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Planned Updates for November / December 2018

News and Announcements resolving around the Mix Challenge community
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Mister Fox
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Planned Updates for November / December 2018

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello everyone,

today I'd like to talk about planned updates for November / December 2018 to the Mix Challenge community page and forum.


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:arrow: "Cookie Consent" popup


You've probably been swamped with mails around May 2018 to "consent to continue to receive a newsletter" or similar. Since then, pretty much every webpage on the internet these days has a pop-up window that tells you "the page you're currently visiting, is using Cookies" in some shape or form. You could then confirm this information and move on, or were forcefully locked out of the page until you changed certain privacy policy settings. I personally highly dislike the latter.

The Mix Challenge is however still obliged to inform the visitors of the use of cookies according to the ePrivacy Directive (aka the "Cookie law").

The Mix Challenge staff has been very transparent about this. In fact, only two types of cookies are set for the whole page for the time being. One for the phpBB based forum, which remembers that you're logged in. And another one for anonymized analytics, handled via the Open Source "Piwik / Motomo" engine which is installed on the same server that the Mix Challenge is hosted on. No other party is involved. You can read up on this topic, what is actually tracked and how to disable tracking (if it's not a default setting from your browser at this point), in more detail on the "About" page of the Mix Challenge homepage.

The forum is currently the only page that makes visitors aware of the use of cookies. The main page (aka the "Landing Page") will therefore also get the infamous "Cookie Consent" popup over the course of the following weeks.


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:arrow: New Newsletter Engine / Style


The Mix Challenge community doesn't use a Mailing List service like MailChimp or similar to send out newsletters. The current system in use is a feature of the phpBB forum. This in turn sadly doesn't offer colorful newsletters with images, but plain text versions of that. Always irritating (at least to me) was the additional info of "The following is an email sent to you by... ". This is about to change.

Starting with Newsletter 033 - December, there will be two major changes
  • The Newsletter is now clearly laid out to be like one, and will not look like a "Forum Warning" anymore
  • each forum member gets access to a new option in the User Control Panel called "Newsletter"

The Newsletter will still be in pure text-form for the time being. Though I am looking for a suitable extension that enables some HTML to implement more visuals. This planned new add-on however, offers you, the user, a bit more control over what(!) you actually want to receive from the Mix Challenge community. Which also ties in greatly with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR in short).

Instead of the formerly used "Administrators can email me information" feature, which is actually primarily used for maintenance announcements, you will get access to a new forum option called "Newsletter". With this, you can individually set up if you want to get rare maintenance warnings / account activation reminders and/or also the newsletter. Or you can just turn off both of these features at will.

Once this extension has been implemented, the feature will look something like this in your User Control Panel (UCP in short)

Image


Important: The initial activation of this extension will opt you in. If you do not want to receive a newsletter, you have to manually opt out. I'm sorry for this inconvenience, there is no other way to handle this. The new newsletter will also get a custom header/footer, which informs/reminds you on how to turn that feature off, should you not be interested in the newsletter anymore.

Hiccups are bound to happen with such an implementation. But I try to integrate that feature as seamlessly as possible.


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:arrow: Inactive user purge

Currently there are more than 10 registered, but non activated (as in "inactive") user accounts linked to the forum. These user accounts have gotten several activation reminders in recent months. Yet no account activation happened.

I am hereby informing you, that I've sent out one final reminder to these inactive user accounts. All accounts that will not be activated by 30th November, and are older than September 2018, will be deactivated and deleted on 1st December 2018. Future purges will then happen three times a year. On 1st January, 1st May and 1st September respectively, removing all accounts that are older than 3 months.


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:arrow: Rules and Guidelines - new TL;DR version


A so called "Too Long; Didn't Read" (TL;DR in short) version of the "Rules and Guidelines" has been requested several times. You've been heard loud and clear. The Mix(ing) Challenge and the Songwriting Competition will get a shortened and slightly simplified set of guidelines to those that get dizzy after a while of reading masses of text. Keep in mind, this is but an addition. Especially for new and future interested participants. The "extended version" will still explain most possible eventualities in fine detail.

The Rules and Guidelines threads for both the MC and SWC have already been enhanced for this planned addition. Along with an extra placeholder based upon a forum survey from July 2018.

The TL;DR versions will arrive on time for MC050 and SWC016 in December 2018.


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:arrow: Rules and Guidelines - SoundCloud


As already announced in this post, there have been slight rule adjustments regarding uploading a mix to Soundcloud. For the Mix Challenge, it is not recommended to use SoundCloud anymore. Because of of possible loss in quality, often the lack of a download option and in fact also showcasing a production that just doesn't belong to the Mix Engineer. As of Mix Challenge 49 - if you decide to upload your edit to Soundcloud, you additionally have to give proper credits.

The Songwriting and Remix Competition on the other hand will not be affected by this, as you create the material yourself and therefore show your own work. You still have to give proper credit if you collaborated with somebody, or used a provided sample set. It is also recommended to provide a download. But keep in mind, SoundCloud does affect your mix.

These changes are already addressed in part in the current version of the Rules and Guidelines, and will be further fine-tuned until 2019.


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:arrow: Songwriting Competition - new yearly recurring game

As announced in September 2018, the Songwriting Competition will see a new, yearly recurring game. The rules of the SWC will still apply. The only main difference is, that you must solely use the provided samples as sound sources.

The "sample collection thread" will start around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (23rd to 26th November) and will run in parallel to MC0150 until the 14th of December. The game is tentatively called "Community Scramble" and will be SWC017 - starting on 1st January 2019.






That's about it for the time being in terms of news.
Thanks for reading. :phones:
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Mister Fox
Site Admin
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Posts: 2430
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Planned Updates for November / December 2018

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

:!: A short update:
Due to unforeseen events, I have to postpone the homepage changes regarding
  • "Cookie Consent" popup
  • New Newsletter Engine / Style
  • TL;DR versions of the Rules and Guidelines (no worries, the extended rule sets won't see any changes until MC051)
These changes will happen gradually until mid December.
The Newsletter is delayed until 2nd December 2018 latest.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience.



EDIT:
The purge of inactive users prior to September 2018 has been performed. The next cleanup is on 1st January 2019 and will remove all inactive users prior to October 2018.
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