Earlier this month Didgeroo upgraded one our favourite side-projects, http://borisbikes.org/.
This website serves as an independent community forum for the Transport for London Cycle Hire Scheme, otherwise affectionately known as Boris Bikes.
The newly upgraded Boris Bikes forums features a responsive web design and much improved spam controls.
The previous iteration of the website was not optimal. It used the outdated version of BBPress, what was then a stand alone fork of the Wordpress Open Source project.
One of the main issues with the old version of BBPress was spam, the bane of any forum. The spam controls of the old website relied heavily upon users submitting reports to the forum moderators and for these moderators to then look at the reports and manually delete the spam. The process was incredibly slow and tedious.
BBPress is no longer a Wordpress fork. It is now fully integrated into Wordpress as a plugin. This has many advantages including having all Wordpress features available and access to the massive library of themes and plugins.
Migrating Boris Bikes to the latest version of BBPress has allowed us to create a set of spam control options that work from a top-down approach, whilst also still enabling the bottom-up approach of spam reporting. Now, the first ever post by a user is sent to an email address, where a moderator can view the message and judge whether or not a post is spam. If the message is approved, all future messages from that user are posted without approval. If the message is denied, however, the following message from the user will be moderated, and so on until a message is approved.
The upgraded Boris Bikes forums is has seen such an improvement over the previous, that there is now virtually no spam on the website.
Additionally, we implemented a new responsive theme for the site. This greatly improves the user experience when viewing the websites on mobile devices. You can test the site responsiveness by viewing it with your desktop web browser and gradually resizing the window to make it smaller. You will see the forums reformat to a mobile layout.
If you would like to see the upgraded website, you can see it here: http://borisbikes.org/