New forum functionnalities (sort of write down my dreams and hope)

Hi there forum feedbacks aware admins,

I’m sorry in advance if that topic looks a bunch of “could you could you” instead of “I’m gona …” but hey, before any hope that a dream realize itself, it has to be expressed

In the french community, we are having a long ongoing battle envolving bright forces of the talk-fr listers with thousands of complexe messages a month, against the dark forum forces more from the newbie approach, "I just wanted to ask a simple question". That battle is not only a research for the universal question (answer being 42, but we forgot the clear question) "do we need a forum?" but also "what forum do we need?"

To my only personnal feeling, the forum I’m writing in right now still misses a bunch of functionnalities wich made be create a new forum ( but that’s definitly not the best way to go as it splits efforts and lack good worlwide forum connectivity.

So, there comes my wrotten dreams (from wich if they allready exists, I apologize ):

Very good to have

  • Multilingual speaking forum (user agent detection to show the statisticaly best default language for the user)
  • Create clearer walls between different language topics (Being send to the french forum and clicing index brings back the french forum index, other language transforme into a basic “other language forums”)
  • Define country specific moderators locked into there areas
  • Addition of a “watch topic” “watch sub-forum” “watch all forum” for any and new topic creation (mail alert system) to avoid coming twice a day to see nothing happened

Nice to have

  • Sub-forum possible creation by moderators in their areas of discussion
  • Enable anonymous (CAPTCHA protected) posting for easier newbie access

Could be cool

  • Let moderators (with admin help) define an overall page header for specific language forum with their own link list and

Would be extremely useless but cool :

  • Let moderators change the stylesheet of their own area and make the forum seamlessly integrate in localized communities page

I am perfectly aware that most of my dreams are dreams, but I still have a bunch of aspirine in case you need some.


Doh ! I forgot (that’s the problem with dreams):

  • Having the ability :
  • to have a copy of new topics cc to the lists
  • to have the ability to subscribe the email’s forum sending source to the list

There are language packs for PunBB 1.2.x, but the anpoop plugin does not so I am willing to add other languages to this forum on request if the requester provides me a translated version of the anpoop language file:


// Language definitions used by the ANPOOP-mod
$lang_anpoop = array(
    // Common
    'New message'    =>   'New posts',
    // User profile
    'Option ANPOOP'    =>   'Set your options for viewing "New posts"',
    'ANPOOP info'    =>   'You can change options for viewing posts.',
    'Nick link'        =>   'Show nick in post as link.',
    'Button reply'    =>   'Show link "Reply", after all new posts in topic.',
    'Moder ip'        =>   'Show user IP-address in post (only for moderators and admins).'

Automatic language guessing is not possible with PunBB afaik.

Patches welcome :slight_smile:

We already have them (see the German and Russian forums.

I don’t see a possibility to do that, but you can use RSS feeds and ‘all new posts on one page’ instead. There is also the possibility to receive an email when someone posts to a topic that you’re interested in. You will have to add a valid email address to your forum profile for this to work. Lastly, there is also the email digest plugin for punBB. It seems very flexible and lets you choose whether you want the digest daily, weekly or monthly and from which forums. Perhaps I should add this plugin anyway…

Unfortunately this version of PunBB only supports 2 levels…

Interesting, I’ll look into that one.

Sorry, I don’t understand…

Yes, very useless :slight_smile:

Also very interesting, can you have a look at mediawiki and try to find out if such a thing is possible with forums (and PunBB in particular)?

A mail2forum (and back) gateway has been looked at in the beginning when this forum was setup. The consensus in the community then was that such mechanisms rarely work well and that it generates a lot more traffic on mailinglists and forum. There is also a bit chance that it will become unclear who is responding to which message and that mailinglist/forum threading will be broken. So, although it looks like a very good idea, the technical hurdles are quite high.

I know that PunBB is not the most advanced piece of forum software, but it’s quite bug free (no spam and such) and lightweight. Moving to another brand of forum software is possible if it’s easy for me to write an external authentication plugin that can do HTTP authentication against the OSM database or if someone can provide such a plugin.

Besides all the features, PunBB uses very low amounts of bandwidth. As there are at least 3.000 unique visitors every day and 15.000 pages served every day this is important. The forum currently uses about 4GB of traffic each month and anything more then 6GB will force me to search for another hosting package.

If this is that small, I’m doing it right now !

You mean a newbie will have all the interface in english until he sets is language settings to $language ?
Grumbl… any way joining the forum by a link we could provide with something like ?lang=fr ?

I’ve seen it but consider it too geeky for newbie usage

Ability to change the static top page “OpenStreetMap Forum Truly free geographic maps and data for everyone” to custom menu such as :
“back to the comunity site, back to osm map, back to…”

restricting to mediawiki might not be enough, the ugly iframe solution was one possible thing I thought of, a terrible proxy home made thingy was the second, but I’m a bit scared by the results.

