Building a discussion forum like PF

In summary, a relational database like MySQL or PostgreSql is ideal for a discussion forum, and XenForo, which uses PHP and MySQL, is an example of a forum software. It can be built and maintained by one experienced full stack developer, but there are resources available for those interested in learning about developing web applications.
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Monsterboy
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TL;DR Summary
How to build a discussion forum
I want to work on a personal project, a web application similar to PhysicsForums just to understand how everything works. I have some basic questions.

1. What kind of database is ideal for a discussion forum like this ? SQL or NoSQL ?
2. Which frontend and backend technologies are used to build this forum ?
3. How many people are required to build and maintain a forum like this ?
 
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PF uses the forum software XenForo. This is built on some pretty old technologies so may not be the best example to learn from. Also, XenForo is a commercial product that has many users with different requirements and is therefore much more complex than it would be if it only had to run PF.

If you are interested in learning about developing web applications there are lots of resources out there that are more relevant to the way applications are built now e.g. https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-to-become-a-full-stack-web-developer-in-2020/

Monsterboy said:
1. What kind of database is ideal for a discussion forum like this ? SQL or NoSQL ?
Most forum software uses a relational database (often MySQL/MariaDB or PostgreSql). There would be a number of difficulties with a NoSQL solution and not many advantages.

Monsterboy said:
2. Which frontend and backend technologies are used to build this forum ?
XenForo is written in PHP and has a MySQL back-end. I believe the front-end JavaScript is proprietory.

Monsterboy said:
3. How many people are required to build and maintain a forum like this ?
There are quite a few people working on XenForo, but that is because they are supporting many different requirements. An experienced full stack developer working alone could put together the basics of a web forum in a couple of hours - I think this is an example used in one of the tutorial books (PHP and MySQL for Web Development? Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript?).

I believe @Greg Bernhardt manages PF's instance of XenForo (and WordPress for PF Insights) alone.
 
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Related to Building a discussion forum like PF

1. How do you choose the right platform for building a discussion forum?

The right platform for building a discussion forum depends on your specific needs and goals. Consider factors such as user interface, customization options, moderation tools, and scalability when evaluating different platforms. It may also be helpful to read reviews and get recommendations from other forum owners.

2. What features should a good discussion forum have?

A good discussion forum should have features such as user registration and login, the ability to create and reply to posts, moderation tools, search functionality, and the ability to customize the layout and design. It should also have features that promote user engagement, such as likes, reactions, and private messaging.

3. How do you ensure a safe and respectful environment in a discussion forum?

Moderation is key to ensuring a safe and respectful environment in a discussion forum. This can include having clear community guidelines, actively monitoring and removing inappropriate content, and empowering users to report any issues. It's also important to have a diverse and inclusive community and to promote respectful communication among members.

4. How do you attract and retain members in a discussion forum?

To attract and retain members in a discussion forum, it's important to have a user-friendly interface, a variety of interesting and relevant discussions, and active moderation. Encourage user engagement by posting regular updates and announcements, hosting events or contests, and promoting user-generated content. It's also important to listen to and respond to feedback from members to continuously improve the forum.

5. How can you monetize a discussion forum?

There are several ways to monetize a discussion forum, such as displaying advertisements, offering premium memberships with exclusive features, and hosting sponsored content or events. It's important to strike a balance between generating revenue and maintaining a positive user experience. Consider your target audience and the type of content on your forum when deciding which monetization strategies to implement.

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