TSL Update: vBulletin forums are now shut down

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We here at TSL have decided to shut down the vBulletin boards, and steer our users exclusively to our threaded boards for message board commentary and discussion.

The rest of this article is divided into four sections that explain the decision and what it means for the site:

  • What does this mean?
  • Why is TSL doing this?
  • What happens next?
  • Can we talk about this?

Read on, and skip any sections you’re not interested in.

What does this mean?

  • Our vBulletin forums, effectively immediately, are shut down and will no longer accept new posts or registrations.
  • We’ll leave the archived vBulletin posts up, so they will be indexed by search engines and will serve as a valuable archive of past discussions.
  • The subscriber vBulletin forum archives are now opened up to non-subscribers and are no longer walled off.
  • The vBulletin boards will no longer be included in our site navigation. You can find them here, and we’ll leave a link to the archives in our “Message Boards” menu for a while, but eventually we’ll remove that, too.
  • We’ll add the necessary boards to our threaded board system to round out our offerings in that format.

That will get everyone talking in the same place, which is what many of you have said we should do all along.

Why is TSL doing this?

We realize there’s a ton of history here — two years’ worth — and a lot has been said (a lot) in those two years about what board system we should use, whether we can split the user base like we did, etc. There have been more polls and more discussions than we can count in the last two years.

We are NOT interested in rehashing those discussions. Nonetheless, we thought you would be interested in our reasoning. (Or maybe not, in which case you can stop reading right now.)

Ultimately, we decided to nix the vBulletin forums and go with the threaded “chat” boards for the following reasons – we’ll expand upon each one in more detail.

  • Those of you who said it would split the user base up too much are correct.
  • Having multiple places to comment spread us here at TSL too thin.
  • vBulletin doesn’t play well with our other software.
  • People gravitate more towards the threaded boards.
  • Our threaded boards are different. No one else has them.

For more explanation of these points, read on. Otherwise, scroll down till you see “What Happens Next?”

1.)  Those of you who said it would split the user base up too much were correct.

Our comments/posts are now split up into at last three areas: article comments, threaded chat boards, and vBulletin forums. Add in Twitter, and there are just too many places for our users to go to interact with us and each other.

Those of you who warned us that a dual board system would do that were correct. We never said you were wrong, we just wanted to give it a try before making a final decision.

2.) Having multiple places to comment spread us here at TSL too thin.

I think this is as big a problem, perhaps bigger, than #1. Chris Horne and Chris Coleman and I now have to look in all the places that are listed in #1, plus answer emails, plus answer texts, plus answer phone calls.

Our users ask us questions and make comments all the time, everywhere, in all these different places, and it’s very, very difficult to do a good job of answering everyone’s questions in all these different venues.

And posting each article in all these different places — we haven’t even mentioned Facebook — is also a pain after the 500th time. And before you ask, we currently can’t automate the process. It’s manual.

3.) vBulletin doesn’t play well with our other software.

vBulletin is a good discussion forum, but it doesn’t integrate well with our other software that we use. Just ask our subscribers who renewed their subscriptions, got booted from the pay vBulletin forums, and had to email us to get hooked back up. We can’t find and fix this bug. And it’s just one of many problems associated with vBulletin.

vBulletin has caused us a lot of headaches since we installed it in January 2012, mostly because it’s a HUGE piece of software with a ton of capability we’ll never use, and we have no control over it. None. Because it’s not our software. There are things that go on that we simply can’t control or stop. (“Cheap jersey, very nice quality” anyone?)

The threaded chat boards, which we have spent a lot of time and money modernizing from what they used to be, are completely in our control. We can make them efficient, we can add features if we want, and we can control how they tie in to all our other software. And most importantly, if there’s a problem, we can fix it quickly ourselves.

4.) People gravitate more towards the threaded boards.

We’ve always liked the deeper-discussion aspect of the vBulletin forums, which allows a very detailed, in-depth exchange of ideas and opinions. But as you can tell from the success of Twitter, the ability to fire off — and read — quick comments creates a more dynamic, engaging environment.

In other words, the majority of people like the threaded boards better. They’re drawn to them, in a way that they’re not drawn to vBulletin. I won’t bore you with tons of traffic statistics that support this, but I will say this: overall, since the new year, page views on the threaded boards outnumber page views on the vBulletin forums by a 9.3 to 1 margin.

On the subscriber side, the page views on the threaded chat boards outnumber the vBulletin boards 34 to 1. Not everyone prefers the threaded boards, but most do. Especially our subscribers.

And as I write this late on a Sunday night, the threaded boards have received 144 posts in the last 1.5 hours. The vBulletin boards have received 11.

In addition, we have the ability to watch real-time statistics, and at any given time, there are 7 to 8 times as many people on the threaded boards as there are on the vBulletin forums.

