Heading into 2020, we decided it was time to re-offer a MainWP community.
When we first started MainWP, we use to have a community, but as a plugin and company just trying to get our feet under us, the energy it was taking to moderate and squish trolls was not only time consuming; it was a bit soul-crushing, so we closed it.
What about the Facebook User community?
The Facebook community will continue as it has, the community is unofficial, but the reasons for its existence remain as valid as ever, as I addressed in this blog post from 2016 .
The idea for the MainWP User group came about after watching how the Headway Themes user group (closed group) was able to talk and assist each other after the official Headway Themes team experienced some communication issues.
Ivica Delic started the private Facebook group for users who still wanted a community, and since it was user-controlled didn’t need to be constantly worried about it.
Ivica has done a great job with the community getting it up to over 4000 active users, but the time has come to offer our users another solution.
We get emails consistently, both in support and to my private email, about how we can we be both focused on privacy and support Facebook. And Even though I understood the argument against Facebook, it wasn’t something I cared to address until now.
So after much soul searching and hemming and hawing, I decided it was time for us to reopen an official MainWP Community.
Note: MainWP as a company won’t be moving away from Facebook, we’re still going to support the User group and as a company in this day and age you need to be where your people are especially for advertising and reaching out
While looking for community software, we had certain things on our wish list; opensource, modern, easy to moderate, and preferably free but not required.
The open source requirement rules out:
So on and so on.
What about the Wordpress plugins for community forums?
We really really wanted a WordPress plugin to work since we are a WordPress company; it only makes sense.
We tried most of them, especially focusing on spending time internally using the bigger ones such as bbPress and BuddyPress, but both didn’t really “feel modern” to the team.
Then you have the open source options non-WordPress open source options
PhpBB, MyBB, simpleforums all felt old.
Both are excellent modern community software, and while we preferred Flarum’s overall design, we decided on Discourse because of the active community and developer’s backing.
I also felt Discourse’s goal for their software fell more in line with what we were looking for when I read “The Universal Rules for Civilized Discourse.”
Today’s forum software has a default FAQ that tells you how to make bold text, but absolutely nothing about how to moderate your forum, deal with trolls, appoint moderators, or even how to get people to visit your forum in the first place. The hard-earned sociological lessons of these 10+ year old forum communities are not being baked into their forum software at all.
If you are looking for a community software you can’t go wrong with Flarum or Discourse, Discourse just fit our needs better then anything else we tested.
Staff and user moderation!
One of my favorite things from an Admin standpoint is as you increase your trust levels, you are automatically granted moderation abilities to help keep the community neat and tidy. You can read all about five trust levels and what it takes to move up in the Discourse Blog
Moderation highlights include:
Trust Level 0 - New
- No moderation features
Trust Level 1 - Basic
- Edit wiki posts
- Flag posts
- Mute other users
Trust Level 2 - Member
- All of Level 1 +
- Use the “Invite others to this topic” button for one-click onboarding of new users to participate in topics
- Invite outside users to PMs making a group PM
Trust Level 3 - Regular
- All of Level 1, 2 +
- Recategorize and rename topics
- Access a secure category only visible to users at trust level 3 and higher
- Have all their links followed (we remove automatic nofollow)
- TL3 spam flags cast on TL0 user posts immediately hide the post
- TL3 flags cast on TL0 user posts in sufficient diversity will auto-silence the user and hide all their posts
- Make their own posts wiki (that is, editable by any TL1+ users)
Trust Level 4 - Leader
- All of Level 1, 2, 3 +
- Edit all posts
- Pin/unpin topic
- Close topics
- Archive topics
- Make topics unlisted
- Split and merge topics
- Reset topic bump date
Mark questions as solved!
The new community allows the original question asker to mark another user’s response as the correct answer and solve the issue. That, combined with the excellent built-in search, should help other users find solutions to their issues without ever needing to ask the question.
Why do I need to signup?
Discourse offers an SSO (single sign-on) with WordPress but I didn’t want to tie usernames and passwords tied between your MainWP accounts and community accounts in abundance of security for your MainWP accounts.
Even though we are not offering SSO from the MainWP site you can still SSO from:
If you are a MainWP Pro user and decided to use one of those SSO options be sure to edit your profile and enter your Pro email then open a ticket so we can make sure you get the Pro tag.
What are your thoughts?
I’m sure there are some things I missed and some questions you have, please feel free to let me know your thoughts below.