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Thread: BuddyPress 1.6 drops with some nice new features

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    Default BuddyPress 1.6 drops with some nice new features

    "There are a lot of exciting new features of in the 1.6 release, as well as hundreds of fixes that make BuddyPress the best itís ever been. Here are a few updates that should make you want to upgrade as soon as possible."

    What's New in BuddyPress 1.6: Activity Management, Akismet Integration, Profile Privacy and More! - WPMU.org

    Is anyone using BuddyPress to run a community website?

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    I saw 1.6 was out, but haven't explored what's new in it yet. I'm still not using it myself, though I've played around with it a little. I recently redesigned my own site and down the road was thinking of adding a forum. I thought maybe I'd let BuddyPress handle the profiles at that time and then expand the features of it I allow on the site as needed.

    I get the feeling most people don't realize that you can turn BuddyPress on without turning on every feature. I'd bet most people just turn on everything without giving thought to whether or not some features fit with what they're trying to do.
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    In my experience, everyone wants BuddyPress to be Facebook. And refuse to accept that it's not trying to be Facebook, is nothing like Facebook, and how much it takes to create and run Facebook.

    That's the downfall of offering BuddyPress services. People ignore what it is. They just see "Community" or "Social" and their minds are off to the races.
    I haven't installed the new version yet, but the one thing that people ask for over everything else it does is more options in user profiles. They are more concerned with how much stuff uses can cram into a profile than any other function of the software.

    For me that's a problem.

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    I agree. Everyone wants to replicate the 800 lb gorilla without thinking about how it got so big.

    I'm more interested now in how I can limit the features of BuddyPress I turn on that meet the needs of my community. I probably won't do it right away, but I am thinking of adding more to my site to help build a community. I'll likely start with bbPress only or maybe let BuddyPress manage the profiles. I'm not sure I'd turn anything else on in BuddyPress right off the bat. I thought it would make more sense to let the community grow a little and then see what the community wanted.

    Personally I don't care for all the groups and activity streams. I think they make things harder to manage for admins and moderators. Similarly I wouldn't let anyone who wanted start publishing a blog on my domain.

    However I do think adding some community features makes sense for most sites. So many of the people here who ask how they should market their sites and keep customers on site longer have topics ripe for a community site.
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    I agree that it can make sense. I have a hard time getting people to understand that they don't really need a community, when all they are trying to do is keep people engaged with thier company. A community generally offers a specific group with a certain interest, networking and sharing capabilities. Merely being a customer of yours, is not enough of an incentive for people to participate in a community.

    When I see this and tell people that maybe a good old fashioned mailing list is the way to go, most don't want to hear that and usually balk at how hard it is to build aa mailing list. But apparently building a community is easier.

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    Well community building is the buzz phrase so that's what people want. You know it's hardly ever about what really works. It's about what the most popular term.

    I think a lot of sites can actually benefit from having a community, but they generally don't need to bolt on Facebook to their sites. I think one of the nice things about BuddyPress is you don't have to use everything. There's no reason why a site can't add something small as way of community. Maybe it's simply a support forum or a way to let customers have a profile. Most people don't take the time to really think it through though. They assume if they add Facebook functionality they'll suddenly have thousands or tens of thousands of community members all eager to buy. And then they find out it doesn't work like that.
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    Default Four different BuddyPress communities

    The more you do with BuddyPress the more you learn how best to use it.

    I am building my 4th Buddypress site - one is for an international research group who wish to stay in touch - they like the private and hidden group stuff. One is a local community - for this I took off the boring forums and they use the activity stream instead and it is much more lively as a result. One is for a bunch of friends who like to share photos of trips - so a bit like facebook but just for them. And the latest is a highly tailored sort of specialist employment directory. All very different.

    The basic buddpress as it comes isn't right for anyone. The more tailoring that is built in the better it will be.

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    Exactly. BuddyPress itself is good software and it does some great things to help you add community features to a site. The problem is that people assume they have to use everything or that by using everything the software will build the community for them. You have to think about the specifics of your site and what you need and then configure BuddyPress for those needs. And you have to understand that no matter what parts of BuddyPress you use, it won't automatically build a community for you.
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    Big News Announced for BuddyPress 1.7. Will be compatible with ALL WordPress themes:

    "The biggest and most exciting change announced is that this next version will include compatibility for all WordPress themes. This will be accomplished by using the same method as the bbPress plugin. BP 1.7 will introduce a theme template compatibility layer that injects the necessary BuddyPress templates into your current WordPress theme when the page is loaded."

    Source: Coming in BuddyPress 1.7: Compatibility for ALL WordPress Themes - WPMU.org

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    Nice. Not that it's had to make your theme BuddyPress compatible right now, but it would definitely be easier if you didn't need to. I'll be awaiting 1.7 now to see how it all works.
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