Kunena 4.0: changed subscribe checkbox “behaviour” angers community

popular
4.25 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 85%
12Sep2015

“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.

Kunena 4.0: Category autosubscription — is it legal?

popular
3.8974358974359 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 78%
05Sep2015

Kunena 4.0: Category autosubscription — is it legal?

Information
3138 hits Updated: 27 November 2018

Is auto­matic cate­gory sub­scrip­tion spam by another name?

Who can be pena­lised under anti-spam law?

The Kunena defence

Autosubscription vs. personal privacy

The Kunena development team has been working on a new feature (expected in a future release of K 4.0[1]) to automatically subscribe forum users so that they will receive emails whenever there is any forum activity on websites where Kunena is installed.  This article examines the legal implications of this feature as a core part of the Kunena framework.

In a previous article I wrote about autosubscription in terms of technical feasibility, design, viability and risk management.  Although it’s technically feasible to automatically subscribe all users to receive emails whenever a new topic or reply is posted on a web-based discussion forum like Kunena, there are a number of caveats if you intend to implement such a feature.  When I wrote my earlier article the Kunena team had no plans or intention to implement an autosubscription feature within Kunena.  The situation has changed and, aware of the risks that this may involve, the developers intend to add a new feature to the Kunena component that will give website owners the ability to automatically subscribe users of their websites to receive unsolicited content via email.

Update

At the time when this article was originally written, the Kunena development team had a strong intention to implement the autosubscription feature.  The proposal was unexplainably shelved.  The proposal has now been resurrected[2] to be included as a future release of K 5.1.x.

There are serious legal consequences of this idea that website owners need to be aware of and, in my opinion, that the Kunena developers have not properly considered.

Forum help page for Kunena

5 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 100%
31May2015

Forum help page for Kunena

Information
1855 hits Updated: 16 August 2015

Create the forum help page article

Create the Kunena menu item

One of the current problems with the Kunena website is that the documentation is out of date and no-one is maintaining it properly.  This article is part of an ongoing series to update the information so that it is more relevant to Kunena today.

K20 help defaultContentsWhen you first install Kunena on your Joomla site, a help menu item is created for you but its contents are not very useful (see the image on the right); many people choose to hide or remove this menu item completely.  The menu item is more of a “template” for a help page indicating that there are several ways to build your real page but it is up to you to write your own text if that will eventually appear on the Help tab.

The help page can be anything you want.  It can be used, for example, to show your community how to use the forum, what is allowed and what isn’t allowed and to educate your users about the features of Kunena and how use them.  I wrote a sample forum help page for Kunena several years ago but it contains errors and it is sorely in need of a major rewrite.

The help page is built using the Kunena custom content menu type.  Menu items using this menu type can be used for more than only providing a help guide for your users. They can be renamed or used for any purpose that helps your community and you can also build other pages using the techniques we will describe below.

Custom category icons for Kunena

3.7777777777778 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 76%
27May2015

Custom category icons for Kunena

Information
1805 hits Updated: 02 November 2016

How to change the default category icons

How to add custom category icons

Category images: PNG or GIF?

Category icons have been a feature of Kunena from the very beginning[1].  These icons serve as a two-state indicator[2] on category indexes to show

(a) for a logged-in user[3] , if any categories displayed on the index have unread posts;
(b) if there are categories on the index that have no new posts.

This article discusses how to customise category icon images for your Kunena forum.