It totaly agree with that, I didn’t meant a gateway out and return, but rather just a thing like alert system, that can be turned off or on, from forum to list (because list is the active place at the moment, while the forum should be kept at lower volume without bothering neebies with highly techical discussion)

That is something I’ll probably write for phpBB if this is the solution we select, do you have any docs you used for that ? (or is your punbb code for it available ?)

I’m still at a stage of undecision and solution searching, I don’t want you or me to move too deep in code hacking while goals are unclear, I was searching for you feasability feeling on the punbb base (or any other forum you have tried) to have an overall idea of available (not too hard) options.

Doh !
Very sad when such technical concerns are the cause of your choice, I’m sure community help could have helped finding ressources. I do have access myself to high bw servers which could enter in technical choices.

Thanks. I’ve added the French language files, but I get a lot of weird characters in my browser. Do you see the same?

That’s a whole new mod for PunBB, but maybe this mod can be of use.

Ok, but what about the email digest as I wrote in my previous post?

Sounds like you want to integrate the forum in a local community portal?

If you’re going to post messages to the ML then you’re going to get the discussion in two places and then you’d want to merge those discussions too, thus you effectively talking about a forum2mail bridge imho.

Well solutions to problems might seem very simple, yet somehow they are real and without immediate solution.

Same problem here, the content type header from the server is UTF-8, while the encoding of the pages are iso-8859-1.

One of the best way I know to solve this with minimum drawbacks is by adding :
AddDefaultCharset Off
(either in the apache vhost configuration of the server, or if no access, in the .htaccess file a the root of your webhost) If a 500 http error occurs, then it means you are not allowed to change it, and need to talk about it with your hoster.

The other way to do this is to send at every page’s beggining <?php header("Content-Type: text/html"); ?> To drop the actual :
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
(A lot of actual free php software might give you the option in some admin menu)

Last solution, one of the best :wink: find a language pack in UTF-8 instead of ISO

This looks good

Ooops sorry I missed that. Yeah that looks very good, also you might have trouble with cron task setup. This would be a cool to have feature. Also losing a bit of it’s power by the fact that level3 sub-categories aren’t possible, so I suspect you’ll be able to subscribe to a country forum as a whole or not at all. But that would be good for other english topic special forums (garmin, magelan, dev, )

Let’s say, “I’d like to”, or at least searching how far we are from this feature. But I’m aware that’s gone be very hard (even impossible). That would be a way to allow localized forum from country community, while having a standardized forum tool, easier gateway, and gathered man power. (hey, I’m talking about my dreams :wink: )

This is terribly true, plus you only get help once you have proven you are able to do it without help (kind or ironic but so common)

I’m very interested by this possibility. Could you explain how I have to proceed ? I have a valid email address and I would like to receive an email each time a new post to the User : France forum. I checked in my Profile but didn’t find anything like this. I see that I can subscribe to a topic but not to the forum

Pieren, sorry, that’s a typo of me. It should’ve been:


But a daily mail digest from the French forum would come very close to that functionality.

I just tried to turn off the UTF8 bit in the Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 header, but that totally messes up the Cyrillic forums. So I reversed this change as I value the forum posts and topic more then the generic forum language :slight_smile:

I noticed that the language pack files are encoded in ANSI while the Anpoop plugin translation by you was encoded in UTF8. The latter showed correctly, so you’re right that we would need UTF-8 language packs.

This whole language mess finally comes down to the non-UTF8-ness of punBB 1.2.x. The easiest option would be to upgrade to FluxBB 1.4 beta (which is the successor of the 1.2 series) which has native UTF8 support and some other neat stuff.

You are totally right, I completly forgot to check the content encoding of posts wich is UTF-8, forcing to ISO will just mess up all post, that solution is not the good way to go.

Yeah, could you try this one :

If punbb is not doing complex conversion from it’s template string, or if not computing too much string length not knowing it is UTF-8, then I hope the language pack provided before could do.

I installed the French UTF8 language pack and added the anpoop file as well. It appears to be fine :slight_smile:

Converting the ANSI Anpoop file to UTF8 works great using Notepad++ (Menu → Format → Convert to UTF8).

For larger number of file, under linux I ran :

$ for x in * ; do iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t UTF-8 $x > a ; mv a $x ; done

To batch convert all file in current directory from ISO to UTF-8

That’s how I converted the french language pack from iso to utf-8

I’ve added the French language pack from punBB 1.2.x to the new FluxBB forum. Most entrances look good, but some are missing or need renaming (more info here). Perhaps one of the French forum members can update the pack? Thanks in advance.

I will also add other language packs when provided (e.g. Russian, German…) :wink: