Friday Theme Tips: All In One List

building-man

To help you build your theme, the last few weeks, we have shared some handy tips in customizing your Vanilla Forums theme. As the year comes to an end, we figured it would make sense to create a list with them all in one list for easy access. Here are all of the tips we shared this year:

We also have a theme guide to help you further along. Good luck on your custom theme! We can’t wait to see what you build!

Three Ways Your Community Can Generate Sales Leads

Online communities are often seen as simply the price of doing business. An entry on a ledger somewhere reads “Community Budget”, because it seems that Everyone Is Doing It. As great as online communities are for engaging your customers and cutting support costs, your CFO might still see your community as a cost centre. In fact, the ability for communities to generate leads can make them a great source of new revenue. If you’re looking to improve your community’s status on the balance sheet, here are are few suggestions for where to start:
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Friday Theme Tip: Customizing Multilingual

If you have the Multilingual plugin enabled, by default the links to the locales enabled will appear in your footer, just below the Vanilla Forums logo (as you can see below).

multilingual-css

Please note: This helps users see the community menu items in their local language, the content itself is not translated.

Changing Default Look

As you can see, the default CSS for the language switcher is meant to fit easily into any theme. Nevertheless, you may want to make things a bit more apparent to users that a language option exists. Below is some CSS to do just that:

/*color and location of the option box*/
div.LocaleOptions {
background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% #FFFFCC !important;
border: solid 1px !important;
color: #000000 !important;
float: right;
padding: 10px !important;
width: 25% !important;
}

/* link color */
div.LocaleOptions a {
color: #3F3F3F !important;
padding: 4px !important;
}

/* link color hover*/
div.LocaleOptions a:hover {
color: #7e7e7e !important;
}

The above CSS will result in the language box appearing as follows:

mutlilingual-change

Change the colors, as you need. You can use this handy website to choose different color options for your theme.

Please note: The language option will only show once users sign in, so the preference can be set for them.

We hope this post has given you some ideas to make multilingual stick out. Check back next Friday for another tip. In the meantime, check out the earlier tips or get a copy of our theme guide.

Introducing Multi-Forum Management

Today, we are introducing two new features that will improve Vanilla deployments where  customers are better served by dividing the forum into smaller sections or many multiple forums. The first is called Sub-communities which lets you divide one community into smaller sub-communities, the other is called Vanilla Hub and allows for the rapid creation of multiple separate forum instances (forums are not to be confused with categories).
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How Micromanagement Can Damage Your Community

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One of my main responsibilities as a Professional Internet (Editor’s Note: no it’s not a typo – it says that on Patrick’s business cards – long story) is to consult with clients about best practises and methods for running their community. These meetings are rarely with the moderators of the forum, but are normally with the project managers who are responsible for the oversight of the project. Needless to say, they aren’t in the trenches of the community themselves, but I can normally tell a lot about them from the way they speak about their moderators, and the tools that they use to manage them.

It’s not uncommon for a manager to want the specifics of how to remove as much power from moderators as they can. Specifically, they want to ensure that moderators can’t delete posts, edit content or ban users. They also want to use analytics to monitor exactly how much each moderator is doing, to ensure that they’re pulling their weight. The frequency of these requests raises three questions for me. Firstly; if a moderator can’t ban a user or edit content, what specific use does the manager expect to get from them? Secondly; if the people you’ve chosen as moderators are so untrustworthy that they can’t be trusted with this functionality, what made you choose them for the role? Thirdly; since moderation is invariably an unpaid position, why would a moderator want to volunteer to be on a team where they aren’t trusted?

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