AzaStudios Concocting new videos and code

The Next Chapter

Note: I was originally planning to publish this blog post months ago, however I got fairly busy and was unable to.


Some of you may have already noticed by now but, many changes are being made as we speak.

Firstly, AtomBB has been pushed off to in order to showcase the software more while the downloads have been limited more until, we figure out the new content delivery mechanism.

What does this mean for It means that much of the AtomBB related content on the forums will probably be archived for historical purposes.

Does this mean that is finished? No. Azareal Related Content aside, this site is home to many other projects like the Hadron Framework which powers AtomBB itself (well, it’s the framework for it and it’s digging deeper into AtomBB with each passing month) and the HadronCMS Project (Do we really need this? I might need to re-evaluate this project, as I might go for an alternative project instead of one in a saturated market) which has been largely stalled due to it being at a much lower priority, than everything else.

What’s happened to the AzaStudios Forums? It’s currently a little inactive, but I’ll be giving some attention to it soon.

Multi-threading in the Hadron Framework

We have implemented multi-threading in the next build of the Hadron Framework where heavy tasks can be offloaded to a worker thread when the required extensions are present on the system. I would recommend using a VPS whenever possible as you can start using this feature whenever you please without any obstacles.

As such, this functionality should be used as much as possible in your projects to help improve the page load times and to allow you to add more functionality to the site without drastically dropping the site performance.

This updated build of the Hadron Framework should be up by the end of the week, although we’re having a short delay in build releases due to transitioning from the old Assembla storage systems to the new storage platform which should lower the complexity of pushing out the builds.

This also means that you won’t have to go all the way to Assembla in order to get the latest version of my various scripts, having regular standard builds means that it’s easy to track down which version of the software that problems are present in and it saves time for me when I push out a new build.

If you liked this article then, feel free to share it or to link to it or to discuss it on my forums.

AtomBB Alpha One Tour

This new blog post is here to explain some of the various changes which has been made to the AtomBB Software between the Alpha One release and the pre-alpha tour which I posted earlier on in this blog to give you a general taste of what AtomBB could do.

Keep in mind that the AtomBB Forum Software is currently in alpha, so countless features which we plan to implement are currently not implemented in the software and the pre-alpha tour post wasn’t made that long ago. This means that there’s alot less to speak about than if we were comparing two alpha releases like alpha one and alpha two due to the short span of time that has passed.

Other changes to the AtomBB Software were much less visible like countless improvements to the Plugin API which should allow plugins to break much less frequently between releases unlike many of the existing software where plugins break so frequently between releases that they just tend to check a version string when checking whether a plugin is compatible with it.

[Reputation System]

New reputation system.

A screenshot showing the new reputation system which takes into account both the user who issued the reputation and the object which the reputation was applied to which trickles down to the the user who created the object in the form of the approval score.





[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Quote System]

Quote System

Another feature which was introduced between the pre-alpha tour and the actual first alpha itself was the quote system which currently behaves like you may expect however, we plan to expand the quote system in the future like loading data on the quoted item in order to give more context specific information like the user who originally posted the content.





[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Reputation System Upvoters]

More reputation system.

This is another screenshot which shows the new reputation system however, this one also shows the number of people who upvoted a specific post which helps to show the powerful system which associates these upvotes with specific posts as opposed to just simply incrementing the reputation count like in older forum software.

It’s also possible to list the specific users who upvoted the specific post however, this feature is not enabled by default as it is much more performance intensive than, simply counting the number of users who upvoted a post.


[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Topic Prefixes]

The topic prefix system.

While I’ve mentioned this feature on the forums before, the topic prefix system is a more standard feature among the various forum software, but it’s a fairly important feature with the current set of features including access control.

In the future, we also plan to add additional capabilities like possibly making the mark-up input field much more friendly and adding a field to define whether you need to be a local moderator in order to use that specific topic prefix (super moderators and above would automatically be allowed to use it when that setting is on).


[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Message Settings]

Message Settings

The Message Settings setting group is a setting group which was made available for editing which has gained a large number of settings related to controlling message related items.

This setting group adds a great degree of flexibility like the level modifier (lets you tweak the requirements for each contribution level), controlling the quality requirements for individual posts like word count and so forth.


