The Community Club

Discussion on: We are the Forem Team, Ask Us Anything!

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mdimino profile image
Marissa Dimino

Really impressed with what I've seen thus far!

My two biggest questions are around design/customization and data. What is the lift for turning this into a highly customized branded community? I work for a very visual company (photos and videos are everything!) and our members are looking for a fun digital experience that just oozes our brand. I like that Forem is an open-source platform because I think that lends itself to more flexibility outside of the niche platforms out there.

Data! I'd love to know more about the level of reporting that's available out of the box. I'm talking something that's geared towards the community industry and packaged in a format that's easy to place in reports, rather than just receiving a lump of data in many excel spreadsheets and having to figure out how to manipulate it into something useful (I'm not scarred from prior data experiences at all ๐Ÿ˜› ).

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alex profile image
Alex Angel

Forem x Commsor integration when ๐Ÿ‘€

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Ask Me Anything

We are adding more and more customization all the timeโ€” but we're doing it slowly in order to ensure we don't turn into Myspace (or, more realistically, a difficult-to-maintain Wordpress/Squarespace implementation)....

The last thing we want are implementations which can't cleanly upgrade as fast as we can make improvements, or can't keep up with user expectations as they evolve.

In terms of photos and videos and everything, we already do have variations on how the feed can be presented, (currently "rich" and "basic" are two options, with "compact" being another that may ship)... We purposefully make the config high level enough so that our product team can reinterpret "rich" if we need to make slight adjustments vs getting too granular.

We have other configuration options as defaults, many of which can be overridden after the fact by users based on their personal preferences (which IMO is the best of both worlds)... But again, longterm maintainability is key.

With all that being said, we do have a concept of "html variant" which can be placed in a few places to offer ad hoc customizationโ€” including a/b optimization in certain areas, we just don't want to lean too heavily on this.


Regarding data reports, we have a built in interface which provides data reports, ad hoc queries, as well as internal audits which are really important to us in terms of insuring no rogue team members access user data they shouldn't have access to.

The data interface also hides a bunch of fields to minimize the amount of user-specific info folks can gather, e.g. email for all users, and a bunch of other data that should not be needed for data analysis.

You'll find we have a lot of good tooling in place, but haven't closed the loop on all the docs and guides, because we built all of this first and foremost for ourselves, so the ultimate usefulness is really high, even if some of the presentation is a work in progress.

We're open source and rely on other open source, so if you're curious, this is our abstract data reporting tool: github.com/ankane/blazer