Basenotes Update 2021

grant

Basenotes Founder
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 29, 2000
As some of you know I've been threatening getting these forums updated for many years. The aim was to do it last year, but then Covid happenend and I spent most of the year home schooling rather than home Basenoting.

Well, so far this year I've been making some good progress behind the scenes, and I am aiming to get this done before year end.

What I don't want to do is have a repeat of the Huddler debacle of 2013. I know it was eight years ago, but it still hurts and I'm not over it! There will be changes and everyone hates change, so I'm starting notification of this very very early, so things can go very smoothly.

Why Change?



  • We've been using vBulletin as forum software since 2005. At the time vBulletin 3.8 was the most cutting edge and modern thing available. It was created before the iPhone and the rise of smart phones. Now 50%+ of internet traffic is carried out on a mobile device.
  • The version of vBulletin we are using (4.2) reached End-of-Life several years ago and no longer receives updates, which is not good for security issues.
  • As the software is so old, support for add-ons and modern features are no longer available.
  • Doing stuff that should be easy in the modern world, like uploading a picture to a thread, is stupidly clunky on here.
  • vB4 doesnt support recent versions of PHP, the language use to code the site.


What will change?

The main change will be that the forum software will be completely different. It is called XenForo and was created by ex-developers of vBulletin so, a lot of it is very similar to what you are used to. If you use other sites with forums, you may have already come across this forum - it's used on Badger&Blade, styleforum, makeuptalk.com, macrumours.com, IGN, purseblog and many more.

Notable differences from vBulletin to Xenforo

I've watched a lot of forums convert from VB to XF over the years and have picked up some of the changed people notice.


  • Private Messages are now called Conversations (though are still private) and the conversations are threaded (like a forum thread), so are a lot easier to follow. Once thing that has been noted in converting PMs from VB to XF is that old PMs arent in thread form and are disjointed, so just a very early heads up.
  • No Profile Pictures. For some reason, vBulletin has an Avatar AND a profile picture. XF just has Avatars.
  • Followers instead of Friends. Instead of a friend / contact list, XF has followers, so members can follow each other. It's essentially similar but with a name change
  • Cannot change amount of posts page. Currently our VB default is showing 30 posts in a thread before it gets paginated. However the member can override this and choose more or less per page. This customisable option is no longer available in the new software.


Things that are awesome in Xenforo

Lots of things, but here are my fave three user-facing things.



  • Want to upload an image? Just drag it to the reply box and it uploads!
  • Works aweome on a mobile device
  • You can @ members in a thread and it will notify them.
  • (and I think the mods will like this one) Much better spam prevention!


Things that aren't in XF which are in VB

The two major features that are in Vbulletin 4 and not Xenforo are Member Blogs and Social Groups.

With regards to blogs, I can count on my fingers the amount of people that use them regularly to post. I think a compromise would be to convert each current blog into a forum, where only the blog owner can start thread, and add some styles to make it look more bloggy. This does mean that members won't be able to just create a new blog. If they don't already have one, I'd have to create it for them. Seeing as there is a lack of interest in people making their own blogs, I'm likely to just do this for people that regularly (or have regularly blogged), and turn off making new blogs altogether.

Groups - there are two unofficial group add-ons for XF - and I'm slightly hesitant at using unofficial add-ons, as support for them can die at any time. However I do like the ability of members to create little offshoot areas to discuss certain niche topics like the Coneheads or Powerhouse Fragrance Users / or where people from a certain geographic area can meet up and chat eg, Sprechen Sie Deutsch? or Basenoteurs de France.

My main concern is no information is lost. Anything that is posted in blogs or groups currently I hope to have in some form on New BN. Whether as an archive or forum or something.

But this is why I'm posting this now so I can see what people think and how we can go forward without losing anything people love.

The Plan

All the import scripts for the forum and directory have been coded and tested. I'm now finishing off the code for the front-end of the site.


  • If you have access to the lounge, you can access a beta-version of the forums to test.
  • Beta testing of the directory should be happening in mid-July.
  • Fingers crossed for a launch in September to coincide with our 21st Birthday!
  • Phase 1 will be converting everything across to the new system and getting feature parity
  • Phase 2 will commence once everything is working well, and we can start working on some new features!


