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Making a WordPress Site Interactive using bbPress and BuddyPress?

Discussion in 'IT Christian Forum' started by DanielGarneau, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau New Member

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    My Web site is currently information based, meaning that I write the content of the web pages so that they convey important ideas about what the Christian Faith is all about. This site also provides free access to the pdf file of essays I wrote, for example about how to understand the Bible today, and about my own struggle in understanding some important aspects of the Christian life.

    I was thinking of using bbPress and perhaps also some of BuddyPress complementary functionalities to provide some ways for site visitors in general and people I know in particular to be able to interact with some of those contents. But before I start trying out these WordPress plug-ins, I would be interested in starting a discussion to find out if some of you have better suggestions as to how I should proceed and what tools I should be using.

    The reason I am asking is that a while back I received some very good answers in a forum that has recently shut down "The Help Me Code Club". Several users seemed to suggest that it was better to use a stand alone forum software and to use a bridge for the interaction with WordPress. And many participants seemed to mention the same software over and over again, but I don't remember which it was, and the information is no longer available on the forum that I got this information from.

    So I'm starting afresh, except that I now have a little bit more free time to invest for implementing the solutions that seem best.

    Thank you...
  2. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    United States
    Daniel, I am not a fan of bbpress/buddypress.

    However, I first think you should decide if you want a forum style community interaction or do you want more of a comment section? The former requires more upkeep, because it would need to be moderated more expansively and the interaction is slightly different than in a comment section. A comment section is more along the lines of what I think you want. It's a place where you get feedback to the topic at hand, whereas a forum would be more open-ended and would require the creation of either parallel topics, or users would have to go an pose them.

    For all intents and purposes, CB here is a forum like bbpress/buddypress, although it uses different (better) software that stands on its own. As for comment sections, look at most blog and magazine-style websites, but two that have good comment sections are http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreherand http://www.thewarthburgwatch.com. Both of these illustrate how a good and simple comment system can work effectively. Moderating a forum brings additional duties and responsibilities and it can be difficult to get off the ground.

    I'm not here to discourage you from a forum, but just be aware that it takes work. Many won't post in an inactive forum, for example.

    If you want to look into comment systems, Wordpress has a default one, but you need to look at anti-spam measures to keep the spambots out. That used to be Akismet, but now there are others. You can look at the stuff built into JetPack or Disqus is the one that I used historically. There are others, but Disqus seems to still be the largest.

    If you want to go the forum route, there are free and paid options. Best freebies are MyBB, SMF, phpBB or Vanilla. Best paid are IPB, vB, or Xenforo. There are wars started over which are best. vB used to be king of the paid by a mile, but IPB and then Xenforo have surged in recent times. As far as free goes, they're all great options. I am partial to the first three.

    Hope that helps.
    DanielGarneau likes this.
  3. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau New Member

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    Hello HammerStone and readers of this thread at ChristianityBoard,

    All the enhanced commenting solutions or bridges based on WordPress I tried led to one or more of the following problems: (1) they were too complex for me to understand or required coding I did not know how to implement; (2) they seemed to be threatening to the global integrity of my WordPress site; (3) they were not fully functional in all of the three languages of my web site (French, English, Spanish).

    I then somewhat reluctantly began to explore the world of free forum software, trying several of them through prototyping. Again the issue of language compatibility came up. There was a long and steep learning curve, but once I finished all my prototyping and testing I concluded that the easiest of them for me to use was PhpBB. It might appear to be more difficult to learn than some of the others, but once you do understand its logical structure, you can control everything aspect of your board fairly easily.

    Now this forum which is available through my web site has been on line since May 2016. I keep building it up, but so far, there are only two active members. I know through Google Analytics that I get some visitors every month, but I guess you are right that people don't tend to want to participate in a small forum that does not seem very active.

    My position is to be patient. After all it took several months before my main web site began to get regular visitors, and it does much better now than it did not quite four years ago. Anyhow the forum allows me to publish content from a different angle than I do on the main site. And I also use it to share material online with people I know who print it out and use it in group discussions.