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Why Web BBSes suck

First, a question I've been meaning to ask: does anyone reading this know of a web bbs that
1) runs on PHPBB; and
2) has some version of Bad Behavior, such as this mod as its only defense against spam? In other words, no CAPCHAs, no other mods or plugins aimed at preventing the board from being overrun with spam?

If so, I very much want to hear from it. Bad Behaviour has done really well at stopping the endless flood of spam on Talk About Comics that I've been wondering if the time has come to stop making new members jump through hoops to get activated, or even open the forum to guest posters again. You know, make it a more inviting place. I'm not the guy who gets to decide this, by the way, but if there's evidence that Bad Behavior can do the job on its own, I can put in a word. Let me know in email or comments under this post.

I was prompted to bring this up by reading Matt Skala's recent post Why Web BBSes Suck. It's a great post that really opened my eyes to the extent to which I was taking bad functionality for granted for no other reason than that they've always been designed that way. I could quibble about some things, but I think the general thrust of his argument, that Web BBSes have terrible usability and don't serve the needs of their users well, is correct.

There is good news on some issues. Project Wonderful Talk, whose CAPTCHA I've finally been able to defeat, allows the use of Livejournal accounts for identification, which I hope many more boards will adopt (as well as other, similar, multi-site identification methods); PHPBB isn't as ubiquitous as it was a year ago even if it's still very dominant, and BBcode is more standardised than Matt claims it is. I also think the dominance of PHPBB could end very quickly if something truly better came along. Five years ago, when Ultimate Bulletin Board was as ubiquitous as PHPBB is now, it was quickly superceded by PHPBB because PHPBB was less crash-prone and easier to set up. The spambots have since made PHPBB at least as big a nightmare to work with as UBB was then.

So what I'd like to see is a project in which skilled designers and coders who have read Matt's rant build a new Web BBS from the ground up so it has the features the users actually need instead of the ones that Ultimate Bulletin Board happened to have in 1998 and which all other Web BBS systems have copied. And integrated spambot protection that actually works. Those two ingredients together would, I think, make most forum owners drop PHPBB like a hot potato.

Comments (1)

Hey. I'm sorry you had problems signing up with PWT - pretty well everything it runs on is very much in beta. I'm going to have a tinker with it this afternoon, and see if I can relax the restrictions a tad.

~Caveman Joe

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