Piracy will always be a net negative instead of positive. Nulled forum software often contains bugs and backdoors that don't necessarily exist in the legit licensed release. So, you have users that can have a bad experience with the software as a result of the forum admin choosing to not use licensed software. This is ultimately bad for Invision, because end-users don't distinguish between licensed and unlicensed software.
You also have many cases (seriously, just watch these support forum on a daily basis) of people who have stolen the software coming here trying to get support. That takes time for the devs to deal with, that they could be using for paying customers.
Converting piracy to legitimate customers is a possible benefit, except that usually comes with a bunch of questions on how to "go legit", which adds additional support above and beyond someone who is coming fresh as a legitimate customer.
I'm sure Invision is happy when people pay for the software, but lets not pretend that it's all roses when someone chooses to steal it and starts down the path to legitimacy. It's better for all of us (because I like my license fees going to development, not having to deal with thieves) when people don't steal other people's hard work, period.
I took a quick spin through the blogs thinking you guys may have already discussed this, but couldn't find anything.
One thing that I think has really helped improve the aesthetics of the web generally, and is a trend I'm quite keen to seen continue to be embraced, is the font renaissance that has led to web design being particularily focused on clean, readable fonts.
Has there been any talk of integration in IP4 of options like google font, or fontface, or things of that nature? I know it's possible to do some of this as a mod/custom skin, but having integration in the base software (especially ip.content) to almost force people to think of their font choices would perhaps be a good thing (or maybe not?)
Interested in hearing people's thoughts on the current state of fonts and how they could be used in IP4 to really enhance the design and readability of content.
Yeah. I've been pretty stoked on the previous 4 blog posts about moderation, but this doesn't seem to fix the biggest problems with warnings in 3.4.6, which is that users who aren't familiar with the software have no idea wtf. Even the word "points" doesn't really work - are they like driving demerits? Scores? Using points as a backend term is fine, but users shouldnt ever really need to see it.
Based on feedback from my mods and my own use, it would be far better from the user's perspective to just work on clarifying how many warnings they have and prior penalties imposed, what posts triggered the warnings, and the current mod queue/suspension/ban length imposed with their latest warning. No mention of points, but lots more detail about their history of being moderated.
I'm also hoping someone explains the use case of suspensions vs. bans. I don't really grasp the difference.
Finally, I was really hoping to see it all streamlined like others have mentioned - I'm making up percentages but 90% of the time warnings come from posts that break forum rules and 10% are based on longstanding patterns of behavior that we finally take action on. It really should be possible to click a post, flag it to have a warning issued, and based on the reason for warning it would do the autopopulated message to user indicating what post got them warned, include the default text that goes along with that particular warning type, and the punishment, if any. Ideally, that could all happen in an ajax container and I could move on with my day. We could still manually go and warn the user from their profile, but that seems like it needs to happen less often.
Even more ideally, the post that caused a warning to be issued could have a little flag or something attached to it indicating to everyone else on the forum that it was in contravention of forum rules (indicate warning reason) and has been hidden. I see you've added that for mods, but it would be a good teaching moment for the rest of the users if we could enable everyone to see what our standards are and what sort of posts are likely to get booted.
Since Invision staff are far too polite to ever say this directly, I'll do it. Tone down the victim woe is me invision doesn't understand crap. I'm not that much of a regular to these forums and somehow you've stood out as being super annoying in how you address grievances in multiple threads. Attitude goes a long way, and when the community works together productively, we actually can help invision improve the product based on how we end up using it. Your attitude sucks and doesn't help this cause at all.
Mandrill is integrated already. It works really well. Theoretically, someone could probably write a mod that would add the email notification for all posts feature you want, and it could run through mandrill, although I can't speak to how that would affect the forum performance even just generating the push off to mandrill to send the email. I think that's likely the way you'll get this kind of feature given Brandon's comments above regarding support. I should say there are aspects of this request and in your other links that I want too, like being able to reply to PM's by email, but I think everything is still a bit wait and see. There is a pretty active developer community though, and the development blogs about 4 make it sound like IPS is trying to make things as easy as possible for them, so even if it's not in the software out of the box I don't doubt it will eventually be added by someone as a mod.
