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  • How many users hated vBulletin?

    I switched from a simple threaded board with only a couple of "forums" for different topics, to vBulletin back in March. I switched because the old software was a pain for me to maintain, and was fairly limited in features. It took me a great deal of time and testing to select vBulletin, and I'm not displeased with my choice.

    I only have 137 registered members, I generally have 3-4 online at a time along with double the number of guests. I have 186 threads in total, and 610 posts so far. I have about 6000 messages to import from my old BBS system in the near future, and the posting volume of the new forums seems to be on the same level as the old. As in any BBS, we have a significantly higher number of readers than posters.

    I continue to get messages like the one below in my new forums, or even worse, sent in email beause they can't figure out how to post...:
    User 1
    This new forum system is very cumbersome and unfriendly to use, in my opinion.

    I have avoided even coming to the site because of this.

    My two cents worth.
    Now I hate to piss off any of my visitors as we are a site that is online to support a member based organization. Most of the site visitors are paid members of the organization, and the forums provide a place for these members to exchange information on what's a pretty esoteric topic. Most of our membership is borderline computer illiterate as well.

    The people who stick it out generally have very nice things to say about vB, eg:
    User 2
    When we first switched over to this new format, I hated it too. I've been fiddling around with it for awhile, and I feel like I now have a better understanding of the way it works. I'm not exactly a computer geek, and it probably takes me longer than most.

    I'm sold on it now. I find it much easier to use than the old format. To each his own.
    However, I'm still bothered by the ones that find the software hard to use, cumbersome and unfriendly.

    Are any of you dealing with this? Any suggestions?

    -t
    Tim Hewitt
    myOstrich Internet - Domain Management & Internet Services
    myOstrich Golf - When it comes to golf, we don't have our heads in the sand.

  • #2
    Wow the reaction of my users was the exact opposite of yours! My Members were overwhelming positive about the change from UBB to vB on my forums.

    http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...&threadid=1925

    http://www.optiboard.com/forums/show...&threadid=1921
    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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    • #3
      It is a pity that your users think that vBulletin is a hard-to-use solution. I would deal with this by saying that your board is a faster board than the older solution that you had used. In addition, perhaps make a Flash demo to demonstrate the user interface?

      I don't know how to make the button "[p]ost thread" easier to understand what it does. But if one could prepare a document for you in Acrobat or some electronic documentation, I'm sure you users will find it easier. However, I do have a request (and your points are probably valid). For the computer illiterates, one (great person) should make an Acrobat document for us to give to the new users .

      I would approach this (but most of my users understand boards pretty well) by simplifying the UI and putting the more "advanced--or the regular UI that comes with vBulletin" as an optional style. If he or she can find "Options > Style," wouldn't one assume that he or she is the more advanced user? However, on my website, I've kept it with the regular interface and not a simplified--they love options.

      I agree that I had a very positive reaction with the move to vBulletin. My hobby website visitors were pleased with the changes. I hope this helps you.

      Added/Changed 18 May 2001: Added a "I hope this helps you." Fixed grammar--antecedent-pronoun agreement in they into "he or she." "They" was made into "he or she." "Like" was changed to "as though" because "like" is a preposition.
      Last edited by Myriad; Mon 18 Jun '01, 1:31pm.

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      • #4
        I know couple of people have asked me "What's a thread?"

        Maybe we should switch it to "Topic" instead of "Thread"?
        Webmaster
        http://www.AutomotiveForums.com

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        • #5
          I went from the Delphi system to UBB about 18 months ago and talk about backlash!! It was a completely different system and a lot of people had a hard time adjusting and I had received quite a bit of 'hate' mail.

          But eventually people stop copmlaining and get used to the system. Going from UBB to Vb was a completely positive step and no one complained after that!

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          • #6
            I think that forum software is being developed at a bit of a tangent to what the forum user actually wants.

            People who buy/install forum software crave the latest toys and features, they won't even consider 'old' type threaded boards and sneer at software which doesn't have a user control panel, three flashing LED's and a digital readout on the average keystroke per second of the top poster.

            But in reality people just want to post a message.

            It's getting to the stage where you need to download a PDF manual just to do that.

            Actually, we're currently writing a user manual for Ikonboard.

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            • #7
              The solution is simple: make everything toggleable. Some people get confused when they see all these options that vB offers. They see "Show a Printable Version | Email This Page to Someone! | Receive updates to this thread ]" and think: Um...I don't want to do any of those....I JUST WANNA POST A TOPIC!

