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  • Very discouraged.

    I'm just very discouraged with my vBulletin software. No doubt it's a very nice package, but I feel that I have to learn ten new things every time I want to do something even very simple.

    I'm confused and discouraged. If anyone can offer me any encouragement, I'd be very glad. Perhaps someone else went through a very discouraging time at the beginning, but was able to gain a lot of mastery within a few months?
    Last edited by Baba Wawa; Fri 24th Apr '09, 3:50pm.

  • #2
    I was totally useless at the beginning - couldn't even install my site without a lot of handholding and it took me ages to even pluck up the courage to try and install a different style.

    Stick with it, and don't worry. There is a lot to learn, especially at the beginning, but you'll be surprized at how you will start doing things after a bit without having to look it up.

    The best piece of advice I was given once I started looking into experimenting with settings, styles, modifications, etc was to install a test forum for experimenting on. That way you can try things and see what happens without having to worry about breaking anything. I still use test forums today for trying things first before changing something on my sites then I can have a practice run to see if it is going to break anything first.

    Keep at it, don't worry, relax, and try using a test forum for experimenting with different things. Knowing that you can't possibly do any damage when experimenting will automatically relax you and even make you a bit adventurous with trying things out. Worst case scenario with a test site is that you have to reinstall it if you completely break it, but you don't lose anything by having to do so anyway as you haven't touched your live site.

    If it makes you feel any better - I still have a test style on my test site which is all color changes. It's a very interesting red, yellow, blue, orange, pink, purple, green, black, brown and white number! It's totally awful, but I literally changed every single color in the main CSS to be a different color then I can see easily what affects what part of the style.
    Kerry-Anne :)

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    • #3
      It would also help to know what specifically you are having problems with.
      Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
      Change CKEditor Colors to Match Style (for 4.1.4 and above)

      Steve Machol Photography


      Mankind is the only creature smart enough to know its own history, and dumb enough to ignore it.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kerry-Anne View Post
        I was totally useless at the beginning - couldn't even install my site without a lot of handholding and it took me ages to even pluck up the courage to try and install a different style.

        Stick with it, and don't worry. There is a lot to learn, especially at the beginning, but you'll be surprized at how you will start doing things after a bit without having to look it up.

        * * *
        Kerry-Anne,

        Thank you so much for this reply. It was exactly the kind of thing I needed. It does make me feel more hopeful.

        There seem to be 8-10 things that people need to learn how to do fairly early on. I've wondered if it wouldn't be helpful for vBulletin to put together a Newbies mini-manual addressed to those topics. They're all intimidating, and they all come at once, pretty much right at the beginning.

        Yes, I'll try to set up a test site and see if I can experiment with it as you suggest. That would probably make me feel a lot better, and give me a lot more confidence. That's sort of an example, though. You say it like it's so simple -- set up a test site. But setting it up is not actually all that terribly straightforward. You have to ftp. You have to have the test-site directions. You have to use .htaccess, which I have never done.

        Still, I am heartened by your own experience. If I can learn those 8-10 things that seem to come at the beginning, that should make a big difference to my comfort and confidence level.

        Thank you again.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Steve Machol View Post
          It would also help to know what specifically you are having problems with.
          Steve, it's basically the whole ball of wax that is getting me down.

          There are, as mentioned above, ten or so things that need to be done. Each has its own list of steps, all of them involving things I've never done before, most involving language that is completely foreign to me, and some requiring other programs that I have also never used before. When you pile one of those tasks on top of another, on top of four or five more, it's pretty daunting. And, after a while, quite discouraging.

          I really think it might be useful if a newbie mini-manual could be put together. It should contain the first ten things a new vB. administrator needs to learn. Actually, just having a list of the things to focus on first would be helpful.

          Have you considered having a forum just for newbies? I think it might simplify things a bit, both for people asking questions and perhaps even for those answering them. You might, I suppose, want to limit it to people who have just purchased a license, perhaps for the first six months of that license.

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          • #6
            Focus on setting up the forums and the usergroups, and start posting and getting to know your members. Small steps
            Once you're more familiar with the way the frontend and backend works, you can dive into other things, which will now seem a bit easier.
            Such as tweaking settings, or asking via support tickets how to do those little things. Getting step by step instructions on where to find what you're looking for.

            Most new admins make the mistake of wanting 50 things, but only knowing 1.
            Start knowing 5, and grow to 10.. in a short period you're up to 50 and your site is growing.

            Don't forget: content is king
            Meaning .. focus on the content on your site and keep it active, your members will come over time and will value the small changes you implement over time. You don't want to overwhelm them with your big changes all at once. They need to get to know the community too.

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            • #7
              Floris, thank you so much for your advice and suggestions.

              Originally posted by Floris View Post
              Focus on setting up the forums and the usergroups, and start posting and getting to know your members. Small steps.
              Actually, I've held off in seeking out members because I want to have the site set up and looking good before I start inviting people. My audience won't necessarily be large and I want to up my odds that, once invited, they will come back another time. But I can certainly start on the forums, and that will probably give me more of a feeling that something is happening.

              I'm not sure what kind of usergroups I might want. (?)

              Originally posted by Floris View Post
              Once you're more familiar with the way the frontend and backend works, you can dive into other things, which will now seem a bit easier.
              Such as tweaking settings, or asking via support tickets how to do those little things. Getting step by step instructions on where to find what you're looking for.
              Again, very good ideas. When you say frontend and backend, though -- I do think it would be good if vBulletin would suggest the first ten things an admin should do on the frontend, and the first ten things on the backend.