Not to derail this even further (hah), but since we're on the topic, there is one thing I'm sure I'm misusing - is there a setting to site-wide disable the "users who last viewed my profile" thing, or is that entirely based on whether you login as anonymous or not? If not, I'll add that as something I think there may be a legitimate rationale for giving some privacy options to (again, noting that I seem to recall this might already exist, I just can't remember how to do it). I get a couple comments about that now and then from people who don't really like that it shows when they've creeped on someone else.
You haven't really responded though. You have this vague notion of wanting privacy for the whole profile block, but I just went through that block and gave (what I think at least) is a pretty compelling rationale for why there are very few user-provided content blocks in that profile screen would even remotely benefit from granular privacy controls. Blocking a profile sceen for the sake of blocking a profile screen doesn't make any sense, especially since more than half of what is on that page is statistics and other "stuff" that is all based on public participation (user rep, stats, profile pic, about me, etc.) You can hardly accuse IPS of a lack of ingenuity when you still haven't rationally explained WHY users would benefit from being able to restrict access to the entire profile block to only people they want to give access to. There are lots of downsides from losing access to those stats. What are the upsides besides some vague notion of privacy? The one example you gave about contact details has already been addressed multiple times in this topic - IPS is looking at those user-provided personal details and will consider privacy on those, its just not gonna make it into 4.0.
You're basically describing wanting the forum software to act as a pseudo mailing list of every post as well for members who have turned that option on. That's an extremely niche case and really not what forums are designed for (I'm sure the m2f is a plugin for phpbb too, I don't recall that being part of their core service either). There might be an email hook or something but I doubt that would ever end up in the core software (even mistakenly turning it on for a decent sized board and having multiple members with it turned on could cripple your server or email provider with email sends - imagine if 100 people had that on and you had 1000 new posts that day - that's 100,000 emails just that day alone!) I think I get why you want it, but forums and e-mail weren't really ever designed to work together like that.
Ok, let's use your profile as an example. I've attached it to this post.
Your avatar is going to be public, and it doesn't make sense for that to have privacy options. That's your public face in the community.
Everything in the left hand column is "content" based, and wouldn't make sense for all the reasons previously stated to have profile based privacy controls.
That takes us to the main column in default view, being the "About Me" "Stats" "Marketplace" and "Contact", with your profile feed at the top.
Feed is 50/50 on whether it would make sense to have privacy attached - the utility of the feature drops if it's only viewable to your friends.
About Me is a public facing description of who you are in the community. Again, it's intended to b a public feature to allow others to check on who you are. Specific privacy here would perhaps be useful if there were two displays - one that showed to the public, and a more expanded that showed to your friends. That's not how it works though, so as is, privacy on it seems misguided. If they changed how it works, there might be an argument for privacy controls attached.
Community Stats is a bit of a mixed bag. Anything that is posting based stats (number of posts, number of topics started, registration date, profile views, etc) shouldn't be able to be hidden unless the admin wants it to be - that's an important feature to allow everyone else in the community get a sense of who they are dealing with. The rest, being "personal" stats like age, gender, location - I see why people might want granular control over those. As mentioned numerous times by IPS - they'll consider this, but it won't be in 4.0.
Marketplace is another content based stat, and allowing privacy over that serves no purpose.
Contact info has been thoroughly discussed as well. IPS says they'll look at it, but its not planned for 4.0.
Am I missing anything? There are literally two areas that in the present design of the profile (excepting custom profile fields) that could benefit from finer granular privacy settings. I don't disagree with those two, but is there really a case for privacy on anything else that I haven't addressed or got wrong here?
Confusing would be a use case where I can read a post on a forum, I can do a search for posts by a certain user, but a profile feature specifically designed to allow me to look at that particular user's content would be protected by some privacy screen the user arbitrarily put in place. Maybe I don't want to be their friend but I just want to check their post history to see if they have a history of being a jerk or something. I'd be annoyed if I had to then go specifically to search to get around some silly pseudo privacy screen that doesn't actually do what it's supposed to do anyway, given content is always controlled by forum and usergroup level permissions.
Like he said, SOME stuff that is not "content" maybe makes sense to be hidden to all but a whitelist of "friends" (telephone number, email, skype address, where they live, age, etc), but it will never make sense to do this for posted content.