Forum. Activity. Blog. Where’s the beef? (i.e. What is Buddypress?**)
OK. I know this is not inherent only in Buddypress, but is a larger philosophical question that Buddypress has the power to Revolutionize!:
What is the difference between an Activity Post, a Forum Topic, or a Blog Post? And I’m not talking schematic / programmatic differences, I’m talking at the basic fundamental.
To illustrate, let us play a guessing game. Which of the three am I describing?
1) A user submits some information / a story / a bit of news / a question
2) Other users respond with comments / answers / reactions / more questions
I find that many users to my Buddypress site (a captive / motivated audience mind you) get confused – posting forum topics in Activity streams, or blog posts in forums… Are they just plain ignorant, or are the unwashed masses just more enlightened than us system Admins? Are we trying to artificially create a difference where there is none? Or is the difference there – Buddypress is just not making it clear enough?
Permit me to add fuel to the fire –
1) I find Buddypress.org’s support forums to be virtually un-navigable. Compare that to bbpress, or even the WordPress support forums – which are clean, intuitive, and user-friendly (and in the case of bbpress, dying a slow death). So Buddypress is not a forum. But it has that potential.
2) Buddypress hides blogs in the sea of sameness — basically taking over your entire WordPress site and subjugating the blog to the needs of the community theming. So Buddypress is not a Blog.
3) Buddypress theming is so complex that only the brave dare tread there. Whereas I could bang out a unique wordpress theme in under an hour, Buddypress essentially locks you in to a handful of themes or days of tweaking…
Don’t get me wrong. I think Buddypress is AWESOME! And has so much potential. I think, as others have pointed out, it suffers from an Identity crisis. So, what is Buddypress?
Buddypress is a VITAL but SEPARATE part of the blog community. Buddypress is a way to connect. It is NOT a blog. It is NOT a forum – but a way for Forum users and Blog readers to connect with one-another. So – why not take that idea, and put Buddypress in its own room – the cocktail party happening next to the lecture seminar and just down the hall from the AA meetings.
Proposal (largely a strategy of theming):
1) Blogs are blogs – let them look like blogs.
2) Forums are forums – let them look like forums (subjects, topics, you know… like forums)
3) Buddypress is Buddypress – when people enter the social area of buddypress- lets knock their socks off.
But trying to mesh them all under one Tabbed upon sub-tabbed menu system only whitewashes the whole deal into one bland sameness. And confuses our users.
Discuss amongst yourselves. I think I posted this in the right place.
** Forgive me, I wanted to post this on the What is Buddypress forum topic, but I couldn’t find it again… (see fuel #1)
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