Last … and definitely not least…

5.) Our threaded boards are different. No one else has them.

Our “space” as we say in the Internet world is getting very, very crowded. New sites and networks spring up every day. And they all have either article comments, or linear (vBulletin-style) message boards, or both … but no one has threaded “chat” boards like what we’ve got.

That makes them a competitive advantage, or at the very least, a competitive difference, something that we do that other people don’t do. Love it or hate it, it’s different.

So we’re going to keep them, emphasize them, and hang our hat on them. That means pulling the plug on vBulletin forums.

What happens next?

First, we’ll shut down the vBulletin boards as described in the “What does this mean?” section above.

Over the next few months, we have some enhancements planned for the threaded boards that will make them display better on mobile devices, add in some much-needed functionality like an edit feature and social networking capability, and more.

We’re also going to take a look at adding the capability to expand and collapse threads, and the ability to view an entire thread at once (without having to click-click-click). We’re going to code a widget that will display the hottest threads on the home page, and we’re going to add some code that will show the most recent posts across our board system all on one page …

You get the idea. There are a TON of things we can code our threaded boards to do that they currently don’t do. The challenge is to do that, while still keeping them easy to use, fast and stable.

So what you see with the threaded chat boards is NOT what you get. We’ll be working on them and improving them over time, not just in the next few months, but … forever.

Can we talk about this?

Actually, no. TechSideline.com has aired waaaay too much laundry on this topic in the last two years. There’s been way too much ranting, cajoling, criticism, encouragement and advice in the last two years. Let’s put all that aside and get back to talking Tech sports … on threaded “chat” boards .. which will now just be called “message boards” by the way. It’s back to the future for us.

If this makes you angry, and you’re going to cancel your subscription, or … do whatever, we totally understand. That’s your prerogative. We can’t make everyone happy and have made too many mistakes and spent too much time and money trying to. So we understand if you go elsewhere, and best wishes.

Thanks for your time, support and feedback for the last two years, and we’re eagerly looking forward to moving onward and improving the site.

 

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114 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Oh, wow! That new What’s New button on the message boards is awful! There’s no hint as to what the topic (Original post in the thread) is about, so it looks like a series of one liners all completely out of context. I can’t see any way that’s helpful at all. The What’s New button without the Topic View is complete gobbledygook, I’m sorry to say.

  2. Someone needs to explain to me how the threaded boards are like Twitter. The threaded boards require someone to click on individual posts in order to read the complete posts and then hit the “back” button in oder to return to the main board. Or, you can navigate back using the button at the top of the thread.

    When you click on a tweet, all of the tweets that are related to the main tweet are right there. You can read them in their entirety. It’s the massive amount of clicking and page loading that is difficult to deal with when reading the threaded boards.

    The advantage of the VBulletin boards is identical to what works about Twitter. You can read a large number of related posts all at the same time without having to click for more information or to read posts in their entirety. Twitter works the same way. The benefit of the VBulletin is that you aren’t relegated to character limits and can therefore fully express a point of view.

    1. Threaded boards are like Twitter in that they promote quick bursts of information. Many posts are contained within the subject line. Typing out a long, thought-out reply is a waste of time. By the time you finish the thread is halfway down the page and nobody is seeing it.

  3. Doesn’t matter to me…either style is Ok.

    I will say this, however, at some point when the chat boards were re-introduced, there was a critical mass of posts on the chat boards that cause me to click over there to see the latest poop.

    Soon, I wasn’t reading much on the VB.

    I will miss the “What really happened to Greenburg” thread though. 🙂 🙂

  4. I can’t remember, but in 2012 was there just vbulletin? Then threaded was added? Once the threaded boards were added I gravitated towards them more. At the beginning of this past season I used vbulletin almost exclusively. Bt the end of the season I rarely viewed the vbulletin boards. The stats are pretty overwhelming. This was a good decision.

  5. Apparently some of you guys don’t understand business (or, more likely, you didn’t fully read and comprehend the article and the statistics therein.) If 90% of your customers/users prefer some product or service, and that’s the one that best fits your business model and infrastructure, then why continue an unproductive product/service that is also a resource hog, that only gets 10% of the utilization?

    1. No, I fully understand it was a business decision. And my decision is to not participate on the message boards.

      1. This. I tried to go back to the threaded view again today and I just cannot do it. It hurts my eyes to try to read what’s going on. The site should’ve been 100% converted to vBulletin instead of split. But hey, TSL gotta pay the bills.

