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Say goodbye to vBulletin 4, and hello to XenForo!

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,011
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48
I've been meaning to do this for a long, long time.

vBulletin 4 sucks. It's a resource hog, and the root cause of overloading and crashing the server. vBulletin 4 depended on an "end of life" version of MySQL, which meant I couldn't update the Web server. If I did, the site would break.

I've been meaning to change the software for a long, long time, but there were few options.

ZenForo was created by the programmers who created vBulletin 3, long considered the most stable version of the message board script. A growing number of message boards have made the move from vBulletin to XenForo. After doing some research, I decided to make the switch here at Cyburbia, on a Saturday in early January when traffic is slow..

I'm still learning the lay of the land. There's still some configuration and tweaking that needs to be done. In the meantime, here's a brief FAQ, which we'll amend over time.

What happened to the avatars?

For some reason, the conversion script didn't move the old avatars over. If you have 25 posts or more, you should be able to upload a new avatar to replace the default initial. Click on your username on the top right, hover over the letter, and click on "edit avatar". Alternatively, click on your username at the top, then "account details".

Where's the image gallery?

I've been debating getting rid of it, because there's better options out there. We're going to install the XenForo version of the old PhotoPost image gallery, and hopefully all the old uploads will transfer over. However, it'll be there so you can save your old uploads. Image hosting takes up a lot of bandwidth and server space, and it doesn't draw that much more traffic to the site. I'd like to turn the gallery off permanently by the middle of 2019.

Where's the blog?

Nobody was using it, so it went bye bye. I might add a blogging platform in the future, if traffic picks up.

Where's the ad banner?

Gone. Even with decent traffic, Google Adsense revenue shrunk through the years, to the point where it wasn't worth the bother. Also, it's easier to justify emergency maintenance of this site from my full time workplace if there's no revenue.

Where the hell were you?

Behind the scenes. Being an absentee landlord, in a way, and a kind of shitty one at that. My life changed dramatically when I got married -- never thought it would happen -- and I sort of lost interest in maintaining Cyburbia. I was just doing it for so long. I'll be here a lot more often from this point forward. Still, I'm considering passing on the site to someone else who will be a good steward in the coming years.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Moderator
Messages
17,011
Points
48
Feel free to post about any problems you're having. If you're locked out of your account for some reason, you can create a temporary new account to post about any problems here.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Moderator
Messages
12,118
Points
35
Thanks, Dan for all your hard work and commitment. We certainly all appreciate it greatly.

This new format is simply just new and have to get use to looking at this new "Matrix".
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
You're welcome! Still needs a bit of work. I'll find out what, exactly, over the coming weeks.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
There's some weirdness with permissions in a couple of the Cyburbian Plus subforums. Working on it.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Messages
25,933
Points
47
Looks....interesting. Thanks for all your unsung hard work and looking forward to your active return.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Moderator
Messages
14,395
Points
36
Man, this is so different. I like it! Good work, and glad to have you back!
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
1,222
Points
21
Yes, the new forum software is a major jump in aesthetics and from what I've seen so far, functionality.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
I'm going to try to resolve issues with user groups and permissions tonight. XenForo handles them differently than vBulletin. For the most part, it uses a cumulative approach (ideally, everyody should belong to a default "registered" group, with subgroups allowing additional or removed privileges). vBulletin uses separate user groups, where users belong only to one group, each with its own set of privileges.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
18,964
Points
39
Dan, the new site looks great. One question that I did have was regarding posting in the safe space forum. It appears that I no longer have access. Do I need to re-request?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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Dan, the new site looks great. One question that I did have was regarding posting in the safe space forum. It appears that I no longer have access. Do I need to re-request?
No. It's one of the forums where I'vm having problems with access. It's something I'm going to try to work on tonight.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
User groups/ranks, forum permissions, etc -- I'll work on it on Thursday or this weekend. XenForo manages groups much differently than vBulletin, and I want to have the time to do it right.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,456
Points
21
It looks great, Dan! Thanks for the upgrade and for wanting to be more present again! 2019 is the year of Cyburbia!
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
Playing around with different color schemes. If you want the more traditional theme, select "Cyburbia default style 2" on the lower left side of the browser window. (Using the XenForo default, believe it or not, would give us the Planetizen color scheme!)
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
Points
48
Tried installing a plugin, and broke ... something. Even restoring all the scripts to their orginal state didn't fix it. The site works, but I can't run plugins. Working on a solution.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Messages
17,011
Points
48
* Fixed the registration link in the banner sown to unregistered visitors.
* Problem with the user map plugin -- the install completed with a bunch of errors, but it works. However, it's not in the admin unistall menu. Working on it.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
Tweaking user group settings. Some folks may have lost their custom titles. If you had a custom title, just change it back in your user profile.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
Moved the Student Lounge threads into the Student Commons forum. There was some confusion about the purpose of each forum (discussion about academic/school work and student life vs discussion about schools), so it seemed to make sense to have one big tent student forum instead.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
Merged Rural and Small Town Planning into Make No Small Plans. Old threads from Rural and Small Town Planning have a "Rural / Small Town" prefix. It's better for Cyburbia to have a smaller number of more general but busy subforums, than a lot of very specialized but slower-moving subforums.
 
