This product is designed to allow for the creation, display and management of a list of threads that you wish to feature on your site. It gives you a convenient means of showcasing especially good thread content on your forum and give it the increased visibility to registered users and visitors alike that you likely already feel it so richly deserves. You will find that when the featured threads list is displayed on its static page, then the block element is not collapsible since it does not share space with any other content, otherwise it is collapsible so that users will not have to scroll past this list to get to other parts of the page it they wish not to. This is consistent with the behavior of other vBulletin elements.
You may choose to manage this list yourself, or allow others on your staff to share in or even take over the management duties. Some or all of your members may even be allowed and encouraged to be a part of the process by their nominations of threads for the list. You can choose to allow nominations via this product, or use vBulletin's intrinsic thread rating system, or use a combination of both systems. You may also choose to display the most replied threads as well. In this way you could elect to implement a threads of the week or month etc. by popular vote. This product makes all of this possible and easy to accomplish.
You will find that you have a great deal of flexibility in where and how the list is displayed. Those you designate as managers of the list can add, remove, and set the display order of the threads in the list. Also, you may choose to allow your managers to auto-create voting polls to narrow down the selection of nominated threads to be added as featured threads, which is posted to a forum of your choosing. This forum may be private so that only staff is involved in the final voting, or a public forum may be selected so that everyone may vote. All actions performed by users and managers are confirmed with a standard vBulletin redirect message.
Upon installation, two tables are added to your database, one to store the list of featured threads, and one to store the nominations data. Queries are joined so that the latest data for all threads is displayed in the lists and to minimize the redundancy of stored data. If the product is uninstalled, then naturally the two added tables are removed.
The product settings are conveniently sub-divided into the following six categories:
Location Of "Featured Threads" List
You may choose to have the featured threads list displayed on every page, either below the navbar or above the footer. You are given the option to exclude any scripts that you choose. For example you may not want the featured threads list to display on pages whose associated script names are inlinemod, member or online.
In addition to displaying the list on all pages, you may choose one or more of the following options:
- Display the list on your forum home page, either above or below the forums.
- Display the list on your forum display pages, either above or below the threads.
- Display the list on your show thread pages, either above or below the posts.
In addition to, or instead of these options, you may choose to display the list on its own static page. If you have chosen to display on all pages, that will naturally be disabled on the static page to prevent duplication of content. You then have the option to either create your own link to the page using the "Navigation Manager" or you may opt to have a link to the page auto-added as either a navtab:
A navlink on the navbar:
Or as a link in either the "Community" or "Quick Links" drop-down menus on the navbar:
Appearance Of "Featured Threads" List
You may choose to give the "Featured Threads" list element a custom title. This title will be used in the header of the list element, as the link text to the static page on the nav bar, and as the page title for the static page.
You may set a maximum height for the list that applies when it shares space with other content, that is, when it is not on the static page. A vertical scroll-bar is introduced when the list is taller than the maximum height you set. This height does not inlude the header element, just the table of data.
You may set the left/right margins of the list element as a percentage of the parent element. For example, if you wish for the list element to be 75% as wide as the parent element, and centered, then you would enter 12.5 for both the left and right margins. If you want the element to still be 75% as wide as the parent, but all the way on the right, then you would enter 25 for the left margin and 0 for the right margin.
You may set the background color for the "Featured Threads" element, using an HTML color picker.
You may define the CSS for the borders of the list element. This includes both the outer border and the inner borders of the table containing the data. The table cells are only given borders on the right.
You are given an HTML color picker for the color of the Forum/Thread links in the list, as well as the option to give any additional CSS for these links. You may also set the alignment for the thread links (left/center/right).
You may choose how the featured threads are sorted (by Thread Id/Thread Title/Date/Time Added To List/Thread Author User Id) and whether to sort in ascending or descending order. Note that when one of your managers imposes an order for the threads, then that ordering will take precedence.
You may chose to include optional thread information to be displayed, including Replies, Views, Last Poster, Forum, and Prefixes. Thread authors and titles are always displayed. The thread author has a tooltip showing when they created the thread. The replies has a tooltip giving a breakdown of everyone who posted in the thread, sorted in descending order by the number of posts, and then by user id in the case of ties in the number of posts. The last poster has a tooltip that shows when they posted that last post. All usernames in both lists (featured threads and nominated threads) are shown using their current HTML markup. And finally the thread has a tooltip showing a preview of the content of the first post. The number of characters is that which you have set in the AdminCP's general settings.
You can set the maximum number of characters of each thread's forum name to be displayed since these can be long and take up a lot of space. To display the complete forum names, set this maximum to zero. All forum titles that are truncated will have a tooltip that shows the complete forum name on mouse hover.
