have been the golden age of Unreal single player, as well as the primary cause of its death because everyone thought it was cool making 20-maps packs with ultra innovative scripts.

Re: Fixing the Forums: Radical edition

Posted: 19 Aug 2018, 00:34
by Hellkeeper
A damn shame. I was always able to map without worrying about not reaching any audience, but I understand why most don't map for mapping's sake. I still have the hope it will never fully die and, like the Doom and Quake communities, will remain in a half-living state of people periodically coming back to it and people making maps for it just for the sheer enjoyment of it, but the perspective is dismal.
UT2004 is dead as a community, I haven't seen a website dedicated to it or people gathering to talk about it for years. UT managed to keep some blood pumping and Unreal leeched a bit off its tournament brother, but it's getting harder everyday.
I'm sad, it seems a lot of things went wrong as the games were in need of help. First it was Nalicity dying of a bad crash, then BeyondUnreal dying out in a hard drive failure, then the french sites all having major redesigns, crashes etc. at the same time. UnrealSp's story is not something I'm very aware of, but I know that I, for one, pretty much stopped visiting when v2 came around and it became a pain in the neck to view the custom map reviews from the old site.
I toured the ruins this afternoon: this place is a cemetery, BeyondUnreal is a ghosttown, is empty, UnrealWiki is in stasis when it works, same for LiandriArchive, UP has no activity... And people have left. :(
OldUnreal and are the only place where the heart still beats, it seems.