We have a big update for the community forum. Some of you might have already run into the new maintenance landing site, which is now telling you for how long the forum engine is not accessible. MC063 participants also already got a taste for the new mention system. And for quite a while now, we have numbered threads.
There has been more going on in recent weeks, and there are still some updates in the pipeline. Not only that, the Rules and Guidelines for both the Mix(ing) Challenge and the Songwriting Competition have been overhauled. Please read more down below.
Updates to the Rules and Guidelines (game related)
The Rules and Guidelines for both the Mix(ing) Challenge and the Songwriting Competition have been drastically overhauled. This is to counter the recurring monthly debates on how to interpret the given guidelines, and how much things can be bent. Due to this, some points have been reworded and made more clear-cut.
As of the timestamp of this news entry: any further debate on "but rules state ABC" will either be removed from the competition threads (and moved to the General Gossip ones) and/or not further commented on. If there is valid criticism, it will be looked at objectively. If there is constant negativity and negotiation however, I will only give one warning from now on, and then temporarily suspend accounts for 48 hours.
Please get acquainted with the updates and get a refresher on the whole rule set. The most important parts are marked in bold red:
Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines (updated 30-MAR-2020)
Songwriting Competition - Rules and Guidelines (updated 29-MAR-2020)
List of the most important forum updates:
- General - the forum has been updated to the most recent version of phpbb. It is also running on php 7.4 now, making the response time as fast as it can get
- General - both the forum and the threads/deadlines for the games now observe the 24-hour clock system rather than the 12-hour clock system, just like the World Clock on the forum index. This is to prevent possible misunderstandings and missed deadlines. If you want to change the way the date and time is shown for your user account, go to:
User Control Panel > Board preferences > Edit global settings > My date Format > select: Custom (syntax being "D M d, Y H:i T")
- General - a new "Maintenance Landing Site", showing you a timer when the page will be back online (usually doesn't exceed 2 hours)
- New Forum Feature - thread posts are now numbered, which makes it easier to point the attention towards a certain post of any given thread
- New Forum Feature - a "mention system", you can now use the simple short-code @<name> and trigger a notification for the user in question. Please do not abuse this feature.
- New Forum Feature- as probably already noticed, you can now also use "Emoji" keyboard and commonly known Discord Emoji code. For example <: thinking :> (sans the whitespaces and brackets) will result in . I am currently testing a phpbb text editor update, where you can directly select these Emoji, which will in turn gradually replace the forum smileys (I have no estimated time of arrival for this implementation). Please do not abuse this feature.
There are more updates planned for Q2/2020 (April to June)
- Forum - an advertising banner rotation (release date: by 7th May, read below)
- Forum - a slightly adjusted visual template
- Forum - an automated "User Reminder" engine - checking for idle and abandoned user accounts. This is to also sort out possible bot and spam accounts that the ani-spam engine didn't catch in recent months
- Forum - a slightly better newsletter engine, still triggered through the forum (if I can get it to work like I would like it to). In hope to have a more visually pleasing presentation in the future, rather than a plain text version.
Advertising banner engine is finally arriving - Release date: by 7th May 2020 (date has been moved)
I have often talked about possible advertising on the forum. Mainly to generate income to at least keep the server and everything behind the scenes up and running. But also to turn the "Board Announcements" a bit more visual. Especially for community related stuff like the "Song Pool" campaign, or getting more people involved with the Songwriting Competition. It took me a while to find a suitable and non overly intrusive system, that was also easy to implement.
By the 7th of May, the "Mix Challenge" community forum will receive an "Advertising Banner" system. Before everyone is up in their arms, activates AdBlockers and the likes, let me assure you the following:
- most important: the engine will not be intrusive in any shape or form. You will not be locked out of sections of the forum, you will not be asked to turn off an ad-blocker, there will be no pop-ups or sliding images
- the advertising banner is only placed directly below the forum navbar, but above the World Clock on the forum index
- the background of the advertising block shares the same width of the forum (which is 1152px), and will (for the time being) not exceed 90px in height. It will adjust to smaller screen resolutions (mobile / responsive)
- there will be no other advertising on the homepage for the foreseeable future, unless it's on the "Donation / Hall-of-Fame" page (Executive Producer perk)
- advertising will not show up if you're in the User Control Panel (making changes to your account or read/write private messages)
- the engine will also be used to spread awareness about "Mix Challenge" community related things, replacing the "Board Announcements" feature for the majority of the time. Board Announcements will still be used for maintenance updates.
- the ads will be highly curated and audio related only - there is no Google AdSense involved (for the time being) - ads will (ideally) not be animated
This wraps up the current big Community Forum Update.
Thank you for reading