Internet security is like digging a ditch. One shovel full of dirt at a time. If it feels easy, you’re just getting started and goes far deeper than you expect. You’ll unearth things you never imagined and the longer you work at it, the darker, danker, and dirtier it gets.
Today, we released an updated version of our Akismet addon to all our clients. It now includes a free Vanilla Forums volume license, so you no longer need to provide your own key. Your own key will continue to work if you entered one previously. If you delete it (Dashboard / Browse Addons / Akismet settings), our key will take over.
Akismet is a dedicated spam-fighting server that will automatically filter all your forum content and user registration requests. We've found it to be an effective tool for combating many types of spam. If you're not currently using it, go ahead and turn it on in your Dashboard under "Browse Addons."
As your community grows, it's natural for it to diversify. The traditional forum structure of discussion categories can start to break down when hundreds of users need special permission changes to access private areas on an ongoing basis. That structure also doesn't handle community events well. A popular workaround is to "Announce" an event's discussion until it's over, but that's really just a hack. In creating Groups, we set out to solve the membership and event problems.
Groups is a new addon immediately available to Advanced, Enterprise, and VIP clients on vanillaforums.com. Using Groups, you can create private or public groups with their own discussions; allow anyone to join or control membership; and schedule events for your group.
Why does someone join a forum? Common reasons I see are to ask or answer a question, share an opinion, or share work or a hobby. What do these things have in common? They all engage the ego, and they all come with the mindset of "this is serious business." They can easily devolve into rude competition. You can gather a lot of expertise on a forum with this sort of exchange, but you will not have a community.
One mistake I frequently see new forum owners make is to start like this: They sign up for their forum, start a "Welcome!" discussion, and then start a "Rules for this forum" discussion which they make an announcement and close. They've instantly crippled their site.