[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Drop-down Topic Loading]

Drop-down topic loading.

One minor feature which I threw in as a way of quickly loading up five topics via AJAX by simply clicking on the drop-down option. This is a nice way of quickly checking the last few topics at the top of the list.

This is also a way to quickly peek at some topics with unread posts without having to manually go to the full topic list for that specific forum.


[AtomBB Alpha Tour: Topic Types]

All of the topic types on the topic list.

An image showing all three topic types which are normal topics, important (sticky / pinned ones) and announcements. With important topics, the only real bonus is that it appears higher on the topic list when you’re viewing a specific forum.

Announcements are similar to important topics as they are prioritised above even the important topics when it comes to viewing the topic list. The main difference (we have many things planned for the announcement topic type) is that the opening post in the topic will appear on all of the pages of the topic at the top.


This concludes the Alpha One Tour which is more of a status update and we hope to add a vast number of features in Alpha Two which should bring in many of the more luxury features along with completing the set of features which most people would automatically expect to have in most forum software.

If you liked this article then, feel free to share it or to link to it or to discuss it on our forums.


Importance of Quality Content

In recent years, Google has been dropping the importance of purely having backlinks to your site a fair bit (backlinks are still important however, they aren’t as important as they used to be in the past so, I’d recommend not overdoing building a huge number of backlinks) which means that the focus has dramatically increased on whether your site has a large quantity of high quality content with other important aspects being to ensure that the content on your site is marked up in the appropriate Microformats whenever those are available as Google is increasing the use of those in their search results.

In the past, there were loads of little things which you could in order to push up your pages when specific keywords came up like meta tags however, meta tags have quickly become irrelevant over the last few years especially, when we learned that Google completely ignores it now which means that it’s likely to be based on other indicators like the page titles (Google in particular is moving towards the subject mainly being in the page title which shows that descriptive page titles may become much more important than they currently are) along with how many times specific phrases come up on individual pages (which together could have a decent effect on the site as a whole when you apply these common phrases across the entire site which helps to define the specific niche that you are in).

It’s become clear that quality content is becoming more and more important especially, with how many tricks like SEO URLs have generally dropped in value (it’s still useful for human visitors to have a nice link rather than, a big giant number although, it’s unlikely that they’ll remember it as many sites tend to embed the page ID along with the page title into these SEO URLs which defeats the object of it being human friendly) due to search engine algorithms becoming much more advanced as time goes by (especially, the Googlebot ones which is probably the most important ones unless, you are living in a future where Google is no longer the powerhouse which it is today when it comes to search engines) which means that the emphasis has been transferred to high quality content.

Another important point which you should consider is that it can take anywhere from six months to possibly even years for your content to fully start to pay off which means that if you are producing quality content then, it is much more likely to stand the test of time as opposed to playing the system with tricks which may only work temporarily especially, against much more advanced search engine algorithms as the search engines are bound to become even more advanced in the future. There are many factors which cause this including the advance of technology with newer hardware exposing capabilities which were never available in the past or there may be a breakthrough in the artificial intelligence space or one of the other various relevant fields.

Another point of why quality content is so important involves other people as it results in them being much more likely to link to your content when it’s high quality rather than, when you are simply churning out lots of low quality content which is a perfect opportunity to try to bring in a possibly large number of free linkbacks which has a positive impact on your search engine rankings and word of your high quality content may even spread via them to a larger audience.

If you liked this article then, feel free to share it or to link to it or to discuss it on our forums.

AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour

You might be interested in what AtomBB currently looks like in its current state so, I’ve attached some images to this blog post so, you can visually see everything rather than, just hearing descriptions like you have upto now (keep in mind that the software is currently in a pre-alpha state so, it may change dramatically by the time that the first alpha is actually released and you should not use it on a production site as the software is currently not stable enough.. yet).


The index page for the AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour.

The index page has remained fairly similar to how it was in earlier development however, the statistics on it can be disabled with a flick of a switch for those who may not want the statistics to be so publically available or those who think that it’s a waste of space on the page.

