Skip to:

What is the advantage of Forums vs Activity Stream

  • Hi,

    I am a complete newcomer to buddypress, version 1.2.1 is the first version I’ve ever tinkered with.

    I would like to know if there is any reason why I would want to install the bb forum. To my eyes the discussion beneath an item from the activity stream looks the same as the discussion in a forum.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

  • 3sixty


    This is a good question. Here is my take on it.

    bb forums are enclosed, stand-alone, old-school discussion boards that are traditionally organized according to “freshness” (ie, who commented last), which is supposed to tell you what threads are most active.

    The activity stream is where it gets confusing. It is supposed to capture activity chronologically, regardless of where it happens in the group. So in the activity stream you will see forum posts, forum replies, group wire posts, and status notifications like “so-and-so just joined this group.” It gets blurry because you can also comment on activity stream items… so it’s not just a stream of activity, but another method for interacting.

    In my limited experience, it is a little confusing to have both the activity stream and forum running at the same time. It’s especially confusing because by default, you can have a forum discussions ongoing, and have a parallel but completely separate discussion on the SAME posts in the activity stream. This can be disabled in the BuddyPress settings, but in my opinion, this should be off by default.



    The BB forum is for the people who installed Buddypress to get into this newfangled social networking thing and then decide they need something more familiar looking.

    To my eyes the discussion beneath an item from the activity stream looks the same as the discussion in a forum.

    Group Blog with front-end posting and threaded comments via P2 will do everything you can do with a forum, but in a much more native WordPress/Buddypress way.



    An activity stream is just that, a stream. Once something goes below the fold, it’s gone forever. It’s evanescent. It’s a nightclub.

    A blog, even themed with P2 (which is basically where we got the activity stream from, right down to the ‘What’s new, username?’), is still a blog, and once a post-and-comment-thread is off the index page, it’s much less likely to be seen or engaged with by users (despite the fact that you can try and surface activity with new comments widgets in the sidebar and such). It’s a busy bar.

    A forum and its threads are more static. New comments bump threads back to the top, so it is a place where people can continue to return to discussions. It’s the comfy chair at the pub with a newspaper.

    Each model has its own purposes, and different sorts of sites will focus on different aspects, because they will all have different requirements and userbases.

    But yeah, docflo and 3sixty are right about the ability to comment on a forum post activity item in the stream and not have the comment appear in the corresponding forum thread is counterintuitive. Rather than turn it off, I’ve edited the language files to change some of the verbiage associated with activity items to make it clearer that they are different actions. But I might end up turning it off entirely.



    For what it’s worth, the site that I’m currently working on (but may not end up) porting to Buddypress is basically a Vanilla forum with a bunch of stuff bolted on, and my 1000-or-so users would kill me if the forum model were not the centerpiece of any new home I put together, although they’re excited about all the shiny new toys that the socialnetworking hoohah can offer.

    These are all great replies and clear up the point of having all these different publishing methods available. Thank you stwc, Peterverkooijen and 3sixty.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • The topic ‘What is the advantage of Forums vs Activity Stream’ is closed to new replies.
Skip to toolbar