  6. I migrated over to the VBs when they were implemented and it was a struggle. I ended up posting one hell of a lot less and visiting TSL a lot less as a result. Other friends who post here did the same, we’d even talk about it at work.
    I’ve been here since the Hokiecentral days, understood change was needed based on the rationale put forward by the TSL staff but didn’t like it. However, i didn’t throw a tantrum and run away like some of the posts above. I came back because, by and large, this is a good online community. Those posters above feeling cheated and deprived? Come on, strap on your big boy shoes and come on back to the fun. You know this is a good board.
    I will say that I think TSL has been in need of something – the board frequently hosts seem short of patience and now I think we know why. They were spread too thin catering to two different formats. This change should mean a more efficient, and that staff translates into better content. How can this be a bad thing?

  7. I imagine this will cut down on my site usage considerably. It’s not just the fact that the “chat” boards are set up to have the same info pop up over and over and over. It’s the fact that TSL apparently values the people who left more than the people who stayed. Been a subscriber for over 10 years but I’m not sure I’m going to renew. Between the flip flopping on the boards and the overall rampant negativity it’s just not worth it anymore. I understand the decision but like I said, I think it’s kind of lame to cater to the customers who left. As far as the VB forums not being as popular, it didn’t help that the TSL admins started posting almost exclusively on the chat boards as soon as they came back.

    1. How can you say that? Caters to “customers who left”? I am sorry but I don’t get it. “customers who left” do not skew traffic by 9-1 margin… they have left…

      1. Will has made mention of the large drop in visitors, subscribers, etc. when the change was made from “Chat” to vBulletin boards. I believe he’s also said that by bringing back Chat boards, he hopes to get some of those visitors back.

        I’m paraphrasing, but obviously others took that away from previous comments as well.

        1. Pretty much this. As far as the traffic margin goes, it’s hard to tell without seeing the data but the chat boards definitely encourage more “clicks”. And like I said, the TSL staff being on the chat boards almost exclusively since they were brought back certainly helped to skew the numbers.

  8. I personally think its a good decision – having two sets of boards is too much of a hassle, and when I went to Vbulletin boards I rarely noticed any new posts. However, there was one feature of Vbulletin that I really enjoyed – the ability to hover your mouse over the post and see a pop-up of the post without clicking it (to see if it was worth reading or not). Any chance something like this is possible to code into the threaded boards? It is annoying to click on a message and have say like 2-3 words or whatever.

    1. Just because the same topics were at the top of the board doesn’t mean there weren’t new posts. This is problem thread users never got used to. Topics stayed alive by bumping threads back to the top. They didn’t scroll off as long as people still posted in them, and that was most definitely a GOOD THING. This is the main reason I won’t go back to the threaded boards.

      1. Yeah … it would be nice if popular threads didn’t fall off the board. But every time I checked the VB boards, it was the same threads at the top, so I almost never wound up clicking to see if anything was new. At least with the chat boards, you will instantly see the new stuff, because every post is on the main page.

        A feature that I don’t know if vBulletin has, but which I use all the time on UWS is to go straight to the first unread post. On UWS, threads with unread posts get a different icon and if you click it, you go straight to the first unread post, so that makes me more likely to click on a thread I have already visited before – I don’t have to read through 20 posts to find out what’s new.

  9. This is just my personal opinion, but I love the threaded format. Always have, and that’s what kept me coming back to TSL since its inception. Doing away with the vBulletin boards won’t affect me since I barely visited them, since I just plain ol’ disliked the fact that it would kick older topics to the top of the board when a new comment was posted. I like being able to quickly scan all the subject lines in the threaded format, intuitively know in what chronological order they appear, and then click on whatever subject line interests me if want more in-depth commentary from that poster.

    From a business perspective, I have no idea whether this is a good move, but it seems natural to kill the vBulletins when they’re getting trounced this badly in page views by the traditional boards.

    In any case, I really appreciate all the work you guys put into this site. Thanks Will and Chris for keeping it running for all these years!

  10. As Hillary would say, “what difference does it make”, you guys do such a good job on content. I bet a lot of those who say they are leaving will hang in for comment on that and maybe chime in some on the board too. Keep on truckin, better days ahead for HokieNaion and it will be fun reading and chatting about it on TSL!

  11. Good riddance.

    The reason that everyone else has vB boards is because they implemented them in the 90s or early 2000s and they are now legacy.

    They are a terrible user experience in every way.

    1. Agree….they feel old.

      The chat format created creates a small sense of urgency to drop by tsl to see what is going on before it goes away.

  12. I’ll chime in, I feel it is a step backwards that makes it difficult to browse on a phone and follow conversations as they will simply scroll off. There is zero ability to subscribe to a thread and zero ability for notifications. That might be fine for someone chained to a PC; however, we are now a mobile society. Giving me new features and now taking those features away is not progress; It’s decontenting. Be careful guys.

