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A peek inside the Joomla Forum


I reached out to Olaf Offick, the Joomla Forum team lead, to get a look under the hood and hear how the team ensures that the Joomla forum remains current and relevant.

Olaf, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to answer my questions. Could you start by telling me a little about yourself?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Olaf Offick. I am originally from Kiel (Germany) but living in Galway on the beautiful west coast of Ireland.

I am married, have three children, and am the owner of Learn Skills, a small company based in Galway that provides customized Learning Management Systems (LMS / LCMS / VLE) and high quality educational materials to businesses, schools and government organisations in Ireland, Europe and across the world.

How did you get involved as a Joomla volunteer?

My Joomla journey started with Joomla 1.0 as a website developer, and as a way of giving back to the Project I started helping out in the Forum, over the years I have done various Moderator Roles and am the team leader for Joomla forum at the moment.

How is the Forum team structured, and what are your tasks?

In the Joomla forum, the Global Moderators are a small team who are managing the Joomla forum. We are a team who are distributed around the globe, as much as possible, so that we have a chance to react to spam attacks or other events. In addition to the Global Moderators, we have our General Support Moderators, and local Moderators to help with Spam and conflicts. There are a lot of opinions involved, and the moderators have to make impartial decisions to make this forum work.

What is the main object of the Forum? What does it do for the project?

The primary objective is to give volunteers/users a way to help each other. Anybody can ask a question, anybody can answer a question.

How long has the project had our Forum?

The Joomla forum has existed since the very beginning. The topics and post have helped a lot of people over the years.

What is powering the forum, and how do you keep it upgraded?

Under the hood, the forum is running phpBB and has been for more than a decade or so. We have upgraded/migrated the forum several times over the years. Each time, it is thoroughly tested, in a sandbox environment, before moving to the new version.

In the past, we used a different forum software, but I cannot remember which one (it might have been SMF).

With a forum so old, how do you handle outdated forum posts?

We are archiving posts from time to time. We also have an auto locking function which locks a post after a certain amount of inactivity, the length of this auto lock function depends on the forum. Otherwise, there is a report function which allows the moderators to act on certain elements. Posts are grouped by Joomla version as well.

What is in the future for the Forum? Any plans to upgrade, change or improve features etc?

We are working on smaller upgrades at the moment, to improve our fight against spam a bit more.

How can people help out?

We are always looking for people to answer questions in the forum. This is also the easiest way to get started as you do not have to be available at a particular time or follow a particular format, and you can also do this in your own language. So for anybody who wants to help, just register on forum.joomla.org and have a look at the questions other user might have, e.g by clicking on the unanswered topics section.

Other ways to help out, is by reporting spam. If you see spam in the forum, please use the Exclamation mark to report a particular post to the forum moderators.

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