today, I would like to talk about certain planned updates and changes for our small community. Some of them will happen within a timely manner, others will be a long-term project. I apologize in advance for the lengthy post, plenty to talk about. I will try to put each topic into it's own section for better readability.
While we're thankfully not mass-raided by spam bots currently, neither do I see any signs of database attacks or even breaches, I would still like to adjust certain forum engine settings to make ones user account a bit more secure. These changes will happen by 01st July 2022.
I highly recommend updating your password, and use one that is longer than 12 letters (ideally even 16 letters, mixed numbers and upper/lower case alphabets). Just to be on the safe side, please also change it on a regular basis and do not re-use passwords from other accounts or services. If you can't log into your account after the changes have taken place, the forum engine offers you to easily reset your password.
Additionally, since I also had two instances on the forum already where long-time user accounts suddenly posted weird posts/scams, I will now time-out accounts with suspicious behavior and request an explicit contact through either the official contact page or Discord to get your account reactivated.
Forum Cleanup Operation - H2/2022 Reboot
I will start another forum cleanup process during the course of Q3/2022. This will be the same procedure as talked about in in September 2021.
While a lot of user accounts are probably solely used for the purpose of receiving the newsletter, there are also many accounts that are not in use anymore and/or sadly send so called "bounce back reports" (after I send out a newsletter). Part of the forum cleanup will also be a purge of the General Gossip Threads. Especially if the topics in there have been addressed in the FAQs of the Rule Books.
You can always request an account deletion or temporary suspension of course - since I do not allow "account deletion" by users themselves. In this case, please reach out through either available channels (ideally the official contact page). My policy is to ask for a confirmation first to get the account disabled and deleted (removed user accounts can not be recovered).
If you are using a so called "throwaway email address", I highly encourage you to update your account - else you're at the risk of loosing it.
I am currently in the process of testing a possible "custom cloud" solution to counter the monthly recurring topic of "where do I upload my mix / production?". This will take some time, as I am far from being a web wizard. Plus, as many of you know, this whole endeavor is run by (currently) one person. So things are not evolving as quickly as on other communities.
The biggest advantage of offering access to a dedicated engine like this, is to have one global spot to upload your content without the need of a third party service like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. There are some additional fun and interesting features available for this system - but I don't want to promise anything before I can get it to run as desired. I will keep you updated on that topic.
The other big update in the making, is something I've talked about a couple of times already: a more visual newsletter. Which will be HTML based instead of purely text based. Once I have managed to iron out all odds and ends, I hope this will significantly boost interaction on our community.
I mean... who wants to read a wall of text instead of looking at nice visuals, right?
GAMES ON THE COMMUNITY
Unless I suddenly get an influx of source material that will cover all 11 months of 2023, I am considering to continue the "every even-numbered month" recurrence for the Mix(ing) Challenge throughout 2023 as well (which would be: February, April, June, August, October and December). I apologize in advance for this.
While some of you were really kind and reached out with offerings for possible future mixing games, I still run into the topic of the communication just "cutting off". As in: I got all multi-tracks, I checked them, I wrote back with requests for adjustments and forwarding me the needed TXT files for the Mix Package. Then nothing - even after multiple reminders. Although, depending on how the coming weeks pan out, there might be too much material in queue for the rest of 2022.
However - this is constant back-and-forth is too unreliable for me, not to mention time consuming, in places even really frustrating. I can not easily change the rhythm of our main game with a highly fluctuating song pool. I rather have a stable recurrence / rhythm (including better preparation time-frames), which will sadly result in longer waiting times for Song Providers, than no mixing games at all. I am merely offering "a game platform" -- but it is reliant on the interaction from everyone.
To those waiting for a response from me: you will get an email through CW25 (20-JUN-2022 to 24-JUN-2022).
And to those sending emails, texts and PMs with "why not look at repository ABC and use material from there?" -- I hear you and appreciate you reaching out. However - please check in with the FAQ of the Song Pool Campaign, and read up on why we can't use multi-tracks from other communities.
Which brings me to the Songwriting Competition. Since the handling of the SWC is completely different, those games will continue to run all year round. However, I am now putting more focus on "every odd-numbered month" (January, March, May, July, September, November) that fill the gap between the Mix(ing) Challenge(s) - with certain thematic challenges. You are already aware of, and used to, January (Community Scramble), September (Mental Health Awareness Month) and November (usually something Rock based).
I will post about this in a separate thread as well, with a proper chart and all.
But for the purpose of this blog post, the current plan is the following:
- January -- Sound Design Challenge (Community Scramble)
- March -- Special Task and/or Limited Tools Challenge
- May -- Synthesizer Focused
- July -- Soundtrack
- September -- Mental Health Awareness Month
- November -- Guitar Month
Everything in-between will be a randomly selected premise / theme / genre. Please notice that I did not mention "fixed" genres in the upper listing. These months are merely featuring overarching themes. The premise (instruction/brief) and genre will still vary per game, to keep you on your toes. But now you have a rough overview so you have ample time for preparation, and to spread the word / invite befriended musicians.
Additionally, I am considering starting the sample collection thread for "Community Scramble 2023" this October already. Just the initial information post, while the actual collection process will run from 01st November until 24th December. Again, for better time management purposes for all participants.
Promotion on other communities
I already announced this over on KVR Audio (Production Techniques section). I will eventually reduce all off-page promotion to a bare minimum as this just eats too much of my spare-time. Especially around the turn of the month. Which often results in me posting deep into the night, just to keep things in motion. And I just can't do this anymore (one of the reasons why the last newsletter was delayed so much).
I will also phase out reminders on OC Remix after "SWC 065 - Community Scramble 2023" absolute latest (according to analytics, barely any clicks from there). The update thread on GearSpace will remain for the time being.
There are plenty of automated reminders through the KVR Audio News, on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Patreon), the newsletter, and on Discord. I encourage you to utilize one of these options to stay informed, if you're not visiting the forum on a regular basis.
Speaking of Discord, we are currently at over 95 users, with an average of 8-15 users always being online (myself included). It is sadly a bit quiet on this server. That doesn't mean there is nothing going on over there.
Did you know?
The Discord server offers ...
- a completely different form of interaction (more real-time)
- the possibility to sign up to announcements and "game reminders" (filtered even)
- a "Discovery of..." section, where we talk about interesting music related findings from various streaming platforms
- an interactive tech deals section (so many sales out there)
- the option for a voice and video chat
Why not have a closer look? Here is the Discord Invite Link.
Phew - that was more text than I hoped. There was just so much to talk about, and I really appreciate your time in these matters. Thank you ever so much. And please stay safe out there.
Thanks for reading