Questions are welcome and encouraged!

Forum View

newforum.jpg



Thread View
thread.jpg





Thread List View

list.jpg



Forum's in Mobile mode

mob.jpg



Directory Page view


lola.jpg

m7.jpg





Article View

article.jpg





Brand Page View

brand.jpg



Person View

lorson.jpg



Phase 2: Info on Perfume Advertising

testino.jpg



Phase 2: Info on Perfume Advertising

kloss.jpg



Phase 2: Perfume Books

book.jpg




Phase 2: Perfume Shops

shop.jpg
 

Bavard

Wearing Perfume Right Now
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2015
I'm curious to see what happens with Groups.

The new site looks amazing! Love it.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
I love the new look and functionality! Very welcoming, clean and sharp. The colors, fonts and profusion of graphics are treats to the eye. Big thumbs-up, Grant! Thank you for all of your hard work and attention to detail.
 

Bavard

Wearing Perfume Right Now
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2015
Worst case scenario they all get converted to forums. The two available addons for Groups are: this one and this one

The first one looks cool. A drawback with the current groups is that I don't get notified when there's a new post. For that reason, switching over to the forums could be an advantage, but maybe one of the add-ons works great.
 

Cook.bot

Common Lackey
Basenotes Plus
Jan 6, 2012
Overall it looks damned nice in the screenshots. My only quibble is the black header bars, but I just personally dislike white text on black backgrounds.

Grant, have you decided yet whether individual posts will have a "Like" button?
 

Cook.bot

Common Lackey
Basenotes Plus
Jan 6, 2012
Is that something you want? Any other reactions? A "congratulations" button, maybe? "Hugs?"

A big fat "NO" to those questions.

I feel strongly that "Likes" and approvals are what ruined social media in general, causing people to get addicted to that dopamine jolt, and to tailor their posts to garnering attention rather than expressing their genuine reactions and thoughts.

There is one iteration of it I like: I belong to a documentary film forum for torrenters (mvgroup.org), and every post there has a "Thanks" button on it, and a list of the thankers appears at the bottom of the post, which prevents the thread from getting cluttered with uninformative posts that just say "Thanks!" or "Well done!"
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
That's great news, Grant, thank you for the hard work. Curious to see the appearance of the new wardrobe.

Also: would you be favorable to designate 'DB entry admins', that is a few members who could add fragrances to the DB to help you catch up with the large amount of releases, without them becoming formal forum moderation admins? Since it's a community, why not using its power in full, right? :)
Just a thought.

Thank you!
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
That's great news, Grant, thank you for the hard work. Curious to see the appearance of the new wardrobe.

Also: would you be favorable to designate 'DB entry admins', that is a few members who could add fragrances to the DB to help you catch up with the large amount of releases, without them becoming formal forum moderation admins? Since it's a community, why not using its power in full, right? :)
Just a thought.

Thank you!

I'd support something like this too.

I love what I see in the screenshots but one of our very biggest problems is having no reliable way to promptly see new releases everyone wants to review or track wears from placed in the directory. It either happens months or a year after the fact in some extreme cases, or quite literally never happens when all additions sporadically cease for weeks to a month or more on end and the person advocating hard for X or Y to be added just gives up the fight.

I never expect us to catch everything released in a year on a volunteer staff, but having more than just an overburdened site admin (coding said update we do appreciate) + one other person prone to long absences (through absolutely no fault of their own) as the only people to add fragrances has quite literally equated to a non-functional state for the directory updates. We were frozen.

You have folks willing to help, so consider sending them through whatever vetting you feel is necessary to prove they won't flake out, then give them some limited permissions so they can start plugging in new releases (although maybe not letting them modify or delete current ones). Unless of course freezing directory updates is necessary to transfer onto new site software, then I retract.
 

Oviatt

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 30, 2007
Looks great, Grant! Sadly, the groups never seemed to generate much activity. They were a nice way to self-identify by interest/geography, etc., but not much seems to come of it. I think I was the last one to post in the Marmite lovers group and that was a few years ago.... Onward and upward!
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
Everything looks great! Hopefully the transition will be smooth.

