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Do Not Understand BuddyPress

  • neononcon


    Please help. I do not understand BuddyPress. What is the point of a forum if you have groups and ability to post in the activity stream? It just seems to be all over the place with no call to action. Please advise.

Viewing 20 replies - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)

  • Boone Gorges


    The goal of BuddyPress is to maximize your site’s excellence.



    It turns up the good, and turns down the suck.



    Thanks for not answering any of the questions about groups and forums. You guys just turned up the suck and turned down the good of this thread haha.

    Boone Gorges


    Heh heh.

    BuddyPress is a complex piece of software. For some sites, groups will be the best choice for community engagement – traditional forums, along with all the benefits of group extension plugins (BuddyPress Docs, BP Group Documents, etc). For some sites, the interactive activity stream will be better suited to fostering community – sort of like Twitter or Facebook. It’s highly recommended that you set up and configure your BuddyPress installation first by determining the needs of your site, and then by enabling and disabling components as necessary.



    Thanks. What about using groups and forums together? What’s the point of that?

    So you go to a group and see a bunch of status updates, then you see a button for the forum which goes to a bunch of forum posts. All are presumably under the same overall topic. It just seems so confusing and all over the place.

    Boone Gorges


    Group forums allow forum discussions to be group-specific. Is that too vapid an answer?

    Groups are more than just forums. They allow other kinds of collaboration. Take for example. In addition to forums, they have an Announcement space, a shared Files upload space, a shared blog.

    As I suggested above, if you find a given feature “confusing and all over the place”, you should shut that feature off. Not everyone needs every feature turned on, and not every feature makes sense for every application.



    The problem is that there is no introduction to this kind of ethos, this BuddyPress ethos.

    I suspect that many here are either geeky types who are used to this Web 2.0 mindset or people born during the ’90s who never knew any other way of doing things.

    Some of us may be older and thus used to a very “orderly” — that is, tightly hierarchical — way of presenting information…it would help to explain BuddyPress in the FAQ section with such folks in mind.

    BuddyPress sounds promising…but there is simply no documentation explaining the philosophical assumptions behind it, never mind individual toggles for specific components….

    Me, I’d like for my site’s registered users to be able to create their own particular interest groups and user profiles but limit forums to a traditional site-wide kind of affair…seems like it should be possible to do all this, but I can’t see how in the available documentation I’ve been able to piece together!



    I think there’s an option for that now (group forums vs. sitewide forums) in the BuddyPress admin menu now. I run BP on a Multisite install of WP, so mine is in the Network admin side of things, but you should be able to find the option to install/uninstall one or the other under BuddyPress -> Forums

    hi neononcon,
    it’s been a month since last reply but may i add my opinion here.. :)
    study carefully first about the features of BuddyPress (as well as other social tools) before u really implements it on your working site. yes, there are options to disable forum, if you don’t really want to use it. BuddyPress, forum, twitter, or FaceBook connect are great tools to communicate with site audience. install them all and your site will look perfect, but it can be overwhelming and time consuming to reply all questions here and there. technology evolves way much faster than good documentations :D



    Hi @boonebgorges , is the theme you use at one you made or was it made by WooThemes? Thanks!

    I am intrigued to actually find a topic like this as the thoughts behind the question it asks are just as mundane yet as troubled as the ones that i’ve had since the moment i read about BP a few days ago. Not at all to insult the creators of this obviously much-adored piece of software. I’m almost ashamed to admit that i wholly agree with TireKicker’s pondering. Ashamed because it makes me feel old. ;) I pretty much grew up in forums and find their logical structure so natural they are almost like a safe haven to me.

    Anyways, i too feel very confused with whether i should go for BP, a forum or both for a new clan site of mine. As i’ve played around with BP for a few days now i can honestly say that there hardly is anything to dislike with it, even though its lack of structure still bothers the very core of me. It’s like handing a clay-worker a glass of water to work with. It’s so fluid that you don’t really know what it is or what you can do with it. It feels so alien that i still, even several days of working with it, can’t figure out whether it’s better than a forum or whether a clan would even want it or not. It would be very interesting to get a developer’s input on BP’s core ideology and actual, formal use of it. Examples of websites using it and for what. The “You can use it for whatever you’d like!” answer doesn’t really answer anything. Not that i’m complaining! I’m just so stumped that i can’t figure this software out. Mind you facebook scared me away pretty quickly too, so don’t take it personally! An information-flow like FB is a nightmare to people who enjoy order.

