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Lancer''s Site Updates: Post your Feedback and Suggestions H

Here you can suggest and discuss changes to the Lancers Reactor website as well as provide feedback on things small or large.

Post Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:54 pm

Lancer''s Site Updates: Post your Feedback and Suggestions H

I figured that since I have been doing some code updates to the Lancer's website for some time now that I should open a thread for a little feedback. You can post ideas of things you would like to see changed, added, removed, etc. I do not check the forums very often but I will make this thread one of my stops when I do.

Some things I have done so far:

For the Forums:
- I have removed the Email link from the general pages to protect users from email harvesting spiders.
- I have changed the cookie/session timeout to one month to try and eliminate the problem of the forum not accurately displaying when you were last here and what threads you have not seen yet. (7/4/2006)
- I have changed the browser title bar code to display the current page title which should make things a bit more aesthetically pleasing. (7/4/2006)
- I have fixed the BBCode system and added a few new codes to play with. (NEW!!-4/16/2007)

For the Website:
- I have changed the number of news items that display from 15 to 25.


If you have any comments on these changes post them here. If you have suggestions for changes post them here.

Edited by - Louva-Deus on 4/16/2007 2:25:42 PM

Post Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:41 am

Most of the things I would suggest are much larger scale. Starting with a wiki, community calendar, expanded multiple choice poll system with username/host/IP checks, and some sort of task management system.

Are your updates going to lead into a larger development effort or just keep the site going basically as-is long term? What happened to the website overhaul from a year ago? Like the stuff with DNN, Instant Forum, new site theme, etc? The test sites are still online but Eraser said that stuff is “off the table”, if theres nothing else “on the table” could DNN and Instant Forum be made to work?

Sorry, I know this probably wasn't what you were hoping to see posted in reply but I think these questions need to be asked.


-Burn

Post Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:18 am

the extention of the news from 15 to 25 is not so good imo
the news often show large pics and ppl with slow connection will have to wait ages before everything is loaded
(i experienced that on my laptop these days)

Post Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:14 am

@MegaBurn - Unfortunately unless Bargib gets around to it there will be no upgrade in forum software most likely. Also, I have wanted to set up a Wiki for some time but finding decent free software in ASP is extremely difficult.

The calendar idea is interesting, I'm assuming you mean something where server events could be posted? Also what about this task manager? Need more info about what you are thinking.

@SWAT_OP-R8R - In my tests having 15 instead of 25 makes no difference on dialup. The page itself is just slow, even without the graphics. This is an ASP problem in my opinion but there is little I can do about that.

Post Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:48 am

Yeah, the ASP based wikis are under developed at best. If something cannot be worked out with installing PHP for IIS and MediaWiki then running it on another web server might be an option. Just use a subdomain, frames, or redirect page to a LAMP based server. This would also reduce server load on the main server. Another option is something like Wikia, they host community wikis for free but they normally require a preexisting wiki with some content.

For the calendar, yeah, MP server events, mod release dates, and hopefully some TLR focused events. Nothing really happens around here, just news and forum activity. If someone could start a small weekly event of some sort that would be a positive step forward. In time hopefully that would expand into more events. Links to news pages might be useful. Adding game release dates or similar info might be good too.

For task management I'm thinking general project management. There aren't many projects directly working out of TLR but Openlancer could certainly move a large part of its development over to the TLR forums and use a task management system to stay organized. I'm sure other projects could make use of it too. If it were example simple it would just need a task page with the general task details, a submit task page web form, update task web form, accept task web form/link, and a global task list with some sorting options.

The poll idea is for handling fairly accurate community wide voting. If some regular activities got started on here and there was actually something that needed general community input that would be a good means to handle it. Its more accurate than a normal opinion poll and if it were on the main page it would be more visible than specific forum threads. Being multiple choice would be hand for things like picking favorite mods, event ideas, or say, different combinations of ideas for a community developed fictional canon...

I don't know if any of these ideas would help TLR but its probably worth a shot.


-Burn

Post Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:33 pm

Running PHP through IIS wouldn't be an option because IIS is the source of the sites current problems. It would have to be set up on Apache on the same server, which I could do.

The calendar I would have to think about because it runs into more ASP problems. A PHP version would be easier to find.

I think for task managing we will just have to tell people to use ModDB. They specialize in that sort of thing and can provide better services.

The polls.. we'll see.

Post Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:54 pm

Guys setup a full on Database driven site store all in DB backing up is a dream I've developed several sites doing this also moderators and admins can work on the site via browser so no need for server access. If you need anything let me know I have a couple of spare sites hanging around Plus I have to say searching your site is a real nighmare. any way cya guys I can be contacted through www.rougeuniverse.com

Post Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:54 pm

What about adding Google ads and making the donation button a little less obscure? Doing a real donation drive could really help too.

