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InstantForum 2014 Released

I'm just a little excited today to announce the official release of InstantForum 2014.

We know from listening to customers over the last year that SPAM is a ever growing problem. To help our customers keep there communities free of spam our InstantForum 2014 updates introduces a number of new features to automatically detect and deal with both SPAM posts & SPAM user registrations. 

Alongside the SPAM improvements we've also significantly improved our user reputation system. It's important to us that the users reputation is a true reflection of the users standing within your community. 

Our user reputation system is now more robust and ensures users can't artificially inflate user reputation .We've also tied several features into user reputation allowing you as an administrator to limit access to features based on a users reputation. For example you may not want your users sending a private message to others until they reach a specific reputation within your community. 

You can find a complete list of additions, improvements & fixes for our 2014 update below...

What's New

Added StopForumSpam.com Integration

Whenever a new post is made within InstantForum we will check the username, email address & IP address against the StopForumSpam.com database. If the API result matches the "Appearance" threshold you can configure via the InstantForum Admin CP the post will automatically be flagged as SPAM and queued (even in unmoderated forums) and an email will be sent to the forum moderators informing of the possible spam post.

If we detect a post to be SPAM the following message will be presented to the user...

In addition the email sent to your moderators to inform of the post will indicate the post was detected as SPAM.  We still provide your moderators the change to review & approve the post.This give you the opportunity to still approve the post if the StopForumSpam.com API returned a false positive.

If the post is indeed SPAM you can use the improved quick member moderation menu available alongside each topic or on the member profile page if your a forum moderator to Ban the IP & delete the ember and all posts in one click.

When you ban an IP address within InstantForum this will add the user information both the internal InstantForum banned list of IP addresses and more importantly the users username, email address & IP address will now be added within the StopForumSpam.com database if you have this integration enabled. Over time this should help us all keep our communities clean. 



We appreciate this single integration may not be the complete solution to automatically catch all SPAM however we feel it's a good first step and we will of course continue to always improve & combat spam. 

You can configure StopForumSpam.com integration via the Admin CP > Forum Settings page as shown below...



Restrict features based on users reputation

We've added a number of new options to the Admin CP > Forum Settings page. These options are designed to allow you to control access to features that reward reputation within InstantForum based on the users current reputation within your community. This helps prevent new users from gaming the system to artificially inflate reputation or for example it can help prevent new users from being able to send direct messages to other users. 

- Direct Message Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can send emails or private messages.  

- Like Posts Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can like posts.  

- Rate Posts Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can rate posts.  

- Report Posts Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can report posts.  

- Follow Members Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can follow other members.  

- Subscription Members Reputation Level Threshold
The minimum reputation level a user must achieve before they can subscribe to forums & topics.  



New Report Post Dialog

We've made the report post process super simple. We no longer navigate to the post page instead we simply display a pop-up dialog. We now provide a list of "Report Reasons" you can choose from when reporting posts. We've also improved the notifications for reported posts to ensure all forum moderators will be informed of the post and will be presented with the user who reported the post and the reason given. 

Detect & Handle SPAM registrations

We've also added the StopForumSpam.com integration into our registration process. The goal is to provide you with an automated way to detect & deal with SPAM registrations. 

If the username, email address or IP address of the user creating a new account appears within the StopForumSpam.com database and matches the minimum SPAM appearance threshold you've defined within InstantForum you can now handle the SPAM registration separately from normal registrations.

As an administrator you can customize how SPAM registrations are handled via the new "Spam Registration Action" drop down available below the StopForumSpam options on the Forum Settings page. These new options are shown below...

  • Do Nothing
    The spam registration will be treated the same as a normal registration.
  • Admin Approval
    If a registration is detected as SPAM it will require manual admin approval. No email will be generated to the admin.
  • Admin Approval + Email
    Same as above however this option will also send a notification email to the global email address deigned within the General Settings page with a link to approve the account.
  • Require User To Confirm Account via Email
    The user creating the account must click the unique activation link sent to the email address they provide during registration to fully activate the account.
  • Move to Member Group
    Move registrations detected as SPAM automatically to a specific member group upon registration.
  • Don't Create Account & Deny Access
    The account will not be created and the user will be displayed a message informing them the details they provided match those of known spammers. 


The Spam Registration Action will only take effect if the details of the user creating an account match those of known spammers. For new accounts that pass all checks the standard "Registration Type" defined on the general "Login & Registration" settings page will be used. 

Toggle Registration

We've made it easy to disable registration and replace the registration page with a customization message. This can be helpful if you wish to temporarily disable your registration for SSO scenarios. When registration is disabled if your already logged into InstantForum as a moderator or administrator you will be able to access the registration page to create new accounts, 

Toggle Login

We've added an option that allows you to disable login. This is intended for SSO  scenarios.

Toggle Login Tab In User CP

We've added an option that allows you to hide the "Login" tab when users are editing there profile. This is helpful yif you handle SSO externally and don't want to allow users to update there username, email address or password via InstantForum.