    1. Agree 100%. And I don’t have internet access at work. I get home in the evening, and if there was an interesting discussion that has already worked its way down to page 2, or even near the bottom of page 1… well, there probably isn’t much sense even reading it. Because if I have something to contribute, no one will ever read it anyway once the thread falls off the first page. I dealt with that for years on the old boards and loved the fact that I could come late to a discussion and still contribute on the Vb boards.

      And, as you say, the new boards are simply not as friendly for smartphone and tablet viewing as Tapatalk made the Vb boards. I am off work today for MLK day, and went to get my oil changed. Brought my tablet and surfed (via Chrome) on it in the waiting room. The experience just wasn’t as easy as it was on the other boards with Tapatalk. To read a thread you have to keep clicking on every post, (and I had to expand the size of the screen so that my fingers could select one post and not accidentally fat-finger one right above or below it). I know I don’t have to click on posts with asterisks telling me there is no content, but there are a lot of posts where there is maybe one sentence of content and having to click on each one to read it all is as efficient as eating crab meat… a lot of work for a small amount of food.

      Then when you are done with the thread you have to go to the top, click on the main board link, and then of course if you want to see a thread below the one you were on before, you have to then scroll all the way down the board to get to the next thread.

      All this wasn’t as big an issue in the “old days” when I only accessed TSL via a desktop computer/mouse. But I gravitate more and more away from my desktop as time goes by. I am now making my smartphone my primary e-mail box. For years I would often sit at a desk in a desk chair in the corner of my living room rather than the comfortable couch, because I liked to surf TSL and OrioleHangout (which is a great Vb board by the way) while watching sports on TV. Well, now that I have a tablet, I’m sitting on the couch. I may even move the desktop out of the living room and into a den/office type room because I no longer have the need to be on it while watching TV. So I am reaching a point where 80+% of what I do on the web is via tablet or phone. Amd that number will only go up.

      1. Me too. Just like MEHOKIE and Steve, I use all sorts of mobile devices to access TSL, including iPad, Kindle, and my phone. I sincerely hope that, in addition to mobile-friendly UI, threaded boards would get some of the rich-text editing functionality as well.

  13. Yes, Iam one of those older out of touch people. I tried VB with all I had. Learned how to navgiate VB and enjoyed it to a degree. But all of a sudden VB seened to get smaller and the Chat boards larger and in my case more enjoyabe. I found myself liking the chat boards more and more where I could see the post I wanted to respond to. I got to enjoying this method as did most posters. Thanks Will and look forward to the changes you have in mind for the theaded board. These guys are too much fun no matter what board. Will certainly STAY.

  14. 2 years ago you told us we needed to switch to vBulletin because the chat format was unsupportable going forward. Now, you reward all those who loyally followed you at that time by stabbing them in the back to cater towards those who refused to switch.

    As a subscriber who let his subscription lapse because of this waffling and someone who contributed over 2k comments in a very short time on the vBulletin forum, this is incredibly insulting. Going to take a long while before you see me back, if ever.

    Remember this series of events when you’re looking for new work in 2015.

    1. The old format “chat” boards were indeed unsupportive going forward. It was not a lie. It was a fact. The new “chat” boards that you see, are not built on an old “chat” boards architecture, they look the same but the platform behind it is different. vBull boards were given ample time to grow, but the traffic dropped off, indicating users did not welcome the change.

      Thank you for contributing 2K worth of comments on vB. You don’t need to be antagonistic in your farewell. Good luck.

      RH

      1. Except he’s right. They begged and pleaded on bended knees for us to make the effort and switch over. When the board first switched, I was an AVID threaded user and was almost militant about not using the linear view. But after enough begging and pleading (and hinting that eventually the thread overlay would disappear) I decided to make the switch. It took me all of three days to decide the topic/linear view was far superior and there was no going back to the thread view. Ever.

        He has every right to feel betrayed. I don’t blame him one bit. I’m not going to be giving the site any extra page views by clicking a new page every time I want to read another post. I was loading them 40 at a time and I saw nothing wrong with that.

        1. Yep, and instead of showing gratification towards those who actually did make the switch and followed them to vBulletin, Will & Chris almost immediately started to focus more on those that they lost and what they could do to get them back instead of trying to continue toward building to the future. and taking what they had and growing upon it.

          It became very clear very early on that those of us who moved over to vBulletin were not viewed upon very highly by those in charge. Our needs were always secondary, even when we did everything we could to be the forerunners on the TSL expansion into the future, as we were told at the time. They were more concerned with what they didn’t have than what they did, and now we’re completely dropped off on the wayside because Will & Chris are trying to complete the desperate grab to regain what they claim to have lost. Its a step backwards while slapping those who remained loyal in the face by telling them that posters like hokie80 are more important than they are.

