djbaxter

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There are a number of new features in Xenforo 2.2, which we are now using here at the Local Search Forum.

I'm starting this thread to highlight the most important changes which affect this forum and it's members, with the intent of creating new How-To threads on each feature to show you how to use them. Keep your eye on How To Guides.

Among the new features in XenForo 2.2 :
And much more! You can read more about the above and other new changes/improvements features in the Have you seen...? forum.

Not all of these will be enabled here, at least initially.

Stay tuned....
 

djbaxter

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Forum and thread types​

Forums contain threads and threads contain posts. It's been the essential framework of forums on the Internet since the public migrated from usenet to the web.

The structure is well known and well understood - though the origins of some of the terminology are lost in the mists of time. Who ever came up with the notion of your site being a forum, but these separate containers for related threads also being forums? 🤷🏼‍♂️

Bending discussion forums to varying purposes

Over the years, forum administrators have been inventive and used the simple messages-in-named-containers structure of forums to build all sorts of content - let's look at the XenForo community as an example.

First, we have announcements and these "Have you seen" threads. These are quite focused on the initial post (or first few posts in some HYS threads), with these posts containing a lot of information... a bit like an article with subsequent comments.

Then we have the suggestions forums, where we ask people to up-vote the ideas they're interested in.

There are also support forums where people are looking for answers to questions or solutions to problems.

And of course there are also forums for general chat and discussions, which most closely fit the original notion of a discussion thread and where you can't really say the threads fit the same model as the other types.

Up until now, these forums and the threads within have all been displayed the same way.

But not any more

With XenForo 2.2, we are introducing the concept of Forum and thread types. This is a massive change with enormous ramifications for forums. Today, we're only really going to talk about the admin and user experience of the new systems, but in a few days we're going to follow up with a developer-focused HYS where we will talk about what's going on behind the scenes here, because we're really rather excited about the potential it unlocks.

tl;dr

We're prefer you to read all the details below, but if you just want the juicy bits:

 

djbaxter

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Question threads

Question threads can be used when the poster is looking for a definitive, crowd-sourced answer to a question, unlike a poll where opinions and preferences are expressed, but no single response would be considered the 'best' answer. If the user is looking for a solution, the question thread type is a good place to start.

eenshot-2020-06-17-at-14-30-02-question-thread-png.png

Here we see one of the most serious and important questions asked in the history of the internet. Let us take a moment to ponder the question, but also to note some differences to a normal thread.

While it's not immediately clear from a single screenshot, the question itself is pinned so it displays at the top of each page of the thread, unlike a discussion thread where the original post is only seen on the first page.

Navigating between pages will automatically take you past that post, but anyone that might come into another page will get the context of the original question.

Each of the answers can be upvoted or downvoted. The vote score for an answer is distinct from reactions and reaction score. While a post being funny might be a good thing and would warrant a high reaction score, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good answer to the question.

In addition to the usual date ordering, answers can be sorted by their vote score. This lets you see the best answers before more questionable ones.

The screenshot is shown from the perspective of the poster of the question in the screenshot, so you can see that the original poster has the option to mark the post that answered the question, allowing it to become the solution.

creenshot-2020-06-17-at-14-38-05-accept-answer-png.png

As it turns out, the solution wasn't any of those shown above.

nshot-2020-06-17-at-14-42-34-solution-accepted-png.png

The solution has been highlighted and is now brought up out of the melee of the other answers and the is placed next to the question, regardless of where it might've come from in the thread. Clicking "view full post" will take you to the solution in its original position where it can be interacted with like any other post.

0-06-17-at-14-45-18-accepted-answer-in-context-png.png

Of course, we track the number of solutions a user has provided so that members can build prestige and gain rewards such as trophies for having their answers accepted by questioners.

ot-2020-06-17-at-14-48-19-solution-member-card-png.png

And as you might expect, you can also display your most helpful members via the member statistics system or reward them with trophies based on the number of solutions they've provided.

reenshot-2020-06-17-at-14-51-15-most-solutions-png.png
 

djbaxter

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Article threads

As with articles published elsewhere on the web, article threads appear as a major piece of content followed by far less emphasized comments.

The first post is given an alternative styling to make it stand out from the comments, and we automatically allow more characters and images to reflect the fact that articles will often be longer and more complex than your average forum post.
reenshot-2020-06-17-at-15-26-26-article-thread-png.png

As with question threads, articles pin the first post to the top of each page of the thread, though on subsequent pages we automatically collapse the article into a more compact form so it doesn't take up too much space, though it is easily expandable.
reenshot-2020-06-17-at-15-52-00-article-page-2-png.png

We've seen various sites turn XenForo threads into articles with a combination of extensive styling and a handful of add-ons, and now we hope that the new article thread type will make this job significantly easier.
 

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