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Author Topic: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)  (Read 14097 times)

RandallS

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ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« on: August 27, 2014, 10:28:32 am »
As it is about time for our annual "Pay for our Server" donation drive, it is also time to announce major plans for the next year:

First, we MUST upgrade our version of Linux by May 2015 as security updates for it will end at that time. We are currently using Ubuntu Server 10.04 (a long term support (LTS) version, we started long ago with the 8.04 LTS version). We attempted to upgrade in place to the 12.04 LTS two years ago but the upgrade failed due to various conflicts. We will now need to upgrade to the new 14.04 LTS version (which will be supported until May 2019) before support expires for our older version.

We will not be able to upgrade in place (which means we will need to rent two servers for one month out of the twelve) for several reasons:

a) As our last attempt to upgrade in place did not succeed, chances are very good that another attempt would also fail -- especially as there would be four years worth of changes to deal with instead of two.

b) As Linode keeps increasing the RAM of their servers, we need to change from our current 32-bit version of Ubuntu to the 64-bit version to be able to actually use all the RAM available to our server. Doing an in place upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit may be possible in theory, but in practice it is a bad idea.

c) I've learned a lot about servers in the last 6 years, creating a new server from scratch would allow me to apply that knowledge so we would end up with a faster and (hopefully) even more stable system.

Unfortunately, Linode no longer offers the $60 a month (plus 15/month for backup service) servers we now have. Ours was an oddball size when we obtained it almost 6 years ago and Linode stopped selling new ones about 18 months ago. Our new server would either have to be less powerful than what we have now (which would make things slower) for $40/month or much more powerful at $80/month. As we are paying $75/month now, I think moving up to to the larger server (for an additional $5/month) makes the most sense. This would meaning dropping Linode's backup service, but chances made to it over the last year make it less useful for another but total disaster recovery as you can only restore a full backup, not just selected files from a backup.

Second, we really need to upgrade our version of the Vbulletin forum to the latest release of Vbulletin 4.x. I had hoped to do this last spring, but personal issues (death of Lyric's mom, our move, the first phrase of the remodel of her mom's house so we could live in it, etc.) made this impossible. I would like to do it ASAP, but in some ways it is more work than the new server as we have to copy our current forum installation to a test area and test the upgrade to see what breaks, fix what we can, and drop or replace any mods that no longer work. The board may lose some mod-based functionally -- although probably none that is super-important to lots of members.

Third, revise the main web site. I switched the web site software to Wordpress last year to make this easier -- and to make it possible for SIGs to have their own sites that SIG leaders probably already knew how to use. Unfortunately, I have not done much with the new setup given that there are only 24 hours in a day, but I would like to do something here over the next year.

Fourth, we need to increase message board activity. It has dropped off quite a bit over the past year. Some of this is due to the above-mentioned personal issues, but work is still needed.

Comments on the above and additional ideas for plans/goals are welcome.
Randall
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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 12:02:10 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;157238
Comments on the above and additional ideas for plans/goals are welcome.

 
It's small and stupid, but I might as well scribble it onto the list of ideas.

Can we please have a matched smiley set? Hopefully in the same image style as :whis:, :confused:, and ;) that we have already?
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

RandallS

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 12:06:14 pm »
Quote from: Allaya;157246
It's small and stupid, but I might as well scribble it onto the list of ideas.

Can we please have a matched smiley set? Hopefully in the same image style as :whis:, :confused:, and ;) that we have already?

If you (or another member) are an artist and are willing/able to redo the ones that don't match (for free), we can replace them.
Randall
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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 12:12:29 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;157247
If you (or another member) are an artist and are willing/able to redo the ones that don't match (for free), we can replace them.


I can round up a batch to match. I've got a collection of them knocking around from previous forum and blog work. They all ought to be free-use, but I will double check before packing them up. Failing that, I can draw some.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.  — Shirley Chisholm
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.  — Roger Ebert
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair (adapted)
People cannot be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into. — Fisher Ames (adapted)

carillion

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 10:06:46 pm »
Quote from: Allaya;157251
I can round up a batch to match. I've got a collection of them knocking around from previous forum and blog work. They all ought to be free-use, but I will double check before packing them up. Failing that, I can draw some.

 

Then can you get a new set of default avatars? Everytime I see one with a busted face or taped mouth, I get an weird first impression of someone. It's a psychological thing:eek: I guess because I'm a very 'visual' person I have to fight the tendency to let the gods-awful picture influence my post to that person.

carillion

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 10:09:21 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;157238


Fourth, we need to increase message board activity. It has dropped off quite a bit over the past year. Some of this is due to the above-mentioned personal issues, but work is still needed.

Comments on the above and additional ideas for plans/goals are welcome.


Do you mean upping the number of actual posts or attracting new members?