          TechSideLine would make for an excellent case study in how to completely and utterly bungle up a transition from old to new. They managed to not only fracture a user base, but managed to tick off and drive away members of both sides of the road in the end. Truly remarkable.

          1. Oh God…does this mean hokie80 is going to come back?

            That alone would make me drop my subscription.

            I for one liked the vB format. I hope the conference realignment board is revived in some way.

        2. Like-wise, I made the switch to vB and found a way for it to work for me, I even used my own stylesheet (to make links underline, visited, and bolded some parts of text to my liking). I am comfortable in both.

          Yes, they did asked for review and feedback. However, very few actually took time to evaluate vB before the switch to it was made. The “begging and pleading” happened because majority of users apparently hated vB, yet they were not forthcoming to provide that feedback prior to switch.

          Again, vB was given a chance. For a long time that was an exclusive format here on TSL. Old ‘chat’ boards were a thing of history, but… the users still did not welcome it. Again, I can only speak for myself, and I am comfortable with both. Others are not and have their preferences.

          I am not here to convince you about “chat” boards but I honestly did not like the tone of NCHokie83 post. It was not necessary. If NCHokie83 prefers to leave, that is users right. It is not a betrayal. It is a decision forced on TSL by user-traffic patterns. They do not have a staff of 100 people…

          anyway, that’s just my 2 cents.

        3. Yes, they begged and pleaded for us to use the vBulletin boards. And their customers still preferred the threaded format. What is so wrong with altering your business model based on what your customers demonstrate they want? Once the customer has spoken, the business must listen.

          Except for hiring Bill Cosby as a pitch man, just look at vBulletin as TSL’s version of New Coke. Sure seemed like a good idea at the time, but the customers just weren’t impressed.

    2. Good Lord. It’s not a “stab in the back” to discontinue a lightly used service. Personally, I didn’t care which format survived – I just didn’t like the dual boards. Yeah, it sucks to lose some of the VB features (most notably Tapatalk), but ultimately, it’s a lot easier to follow things when there’s one place to look for football news, not two.

    3. Will – I will now pay for a subscription because you found a way to push NoHokie83 off the board.
      +1 baby! GO Hokies!

    4. Good riddance NoHokie66…dont go away mad – just go away…you are not a nice person. I hope your VT degree keeps paying your bills cause your personality will get you canned.

  15. Fantastic decision, Will! If you really think about it, HC’s original threaded boards were very simple and user friendly. They catered to the moment instead of discussing and discussing and discussing. They were more grounded in the present. “Dag gummit, I can’t believe that….” What you had in the beginning was cutting edge and unique. As people evolved with technology, they moved beyond without thinking what they left behind. With this decision, you are poised, with your content infrastructure, to retain your dominance in the realm.

    1. Dominance?

      There’s a reason that TSL is viewed upon as a joke in the fan forum sector. The Chat forums are widely regarded as terrible throughout that market. This is a backwards decision that will cost them dearly in the long term.

      1. I think not.

        This is the product of market study and the ultimate realization of what the community, on the whole, wants.

        Joke…No way. TSL is the go-to place for VT news and information.

        The challenge for Will and company will be to shepherd the product through the difficult football and basketball times in which we find ourselves.

      2. That’s not a fact. It is a response to on-line traffic patterns. Moreover, new community platforms like Disqus are using “threaded” views, so, please… just ask high traffic volume sites like Fox and CNN… they all use either Disqus or Disqus-type format.

        Heck, vB may be indeed the best form of forum for some sites. TSL tried it, gave it ample time, but for whatever reason the user traffic does not seem to support that format.

        It is what it is…

      3. Whoa…wait a minute. There’s a “fan forum sector” that actually discusses different message boards in a manner to even consider “TSL a joke”?

  16. I did not use vboard, because it required me to sign in. I am usually in hurry, and looking for an update. I did like looking up comments w/o opening the whole comment.

  17. I think the threaded “chat” format is complete and utter crap.

    And if there were someplace better to go I would already be gone. But all of the other VT boards are either overpriced or not very active. So I guess I’ll stay here as long as the article content continues to be high quality.

    Congrats to TSL for being the least ugly girl at the dance.

    1. This site is not just about the “chat” stuff. There’s wealth of content besides message boards. If you clamor for in-depth discussion, you are perfectly capable of doing just that on each article, thus making commentary within context. Yes, the dynamic of article commentary is different from vB, but the ability to have in-depth discussion is still there.

        1. More power to ya! Good to hear that! I think you will find “article discussions” just as fulfilling as any vB or Chat stuff.