As for groups, in my humble newbie-ish opinion, I think most of them would do well enough as forums/forum topics. I agree with people saying that not much happens in them, and I myself forget to check them all the time. Maybe it's different for older members though.

As for like buttons, in my opinion they could prevent a lot of unnecessary comments. You can just hit "Like!" instead of posting a one liner like "well said", "I agree with you", "thanks for information", "that was a nice read" and so on.
I just don't see the harm that Cook.bot sees. If a like button incentivizes you to write better, more interesting and more informative or helpful comments, isn't that a good thing?

As for possible Directory volunteers, I would gladly help if there was a way to help!
 

Zgb

Well-known member
Jan 20, 2009
As per potential SOTD feature, it'd be nice to see the stats of most worn frags not just by the number of people, but also by the number of wears - will significantly show different statistics. Also, as you know some of us have the wrong number of wears in the "most worn" section, showing much less wears than the ones shown in the wardrobe which is the correct number. Day/night wear as an option was already discussed on another thread.

One "huge" shift that would be good for the site is the quality of the directory pics of frags as many are poor or out of date.
 

grant

Basenotes Founder
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 29, 2000
Quickly replying to some of the main points:

Directory - Phase 2 of the update will involve a new bit of code which will allow members that have reached a certain threshold to add fragrances to the directory. These fragrances won't appear immediately on the site, and will still need approval to ensure accuracy etc - BUT anyone who is logged in will see them as if they are normal fragrances in the directory, so you can add them as your SOTD, review them, add them to wardrobes etc.

Likes Button - the new sotfware gives people the option to react to a post, with one of the following reactions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry. I know there is some resistance to these, but the main two reason I have for wanting something like this, is cutting down on useless one-word replies and, the fact that there is no useful way of highlighting posts that are good.There is 20 years worth of posts on this forum - how do we find the gems? (I am very likely to change the 'reactions' to include different things - perhaps: Thanks/Useful/Insightful/Helpful,

SOTD - will be getting a makeover - it was the first thing I ever coded in PHP, so could do with a bit of love

BNPLUS - they will probably be distinguished in the same way as now, I haven't fiddled with them settings much, as that's an easy quick job, and currently concentrating on the fiddly hard jobs!
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Quickly replying to some of the main points:

Directory - Phase 2 of the update will involve a new bit of code which will allow members that have reached a certain threshold to add fragrances to the directory. These fragrances won't appear immediately on the site, and will still need approval to ensure accuracy etc - BUT anyone who is logged in will see them as if they are normal fragrances in the directory, so you can add them as your SOTD, review them, add them to wardrobes etc.

Likes Button - the new sotfware gives people the option to react to a post, with one of the following reactions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry. I know there is some resistance to these, but the main two reason I have for wanting something like this, is cutting down on useless one-word replies and, the fact that there is no useful way of highlighting posts that are good.There is 20 years worth of posts on this forum - how do we find the gems? (I am very likely to change the 'reactions' to include different things - perhaps: Thanks/Useful/Insightful/Helpful,

SOTD - will be getting a makeover - it was the first thing I ever coded in PHP, so could do with a bit of love

BNPLUS - they will probably be distinguished in the same way as now, I haven't fiddled with them settings much, as that's an easy quick job, and currently concentrating on the fiddly hard jobs!

This sounds fair, my only concern is the approval process for the directory entries to appear publicly could also get backlogged into infinity if it once again comes down to one or two people who have more important tasks or life outside of the site, à la the reviews approval backlash from a month or so ago. Not trying to be tough, just being realistic about workload expectations. Still appreciate the feature nonetheless!
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
Quickly replying to some of the main points:

Directory - Phase 2 of the update will involve a new bit of code which will allow members that have reached a certain threshold to add fragrances to the directory. These fragrances won't appear immediately on the site, and will still need approval to ensure accuracy etc - BUT anyone who is logged in will see them as if they are normal fragrances in the directory, so you can add them as your SOTD, review them, add them to wardrobes etc.