Improved Simple User Menu

It was clear from feedback in BETA 1 we added to many links to the user menu that shows when your logged in alongside your username. We've reduced the number of links as shown below...



Improved Subscriptions 

We've made it a one click process now to unsubscribe from all forums and all topics you may be subscribed to. We've also added a tab control alongside the top of the forum and topic subscription pages which allows you to quickly jump between the two pages to manage your subscriptions.

Improved Following / Follower Page

We've added a tab strip to the top of the following and follower pages to make it easier to jump between the two pages.

Moderation Changes

If your a forum moderator and have permission to ban & delete members you can no longer delete or ban other moderators or administrators from the forum front-end.  To delete or ban moderators or administrators you will now need direct access to the InstantForum Admin CP so only administrators can now delete or ban moderators. If you allow moderators to ban & delete members they can still delete or ban regular forum members. 

Changed Email Settings To Privacy Settings & Consolidated Options

We've renamed the Email Settings page to Privacy Settings and consolidated all direct messaging and notification options on to this single page. The Privacy link also now appears in the Users Menu as shown in the screen grab above. We want to make it really easy for your users to control the notifications they receive from your forum. 

Other Additions

  • Added forum & topic subscription management to mobile skin
  • Added country to Banned IP Page 
  • Added email logging option to monitor successful & failed emails
  • Added IP address and country for IP address to member profile page within Admin CP
    Added new "Reset Reputation Level" option when editing members via the Admin CP
    Added new quick unsubscribe from all forums button on forum subscriptions page
  • Added options to globally disable latest & popular posts
  • Added customizable message to display to users if all forums are hidden for the current user
  • Added 3 new permission set options allowing you to hide latest posts, popular posts & tags globally
  • Added quick Approve & Queue button to expanded post previews (both within forums & the moderation queue)

 
Fixes

  • Fixed Emails.xml line break not showing in emails when the HTML email format is enabled within InstantForum
  • Fixed issue that would cause moderation queue to be empty if forums you've been assigned to moderate were not associated / visible to the anonymous role
  • Fixed bug with date of birth not being hidden on registration form if disabled via the Admin CP
  • Fixed issue that would cause users to have incorrect PM counts if "User A" sent a PM to "User B" and you then deleted "User A", "User B" would previously have incorrect post counts. Whenever you delete a user now we recalculate all PM counts for any recipient the user may have PM'ed.
  • Fixed issue where reputation would not be removed for replies to topics if you queued or deleted the topic
  • Fixed issue with carriage returns not starting search
  • Moved to the latest version of FontAwesome.
  • Fixed issue with reputation points not increasing for members when you approve posts or topics in moderated forums
  • Fixed issues with signature search not working on member list page within Admin CP
  • Fixed issue with users reputation level not showing correctly when viewing a private message
  • Fixed issues with duplicate emails due to background polling
  • Fixed several issues in mobile skin that would not hide features if disabled via permission sets
  • Mark Forums As Read, Mark All as Read, Delete Cookies are now all hidden if no forums are visible
  • Fixed display issues with FindPost.aspx on mobile skin
  • Fixed several CSS issues & improved / reduced CSS
  • Many improved text descriptions. Misc grammatical  & spell checking fixes


Improvements

  • Improved paging control (added first and last pages - jump to page menu)
  • Improved user delete function - now removes all user specific data in every table
  • Improved User Edit Menu (To Edit, Ban or Delete Members)
  • Improved JavaScript performance in IE11 for topic list - reduced DOM access
  • Added additional security checks within moderation functions
  • Added additional permission checks to various pages
  • Improved CAPTCHA verification image / process
  • Improved moderation queue performance (now uses web service callback)
  • Added no child forums message when you click a forum title within the Manage Forum page and there are no child forums
  •  Added reputation count & member group to user profile page
  • Added option within Admin CP to toggle visibility of the theme roller button

 

Online Demo

You can try the 2014 BETA 1 update for yourself right now at the link below. We'll continue to keep this link updated as we progress towards release...

Open Demo

Email: admin@admin.com
Password: admin

Download

If you purchased a new InstantForum 2013 license or a InstantForum 2013 upgrade between June 1st and Sept 1st 2014 our InstantForum 2014 update is free for you. The 2014 download should be available now within your InstantASP account from your downloads page.

Download

Upgrade

If you purchased InstantForum 2013 before June 1st 2014 you'll need to purchase our 2014 update. Our upgrades start from $79 USD for our Single Web Site End User License. You can review our upgrade pricing here.

Upgrade

Hosted Customers

We will be contacting our hosted customers over the coming days to arrange a suitable time to perform the upgrade to our 2014 release.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback during the 2014 BETA. Our 2014 update will be a completely free upgrade for those who assisted us during the BETA phase. A special thank you to Robert W, Dave, Eddy, Toby, Mike & the moderators of the MicroMart community.

That's It!

We hope you all enjoy our 2014 update. We are far from complete for our long term vision for our products and we are already thinking of the improvements coming in our InstantForum 2015 release. We appreciate you sticking with us on the journey. If we can assist with any questions related to this release please don't hesitate to comment below or contact us.


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