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Dan

Dear Leader
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I'm slowly changing the points/trophies system to something that better represents milestones on the site -- years actively posting, numbers of posts, Club[bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb]e (thousand post milestones), etc.

I'm also installing a plugin tonight that blocks new user registration from certain countries.

Some countries are already blocked at the server level, mainly places where there's been problems with abusive hacking, and 99.9%+ of all user registrations have been from spammers. For other countries where hacking isn't a problem, but spamming is, a vBulletin plugin redirected new user registration to a special queue for manual approval. However, we've had very, very few legitimate users from those countries. There are XenForo plugins that do the same thing. However, checking the registration information of everybody that registers from some country just to find the three or four in a hundred that are legit is more trouble than it's worth.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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The country block is in. Drumroll, please ...

* Bangladesh
* Belarus
* Bulgaria
* China
* India
* Indonesia
* Kazakhstan
* Moldova
* North Korea
* Pakistan
* Philippines
* Poland
* Romania
* Russia
* Tajikistan
* Turkmenistan
* Ukraine
* Uzbekistan
* Vietnam

This list includes countries where the ratio of spammers to legitimate users is unusually high.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
Points
48
Added signup and login through a connected Twitter account.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
A new Twitter plugin will announce and link to new threads in Planning and the Build Environment subforums, and the FAC.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
Just a note: with the new software, Cyburbia now looks good on mobile browsers.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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Working on the server firewall today. Expect the occasional delay.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Sorry about that. Just working on the firewall.
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,097
Points
28
The membership ranking list appears to be expanded but there's still no "Page 2" and thus anyone under 4400 posts is not ranked. Is there a way to break the rankings down by Page, putting the Top 50 on page 1, 51-100 on Page 2 and so on? That was the way the old membership rankings were laid out.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Messages
25,933
Points
47
Gosh, there's no comic sans font available. How are we supposed to discuss things like new urbanism?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
Points
48
The membership ranking list appears to be expanded but there's still no "Page 2" and thus anyone under 4400 posts is not ranked. Is there a way to break the rankings down by Page, putting the Top 50 on page 1, 51-100 on Page 2 and so on? That was the way the old membership rankings were laid out.
Found out that page doesn't "page". I changed the membership ranking to show the top 100 posters.
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,097
Points
28
Found out that page doesn't "page". I changed the membership ranking to show the top 100 posters.
So it looks like I'm #89.

Looking at the rankings, it's amazing the number of AVs that still only have a letter. I know a handful of members are still posting and haven't bothered to change their AV, but I see a lot of names that look like they've been gone for years.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Messsage boards everywhere have experienced a drop in traffic. Reddit and Facebook seem to get the most blame. There's also a lot of people who would have been active on a message board in the past, but follow blogs, Instagram, or Twitter instead.

A few Cyburbians found fame with their blogs and haven't looked back -- Pete Rock is the most notable. Other regulars left the planning field entirely.
 

Buffaboy

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
Messsage boards everywhere have experienced a drop in traffic. Reddit and Facebook seem to get the most blame. There's also a lot of people who would have been active on a message board in the past, but follow blogs, Instagram, or Twitter instead.