              I think developers get to a point where they know exactly what every little option does on their board, and then they expect everyone else to know what it does too. We forget about the little people, the computer illiterate. I don't know if vBulletin offers such features to turn every little bit on and off, mainly because I'm too poor to purchase a license. But if it doesn't, this is certainly a feature that needs to be looked into. An option to go to some sort of bare mode, where its just topics and replies. That's the real heart of a message board anyways, isn't it? Messages?

              Oh well, enough of my ranting.

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              • #8
                I like vBulletin a lot. My users do too. We have a lot of people that don't know what half the features do. So they simply ask in the forum, and other users help them with their questions.

                Anyways, making a forum too plain is boring. And Jelsoft would then die to UBB . We don't want that to happen.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fred
                  I like vBulletin a lot. My users do too. We have a lot of people that don't know what half the features do. So they simply ask in the forum, and other users help them with their questions.
                  [clip]
                  So Fred, did you convert or start with vB?

                  I've done more digging into the historical postings on my old forum and compared it to my new forums.

                  There are a significant number of regulars from my old forum who apparently have not made the transition to vB. Registration was not necessary on the old forums, and people could post under any name they wanted (not a good thing), but most posted under their real names and were consistent in spelling, etc. I've been working on porting utilitites to move my old posts over to vB and I found that 30 of the people who posted 10 messages or more in the last 6 months of my old board have not yet registered in my vB forums! I don't know if this means they are just lurking as guests and have had nothing to offer yet - or if the complexity of the software has kept them from participating.

                  I'm going to send email to each of them and ask them what's up. I hope I've not pissed off too many of them and can bring them back. After all, community is why I have a forum in the first place, and if I've made it too hard for the computer illiterate, I have to do something to pull them back in.

                  As for users asking questions, if they cannot figure out how to post, they don't ask in the forum. Many are also too embarassed to ask since it makes them look computer-stupid...

                  -t
                  Tim Hewitt
                  myOstrich Internet - Domain Management & Internet Services
                  myOstrich Golf - When it comes to golf, we don't have our heads in the sand.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by thewitt
                    As for users asking questions, if they cannot figure out how to post, they don't ask in the forum. Many are also too embarassed to ask since it makes them look computer-stupid...
                    That's a very good point. I think we should (and I think Wayne Luke has a start on this) put together a manual from the end-user POV, covering just about anything you'd want to know. I know Wayne's system is going to context-sensitive so I'd be most interested to see how it turns out. But I think a good solid manual would go a long way to helping increase posting for all of us.

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                    • #11
                      I know I can't stand uB.
                      Matt
                      Sybase DBA / PHP fanatic
                      Sybase v. MySQL v. Oracle | Why I don't like MySQL | Download Sybase TODAY! | Visit DBForums.com!

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                      • #12
                        I had a few who didn't take to the new format right away, but the first thread that had about 100 posts changed their mind. Especially when I reminded them that they'd need a monitor the size of a movie screen to view a thread like that without scrolling on our old forum.

                        The only person who said it was hard to use was a flaming troll I couldn't ban using our old forums, who said I was using a confusing format because I was a control freak.

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                        • #13
                          I have rather hard time figuring out how to use old-type forum. hehe.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tubedogg
                            That's a very good point. I think we should (and I think Wayne Luke has a start on this) put together a manual from the end-user POV, covering just about anything you'd want to know. I know Wayne's system is going to context-sensitive so I'd be most interested to see how it turns out. But I think a good solid manual would go a long way to helping increase posting for all of us.
                            Yes we are working on it, actually I should say my Community Team is working on it. I have made up four teams that cover different aspects of the community. I have one team that is devoted solely to building up the community aspects of the site which includes the newsletter, Community Center channel, and more. They have also taken it upon themselves to write a Guide to the Community, which will cover every feature from a user's point view in a context sensitive manner.

                            At this time, I don't know how portable the guide is going to be because I have changed and am changing the terminology to help those who don't understand terms like Thread, Category, FAQ. We will have Topics, Channels, and Help.

                            The view from a guest's point of view will also be different from that of a member's. To do this I am adding more customization features and inline help (alt tags on images).

                            Another thing I did was remove all the options from registration i.e. PM's, Adminemail, invisible, vbcode. These are set to my chosen default when they register. Then after a new member registers they are told how to further customize their account.
                            Translations provided by Google.

                            Wayne Luke
                            The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
                            vBulletin 5 API

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                            • #15
                              And what's a programmer's favorite thing to do? Of course it's documentation

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