2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Discuss the HTLAL forum's past and its future
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rdearman
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2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby rdearman » Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:15 pm

Hello everyone, as the year closes out I wanted to write another post to talk about the forum, and our plans for next year. I did this once before 2015 thoughts, 2016 plans and annoucend we were going to try do to this:

  1. Expand the Main site with more static content, guest blog posts, and great forum member content.
  2. Establish some kind of trust or charity which will allow ownership of this forum and its content to remain with the community.
  3. Write more software and develop the site to make it even better.
  4. To host challenge bots, or other community requested enhancements
  5. To market and grow our audience and forum membership
  6. Look at possibly adding other language-specific boards.
  7. Update rules and policies where required.
  8. Add a code of conduct.
  9. Investigate expanding the hosting facilities for more speed and backups.
  10. New language packs and extensions

We managed to do the ones in blue, so I think we've done pretty well. Lots of good things have happened and a couple of bad things. We had the server hard-drive failure which caused a total outage, and although you'd have not seen much of it, we had a spate of spammers. We introduced a system where all posts by new users were moderated. Which meant at one point earlier on this year everytime a moderator or administrator logged in they would see between 4-40 posts for medicine, pornography or other rubbish posts. To combat this we had to introduce an automated check which automatically rejects posts from blacklisted IP addresses. We also introduced a hint to the spammers on the sign up questions. If you joined after the spammers started you'll probably remember reading this when signing up.
ALL POSTS ON THIS FORUM ARE MODERATED, SPAM MESSAGES ARE DELETED UNSEEN AND SPAM ACCOUNTS REMOVED.

It took a few days but eventually the spammers worked it out and the levels of drug and porn spam dropped off not next to nothing.

As I sit here today I think it is pretty amazing that we've 54,000+ posts and 2,500+ topics! The first official post on the board was 14th of May 2015 and the forum is almost 2 years old now. This means in the last year we've created, 1,500 new topics, and 38,000 posts. Not a bad showing and I'm sure you've all seen the almost constant visits by Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Baidu [Spider], Yahoo [Bot], and many others at the bottom of the first page. This is because of the constant stream of great comments, subjects and interesting topics you guys are all generating. I've had a lot of people thanking me for providing this place, but actually without you and the community you've all built together this would just be another empty website sucking up electricity.

In 2016, I had the privilege of meeting some of the members and moderators in person at the Polygot Gathering in Berlin and it was great seeing and having an actually conversation with Brun Ugle, Yuurei, Iversen, and jeff_lindqvist, among others. We also brought back some people from the Gathering to the forum, an easy thing to do when you've got great people publishing amazing insightful stuff! I'm hoping to meet even more of you in
Bratislava in 2017.

In 2016 the content of the static site started to bring people to the site and then further on into the forum. We had a lot of guests posts:
  • How I learnt Romansh and why I love it (guest post by Ogrim)
  • The “multi-track” approach to language learning (Guest Post by iguanamon)
  • French You Tube Resources – A guest post by Sizen
  • My Experience Learning a Minority Language (Guest Post by iguanamon)
Brilliant language profiles generated by the members for:
  • Finnish Language Profile
  • Hungarian Language Profile
  • Saamic Language Profile
  • Slovak Language Profile
  • Spanish Language Profile

We are ALWAYS looking for more content btw!

Our goals this coming year are just to improve where we can and try to help the community to grow and prosper. I'm excited to bring in the new year and watch our community grow even larger. I want to thank each and everyone of you reading this message for your time, and your participation in this forum. This place is better for having you in it, thank you very much for being here with us.
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby tomgosse » Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:40 pm

rdearman wrote:Our goals this coming year are just to improve where we can and try to help the community to grow and prosper. I'm excited to bring in the new year and watch our community grow even larger. I want to thank each and everyone of you reading this message for your time, and your participation in this forum. This place is better for having you in it, thank you very much for being here with us.

And thanks to you, emk, and all the moderators for all the hard work you put into this. :D
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby Rhian » Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:20 pm

Ahh yes the spam attacks over summer/autumn were 'fun'. I just wish some of them hadn't felt the need to include really graphic pictures in their posts :cry: :shock: :lol: :lol:

I totally agree with Rdearman, it's all our posters & members who really make this place so wonderful! All the best for the coming year everyone!
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby neofight78 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:29 pm

Thanks to all the people who put hard work into this forum, and of course all the posters. It's been great to see it grow from a temporary HTLAL alternative into a full blown community. :D

Any news on item 2? Not sure what the current bus factor is but I'd hate for this forum to risk going the way of HTLAL too. :o
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby tommus » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:26 pm

Happy New Year to everyone on the Forum. Let's make 2017 our best year ever as we improve our target languages.

A special thanks to rdearman and the moderators for the huge amount of work they do to make our Forum a pleasant and productive place to gather and learn.

I see there is a big new version of the Forum software coming out tomorrow with "major changes and new functionality". I have maintained that Numbers 1 and 3 on the 2017 Plans list will be a big quantum leap in the utility and productivity of the Forum. Specifically, I am talking about a very accessible header to give one-click access to static content and other functional areas of the Forum. I see that the phpBB Forum Software site itself has just what we need. Look at all the great buttons, while retaining our current Quick Links, FAQs, etc.:

https://www.phpbb.com/community/index.php?sid=cda84e30e6ba97668ef8bcbc07480f67

I know it will require some expertise in this area (that I do not have), but I would support any effort to see such an improvement that I believe would really "up our game".
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby vogeltje » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:36 am

Happy New Year to you too rdearman, and thanks to rdearman, emk, Iversen and the others for this nice forum.
Last edited by vogeltje on Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2016 thoughts, 2017 plans

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:41 am

Thank you Rick, moderators, admins and comrades for a forum that I enjoy so much.
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