You are given the option to have an alternating row background color be given to the rows (in all thread tables) to make reading each row easier. You may choose either not to have the alternating backgrounds at all, to have them only for your managers who will benefit more from them because of thread selections while managing the list, and for everyone to see them. An HTML color piker allows you to choose this alternate background color.
"Featured Threads" Icon
You may choose to display an image icon for the featured threads in several places. You are given a choice of 5 included icons, or you may upload your own and give its filename in the settings. You must upload your custom icon to the "markfl_featuredthreads/icons" folder. The icons are appropriately sized depending on the location they are displayed.
If you choose to use an icon, then they are displayed in the thread listing when viewing forums, to the immediate right of the thread titles for those threads in the featured threads list.
When viewing a featured thread, the icon(s) are displayed at the top of the page to the immediate right of the thread title below the reply button.
You may choose to give special recognition to the top featured threads, the number of which you decide. If you decide, for example, to recognize the top 3 threads, then the top thread will get 3 icons, then second thread will get 2 icons and the third thread will get 1 icon, all of which are displayed in the featured threads list. These top threads also get their extra icons in the forum display and show thread pages. The icons in all places are given a tooltip indicating their place in the top order.
You are also given the option to recognize the authors of the featured threads by displaying the icon to the left of their username in postbits and on their profile pages. A tooltip indicates that they are a featured thread author and how many currently featured threads they have authored.
Managing The "Featured Threads" List
You may designate users by usergroup and/or by username to be managers of the featured threads list. These users will see a set of controls in the featured threads element that allow them to perform various tasks associated with managing the list. They will see to the far right of each thread title, a small text input element for ordering the threads and a checkbox used for selecting threads for removal from the list. Whenever a checkbox is checked, then that row's opacity changes to 0.5 to make it easier to see which threads are selected.
Below the list, they will see a row of buttons allowing them to open the nominated threads list element (if you have user-nominations turned on), select all threads, invert their selection, restore the default sorting order, reorder the threads based on the values of the text inputs, and remove all selected threads. All actions require a confirmation to help prevent accidents.
If a manager clicks the "Show Nominated" button, then the list of nominated threads will appear. This list is sorted in descending order by the number of nominations it has received. The number of nominations shown has a tooltip showing the list of members that nominated the thread, sorted in ascending order by user id. The thread author is shown, and like in the featured threads list, the author has a tooltip showing the time the thread was created. As with the featured threads list, each thread has a checkbox to the far right for selecting the threads on which to perform actions.
There is a row of buttons below the nominated threads list for selecting all, inverting the selection, creating a poll thread (if you have that option turned on), removing the selected threads from the list and for adding the selected to the featured threads list.
If a manager clicks "Create Poll" a popup appears that allows them to choose to give optional additional comments to clarify the reason for creating the poll, and to temporarily turn off user nominations so that this is suspended while voting occurs.
When a manager clicks "Add Selected" a popup appears that gives them the option to remove all currently featured threads and/or to remove all remaining nominated threads from their respective lists as part of the addition process.
If a manager chooses an action, but has selected no threads, then they are alerted that threads must be selected first before any action can be taken. All actions performed by a manager that results in threads being added or removed from the featured threads list, or changes the displayed order of these threads, are recorded in the moderator log.
You may decide to allow your managers to add/remove threads directly to/from the list as they are viewing threads. If so, then the managers will see a button to the right of the "+ Reply to Thread" button at the top of the page. For threads not on the featured list they will see a button allowing them to add the thread to the list and for threads that are already on the featured threads list, the button will allow them to remove the thread. You may choose to select only certain forums from which threads may be added/removed from the list (this applies to user nominations as well). If a thread from a private or restricted forum is added to the featured threads list, or a featured thread is or becomes in the moderation queue, only users with permission to view the thread will see it in the list.
Any threads deleted by an administrator/moderator will be removed from any table associated with this product to which they belong. Even if a soft-deleted thread is restored, it will have to be manually added back to the featured threads list if that is desired. The nominations data cannot be restored. If you wish to temporarily hide a featured/nominated thread from non-moderators, and have it retain its featured/nominated status, then use the thread approval system instead to place it in the moderation queue.
You are given the ability to designate certain forums where new threads added there are automatically added to the "Featured Threads" list. You can choose also whether the previously added thread is automatically removed at the same time.
User-Nomination Of "Featured Threads"
You may choose to allow all registered users, or only certain usergroups, to be able to nominate threads for the featured threads list. You may also choose to exclude users by user name if you find that they are abusing the system or you simply wish to exclude them from the process for any reason. Those users with permission to nominate threads will see a button to the right of the "+ Reply to Thread" button at the top of the page that allows them to add their nomination. Once they have nominated a thread, they will then see a button that allows them to remove their nomination if they change their mind about the thread.
