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New web development forum, up for review

Discussion in 'Websites' started by deathshadow, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. #1
    Just thought I'd get some feedback and do a little brazen recruitment whilst at it.
    SEMrush
    https://forums.cutcodedown.com

    Took me a long time to get around to adding a forums, but the past six months I've watched three other forums go bits-up face-down, and now a forth claims to be on its way to the great egress. This last one has some solid headed folks I didn't want to see abandoned, so I tossed together an SMF install overnight, and have just finished the custom template for it to around 95%. Still a few corners I need to tack down, but it's right now as functional as any other forum skin.

    I do plan later to do a complete "From scratch" skin instead of the current paint-over, but I've got paying work in the queue before I can dig into that.

    In any case, just interested in feedback on my style choices... I mean, it's just a forum skin, nothing TOO fancy... though I did go ape with the font-awesome, and made the login and "simple search" features be modal dialogs. I'm probably going to switch SMF's "jump to" <select> + JavaScript to a modal as well, just because the less junk I have relying on JavaScript the better.
     
    deathshadow, Oct 23, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    Interesting to see you wade in... I registered and never got the email. My main design issue is that it looks like a default SMF or phpBB skin rather than one that has been given some TLC.
     
    sarahk, Oct 23, 2019 IP
  3. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #3
    The appearance is because it really is exactly what you said -- we were given a day's notice on another forums of its impending doom, and whilst other people said "oh we're planning something" and "well we should get together" or "let's wait for official action" When we were told what the official action was going to be I just went ahead and tossed up a copy of SMF in the five minutes it takes, and have maybe two hours into doing a paintover of the default skin.

    Not getting the e-mail is a problem... ah crudstunk, gmail is rejecting mails from my server again because the DKIM to SSL relationship was broken across the new domain. I'm constantly fighting this problem. Thanks for the heads up, I'll attempt to see what I can do about that.

    I might simply have to block gmail users from registering, their bullshit system blocks all my legitimate e-mails and lets nothing but SPAM through on my own account. It's why I don't use them as it does the opposite of their claims on spam control.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    deathshadow, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  4. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #4
    Actually, looks like gmail is rejecting because someone jacked my PTR record up-stream of the server... LOVELY. RDNS doesn't match, gmail tells you to suck it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    deathshadow, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  5. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #5
    qwikad.com, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  6. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #6
    It's been interesting in that I have some people who complained it went to the forums, and some people who complained it went to the site. given the link directly below it on the menu for the categories takes you to the root of the forums, I think it's just a period of adjustment.

    BUT, I think I'm gonna toss up a poll to see what the consensus is. Just because I like something in the UI a certain way doesn't mean it's good for the users; and whilst I might come across as an ass in my posts here, there's one consistent tone: the users are more important than what the developer or site owner wants. Otherwise you don't have a website.

    ... and that applies even to my opinions.
     
    deathshadow, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  7. tks

    tks Well-Known Member

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    #7
    Nice forum, I joined (first time with SMF !! )
     
    tks, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  8. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #8
    Another thing I noticed, the font size in posts is too small (on a desktop).
     
    qwikad.com, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  9. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #9
    I was actually worried people would say what I originally had was too large. It was set to the EM equivalent of 14px. I've jumped it to the 15px equivalent and will adjust other elements to work with that size. I don't want to go all the way to 100% / 1REM / 16px normal / 20px large since that's a fist-in-the-face to large/125%/120dpi/20px users.

    funny you'd say that though given how uselessly tiny they are here without diving for the zoom or overriding it with stylus.
     
    deathshadow, Oct 24, 2019 IP
  10. mmerlinn

    mmerlinn Prominent Member

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    #10
    Have not tried signing up yet, but do have some comments.

    Light blue & gray text on white & light pink backgrounds is hard to read. Fonts too small. No buttons/check boxes in poll.

    Otherwise looks usable.
     
    mmerlinn, Oct 25, 2019 IP
  11. Andrea Louise

    Andrea Louise Member

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    #11
    I registered with gmail and also did not get a confirmation. I like the design as it is not as glaring as other forums, and pretty much looks laid back just like DP.
     
    Andrea Louise, Oct 26, 2019 IP
    macstux likes this.
  12. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #12
    Yeah, gmail is being a pain. I'll send you a mail when I've done the manual activation.

    No matter what I do -- fix the hijacked PTR / RDNS record, add DMARC, they just refuse to take mail from my hosting... they don't even send it to people's junk, they just flat out bounce it...

    When nobody else does.

    But that plays with my own experience with their crappy e-mail, where 90% of my legitimate message traffic was blocked from just about everyone, but the spam got through just fine. When people talk about how great it's spam filtering is, I genuinely have zero clue what people are talking about.