That should pay for a new server and who knows, it might even pay for a bunch of servers in time or a new bandwidth provider is that ever becomes an issue. Then TLR could run its own FL global MP server listing service, host MP clan websites, host mod websites, and host the OL global server when its finally released. All hosted sites could also run Google ads to further support TLR. All of this would also show that TLR is going to be around for a while and hopefully that will boost community moral a little.

I've been saying this for a few weeks now and I'll keep yapping about it until someone tells me to shut up.


-Burn

Post Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:23 pm

Wolfguardian, we wouldn't be opposed to having someone join the team that knows what they are doing. There's no pay involved, I'll tell you that up front. We all volunteer our spare time to work on the site for whatever reason each character may have.
What do you mean by "setup a full on Database driven site"
The database is MSSQL so I don't know if that would be compatible with what you are referring to.
We have asked before if anyone with the knowledge and spare time would like to help out but haven't found anyone that has stuck around long enough to do all the necessary coding and changes needed. We are always available, our email and msn address can be found on the staff page.

MegaBurn, "What about adding Google ads and making the donation button a little less obscure? Doing a real donation drive could really help too".
Obscure or not, in the time that I have been running the site only 1 person has donated so I don't think that makes any difference.
The biggest problems we have is time and knowledge.
I know HTML but that's as far as my knowledge extends which isn't enough to do all the necessary coding when it comes to adding or changing features.
Louva-Deus has been helping out lately but he's in the same boat as myself and Eraser, time. We go to school and work regular jobs.
A new server or two would be great. Then we could do the things you mention. But like I said only 1 person has ever donated.
We have unlimited bandwidth provided by our gracious host so that's not any problem.

And what do you mean by "boost community moral a little"

Post Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:14 pm

The site is back online and should be working as normal. There are a few more things that need to be done but after this we are moving on to the next phase regarding this site, and that is a full rewrite and buying new hardware.

At this point we are considering buying two new SCSI hardrives to be set up in a redundant RAID so we can avoid future hardware failures. The original hardrive housing the site's databases died and we have spent the last 10 days recovering files and making backups. We are currently running off two temporary hardrives.

So the funds we are needing will probably be more closer to $500 for the new harddrives and approximately $3,000 for the new server. We have received some donations already and huge thanks to those that donated!

Our next goal will be to rebuild the site from scratch to make it leaner and meaner, and crash-free. To do that, however, we need your support. We need capable ASP.NET coders who would be willing to work for free and help us with the reconstruction. Please email Bakedpotato if you would like to help.

Edited by - Louva-Deus on 7/22/2006 9:17:21 PM

Post Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:24 pm

BP,
It took me over a month to even notice the donation button. It should be moved towards the top of the main page, if you're serious about getting people to donate then the donation button should be noticeable right away. Adding it to the top of the forum page would be good too. If you really want to pull in donations for a new server then you need to organize a real donation drive. Talk to everyone in the community. Ask the moderators and other site admins to talk to people. TLR is the central hub of this community and its well being is in everyone's interest. People will help to support it if you ask them to. The only trick to it is coming up with a solid plan that gets people excited.

Speaking of which, the announcement on OL's site will be up later today or tonight. We're in the middle of a site update (Joomla, MediaWiki, and component updates and other changes). I already sent in my donation.

The knowledge issue is about the same as time and money issues – it will always be a problem. If you're stuck with IIS and ASP then I have no suggestions. If Apache and PHP are an option then I have a ton of suggestions and I know finding volunteers to help would be a little easier. As Louva-Deus noted, IIS is the cause of a lot of TLR's problems.

By boosting community moral I mean just that. I'm not sure this is the right place to rattle off a list of the problems the community is facing. Just think about it. There are a lot of problems but most people don't realize that there are solutions to almost all of those problems, and so there is little hope for the future of the community. Making those solutions a reality is mainly a matter of mobilizing the community.

The only other thing I can say is read that brief SW sent you.


-Burn

Post Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:11 pm

Louva - any chance of having a "target" and "current" levels of funds required?

Post Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:43 am

Yeah, and on a permanent donation page we can link to easily. Can't exactly paste the form code into IM/IRC and some CMS's (including Joomla) have problems with forms in news articles. Telling people to "find the donation button" isn't going over well. I was linking to the first news article but "bumping" the article contents pretty much broke the link. Adding a list of people who have donated would be good too but that could be managed manually along with the site news.


-Burn

Post Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:38 pm

Excellent suggestions! I will work on that at the next opportunity.

Post Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:09 am

I was wondering if it would be possible to have the D/L section redone so that all General Mods would be in one section, Add-ons in another section etc. There is quite a large list now and I think it would be a nice change.

Yes I know about the Category button, but that is still a huge list to go through if what you’re looking for is at the end of the list.

"It doesn’t matter what universe you’re from. That’s got to hurt!"
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