If you decide to allow user nominations, you are given the option to either allow only threads not on the featured threads list to be nominated or threads that are already featured as well.
You may decide whether to allow users to nominate their own threads, and give a minimum post count before users are allowed to nominate threads.
You may temporarily disable user nominations, which is useful in case voting is going on, and the poll creator neglected to turn off nominations. Also, there may be other reasons you wish to suspend nominations.
You may also choose to exclude certain threads from nominations based on thread prefix. You are given the list of thread prefixes you have defined, and checkboxes to select any prefixes you wish to use to exclude threads.
As part of the user nomination process, you may choose to include threads rated by users via vBulletin's intrinsic thread rating system. If you elect for your managers to consider these threads, you can set the minimum numbers of votes a thread must have before appearing on the list of user rated threads, and you may set the average rating minimum as well. The minimums appear in the block header for the user-rated threads list so your managers are aware of the exact restrictions. You are also given the option whether to allow your managers to remove thread ratings via this product.
Lastly, you may also choose to display the threads which have the most replies, referred to as "Most Replied Threads." You may choose to display either the threads with the most total replies, or the threads with the most distinct posters. You set how many threads to display for potential selection.
Voting Polls For "User-Nominated Threads"
You are given the option to allow your managers to create voting polls from the user-nominated and/or user-rated threads and/or most replied lists. This is useful in the event of a large number of nominations that you wish to narrow down, or a tie for one of the top places, etc. The manager selects the threads to be included in the poll, and then a poll is posted in the forum you designate, which includes an anonymous multi-select poll. The poll options include the thread title, the number of nominations and/or rating/votes data received and/or replies, and the author of the thread.
When creating a poll, your managers are given the option from each list to include the selected threads in the other lists, as long as the other lists are enabled. When creating a poll that includes both user-nominated and user-rated threads and/or most replied threads, the user-nominated threads are listed first, regardless of which list is used to create the poll.
In the body of the post, there is a salutation (or greeting) that you define in the settings, a list of links to all threads in the poll for ease of inspecting these threads, any additional comments the poll creator entered when creating the poll in a quote block, and then the signoff that you have defined in the settings.
The poll threads are given a title of the following form:
Featured Threads Voting (User-Nominated|User-Rated|Most Replied) mm/dd/yyyy
The string "User-Nominated|User-Rated|Most Replied" will only contain the names of the lists from which threads were selected. The date is included so that each title will be unique (unless you are voting more than once per day which I felt was quite unlikely).
- Checks added before queries used to determine if a "Featured Thread" author should have the icon the the left of their name so that a valid userid is present, and a database error is avoided.
- Change made to external script to avoid possible error when creating polls.
- Database error fixed when using sorting options for the featured threads from the settings.
- Fixed other broken queries because of recent changes.
- Fixed minor CSS issues.
- Extra thread information is now displayed in the supplemental lists.
- Added the option to use "Most Replied" threads as candidates for the "Featured Threads" list.
- Fixed typo on settings page.
- Tooltip for thread authors in "Most Replied" list shows correct thread creation date/time.
- Added setting for background color of product elements.
- Added setting for alternate row background color.
- Added setting for whether users can nominate their own threads.
- Added setting for minimum post count requirement for users allowed to nominate threads.
- Added setting that allows the "Most Replied" list to either be by the number of replies or by the number of posters.
- Fixed bug where if no thread prefixes are selected for exclusion from user-nominations, the nomination buttons will still show up.
- Settings sections separated into idividual pages, and now accessible from the AdminCP sidebar.
- Several minor bug fixes.
- When viewing the "User-Rated" threads the voters and their votes are displayed when hovering over the number of votes.
- Thread icons show up to the right of thread titles in search results.
- Added setting to allow maximum length of displayed forum names.
- Fixed bug with collapse button.
- Fixed bad link to forums bug introduced in last update.
- Added setting to designate forums where latest thread posted there is auto-added to "Featured Threads" list, with the option to simultaneously auto-remove the previously added thread.
Tested and working on VB 4.2.x and should work on all 4.x versions of vBulletin.
This product alters your database by adding two tables, however it is always good practice to make regular backups and you should make a backup before installing ANY new mod.
As always, products are USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. I will provide support and do my best to help but no absolute guarantee is offered. All suggestions/requests for improvement are appreciated and welcome, and will be given serious consideration for future updates.
- Download and extract the attached .zip file.
- Upload the contents of the "upload" folder to your forum's root directory.
- Follow AdminCP ► Plugins & Products ► Manage Products ► Add/Import Product.
- Click on "Choose File" and browse to the product .xml file that was packaged in the .zip file.
- Click "Import."
- You MUST enable the product in the settings before it will function.
- Configure the remaining settings to your liking. Each setting has a detailed explanation of its use.