A Tale of Two Forums

9645 hits Updated: 12 October 2015

Who uses Kunena as a support forum?

Do I need Kunena any more?

Joomla-based forum products

First impressions of Chronoforums

The verdict: Kunena or Chronoforums?

What′s next?

This is the story of a journey I am taking. I have a rough idea where I am heading but I feel like an explorer heading into unchartered territory with only a rough map sketched on a torn scrap of paper as my guide.  By the time I have finished writing this ar­ticle I will not have completed my journey; this is only the beginning but, I hope, others may benefit from reading my story.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us ...Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859

People may be curious as to why I’ve chosen to open my insignificant scribblings with one of the world’s literary masterpieces, considering I haven’t written much about anything lately.  I’ve been away because I overhauled this website in order to install Kunena version 4.0.  This took weeks of investigation, sifting the morass of defects reported on the Kunena website and, generally, re-learning just about everything I thought I knew.  In the last 3 months there have been five new releases of Kunena and, in my opinion, K 4.0 is no better today that when the project commenced 2 years ago: new features are added every day; features that worked in one release break in the next; the product is largely untested; and, the initial excitement surrounding the new Crypsis template has all but evaporated.  I was prepared to give Kunena the benefit of the doubt but things have gone from bad to impossible.

It has become impossible because support for Kunena has all but disappeared.  Questions asked at the Kunena forum languish for days, sometimes weeks, without reply and the response, if one is given, is likely to be “looks OK for me”.  Recently the developers attempted to arrest the paralysis that has gripped the community by writing an outline of the direction where they want to lead the project, entitled “What’s upcoming on the next big version:  Kunena 5.0?”.  Although the outline is sketchy on details, it prompted me to ask some questions on the Kunena forum.  Some of the answers made me more than just a little nervous; some of the proposals will be deal-breakers for me.


Kunena 4.0.5: what the developers didn’t tell you

2425 hits Updated: 23 September 2015

The K 4.0.5 “teaser” feature.

K 4.0.5 dashboard:  FAQs … ?

Kunena 5.0 is “an­nounced”

Kunena project personnel changes

In recent articles about K 4.0.5 I made some points about difficulties people will have installing third-party Kunena templates and the changed behaviour with the subscribe checkboxAnother new feature added to this so-called “minor” release adds the ability to incorporate a “teaser” ability on your forum but it’s not for everyone and the devil is in the detail.

In addition to the features added to K 4.0.5, the Kunena development team has recently announced plans for the next major release of Kunena [K 5.0] together with plans to overhaul their website and update the user documentation.


Kunena 4.0.5: cannot install Kunena templates with Joomla 3.4

2150 hits Updated: 17 September 2015

Third party template developers blamed for problems caused by Kunena team

Another unannounced (and apparently untested) change was made in Kunena 4.0.5 [K 4.0.5] that affects everyone who uses J! 3.4.  The change is embarrassing for me, personally, and for everyone who designs and sells Kunena templates.  The problem is:  people use K 4.0.5 with J! 3.4 will not be able to install other forum templates!


“Automatically” subscribing members to receive notifications of replies to their posts

The new “automatic” topic subscription behaviour in K 4.0

Changing the user forum preferences “globally”

Will these problems be fixed in a future version?

Community reaction

Kunena 4.0.5 [K 4.0.5]—a so-called “minor” update that was supposed to fix defects/bugs in earlier versions—added some new features.  One of the new features, in particular, has caused the community to openly criticise the development team for failing to engage with them about how the project is being managed.

The affected item is the configuration setting:  Components » Configuration » Users » Subscriptions » Check Subscription Box.

Without engaging the community beforehand, the developers decided to change this setting’s behaviour.  For those who do not know, I have previously documented this setting’s behaviour in one of my other articles.  The changes were “announced” in the release notes for K 4.0.5 as “Subscribe’s box (sic) is always enabled #3303”; the actual link to the GitHub item was not included in the release notes.  Instead it was left to the community to discover the change when it became apparent that the Kunena users forum had implemented the feature.  Until questions were asked on the forum, no-one had any knowledge about how to adjust to this abrupt change.  The result has been that the change has angered the community with some people “cursing” the day they had updated to this latest version of the forum software.

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