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Forum. Activity. Blog. Where’s the beef? (i.e. What is Buddypress?**)

  • Driftless


    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’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)

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)

  • Driftless


    Addendum – I see a similar (7 month old) thread here: that also tackles this issue…

    It seems this is not a new idea – but perhaps an idea who’s time has come? Can Buddypress gracefully accept a back-seat to the main website?

    In point of fact, I am using my installs of buddypress as completely separate sites from their parents ( and to avoid the collision…

    Is buddypress more like the Green Room where actors hang out and throw back mixed drinks before bounding on stage for the world to see (the Blog)… I imagine a large room with several doors leading out to the world. Buddypress being the behind-the-scenes hang-out…

    OK. Back to coding.



    @Driftless1 “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?”

    I think they are all the same, they are all just conversations, with different ways of going about having it. Buddypress seems confusing or lost in between because it is rightfully tyring to integrate these barely different means of having conversations into one more complete and convenient system.

    The site I am working on has had a main news/blog section for about 3 years now. So I am looking at 3 main types of conversations

    1. Comments on news articles and the comments on their comments which can become a lot like a forum topic.

    2. An actual forum topic started by the user them self about something they feel is important enough for the world to hear.

    3. Short and pointless twitter/facebook type comments that they don’t necessarily care to share with the world, whether it is because it is private or they know it just isn’t important enough, just something for friends who might be interested in know “omg! i finally finished all my cleaning my gutters!”

    I think it just comes down to the user. It is about a user and their conversations, where ever they are taking place, then being fed back to one convenient location for all their buddies to find. I think it would be really neat to create some kind of universal user profile similar to gravatar so what ever website you are on, you can comment there and it will feed back to your personal profile with a link to that website and that comment so your friends can see what you are talking about out there and maybe jump in the conversation also. This would obviously open a pandora’s box of options on how or where you want your conversations to appear, but I’m certain that is the direction for “web 2.0.” The same way we boycot proprietary code, browsers, file types, or software, I think we will boycot myspaces and facebooks for universal profiles.



    Great response –

    I agree its up to the users to see what they are comfortable with… I’m running into the issue that the site I am developing is mainly for non-native English speakers so the subtleties of Blog Comment vs. Forum Topic, vs Status Update are maybe a little too subtle, yet I have to enable all of these in Buddypress to get all the features I need.

    I wonder if Buddypress should take the plunge and REDEFINE the nature of online conversations… do away with these arbitrary titles. Maybe every post has an option: Start a conversation or Post an aside. The conversation have all the trappings of forum posts of threaded blog comments, and the asides get kicked the one-off area.

    Hmmm… still working through this in my mind.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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