Xoops is in a transitional phase at this point.
You should be using 2.5.4 at this stage due to some major fixes over 2.5.3. The only modules that should be assumed to work well at this point with the 2.5 series are those included in the "basic module pack". This pack is still considered to be in "beta" form so they are not perfect but I haven't heard of many issues with modules included.
Other modules may work fine but a number of modules are older and may not work without either minor adjustments or major rewriting depending on their age.
When you have problems like this it can be easier to track them down by turning on the debugging system in the preference menu. That will most likely let you know when a problem exists and what it is related to.
When I say transitional, work is being done towards a new version of Xoops with a lot better core but due to the politics of some people no longer associated with Xoops there hasn't been any updates on a lot of modules for a long time and with the upcoming major improvements it is hard to do any major updates until the new framework is in place so that modules don't need to be rewritten over and over. You should be able to find compatible modules for what you want to do but try using the modules from the basic module pack instead of downloading them out of the repository if possible. A majority of modules otherwise listed were designed for older versions of xoops using an older version of PHP and may or may not work without modification.
It can be frustrating right now because there is a lot that needs to be done sorting old modules, documenting them and updating them. You will do better if you have some basic PHP skills at this point but once you figure out things you should be very pleased with Xoops.
I do want to add that as a group we are playing catch up because the politics of some no longer with us really left a mess. There are some great people involved now but it will take some time to get everything sorted and brought up to speed. However in the mean time there is plenty in place that you can use to do what you want.
Attending College working towards Bachelors in Software Engineering and Network Security.