There are many plans to revolutionise this page dramatically in Alpha 2 however, those innovative features have not been prioritised for Alpha 1 as Alpha 1 covers the more fundamental and basic features which we expect to have in the software.



abb_prealpha_tour_002The list of discussions on each forums is a fairly standard feature which is currently kept fairly simple for expected functionality although, we do plan to extend it dramatically during the next alpha as it currently serves it’s minimal purpose very well.



abb_prealpha_tour_003Santa is an easter egg which was attached to UID -2 (which is unusuable by users) which is the account which the default topic is generated under rather than, the account of the administrator to help differentiate it from the administrator.

You can see the contribution level system in action with a level being displayed clearly on the postbit along with the group which the user is in and a user statistic to gauge the number of “big” posts which a user has which eliminates small low quality posts in order to avoid artificial inflation.


abb_prealpha_tour_004The system will make sure to confirm your action when you click one of the moderative options on someone’s post to prevent you from accidentally deleting a post or other such actions.



abb_prealpha_tour_005There are several options under the user’s message which are signified with icons which expose a number of moderative features like banning the user rapidly or protecting a post which is a feature where you lock the post so, no one else can modify the post in any way without revoking the protection which when used in conjunction with a specific permission can be quite powerful.

abb_prealpha_tour_006Welcome to the Moderation Control Panel which is a miniature control panel for moderators which you may already be familiar with when using other modern software (unless, you are coming from one of the older software) which has a number of sections for moderators to do their jobs more effectively by having a general overview.




abb_prealpha_tour_007For instance, you can see posts which have been deleted (normal deletions are soft-deletions with more powerful deletions generally not being available to lower level moderators), posts which have been hidden from public sight by a moderator or posts which have been protected so, no one is able to modify it without revoking the protection flag from it.

A similar overview is also available in the thread manager under it (Yes, you can protect whole topics too) which is not shown here but, it looks very similar to the Post Manager.


abb_prealpha_tour_008The Notice Manager is a relatively new innovation in the forum market as other software don’t really leverage the idea of sending global messages across the forum (group specific ones are planned for Alpha 2 so, don’t worry about those) so, we decided to have an easy system for staff to make a notice across the forum which is very visible (unlike announcements in other software which are usually buried under a forum. We’ll have those but, we are implementing them as a third topic type which topics can be elevated to rather than, a whole new concept).


abb_prealpha_tour_009An example of a notice created by the notice manager mentioned above.

As you can see, the user who created the notice is listed in the notice list next to the notice so, it’s easy to hold people accountable for their actions.




abb_prealpha_tour_010There is also a miniature user manager where you can issue warnings and bans from along with giving some useful information on a user on a glance like the group which they are currently in. Editing capabilities are planned.

While you can’t see it here, it is also possible to activate an account via this page which allows moderators to help with managing an activation queue or to speed people who you know are not bots through the activation process.


abb_prealpha_tour_011I’ve done quite a bit of work on the Control Panel like reworking the navigation bar to make it somewhat more appealing than the more boring look which it had yesterday and I threw on the logo to help the branding of it.


abb_prealpha_tour_012The User Editor has fairly standard capabilities and has a layout consisting of two parts (asides from the sidebar which is present everywhere in the Control Panel) with more items planned to be added to the right part in the future.




abb_prealpha_tour_013A list of all of the groups which are currently on the forums which won’t necessarily all be admin-created (if you set it up, that way, of course) as we have huge plans to add to the group system as a whole with group permissions being considered a basic feature (unlike some recent software which are trying to go down a more minimalistic approach).



abb_prealpha_tour_014Several minor features which differentiate this group system includes the ability to have multi-coloured names which is caused by the system assigned a random colour to each letter in the name.

A more important feature however, is the access level system where if you try to edit another user of an equal rank (E.g. supermod, admin, etc.) then, the system will check whether your level is higher than theirs otherwise, it will prevent you from performing that action or any moderative (or administrative) action on them for that matter.

abb_prealpha_tour_015AtomBB has a fairly fine grained permissions system which should grant a huge degree of flexibility to administrators to control access in nearly exactly the way which they desire access to be granted.

