Rules      FAQ       Register        Login
It is currently September 18th, 2019, 3:15 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 104 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: A New Dawn [A-U Revamp discussion]
PostPosted: January 14th, 2011, 5:59 pm 
Graphic Illusionist '08
Graphic Illusionist '08

Joined: 07 September 2005
Posts: 2685

Offline
Earlier today I sent a message to Arweb about the possibility of someone[or a group of people] taking on the vast responsibility of running A-U. My idea is that instead of any one person taking on the role of a single webmaster, there should be a group of people that can share the tasks and help keep things running smoothly with the upcoming production and release of the Hobbit. Slowly over the past couple of years, I've watched the traffic on this website decline and almost die off, without much progress towards revival. With the new year, I'd like to see some changes made, the forefront being getting A-U back to the community that it used to be.

Below is the message I got from Arweb after I proposed the idea to her.

Quote:
Hey Ammy,

I admit this caught me pretty off-guard when I first read it, but passing the baton may be the best course of action for A-U right now. I've been meaning to respond to Ea's open letter for a while, but I had hoped to have a more positive response for her besides "I might update in the future if I have time," and honestly I'm not sure if that will actually happen. With The Hobbit gaining momentum and providing actual news stories, I realise it's getting more important to have an active site, and I don't know if I'm in a position to take the lead.

That said, A-U has been pretty dear to me for more than eight years now, and I need to know that it's going to be in responsible hands. This isn't a slam on anyone, least of all you! I just need to make sure that there's a plan on how to run things. Who plans on being involved? Do you have someone specific in mind to be your webmaster with experience running things from the tech side? Almost everything I've put together has been hand-coded, and applications such as the forum also require technical know-how. Are you (and anyone else involved) prepared to look into finding new, active moderators and manage everything from the making-members-happy side of things? It's no picnic. People get mad at the craziest things. You may even have to make executive decisions such as whether to deprecate the tag-board (whose server no longer functions properly) and/or the chat room.

There's also the financial aspect. Running A-U costs about $37 USD a month ($30 server fees plus $7 chat room), as well as $15/year for the domain name. Google Ads provides the occasional small check, but far from enough to cover all costs. Considering A-U doesn't take up 100% of the space the server provides, I've used the server for small personal projects, and would be willing to contribute to costs in order to retain access to my own little corner of space. However, I don't know if these costs are within the budget that you and other A-Uers have considered, or how we would set up a billing process.

Please feel free to share this with anyone else you've been talking to about an A-U management shift. Overall, I'm certainly not opposed to handing the reins over, but we need a solid plan first.

Cheers!
Anna/Arwen



As she said, it's a huge undertaking. As costs go, it's not that much to maintain the website if the person paying the bills has a steady paycheck, but running a website is more than just handing a check over. It takes a lot of dedication to run a website like this, and someone/someones with the skills to do it effectively and efficiently. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter because this is a community and as such it should be a community decision whether or not we should move forward with this or not. It doesn't matter if you started off as a member of the forum, a tagger, or spend most of your time in the chatroom because this discussion encompasses all of A-U as a whole. So, please, share your thoughts and help us lay the groundwork for a new generation of Tolkien fans.


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 14th, 2011, 6:39 pm 
Futon-Revolutionist
Futon-Revolutionist

Joined: 07 July 2005
Posts: 15169

Offline
ammy and i discussed this on msn last night (before the idea had been pitched to arweb), and while it was all theoretical at the time... i think it's both a great idea and completely practical. i know most of us (especially myself) don't have the time or the skills to make this happen on our own, but with a division of labor among a few people it shouldn't be an insurmountable project.

essentially, what i'm saying is that i'm in. i have a lot of plans and i'm willing to commit to seeing this though for the foreseeable future.



n.b. i'm by no means able to cover the entire cost of hosting/domain, but i could certainly provide some of the funds without a problem.


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 14th, 2011, 6:46 pm 
Istari
Istari
User avatar

Joined: 10 January 2008
Posts: 2443
Location: Going to Hell in a Handbasket
Country: United Kingdom (uk)

Offline
I am most certainly happy to commit and help out in any way I can, apart from the financial side as I'm currently unemployed and well, things are tight as I'm sure you can understand. I'm totally willing to make the occasional, erm, donation if you will though, when I have it spare.

Basically, I am 100% in.

