Nearly two decades ago, Invision Community President, @Charles , set out to make a leading online community platform.
Around that time, Charles also met his now-husband of 18-years and hasn't looked back since. Until now.
Behind the code, product updates and newsletters are a group of people who share a passion for community building. Considering how volatile and toxic the Internet can be, we want to become more visible, transparent and vulnerable. To help you familiarize yourself with the masterminds behind Invision Community, starting with Charles, we're kicking off a new series that'll highlight our team.
I interviewed Charles for the first installment. In it, he commented on the state of the Internet: "I do think some times, for or better or for worse, people forget there are real people on the other end," he said.
Mr. Warner also touched on Invision Community's evolution over the years.
"People don't like change. No one likes change," Charles said, adding "sometimes you say, 'we really need to change something' either in the software, or how you do things, and people push back. It might be we change a feature or maybe internally we change the way we do something. Sometimes you have to move forward. Sometimes it's irritating at first. 'Why did you change that?!' And also you have to recognize that sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes you might change something [and think], 'no, it's not better...' I really find that that's a big thing – to constantly be looking at all those other options and try stuff out. It doesn't harm [anything] to try things."
And in the spirit of Pride Month, Charles opened up about being part of the LGBTQ community and also President of a successful company. He hopes it'll inspire others.
"I am lucky, and it's a privilege. [For one] that the world we're in now is different than the world was five years ago, 20 years ago... but also being an Internet company you have a unique position where people don't know your gender, your age, your race, anything about you online... Particularly 20 years ago when we started even less so... that's the thing that's always kind of been there. I think I'm lucky in that regard. I recognize some people don't have that unique approach to things that I've enjoyed. I would say on that whole it hasn't really been a big thing and I'm lucky that it hasn't."
The full interview is available to watch up top.
After watching, please drop us a line in the comments and let us know your thoughts! 🌈
Well, friends, what a journey we've been on since we started work on Invision Community 4.6.0.
With 11 developers accumulating 934 commits over 3,157 files changing 120,281 lines of code, we're ready to show it to the world.
Along with over 260 bug fixes, this new release contains some great new functionality. Let's take a look at what's new.
Achievements, badges, ranks, rules, gamification, whatever you want to call it, this is the most significant feature for Invision Community 4.6.0. This brings a whole new level of earning and showing trust to other members while gently nudging more quality contributions to your community.
Do you want new member registrations to magically appear in a Google spreadsheet? Perhaps you want members who opt-in for newsletters to be added to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. Cloud and Enterprise customers can do all this and more without writing a single line of code, thanks to Zapier.
Web app and push notifications
We took the time to round out our PWA (progressive web application) framework for 4.6.0 to include service workers, push notifications and more. I barely understand it, but Rikki takes you through the changes in our blog entry.
For some types of community, where discussion topics are particularly sensitive, community owners want to make sure that members register with their real details but are given the option to post anonymously where appropriate. For example, organisations dealing with abuse or sensitive topics might want the member to feel safe and disinhibited to post info without fear of being identified by the rest of the community.
In Invision Community 4.6.0, we have rounded out our "solved" feature by allowing the feature to be enabled on a regular forum, along with notifications, statistics and more.
Show when a team member has replied
When you're scanning a list of topics, it's helpful to know when a community team member has replied, as these replies tend to have more authority and are more likely to resolve an issue. 4.6.0 adds a feature to show when a member of the team has replied.
As Invision Community is a top of the line community platform with excellent developers and an amazing QA team, it's unlikely ever to go wrong. On the infrequent occasions that you need to identify potential issues within your community, the new health dashboard makes it easier to diagnose problems and request support.
Our Enterprise customers run very visible and very busy communities. One of the pain points they had was identifying and limiting the annoyance of spam within the community. We created a new round of improvements based on that feedback to mitigate spam, and these changes are available to all Invision Community owners with 4.6.0.
Cloud and Enterprise customers will also benefit from multiple under-the-hood optimisations for our cloud platform, including better caching of resources for faster response times.
Let me know in the comments which feature you're looking forward to the most!
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What to expect
Beta releases have not had extensive testing, therefore you may encounter issues with this release. You should only use Invision Community 4.6.0 Beta 1 on a test site. If you choose to test this release on your main site, please ensure you backup your site first. While we endeavour to support minor issues with this release, we would not want you to lose any data if you had to revert back to a stable release.
Please report all bugs into our bug tracker.
Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.
But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6.
As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration.
These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release.
Spam Defense Scoring
I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system. These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions.
Spam Defense Blocking
The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not.
In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.
This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public.
We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts.
For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts.
This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval.
We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community!
I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.
One of the overarching goals for any community leader is to shine a bright light on your members. Their contributions should be publicly recognized. Now with Invision Community’s new Achievements system... you can!
Achievements is Invision Community’s native gamification system baked into our latest update, 4.6.
We’ve dreamed up innovative actions for community leaders to publicly recognize members who show up and participate in meaningful ways.
Award Points and badges based on conditional Rules!
Here’s what you need to know...
Our Achievements Points system keeps a running tally of Points. Members may earn Points in a multitude of ways. Essentially, it’s achieved by participating in the community.
Create a topic? Points! Post a reply? Points! Follow another member? Nothing. Just kidding… Points!!!
This is done through creating Rules.
Rules are actionable processes set up in the admin panel.
Here are what members can earn Points for:
- Member joins a club
- Reaction is given
- New poll is created
- User follows a content item
- Review is posted
- Member logs in for the first time that day
- New club is created
- Content item/comment is promoted or featured
- Comment/reply is posted
- User follows a forum, blog, gallery, category etc
- User votes on a poll
- User is followed
- New content item is posted
- Post is marked as best answer
There are also corresponding When/Then Rules for each item listed above.
When this action happens, then this subsequent action happens.
Example: when a member posts 10 times, then this Badge is awarded.
Community leaders can also create specific Rules when deciding what actions earn Badges.
For example, reward your members with a Badge for visiting your community for 20 days.
Once a member reaches 20 visits or more over 20 days, the Achievements system will automatically award them a ‘20 Visits’ Badge you’ve previously created.
In 4.6, we’ve completely revamped our Ranks system to communicate with Achievements.
Achievements’ Ranks system will replace our previous Ranks system*
Set up different Ranks based on how many Points a member earns. Ranks display a members’ perceived value to the community. The higher a members’ Rank, the greater their influence because the more they’ve participated.
Ranks are currently for prestige at the moment.
Here's our example for a pretend Coconut community:
There’s a lot of information to absorb here, but if there’s anything to take away from this blog post it’s this: empower your contributing members with Achievements and watch your community grow. It creates an immersive and elevated experience for your die-hards. And hey, who doesn’t love to earn?
When 4.6 and Achievements is officially released for all, we’ll hold a live Q&A event for you to join and ask any questions you may have.
Props? Concerns? Comments? Questions? We’d love for you to sound off in the comments! Not only because we want to hear from you, but because it’ll earn you some sweet, sweet Points, too!
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