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Author Topic: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!  (Read 1297 times)

RandallS

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As active members with access to the private Cauldron community area (those who have made four or more posts) already know, I've been working on a new modern site for The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum since last December. It has been up for staff members and members of Cauldron Community for a few weeks. We are now ready to move to the new site. Our new site achieves a long held goal of mine: integrating everything into one fairly coherent-looking site with a single signon to access all features. 

The new site currently combines (as best it can):

a) Wordpress for the main part of site -- using Buddypress so members can create their own Special Interest Groups with a message area, calendar, document area, file area, gallery, and group project management. Some here may remember we tried a Buddypress site (the last incarnation of TCN) years ago and found it wanting (separate accounts, poor features, etc.). It has greatly improved since then and because of the Wordpress-phpBB3 integration, there is one account for the entire site. Logging in to the site from the top menu bar logs you into everything. Logging out logs you out of everything.

b) phpBB3 (instead of SMF which we currently use or Beehive or vBulletin which we used in the past) for the main discussion area. phpBB3 is not my first choice for board software but it is the only free/open source board software that integrates well with other software (like Wordpress) and seems to keep up with the changes in new versions of php (which runs the software on the server). The main issue with phpbb3 is there is no way to import the current messages, so we will be starting the board anew again as we have done several times in the past -- the last time being in 2011.

c) Dokuwiki for a TC Wiki. The weak post-based wiki we had in our old vBulletin seemed popular, so when I discovered that Dokuwiki integrates with phpBB3, I added one to the system.

d) Discord will remain our chat area. It will be better integrate Discord into  the site as a whole with notices to Discord when a new thread is started, etc. (sent to specific rooms so as not to annoy everyone).

The integration between Wordpress/Buddypress, phpbb3, and dokuwiki is good, but far from perfect. Logging in and out works great. However, each piece of software is still separate. For example, you have a profile in Wordpress/Buddypress and a profile in phpbb3 -- that do not really know about or interact with each other.

Don't worry, The Cauldron is not trying to become a "social network" like Facebook. The discussion area will be the main focus as usual, but people will be able to set up their own SIGs for anything they are interested in -- and unlike the not too great social groups we had on vBulletin or the even less great ones that we have here on SMF, these SIGs are actually first class citizens of the site, not afterthoughts that you can't even quote messages on.

People who want to will finally be able to help out on the site itself which means I will no longer have to do everything website wise (which is why nothing really gets done that isn't automated now -- I have no time). Discord will be better integrated into the site (notices of new posts and threads will appear in Discord) -- better connecting it with the message board. People will be able to easily invite their friends to join TC (and any SIGs they start), etc.

While we can't move all the messages from this board to phpbb3 (as we were able to when we moved from Vbulletin to SMF a few years ago), after a few days for "remodeling" this board will be available as a read only archive of previous messages (just as our even older SMF board is now). A Google provide search (with ads, unfortunately) will allow the search of all of our sites (except our old Delphiforums area used from 1997-2006 or so). Speaking of ads -- except for the above-mentioned ads on the search results page, logged in members of the new site will not have to see any ads.

While the new site will not have a native Dark theme, there is abrowser Add-On/Extension that allows one to switch on DarkMode. It's for Firefox, Chrome, Safari: https://darkreader.org/ -- it seems to work quite well.

Sometime this weekend (April 6-7), this board will be closing for maintenance (converting to read-only), and everyone will be directed to our new web site at https://ecauldron.org/ -- however, you can create your account and start using the new site now if you wish.

HOW TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON ECAULDRON.ORG:

WARNING: Due to the way the Single-Signon System works, usernames CANNOT be changed once an account is created. Repeating that, usernames CANNOT be changed once an account is created.

To create an account use the BIG BLUE "Sign Up" button on the right side of the top menu bar. Once you have created your account, you will always log in using the Green "Login" button on the top menu bar.  Note that the menus in the top bar are different for logged-in users: there are more menus and more items in some menus.

Create your account now: https://ecauldron.org/

Note that the site can be slow to come up, however, once the home page loads, other pages load much more quickly.  Also note that the large ads on the site disappear if you are logged in. :)

SPECIAL NOTES:
1) Your Username must be letters and numbers (no capital letters, no spaces, etc.)  This is because the username must be limited to what the most restrictive of Wordpress, phpbb3, and Dokuwiki will accept. Apologies in advance.
2) You will be asked for your "Name" during signup. That can be anything you want (suggested, your username with capitals and spaces if needed). This name will appear (visible to the entire net) in the Wordpress/BuddyPress part of the site (i.e. The Special Interest Groups).
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
OSR.SPACE: Old School Tabletop RPG Community

SunflowerP

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 10:28:41 am »
Don't worry, The Cauldron is not trying to become a "social network" like Facebook. The discussion area will be the main focus as usual, but people will be able to set up their own SIGs for anything they are interested in -- and unlike the not too great social groups we had on vBulletin or the even less great ones that we have here on SMF, these SIGs are actually first class citizens of the site, not afterthoughts that you can't even quote messages on.