RandallS

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 10:50:13 pm »
Quote from: carillion;157326
Then can you get a new set of default avatars? Everytime I see one with a busted face or taped mouth, I get an weird first impression of someone. It's a psychological thing:eek: I guess because I'm a very 'visual' person I have to fight the tendency to let the gods-awful picture influence my post to that person.


We have several hundred to choose from (plus a "bring your own" option) and if a person does not choose one/bring one, the board generates one from the user's email address (which are likely the one's you have a problem with, but I think they beat no avatar at all).
Randall
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RandallS

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 10:51:41 pm »
Quote from: carillion;157327
Do you mean upping the number of actual posts or attracting new members?


More discussions. We get plenty of new members every month, but actual discussions have been way down this year. Some of that can be blamed on my absence/low level of posting, however.
Randall
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Sage

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 10:59:44 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;157333
More discussions. We get plenty of new members every month, but actual discussions have been way down this year. Some of that can be blamed on my absence/low level of posting, however.

 
When I first started posting Back In The Day (before we had an Asatru and Heathenry SIG!) Marilyn asked if I wanted to be a Threadstarter. The title is pretty self-explanatory: it's a position where you start new, thoughtful threads and try to stimulate discussion. Is that something TC is still doing?

Also, I seem to recall something about there being Newbie Liaisons in the works. What's the status on that?
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

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carillion

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 11:22:58 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;157333
More discussions. We get plenty of new members every month, but actual discussions have been way down this year. Some of that can be blamed on my absence/low level of posting, however.

 
Please remember I'm new:ashamed: so I'm just giving you my initial take on the 'forum experience.

At the risk of being accused of heresy (get out the grill), I'd collapse the board. When I first came I was quite intimidated by the sheer size of it. While that makes it probably the best forum/discussion site I've ever seen, it is also a bit off-putting in terms of ,hmm, 'invitingness'? and willingness to start discussion ( where should I start it? What if I'm in the wrong area or this subject doesn't exactly fit this topic?)

I was quite ill and house bound when I joined and it was marvelous in some ways ( they have arcade games!?) and probably the best resources out there bar none.

But in trying to be all things to/for all people, it also seems to have a village-ing effect. People seem to have their favourite hang outs that they have become comfortable in ( I do realize that there are people with great expertise here who of course would over-see areas particular to what they have to offer or what they are interested in).

It's like I often see the same people in chat every day but they don't seem to post that much. Which is fine!!!!. It's just it adds to that general feeling of a place that has become comfortable for some and they stick to those places of comfort (again, just fine!) but to a new person, well, they just don't know where they might 'fit'.And there are so many nooks and crannies , how does one choose?

However, some subjects are heavily populated and that's where the posting and discussion is. If the board is too fragmented, the over-all community becomes diluted and there is a tendency to either stay and try to get into a comfy corner or to drift away or maybe just play games.

Some divisions are redundant and not that well used.

By concentrating the board, I think the posts and discussions will rise by of virtue less 'specialized' areas.

That's just my two-cents worth and since pennies have been abolished up here, well. Not worth even that much probably:)

random417

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2014, 12:32:34 am »
Quote from: carillion;157340
Please remember I'm new:ashamed: so I'm just giving you my initial take on the 'forum experience.

At the risk of being accused of heresy (get out the grill), I'd collapse the board. When I first came I was quite intimidated by the sheer size of it. While that makes it probably the best forum/discussion site I've ever seen, it is also a bit off-putting in terms of ,hmm, 'invitingness'? and willingness to start discussion ( where should I start it? What if I'm in the wrong area or this subject doesn't exactly fit this topic?)

I was quite ill and house bound when I joined and it was marvelous in some ways ( they have arcade games!?) and probably the best resources out there bar none.

But in trying to be all things to/for all people, it also seems to have a village-ing effect. People seem to have their favourite hang outs that they have become comfortable in ( I do realize that there are people with great expertise here who of course would over-see areas particular to what they have to offer or what they are interested in).

It's like I often see the same people in chat every day but they don't seem to post that much. Which is fine!!!!. It's just it adds to that general feeling of a place that has become comfortable for some and they stick to those places of comfort (again, just fine!) but to a new person, well, they just don't know where they might 'fit'.And there are so many nooks and crannies , how does one choose?

However, some subjects are heavily populated and that's where the posting and discussion is. If the board is too fragmented, the over-all community becomes diluted and there is a tendency to either stay and try to get into a comfy corner or to drift away or maybe just play games.

Some divisions are redundant and not that well used.

By concentrating the board, I think the posts and discussions will rise by of virtue less 'specialized' areas.

That's just my two-cents worth and since pennies have been abolished up here, well. Not worth even that much probably:)
I agree in theory carillion, a general cleaning and collapsing is a good idea. I think part of what makes this board different though is people with specialized interests find a place for that in a wider community. The SIGs, for example, get a lot of use. They're not for me, but I understand the draw.

In short, I agree, as long as nobodies over zealous. I'm also a new member, for what that's worth.

