Long time gone - advice for setting up new forums?

Discussion in 'About the Members' started by BenTheMan, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Hello all:

    I haven't posted here in probably about two years. You know...life. I moved to Vancouver. Got laid off. Moved back to Austin, got a new job for a tech startup company here. (Check it out if you're interested: www.noesis.com.)

    I'm working on a side project with a few colleagues at work. Our products are geared towards commercial energy managers, but we want to try and promote some involvement from the open source community. To this end, we plan to release the source of several of our tools, a few apps that are currently in development, some portion of data sets that we've been collecting (they'll be scrubbed to remove identifying features), reports based on our datasets...we're still working out exactly what management will let us do). For an example, check out intuitlabs.com. The goal is for people to use our tools, modify them, and possibly contribute to their own software (datasets, reports, etc.) to the community.

    One of the things we want to implement is a forum for our users. Since sciforums is one of the more successful forums I've ever been a part of (in terms of the level of discussion, the way the discussion runs, and moderator involvement), does anyone have any advice before I download the wordpress (the designers I'm working with won't be talked into drupal) plugin and go for it?

    Thanks again sci, and I see you've been working out

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  3. tashja Registered Senior Member

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    Hello, Ben. Welcome back!

    Plug in away!
     
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  5. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Long time no see Ben!

    For open source stuff with a little feedback I like codeplex and github; however, I am not sure they have the type of forum rich environment you may be looking for. Either way, check them out. Perhaps the solution you are after spans a couple of products.
     
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  7. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Good to see you too, dude

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    We will probably do the hosting ourselves, but we may rely on github for that.

    It occurs to me that I perhaps wasn't clear enough in the OP: I'm looking for general advice about how to set up a forum, not specific advice about tools. And I also have a bit of a "what am I about to get into" kind of feeling.
     
  8. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    I've been reading your noesis site. If you want lots of traffic why not set up an energy efficiency forum for home owners...instead of just engineers working on one specific topic.

    I would like to see an impartial analysis of this device...which claims to drastically reduce heating bills.
    http://www.eheat.com

    I also have a personal question...if I remove the stipple texture and paint my ceilings in a reflective white gloss, will I be able to use at least 40% less wattage for lighting???
     
  9. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Hey Carcano:

    Thanks for checking out the site---maybe you read my (single) blog post

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    We're not really in the residential energy management space---check out the Energy Star website, and there's also something through Pacific Northwest National Lab, I think. We will have a forum in the new site I (and a few colleagues) are working on, and residential energy use will probably be one of the sub-fora. I don't think there's support among management to include a forum on the main site, but if we can show it driving a lot of traffic on our side project, that will change pretty quickly. We already have a community driven FAQ, which is kind of like a forum.

    If you're looking to use less energy with lighting, switch to LED lights, which use basically no energy, and last more or less forever. You'll end up saving more money that way, for less initial investment. If you paint your ceiling with reflective paint, I'd be worried about too much light, unless the ceilings were pretty high.
     
  10. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    I have a client, actually a retired physicist who tried to make the conversion on the upper floor of his home...but it was too expensive. To get a warm colour temperature in LED was something like 40-50 dollars per room...not what he was willing to pay, in spite of his tech zealotry.

    My local library has done this successfully however, they installed LEDs directed up towards the white ceiling. This gives a more even diffuse effect and cuts glare...as well as the hydro bill.
     
  11. Gustav Banned Banned

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    i have a general relativity question.....

    /kidding
     
  12. Chipz Banned Banned

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    My background --
    I've worked on several open-source applications where I was either improving usability for unique purpose, OR, upgrading for generic purposes (out of kindness of heart).

    My opinion --
    Forget forums, they won't accomplish what you desire. Software engineers use (primarily) two tools, IRC and mailing lists. In this regard "users" is undefined -- who are they? I am unaware of the common communication exchanges amongst more 'business-oriented' individuals. Technical people use (as I reiterate) IRC and mailing lists!

    Apologies if my comments are slightly out of desired response.
     
  13. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Using LED's might cost more to setup but the overall outcome is saving in the overall amount of energy consumed, which means they pay for themselves over time (while still also saving money)
    My father's currently in the process of building a new house where he intends to rig up his lighting (currently using standard electrical connections) for the use with solar panels. The idea being once the lighting is up, he can then fit a solar panel to a battery and a switch in the junction box to switch between using grid electricity as an input or the solar energy trickled through the battery. He's gone with using the normal light fittings so that normal bulbs "could" be used, however the bulbs he's fitting are actually LED. That way if the LED isn't bright enough a different bulb can be used. It also makes sense using the LED's since the solar energy is going to be limited, it makes sense to keep to low wattage which is where the new LED screw-in bulbs come into play.
     
  14. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    BentheMan,
    I would side with the "Steer clear of Drupal" mob, too many exploits and poorly coded plugins, Wordpress get's it's fair share but they keep up-to-date and patched for the most part.
    The only problems with using plugins between two software builds, is the differences between the builds can create bugs. If a plugin is poorly built or maintained it can cause problems. (One of the usual problems is when a lapse coder decides that one software build can handle the sanitization and it's left to *just* that build to deal with it, if a bug occurs during a patch that removes the sanitization, it could leave the software vulnerable, so make sure you get your dev's to check how the sanitization filters from one build, through the plugin to the other.)

    Other things I would likely mention I'm sure your developers already know, so I won't bother going over all of them.

    What I will mention is currently you can get the Server and PHP version currently through headers, I know your dev's might of been sneaky with some "header" manipulation, however when you view the headers for an image, a php page or a standard HTML page you can get different results, so they might want to check that. (Removing version numbers is a good idea if you aren't running a proxy.)
     
  15. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for the advice Stryder.

    We're running Drupal 6 on our main site now, about to push Drupal 7. The devs mostly hate it, but there seems to be a general concession that Drupal lets you do a lot of fancy things that we want to do. Anyway, it's kind of on the back burner for now, because I've been swamped with some analytics work that popped up this week.
     

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