Likes Button - the new sotfware gives people the option to react to a post, with one of the following reactions: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry. I know there is some resistance to these, but the main two reason I have for wanting something like this, is cutting down on useless one-word replies and, the fact that there is no useful way of highlighting posts that are good.There is 20 years worth of posts on this forum - how do we find the gems? (I am very likely to change the 'reactions' to include different things - perhaps: Thanks/Useful/Insightful/Helpful,

SOTD - will be getting a makeover - it was the first thing I ever coded in PHP, so could do with a bit of love

BNPLUS - they will probably be distinguished in the same way as now, I haven't fiddled with them settings much, as that's an easy quick job, and currently concentrating on the fiddly hard jobs!

These are great solutions, and particularly the directory ("log in as legal member to see it all, including researched but not approved data"). I say this because since my "return to fragrance", I've found two significant chemical errors by well-meaning users, trying to dig past industry obscurantism, which in one case was aided by a patent error and/or a related database error. Having spent far too much time dealing with errors as a science insider, I now know how much not to trust things as an outsider.

Your solution is elegant, because it gives us strong, rapid and complete submission and editing, plus all the power of wikinomics, but avoids all the problems of making it "official". Heck - we can add clones and new minor brands which may teeter on the edge of fame and relevance - the value is real and cutting edge - but gotta be a member! ​:wink:
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
These are great solutions, and particularly the directory ("log in as legal member to see it all, including researched but not approved data"). I say this because since my "return to fragrance", I've found two significant chemical errors by well-meaning users, trying to dig past industry obscurantism, which in one case was aided by a patent error and/or a related database error. Having spent far too much time dealing with errors as a science insider, I now know how much not to trust things as an outsider.

Your solution is elegant, because it gives us strong, rapid and complete submission and editing, plus all the power of wikinomics, but avoids all the problems of making it "official". Heck - we can add clones and new minor brands which may teeter on the edge of fame and relevance - the value is real and cutting edge - but gotta be a member! ​:wink:

In mild rebuttal to your dig at people discussing aromachemistry from a novice or self-researched perspective, I don't think anyone in good conscience should be allowed to list anything but advertised notes in a pyramid for a fragrance when adding it to the directory under these "wikinomics" rules.

That way, whatever team of mods will be assigned to approve them for public viewing (outside membership) only has to cross-reference market copy or other databases that use market copy (this can get tricky with obscure vintages), rather than attempting to GCMS a sample of every perfume added to the directory before approving it's listed notes, which borderlines on absurdity.

Users can list whatever they -think- is in there if/when they write their reviews just as they always have (e.g. calling every form of ambroxide by the "ambroxan" trade name vis-à-vis every brand of acetaminophen is "Tylenol"), reviews which cannot be held to any scientific standards if not published by industry noses anyway because of the fact that they are user reviews.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
In mild rebuttal to your dig at people discussing aromachemistry from a novice or self-researched perspective, I don't think anyone in good conscience should be allowed to list anything but advertised notes in a pyramid for a fragrance when adding it to the directory under these "wikinomics" rules.

That way, whatever team of mods will be assigned to approve them for public viewing (outside membership) only has to cross-reference market copy or other databases that use market copy (this can get tricky with obscure vintages), rather than attempting to GCMS a sample of every perfume added to the directory before approving it's listed notes, which borderlines on absurdity.

Users can list whatever they -think- is in there if/when they write their reviews just as they always have (e.g. calling every form of ambroxide by the "ambroxan" trade name vis-à-vis every brand of acetaminophen is "Tylenol"), reviews which cannot be held to any scientific standards if not published by industry noses anyway because of the fact that they are user reviews.

You're actually making my point. The errors (not here, mind you) were due to incorrect extrapolations during input - from listed components to wrong chemicals. Better to parrot the list and add any logical issues with them to notes. I love that feature (added notes field) of our current "contribute.php" tool.

In one case a supplier was probably used as a source of chemical information - an error in that company's product database is the most likely explanation for a bad chemical identity listed online for their product. As you say, this kind of problem needs to be hashed out by multiple people.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
You're actually making my point. The errors (not here, mind you) were due to incorrect extrapolations during input - from listed components to wrong chemicals. Better to parrot the list and add any logical issues with them to notes. I love that feature (added notes field) of our current "contribute.php" tool.

