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|What is the purpose of AtomBB?|
|If you can't see it now then, you're very likely to see it as we go through the alpha phase.|
This isn't just about admins. What do I mean by this? There's this very strong trend of forum software solely catering to administrators and generally leaving users with next to nothing. Some of which are very good at piling up a mountain of mod / admin features (the value of some of those is questionable and more features means needing a better interface to organise them in a sane manner).
It's not just about the end-users. Don't worry, the above paragraph doesn't mean that I'm abandoning mods / admins. I've been adding a huge number of tools to deal with spam, an advanced system to give admins more control over their teams, etc.
It's not change for the sake of change. I've seen several new entries into the forum market where they deliberately try to be as different as humanly possible. You may already know the names of some of these and they end up learning lessons about why forum software are the way they are. The hard way.
It's not all about you. This builds upon the "It's not all about admins" paragraph. If you run a site or a forum then, I'm talking to you. This is particularly the case, if you happen to be some sort of web developer. Listen very closely. I am not going to make the software harder to customise or to develop, just so the software is coded in the style which you want.
What do I mean by this? For instance, I've had criticism from some people for not using a pure CSS layout instead of using a sane mixed solution. Let's emulate tables with CSS, instead of using a simpler feature which has existed since the 90s is not the answer.
If this is a massive problem for you over real issues like innovation, significantly improved anti-spam tools, a sane permissions model, an easier to administrate system, a software which is significantly less likely to break between versions (plugins, templates, etc.), etc. then, the door is over there.
It's not all about me. I've been adding a number of features which I'm very unlikely to use and yet, I know that other administrators would like to use on their sites. I've even added a number of settings, rather than assuming that my way is the only way. This is another problem which I tend to see in many forum software projects, where they are so dominated by one vision.
It's not all about experts. I've found that more and more forum software are getting more and more complicated. Some of which are ending up using fairly complex frameworks. I try to maintain a fairly reasonable balance, when it comes to that and not to mention that the more complex frameworks also tend to be much slower. This is one of the reasons why I use my custom Hadron Framework, instead of grabbing one of the countless frameworks which exist.
Why is this better than any other free forum software? Alright, there might be some exceptions. You might be thinking.. "Well, I'm sure that if AtomBB is successful then, the other forum software will just copy you.. Right..?". Not exactly. I think of AtomBB as more of a business. Before you start screaming blasphemy, listen to this: At the end of the day, I need an incentive to work on this project without just squeezing it into a fraction of my freetime and other people also need an incentive.
For one, I actually need a decent forum software to power my sites. At the end of the day, when I'm starting a new forum then, it's fairly hard to get anywhere with the current selection of forum software. I've seen the same reasons over and over and over from users as reasons why they don't want to bother with forums in general. Particularly, with forums which run free forum software. Request a feature. Any feature. You might be surprised by how much I accept.
Assuming that your request doesn't conflict with AtomBB's Most Important Principles or isn't an edge case then, it might be added or I might add it somewhere in my TO-DO list. To figure whether something is an edge case, think this: Are most forums going to use this feature? Are 50% of forums are going to use this? Are 25% of forums going to use this? When I walk into a free forum software, it clearly feels like a cheap version of the paid forum software. Let's change this.
The other thing is that we may look for ways to monetise the site. A marketplace (there's the incentive for you to participate in the community), a possible hosting service, etc. are some ideas which are on the table. We never want to be short on money when running this project. The last thing which we want is to be in a position where we're thinking.. It would be so great if we did x, but we get such a pitiful sum of money.
How did it start? That's complicated. atombb.com has changed hands many times. It has expired a number of times and it has been renewed a number of times. What you probably mean is how did the most recent incarnation of it start? @Sajuuk was developing a custom forum for a school / college / university. In the end, they didn't like it for whatever reason. Eventually, he approached me to re-create the AtomBB Project. (We'll detail the failed attempts in a wiki at some point.)
Originally, he tried pushing that custom forum as the base for AtomBB. I strongly disagreed with that idea, as the quality of the code was fairly bad (templates mixed into PHP files and so forth) and so, that code more or less went out the window. It might still exist, somewhere. I ended up building AtomBB and leadership fell onto me after a while (it was fairly disorganised before that although, I held full ownership over most of the assets like the codebase.).
@Sajuuk remained as my assistant for quite a while until, a group of QA Team members (+ one documentation team member) were brought onboard. They didn't get along although, I won't go into detail about this. I might tell you in 10 years, when no one really cares anymore. In the end, the entire team other than myself was dissolved as no one was really doing anything, other than me.
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