The other thing I'll add... I know tC isn't a social justice forum, but you do have many members very active with such things. A 2 part suggestion:

Give them a section devoted to that. Maybe a SIG? They'll like that, I'd imagine, and it keeps similar issues in one place. Right now, SJ issues pop up as new threads all over.

2nd part of that is, there's regular confusion over SJ terms that while they're common usage within that circle, and find there way here, people not invoked in stuff like that may not know. Spoons is the example that I've seen clarified the most in my admittedly short time here. (Not that I watch everything, so I could be wrong about most common). A glossary, maybe in the new section, would be useful.
"Let it be that state of manyhood bound and loathing. So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is in every way perfect."

AL 1:42-44

savveir

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 12:44:18 am »
Quote from: carillion;157340
It's like I often see the same people in chat every day but they don't seem to post that much.

Hi, I'm one of those people who hang out in chat but don't post much. *waves* I have my reasons for this, mostly that I usually only post if I feel I have something to add, coupled with my social anxiety it means I tend not to post all that much. That said, at a rough count, 12 of the top 20 posters are regular or semi-regular chat folks. I'm really confused as to how you're figuring that people in chat don't post very much. Am I missing something?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 12:44:35 am by savvy »
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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 12:52:36 am »
Quote from: carillion;157340
I'd collapse the board. When I first came I was quite intimidated by the sheer size of it.


I could see maybe see breaking down some of the social or the news forums, that might be a good idea. Are those the sections you're thinking of?

Quote
However, some subjects are heavily populated and that's where the posting and discussion is. If the board is too fragmented, the over-all community becomes diluted and there is a tendency to either stay and try to get into a comfy corner or to drift away or maybe just play games.


I do think it's important not to over-pack the already busy forums, so it'll be a tough call for the staff to make.
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Jack

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 12:57:55 am »
Quote from: random417;157351
Give them a section devoted to that. Maybe a SIG? They'll like that, I'd imagine, and it keeps similar issues in one place. Right now, SJ issues pop up as new threads all over.


I like the idea of a SIG for specialized SJ discussion, but I do think some topics will continue to pop up in threads just as the various pantheons/religions that have their own SIGs still come up in the more general forums as well.

Quote
2nd part of that is, there's regular confusion over SJ terms that while they're common usage within that circle, and find there way here, people not invoked in stuff like that may not know. Spoons is the example that I've seen clarified the most in my admittedly short time here. (Not that I watch everything, so I could be wrong about most common). A glossary, maybe in the new section, would be useful.

 
More glossary action is a good idea; I know I've seen it discussed before. I wish I could think of a good way to suggest more interaction between the wiki and the forum. I chewed on this a lot earlier in the year when I was messing around on the wiki, but I can't figure out a way to make it happen. A lot of really useful info gets tucked into SIGs or the wiki and then people don't find it when they're looking for definitions.

(I'll note, Random, that 'spoons' isn't really a social justice term? It's related to chronic illness, which in fact we do have a SIG for already.)
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stephyjh

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Re: ADMIN: TC Plans for Next 12 Months (Comments/Ideas Welcome)
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 12:57:55 am »
Quote from: random417;157351
I agree in theory carillion, a general cleaning and collapsing is a good idea. I think part of what makes this board different though is people with specialized interests find a place for that in a wider community. The SIGs, for example, get a lot of use. They're not for me, but I understand the draw.

In short, I agree, as long as nobodies over zealous. I'm also a new member, for what that's worth.

The other thing I'll add... I know tC isn't a social justice forum, but you do have many members very active with such things. A 2 part suggestion:

Give them a section devoted to that. Maybe a SIG? They'll like that, I'd imagine, and it keeps similar issues in one place. Right now, SJ issues pop up as new threads all over.

2nd part of that is, there's regular confusion over SJ terms that while they're common usage within that circle, and find there way here, people not invoked in stuff like that may not know. Spoons is the example that I've seen clarified the most in my admittedly short time here. (Not that I watch everything, so I could be wrong about most common). A glossary, maybe in the new section, would be useful.


Glossary? Sure. But the minute I get told "you are only allowed to talk about anything vaguely social-justice-related in this little corner over here"...There are so many things wrong with that.

First, this entire post reeks of "give the people involved in SJ a corner over there away from us Respectable Able-bodied Cis Het White Dudes so they'll leave us alone, bless their little hearts." I'm Native American. The reservation effect is something that I really distrust.

Second, after the way that the people involved in social justice were scapegoated by the community at large in the Thread From Hell recently, I have a real problem trusting that the SJ SIG would be anything other than a way to corral us off from the community at large.

Thirdly, "they'd like that, I imagine," comes across as so incredibly condescending. I really don't want the bone you're trying to throw me here, and I'm not going chasing after it to leave the rest of the site alone.

Fourthly, "spoons" has absolutely nothing to do with social justice. It has to do with health issues.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

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