Re: Alternative to bbpress
You can also look at simple:press – some work has been done integrating that with BuddyPress
@lisa – I share your frustration with the BuddyPress approach to forums; every client we have worked with (6 in total now) has asked for standard forums to be integrated, and not the BuddyPress Group / Forum approach.
The BuddyPress Group / Forum idea might be an interesting technical approach (and logical from a data modelling point of view), but unfortunately doesn’t seem to have been an end user requirements driven decision.
The best approach to get full functioning standards forums (working with a BuddyPress site) is to disable the BuddyPress forums (a simple checkbox in the admin system), and install your forum solution separately – you’ll then want to ensure you have single sign on, and integration with the activity stream – there is some work documented already to do this with simple:press and bbPress (search on their community forums), but I’m not aware of an out of the box fully functioning solution.
Of course, you’ll also want to design your theme to seamlessly integrate the forums.
[aside: I noticed an announcement re: bbPress being moved into WordPress as a plugin. The announcement also said it was being coded by @jjj, one of the core BuddyPress deveIopers. I don’t know how this will affect the functionality of bbPress (more or less featured?), or whether it will integrate a standalone forums solution into BuddyPress by default. Any more info on this @djpaul or @jjj?]