Simple:Press WordPress Forum Plugin

As far as I can tell, I’m not the only one who has pretty much given up on bbPress, WordPress’s long promised forum app. Simple:Press is a nice alternative that installs as a WordPress plugin and lets the user configure a forum within a WordPress site.

Be warned, though — Simple Press is fairly complex to set up and has hundreds of options. For the most part that’s simply inevitable with a full-featured forum, but be warned you’ll need to spend some time with the admin interface and customizing a page template to make it look nice.

On the other hand, it’s worth it as it already does out of the box pretty much everything that bbPress may do someday if it ever really gets the attention it needs. I’ve got a test setup here, though I’m still trying to decide if I really need a forum here.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden Demonstrates How *Not* To Moderate an Internet Forum

As Teresa Nielsen Hayden once noted on her web site, moderation isn’t rocket science. In fact, I’d recommend a nice rule of thumb — watch what ever Hayden does, and then do the exact opposite.

I thought I’d seen everything on Boing! Boing!’s discussion forums until I read this thread. Nielsen herself shows up halfway through the conversation and replies to a number of posters, including to a user nicknamed Coldspell who apparently posted that Democrats and Republicans are equally inane. Nielsen writes,

Coldspell @25, I just lost my patience with unthinking assertions of parity. I’ve been running a center-by-center-left sometimes-political weblog for seven years now, and what you’re saying simply isn’t true. I don’t think a day has gone by here at Boing Boing for weeks now when I haven’t seen one or two dozen lazy assertions that things are the same on both sides.

They aren’t.

Did you catch Antinous, some while back, explaining that we’re not enforcing a party line at Boing Boing, and it’s not our fault that worst of the fuggheads almost all come from the same end of the political spectrum? The far right has been cultivating the dumb-and-resentful segments of the population for many years now. I honestly feel sorry for the intelligent, thoughtful conservatives whose political neighborhoods have filled up with yahoos.

Interesting. I wanted to see exactly what Coldspell had written that touched off such a nerve, but I think you can guess what’s coming next . . .

#25 posted by coldspell , October 9, 2008 4:51 PM

T b fr, n cld *sly* crt smlr vd tsd n bm rlly:

“Grg Bsh *prsnlly* crshd *bth* rplns nt th Wrld Trd Cntr! Bt nly ftr rlsng mnd-cntrl chmtrls nd rgn-hrnssng stllts vr NYC!”

Slctv dtng s th prpgndst’s frnd.

That’s right, the post was interesting enough for Nielsen to write a 137-word reply to it, but apparently enough of a threat to the tenor of discourse at Boing! Boing! to warrant being disemvoweled!

And, to go to the heart of Nielsen’s claim in her post, it is easy to live in an echo chamber when you can deface the words of someone you disagree with while then posting your own, unadulterated to said defaced post for all to see.

Nielsen’s the Dave Winer of forum moderation — forever seeing bad acts and malicious intent in anything that deviates from her point of view (and quickly disemvoweling such threats).

Finally, Nielsen and others keep claiming that Boing! Boing! is not biased in its posts for or against Democrats or Republicans. As she puts it, it just happens to be the truth that Republicans are the party of “fuggheads.” However, it is interesting that in September Boing! Boing! featured posts about Cintra Wilson twice, but couldn’t once be bothered to mention Wilson’s bizarre rant in Salon about Sarah Palin.

Again, if all you ever feature are Republican idiots, of course you are going to conclude that it is simply the case that the only idiots are Republicans. It is called selection bias.

bbPress Alpha and BBXF

For the first time in about a month, there’s been an update on the status of the bbPress 1.0 alpha series, with Sam Bauers reporting in the bbPress blog that the first alpha should be out sometime in the next few weeks.

What really got my attention, however, was this,

An alpha version of bbPress’ new export/import format and tools has also landed in trunk thanks to our Google Summer of Code student Dan Larkin. You can read a little more about that at the BBXF website.

BBXF is an attempt by the bbPress folks to create a common standard XML format for importing and exporting forum data. According to the BBXF website,

The simple premise is that web forum data should be easily transportable between web forum systems. So when installing web forum software, an administrator won’t have to fear vendor “lock in”, and can feel confident that if their first choice doesn’t work out, they can easily move their data to another web forum platform.

Nice.