Insights on various community platforms

(tamara Parris) #1

So far people have mentioned:

1 Higher Logic: > not much on google reviews.
2. Jive Community Software : > I read some good reviews from others on this one.
3. Discourse: > good reviews
4. NodeBB: > mixed reviews
5. Vanilla Forums: > good reviews
6. Socious: > mixed reviews

Top 5 Community Development Platforms June 2015 article:

We use Drupal, I know it has a Community module but no one has shared their review on it

What's your (online community platform) flavour?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi @tamaraparris,

Great to see you back. :slight_smile:

Are you doing this research with a view to migrating off your current platform or are you starting from scratch with a new community?

You have some very different platforms in your list – Jive is in the $99,999 - $999,999 bracket, Higher Logic and Socious in the $9,999 - $99,999 bracket, Discourse, NodeBB & Vanilla are in the $1,000 - $9,999 bracket. All of them are great platforms, but they serve very different audiences.

What are your primary requirements? Do you need an integrated CMS?

(Gear Buzz) #3

I think Xenforo is $300

(Sarah Hawk) #4

Starts at $140 annually

FYI Common platforms broken into price brackets.

(tamara Parris) #5

We use our community platform to allow people to share out their own resources, hosts discussion groups share their postings out to LinkedIn and Twitter, and help people network with each other easily. It is a mixed of a content management and community relationship building

(Sarah Hawk) #6

Ok, so I think the key here is going to be sharing resources. What format do those resources tend to come in? Will people be sharing links, or needing to upload documents?

(Richard Millington) #7

Hey @tamaraparris

Can you tell us a little about the type of community? What kind of budget you have? What kind of development resources you have in house? And more of a sense of the audience demographics?

If we know that, we might be able to give some more advice. There are a LOT of platforms out there, so the key thing is your budget, your ability to customise/maintain the platform, and whether the audience is likely to use it.

(Liz Crampton) #8

Hi @tamaraparris - sounds like you’ve narrowed down your list but this is a great overview of platforms too:

(tamara Parris) #9

We current have our community on drupel 7.

I have noticed Drupal is not mentioned as a recommend platform, is there anyone here who does have experience with using Drupal?

The community is for a specific Industry professional demographic; members gather to share knowledge content, online events, operational resources (in various file types), have industry discussions, congregate in industry related topic groups, upload resources to share out, and network with each for professional opportunities and knowledge sharing.

Look forward to your shares :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #10

We do. This community was on Drupal before we migrated to Discourse. The thing with Drupal is that it’s hightly extensible using it’s API and modules. No two setups will be the same. We didn’t have a great set up and it didn’t work for our community, but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t work for others.

I’d be interested to hear what you don’t like about Drupal. It’s likely that could be rectified with the right modules.

(Richard Millington) #11

Like @HAWK says, we used to use Drupal Commons.

In truth, it probably could be great.

But I really haven’t seen many people who have made it great. It takes a lot of design and dev cost to do it really well.

(Samer Rabadi) #12

We currently use Drupal, and it works tolerably well for us. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s not originally meant for community, so the modules will feel tacked on and incomplete without a goodly amount of customization.

The one area I really wish it was better at is reporting (which is really basic).

(tamara Parris) #13

thank you everyone, these are good comments to consider.

I can agree with your thought about modules feeling tacked on and incomplete, they work ok but seem to miss hitting the “mark” for good UX. I would love to have better reporting tools within the admin area. everything is outside, and so I end up doing my reporting through old fashioned manual methods. -

(tamara Parris) #14

great resource thank you for sharing this!

(tamara Parris) #15

would you know of any Drupal contract developers Richard?

(Gear Buzz) #16

Can you list what elements of the community and what they will be sharing are already items in Drupal already?

Members (employees?) and their log in details?
Images / videos?

If the answer is none then. I would fly away from the Drupal sun towards a known to be working, easy to customise purpose built community platform that can be integrated.

I got the vibe (and it’s echoed above) when I was looking around a few years ago for something “new and exciting” that Community on Drupal is like Salesforce, all well and good but you will have to have a developer customise it every single, painful step of the way for you to be totally happy with it and you might as well stand in a cold shower ripping up £20 notes to get the same effect.

(tamara Parris) #17

[quote=“julesstanden, post:16, topic:2793”]
Can you list what elements of the community and what they will be sharing are already items in Drupal already?[/quote]

Members> industry professionals and experts
log in details > basic info - name, email, company (I would like to add demographic type in industry)
Discussion - in both groups and larger form
Documents and Articles > in both plain text postings and pdf, excel, ppt,
Images / videos> mp4 and wmv, png, jpeg etc.

Elements: posting and question areas, group discussion area, resource sharing area are the main ones

(tamara Parris) #18

From this discussion I can see the value of Drupal as the content management system.

It is the community relationship building portion that is our struggle.

I am having to do communication old school, which in a growing community of 14,000 plus (since conception Oct 2015) is a challenge because Drupal does not have a functional mass email function. As in we can not get it to function…

Also everything is coded so I can not create the email notifications myself. For example; to welcome members, or let people know they have comment to their questions, which I think is crazy. Technical staff do not think like a CM, resulting in some of the messaging being not in the tone I would choose.

This results in me struggling to keep people active and engaged. In my mind, as a CM, this is the core purpose of having people congregate in a community.

(Gear Buzz) #19

Some chatter here

That is over my head tech wise but google searching Drupal and Xenforo might be worthwhile.

Jules Standen

(Sarah Hawk) #20

Ha, love your choice of words here. I completely agree with you regarding reporting. I felt like I had no visibility of anything at all when we were on Drupal.