With a new Rules/Code of Conduct posted today, it's a perfect time to update everyone on the state of the forum.

The Short Version:
  • More measures put in place to curb solicitation spam
  • Clearer info about GDPR & account info/privacy
  • New Rules & Code of Conduct
  • Software Update TBD

The Long Version:

Hopefully you've been able to notice some of the changes around the forum since my last "State of the Forum". We've been working primarily this month on increasing engagement (posting and chatting with you) and in trying to find the best way to outsmart the solicitation spammers that hit us up frequently. Last week we made some additional changes in the back to try to keep those spammers from ever posting, and I think we've hit the sweet spot. I also have to give major kudos to NWOrpheus who has been actively checking the forums every day to keep an eye on things and snip that spam where it hurts. Ragachak's also been doing a great job posting some key news and features from the sites.

Two major updates were posted today. The first is the addition of a post about GDPR, Privacy, Data, and Account Deletion. We have been complying with GDPR on the forums since its inception, but the general policy and procedure was not clear. Even if you want your account deleted and aren't subject to GDPR, we'll still do it.

The second is a new Forum Rules & Code of Conduct. I have a bit to say about it.

These forums have operated without a true set of rules for years. That's not to say there haven't been rules, or that it's been lawless here: rather, the rules have not been transparent or easily accessible for anyone. The forum's been operating primarily on the Lounge Laws and precedent toward dealing with spam, flaming, etc. It's not a healthy thing for a community to be moderated by an invisible set of rules, and so the Code of Conduct/Rules were especially important to get in writing.

Generally speaking, these rules are nothing new. They are the same rules that we have been enforcing and expecting here for some time. My goal has been to make each of them clear and in some cases, more explicit (for instance, re: self-promotion and emulators/roms).

While we don't generally see rule violations right now (except for solicitation spam), it's important that we have this kind of structure in place if we are to renew and regrow this community. There are a number of people I have talked to throughout the years that have outright avoided the forums because of perceived "lawlessness" and I am putting an end to that. While I think that our current community is doing just fine, I can only put hope in our future members, and these rules, to keep us a positive place to interact and hang out.

Finally, as for forum software - we're still waiting on forward progress. Another project was put on the tech team's table that had a higher priority, and which I am hoping will be wrapping up soon so that we can look at changing the software. I can say that we are not planning on changing to a newer version of vBulletin. I've recommended Discourse (on NWOrpheus' own recommendation), which should allow us to transfer all of our old posts over.

That said, I am still committed to restructuring the forums, even if we're still kept on hold for a software update. My next major goal is to build a new forum structure, which will likely start with archiving away many of our old posts to discourage necroing and making it easier to find active topics.

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.