Patreon and Q23 switching away from vBulletin


If possible (I assume it is), this might help people get used to the idea and see the benefits.


It might be interesting to see what exactly people need and want from forum software. For me, for example:

The ability to post text, as longwindedly as possible.
For posts to be threaded, preferably single threaded, and for the thread to be bumped when people reply to it.
For the software to keep track of which threads I have posted in and indicate that to me when browsing.
For the software to remember where I left off reading threads.
The ability to embed images. Not gifs, not videos. Just plain old images. (Honestly, I don’t want embedded videos, period.)
Easy basic text styling.

Spoiler tags that collapse the spoiler text and expand on click. Highlight-spoilers like on Something Awful’s forums are better than nothing but kinda suck.
Private messaging.
A usable, low-frills mobile version.
The ability to search the forum.

As far as I can tell vBulletin delivers all of the above, with the semi-exception of search - native vBulletin search is awful, but Google and/or Google custom search fields work just fine. From my understanding, Discourse’s search is better, but a substantial component seems to be tags, which I’ve never found particularly useful because for them to work, they have to be applied consistently and they never are. I am also told Discourse makes embedding images easier, but I don’t feel like uploading to Imgur, then clicking a copy button and pasting into my post is a big deal at all and it makes it much easier to share that picture in multiple contexts.


To answer some questions briefly:

  • There is no technical/backend reason forcing us to switch
  • You can separate posts by forum
  • You can get a “whats new” view. I think that’s actually the default.
  • Posts are single-threaded like vB. I don’t know if it supports real usenet-style threading. That would be a huge change anyway.
  • Yes it keeps track of what you read, you can search, embed images, style text, there is way to hide spoilers, and do private messages. On a side note you can embed images on vB too, we’d just have to pay for the storage so we don’t allow it.
  • Patreon stuff is not tied to switching forum software. (I assume wumpus won’t take his money back if Tom decides not to switch.)
  • The sky has been falling on internet ads for 20 plus years. I ran a network of gaming websites back in 1996 and we were all scared of it dying then. This too, shall pass.

I’ve used discourse myself, set up a forum at work. It’s great software, and we enjoy it, but it [I]is[/I] a big change from vB. That’s basically my opinion. It’s fine, but it is a real change.


Yeah, I figure Discourse does most of what I posted about, probably all. My point was more that vBulletin does all of it so right now I don’t see the advantage to switching. But if other people make similar lists it would be easy for someone (probably wumpus) to point out how Discourse might meet those needs/wants better than the current arrangement.


There is no huge advantage to switching, vB sucks for all the reasons wumpus says but we’ve all become accustomed to it so we don’t particularly care. At least I don’t. I would like to stop updating that Tapatalk plugin every damn week though.

If Tom finds this tantalizing, I suggest we get a test forum setup for people to mess around and provide feedback before actually switching.


This for me as well.

Including the part about being old.


Personally I do not care but I also think this is not something to be discussed in public. If you want to offer such a thing do it directly to Tom. But this here feels a bit like pressuring your agenda.


Great. Folks can describe the changes all they want or direct me to other sites, but I’m never going to be really clear on it until I see how it actually changes this site.


I disagree. We’ve had this discussion publicly before (see link in 1st thread). As Tom himself pointed out, Qt3 is all about the community. And so either decision (stay on VBulletin or move to Discourse) is only beneficiary to Qt3 if it has the support of the majority of posters.

We can discuss it all we like. It doesn’t mean Tom has to do anything. But it’s certainly not a bad thing to ask folks how they feel about it.



NEED: front page articles better integrated with forums: threads, replies, shared identity, notifications, etc


Which reasons were those?


If the community wants to move to Discourse, fine, but don’t do it as any part of a generous gesture from Wumpus that involves him covering hosting/advertising or donations on Patreon.


My vote is no. But it’s all ultimately up to Tom. Hard to turn down the cash.


Forum basics (quotes, …).
High availability.
Robustness (don’t lose text when responding / editing whatever the skin).
[I]Optional[/I] notifications (I want to tweak how many I get), either sub-forums or an easy way to split the content by type of topic.
Integration with the front page would be great too. Bring us all into one big happy(?) Qt3 family. A good mobile skin with an efficient lay-out and no fluff or Taptalk support. Spoiler tags. Private messaging.

(Very) nice to have:
The summary / what’s new / timeline view for all recent posts regardless of section. It seems messy at first but, on Tapatalk for instance, it’s really convenient to quickly see what’s been posted recently. You soon get used to it as a convenient feature when you want to catch up at a glance.
An easy way to embed images and link to videos. I’m not sure why some people here are so opposed to a thumbnail that doesn’t auto-play (similar to a picture in that regard). I personally find that more appealing and lets me know what I’m about to click on. But I’m not opposed to videos being kept as links only.
Avatars are used as a way to recognise those who support the forum with donations. So it would be nice to still have them as a token incentive (though we know we’d support it regardless). But it would be nice to ensure they don’t become too intrusive.



Embedded videos slow down page loads. Also, I don’t want to view videos inline, and so if you embed them I have to go to slightly more work to view them on the host. (For Youtube in particular I have a couple of extensions that make viewing videos on Youtube itself a significantly better experience and they don’t work on embedded videos.)


… and as i’ve said before i feel it’s the front page not the forums that need help.

As much as i dislike likes it may be time to move to them. I know that Tom has said here that he’s not interested in growing the community but i also would not want that small community from preventing him and the other “main” contributors to Qt3 not receiving the exposure and views their content deserves, and modern conveniences like “likes” and links to social media are more or less [I]du jour[/I]. Tom, Christian and Kelly’s movie reviews need a wider exposure, as do Nick’s game news and commentary and Tom’s game reviews, and a more modern front page would bring a lot more traffic even if that traffic didn’t stick around and join the forums.

As i’ve also said before, i think Qt3 should move to an “Idle Thumbs” model of website and content production. In fact someone bean their web designer over the head and bring him or her here to remake the front page of Qt3. If moving to better forum software is simply part of this process, great! But honestly if Qt3 moves to new forum software it needs a new front end as well - otherwise, to be honest, what’s the point.


I’m perfectly happy with vBulletin. Chances are I’ll be happy with Discourse just the same.


Why is Tapatalk relevant anymore? Pretty much every forum supports mobile fine nowadays. Am I missing something it adds to the experience?


I would vote yes for having better integration with the front page. As an old man I mostly forget to check the content there, so it would be nice if it was displayed within the forums. It might also mean more people coming into the forums which I think is a good thing (although others might see it otherwise).


Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t see any list of problems/flaws with vBulletin in the OP…

Wumpus seems to be supporting change for change’s sake.