I first came across the Phorum software one day when I visited the Sphider site to scour the forums for an answer. I don’t remember if Sphider always had this forum software, but it seemed new to me that day, so I think it was a change for them. It looks like they are running the default green install based on the Phorum demo.
I also had a look around the admin area demo over at OpenSourceCMS. I think this is pretty decent looking software for someone going for the minimalist approach. It’s a nice change to all the phpBB and vBulletin community bulletin boards out there. Although the default doesn’t do much for me, I do like what the folks over at MySQL have done. The DealNews forums were equally impressive when they were up, but apparently things have changed over there since the forum is no longer reachable. Both of these sites are a testament to Phorum’s ability to handle hundreds of thousands (even millions in the DealNews forums archive) of posts which is quite impressive.
I’m not sure if it’s the Phorum software or the configuring the folks at the Sphider site performed, but I do have one major problem based on my limited personal experience. Searching is just horrible. Whenever I try to find information over at the Sphider forums, I find the results extremely weak (if I get any at all). It’s been so bad that I once tested it by scrolling through pages and pages of posts until I found one that had the same keyword in both the title and the body of the post. I then went back to the forum index and searched for the keyword in the same forum and got zero results. Unfortunately, the only way to find what I need is to manually scan each page of posts, but who really wants to do that?