I just wanted to say "Amen" to that. It was amazing to me how virulently some have opposed even clean, user-friendly URLs, let alone threaded views, even though these features are used by most modern social knowledge sharing sites (reddit, Disqus, Instant Debate, Wikipedia etc.), and even by older ones (Slashdot).worldsight wrote:There is an incredible resistance in the PhPBB community to move forward, simply because many PhPBB community members don't understand how end user behavior has changed as a result of Web 2.0. For example, there is no default E-mail notifications in PhPBB. You have to hack it yourself. THis was my end users number 1 complaint. Yes, they WANT to be notified by default when someone replies to any of their contributions. This is new behavior - thanks to Facebook, Twitter and the likes. Users need this, otherwise, they will never come back to your site, because thousands of pieces of content on the web are calling them for their attention. WP has this by default, but the PhPBB old timers resist this simply because they "don't want to be spammed". It's just a very different culture from the Modern Web 2.0 world of blogging and social networking.
PhPBB could use some solid Web 2.0 product management to bring it into the 21st Century.
Oh, and e-mail notifications of discussion replies - duh! Of course you want them enabled by default for new users! Alas, that can only be done with a mod, which has been abandoned for 3 years and is currently broken. Assuming humans will 1) remember to check back periodically to see if they actually got a reply to a question, and 2) actually do so, betrays a complete lack of knowledge about basic human psychology.
Couple these painfully obviously neglected aspects with the (almost?) complete lack of AJAX usage, the fact that MODs need to hack core (Dupal's #1 rule, printed on t-shirts, is "Don't hack core") and phpBB looks (structurally) like a pre-Y2K forum. This despite it having 6+ years of development prior to newer contenders such as Vanilla Forums, which do get a lot of things right, out of the core, without 3rd party MODs.
I'm not saying these to criticize phpBB; rather, I'd like to gently advance the idea that the better way to discard the weight of the legacy might be to have a code rewrite. MyBB is doing it, replacing their spaghetti code and antiquated concepts with modern code written for a PHP framework. Arguments for why a complete rewrite done by the same developers is actually a great idea (contrary to what's commonly touted), can be found in this excellent essay.