...life can be translucent

Menu

Forum Remodelling Coming Soon (from the blog)

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86

Refurbishing? Remodelling?

The I Ching Community will be migrating, fairly soon, to some new forum software. I don’t want to say, ‘We’re moving,’ because at the end of the process the forums will still be accessible at the same address as before. But they’ll look somewhat different and work somewhat differently, so there’ll be a bit of a learning curve for us all.

Why change?

Three reasons: bugs, future-proofing, and just making them better.

The bugs

If you’ve spent any time round the I Ching Community, you’ve probably met these. Posts in one big text block because the software ran all the paragraphs together, posts that can’t be edited, and also occasional database error messages. Oh, and no Chinese characters, because when I followed tech support’s instructions to enable those, a whole swathe of other features promptly died.
There are workarounds for the paragraph and editing bugs (switch to the standard editor, open the ‘edit’ link in a new tab), and members put up with this with remarkably good grace, but it would be nice not to have to, wouldn’t it?
(Incidentally, those workarounds were discovered by kind members, experimenting industriously in search of a fix. The tech support people are just not that interested.)

Future-proofing

Our current software is no longer being updated. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that everything else about the internet is constantly being updated. Sooner or later, some other part of Clarity is going to require some of those updates, and the forum won’t allow them, and we’ll be stuck.
Besides, most online conversations nowadays work faster and more smoothly. Like I said, Clarity’s members have been altogether lovely at putting up with occasional clunkiness, but increasingly people’s expectations are set by social media companies with multi-squillion development budgets. We can’t exactly catch up with them (slight shortage of squillions here), but we could do better for ourselves.
We need to move to something that’s being updated, and vBulletin 5 (we’re currently on vBulletin 4) is almost-universally regarded as rubbish. (Also, I’m quite tired of profoundly uninterested tech support people.) So… I’ve decided to switch to XenForo. It may be more of a change to get used to at first, but it’ll be worth it.

Better forums

The more I see of XenForo, the more it just looks better than vBulletin. It’s more user-friendly when it comes to finding what you’re interested in, getting updates and keeping track, quick and easy self-expression and so on. I keep finding thoughtful touches in unexpected places. (For instance, how about getting notified when someone quotes a post of yours?) It’ll be a more hospitable environment all round – I’ll share some screenshots and videos over the coming week or two to show you what I mean.

What happens next?

Basically, you just use the old forums as usual, while I chase my tail in circles and spend silly amounts of money to get it all set up. On Migration Day, the forums will be closed for a time, and after that it’ll take a little while to get hexagram search and WikiWing integrated with the new system.
For now… er, watch this space? I’ll keep you posted, show you how some of the shiny new features work, and let you know as soon as I have a date for Migration Day.
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Here's a preview of how post quoting will work in the new forums. (Forgive the music. I'd just spent half the day on serious video-editing, and couldn't help myself.)

 
Last edited:

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Another preview...


 
Last edited:

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
There's a strikethrough button! :claps:
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Huh - I hadn't even noticed that. So there is.
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
(And I like the creaking vs. the chirping birdies - and the other sundry musical accompaniments - and the new smilies - and that you kindly thought to keep our accustomed ones - and so on. Looking forward to this changeover. :))
 

Trojina

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2006
Messages
19,732
Reaction score
95
I paused the video to go out on to the balcony to hear this beautiful bird sound. I hear birds here but not that kind of bird. So I went out and waited to hear this lovely bird again but it had stopped. I even looked for it as it sounded so close but could see nothing. So I came back in to play the video and the bird came back.

Eventually I realized the bird was on the video.

You see this is Hairily playing mind games.


I'm not at all sure about all those mood indicators such as angry/sad/love/ I mean Good Grief and certainly not sure about the 'like' and was there even a thumbs down one, I'll go and check.
 

Trojina

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2006
Messages
19,732
Reaction score
95
No, phew it's okay there are no thumbs down symbols, I mean you can imagine the discord that could create.

So many more smilies, fruit, travel, relationships, shoes. Hope we don't lose the old ones though, they have more character.

Now I understand the creaky noise was to indicate the creaky old forum and the bird song to indicate how peachy life will be following the migration if, like the wildebeest we make it across as a full herd.
 

moss elk

Senior member
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
47
Would a thumbs-down button, that had no usernames associated, actually prove beneficial? As in, this doesn't need a moderator to delete it, or the user to be reprimanded, but it is still kind of lousy....

A sort of critical feedback tool that creates no discord between users...
like a frown from a passing stranger that alerts one to the bird droppings on your shirt.

Because we need both the carrot (praise, 18.5) and the stick (punishment, 21) to learn and grow.

And what options do we have now for posts we don't like: 1-walk away, 2-report them, 3-get into arguments, 4-try (keyword: try) to enlighten them?

I actually don't like seeing my name next to Thanked posts, it can do odd things, like create cliques or the illusion of them, and some people get triggered by such things. Just a thought.
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
No, there's no way to have anonymous feedback. There is an extension to the 'reactions' feature that allows a kind of collective moderation: if 10 people with good reputation say a post is spam, for instance, then it can be hidden until a moderator gets to it. Elegant, but probably not something we really need.

For the rest, I think 'thanking' is mostly used as intended, and probably the nuance of extra options will lighten things up and tend to de-politicise.
 

Olga Super Star

Senior member
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,317
Reaction score
12
OMG I tried the first video and it's so difficult, I can't keep up with all that information, it's so quick.

Might it be my slow tyroid?
I just felt handicapped. Like I can't think.

I'll try tomorrow after some sleep.
Perhaps not sleeping ever is the cause to all my troubles ever.
 

