This report presents the results from the 2014 bbPress Survey held from March 7 – April 11, 2014. One hundred eighty-three participants from thirty-seven countries completed the survey. Thank you all.

Country flags of the  183 Survey Participants

Goal of Survey

Guide the direction of bbPress plugin development in 2014

Objectives:
1. Discover current and actual bbPress usage.
2. Provide users the opportunity to post their feature requests.
3. Identify key areas for improvement.
4. Prioritize areas of bbPress development.
5. Set benchmarks to streamline development processes.
6. Identify volunteers who are interested in contributing to bbPress development.

Background

A couple of days after the 2014 BuddyPress Survey was launched earlier this year, we started to set up a similar survey for bbPress per preliminary discussions in November and late December last year.

I prepared general questions to be used for the survey which @johnjamesjacoby and @netweb reviewed and revised as needed. The chosen survey questions were categorized and ready by January 19th.

The BuddyPress Survey was still ongoing then, so the bbPress Survey was scheduled sometime after the publication of the 2014 BuddyPress Survey Results. Sure enough, a few days after the results were published, @johnjamesjacoby launched the 2014 bbPress Survey.

Survey Method/Design

We chose twenty-four questions for inclusion in the survey and grouped them in three sections namely: 1) You and bbPress, 2) Features and Participation, and 3) Opinions and Requests. All of the questions were directly related to the goal and objectives of the survey and the feedback generated would help guide the direction of bbPress development this year.

The online survey was created using Polldaddy.com, a service that provides polling widgets for blogs, websites, and social networks. A variety of survey question types were employed to gather the data required: multiple choices, check boxes, free text, email address box, and open‐ended questions.

Prior to analyzing the data collected, empty forms were deleted and submissions marked as “incomplete responses” were reviewed individually. Submissions which had no responses in the second and third pages of the survey – 27 in all – were excluded from this report.

Key Findings

1. Ninety-eight percent of respondents have sites running on the latest WordPress version (3.8 at time of survey).

2. Thirty-four percent of respondents are bbPress “veterans” who installed the legacy stand-alone forums software (versions 0.7.2 through 1.x.x). They are still going strong in 2014 with 10% still using the legacy software (versions 0.9.x – 1.x.x) in production sites while the rest have either upgraded from legacy to the bbPress plugin versions or are no longer using the old legacy forums.

bar chart of bbPress versions used

3. Close to half of the respondents find it “Easy” to set up bbPress. Add those to the group who found setting up bbPress “Very Easy” and you have 79% of users who have positive experiences setting up bbPress forums.

bbpress set up is easy as pie

4. The most popular forum set up is at the domain root of a WordPress installation.

popular bbPress set up

5. English is used by 79% of respondents for their forums.
Further evaluations reveal that 61% of respondents use only English in their forums, 20% develop only non-English forums, and the remaining 19% use English and other languages in their forums. Popular languages include: German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Portugese, Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Slovak, Swedish, Arabic, Croatian, Greek, Indonesian, Norwegian, and Serbian
bbPress in your language

6. Twenty-three percent of participants have not added any bbPress add-on plugins nor custom code at the time of survey. Additional research showed the majority of those who have not installed such are those who use bbPress for their own sites.

For the rest of the participants, there are a few who mentioned that they have too many plugins in their installations to list in the survey form. For those who shared what plugins they have activated in their installations, following shows the top ten plugins which are either bbPress-specific or those with expressed support for bbPress.
visualization of plugins used

a) GD bbPress Attachments
b) GD bbPress Tools
c) bbPress Enable TinyMCE Visual Tab
d) BuddyPress
e) Buddy-bbPress Support Topic
f) Custom private code
g) bbPress – Private Replies
h) bbPress Stay Checked
i) bbPress Topics for Posts
j) bbPress – Mark As Read

7. More than half of the respondents prefer themes which are responsive, compatible with the latest bbPress version and have light & fresh designs.
bbPress theme preferences

8. Twenty-three participants from 14 countries signed up to contribute to bbPress development. Thank you! We will be contacting you soon.
country flag of volunteers

9. Eighty-eight percent evaluated other forum software before choosing bbPress. Forums evaluated were: 1) phpBB forums, 2) SimplePress plugin, 3) Vanilla forums, and 4) vbulletin forums, among others.

10. Top Improvements or New Features requested are:

Chosen Write-ins
Attachments
Unread Replies
Moderation tools in the front end
Quotes
Ajaxification of Topics and Replies
Topic/Reply Ratings
Traditional forums layout – Categories
Better support in forums
Permissions system
More than one forum limit per BuddyPress Group
More user-friendly
Needs better documentation

11. Forty-two percent of participants left interesting comments about bbPress and the survey including follow-ups on features requested/desired, among others. Thank you :) The link to view those comments along with the other results of the survey can be found at the end of this report.

Acknowledgments

• Survey Participants: Thank you to the 183 respondents who took the time to complete this survey
• Survey Preparation: @johnjamesjacoby and @netweb
• Online Survey Solution: Polldaddy.com and Automattic for the corporate account
• Survey Report: d3.js, Chart.js, Microsoft Excel, Google Documents & Spreadsheets, FontAwesome icons, and Github.com gh-pages

Moving Forward

There are many steps involved in moving the bbPress project forward and it helps a lot when the whole community is involved. Participation in our survey is one step forward and we would like to thank the 183 respondents once again for patiently taking the time to answer the 24 questions posted.

We will be sending an email to each one of the volunteers who signed up to explore the avenues where they can contribute to the bbPress project, count on it :)

Please keep abreast of the latest bbPress developments by subscribing to http://bbpdevel.wordpress.com/ and/or joining the bi-weekly bbPress devchats on Wednesdays @ 21:00 UTC at irc.freenode.net #bbpress-dev and chat with John, Stephen, and other developers.

Finally, check out the mobile-friendly bbPress 2014 Survey Results page to see the graphs and visualizations prepared based on your responses to the survey. Cheers.

click on image to go to bbPress survey dashboard

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