Introducing the VirtualFlight.Online Forums
It's been a long road, but finally we have a purpose built platform designed to support our growing community of flight simulation and aviation enthusiasts.
We’re making some pretty big changes to VirtualFlight.Online this weekend - adding a significant new platform to those already offered. Before getting to that, it’s worth knowing the back-story - how we got here, why we’re changing things, and what we have to look forward to.
How it all began
VirtualFlight.Online started life as a small Discord server used by a few friends to fly ad-hoc flights together in the newly released “Microsoft Flight Simulator”. In the early days we tried to cater for all of the popular simulators - including FSX, Prepar3D, and X-Plane through the “JoinFS” application. Very quickly the majority were using Flight Simulator, so we went with the crowd and doubled down on events - advertising flights in the official Microsoft Flight Simulator forums.
Our little community grew. Quickly. Far more quickly than anybody imagined it might - which presented it’s own headaches. We experimented with a free forum solution some time ago which worked pretty well - but then Discord released their own forum functionality, and we embraced it instead.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The wrong tool for the job
While Discord is very good at text chat, voice chat and screen sharing, it’s never been very good at operating as a proper forum for a community. It has never had the most basic tools you might expect - such as being able to move something accidentally posted to the wrong area, to bookmark an interesting conversation, to subscribe to notifications on a given area, or to find conversations you’ve taken part in.
While we have continued to struggle with Discord, the community has continued to grow - making the problem worse.
I’ve also been mindful that many people are either not interested in taking part in group flights (the primary reason for Discord’s existence), don’t like Discord (because it’s yet another application), or are quite happy doing their own thing. And that’s where a proper web-based forum solution wins - because people can dip into and out of it as they wish.
We now have proper forums.
Join the community forums today!
You can join today - at https://forums.virtualflight.online
The forums are based on the most powerful forum management solution available, and they are our own - not controlled or run by anybody else. I’ve invested in a really great design package - making sure that desktops, mobile and tablets all work well - and I’ve begun populating various sections with content already.
All the forums need now is you. The community.
What do new forums give us?
The short answer? A lot.
Subscription to entire channels - optionally by email
Subscription to single conversations - optionally by email
Bookmarking of converations
Simple discovery of conversations you have taken part in
Simple markup within messages that non-programmers can understand (using “bbcode”)
Accessible through any web browser, on any platform
What will happen to Discord?
While I recognise that not everybody likes forums, I want to re-assure everybody that Discord is not going away. We will continue to use Discord for that which it does best - retaining the the more social channels. Avenues more suited to a forum will move there over the coming days and weeks.
VirtualFlight.Online has grown beyond any of my expectations, and I have you - the community - to thank for that. Without those of you that have gone above-and-beyond to create content, design liveries, run and take part in group flights, participate in the airline, and help moderate and support, we as a community would not exist.
Huge thanks also go to the Patreon supporters - their contributions have helped enormously with funding the time, effort, and resources required to develop and run Transmitter, the Virtual Airline, the Discord server, the Newsletter, and now the Forums.