- The post composition window offers a "what you see is what you get" mode by default so that coded changes you make to text (bold, font color, italics, etc.) are shown immediately as you compose. If you prefer, you can toggle to the old-fashioned plain text window via the text icon (two contrasting capital letter "A"s) in the extreme upper right of the extended window.
- vBulletin has much more powerful and flexible searching tools, which is why I'm now more comfortable creating a lot of different forums. (Several members had requested a dedicated episode forum for each episode, and I will be implementing that in the near future.) You can search a single forum, a category of forums or the entire site and can do so in advanced search mode if you like.
- There is a "similar threads" feature, which is very useful for posters and moderators alike because you can -- surprise -- get a listing of threads in other forums that cover similar issues to the current thread. That allows convenient topical access and topical merging by a moderator when appropriate. Look for the "similar threads" listing at the very bottom of the screen while viewing any thread.
- vBulletin utilizes subforums (to an infinite level, although two or three will do nicely here.:-)) This allows for convenient, hierarchical access to forums from the front page while still minimizing visual clutter.
- On the latter issue, please note that near the upper right area of each forum category on the front page is a toggle switch that enables you to collapse or expand an entire category of forums. Not interested in the forums at the top in "This Thing of Ours"? No problem (assuming you read all forum rules and guidelines already!) Collapse the category via the toggle switch and it now consumes only one line on the front page.
- Beside the pop out search tool is a pop out menu for other tasks within a forum or thread (mark forum read, post new thread, show printable version of thread, etc.) One of the options is "subscribe to forum" (or thread). Despite the association with email digests or notification of new posts, its real power lies in the ability to configure a forum "portal" customized to your personal interests and discussion preferences. You can pick and choose which forums to display and which threads (if any) are to be culled from the heap and hilighted on your user Control Panel. You can then bookmark the link to your CP, and now, everytime you login, the first thing you will see is your customized view of the Chase Lounge.
- You are not limited to the default look of the forum. If you want an entirely different, simpler layout, go to the bottom left and chose from the available styles. I only have two to start but will be adding more as time permits me to edit them.
I'm still learning about vBulletin, but several user features seem notable and welcome upgrades from the previous forum: