Customizing SMF > Building Your Community and other Forum Advice

Do you really NEED that feature / mod?

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landyvlad:
This post is for basic and new users rather than advanced / highly experienced members.

I see a lot of requests for various features to be added to SMF, or mods to be created.
I have no problem with that and there are all sorts of legitimate reasons people would want such things.

A few things I've noticed:
- requests for mods to be created to fix problems which are human behavioural issues.

- people asking for mods to do certain things which might have perfectly legitimate reasons but perhaps they haven't considered the consequences of implementing the solution they've chosen.


So I figured I'd add my $0.02 as it may be of interest to some.

 
"There are no technical solutions to behavioural problems" (words to that effect appear in one of the forum regular's signature).

Issues with individuals really need to be dealt with by moderators on the forum. Set firm behavioural expectations in the forum rules. Perhaps provide a warning on first offence and if people offend again then give them a 'holiday' or ban from the forum.

I saw someone asking how to allow people to attach photos in a private message. Fair enough they may have a very good reason.
In the past I've seen people saying that this should be added to SMF as the default behaviour.
A consequence of this, however, is quite possibly a reduction in photos being shared in the public forums / less content going on to there.

In a majority of cases if people were swapping photos etc by PM then they would either be things that are likely to interest other members OR swapping photos which wouldn't be allowed in the public forums. (as probably not appropriate).

What I'm really trying to say is that I would suggest people don't install mods just because "that's cool" or "because they can".

For beginners at least a good rule to live by is to install as few mods as possible until you get more experienced.
Fewer mods means less likelihood of clashes (on install or subsequent uninstall) and usually more stability - stability is good mmkay!


How I approached it when building my forum
The approach I've taken when building my forum is that I started with a vanilla forum and added just a few mods (gallery mod, portal mod, post prefix mod and an anti spam mod) as I knew they'd be necessary for the 'core business' of the forum. So essentially as few mods as possible.

As the forum grew and we got requests from members for certain features, or we could see that a feature was needed to manage things better, we explored options for that.

In some cases we deleted one mod and added another with more targeted functionality for our needs. In other cases we upgraded from a free to a pro version of a product for its improved functionality / flexibility).
 
On the other hand in many cases we simply didn't accede to member's requests. usually we'd give them a reason.

Also its much easier to not put a mod in at the start, than it is to take a mod away once people are used to it.


My suggestions

When considering implementing a mod, ask yourself:
- does this actually provide something necessary to the forum?
- is it related to the forum's core business / main subject / main content?
- will it introduce a feature that could be readily abused by forum users?
- is it likely to introduce other issues of stability or compatibility? (I'm looking at you tapatalk  :( ) 
- will it make the forum look more professional, or less professional?
- is it more likely to attract new users, or put off existing users?


The answers to these questions really don't matter.  (What, then why did you mention them landy? )

What matters is that it gets you thinking about these things before you just install a mod, or request someone write one to achieve a certain outcome.

Think, then do (or do not).


Cheers all and enjoy your SMF journey. 8)


Any questions or comments? Feel free to post below.

Arantor:
Wise words indeed.

burd:
We always have been sending pics in pm’s.   But I don’t want members using sites like phot bucket.
If you don’t like mods don’t use them.  We like them.  Keep them coming. 

Arantor:

--- Quote from: burd on April 22, 2020, 01:00:46 PM ---We always have been sending pics in pm’s.   But I don’t want members using sites like phot bucket.
If you don’t like mods don’t use them.  We like them.  Keep them coming. 

--- End quote ---

Speaking as one of the most prevalent mod authors historically for SMF... I couldn't disagree more with this statement.

doug_ips:

--- Quote from: burd on April 22, 2020, 01:00:46 PM ---If you don’t like mods don’t use them.  We like them.  Keep them coming.

--- End quote ---

I could not agree more with this. Some users like to run their forums bare, with no mods at all or as few as possible. Some, want to use a lot of mods that add extra functionalities that they need/want. T to each its own I say.

Although, from what I have seen, the majority of users want to use mods btw.

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