Forum with tags

Since 2003, I’ve been maintaining a forum. It was constantly growing, from 60 users to 1800 at the time of writing. As the forum was growing, the demand for moderation work was growing as well. I recruited moderators from the most active and trustworthy users. It helped maintain the order on the forum, but the load on the moderators was constantly increasing.

While learning about the new Web 2.0 services, I got an idea of finding a forum engine with tags. I found a mod for phpBB, which adds tags, but I must confess that I don’t particularily like phpBB and want to move out of it.

Looking for alternative forum engines, I’ve come across Vanilla and I loved it. It’s modular, it looks sexy, it’s got a lot of plugins, it’s easy to upgrade. But… it doesn’t support tags!

What does support the tags, is Blogoforum. There’s nothing but tags. It’s… overtagged. And it’s not an open-source forum engine, it’s a service. So moving myforum to it isn’t an option at all.

The conclusion is, that there is no forum engine with tags, that I can move my phpBB forum to. I thought that I couldn’t write a forum engine myself, because it’s too much hassle. Until I met Django. With Django framework, writing such a forum looks doable. I’ve written down the features that I’d like my forum to have:

  • Easy migration from phpBB
    • Usage patterns similar to phpBB
    • Migrate the phpBB data
    • Support the old, PHP links, redirecting to the current links
    • bbcode support
  • Threads with posts
  • Tags
    • Each thread has tags
    • Each user can tag the thread independently
    • Tags can be moderated and mapped. If a user creates a tag, it can be a “standalone tag”, but it can be then mapped to some “supertag” afterwards.
  • Each post can be dugg or burrowed
  • Splitting and merging the posts
  • Textile markup for posts
  • Private forums
  • Whispering was cool (from Vanilla)
  • RSS
  • Avatars
  • Smileys
  • Quotations
  • Integration with WordPress. Display some topics from the blog.
  • A shoutbox? hm…
  • Search (custom engine or some readily available?)

So the key feature, besides all the Web 2.0 related stuff, is the easy migration from phpBB. I even consider connecting directly to the phpBB database, with no migration. This would also ensure that if someone doesn’t like my engine, it’s possible to just turn on the old one (phpBB).


Author: automatthias

You won't believe what a skeptic I am.

14 thoughts on “Forum with tags”

  1. a web 2.0 forum? hmmm.. I’m not a big fan of that idea. just had a look at blogoforum and it just is OTT. My BF’s forum uses pun ( and they migrated there from PhPbb. I don’t know the technical ins and outs though but I am an expert on forum moderation. In order to lighten the load, maybe moderate it reactively? I.e. only the alerts and complaints, but not read every post.

  2. Found you while looking for a forum with tags. It seems like such a great way to introduce categories without the problem of people putting posts in the wrong section – or the problem of threads that cross two categories.

    How are you getting on with this?

  3. I’m not making any progress at the moment. I spend about 6 hours on that, migrated the data, manged to get a read-only view. I still need to make many design decisions. I am especially concerned about an extension mechanism.

    One of the toughest decisions is the technology. On one hand, I’m comfortable with Python, on the other hand, most of people use PHP, so if I wrote my engine in PHP, 95% users wouldn’t be able to install my software.

  4. I am looking for a script that migrates phpBB to WP. If anyone knows about such script, please let us know.

    [AM: your URL deleted due to your e-mail domain’s lack of MX record.]

  5. Hi, I’m at a fairly large university with a lot of listservs. No one here likes listservs. They are terrible for both inter and intra-departmental communication.

    I’m very interested in things like blogoforum, on the condition that there can also be an email interface. This could encourage more productive and relevant conversations. Is anyone interested in creating an open source project? (email me at mattlandau at the domain of yahoo)

  6. Good Day

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  7. Just become a member in few minutes. Wanna send you guys a warm hello!
    Glad to be here with you!!

  8. Howdy,

    Im new to the forum and just wanted to introduce myself, i’m Milo. I’ve been lurking around the forum for quite some time looking up info but finally decided to make an account.

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