Forum/Board extension for Plone

Hi all,

I just got the responsibility for a website of an international motorcycle community which was build up with contao cms and have a small forum to exchange information between the users.

As this installation is very old an no suitable forum extension is available for newer version I have to restart the page with a new CMS.

Beside some more basic feature (responsive design, multilingual) I need some forms and a forum.

I have searched a little bit in the I-Net, but get somewhat confused.

My question is: Is there an forum extension available for the plone cms in a way fe-user of the cms and the forum are the same.

As it may be important for the hints:
My experience in the context is more or less to install a software and configure it, but not developing software - so more or less basic.

Any hint is very much appreciated

Peter
P.S. My native language is german, sorry for my bad English.

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Plone has a built-in discussion forum called plone.app.discussion. The CMS and the forum share the same user management, yes.

I ride a motorbike (Yamaha FJR), too, so out of curiosity, which international motorcycle community do you mean?

No need to apologize! Your English is far better than my German :smiley:

As @petri says, the built in plone.app.discussion in Plone lets you set up a forum. Looking around I don't see any good user docs. The package has some more technical info:

Generally what you do is (assuming Plone 5):

  1. go to Site Setup

Now go to a page on your site, e.g. the front page, and at the bottom of each page you will see a set of commenting fields.

Enter a comment (by default they're just plain text but you can change that in the Discussion control panel; email notification and comment moderation are other settings), press Comment button, and then you'll see it's possible to have threaded comments.

Probably the best way to use this feature is not to enable comments on Pages (that was just an example) since every page in your site could be commented on.

Instead create a custom Dexterity content type and enable comments on just that content type

  1. go to Site Setup, click on the Dexterity Content Types control panel

You'll have to configure maybe a different default workflow for Forum Posts so that they're always visible to your logged in site users, or you could activate (in Add-ons control panel) the Placeful Workflow add-on, and then set a policy on the Forum folder so it uses the intranet workflow. More fun.

But definitely doable.

You're free to play with this site, http://obscure-mesa-94101.herokuapp.com/Plone (log in with admin/admin). It is a free Heroku deployed Plone 5 site, which you can create on your own from here: http://plone.fr/essayer-plone

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lol I think the above is the start of a new "through the web" (only a web browser required) training class for inclusion in training.plone.org :wink: @pbauer @svx

Wow, @tkimnguyen, this need to go in docs or training!

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Thx :slight_smile: I was hoping someone else had written something...

Next info to include would be:

  • how to set up workflow
  • self-registration for users, or Authomatic for Google/Facebook/Twitter etc logins
  • portlets to highlight new posts
  • syndication
  • a nice front page (maybe with Mosaic?)
  • ???
  • profit!
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:ok_hand:

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@tkimnguyen Nice ! Awesome !

So ... should we include that into the docs or into training ?

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Thanks for awesome introducing! That should be definitly in the Docs.

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Probably both... I think what I wrote above should is a tutorial so belongs more in training, but in the main docs we should at least describe the basic functions and features of plone.app.discussion with a link to the tutorial.

Hi Petri,

thank a lot for the helpfull answer, I will give it a try.

We are talking about "Deauville meets Deauville", see the old pages deauville-meets-deauville.com and in addition
www.dmd-2017.de/en/dmd-2017 for the temporary website for the meeting in 2017 in Germany.

Peter

Hi tkimnguyen, hi all,

I'm very impressed. I will try to get it work and may come back with some other questions :slight_smile:

Peter

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Thanks @Peter-Trier - any feedback you have will help us improve the documentation even more than you already have just by asking the question!

Nice example, +1 for making a tutorial out of it.

But @Peter-Trier i would recommend you using a forum like this forum and integrate it into your website, where you need. This forum uses https://www.discourse.org/ and this is really powerful.
It depends a little on, what you need and how deep you need to integrate it into your website.
Discourse is more powerful, but it is a separate system to maintain and needs work to integrate it (users aso).

That's an idea we listed in the GSOC ideas post, but what does integration mean on the Plone side?

  • a common theme (very doable with Diazo)
  • a common login system (either a PAS plugin or Authomatic configured to use the same authentication system you configure Discourse to use)
  • anything else?

I guess I'll ask the obvious (to me) question: why not just spin up a $20 Discourse community on DigitalOcean? I mean, why would you use plone.app.discussion when the Plone community doesn't even use it? Additionally, I can't even tell if plone.app.discussion is even any good -- there's aboulutely nothing on that github page to tell a technically limited person like myself anything about the platform. I mean, there's not even a single screenshot -- I just clicked off that page about a second after I got there. Can anyone find another example of a forum software (or forum plugin) that gives zero visual representation of what it is?

That's pretty harsh...

We certainly do use it. And if you scroll up you'll see I filed issues to improve the documentation situation. An open source project relies on volunteers to improve everything.

We'd certainly welcome your help making a documentation pull request!

plone.app.discussion was never designed as a discussion board or forum. It's for commenting on individual pieces of content. And it is doing a really good job for exactly that purposes. You can misuse and bend all pieces of software in various way to provide a certain functionality with minimal effort and minimal budget. That's it what was shown here. Nobody really wants to sell you plone.app.discussion as fully-fledged forum solution like Discourse. Don't compare cats with dogs

-aj

Although I stopped playing with Plone (you can guess why), I am still interested in the platform and find myself checking in on this community every now and then. My interest is hard to quantify because I'm not naturally technically minded, but I have always been fascinated with software platforms that allow people to interact, whether they be a CMS, forum, commenting, chat, etc.

The only reason I responded to this thread is because I run a very small Discourse motorcycle forum mainly for close friends, and I thought I'd share my thoughts with @Peter-Trier since he is a fellow motorcyclist.

My post was laced with my own frustration. Looking back now, I can see how the tone of my post could be interpreted as harsh -- that was not my intention.

I didn't know I was making such a comparison. I dunno, maybe my technical ignorance is getting in the way, but I understood Peter's original request to be for a forum, not a commenting system. I did not mean rub you the wrong way. In fact, it was your Youtube video that resonated most with me and gave me a bit of hope that maybe Plone was changing.
###Warning: I am about to ramble my way off the rails!

[quote="tkimnguyen, post:18, topic:3619"]
We'd certainly welcome your help making a documentation pull request!
[/quote]I don't know what a "pull request" is. If it means technical how-to writing, then I doubt I could help since I don't understand the material. Oddly enough, a while back, before I committed to Discourse for my forum, I was testing other "modern" forum platforms (NodeBB, Flarum, etc.). As usual for someone like me, I ran into all sorts of problems trying to get it installed (whether locally or remote) in order to test the software.

Here's the thing: I wasn't alone.

Many others shared my frustrations, and 90% of the time it was the installation that caused the most problems for (potential) adopters, and was the single biggest reason why most people left. I was so excited after I finally got Flarum installed that I actually did write a how-to. I wrote it for "me" just in case I nuked my installation I would have a resource to go back to. I don't know if that is what you refer to as a pull request.

Look, I know I'm rambling here, and I apologise to Peter for taking his thread off track. But, the fact of the matter is 99% of you have no clue, or have completely forgotten, or don't care (and that's ok, too) what it's like to be "me" -- the end-user.

You ever hear of the following saying?

written by lawyers for lawyers

Well, it applies to many things in life. I'm going to assume the vision for Plone developers is to get it in the hands of more people.

Here's my suggestion for increasing the adoption rate of Plone

Find yourselves 20 volunteer "end-user" guinea pigs like myself and task them with installing Plone. I'm talking about 20 non-developer Regular Joes that maybe have their own Wordpress blog (or similar) or a Wix site, etc. Spend 2 days in a hotel conference room with them, but observing only -- no help given. Note where people are getting stuck. Where are they going for solutions? Has anyone managed to install Plone locally? Remotely? What are they Googling? Is it things like:

Ubuntu xxx library missing
What is chmod
chmod vs chown
start pagefile on system start
Apache directory not accessible
Mod re-write

Now, I understand the above list isn't specific to Plone. I only listed it to convey how important it is to make your software easy to install -- for the masses, not for yourselves. A one-click install of Plone on Digitalocean would've been a dream for me, and would eliminate 90% of your battles! It's also the single biggest reason why I chose Discourse to power my forum.

When a new user goes from a "I can't fix missing python dependencies" scenario to a "How do I resize my logo" scenario, which scenario do you think has a better chance of keeping him a Plone user?

Take this feedback as you will, and apologies in advance for the rant and thread derailment.

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