Persisting Site Issues and What To Do About Them
Greetings Fellow Nor'Ovans,
When I chose this particular software to put the site together, I was not running a forum RP but only needing a wiki for my weekly tabletop game. Since I have an economy server, I needed something that looked good, easily themable, smartphone friendly, and light on resources. I chose this software because it had all of that and it did have a forum in case I ever did get the time for a forum RP. Unfortunately, I never really tested out the forum and community end of the software before I opened up a forum RP. I should have, because if I had, I probably would have went with a different piece of software to power my site.
For the most part, things seems to work pretty well. We have a easy to use post editor, we can seemingly post easily from our phones (correct me if I'm wrong, I don't post from my phone), and notifications work when you toggle them on for the threads you are following. We even have mentions.
However, there are at least two bugs: PM doesn't always seem to work (many times it just fails on me), and you cannot link character profiles to your signature for some reason. These are bugs that I have reported back when we started and they've yet to act on them as these are bugs that can only be fixed by the software developers.
So, what do we do? It is easy to say "well let's pick a different software for our website that has all of this working" but we all know the dangers of doing that. People hate change, period, and changing things have all too often cost us members in the past. So if we were to change software, we'd have to be very smart about it and pick one that is future proof where we wouldn't change again, and we'd have to all agree on changing software as a necessity.
The character linking in signatures is something I think we can live without. While I want it - it makes it easy to see the character I'm posting to when I can just click on the signature link - it isn't important.
The PM software I think is important. A good, working, PM system is needed IMO to facilitate plotting between members and private discussion - especially on things you don't want to talk about in public. With our PM system in this software broken, we are crippled. We can work around it right now as we all can pretty much trust each other enough to give out email addresses and the like, but what about in the future? What if the PM system never gets fixed? Will we still be OK with that, when (hopefully) we get new members and such?
Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question. Nor do I know what would be the best thing to do - change software or live with it and hope they eventually fix the issues we have. Changing software is a pain on its on, and not an instant thing. I'd first have to test software to make sure it has everything working the way we need it to then I'd have to move things to it. I could of course do the forum the fastest and let us post on it while I move over the wiki. But I also fear driving away the members we have now.
So that is why II bring this to you. What do you think we should do?
The character linking signature thing is something that doesn't bother me in the slightest. If I want to see someone's character profile, I just open a new tab, do a few clicks and viola I've got what I need. Granted, one click is easier, but a few extra clicks here and there doesn't bother me. I often have many tabs open not just for this site but for others.
As for the PM system, I don't really use it and don't have cause to. I might in the future, but that is extremely low on my list of priorities regarding this site. I can understand what you're saying what for future members and all that, and I agree that the PM system should work as it is meant to. Have you contacted the software people more than once about this particular bug? I find that if you don't pester people about things, then things don't get taken care of. I'm not saying make a nuisance of yourself or anything, but as my dad would say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
As far as changing software is concerned, I'd say hold off on it until we've exhausted all resources with trying to fix it and until we get more active members. Keyword there being active. Near as I can tell there are only 4 active members right now and that's including myself. Now if everyone else raises a fit about it, then fine, go ahead and change things. But this is my two cents that you asked for and I think things are okay as they are for the time being.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday.
Thanks for your reply @DreamWriter05 !
Yeah, I did state that I too could live without linking profiles :).
I have of course been pestering them about things that are broke. I am on their github page where the developers are, and I have had quite a few issues fixed dealing with the main software quite rapidly. Some small bugs still remain (not being able to put a + in the wiki pages without it being right next to a word because it won't display a stand along plus sign), but those are minor. There's only been one issue with the software that they haven't been able to fix for me, that being a print template, but I have a work around that works for me.
The one area though that I can't seem to get any real attention on is the forum. They don't even use it, so many times I have to really do my best to explain what is going on with detailed screenshots. Sadly, I've yet to get any forum issues fixed. This is of course a little aggravating and worrisome. But for the most part, the main things with the forum do work.
I understand what you are saying, but I do use PMs, and I likely am not the only one. Still if everyone is fine with a broken PM I'll agree to do my best to ignore it lol. You have to understand, that is very hard for me lol.
The part where I'll have to disagree on is waiting for more active members before doing anything. I think that would be a disaster. Not only would I have a lot more to migrate, I'd have more members to potentially lose. No, if we all agree to just deal with the software we have and hope that one day they might fix it, then we are agreeing to always use this software, as I won't entertain the possibility of changing software at a later date. That would just be too risky. Changing software with only two threads, some profiles, and four active members is far more preferable than changing software with many threads and profiles and twice as many active members.
I know that I haven't started here, so I really don't have a vested interest in change versus maintain at this point. But I have been a part of other versions of Nor'Ova before, and I agree with Mythus that any change we do deal with should be a once-and-done kinda thing. Sorry to say, boss, but I've found myself groaning "another website change" inside my head once or twice. I think the reason website changes make people cringe is because its a mapping hassle.
That aside, the point has been made that we're still a small community. Smaller pond, smaller ripples when the stone of change is dropped in. So I would say, if you're gonna make changes do it now sooner than later. Yes, keep the experimenting down to a minimum, but you obviously feel strongly about certain features, so change what you need to.
Characters in signatures? No idea what that is about. Obviously, I won't miss it. *laughs* If I want to see a profile, I can either click on a person's name or open the Profile page. Seems pretty simple to me.
PMs? Meh. I use texting and Discord to reach the people that need to be reached (so far), and I would like to assume that anything discussed aboveboard will not be metagamed later. Will that change in the future? Probably. But there are plenty of ways to stay in contact in today's world,both publicly and privately. When I play Final Fantasy XIV or Diablo 3, I still have to use Discord to talk to my friends and associates even though there are in-game chat apps. I've even seen people network on Facebook (and I don't use antisocial media).
The tl;dr version of that is: we'll find a way if it can't happen.
I'd like to see a website that I can navigate easily, doesn't make me squint to read on my phone if I need to (though I'll probably only ever post from my PC), and allows me to tell good stories with folks. I know bupkiss about programming and developing and website programming. That, I leave to you, Mythus. I yield to your expertise. This is your baby.
So long as you do your homework and make a single decision that you believe is best, I'm pretty sure most (if not all) of us will be okay with it.