(On a totally random change of subject; Tim4x your Misfits banner is beyond epic and I love Simon to pieces <3)

_________________
Image
Image
Illuminate the way to my heart,
It's twisting on a thread

+ COME RAISE THE DEAD +


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 14th, 2011, 8:45 pm 
Ringwraith
Ringwraith
User avatar

Joined: 24 January 2007
Posts: 1831
Location: Erebor
Country: Canada (ca)

Offline
I confess that I don't have any graphics skills, but if there's any writing or organizing involved, and you need another set of hands, I'm totally in.

I'd probably also be able to contribute a little something financially once in a while.

_________________
Image


And all will turn to silver glass...



By Goldstrike


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 14th, 2011, 9:22 pm 
Istari
Istari

Joined: 02 July 2008
Posts: 2675
Country: United States (us)

Offline
WOW. This is a drastic idea, but I can definitely see it working. I'm so in. :-D I'm willing to help in the graphics department, and I'd even be interested in learning more about being a mod (if that's an option). I really wish I knew something about the tech side of things, but unfortunately I don't. :/

_________________
Image
i'm back for a little! i'll see how this visit goes. :)


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 12:13 am 
Lady of Strife
Lady of Strife
User avatar

Joined: 27 February 2006
Posts: 11433
Location: My Imagination
Country: Rohan (xr)
Gender: Female

Offline
I will start by saying that I'm in all the way!

At one point I would have been able to say that I could help in the graphics department at one point, but that is no longer the case because I don't have photoshop. So I can't help there.

And finances are so tight for me and my family right now that I would be able to help out there.

But here's some things I can do:

I have a basic knowledge of coding, and am a fast learner, so I would be able to help out at least with the basics there.

I've noticed while browsing the main site that there are sections that have said 'coming soon' since I joined, and that there are also areas where links are old and broken and photos invalid. I would be more than willing to help out by complete those uncompleted sections as well as soing through and cleaning out the old stuff on the main site.

Also, I would be willing to mod if that option is open and if it would be required. I can't say I would be the best choice of mod. I could list plenty of other members that I know would do a better job than me. But I'm just saying that I would be willing to do so if I'm needed to.

All in all I'd like to say that I have PLENTY of time on my hands right now and am willing to help out in any way necessary.

_________________
Image
(}--{)Imagination Inspires Ideas -Zandain(}--{)
Married Cloud Strife 9/17/08


Top
 Profile       WWW     YIM        
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 5:45 am 
Custom Rank
Custom Rank

Joined: 13 December 2005
Posts: 10261
Location: Staring hard into the past

Offline
I'm assuming that since I was brought into this discussion before this point by Ammy that I was already considered in. Because you know, I am. With networking or whatever.

_________________
Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!


Top
 Profile       WWW            
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 7:03 am 
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: 04 June 2005
Posts: 12592
Gender: Female

Offline
Well done, Ammy. [Where's the thumps up-smiley? A new management's gotta find a thumps up-smiley!!] :-)

I've been around Project A-U for so many years now and I'm happy to see it develop and grow. From my many posts around the forum I think I've made it pretty clear that I'm still onboard. :teehee:

And now you are going to think: "Oh no, not another lengthy Eä-post!" - I'll try to keep it short. :P

Alright, like I said, I support the idea one hundred procent... but I'm just gonna list some challenges that need to be discussed now or later.
Arweb is right, once we gain support for the idea of a shared management we need a plan! I'm sure that more member-involvement is the way to go! People come and go but if we can spread the tasks on more members we won't be so dependent on single persons.
BUT I also believe there is about as many wishes to how to run A-U as there are members. We've talked about some kind of member-based democracy but in the end somehow someone needs to set the general course and deal with things, great and small. Like Arweb said, not everything will please everyone, so someone's gotta be willing to sail the troubled waters too - and the rest will have to respect and accept their decisions...

The current Moderators: They ought be involved if they wish. The ones who are still around (Ivy, Sida, Elanor?, Kit?). They know the drill and have a lot of experience to share.

Finances: That could be triggy... the way I read Arwen's message is that if she hands A-U over (naturally) she will stop paying (part of) the bill. I don't believe in the member contribution-model, and the relying on commercial advertising is both annoying and not very stable. Does anyone know if we can raise the money through banner ads and google ads?