For those who find the permissions system to be overwhelming, there will be a type of plugin known as “presets” which populate your installation with custom groups created by other members of the community (which ever ones which you want) or any other type of script which involves inserting data in a similar manner.

abb_prealpha_tour_016The forum manager looks fairly standard however, you are capable of dragging forums around to rearrange them (or you could set the orders manually via the forum editor) which should help to speed up your workflow with forums being assigned to other categories when you drag them under another category automatically.

abb_prealpha_tour_017As mentioned above, you can set the order via the forum manager.




abb_prealpha_tour_018The Control Panel can manage moderators much more effectively than the ModCP with a vast degree of control over the local permissions being available while if you want a more simplified interface then, there’s always the ModCP’s forum manager.




abb_prealpha_tour_019The setting editor is one of the features which takes advantage of the two pane layout much more than the other areas with plans to add over twenty types of settings with each having their own unqiue input type like the system automatically pulling a forum list when you have to input a specific forum into a setting.


abb_prealpha_tour_020The plugin manager allows you to install plugins although, it hasn’t been expanded much currently although, it is planned for the ability to upload plugins and to have an interface to navigate the plugins which are available in an interface similar to that used by WordPress for those who want to quickly find plugins to use.

abb_prealpha_tour_021The System Manager which you might have seen before on the blog has been planned out much more thoroughly than it wa when I last made a blog post about it.

It shows several important statistics with a single glance and is planned to have dramatically more information to ensure the smooth running of the site.


abb_prealpha_tour_022Why not? Just throwing the UserCP out there.















Alright, back to the more.. advanced features.

abb_prealpha_tour_025As you would expect with the current climate, we have created a conversation system for people to privately (well, depends on if anyone is snooping like an admin so, let’s reword that to.. directly) communicate with each other and where multiple users can join in a conversation.




abb_prealpha_tour_026You simply have to seperate each name with a ‘,’ to create a conversation with multiple participants in it.





abb_prealpha_tour_027You can also add people to an existing conversation by hitting the invite option while some users (like administrators) may have the ability to lock a conversation which results in no one being able to post in it at all.





That’s the end of this AtomBB Pre-Alpha Tour however, we plan to continue more and more features as we progress towards our eventual goal of entering the Beta Phase with our currently goal being the release of the first AtomBB Alpha which will contain a small subset of the eventual vast array of innovations however, it is one step in the direction of our objective to break the stagnation in the forum market.

If you liked this article then, feel free to share it or to link to it or to discuss it on our forums.

Encrypted Media Extensions

Encrypted Media Extensions are a new standard being pushed by the W3C with Google and Microsoft backing the standard while not even wanting to provide Mozilla with the information necessary to even implement the feature.

Essentially, it is a DRM (Digital Rights Management) standard being pushed by the W3C in order to stream videos while trying to prevent the end-user from being able to save the video content or to stream it without an authorised program which opens a number of questions and doors which are better left closed.

For instance, even if the EME runtime is encrypted and a binary blob, the video frames passed to the browser could theoretically be dumped thus, saving the video data in a way in which the program does not desire which would have to be fixed by restricting what the browser can do along with the freedoms of the plugins.

There is one way to fix many of these problems at once however, which is.. Rootkit.Rootkit is frequently seen as one of the most evil kinds of malware as it is much harder to detect and to remove than, conventional trojans and viruses which is quite the terrible precedent to set.

You might be thinking.. They wouldn’t use Rootkit, Would they? Well, Sony has already tried using Rootkit in the past in order to enforce DRM which raised quite the scandal and so, there’s already a precedent set of an organisation using Rootkit in order to enforce DRM measures which is a terrible situation to end up in.

With Rootkit, unauthorised programs can be stopped from calling the DRM runtime which in itself would be a huge impact on competition in the browser market as a single body would have control over what browsers are allowed to access the runtime and it would have a number of other capabilities as well.

In the case in which Rootkit is not used, the EME DRM wouldn’t be a too hard measure to bypass as you could just run a modded version of a browser which supports it and such which defeats the whole object of the DRM which is to restrict what the users can do with the streamed media.

It’s incredibly surprising that an organisation which is about furthering the Open Web would even think of passing such a standard which stands in direct opposition to the Open Web and shouldn’t even be something which they consider doing in the first place as the topic of DRMs in the web is better left to plugins like Flash rather than, it being a full solid standard in HTML 5.1.

If you liked this article (the article, not whatever stupid ideas that the W3C is trying to push) then, feel free to link back to this page, to share it with your friends or to discuss it on my forums.

What is AtomBB?

