Guide to Using Xenforo 2.2

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Following the November 2020 upgrade to Xenforo 2.2, this thread will list a few of the changes that you will start to notice. It is written from the standpoint that many members are already accustomed to Xenforo software and will focus on the changes introduced in the most recent version. For a more thorough overview if you are coming from a different forum please see the September 2017 thread. You can also read about the changes introduced in Xenforo 2.1 here.

Index (please click):
 

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Choosing a style
Like with previous upgrades to AFF, the style has generally changed at the same time. For this upgrade the style actually changed before the upgrade, and we now have 3 to choose from. Styles can be changed at the bottom left of any forum page.

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 7.10.37 pm.png
Style chooser

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 7.11.11 pm.png
Default style

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 7.09.19 pm.png
Alternative style

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 7.09.56 pm.png
Dark mode style
 
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Username changes
New for Xenforo 2.2 is the ability for a user to change their own username. This process consists of the user providing a new username and a reason why they would like it changed, before the request is approved or denied by an administrator. It is worth noting that your username can only be changed once every 12 months.

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 7.21.32 pm.png
You can find the ability to change your username in Account details, where a prompt as above will pop-up.
 

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Trophies
Trophies are another feature that have already been instituted prior to the upgrade, but will gain new meaning when we are completely up and running. In reality, trophies have been in use on AFF for over a year now, but there were no points associated with earning trophies, as the primary method of user title change was from your post count. As reactions have surged in popularity and with the new question threads and the ability to have answers marked as solved, we believe it is time to measure user title – and by that same breath, user engagement – by more than just how many posts a user has made.

There is no more competition to a trophy – a Xenforo word for the feature, in any case – than viewing who has the most messages here. In reality, there will be some members who care about such things, and others who do not. Our goal is to reward all engagement to the site that we can, as there is more to being an AFF member than reading or posting, and this recent revamp of trophies aims to do just that. We want members to personalise their account (avatar, profile banner), to make posts, to receive reactions, to answer questions. The goal is to drive member engagement, and reward them for that behaviour.

Below are examples of current trophies, with points awarded gradually increasing as the milestone increases in significance.

Length of Membership
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
  • 3 Years
  • 4 Years
  • 5 Years
  • 10 Years... and so forth
Posts Made
  • 1 post
  • 10 posts
  • 50 posts
  • 100 posts
  • 500 posts
  • 1000 posts
  • 2500 posts
  • 5000 posts
  • 10000 posts... and so forth
Reactions Received
  • 1 reaction
  • 10 reactions
  • 50 reactions
  • 100 reactions
  • 500 reactions
  • 1000 reactions
  • 2500 reactions
  • 5000 reactions
  • 10000 reactions... and so forth
Questions Solved
  • 1 question
  • 10 questions
  • 50 questions
  • 100 questions
  • 500 questions
  • 1000 questions
  • 2500 questions
  • 5000 questions
  • 10000 questions... and so forth
Miscellaneous
  • Uploaded an avatar
 

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Question threads
The introduction of question/answered prefixes to threads on AFF have been successful in highlighting threads that have received an answer to the original question, but not in rewarding those members who quite often field the answers.

Coming soon, and introduced in Xenforo 2.2, is a new thread type specifically made for asking a question of your fellow community members. When enabled, certain forums will allow you to post a discussion thread (the standard thread type used now), or a question thread, with the difference coming in how the replies display and the ability to select a best answer to close the question. The prefixes for question/answered will be retired at that time.

This is a big feature with a lot of moving parts, but once you have experienced the new system we feel confident you will pick it up quickly.

Screen_Shot_2020-11-24_at_7_36_40_pm.png
Discussion thread (regular), you may also note that Polls are now easier to access

Screen_Shot_2020-11-24_at_7_36_58_pm.png
Question thread (new)

The question itself remains pinned to the top of the thread, on every page – something I am sure many users will be happy about for threads where discussion can run to multiple pages. Individual answers can be upvoted or downvoted, allowing all thread participants to effectively vote on the correct response. Content voting is distinct from reaction scores and has no lasting effect on a users standing within the community. In the end, the original poster (OP) or a member of staff can select one answer as the best answer, which is then pinned below the question at the top of every page. Discussion can continue.

Screen_Shot_2020-11-26_at_11_35_19_am.png

Going back to trophies briefly, we can then track user engagement by another new metric, the amount of threads they have had their answer marked as "solved" in. Unlike the previous system, this gives members a clear understanding of who are more helpful or knowledgeable members.

Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 4.38.10 pm.png
 

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Rich Text Editor (RTE)
You may have already noticed, but if not, the Rich Text Editor (RTE) has also had an update in the latest forum software. The first thing you'll notice is that it looks better. Previewing a post has also changed, and as anyone who used it previously will tell you, this makes far more sense.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.10.58 pm.png
Old RTE

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.11.30 pm.png
New RTE

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.12.53 pm.png
Have a play with the buttons and you'll soon see there's more than meets the eye with the new RTE.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.14.58 pm.png
We think you'll find adding attachments to be much improved, with the attachments now displayed horizontally instead of vertically, leading to far less page scrolling and clutter.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.15.59 pm.png
Quoted text now renders in the RTE when replying.
 