[I know you're gonna say "Come on Eä, now shut up and be positive!" And I really am, this is not meant to be criticism at all. I'm just trying to imagine how we could put things together - feel free to join me in the thought experiment! :)]

_________________
>>Be the change you wish to see in the world<<
Image

Image
Banner credit: Shadowcat & Nurrantiel Mashiara


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 9:16 am 
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler
User avatar

Joined: 29 July 2005
Posts: 11978
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Country: United States (us)
Gender: Female

Offline
I'm totally in on this. :happy:

I don't really know what I would be able to do as far as money-wise, as I'll be going to college soon and that can get pricey. But I am definitely here if you need some graphics or anything of the like - I'm not familiar with hand-coding websites (I struggle to keep my own running and I don't think I could handle a huge one like this :erm: ).

But I think a change in management is definitely what we need, and hopefully AU will receive the TLC it deserves. :hug:

_________________
- Everyone knows I'm in over my head -

Image

Suddenly I become a part of your past
I'm becoming the part that don't last
I'm losing you, and it's effortless




Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 1:32 pm 
Graphic Illusionist '08
Graphic Illusionist '08

Joined: 07 September 2005
Posts: 2685

Offline
Thanks for the input and support, guys! I have no problem telling you all that I was half terrified you's come after me with torches and pitchforks, crying 'sacrilege' and demanding my head on a pike. This is a huge step into a new generation and things will be changing, hopefully for the better. It's good to see that (so far) the community is behind it.

First things first, financial obligations. I don't think right now that any one person is going to be able to pay for the whole fee, but there have been several people who have approached me willing to donate. I'm looking at the cost and effectiveness of setting up a paypal account with a 'donate' button or something. That seems to be the most secure route. I like the idea of giving donators a 'contributor' tag, but with the paypal button it's more anonymous, and it may come down to designating a treasurer of sorts for people to contact and tell that they donated and how much. That can be talked over and dealt with later.

On the side of management, we can't logically have every active person of the forum running things, and one person can't handle it all themselves. A good compromise is having a small group of people to make the changes and keep things going when and if we get more traffic with the release of the Hobbit. Like the mods, but with more responsibility, this would be the administrative branch that has full control over their designated tasks. For instance, one person in the group would be in charge of updating the main website, one might be in charge of handling member complaints. This way, no one has full responsibility but it's not a huge group that will get tangled up. This group would make executive decisions for the betterment of the whole community, ideally from suggestions that the community puts forward. If they disagree, Tim4x suggested having someone like Kitoky be the final voice.

No one is going to agree to everything that happens in this, and there may be some things that a lot of people don't like. We're going to try and minimize those problems by listening to what people are saying.

The moderators thing is going to be trickier than picking a spearhead group. Most everyone is ready and willing to be one, but having more moderators than members is about as effective as having more admins than members. First things first, before anyone can even be considered for a moderator role, I need to get a list from Kit or someone of currently active moderators and if they would be willing to continue their responsibilities. A lot of them have jobs, homes, and families to take care of and, like Arweb, simply don't have the time to dedicate good chunks of time very day to the website. Once I have that list and have talked to the mods on it, we'll be evaluating what we need in a mod and who would be most willing or qualified.

I like the idea of having News, whether it be Hobbit-related or just website news, but in all honesty that takes a back seat to administration and fiscal responsibilities right now. When everything's up and running again we'll probably have something like that, a community newspaper of sorts, but for right now our main focus should be updating the website, generating more traffic, and taking care of the needs of the members we already have.

Thanks again for all your support and suggestions, guys! I'm on pretty much all day, every day so feel free to PM me with things you don't want to post here for whatever reason, and also you can bug Tim4x because I've recruited him and he may or may not be my new secretary while I'm strapped for time.

I want to have a solid plan to propose to Arweb by the end of next week and possibly have things rolling by February. It's a lot of work, but it CAN be done.


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 2:05 pm 
Istari
Istari
User avatar

Joined: 10 January 2008
Posts: 2443
Location: Going to Hell in a Handbasket
Country: United Kingdom (uk)

Offline
Well someone needs to take charge and sort things out. Ea has done a fantastic job lately but let's face it, so far Ammy is the only person who's had a response from Arwen.

We need action right now, not discussion. We've been discussing for months. Ammy has proved herself capable of organising things successfully for this forum (The Graphic Makers' Cookoff for instance) so if this means that AU is finally getting the re-vamp it needs then I say full steam ahead.

Ea is certainly not going to be phased out of this, as I said she has done a fantastic job of starting this and I know Ammy is intending to work with her all the way.

_________________
Image
Image
Illuminate the way to my heart,
It's twisting on a thread

+ COME RAISE THE DEAD +


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 2:20 pm 
Istari
Istari

Joined: 02 July 2008
Posts: 2675
Country: United States (us)

Offline
I'm definitely ok with what Ammy's doing, too. We can't all be in charge of this at the same time, and it's great to see someone taking the lead and making things happen. We ALL have a say in this, but naturally someone (or a small group of members) has to be at the head of the project to make this run smoothly.