AtomBB is an new forum software which has been in development since early 2012 in the hopes of breaking the current stagnation in the forum market due to many of the forum software stalling or not innovating rapidly enough with some new approaches towards hierarchical staff structures, permissions and other big innovations.

AtomBB is a project which is under my ownership as of.. this summer after my skills for developing and managing the project were recognised by the original founder who is known around this site as SuperSajuuk as more suitable for the role than himself thus, the ownership was tranferred in a process which resulted in all of the existing assets being tranferred over.

The first approach which we took was building the permissions system from the ground up to serve as a resilient important solution rather than baking it in as a lesser feature and as such, the permission logic is located within it’s own object where it can weigh the permissions checked and respond accordingly with a true or a false response to such permission checking requests as some forum software like MyBB take this much less seriously by just sticking a number of columns on the usergroups table for each permission which they may want to check.

Additionally, local permissions like local moderator status are loaded via the permissions object with a single method call where after being loaded, they can simply have those permissions checked in the same way as any other permission which results in a fairly standardised permissions model across both local and global scopes.

One aspect which AtomBB covers is a feature known as contribution levels which are based on numerous statistics like the number of posts which someone has, the number of topics which they have created and so forth with certain metrics being given greater weights than others in order to generate an overall idea about someone’s contribution to a forum as opposed to more traditional methods on older forums like post counts which tend to be artificially inflated by a large number of low quality posts as all posts are treated equally on such systems.

Theoretically, the contribution level system uses an exponential algorithm so, it can in theory go on forever rather than hitting a solid cap as someone rises up the levels however, it’s unlikely that anyone will ever get past level 10 on an unmodded setup with the default settings (it’s possible to modify a multiplier in order to raise or lower contribution level requirements to an extent although, very detailed alterations are only possible via a plugin due to the complexity of the algorithm) due to how high the requirements are to achieve such higher levels.

One important aspect for managing staff is a feature known as staff levels (not to be confused with contribution levels which are automatically calculated by the system) which allows super administrators (normally, the owner) to assign levels to staff which prevent them from performing moderative or administrative actions on staff who are equal or higher level than them (admins can still edit supermods as the rank difference overrides the level difference) with an exception for super admins who aren’t bound by the level system.

This system can be useful in creating much larger hierarchical structures than would typically be possible or to simply get an extra degree of flexibility over what actions that staff can perform to each other which also helps to solidify more conceptual structures which may have been harder to implement without the staff level system and it protects higher level staff from the lower level staff who may not and should not have the ability to edit the higher level staff.

The next point may seem less important and is being developed in several other software however, it introduces an extra level of accountability which is edit history where all the edits made to a post are logged and these entries can be navigated via the edit history interface with options to restore a revision, hide a revision and other options for managing the revisions which makes it much harder for staff to hide moderative actions or for users to edit a post to change their opinion when things go downhill for them in an argument.

There are a number of other features which are planned and being implemented for AtomBB however, those will have to be left to a later blog post as we don’t want to dump all of the features on a blog post.. Quite yet..

If you liked this article then, feel free to link back to this page, to share it with your friends or to discuss it on my forums.

Why Discourse Sucks

As some of you may already know, I’ve said countless pieces of criticism against a forum software known as Discourse and some of you may have even noticed some little pieces of that on my new forums.
Today, I’m here with a blog post to explain the flaws and negatives of the software which would show you it’s drawbacks.

What is Discourse? An open source project by Jeff Atwood (and co.) funded by venture capital which he goes on about on his blog about how the current forum software are so backwards and primitive along with on the About Us page where he uses an ancient forum software (vBulletin 3) as an example of the modern forum software.

We’re going to dive into the first aspect of it which is the main selling feature which Jeff is trying to pitch to the free forum market which is.. Trust Levels. In short, users who joined get the lowest trust level with more features being unlocked as they go up the chain with the higher ones even granting moderative abilities.

This might sound fair enough until, you realise that the administrator is not the one granting moderative abilities but rather, some automated software which gauges someone’s activity and contributions then, grants whatever it thinks is suitable which is a huge problem as traditionally.. Administrators only grant such abilities to people who they can trust rather than, who the system thinks is a good person to bestow such abilities upon..

