I’m hoping to publish my first “blog book” soon and am thinking about the best options for facilitating online conversations about it. I did work around the mySQL database problems I wrote about recently, by downgrading an offline copy of my blog to WordPress 2.9 running off a local MAMP install and exporting all my “school reform” posts at once. Turns out one of my older posts had the same “guid” (post ID) and that may have caused my export issues. All the posts which will comprise the book (most of my “school reform” category posts written since 2004) are already online, but comments are closed on all but the most recent thanks to the “Comment Timeout” plugin for WordPress. I’ve found using it cuts my blog spam way down. I’m thinking a good ‘ole text-based forum might be good for my purpose and goals. I’d like to provide an interactive venue where people can offer feedback and discuss ideas raised in the posts / book. I could open commenting on the original posts, but comments there wouldn’t be threaded, organized and amplified the way they could be in a separate forum. phpBB is the best option I know of for this. I love the fact that it is open source. Are you aware of other or better options?

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I’d consider using CommentPress, as the 2010 Horizon Report does, but since I’m going to offer this book of aggregated posts for sale that doesn’t seem like my best option.

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8 Responses to phpBB for my School Reform Book Forum?

  1. David says:

    I’d actually recommend using something like Drupal for this project as it will allow you to have your blog posts and also forums for people to log into. Converting from WordPress to Drupal isn’t too hard as there are lots of tutorials on how to do it. Adding forums is dead easy as they are a core option in Drupal. This way you won’t need 2 systems to accomplish one task.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Well, I really like WordPress for my main blog. I’ve considered migrating to Drupal, as I know several folks who love it for its flexibility and extensibility. I’m actually thinking of setting up a separate area for book-related discussions. Do you think the forum support in Drupal is as good or better than phpBB? I haven’t used both enough to have an opinion on this yet.

  3. Wes, I don’t recommend phpBB. The GUI editor stinks (as I recall from experiments a year ago) and ended up being inadequate to our needs for a forum.

    Why not take advantage of a Moodle forum?

  4. David says:

    Ugh. Moodle forums are awful. Wes, the Drupal forums have improved a lot, especially if you use an add-on called “Advanced Forum” which adds some additional functionality to the default Drupal forum.

    I wonder if someone has designed an forum add-on for WordPress?

  5. @David, while the Moodle forums aren’t what you might prefer, compared to implementing Drupal, they are a breeze. (smile).

    Here are some other possible FOSS forum alternatives:
    miniBB – http://www.minibb.com/
    (you can check out some of the example forums…)

    myBB – http://www.mybb.com

    Unclassfied Newsboard – http://newsboard.unclassified.de/
    This one is used by the Dokuwiki folks for their forum.

    Whether these are easier to use than phpBB–that is, you can use a HTML editor instead of BB markup code–is another question. I haven’t tried them but intend to over this week for fun.

    Best wishes,
    Miguel Guhlin

  6. Ryan Collins says:

    What about bbPress (http://bbpress.org/)? It’s created by the same people who create WordPress.

    Another neat forum is Vanilla Forums (http://vanillaforums.org/).

    I haven’t really used either, just looked at them. Be sure to check out what security flaws have been found in the past and how easy it is to upgrade/fix them. phpBB just scares me from a security stand point. 🙂

  7. David says:

    Yes, implementing the Moodle forums is easier. It really depends on how much time you have to set this up.

  8. Furthermore, education inequality is not just a byproduct of this
    system but is, in fact embedded, into its very structure. Failure to
    recognize this has led us to this dangerously circular reasoning: That
    we can close achievement gaps or significantly improve the quality of
    education for historically underserved populations of students without
    completely redesigning the school systems that serve them.

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