  18. I rarely post on articles or message boards, but would have eventually accepted the VBulletin boards had there been no alternative. I tend to read 90% to 100% of the articles and messages on the site. After the threaded boards were restored, I never went back to the vBulletin boards, because I just like the threaded boards better. I thought I was in the minority on this but I geuss not. I have been with TSL since the 90’s and I doubt I will ever leave this site behind no matter what the format becomes in the future as long as the content remains.

  19. I grew to like the vBulletin forums. It made it easier to go into deep discussion with certain posts. It made sense for forums like Conference Realignment. I spent 90% of my time there. The threaded boards are good if you have attention deficit disorder. Some good posts get lost in the threaded forum among meaningless posts. A good forum to look at is the Orange Fan forum. It’s easy to navigate and keeps the popular posts alive. I understand your decision and hopefully I can readjust to the threaded boards. I’m disappointed, but being a Hokie fan, that’s to be expected.:)

  20. My condolences to those who truly preferred the vBulletin format, but as a threaded chat lover, I am ecstatic!!! I will miss anyone who decides to split, and I hope that most posters will hang in there. The threaded chat can certainly accommodate discussions as well as drive-by posts. Thank you Will, Chris and Chris for TSL. We have loved the site from day one and continue to visit it multiple times a day. GO HOKIES!!

  21. Translation: “The threaded boards are so inefficient that people have to click/refresh nonstop, which means more page views, which means more ad revenue for TSL”.

    For those of you who think “Germans bomb…” jokes never get old, enjoy your new (old?) message board. Those of us not stuck in 1994 will be headed elsewhere.

    1. I am staying. I am staying not because I am stuck in 1994. I can use either format ambidextrously (for a lack of better word). There’s no need to belittle or condescend. Thank you for being part of TSL while you could. Good luck in the future.

    2. FWIW – I’ve been using the chat boards predominately since they were re-introduced. I have yet to see the “Germans bomb…” joke uttered on there. Odd, because I thought the same thing…but it just hasn’t occurred that I have seen.

  22. So wait, does this mean we can’t post on the old vBulletin forum anymore? Where do we login to the new vBulletin area?

  23. I participated in both boards, but I can say I spent much of my time on the threaded forums simply because of the higher amount of activity and topic turnover. For me the vB boards had one or two threads that interested me, but that was about it.

    I also noticed that the vB activity was centered on the same posters. I hope they can migrate back to the threaded boards because I appreciated some of their input.

  24. I used the vBulletin boards, but I have no problem just using the other format.

    Not a big deal to me.

  25. I’m not thrilled with the subscriber archives becoming public/googlable. You’ve got two years of posts from users believing that they were posting in a closed forum and now those posts are wide open to the public? I would bet that there are posts where people have given out their email address or other such things that you would prefer not show up in Google attached to your TSL user name.

    1. If anyone reports such an instance to us, we’ll gladly delete it.

      If you read the article, you’ll note that there is a problem with getting vBulletin’s subscriber-protect feature to cooperate with our other software. Any time anyone renews a subscription, they are removed from the vBulletin access list, and we have to add them back in manually. We don’t want to do that in perpetuity, so we decided to open those boards up.

      By the way, BigDave, I imagine you’ll be getting some new traffic on your board because of this.

      1. Will, but Dave is right in principle. Subscriber boards carried some info in them (insider information, for example) that some posters were making available expecting at least some sort of privacy. I would not feel comfortable seeing the subscriber forums becoming publicly archived…

        1. I turned them into private boards, accessible only to the Subscriber group. So this should take care of the issue.

          1. [quote]I turned them into private boards, accessible only to the Subscriber group. So this should take care of the issue.[/quote]

            Thanks, Will.

      2. I don’t think there’s anyone who just visits UWS for the sports coverage. There is a sports board on UWS, but that’s really only for the purpose of keeping sports spoilers out of the politics board. (I hate nothing more than when I’m watching a game on DVR delay and someone posts a spoiler on a non-sports board.) TSL is still the best place to go for VT sports discussion, and I hope that it remains so.

    2. This is definitely a betrayal of trust. There is a responsibility to maintain privacy. If the site can not or will not retain privileged information in the same context it was shared, there is an obligation to delete it.

  26. It makes sense to go to one message board method. Unfortunately, I think it is the wrong one. The vBulletin board is so much more efficient, and I’m sure it would have done just fine if the chat board was shut down.

    “Are threaded boards are different. No one else has them” – There is a reason for that. Threaded boards aren’t a new technology. They’ve been replaced by EVERYONE else because they’re ancient and less efficient. One topic can cover an ENTIRE page.

    You guys had to make the decision, and it is completely understandable. I’ll continue to participate in the site. I just remember being excited about the vBulletin when it was introduced and I am AMAZED that it has not been successful on this site. It seriously blows my mind.

    1. Yeah, I don’t it either. I can’t fathom how graduates of the school that invented the smart road and the electronic village can’t move on past that ancient board format. Oh well… not gonna let it bother me. Folks that need to reach me know how to do that.

