Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
A few changes I've been working on recently that it's important to know about:
1. Email notifications reset
I've been getting a lot of bounced notifications, as some email providers are starting to treat them as spam. As this can only cause problems for the long-term, I've reset all email notifications to off.
This means that to receive email notifications from now you must actively opt-in. To do that, update your preferences here.
2. New homepage
We now have a homepage that allows discussion threads in the forums to be featured like a portal.
This should not only make it more attractive for new members to use, but also encourage greater participation in the forums. And as it's a feature of the upgraded forum software, it means everything should work together nicely.
For the moment I plan to take things slowly, to allow everyone to get used to it - then look to increase the frequency of new content around September. My aim is to use a mix of custom-written content and highlighted discussions, so if you have any ideas for pieces - get planning!
The main forum listing page still exists - if you'd prefer to update your bookmarks, it can now be found at Science Fiction & Fantasy forums.
I'm also slowly depreciating dedicated author boards in lieu of tags, as it means we can cover far more authors - and make discussions of their work far more easy to find.
It is still a work in progress!
It's not just that I haven't finished tagging discussions in the Book Discussion board, I also need to devise a system for making Resident Author tags both fair and representative.
Also, a coding issue means I can't selectively display which tags show in which section, so at the moment it runs as follows:
- all author tags on homepage and main forums page
- latest posts from Press Releases
- most popular author tags on right of all discussions
It's a little blunt, but it's as much as I can do for the moment to encourage their use.
Also, only author names are currently tagged, to make the system simpler to work with.
NOTE: If you'd rather not see author tags, the SFFchronicles style - available in a link at the bottom left of the forums - allows you to collapse both the left and right-hand navigation.
Although we did have a set of rules before, it wasn't always clear where they were - let alone updated. The result was that we tended to run on an informal set of rules that new members could fall foul of.
I've therefore set up updated rules here: Terms and rules
There are no changes to current board policy, as much as aiming to make what we do clearer. However, I'm happy to take feedback on updating them to ensure they remain fair.
I will also implement a feature so that new members receive a copy of the Rules section in a private message as soon as they join, to ensure as little room as possible for misunderstanding.
5. Supporter Memberships
I've now implemented a Supporter Membership upgrade so that members can truly support chrons.
I've priced this at £14.95 a year (apporox USD$20), which aims to be as low and reasonable as possible. Although it runs through Paypal, I don't think you need a Paypal account to use their payment system.
The upgrade is available in your member profile settings here: https://www.sffchronicles.com/account/upgrades
The aim is to make sure that chrons can stand on its own two proverbial feet to protect its longevity.
There is no secret content for Supporters to access - they simply get a nice badge under their username, and the ability to use signatures.
Signatures have now been implemented to be available for Supporter Members.
At present I'm suggesting use only of one of the following formats, but I'm happy to be advised if people would prefer something different:
a) A single line of text that includes a link
b) Two lines of text containing no links
c) Up to 3 book cover images, each no more than 100 pixels high (or wide)
Supporters don't have to use their signature option if they don't want to.
However, I expect option c) will prove especially useful for published writers here, as it allows a more direct way to make their books more visible for existing members and unregistered visitors.
There are a couple of caveats:
i) I've applied a setting to allow a member's signature to only display once per thread, to help prevent discussion threads looking cluttered,
ii) Every member has the option to block the display of signatures in their preferences: https://www.sffchronicles.com/account/preferences
Content Options > Show people's signatures with their messages
That way if members would prefer not to see signatures, they don't have to. Unregistered guests do not have that option.
7. New theme
At the very bottom left of the screen there's a link for the style chooser - normally Default Red/Blue.
I've now added a new style - SFFchronicles2 - which is ideal for desktop users, and makes the most of screen space with left and right navigation bars that can be hidden with a click if required.
A couple of minor points together:
- I've now disabled Google adverts on the site. I've always considered them a necessary evil, but of late they've managed to become more intrusive while paying less. The hope is that Supporter Memberships will make them irrelevant.
- Disclaimer! In case you haven't noticed, links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk are automatically appended with my affiliate URL. I get sod all money from this, but I figure every little penny helps. However, if people would prefer that didn't happen - perhaps Supporters would prefer to include their own affiliate link in their signatures - then I'll consider disabling it.
I think that's all done.
Any questions, queries, or problems, please do post them below.