    And this is why i’m asking you for help in explaining its formal use, so i can figure out whether my members would actually enjoy it or hate it. It might just be the most brilliant plugin ever, which would bode well for me if i as a manager who enjoys progress as much as anyone got my members started with it. Does it have any use for a clan, you think? I mean, it has an activity-page with everything happening in it, on which you can reply to everything and make even more happen, plus groups with their own activity-page on which you can make even more happen. Then there’s your own user-page that displays everything i made happen, where anyone can make even more happen, that gets added to THEIR user-page and again back to the main activity-page.

    An endless cycle of information about everything from everyone, everywhere on the site. I don’t know if i’m a digital dinosaur at age 25 or if i’m simply having a bad week, but what exactly is so attractive about this flow of information? Who really wants to know everything that everyone does on a website? EVERYTHING? If i visit the site one day and feel like talking about, say, dinosaurs, how can i do that when i’ll be bombarded with a hundred other pieces of information regarding either the start, end or the middle-grounds of other subjects that i didn’t intend to read during that visit? And if i decide NOT to read all of that info every time i visit that site, how do i know what i missed? What if i missed something important because i didn’t realize its importance since it was just mumbled up among all the other information? How do you produce anything meaningful when there is no structure whatsoever to hint me or anyone else at what is important and what isn’t? How can one keep up with random comments regarding random subjects every time they visit the site? What if i forget what one subject was about? Will i have to go back and look for every comment made about that particular subject and read through half of it again just because i missed two or three comments?

    How can you actually keep a discussion about a specific subject in a software like BP? What’s BP’s version of topics? How do you keep things ordered? How do you make a sticky? Are you supposed to create a new group every time that you want to have a specific discussion? One group per subject, that every member has to join in order to take part in? A group discussing dinosaurs, the weather, cooking lessons, the next map pack for Battlefield 3? Won’t that consume a heck lot of server resources?

    Hmmm, you do come up with some ideas when you write what you think like this. How about adding color to messages in BP? Red for important, gray being just notices, blue being personal, green being something else. That could potentially solve the lack of knowledge of importance issue. That would at least bring some clarity to WHAT i’m actually reading and WHY.

    BP along with a forum seems, just like Neonocon pointed out, quite like an overkill. The thing is, neither he nor i seemingly understand whether or not it is since we don’t understand the actual point with BP. It’s a forum plus something alien. Is that a good combination or not? Have you developers thought about this too? If you have, would you say that BP would be the main attraction and the forum the backup, or the other way around? BP is obviously a very different way than a forum to handle information, but it is a BETTER way? Does it actually help anyone, for anything? I mean, it’s pretty easy to keep up-to-date with every new post in a forum, thanks to neat little “New!” features here and there for most BB software. Wouldn’t that then destroy the purpose of BP?

    This far into this blabbering i want to remind you that this isn’t a rant. I’m simply asking because i don’t understand. Not getting it is quite the itch! You’ve made BP do what it does damn well. The question just is; who needs what it does? Obviously, i don’t know whether i do or not yet.

    Did you make BP simply to attract users of WP to a facebook-clone because of its mere potential or did you have a spark of genius with an actual passion behind it to add something to WP that you deemed truly necessary, or solving a general problem with all community software, or something else that neither of us understand?

    I hope that nobody is feeling offended by my post. I have absolutely no intentions at all to insult or to judge. I’m simply trying to figure out a rubrics cube with black-and-white goggles on.



    @Hysteriux I think the challenge your facing isn’t necessarily with BuddyPress itself, but with open source projects in general. Open source means that everything you see here and all of the documentation is contributed by the community. If you don’t like the way that BuddyPress is presented then you as a member of the community can learn the system and work to change the presentation, tutorials, etc that are available to learn what BuddyPress can do and how to get the most out of it for a new person.

    The point being that as an open source project it’s all community driven, so if something is missing then no one in the community has volunteered to do that piece. Maybe you’re the right person to help out with that part of the project. I’m sure it would be very welcome.

    Welcome to open source software!

    #my 2 cents#


    The mere fact that my post came across as so inexperienced to you is by itself a quite astonishing example of how confusing BP can be. I’ve been working with open-source software since i was 13 years old, since before i knew what it meant. phpBB, SMF, Joomla, Drupal etc are all open-source too. The android OS is. They make sense because their developers created them to fill an actual role. They have an actual use by default and as it happens also are easily expandable. Are you saying that these products make less sense than their closed-source counterparts? Saying that BP isn’t supposed to make sense until its users change it into their own isn’t quite the kind of argument i was expecting from an internet entrepreneur. BP would make just as little sense to me if it was closed.