Another problem with trust is how flagging contributes to it which is when someone reports a post then, they will gain trust with enough people flagging a post resulting in the post being taken down however, the trust will be revoked from all of the flaggers and they will even be dealt a trust penalty when the flagged user appeals to a moderator (and wins) which makes it much less likely for people to come forward to flag posts as they will see the risk in them being penalised due to it.

It also raises a situation where they may be borderline cases where a moderator might not rule either way as one option results in the flagged user getting some trust revoked from them and the other case results in the flagger/s getting some trust revoked from them which can cause problems in them making decisions in such situations.

The next issue are the browser requirements, to quote their site..

Internet Explorer 10+
Google Chrome 24+
Firefox 14+
Safari 5+

We do officially support Internet Explorer 9, but some functionality will be unavoidably broken.

These are pretty bleeding edge browser releases, the majority of users are unlikely to even be using such bleeding edge browsers and having it as a requirement is even crazier especially, since a blank page with some text on it telling you to upgrade is not a particularly great message to be greeted with while people in the workplace might not be able to upgrade their browsers like it requests.

Another aspect which damages in comparison with the entire forum market from the paid to the free are these server requirements..

The server side of Discourse is written in Ruby on Rails with a Postgres database, and Redis server cache. You can deploy Discourse on a virtualized cloud server (Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Azure) or on cloud hosting (Heroku, Engine Yard, Appfog, etc) wherever Ruby on Rails is supported. The minimum version requirements are:

Postgres 9.1
Redis 2.6
Ruby 1.9.3

We also recommend a minimum 1 Gb RAM to host Discourse, though it may work with slightly less.

Keep in mind that many of the forum software support MySQL and PHP. Ruby is a rarer one to find on shared hosting, postgre pushes it further while Redis.. I have never seen shared hosting which supports Redis which pushes this into VPS territory. That’s not even including the last sentence which says that it needs 1GB RAM although, it MIGHT work with less while signs on the forums show that it may even need as much as 2GB for it to work with good performance.

That’s an insanely large requirement for a single installation of a forum software, compared to this, the footprints of the other forum software are negligible including software like vB and IPB which are traditionally seen by the free community as large and bloated.

The next problem with the software is the endless scrolling feature which is a bit of a novelty where it automatically loads posts as you scroll down to try to do away with needing multiple pages to go through the various posts in a discussion however, this creates a new problem as I’ve seen when trying out the software (can’t really criticise it well without trying it out for once) where if I say.. Leave a part of the discussion to read later due to being busy or going to bed or some other task then, reopening the browser (which automatically loads up the tabs from my last session).. I end up having to scroll all the way down to where I left off which can take a LONG time on large discussions while with conventional software it’ll be on the page which I left it on which is much easier to find the place I left off on.

There appear to be giant back and forth arguments on the Discourse forums involving whether ‘ago’ should be in the relative timestamps where Jeff is strongly opposed to it (E.g. 5 hours instead of 5 hours ago showing up in the software) and everyone else being opposed to it where he continually asks for evidence to show that people actually want it and him continually raising the bar of what evidence is accepted when they do provide evidence of it.
While Jeff certainly has the authority to decide which direction which the software goes in, he shouldn’t make the community dance in circles by asking them for consensus and then, continually raising the bar. His better off just outright rejecting the idea instead.

The next issues which there is with the whole model which the individual forums have (or as Discourse calls them.. Categories) where rather than using a hierarchical model where you can nest forums inside of forums and so forth.. They go with more of a tag based model instead kinda like WordPress where you throw a post into whatever categories which you want although, Discourse isn’t quite like that either as you can only do one category for each discussion which lacks the positives of both tag and hierarchical models and the biggest problem with this is that there’s a category page where each category appears on.

Doesn’t sound like a problem? Well, the fact that there’s no concept of hierarchical structures means that on the typical big forum where there are countless forums, you’d be scrolling down for an awful long time to find what you might want and so, you’d have to resort to using the search feature more which isn’t a great solution either as you might be missing out on alot of content which you may actually be interested in reading due to not knowing that it exists.

Another model which conflicts with many conventions within other forum software is the general fact that groups don’t really do anything (asides from a basic switch on forums whether someone in that group can view it, as far as my research tells me) which means that they are purely to organise members as opposed to the capabilities given in other software where you can assign custom permissions and so forth which is handled in Discourse by trust levels instead (along with all of the problems which comes with it).