              When you're new, you're not even sure what the frontend and the backend are.

              Originally posted by Floris View Post
              Most new admins make the mistake of wanting 50 things, but only knowing 1. Start knowing 5, and grow to 10.. in a short period you're up to 50 and your site is growing.
              Yes, this is what has to be done -- slow down; nail one thing before moving onto the next. At the risk of annoying you, though, I'll say again that I think it would be so helpful if vBulletin would tell newbies what are the first 5 things to learn; and then the next 5; and then the next.

              Originally posted by Floris View Post
              Don't forget: content is king
              Meaning .. focus on the content on your site and keep it active, your members will come over time and will value the small changes you implement over time. You don't want to overwhelm them with your big changes all at once. They need to get to know the community too.
              That sounds so appealing, and probably would relieve some of my frustration. My philosophy has been, though, that I should make the site as appealing as possible before inviting people. My audience is pretty fussy and accustomed to high-quality in many areas of life. I need to make a good impression out of the gate, I fear, or I will forfeit a lot of potential members. (Perhaps that's wrong, but I'm pretty sure that there's something to it.)

              Taking advantage of your advice as a whole, though, I guess what I need to do is (1) identify a few things to learn; (2) learn them well; (3) move on to the next few things; (4) learn those. At that point, I probably need to assess the situation and see if I'm not ready to go live.

              Thank you again, Floris.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kerry-Anne View Post

                * * *
                If it makes you feel any better - I still have a test style on my test site which is all color changes. It's a very interesting red, yellow, blue, orange, pink, purple, green, black, brown and white number! It's totally awful, but I literally changed every single color in the main CSS to be a different color then I can see easily what affects what part of the style.
                Kerry-Anne,

                I've been thinking about your post, and your experience, all day today. I appreciate your sharing this information about your site of many colors. It's such a great idea, and I think I'll give it a try myself.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When you're new, you're not even sure what the frontend and the backend are.
                  Front-end in my eyes is what the users see.. The front of the forum... the board as they enter it.

                  Back-end in my eyes is what the admins see.. The admincp/ of the forum... the board behind the curtain.

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                  • #10
                    the first ten things an admin should do
                    Create a private staff forum
                    Create a public news forum
                    Create a private post report and archive forum
                    Create a public feedback forum
                    Build a few sticky threads if there is important info users should read before posting in a forum
                    Build public forums for users to post the site specific content in.
                    Build a generic chit chat public forum for offtopic discussions.
                    Keep the rest clean and simple, don't overwhelm users with more than 15 forums.
                    Build content, new threads and post replies, using you posting skills and the support of your team.
                    Replace some graphics to make your forum more 'you' and unique. Build branding (aka)
                    Change the theme a little bit to match the graphics and your main web site (header/footer/colors)
                    Get some members in and ask them to help post and promote your site. Notice someone that stands out and invite them to your team as a moderator or to a premium usergroup.
                    Market/promote/advertise your board on other sites to help grow your members.
                    Submit your site to search engines.

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                    • #11
                      If it makes you feel any better - I still have a test style on my test site which is all color changes. It's a very interesting red, yellow, blue, orange, pink, purple, green, black, brown and white number! It's totally awful, but I literally changed every single color in the main CSS to be a different color then I can see easily what affects what part of the style.
                      Would you consider releasing this style?

                      In all seriousness, the style editor still causes me issues and i've been using it for years; i'm never quite sure what to edit to get what effect and i often find i've missed a crucial part that needed changing (eg the colour of the quick reply box often catches me out) It'd be helpful to have some sort of graphical association between the style editor and the front end changes it makes.

                      As for encouragement, Vbulletin is only complex for newbies, as it contains a lot of features - features that once you learn how to use you'll be glad of. If you find a product that is simpler to learn, it'll only be because there is less there to learn, which means that it lacks a lot of features. Hang in there, you'll be fine
                      Some of my Mods:
                      Advanced IP Ban Manager (vb3.6+ version) - Fine grained control over blocking trouble makers.
                      Advanced IP Ban Manager (vb4 version) - Fine grained control over blocking trouble makers.
                      Use Original thread for Comments - Uses the original thread for comments for any forum threads promoted to CMS articles.
                      Custom Friendly Urls - Allows customisation of forum urls from the admin CP.

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                      • #12
                        Build a few sticky threads if there is important info users should read before posting in a forum
                        May be it is better to use announces system?

                        I can reccomend you to use as less stickies as possible, scrolling is not fun, better to offer more active threads, forums looks more alive and intersting. And rules are not fun to read too, they should be short or simple, everything should be as intuitive as possible.

                        (Personally, I am using forum descriptions for subforums rules, that is enough and all user guarantee will see it.)
                        http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/images/editor/smilie.gif

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                        • #13
                          Hello! And thank you for this thread. I new to vB or anything like it. I've had moments of "I'll never be able to do this, what was I thinking", but now I feel totally different. I will now be focused on my baby steps.

                          Thanks again!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am very strict with using stickies, vs announcements, vs descriptions vs notices.

                            A sticky thread should be updated by the mods, and is on a per forum basis, and as exception to that forum .. such as ' winners of competition ' or ' how to participate in this particular forum ' , where an announcement is made once, and perhaps once a year revisited, and should appear in all forums of that category.. i think announcements can be considered deprecated with sticky+notices. I use descriptions of forums only to inform what the forum is about, it's in my eyes not meant as rules placeholder. And notices are temporary, per usergroup, per time of day, etc .. very flexible and dynamic and even personal.

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