In one case a supplier was probably used as a source of chemical information - an error in that company's product database is the most likely explanation for a bad chemical identity listed online for their product. As you say, this kind of problem needs to be hashed out by multiple people.

I think you're talking about something I'm not privy to, having never seen Basenotes from the admin/mod side, so I can't relate.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
I think you're talking about something I'm not privy to, having never seen Basenotes from the admin/mod side, so I can't relate.

Could be, BUT I think this stage is available to everybody.....

https://www.basenotes.net/contribute.php

The input is obviously not going anywhere now, but when the directory is being updated, this was designed to save the admins some time.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
Could be, BUT I think this stage is available to everybody.....

https://www.basenotes.net/contribute.php

The input is obviously not going anywhere now, but when the directory is being updated, this was designed to save the admins some time.

Judith actually advised to not use it anymore as it's never actually checked during the past year. She said it's better to just put our requests straight into the thread as it's easier to see.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
Judith actually advised to not use it anymore as it's never actually checked during the past year. She said it's better to just put our requests straight into the thread as it's easier to see.

LOL! Wow. Not having been around here for a while, I guess I missed that one. That's sad. I dumped a good bunch of excellent data into that thing - apparently to no end.

Wellllllll, what the heck. It's not like I broke a bottle of something discontinued! :wink:
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
Judith actually advised to not use it anymore as it's never actually checked during the past year. She said it's better to just put our requests straight into the thread as it's easier to see.

LOL! Wow. Not having been around here for a while, I guess I missed that one. That's sad. I dumped a good bunch of excellent data into that thing - apparently to no end.

Wellllllll, what the heck. It's not like I broke a bottle of something discontinued! :wink:

This explains my confusion about php forms lol

But wait! It looks like two fragrances I put in there went in. Hmmmmmmm. But I also notified about them in the "missing" thread. Whatever! I appreciate them getting added. :happy:
 

grant

Basenotes Founder
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 29, 2000
Judith actually advised to not use it anymore as it's never actually checked during the past year. She said it's better to just put our requests straight into the thread as it's easier to see.

Anything put in the contribute.php page will be added eventually, there's a slight backlog but I'm working on it. The approval process gives preference to new launches and fragrances from the more popular houses.
 

drseid

Sound Scents
Basenotes Plus
Jun 1, 2003
As someone who remembers the Huddler days all too well, I am going to have to steel myself for this one….

That said, I am on the Badger&Blade Forum daily, and am quite used to the format, so I think it should be a smoother transition this time. One thing that forum has (that I am not sure is their choice, or a “feature” of the format) is posts can only be edited for about an hour after posting before becoming permanent. That is *extremely* annoying, and I hope if it is an option, that BN does not choose to implement it here. Good luck with the transition, Grant!
 

grant

Basenotes Founder
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 29, 2000
As someone who remembers the Huddler days all too well, I am going to have to steel myself for this one….
Understandable...

That said, I am on the Badger&Blade Forum daily, and am quite used to the format, so I think it should be a smoother transition this time. One thing that forum has (that I am not sure is their choice, or a “feature” of the format) is posts can only be edited for about an hour after posting before becoming permanent. That is *extremely* annoying, and I hope if it is an option, that BN does not choose to implement it here. Good luck with the transition, Grant!

That's a choice on their part.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Also: would you be favorable to designate 'DB entry admins', that is a few members who could add fragrances to the DB to help you catch up with the large amount of releases, without them becoming formal forum moderation admins?

Directory - Phase 2 of the update will involve a new bit of code which will allow members that have reached a certain threshold to add fragrances to the directory. These fragrances won't appear immediately on the site, and will still need approval to ensure accuracy etc - BUT anyone who is logged in will see them as if they are normal fragrances in the directory, so you can add them as your SOTD, review them, add them to wardrobes etc.

That's great Grant, thank you!

This sounds fair, my only concern is the approval process for the directory entries to appear publicly could also get backlogged into infinity if it once again comes down to one or two people

That is a fair concern.. I guess a bit of real life testing will tell!
 

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