    2. Interesting, all these other sites have upgraded to the “new technology”, but the numbers suggest that people prefer the old technology. Sometimes people just resist change, ok most all the time and almost all people resist change. But sometimes the “new” thing just isn’t as much of an improvement as people want to believe. Adopting something just because it is the newest, latest thing doesn’t always work. Personally, I liked the new boards just fine, never complained and never had a problem with them when they were the only option. I didn’t miss the old threaded boards when they were replaced. But, when the site was updated and I had the option of either, I found myself using the “old” threaded boards most of the time. I could go either way, but in practice I discovered the threaded was my preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Maybe other sites “upgraded” to the newest technology too quickly.

      1. If I wanted to participate in that kind of “discussion” I’d get a Twitter account and spend all day tweeting. I much prefer the more in-depth discussions that continue on for days in the same thread rather than having to rehash the same post over and over and over AND FRICKIN OVER again because it keeps scrolling off the front page into Oblivion where it’s obviously never seen because I have to answer the same stupid question that’s already been answered 150 times.

        The fact is I do NOT have a Twitter account and I don’t particularly want one.

    3. Maybe I’m alone on this (although I seriously doubt it), but I honestly would have cancelled my subscription and stopped visiting TSL if it had shut down the threaded board. And not out of spite or anything; I just can’t get used to the vBulletin boards and much prefer the threaded boards.

    4. Why do people keep saying that boards with high turn-over of material are “ancient”. That is what Twitter is. High turn-over, quick-fire, from-the-hip, John Wayne-Jet Li style… In depth discussions? New generations don’t seem to embrace them. Look at CNN-FOX-Al Jazeera-France24-RT-Twitter-Facebook-etc forums.

      Despite constant claims that next generation of fans is embracing vB, the numbers support the opposite. People (across the internet) seem to gravitate toward chat-style, short-attention span discussion. I like in-depth discussions. However, I think that vB technology is the one that is actually archaic or in danger of becoming one, a good product that is still useful and fairly widely implemented, a by-product of late 90s-early 00s…

      1. Sorry, but that is incorrect. Twitter and message boards serve very different purposes. For message boards, vBulletin clearly dominates the internet.

        1. Not in my experience. Take a look at CNN, just as an example of high traffic site (I don’t care about their politics). Their user commentary is threaded. Again, vB is great for extended discussions on topics that can be resurrected from abyss. However, to claim that vB is somehow more modern than threaded is erroneous, in my opinion. Like you said, the two different formats serving two different purposes. Apparently traffic on TSL is gravitating toward quick exchange (Twitter-style dynamic) and you can’t convince me that Twitter is an outdated tech not embraced by younger crowd.

          For the record, I am comfortable with either format. I guess, I am the “missing-link” evolutionary speaking. LOL!

          RH

  27. Will, kudos to you guys making a firm, informed decision. It’s not easy to drop things into the “sunk cost” bucket. Although it was probably a very costly lesson, you probably learned a lot about your business and the behavior of your consumers. Hopefully you guys can parlay that knowledge into future growth opportunities.

  28. I support the decision to merge the conversation into one. And agree that online conversations are morphing back to a style more compatible to the old boards. Looking forward to some of the tweaks you will be implementing over the next few months.

    1. the past says “all things change”.

      if you leave this site then you are missing out.

      this place is the nexus between 2 great VT guys (1 a “novelist”, 1 “wikipedia before there was one”) and our beloved Hokie Nation (who they have always shown respect for, minus the drunk kid at his 1st taigate).

      this place has soul.
      this place gives fandome meaning.

      suffice it to say, I’ll never leave – never.

      1. Oh, I’m keeping my subscription! I don’t pay to use the boards. I could’ve don that for free. I pay to read the content. And my commentary will be under the content. I will not be on the message boards though.

        1. done*

          Obviously Will needs to see about putting an dadgum EDIT FUNCTION on these comments! That was one of the main reasons I limited my board participation to the vB Boards. That and the topic/Linear format is just easier to read, but I digress.

  29. That’s a shame. It appears most of my TSL commentary will be under articles from here on out. It’s been a lot of fun these last 15 years, but it’s time to move on from the message boards. Take it easy!

  30. I liked vBulletion board but if It’s gone, It’s gone . The articles and content they provide is the main reason I’m here. And see no reason to do anything less. You guys keep up the good work.

    1. vB provided an opinion forum, but it was TSL that provides articles and content (home page?). If you decide to go, it is totally in your right. However, I think you are leaving for the wrong reasons… or maybe I have misinterpreted your message.

