Yesterday I did some various updates. Let's talk about what happened, what's new, and what's coming up later this year.
The first thing which I did was update some server architecture, which means things should perform better. Then, I also upped server resources so that our server so that it is now a beast. We had some bizarre crashes the past few months and this should fix it.
In addition to that, I upped our software version for 17S. That update fixed a lot of bugs and should increase performance, too. But it also came out with some features!
Activity Stream Menu
In the original big update last summer, Activity Streams were a thing, but they didn't perform particularly well. Additionally, since I heavily modded the main navigation bar, I didn't know how to replicate the menu that the default skin used to generate Activity Streams. That meant I essentially gimped some functionality for a while, and made this more like "View Unread Content" on the prior version. In this version, though, Activity Streams perform much better than before, and I got the menu properly replicated, so here they are, at long last.
So what are Activity Streams?
It's a way to view activity on the site in a totally customizable way. Maybe you want to view Unread Content, but you only want to view things in the topics you follow. Or, maybe you want to view new content but you just want to see stuff in various Book Discussion boards--perhaps you don't care about the RP content, or, alternatively, maybe you really care about RP content and only want to see that. Activity Streams allow you to make custom feeds of basically whatever you want. You can look at all content of a type (topics or gallery images, etc.), sort by particular forum, sort content by individual member, and you can sort what date range you want for every stream.
How do you access Streams? On desktop, click the newspaper icon next to the Search bar to see the Streams menu. (On mobile, the stream menu is in the sidebar.) There are a number of default streams:
All Unread Content
Content I Started
Content I Follow
Content I Posted In
(I can create more default streams, if you find something useful. For example, I could make a "Members I Follow" stream, but I decided to cut that for now to make the menu smaller. Let me know what you'd like to see. Notably, I cannot create a stream that narrows Topics by a particular forum, but you can create a custom stream for that.)
After the default streams, you will have all of your own streams, and by clicking the Create New Stream you have an abundance of options for things you'd like to do. Most options are self-explanatory. One thing I expect you'd like to do is to sort things by forum, so you only see something from a certain list of forums. To do this, select Content Type, and hit Topics, and you'll see a gear next to it. If you click that gear, you can click which forums you want to see in that stream.
By going into each stream, you can rename it, make it your default stream, or delete it. Setting something as your default stream is primarily useful on mobile, when the newspaper icon takes you automatically to your default stream, rather than opening a menu.
I'm really excited for you to have this customizability at last. Play around with it and let me know if you want any additional default streams.
In this update, we restore a functionality we had in the old version of the site prior to 2016: a way to see who has the most reputation. But it's actually way more than that. There are now Reputation Leaderboards. (You can access this from the menu to the right of the Search bar, or the usual menu on mobile.)
Every day, if you get top reputation, you'll get a trophy saying you "won" that day. This trophy is present on your profile, too!. On the Leaderboard page, there are three tabs, one for the current Leaderboard (and you can set who "won" in whatever date range you want), one for past daily winners, and one for Top Members. You can sort Top Members by not just Reputation, but by Post Count and more. It's awesome! Unfortunately, on Top Members, I can only display the top 100, but it's certainly much better than not having any way to see this.
Maybe I'll figure out how to put these trophies on posts, but in the meantime, it's not only useful but a fun little game to see who got upvoted the most in a day.
Other minor notable things
There's a lot of minor fixes:
Moving multiple PMs to different folders
Can clear old data in the text editor
Display name history is now on profiles (as it should be)
The log out bug from multiple devices is (apparently) fixed
Many bug fixes
There were also some other things I did:
I moved the Birthdays sidebar widget to the bottom. There is also now a widget for users online in the past 12 hours. I can set this to be whatever time frame you'd like. I did this because we had this on the old version of the site and thought you'd maybe like it back, but I worry it's too long. What do you guys think?
Certain abilities that new accounts would need to manually enable are now automatically enabled for brand-new accounts. These include the ability to View Signatures, Enabling Status Updates, and having a Recent Profile Visitors block on your profile. Apparently these weren't enabled by default when you register, which is insane to me. Thankfully, that's resolved.
I have some other big goals for 17S.
I'll be moving the Coppermind to its own device to further enhance server stability. That way if 17S is acting up, the Coppermind won't go down. This is not a significant extra expenditure, so don't worry.
Though, speaking of expenses: ads are eventually coming, since we've spent a lot on hosting and software with nothing in return. We want to make ads very clean with nothing annoying. The first phase of this will be to include some Amazon affiliate links in natural places. I want to make it obvious when these are implemented, but hopefully you guys won't mind? My goal, always, is to make a clean interface for you all, so I think this will be a reasonable start...
I also want to get HTTPS support on the whole site. There are some specifics on implementation that I need to sort out, though, so this will happen this summer, most likely.
There will be a big feature update from our software, IPS, in moving from version 4.1 to 4.2. In 4.2, there are some very cool features that are pretty neat, and we'll be opening up some discussion talking about these features and we'd like your input. We might be changing some long time features, like the reputation system, so we'd love to hear your thoughts, when the time gets closer.
Lastly, there are some minor things on my agenda that just haven't been a top priority in my limited time I have to spend this semester. (Being permanently overtime in my teaching assignment this semester is really fun! Not.) But these will happen: forum game subforum, Back to Top button, and more emoticons.
Phew, I think that's it. What do you think of the new stuff?