I apologize in advance, but this is going to be a long post.
First of all, I want to talk about some of the reasons that we have for bringing these forums online.
- Lines Chat was nearly impossible to moderate and there was no history to it. If someone asked me about a thread that was deleted, and I wasn’t the one who deleted it, I had no answer. The best I could do was ask around. And moderating via email (yes, I am one of the two faceless people behind firstname.lastname@example.org - the other is @weasus, whose patience puts mine to shame) was a bad way to attempt to do things.
- Because of the unstructured nature of Lines Chat, questions that fell
off the first few pages of Chat would go unanswered. Between putting
out fires here today, I’ve been very happy to be able to answer
actual content questions and hopefully help people get more out of
- Lines Chat was not scalable as written. Half of our Amazon server
space (a cost that affects your subscription price) was going to a
feature than less than 1% of our users hit on a regular basis. It
didn’t even make the 80/20 rule that I would have been OK with. There
was no fix for this.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - we want non-users to be able to
find the great info on here and hopefully join the community. Google
can index this forum. it could not index Lines Chat.
- Searchability - We have had spectacular success with the search bar
on the main site (so much so that I just had to write another check
to Google to pay for more bandwidth for it). We wanted people to be
able to search the forums as well.
- Badges, sparkles, photos - I love being able to do stuff like this
Now some things we’re working on:
The mobile experience and bandwidth
La Cava del Chat (Lounge) and the Subscriber area
these will change for a couple of reasons, but first I’ll tell you why we
added them. I’d like to have a “less moderated, enter at your own
risk” area for adults who wish to speak freely (without insulting
each other) on non-Disney or Universal topics. We started by bring
over Liners with a certain post count, but not only did that upset
people, but it turns out the hack we made for it (and BIG THANKS to
@daybreaker for tying this forum into our existing log in system)
isn’t going to work - it will reset every night. We wanted a
subscriber area as a perk to our paying users. We’re still talking
amongst ourselves about the best way to accomplish these 2 things.
Those will most likely go offline today while we work things out.
Finally, I’ll post what I wrote in another thread earlier today:
Not be defensive or beat a dead horse, but there’s only so many times we can say “we’re testing stuff out.” This means both the software and the policies. Nothing is written in stone. But on the other hand, not everything is negotiable.
Some things we do because they make sense for TouringPlans as a business that has employees who depend on us for income. And some of those things we’re not going to share with the community. That is the way it is.
If people are getting upset over things, I suggest taking a walk or visiting another site to cool off and get some perspective. I appreciate the passion, but there’s only so many individual fires we can put out and there will still be some people who are unhappy. There were plenty unhappy in Chat; I know this because I get the emails on it to the support alias.
For the people who want to stick around while we work things out - thank you for your participation and your constructive criticism. We are truly grateful.
I mean that. I am in awe of you fabulous people who use our site and love it enough to get a little whacky over it sometimes.
If you have any feedback please post it here, PM me (another thing I love about the forum), or email me at email@example.com.
PS - I love that I can write a novel-length post