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The wetalk network; a showcase of extending vBulletin

Discussion in 'Manage your Site' started by Floris, Feb 21, 2010.

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  1. Floris

    Floris I'm just me :) Hi. Staff Member

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    The wetalk network; a showcase of extending vBulletin

    [edit: We've since merged our communities into wetalknation.net due to the disappointing vBulletin 4 release, and converted our boards to xenforo forum software.]

    :nerdy: since one installation is all you need to power a site. I thought it would be nice to run more sites, on one installation. The test appears to be successful so far.

    Using 1 hosting account, 1 instance of vBulletin, 1 database, and 1 smart 5 line big plugin, we have not 1, but at the moment over 10, sites powered by this 1 instance. 1 Community on a network of sites.

    The downside of course is that you need to customize here and there to tweak the system to understand it's a thread on a different site, for say the digest mails. Or that the user doens't grasp the concept and gets lost in the array of sites.

    But the upsides are, and not limited to, a user only having to register once, log in once, and is able to login on all the sites, and unless the browser declines third party cookies, logged in on all sites. The user has 1 profile, gets 1 newsletter a month (and not 10+ for 10+ sites).

    For the staff it's easier too. Upgrade the software and all the sites are upgraded. Fix a bug, all sites are fixed. Tweak the theme/style and all sites are updated (and still possible to have per domain / forum alternative themes). We have 1 team of staff, and if we ban a spammer, it's banned on all the sites. Management of the sites, the software, the account, the staff, the theme, etc .. got cut down enormously.

    The idea is a social network where people and their friends, and well, their New friends, can find eachother and stay in touch, while only focussing on the topics of their interest.

    They find eachother through the social groups or albums, eachothers profiles, their personal blogs on the site, or the news forum. The offtopic forums, the events, articles, contests, etc.

    And if one user doesn't like TV or Movies, but likes Games and Music, and the other person does or does not. That's ok. One can focus on the sites with the topics they like, while the other browses the other sites. And they still see eachother online. They can still talk on the global forums together, or the live chat, or their profiles or blogs. etc.

    Through the years we've had vbfans.com with sub forums, it's own network - but that's all history now. They're merged into 1 big site called 'vbfans.com' which is now part of the wetalk network. And in 2007 we started with wetalk.tv and added wetalkmovies.net in 2008, and since then 5+ more sites are being build. As well as having acquired almost a handful.

    This year we're going to work hard on the team setup, the forum structure, and the style. All to remove clutter and make the browsing experience so much easier, logical and better to understand.

    Now that we have the community basics build. The structure of the site established. All the code working (and decided to not upgrade to version 4). And a solid quarter million posts to start with. It's a good foundation to start with, and build upon.

    With our members, our content, our knowledge, and resources. Great staff and the motivation to move forward. We can use this foundation to structure the forum setup better, contribute to the community better. Participate a lot better, and work on two important policies: KISS/Content. KISS is for the end user, and the staff. And Content is king still applies. Being there for the users, who are there for us; all writing good content; will hopefully build a good community. Be it on 1 site or 10+ sites.

    wetalknation.net is our front page, main site .. and the latest we added. We're still shaping the idea before implementing it. So at the moment it's just a gateway to get to the topic you like. But we will get there.

    From there it's tv, movies, anime, music, sports, games, tech, offtopic, vbulletin, books, etc ..

    So browse around, sign up if you want, and let the idea of a network with sub sites, all part of one community, sink in a little bit and perhaps see what we are going for. And feel free to then review it, provide positive or negative feedback (though constructive) and let me know what you think.

    Positive and negative feedback is welcome, because it will a) confirm what we perhaps know we are doing right or wrong, and b) helps us see it from another perspective and update our roadmap regarding building it further this year.

    As everybody knows, building a site requires more than a forum (license) and some hosting. A few staff and some members posting.

    Marketing, branding, stability, consistency, features, resources, staff, events, content, socializing, etc .. it's all part of it. To just name a few. Everybody tries this or that, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    But more importantly; you can either be offline for a year and build it proper, and start with 0.. Or you can be online, share what you have and use your members to find out which path/direction your community is going and build along the way. I've decided to do that. While keeping in mind what I want in the long term with my community. So we're constantly adapting.

    Looking forward to hear from you all.
     
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