AIUI, many of our previous 'specialized' forums (SIG forums, social forums, etc) will be SIGs/groups on the new board, rather than in the main discussion area, which is why the discussion area of the new board looks rather sparse. The idea, I believe, is for things to grow on an 'as needed' basis, so that we don't have a long, long list of forums, most of which get one post every month or two, as we do now.

(If I'm mistaken about this, Randall, let me know ASAP!)

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
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My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

RandallS

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 11:05:13 am »
(If I'm mistaken about this, Randall, let me know ASAP!)

You are 100% correct! We are starting off small and will grow organically as needed (rather than start off with 60-70 mostly empty boards). The new SIG system should make it possible for members to create areas for specialized discussion too. The SIGs come with a message area, a calendar, a document area, a file area, etc. so they are quite nice for focused groups.
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
OSR.SPACE: Old School Tabletop RPG Community

SunflowerP

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 11:25:49 am »
The SIGs come with a message area, a calendar, a document area, a file area, etc. so they are quite nice for focused groups.

Yes! I'm setting up the one for the Cauldron Cill right now, and noticing some very useful things (and a few drawbacks, but I'm working out solutions as I go).

Later this morning (or over the course of the weekend) I'll be setting up some more - Food & Cooking, QUILTBAG, and I Can Haz Menopaws Nao Plz, and perhaps others.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Darkhawk

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 12:23:03 pm »
While the new site will not have a native Dark theme, there is abrowser Add-On/Extension that allows one to switch on DarkMode. It's for Firefox, Chrome, Safari: https://darkreader.org/ -- it seems to work quite well.

Dark Mode - the addon I use - has a number of available custom styles to tweak by.  If anyone is using this plugin, I recommend setting it to either a5 (texture dark) or a12 (the middle 'blue dark') because they leave the icons visible that indicate board/thread activity; a11 also leaves things visible but tints them oddly.  Or one of the invert styles, but I recoil like a vampire faced with a religious symbol when encountering orange like that. ;)

(Assuming it's like that on your computer at least; this is for Firefox on OSX.)
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Yei

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 05:09:56 am »
You are 100% correct! We are starting off small and will grow organically as needed (rather than start off with 60-70 mostly empty boards). The new SIG system should make it possible for members to create areas for specialized discussion too. The SIGs come with a message area, a calendar, a document area, a file area, etc. so they are quite nice for focused groups.

Now that a few days have passed, could I ask what exactly went wrong with the change over? I get that the new site had a few issues, but surely some teething problems were expected.

Not that I exactly loved the site, and I found a few minor things annoying. But I also thought that we'd get used to it over time.

Yei

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 05:27:45 am »
Now that a few days have passed, could I ask what exactly went wrong with the change over? I get that the new site had a few issues, but surely some teething problems were expected.

Not that I exactly loved the site, and I found a few minor things annoying. But I also thought that we'd get used to it over time.

Edit: Sorry, I just found the postmortem threat. I will check it out instead.

Altair

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2019, 05:22:51 am »
Edit: Sorry, I just found the postmortem threat. I will check it out instead.

For some reason (chronic sleep deprivation? Plain incompetence?) I've been unable to find the postmortem thread. Suffice to say, since I've been sidelined from the Cauldron lately by Life (things both wretched and wonderful), I missed the switch, and the switch back, entirely. I just want to thank Randall for all the work he put in, and continues to put in, on our behalf.

Disappearing again now until after the spring songbird migration, though I'll try to poke my nose in from time to time before migration winds down in June.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Zlote Jablko

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2019, 05:32:12 am »
Now that a few days have passed, could I ask what exactly went wrong with the change over? I get that the new site had a few issues, but surely some teething problems were expected.

Not that I exactly loved the site, and I found a few minor things annoying. But I also thought that we'd get used to it over time.

It was pretty baffling for me, honestly. I had some issues, but like you said, no more than expected.

Honestly, I had far more difficulty with this site when I first started. I guess a  lot of people are used to it, but when I first arrived I didn’t much care for the way this one was set up.

RandallS

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Re: IMPORTANT ADMIN: The Cauldron is moving to a New Website and System!
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2019, 05:49:23 am »
Disappearing again now until after the spring songbird migration, though I'll try to poke my nose in from time to time before migration winds down in June.

May you see many happy birds passing through!
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
OSR.SPACE: Old School Tabletop RPG Community

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