The latest update has been live for a while now so I thought I would do a quick write-up of some of the features you can use, but may not yet be. (It's also ultra convenient as I just upgraded another forum to this same software and need to do a write up for them, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone... Which would be quite a feat considering birds are mobile, I'd be using a stone, and I can't throw for shit...)
They're back from the dead - we had them before but they were naff and didn't really work. The new status updates are much more intuitive, can be tracked as part of the activity streams and can be used for full-blown off topic conversations. It's like a mini Facebook, only without the ads and the spying. You can post them from the sidebar on the home page, or from your profile. Followers get notified of new status updates.
The old 'View New Content' link is gone and is replaced by 'Unread Content', however there's a lot more to this than a slight tweak in design. The unread content page is actually an Activity Stream which has been created with certain criteria specified. (i.e. Show me everything, from everywhere, that I haven't read yet...) This is just one of several Activity Streams that are included as standard. There are also;
All Activity - this is everything, regardless of whether you've read it or not, and includes things such as new registrations, likes, status updates, topics, posts, etc.
Content I Started - These are the topics that you created. If you're only interested in replies to your own topics, this stream is the place to go.
Content I Follow - If you follow specific content it's no longer a case of just getting a notification, you can check the Activity Stream for all the content that you follow.
Members I Follow - If you are a bit stalkerish and follow another member, all activity from those members will show in this Activity Stream.
Content I Posted In - If you contributed to a topic then this Activity Stream will let you see responses to those topics.
You can also create your own Activity Streams and even set a different stream, including one you've created yourself, as the default.
Friends are gone. They've been replaced with Followers. It's largely the same as it was before, in that you choose to follow a member and can get updates on that member's activity, but the way in which you get the updates has changed a lot. You can receive notifications via the website, via email or by checking the Activity Stream for 'Members I Follow'. The notification controls are a lot more granular in this software than they were in the previous one, so you can customise exactly how you get notified for each type of content.
You can access your notification settings under the notification menu. You can choose what content you wish to be notified of, how you want to receive it, how often you want to receive notifications (if via email), etc. The idea is that you get to choose your preferences so you are not spammed.
In addition to the avatar for your profile, you can also choose a larger graphic as a profile cover. This sits behind the avatar and takes up a lot more space. You can see one on my profile. It's much sexy, very wow.
The calendar is a lot easier to use and you can use this to create events - beer bash, anyone? You can also request RSVP, so folks can sign up and you know what numbers to expect. Upcoming events appear in the sidebar in a prominent position.
You can create content from wherever you are. You don't need to browse the forum any more. In the header of the website you'll see a button called 'Create'. Clicking this will reveal the different content you can create. You can create a status, a forum post, a calendar event, or even donate, from that menu. When creating a forum post it'll load up an outline of our forums and you just choose the one to create the post in.
The old editor had a preview button. This one doesn't. That's because this one no longer has a BBCode function, to switch between code or content. What you enter into the editor is, in theory, what will be posted to the forum. Because it's a true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, the preview button is redundant. I've only notice this to fall over with complex tables, which most of us don't use anyway.
You should find YouTube embedding is a lot more reliable these days, but there is a lot of confusion across all users of this software on how it's supposed to work. They're working on making it simpler, but for those who have struggled here's what you need to know;
Your YouTube link needs to be placed on its own line - not following other text, images, or emoji
You need to press 'Enter' after pasting the link, so the editor knows it should parse it as embedded YouTube media
You should use the YouTube link from the address bar, this is the most reliable way of embedding
You can now mention members by typing an '@' symbol and then a part of the member's name. A drop down list appears from which you can select the member to mention. They will receive a notification of this in whatever manner they've set. This is still quite new functionality so it's a bit quirky, but it should work. It would be great to know whether you have problems.
Underneath the gradient background is an image. In the header is a paint brush. Clicking on the pain brush allows you to choose one of four backgrounds.
This update of the forum has concentrated on content creation and finding content. (New editor, activity streams, etc.) The next major update, due in February, will add a load of features for what the developers call 'community engagement'. I have no idea what they have in mind, yet, but will post when I do.