A few Cyburbians found fame with their blogs and haven't looked back -- Pete Rock is the most notable. Other regulars left the planning field entirely.
You joined this forum 5 months before I was born which is amazing!

I also enjoy browsing and posting to Reddit, but there isn't really an urban planning community there.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Moderator
Messages
14,395
Points
36
Is there a way to have a button that takes you to the last post you haven't read in a thread, like the old forum? Is it there but I am missing it? I just seem to go to the last post, and miss lots of context.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,378
Points
31
Is there a way to have a button that takes you to the last post you haven't read in a thread, like the old forum? Is it there but I am missing it? I just seem to go to the last post, and miss lots of context.
It does it automagically when you click the bold thread title.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Moderator
Messages
14,395
Points
36
It does it automagically when you click the bold thread title.
I always click the time on the right.... because that is how we used to do it, kinda. Well isn't that a horse of a different color. Thanks!
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Highlighted text in the rich text editor (new post window, reply window, etc) is now more visible.

(30)_Say_goodbye_to_vBulletin_4,_and_hello_to_XenForo!_Page_2_Cyburbia_-_Urban_Planning_Commun...png

You joined this forum 5 months before I was born which is amazing!

I also enjoy browsing and posting to Reddit, but there isn't really an urban planning community there.
I started the site in 1994 as something of an unauthorized project in grad school. It's ancient by Internet standards, I know. I regret not buying the .com version of the domain name when it was still available.

r/urbanplanning on Reddit really doesn't have much discussion about planning practice. It seems more like NUMTOT discussion, with a few younger planners floating around among a larger group of armchair urbanists. As a whole,. r/urbanplanning has a lot of disdain for the planning profession. Planners all love cars, motor vehicle dependency, cul-de-sacs, stroads, single family and single use zoning, parking minimums, post-WWII suburbia, etc. Regulations for signs, landscaping, architecture, aesthetics, subdivision control, and the like result in places that are "Disney-fied", "sterile", "white", "unauthentic", etc. Gentrification is evil. Zoning is bad, except the kind they use in Japan. Never mind Japan's notoriously chaotic and cluttered built environment; that's just "authenticity".

_-391--_-_Google_Maps_-_201.jpg
Real urbanism. Uh huh.

I'll admit that discussions about the thresholds for amending a site plan, or requirements for screening rooftop mechanical equipment, aren't nearly as interesting as news articles about NIMBY vs YIMBY battles in superstar cities, or circlejerks about how cars and suburbs are evil. (We talk NIMBY, YIMBY, housing, and transportation here too, but tend not to get all hive-mindey about it.) Still, most planners don't work in San Francisco or Seattle, and the mundane bits makes up the bulk of our work. After a while, that becomes interesting in its own right. They're small, but essential ingredients in making a great place. Even if it were politically possible, you can't just ban cars, plop down a couple hundred Limebikes, zone it all SmartCode T5 and T6, and call it the day.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Transparent sections of .png avatars now display properly, at least with the default style (Cyburbia blue style 1).
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Yeah! I was logged out of the old one forever for some reason (could not reset password after trying several times), but this new version let me back in! Bummer about the avatar, but somehow just an H is a fitting avatar so perhaps I will keep it...
 
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Dan

Dear Leader
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Yeah! I was logged out of the old one forever for some reason (could not reset password after trying several times), but this new version let me back in! Bummer about the avatar, but somehow just an H is a fitting avatar so perhaps I will keep it...
Glad to see you again! :)
 
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Dan

Dear Leader
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Working on the firewall. Server was down for a bit. Nothing to do with XenForo. :)
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Editing a large post will trigger an error message. This is a server side error; mod_security is getting a false positive for an SQL injection attack. I'll fix it tonight.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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* Increased maximum characters in a post (including BBcode) from 10,000 to 100,000.

* Fixed the "oops" error when editing a large message.

* Simplifying message board rules. I'll tweak the policies later.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,011
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48
* Renamed the Planning and the Built Environment category to Planning, Placemaking, and the Built Environment.

* Rearranged the order of some subforums under the Planning and the Built Environment Planning, Placemaking, and the Built Environment category.

* Added emoji to most of the message board rules.
 
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