    Kind of like jQuery, Bootstrap, and Apple products. What the blazes is in that flavor-aid?
     
    deathshadow, Oct 26, 2019 IP
  13. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #13
    Just an update, the issues with gmail are resolved. It was indeed the hijacked PTR record at fault, it just took a while longer than I expected for Google to recognize it.

    Still if anyone has registration problems, use the contact form on the main (non forums. sub-domain) part of the site and be sure to include the username and e-mail address you signed up with.

    What a hassle, but no new forum is going to be problem free at launch.
     
    deathshadow, Oct 26, 2019 IP
  14. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #14
    Tried to visit it, it kept working without loading the forum ending up in "cutcodedown.com took too long to respond". Around 10:20 pm EST.

    This forum was down for a brief time too today. A strange coincidence.
     
    qwikad.com, Dec 4, 2019 IP
  15. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #15
    In my case, first DDOS attack... well, not that "D", it only came from two data centers, but still around 1000 ip addresses atwixt the two. All addy's in russia, both logged as being for data centers, so IPTables is my new best friend.

    Attack vector was interesting, spamming joins then spamming the re-send. over a million failed user join attempts, 2500 that made it to the "send us an e-mail" stage. Was mated to a brute force attack on the FTP and SSH, with fail2ban eventually shutting the server down as a precaution.

    Naturally this all happened whilst this old man was taking his afternoon nap.
     
    deathshadow, Dec 4, 2019 IP
  16. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #16
    Wow. Just wow. The "beauty" of running a forum. The crap never stops.
     
    qwikad.com, Dec 5, 2019 IP
  17. bountysite

    bountysite Active Member

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    #17
    Nice and simple forum. I like it.
     
    bountysite, Dec 5, 2019 IP
  18. macstux

    macstux Well-Known Member

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    #18
    Why not use xenforo?
     
    macstux, Dec 11, 2019 IP
  19. deathshadow

    deathshadow Acclaimed Member

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    #19
    Because it's fat, bloated, slow, and would take 200 times the effort to do the reskin I've got planned as soon as I'm clear of my paying clients. As horrifyingly bad as SMF's default skin is, it's just old. Xenforo really doesn't have that excuse with such incompetent mental-huffing-midgetry as stuffing blockquote inside an article inside an aside inside a blockquote.

    Or such mind-numbing derpitude as:

    <ol class="nodeList">
    <li class="node forum level_2  node_5">
    <div class="nodeInfo forumNodeInfo primaryContent unread">
    <span class="nodeIcon" title="Unread messages"></span>
    <div class="nodeText">
    <h3 class="nodeTitle"><a href="forums/google.5/" data-description="#nodeDescription-5">Google</a></h3>
    <blockquote class="nodeDescription nodeDescriptionTooltip baseHtml" id="nodeDescription-5">THE search engine. This is for discussion about Google as a company, <strong>not</strong> for discussion of individual sites (SEO, PageRank for a site or "why a site ranks where it does" questions) or Google search results.</blockquote>
    Code (markup):
    How can you have a H3 when there's no H2? If you've got all those containers what do you need all the classes for? Just who the F*** is that even quoting?!? It' makes the outdated trash of SMF look good. Hence how the stock template will do things like vomit up 136k of HTML for 9.34k of plaintext and not even two dozen content images, not even 20k of code's job.

    THEN people wonder why when using trash like XF they have to throw extra hardware and stupidity like Varnish at it.

    Oh, but the database is the real bottleneck in a forms or CMS. OF course it is, that's why Laravel and Wordpress saw 40%+ speed boosts going from PHP 5 to 7.

    ... and if I'm going to rewrite from scratch the entire template -- which is on my rather lengthy to-do list -- I'd rather do it where I'm not stuck with some half-assed "template system" that sits atop a language that was basically created to BE a template system.

    With SMF, even not fixing the twenty year out of date markup, I know from experience I can comfortably host said forums for probably a decade up to the scale of one like this on my current VPS. I can't say that about Xenforo, or vBull, or many of the other alternatives. Why do I know this?

    Because back in '03 I took a forums with over a million posts on UbbThreads that was choking a dual Xeon with 4 gigs of RAM to death, and ported over to SMF (which was still in beta at the time) and was able to comfortably host it on a cheap shared single processor Pentium 3 rig with half the memory. (though integrating Sphinx helped too)

    I trust SMF not to hog resources the way everyone else does, and I'm utterly unimpressed by anything Xenforo brings to the table.
     
    deathshadow, Dec 11, 2019 IP
  20. macstux

    macstux Well-Known Member

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    #20
    Interesting...

    Never received a email to confirm registration.
     
    macstux, Dec 11, 2019 IP