Olga Super Star

Senior member
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,317
Reaction score
12
Oh I tried the second video and it went better. Maybe it's because there's pictures in it :rolleyes:

I have always thought the smilies needed improving.
Will the Green Bouncing Bloke remain? :weep:


I love the Green Bouncing Bloke!

:bounce:
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
Olga - in the lower right-hand corner of the videos, there's a button that looks like a little gear. Click on it, select the option for playback speed, and you can slow things down as far as 1/4 normal speed.

And yes, close inspection of the 2nd video reveals that our current smilies have their own special place in the collection, labelled "Classics". :D
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
(I hope they gave Hilary hugs for saving their dear lives. :hug:)
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
OMG I tried the first video and it's so difficult, I can't keep up with all that information, it's so quick.

Might it be my slow tyroid?
I just felt handicapped. Like I can't think.

I'll try tomorrow after some sleep.
Perhaps not sleeping ever is the cause to all my troubles ever.
I expect it has something to do with reading a foreign language ;) . (Also, yes, I did make that one a bit too fast.)

What Liselle said about reducing the speed. (Bonus tip: you can also use this on videos with voiceover to make my voice sound funny.)
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
And yes, close inspection of the 2nd video reveals that our current smilies have their own special place in the collection, labelled "Classics". :D
A couple of them have been around since our Discusware days.
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
We have a slight delay - a particularly large and ugly bug has emerged from the forum template I commissioned. I'm working on persuading the author of said template that this is indeed where the bug came from, in the hope that he'll be able to squash it shortly...
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
I think the bug in question has been successfully squashed. Phew, and hooray. Onward! Here's a video about the new features just for Clarity's supporters:

 
Last edited:

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Here's what happens next:

  1. The designer and I check and complete the template that makes the new forums part of the website. (As you can see from the videos, it's basically done, but we just need to check the corners for lurking bugs.)
  2. The forums close, and behind the scenes...
  3. the whole forum migrates to the new software (user accounts, forums, posts, everything)
  4. WikiWing gets migrated too. (At least, I hope that can be done at the same time, though I'll probably be hiring different people for each task; if not, WikiWing will follow asap after we re-open.)
  5. I set up access and protection for the forums, so you have the same single log-in access to all the same forums you have now.
  6. I check everything approximately 127 times.
  7. The forums re-open (minus hexagram search at first).
  8. I commission a version of the hexagram search to work with the new forums.

I'll let you know as soon as I have some dates!
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Step 1 is complete and paid for. Now I'm talking with the expert who'll do the migration to fix a date. (WikiWing will have to come after the main migration.)
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
Really looking forward to being able to annotate and categorize bookmarks. That's probably my favorite of that set of features. (Of course I say that until I start using it excitedly and am once again reminded of my pitiful categorizing skills.)

How is Xenforo's built-in search, compared to vBulletin's? Do you have a feel for it yet? (I'm expecting it to be better only because it's surely impossible to be worse, but is there anything else you can tell us?)
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
I don't really know yet about the search; we'll find out when we try it on the full database. I do know that it's no better for finding hexagrams; it gives just the same error message about numbers being too small to look for, or whatever it is. So we will be needing Ewald to rebuild the hexagram search for the new system - hopefully that will be readily do-able and he won't turn out to be on holiday.

There is actually an official extension made by XF themselves (as opposed to a 3rd party) to enhance search. That might be worth getting - I'll look into it.
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Having had a look, I don't think the official extension makes that much difference. We'll still be relying on Ewald.

Meanwhile, the man I've got to help with the migration is... a... bit... ss..lll...ooo....wwww.... and has run into a problem with the threads from the blog that he doesn't know how to fix. So he's sending a ticket to the XF support people, while I'm gently kicking myself for not asking Yi about him separately.
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
(Well, thanks and commiseration...)
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
(Well, thanks and commiseration...)
Thank you for the commiseration - much needed.

VaultWiki have told me the last date they can possibly migrate WikiWing is 17th-18th, as after that the owner is going for an operation and won't be back until October.

The migration man, who I've been talking to/ working with since July 26th, has just told me that no, he can't promise to finish the job by the 16th, so perhaps I should find someone else.

I am now panicking and chasing my tail in circles.
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
:eek:

:rant: (towards techy-helper-people taking good money and doing poor jobs, of which I believe this is not your first, sadly, including vBulletin itself of late...)

:hug:

If all else fails, the loss of WikiWing for a couple of months will not cause the actual death of anyone. We will understand. Don't panic.
 

Liselle

Supporter
Clarity Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 1970
Messages
5,472
Reaction score
57
(And what if it gets done at the absolute last minute, and happens by unprecedented remote chance not to be 100% perfect immediately...then there will be no one to fix anything anyway...)
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
Oh, it's not that bad - he hadn't had any money, and he did discover a bug that needs fixing in the importer, no matter who does the job. So while I wish he been a little less laid-back from the outset, it could be worse.

I'm not completely convinced the world would not end if we were without WikiWing for a couple of months. I think it might be a close-run thing. I suppose it might be possible - if a bit confusing - to keep vBulletin running with just WikiWing and move the forums...
 

hilary

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 8, 1970
Messages
14,075
Reaction score
86
We are moving very soon!

My slightly-uncommunicative moving expert suddenly says he will probably do the migration tomorrow!

The forum will be closed during the move, hopefully not for more than a day. Wish me luck!
 

Clarity,
Office 17622,
PO Box 6945,
London.
W1A 6US
United Kingdom

Phone/ Voicemail:
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).

Top