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Thread: State of the Forum: July 2019

  1. #1
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    Default State of the Forum: July 2019

    The Short Version:
    • Guest Posting is Currently Disabled
    • There are no more volunteer moderators
    • Things are going to change





    The Long Version:

    As a few of you who lurk around this forum regularly noticed, this past week we were slammed by a ton of spam posts, many of which were made by guest accounts. To more immediately rectify the problem, guest posting has been disabled. I am unsure yet whether we will enable guest posting again in the future; that decision hinges on some other factors discussed below.

    Additionally, I spent plenty of hours scrubbing the forums this morning not only from the spam of the past week, but spam that cast its net all the way back to November 2018 that had never been moderated. Hopefully, the forums look a lot cleaner today (at least until the next batch of spammers walks in the front door).

    That's damage control for the short term. Now let's talk the bigger picture.

    First of all, I owe you all an apology. As the boss that took over in the place of DizzyPW, right in the middle of some major changes in the ownership and management of OnRPG & MMOHuts, the responsibility fell on me to manage the forums. I could spend a lot of time complaining about all the things that went wrong and try to portion out blame, but at the end of the day, I inherited the task of taking care of these forums.

    To make clear: managing the forums is one of the many dozens of things that are on my plate as Editor in Chief and Site Manager. It's also one of the things that falls to the bottom of my day to day list. But what started out with good intentions (including a complete overhaul plan) eventually fell to the wayside. What I wanted to do to help the forums began to feel impossible. I lost motivation and eventually just stopped checking in.

    I haven't been committing the energy here that I expected our paid and volunteer staff to do, and it's showed - not only in my lack of forum presence, but in the way our forum staff have gradually drifted off. I'm committed to turning that around, but I'll let my actions speak for that in the coming days.

    That brings me to the next point: I have shut down our volunteer moderation program on the forums. Why would I do this and essentially put more work on myself in the meantime? To start off with, 80% of our moderators and our volunteer administrator have been absent for three months or longer (mostly in the 'for longer' category). I had tried reaching out to them in the past unsuccessfully, so it's safe to assume they've moved on. Meanwhile, the few active moderators that were left were doing fine - but they lacked incentive. Add into that concerns about security and accountability from powers above me, and it only makes sense to change how we manage the forums. It's nothing I blame our volunteer staff for, and I thank all of them for the time and service they did offer this forum - for free! - but it's time for a new era.

    I want to reiterate that I do not think the forums are dead, nor do I think they are 'beyond redemption'. While others behind the scenes have argued in favor of closing them for good, I have stood in their defense. I believe we can take what we have here and use it as a foundation to build a better, stronger, larger community.

    That means things are going to change.

    First, the technical side of the forums. My hands are tied here a bit: I do not have the knowledge, access, or permission to make changes to the coding and software of our forum. While I could fix that first part, issues of access/permission are beyond my control. That means I have to rely on working with our tech team to make any changes to the forums. Broken features, from the post editor to moderation tools, are a result of severely outdated forum software. Our forums are eight years behind current technology, and that's just resulted in a mess of small individual problems that reduce quality of life here. So I'm pushing again for a change to our forum software. This likely means there will be some downtime and change over in the future, once we have decided on a path of action and tested it thoroughly, but the goal is to have a modern forum with working features and better security to prevent issues such as spam posts - something our current software can do no better on.

    Outside of the tech side of the forums, we also need a change in how the community is organized and managed. This is going to mean an updated and clearly stated Code of Conduct, improved consistency in moderation, increased involvement from our actual staff (myself most of all), and ultimately, a forum that is reorganized into better subforums and communities. In the coming weeks I will be revisiting my previous plans for these changes. While I plan on holding off on forum reorganization until we change our forum software, there are other things I can do now to lay the foundation for a better community experience.

    As always, I remain open to suggestions and feedback, and will do my best to communicate changes and updates to you as soon and clearly as possible.
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  2. #2
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    Well I guess i will put the time i spend on moderating into my games list which i haven't had much time to work on as of late.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaoscauser View Post
    Well I guess i will put the time i spend on moderating into my games list which i haven't had much time to work on as of late.
    You were one of our last holdouts and I definitely appreciated ya. Here's to keeping up that massive games list!
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    thanks for your hard work!
    i noticed the little green lock in the adress bar is gone, is that a good or bad thing?

  5. #5
    NWOrpheus
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    It appears to be a browser thing.

  6. #6
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    Small update:

    I've tried to patch through a fix that should prevent guests from posting via a loophole.

    New forum software is still on the table, just delayed at the moment.

    I've been tied up a bit so haven't worked on a new Code of Conduct just yet, but I haven't forgotten.
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  7. #7
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    radical missys good luck shaka brah

  8. #8
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    Who closed my games list threads? I can't edit them...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaoscauser View Post
    Who closed my games list threads? I can't edit them...
    seems like a lot of threads got locked lol

  10. #10
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    My bad, this is why I shouldn't try to do forum stuff when I'm low on energy.

    It should have just been those four stickied threads in the F2P forum that got locked by accident though. If there's more, please let me know.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissyS View Post
    My bad, this is why I shouldn't try to do forum stuff when I'm low on energy.

    It should have just been those four stickied threads in the F2P forum that got locked by accident though. If there's more, please let me know.
    yeah looks like it was just those 4, thanks missys

  12. #12
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    NP!

    I was looking at ways to lock old threads last night so we don't have necros as often. Unfortunately there's no simple way to do that, so after playing around a bit I decided I will set up a no-posting archive zone for them instead in the future.

    But I forgot I had tested a batch lock and those got included because I was tired and not paying attention. xD Many apologies!
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  13. #13
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    any plans to fix youtube tags at some point? its been broken for a couple years now

  14. #14
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    I'll see what I can do. I was told it wasn't fixable, but just did some research and found out I should be able to make changes to it.

    Edit: Oy it's done.
    Last edited by MissyS; 09-09-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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