How will Lines, the original, function when this place is rolled out to the public?


#1

So I just wrote this in Lines, and wanted to bring the discussion over here.

It seems like the only way that what @len wants to happen which is save his company money is to have every post moderated by someone before it gets posted. That way the chats get controlled. Only questions deemed valid get bandwidth. Right?

So, how can Lines become less of a data hog? Wishing for people to chat here or mandated no chatting, just answers to questions? How will it change? Onlu allowing 5 pages of questiosn to exist so less bandwidth or computer usage is needed?

Give us some specs please. Thanks!


#2

Good questions! I feel like the new forum is wonderful but the change that SEEMS to be in store for original chat is huge. Lots of people have thoughtful questions and are trying to be open minded but the information vacuum is turning this into a PR nightmare. Hopefully staff will write a thoughtful and informative email about this to all subscribers at some point.


#4

I had planned to do a blog post later this week, once Liners had got a preview of the forums. And since it's not possible to respond in Lines chat to all of the conversations going on, here's the short version.

We're launching TouringPlans forums today to take some of the discussion burden off of Lines Chat, and to provide new features, such as search, to help folks find information quickly.

When we wrote Lines Chat many years ago, we thought it would be a good way for people to communicate while they were in the parks. Over time, Lines Chat grew into a thriving, busy community, and that community works better than any of us could have possibly hoped. My sincerest thanks go out to every Liner who's every posted in Chat. (Even you, Mr. Itty. But don't push your luck, bub. smile )

Here's the problem: We wrote the code for Lines Chat ourselves, and while it works, it's not great. Something like half of all of our computing resources (and half of our server costs) go to support chat. Our move to Amazon's infrastructure has helped with scaling, but even with that, at our current growth rate, we'll exceed Amazon's largest database server in less than 2 years. At that point, Lines will crash.

We've already limited the number of Chat threads displayed and the number of responses per thread, and that has helped. We could also try more exotic database solutions, but at more staff effort (and cost). Or we could limit the number of posts in Chat. None of those are great choices.

The best long-term move is to migrate most of these discussions to a professionally-written, scalable, supported discussion forum software. That's what we've chosen.

Lines Chat will still exist, and will run alongside these forums. Eventually, we'd like Lines Chat to be used for in-park questions and answers and discussion forums for everything else. This way, urgent, in-park questions can get prompt attention without being buried by less immediate posts.

So if you're in the parks and have a question, use Lines Chat. And if you're not in the parks, reading Lines chat, and see a question you can answer, go ahead and answer it on Lines chat.

We haven't set a date for Lines Chat's transition to in-park discussion, and we'll give at least a month's notice ahead of it. We also haven't formulated a policy for dealing with "not-in-park" posts on Lines Chat - the Lines community tends to guide itself, so I think it'll work out on its own.

As you try out these forums, please post issues and questions to the Bugs thread here. If the problem prevents you from posting here, however, send email to chat@touringplans.com.

Finally, I realize that the change in software is a disruption to all Liners. You have to learn a new interface, everyone's chat counts go to zero, and there's a whole different thread organization system to learn. It took me a good half-hour to get comfortable with the software. I know it's inconvenient, but I ask you to give it 30 minutes.

Sincerely,

Len


#5

Thanks Len. When is the mobile optimization for the forum going to be rolled out?

Cause at the pace I'm going, giving it 30 minutes would be about 23 minutes of waiting for pages to load.


#6

I'll post a date as soon as I know it, after talking with the developers later today.


#7

Thanks, Len. I'm anxious to try the new format. We've needed a search feature. Will we be able to use in park chat to try and meet up with others in the park?


#8

Thank you Len for the explanation smile but I also wonder who will be there to answer those quick in park questions


#9

Thanks @len for the details. I really like the forum as an addition but like others would also deeply miss chat. Have you considered deleting all chat history daily to lighten the load? Since you mentioned growth over time being a concern it sounds like the history being stored is contributing to the issues. Removing history would also force people to the forums for discussion that they want to persist and get rid of bumps and sfl.


#10

Thank you, Len, for the "thoughtful and informative" post! I think this forum is a great place to discuss everything. I really believe more information always helps. (It's a librarian thing!) Just knowing that someone is listening and responding is huge. I'll post a link to this thread over in original chat, so hopefully lots of people will come over and join this discussion.

Also, for what it's worth, my kids are using the PC right now, so I'm doing this on my iPhone 4s. It's not simple, but it works here at home where I have wifi.


#11

I don't mind this forum. I'm glad I can still use "Lines" chat in the park though !! I think liners will get used to it and enjoy it !


#12

@MadTParty - Yes, that's a great use of Lines Chat.

@txketch - Deleting posts is an idea. Users wouldn't be able to see their chat history, however, and we'd lose the accumulated knowledge of the community. We'd have to think through those tradeoffs, and see what the community thinks.

@GrownUpLilo - we should be testing one kind of bandwidth fix later today. I'll post something here when it's live, along with some before/after stats.

@mimarypoppins - The Liner community is very helpful, and I anticipate there'll be lots of folks looking at both venues and willing to jump in on Lines chat.


#13

Testing my ability to reply via iPhone.


#14

@lentesta please keep in mind when you try to communicate to chat users that many of them don't follow the blogs or this forum. They only know what they see in the chat. So communicating changes that affect the chat should probably be done VIA the chat. Just a suggestion; trying to help. sunny