As for full moderator and administrator status, these are per user flags rather than flags or permissions which can set on groups like on the other forum software which means that you have to manage these high level staff individually rather than, organisation them in a more powerful way and there’s no way to restrict which permissions which users with these flags get unlike with the other forum software.

While there are several items which I may cover in a future blog post, one of the last items which I will cover here is hiding features from users with low trust levels.. This isn’t dangerous features like deleting posts and so forth but rather, more simply ones like private messages. You’d think that their reasoning for this is something like trying to keep the number of spambots down and so forth but instead, the reason that they give for this is.. To prevent users from being overwhelmed by the large number of features.

Seriously? Users getting overwhelmed? So, they are penalising all new users (regardless of whether they’ve been on a forum before or are brand new to the whole concept) since they think that the users may ger overwhelmed by all of the features? Come on, all you need is some FAQs or tooltips, if you want to make features more friendly to understand which cures the root of the problem better and doesn’t punish the members who know what they are doing.

Before I forget, I’ll cover their silly little global name system which is exactly as it sounds. Discourse has this system where you can reserve a username by registering on their Meta Forums which is simply put.. The Central Discourse Hub as they are trying to turn it into which is their official forums which is a huge negative for existing large forums as it would mean that members can easily switch to their competitors and it has the potential problem with people assuming that user x on one forum is the same user as user y on another forum due to them using the same name which can be problematic as some forums may have the reservation system disabled as opposed to them uniformly having it turned on.

I’ve seen messages on the MyBB Community Forums where one member even thought that it was a credible competitor which leads to my opinion on the matter.. This? A competitor? Really? Are you joking? What’s this going to compete with? Vanilla? Don’t make me laugh, there are so many problems with this software that there’s no hope in hell of me actually using it to run one of my own sites.

If you liked this article then, feel free to link back to this page, to share it with your friends or to discuss it on my forums.

New Discussion Area

As you have probably already noticed from the new link in the header, I have opened up a new forum to serve as the discussion area for the AzaStudios site for all of you to discuss subjects like my channel or my projects although, I am open to a huge variety of topics as long as they are posted in the appropriate areas (we’ll probably move them, if you mistakenly post in the wrong place however so, it’s not the end of the world).

Why did I do this? The integration system which connected the private collaboration areas to the main site started getting more and more unstable especially, with extra load being added to it from new sites being opened up for my projects like AtomBB for instance which showed that I needed to come up with a new collaboration solution which would also double as a discussion area which while I initially wished to do in AtomBB.. I figured that I’d hold off on migrating the discussion area to AtomBB until, the beta phase is reached or at the very least, well into the alpha phase of development.

What did I go with? There were countless possible solutions ranging from more simple systems like Vanilla and Discourse (I’ve criticised this system countless times so, it was a quick one to be ruled out from use) to the dominant tools in the forum space which were MyBB, phpBB and SMF (with the paid ones being ruled out as they were insanely expensive) with phpBB feeling like a step backwards to use (it may get better when phpBB4 comes out however, that’s unlikely to be out for quite a while) while SMF lacked much of the functionality which I needed so, I settled with MyBB as it was fairly stable and almost everything which I needed (some of which had to be filled in with some plugins).

What does that mean for you? It means that there’s now a central hub in which you can discuss everything which may have been discussed on the blog or other matters which may not have fit anywhere on the main site due to the lack of a proper discussion area.

What about integration? As we all know, MyBB has TERRIBLE third part integration support. Simply terrible. One of the reasons why I’ll just migrate the forums over to AtomBB when it reaches some decent level of stability as it would be nice to have an interconnected site rather than millions of little silos for every potential area which I may create.

Feel free to discuss this on the forums and have fun.

System Section


AtomBB System Overview

I’ve started putting the System Section together for HadronCMS and AtomBB where the overview is mostly done (mostly Windows support is needed) and it currently shows a few useful pieces of information along with a nice alert system to make it more obvious what everything means.

The “Coming Soon!” items are simply there since I took this screenshot on a Windows build and I hadn’t implemented the CPU stuff on Windows yet (only on Linux, so far).

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