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Lazy loading
Have you ever loaded a page on AFF that has a lot of images – perhaps in a trip report? You've clicked on the latest post, so you've ended up halfway down the page, but as the images above load the page starts to jump around, and soon you're not where you're meant to be.

Introducing "lazy loading". Essentially, just before an image is to be displayed to you, it will at that point load, but not before. This reduces page load times.
 

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Progressive Web App (PWA)
This feature is something altogether different. Imagine a technology that allows a web site to appear and behave like an app without having to produce native code for each platform, or go through any vendor's App Store equivalent.

Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 5.55.20 pm.png

It is important to note that not all devices support PWA's and I'll bet you can guess which ones do not. While they will work on a Mac if installed through a browser like Chrome, they will not work at all on an iPhone or iPad. You should have no problems on Windows and Android devices though.

Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 5.55.35 pm.png

In my testing of the feature I have mainly used it on a Mac, but as I frequently open multiple tabs and a PWA is meant to function more like an app, with only one view open at a time, it doesn't always make sense for me to use the PWA. On a mobile device it would make more sense.
 

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User profile banners
This feature aims to make your user profile as personal as your Facebook profile, by allowing you to add a profile banner. At this stage, we are only allowing AFF Gold Supporters to upload a banner, as a benefit of their subscription.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.05.25 pm.png
No user profile banner

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.04.53 pm.png
User profile banner
 

AIRwin

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Any difference between the 2 search engines?
  • Threadloom Search
  • XenForo Search
 

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Any difference between the 2 search engines?
  • Threadloom Search
  • XenForo Search
Threadloom is something we were using for a while to improve the responsiveness of search, but might be discontinued. For now you can try both until the option disappears and let us know what you think – in terms of differences between the two.
 

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Has the darkmode style option been implemented yet? I'm only able to see the following:
2020-11-25_9-12-11.jpg
Have logged out and back in and tried a couple of different browsers.
 

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Has the darkmode style option been implemented yet? I'm only able to see the following:
View attachment 234484
Have logged out and back in and tried a couple of different browsers.

Not yet - see Post in thread 'Dark mode theme' Dark mode theme
Apologies, but no. There is a significant issue when selecting prefixes that needs to be fixed. It only effects usability if you use a prefix when creating a thread, but on a dark theme it appears white washed out, which probably isn't the greatest thing to see.

I shall enable it today, but note that the prefix issue still needs to be fixed.
 

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Question threads have begun to go live in various forums. This task takes some time to go through all the steps on my end, so each individual forum will slowly transition to the new method for asking a question (as above).

During this process you may find some forums allow the selection of the "question" prefix, while others do not. When a forum has changed to the new system, the option to select a "question" prefix will be removed and starting a question thread will be via the RTE.

Screen_Shot_2020-11-27_at_12_41_22_pm.png

You can search for questions using the "filters" tab in any forum.

Screen_Shot_2020-11-27_at_12_40_00_pm.png

There is also a visual cue next to threads that are unsolved questions (pink circle) and solved questions (pink square).

Screen_Shot_2020-11-27_at_12_40_19_pm.png

Question threads allow both the upvoting and downvoting of others answers, based on whether you think they are being helpful to the OP. This will in turn help the OP make their choice in the end for the responder who has "solved" their question.

It is also important to note that not all question threads allow for voting and solving. You may find some questions may never have a correct answer, or one answer that can be selected. In these cases, we can disable voting, but still show the thread as a question, allowing it to be found among other questions and the first post pinned on every page of the thread. If you feel a thread warrants this, you can report it to us and we shall consider the change. An example thread of this type would be What is it with people/ PAX and lounge food
 

RooFlyer

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Question threads have begun to go live in various forums.

That explains the (seemingly) weird random trophy this morning for a question 'answered' a year or so ago :)

Is there any way to permanently expand (to display) one (say) of the 3 vertical dots toolbar extras?
 

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Is there any way to permanently expand (to display) one (say) of the 3 vertical dots toolbar extras?
I do not believe so, but they are responsive in the sense that a smaller window will see even less icons and more hidden extras. Which toolbar icon do you find you go to reach for often but is not there anymore? I can unpack a couple perhaps, we are just using the RTE in its default format.

Keyboard shortcuts such as Command (mac) / CTRL (windows) + U will make highlighted text underlined for example. This will mean the icon isn't always especially useful.

That explains the (seemingly) weird random trophy this morning for a question 'answered' a year or so ago :)
Hopefully you get more of your responses marked as solved over time, as I think this is a good metric to show usefulness in the community ;)
 

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