    My main point was not at all to imply that BP is missing something, albeit the topic starter Neonocon seemingly was aiming at the lack of a manual for it. I’m just kindly asking for examples of constructive, every-day use of it. What the devs actually intended BP’s role to be and function to fill. That’s not an unfair question, is it? Again, i don’t mean to insult. I’m asking because i’m genuinely curious about a piece of software that, although its host-program (WP) makes fine sense albeit its open-source status, is as mysterious as it is alluring.



    I’m also new to BP, and i also experienced it as a chaotic useless mess. But now, i get the logic. BP is not a ready to use tool. It depends on what you need for your site. It has some possibilities that “may” be handy for your site. If you install all of it’s components without really thinking before…it will overwhelm you. Install it, try things out, one at the time. Think how it can improve your site ‘or not’. Maybe you’re better of with a standard forum.



    @Hysteriux Great comment…I believe you’ve expressed the feelings of many.



    @Hysteriux Sorry if my comment assumed you weren’t familiar with open source projects. I apologize that it came across that way. My point was just to highlight that the shortcomings of the website, descriptions, possibilities, examples, etc are due to BuddyPress being open source that a lot of the descriptions of what it can do are done by volunteers (as you know). BuddyPress currently has a great group of programmers actively working on it, but doesn’t have nearly as many other people working on the “marketing” and “communication” side of it like many of the other large open source projects you mentioned have. This is still a major need in my opinion for the BuddyPress project.

    Plus, as you mention, BuddyPress isn’t like many of the other open source projects where it was purpose built for something specific (blogging, forums, etc) or at least that’s not how it’s evolved. So, it’s quite a challenge to describe what BuddyPress can do since it’s being used in so many different ways. I think the Showcase page was/is an attempt at trying to feature the ways BuddyPress can be used:

    Outside of the showcase, I’m not sure anyone’s come up with a better way to show the various permutations that are possible with BuddyPress and how it’s being used or no one’s had the time to implement a new way to communicate it. I think the best way is to try it out and play with it to see.

    “I’m just kindly asking for examples of constructive, every-day use of it. What the devs actually intended BP’s role to be and function to fill. “

    Since you asked so kindly, here’s my take on a few ways that BuddyPress is being used (in no particular order):
    -Group Centric – Communities organized around a BuddyPress group and interaction in the group while leveraging other things like profiles, messaging, etc lightly.
    -Forum Centric – Communities organized around Forum discussions while leveraging other things like profiles, messaging, etc lightly.
    -Blog Centric – Adding community features around a blog or network of blogs.
    -Profile Centric – The profile is the centerpiece of the community and you create interactions between profiles.
    -Wiki (plugin) centric – Some take a BuddyPress plugin and make that the core of their website (like the wiki plugin) and then lightly use the other things like profiles, messaging, etc lightly.

    I’m sure there are more creative ways it’s being used. I hope this helps you better understand different ways to use BuddyPress. Another place to see some real world examples is:

    @techguy Thank you.

    This a great discussion because I’m in Neononcon’s and Hysteriux’ shoes somewhat. I’m a web publisher who’s preparing to revamp an existing site to WP, and my potential devs are telling me I really need to incorporate BP as a major component. But I’m not clear about certain functionalities and if BP can really do what I need it to do. And I’ve looked at many of the examples from the links nicely given above (thanks!) and elsewhere, but still do not see my answers. So may I ask 3 very specific questions that can hopefully be answered by those here more experienced than me? Yes? Here goes…

    1. Can BP Groups have separate “discussions” (like forum threads) INSIDE the Group? Not one single thread but unlimited threads. Just like a Forum. Here’s a hypothetical situation: A Group called “Photo Critiques” where each User would submit photos in a separate thread within this group. And others can them comment and critique that User’s photos. In that thread. And there would be a Sticky thread at top explaining the instructions, etc. Doable?

    2. And each separate thread would have full photo uploading capability (or “side-loading” if photo is already housed somewhere). Doable?

    3. And there could be a dedicated Photo Gallery/Album for THAT Group as a whole. Doable?

    Is BuddyPress suitable this scenario?

    Many thanks for your valued input!

    Boone Gorges



    1. Yes, you get that out of the box.
    2. There are a couple ways to make this happen. One is a plugin called BP Album (or BP Media): Another is a simple forum attachment plugin, which is a bit outdated and not easy to set up on all systems, but might be worth a look:
    3. BP Media is your best bet for that.

    Good luck with BuddyPress!

    Excellent feedback, Boone! I’m looking seriously look at BP-Media.

    Thanks again!

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