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Ultra-friendly free forum software?
March 3, 2014 1:14 PM   Subscribe

We're building a website for seniors and want to make it easy for them to get into bulletin board-style discussions that you can register for with Facebook or other really easy login, similar to the forums at Gawker. Is such a thing freely available somewhere? We've been experimenting with BBPress but so far it seems a little bit hard for our audience to get into, unless maybe there is some module out there that makes it easier?
posted by steinsaltz to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My grandma's website,, has done fine with phpBB - the main trick is just guiding the process to signup and being there to help people register.
posted by tmcw at 2:19 PM on March 3

Have you considered Discourse?
posted by brainwane at 2:46 PM on March 3

If you don't have a host that meets the (fairly strict) system requirements that Discourse has, Vanilla Forums supports login with Twitter, Facebook, Google, OpenID and I believe add-ons exist for more, and it runs on the same PHP/MySQL stack that phpBB does. I use it on a site I maintain and I like it. It uses Markdown for formatting by default, which may either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your audience, but I believe you can slap a WYSIWYG editor on top of it via add-ons.

One caveat, some of the latest add-ons require Vanilla 2.2, which is only released via their Git repository. I run 2.0 because I don't need everything 2.2 offers (and I'm too lazy to migrate, and it's the version my host provides via softaculous, yadda-yadda), but I'd probably recommend at least trying out 2.2. There's even an ArsTechnica guide to setting up Vanilla using Git.
posted by Aleyn at 11:24 PM on March 3

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