I do agree that we may have to leave this open for a while so that everyone has time to come in and voice their opinions. We definitely don't want to offend anyone, and since this is a members/mods project, we should also wait to hear what the current mods think about this. :happy:

Guys, I'm just so excited that something's finally happening and that we have a response from Arweb! This is exactly what AU needs right now: a new start. :-D

_________________
Image
i'm back for a little! i'll see how this visit goes. :)


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 3:10 pm 
Futon-Revolutionist
Futon-Revolutionist

Joined: 07 July 2005
Posts: 15169

Offline
I'm on my mobile so I can't quote as I'd like, but a few points:

-someone is gonna have to take charge. Whether that be one person or many, we don't need power struggles or infighting right now. The best way to make these kind of descisions, I think, is to create a place for community vote because unanimous opinion is unlikely

-obviously we don't need to make any final descisons until we have a little more imput, but I agree with ellie that news is important. A pretty site won't do any good without updates relevant to the hobbit.

-in terms of things like new moderators I'd like to restate my opinion that those who have experience (kit, sida, etc) should have the final say with a lot of things. I'd also like to throw my hat in the mod ring when that time comes, and I think the current mod staff would be the best people to help guide the future of the forum side of things.


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 4:03 pm 
Welcomator
Welcomator
User avatar

Joined: 10 July 2005
Posts: 23149
Location: Where there are handsome heroes and sexy villains.. all that need some lovin' ;)
Country: Gondor (xg)
Gender: Female

Offline
Erm.. wow. Quite a lot has been happening these past 24 hours. :blink:

Firstly it's great that we finally have an answer from Arwen. I know a lot of you have tried to contact her, and a lot of us were anxious to have some contact with her, so this is a very good step.

I have to be honest and say I didn't quite expect Arwen to be so quick or at least hinting at the fact that should would "pass" AU on to other people, but if that is what is best for her and what she wants to do then OK.

I haven't had time to collect my thoughts just yet, so I am slightly wary that things *seem* to have been almost sorted. I believe as this will be a massive step for AU in terms of leadership and general control of things (as that and the finance will surely have to be one of the first things that gets sorted out) I really think we should talk this out a little more and wait for more responses, thoughts etc. There are very few people who have posted here out of quite an active group.

^ In terms of Moderators, I believe that discussions with Kit and other active Mods can only prove useful. They will roughly know how many Mods there need be - we may only need 2, how can we members judge having no experince with AU or what goes on behind the scenes? The only fair way to even create a list of would-be Mods, would again be to have the current Mods compile it, and hopefully, ultimately choose. I can't see a fairer and safer way to choose any new Mods that we may need.

_________________
Image

Image

^ By me and my SS *squiggle hugs*


Top
 Profile       WWW            
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 4:20 pm 
Futon-Revolutionist
Futon-Revolutionist

Joined: 07 July 2005
Posts: 15169

Offline
Jf, I wouldn't say that things are sorted. We've got a really general plan yes, but other than contacting arweb and putting out feelers for funding nothing concrete exists.

We definitely need more planning before we take actual steps. Taking ownership of the site without knowing exactly who's doing what would he foolish


Top
 Profile                  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 15th, 2011, 4:22 pm 
Graphic Illusionist '08
Graphic Illusionist '08

Joined: 07 September 2005
Posts: 2685

Offline
It wasn't my intention to seem overbearing or controlling in any way. Lothy, SR, and Tim are right in that someone needed to take charge, so I did. If anyone else was going to, it would have been done in the months spent complaining about the state of A-U on here, on Facebook, and anywhere else. I put this here instead of keeping it to myself because I am by no means equipped to run an entire website by myself and, even if I was, that's not how I believe this place should be run.

I can sit here and list off my qualifications to you if I thought it would make any sort of difference, but all it will do is waste my time and yours and get us no closer to the goal, which is to revive A-U and get it back to its former glory. There's been months of discussion already. The time for getting things done is now.


I like the idea of having the moderators decide how many mods we need and who should be appointed. If anyone has a way to contact them (through Facebook, email, etc.), feel free to point them in this direction to let them know what's going on and how they can help. Later today or tomorrow I'll put together some sort of email to the mods as a whole, unless someone else has the time and inclination to do it.


Top
 Profile                  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 104 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  




Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Boyz theme by Zarron Media 2003