Big Site Update coming on October 21st
After our last major site update all the way back in 2016, we're excited to announce that we'll be updating the forums and everything else to the latest available version of the platform we run on. We picked Saturday, October 21, as the big migration day. This means there will be some disruptions in service you'll have to expect on that day, but we will do our best to get the site back online as fast as possible.
At 06:00 UTC (2am Eastern Time, 11pm Pacific Time) on October 21, we'll be putting the site in "Offline Mode", which means regular users won't be able to use it from that point onward. In the background, we'll be performing a move to an entirely new server to host the site so we can modernize and clean up the environment everything runs in. We estimate this migration to take several hours as we'll have to perform some manual steps as well - plus, you all talk a lot on our forums, so there's lots of data to copy! As soon as all that's done, we'll flip the switch and allow you back into our gates.
The update will not be purely technical in nature. The most obvious change will be a new design that you'll see all across the site. We unfortunately won't be able to bring over the existing theme to the new version as there have been a lot of changes to the underlying software in the meantime and it's unfortunately not sustainable to customize the look and feel as much as we did for the current version. Regardless, we made some changes to give the site some character and to hopefully make the move ever so slightly less jarring. In order for you to get an impression of what the updated version looks like, here's a sneak peek of our homepage when you're logged in:
The topic view will also change a fair amount with an at-a-glance overview of some interesting statistics about the topic in the sidebar:
Another change is that custom member titles have moved a little bit in the user interface. They will be a regular profile field, but everything else about them should stay the same!
Planned and Potential Changes
You'll also notice in the topic screenshot above that the regular upvote button is gone! Instead, the new forum version allows us to define custom reactions! We'll keep this limited to an "upvote" reaction for now, but will definitely be exploring this and several other new features in the future:
- Additional reactions that might affect reputation differently
Achievements for performing certain actions, e.g. posting enough or having very successful posts
- These can also be rewarded with fancy badges that show up on your profile page!
- Updated Social Connections: While some of our older members might still remember ICQ or MSN, we hear that these aren't as hip with the kids anymore, so we'll likely be updating those to reflect the current social media landscape
- Pronouns Profile Field: Asking for gender (sex, really) in your profile is kind of outdated and unnecessary for the most part, so we'll be replacing this with a pronouns field that should prove more useful and allows for many more options
- Dark Theme: With the move to a less customized default theme and thanks to advancements in how configurable a theme is, it will be much easier for us to hopefully introduce this at some point
We can't give any concrete timelines on any of these and won't promise we'll implement all of them, but with everything else up-to-date, we should be able to iterate on new things a lot more!
Future Update Schedule
We aim to track updates of the software we use much more closely in the future, which will likely mean an increase in the update frequency. Rather than performing a big disruptive update every few years, there will be more minor and gradual rollouts of new versions. This is very much in the spirit of the books, as I think a wise man once thought
The most important update a site can make. It’s not the first one, is it?
It’s the next one. Always the next update, 17th Shard.
Edited by Paleo