As a preview here are a few of the changes that you can expect to see with this update:
In addition to a regular topic description there will be the option to add tags to a thread you create. These are beneficial because they help your thread to be indexed in the search system for relevant keywords. A new "related threads" content block will also be displayed underneath topics that list threads with similar tags, this both helps users find content they are interested in and nets your own threads more exposure.
We've had a few requests for this and it's finally coming - members will have the option to 'like' individual forum posts which gives you the opportunity to give a post the thumbs up without needing to post a direct response. The total number of 'likes' your posts receive is also counted up and displayed in your profile, a new tab will be available to view all the 'likes' you have given or received and on which posts. It is not possible to negatively rate a post which means that this system is reserved purely for giving recognition to quality posts and contributions.
Profile pages have been redesigned, status updates and profile comments have been combined to form a single 'profile feed' system that can be updated from anywhere on the forums via a drop-down menu at the top of the page. Profile photos and avatars will also be combined in to a single 'profile image' option, when the update goes ahead this will default to your current avatar image and can then be changed to whatever you like after that.
New chat room
We will be moving away from our current Flash based chat room to a more user-friendly chat that is integrated in to the forum. What this means is that you won't need to log in to the chat separately any more and the room will use your forum profile directly. Quite a few members have had difficulties getting the Flash chat room to work so this change should solve these issues.
On top of these changes there will be a significant number of graphical, design and layout changes aimed at modernising the forums and keeping things quick and easy to use. A number of under-the-hood changes are also being made to improve page load times and general performance.
One other thing that we wanted to give you a heads up on is that with this update we will be dropping support for Internet Explorer 6. While the new forum version will be accessible on IE6 it won't look or work too great, if you are still using IE6 we strongly recommend either updating to a newer version of Internet Explorer or switching to any one of a number of free alternative modern browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Safari.
More details on the scheduled upgrade date to follow soon.
Update: The forum upgrade will take place on Saturday, April 28th.
Edited by Saru, 28 April 2012 - 12:46 PM.