  31. Not happy about this.I liked the vBulletin boards because, you could preview your posts,when doing a link.

  32. I can’t say it matters one way or the other to me as a TEL subscriber for 7 years now its about the Content. I could care less what Joe or Billy Bob at home have to say 😉

  33. I won’t be cancelling my subscription or anything like that.

    But this is a disappointment.

    More and more, I am gravitating away from my PC and towards doing things on my phone and table. The VB boards are very easy to access via Tapatalk from those devices, the other boards are not.

    And that trend is only going to continue. I probably will not buy another desktop or laptop… by the time this one is ready to die, tables will probably be able to do just about everything this can do now.

    The ONLY reason I have been posting on the other boards is because that is where the people are. Just not as many people to talk to on the VB boards, as you have well documented.

    I guess we are all there now.

    1. Try setting a bookmark link on your phone to a tsl boards.. I’ve found it just as easy as tapatalk doing it that way. They’ve made it mobile friendly

  34. Disappointed to say the least. The reason why the traffic count is so much higher during the new year is because the ‘anchors’ or ‘feature’ posters all reside on the chat boards. A skewed statistic if there ever was one.

    I’ve been posting on TSL for over ten years now and I was elated when we grew up and become a real world message board. The subscribers board was the only reason why I paid my annual subscription, and I have no interest in returning to 2005. I will not be refreshing my browser and opening multiple tabs and thus giving TSL multiple page views as an encouragement for a technological regression. I wonder how much this has to do with money and that VBulletin curtailed the page views that this site desperately needs to function.

    This move is representative of TSL and the culture of curmudgeon that it has become. It caters to a group of fans that are older, more set in their ways, and less technologically friendly. It will do nothing but push the under-30 crowd away to other more relevant destinations (TKP). A fateful day for sure.

    1. Oh so many things. The numbers are what they are….they’re not skewed, I don’t think it’s some kind of conspiracy theory.The only reason you subscribe is because of the vbulletin subscribers board? You’re missing out on a lot of info.You understand the page views tsl desperately needs to function…yet you blame them for making a competent business decision???? Its not a real world message board bc the vbulletin board has proven to be useless? Caters to a culture of curmudgeon? Seriously? And finally, “a fateful day for sure”. Bit overdramatic, don’t you think? I can’t tell if you’re joking or not……

  35. I’m sorry to see the vBulletin boards go as I much prefer that format. That said, if no one is posting on them they are pretty useless, and you could see that coming. One set of boards is the right thing for TSL, and the inmates have voted so to speak. I’ll stick around, as I’ve said before my subscription is for the content you guys provide. And with a little luck, the enhancements you are talking about will address my biggest issues with the threaded boards. Best of luck, it is a business decision that had to be made.

    Cheers,

    Bobby

  36. Good news. I NEVER saw the appeal of the vBulletin boards. I associate that format with smack talk boards, maybe because that’s what I’ve seen on other teams’ sites. The ability to see who is replying to whom, & what order comments were made on, makes all the difference for the threaded boards. When I want to go back through a discussion at work, I turn Outlook to conversation view, which…ta da! …looks like the threaded boards.

  37. Well that’s it for me. I don’t need this Back to the Future crap. I wonder if in a few years, you will re-institute vBulletin in order to bring back all the people you lose today.

      1. Content is lost in a threade,d non moving format. The huge problem
        with the threaded boards here is they don’t refresh active threads to the top so actual discussion is impossible. Fifty threads started on the same topic is a waste of time to sorth through and they make the boards high noise, low signal.

        1. A lot of the guys who have commented negatively on this announcement/article are the same guys I’ve enjoyed jaw-boning with, reading their posts and opinions, picking their minds, and yes, sometimes even arguing with.

          It will be interesting to see how the chat boards (which could be called “click boards”) evolve. Right now they are very cumbersome on many levels. So I’ll be around, but very quiet.

        2. Please re read the article. They are adding in those features.. New threads to the top.. Expand collapse.. Etc.

          1. Please re-read my post. Did you see the word “evolve” in my post? Saying they “are adding in those features” means it isn’t that way rite now. vB is that way, rite now.

  38. Sad. I can’t say that I will stop visiting the site, but I will most likely post even less than I currently do simply because the threaded view makes my head hurt. When you say that no one else has a board like that, there’s a reason for that. That argument works when your innovating. That doesn’t really apply here, but I could be wrong. I understand your decision, and you’ve got to pay the bills. I wish nothing but the best for TSL and will continue my subscription for as long as I can economically (earning pesos sucks). One thing though. It would have been nice to have at least a little warning of when the plug was going to be pulled. I think we all knew it was coming, but I literally posted 30 minutes ago, and now that discussion is dead. Again, I get it. I know the message board thing has been a fiasco ever since the change was first made. Best of luck, and I hope it works out.

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