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Marek 04-10-2012 04:18 AM

Upcoming forum changes
 
Hello Adventurers,

It's been some time since there have been any changes on these forums, but there is a big one coming up which we'd like to inform you about.

In a couple of weeks we will be launching a new version of Adventure Gamers, and as part of this we will also be opening a brand new set of forums. These forums will be running off new software that provides a better user experience. However, we will not be able to import any content into these new forums, and so the current forums will be turned into a read-only archive.

We currently estimate the switch-over to happen during the second half of April
We are now targeting a launch date of May 20
(which is also the 10 year anniversary of AG!)

We know changes like this can be disruptive, though we are planning to make the switch as smooth as possible. If all goes well the downtime should be minimal (a few hours at most).

We hope you will like the improvements this upgrade will bring. In the meantime, join us later this month in saying goodbye to some of the AG Forums' longest-living threads. Will "Thread Must Die!" finally die? Who will have the final word? We will find out soon!

Thank you for being a part of the AG community, and if you have any concerns or questions, please let us know. A few questions we have already answered below.

Thanks,
The AG Team

--------------------------

FAQ

Why can't you keep using the current forums?
We chose vBulletin as our forum software back in 2000. It served us well for some time but it's come to a point where it no longer fits our needs. The company developing vBulletin changed hands in 2007, and has since been criticized for poor support and buggy updates. In 2010, vBulletin was exposed to a serious security flaw (fortunately, nothing bad happened). We feel it's time to switch to a more reliable forum.

No, but really, why are you changing the forums?
The new forums will also give us a more modern and secure engine, a cleaner layout, better protection against spam, better integration with the site, and a couple of new features. We hope you'll agree it'll be worth the temporary inconvenience.

What will happen to all the current threads?
They will all remain accessible at an archive location.

Will I need to re-register on the new forums?
No. If you have an active account on the forums now, you will have an account on the new forums. However, your signature, avatar, and profile info will not be copied automatically. If you'd like to continue using data from your current profile, you will have to manually copy this over.

Of course, this can also be an opportunity to freshen up your signature and avatar. We'll be increasing the maximum avatar size from 80x80 to 100x100, with a maximum file size of 15 Kb. There'll also be a new set of default avatars to choose from.

Private Messages will also not be copied over, though will remain accessible at the archived forum.

Any more details about the site update?
We've aimed to incorporate much of the feedback we've received over the past few years. Stay tuned!

diego 04-10-2012 05:43 AM

Not the bestest of news, especially because of "old threads" sake. But i guess you had no other choice...

Few selfish wishes, though: don't change the things over-dramatically - it's easier to come up with the "perfect" results in many small updates than in one "Big one". That said, don't change the color layout or the logo for example, because those things are your "brands" for many years and you wouldn't be doing a favor to yourself, if for example, new forums would look like this.

As for avatars, they're fine until too big and distractful, so i think this small increase in size won't be noticeable that much. I also hope there won't be an option to put pics into the signature. Forums like these become galleries, and not the place to read things.

I also hope the main page of the site won't be changed for the "worse" - because you were on the right path. It didn't feel "sterile" like a Linux desktop, but not too much crowded with info and news, either.

Also, we were planning on starting the comm. playthrough, what would happen if we start it before the new forums? It's not possible to "move" the content of any single thread?

Marek 04-10-2012 06:11 AM

Those are all good points, Diego. We will be keeping the current colours, logo and roughly the same layout. We felt it was very important to fully customize the new forum with the correct styles. The new site/forum should feel very familiar - it'll be an evolution, and not a complete change like the image you linked.

(And if there's any suggestions for small updates, we can take them into consideration. The new templating system is more flexible than our current one.)

The details of the layout, font sizes, etc. may change of course.

The avatar size is increased as we have a bit more room for them in the layout. We also like not having too many images though, so the rules about images in signatures will remain the same.

As for the community playthrough, I suggest starting it as planned, and when the switch happens we can either see if the thread can be imported manually, or we could start a new thread with the contents of the old thread pasted into the first post.

Kurufinwe 04-10-2012 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek (Post 607116)
However, we will not be able to import any content into these new forums, and so the current forums will be turned into a read-only archive.

Well, that sucks. That really, really sucks. For what it's worth, I wish you had picked a new forum system that allowed importing the vBulletin stuff, even if that meant something less fancy than whatever you've chosen.

(I know that's not constructive or anything, but, well, putting years and years of threads into some archive where they'll be forgotten really, really, really sucks.)

Oh, and while we're on the topic of criticism, I hope the awful narrow layout will be gone (for the forums; I don't mind it for the main site), in favour of something wider (ideally using the full width of the screen). When the current design was introduced, I spent time tweaking the css until I got something that was usable, but I'd rather avoid having to do that again.

(Yeah, I guess I'm really not in a good mood today.)

Marek 04-10-2012 09:55 AM

We considered switching to a standalone forum that allows importing, but ultimately chose to go with the forum module that is part of ExpressionEngine, which is the CMS that will also be driving the new site. (If you're curious what it looks like, Double Fine uses an older version of it on their forums).

This has major advantages from a site development point of view, which for us outweigh the issue of having to separately archive the old threads.

It's not ideal of course, and we'd definitely prefer to have everything in one place, but practically it might not be quite as bad as you suggest. Nearly all active threads are ones made recently, and the exceptions (such as sticky threads or long-running threads like Thread Must Die) can be restarted. Again, not ideal, but it can be overcome, and I'd expect that within a few weeks of posting things should be mostly back to normal. There'll be a prominently placed link for those who want to dig into the archives.

If someone could volunteer to write an import script we'd obviously still love to merge the forums. We looked into having this done professionally, but we currently don't have the resources.

The new layout will stay narrow as it avoids excess white space / line length on larger screens (i.e. the idea is that it's more readable for the same reason newspapers have columns). If you prefer it to use the full width, you can of course adjust it with a greasemonkey script or similar.

Kurufinwe 04-10-2012 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek (Post 607151)
(If you're curious what it looks like, Double Fine uses an older version of it on their forums).

Oh man, the Double Fine forums are terrible. I was wondering a few days ago if it was something the had coded themselves, because the experience seemed so inferior to what you generally find on any other site. There's no way to go to the first new post (since your last visit) in a given thread (it tells you there's something new in the thread, but you have to remember where you left off), there's no way to find posts by a given user (it only shows you the threads they've posted in, which is useless), etc. I hope the newer version you'll use will work better, because otherwise visiting the forums with that sort of crippled system will be very annoying for me (especially the first thing).

I know this sounds like a case of I Already Hate You New Design[TM], but these forums are a rare oasis of sanity and intelligent conversation on a niche subject in the middle of the Internet and so I enjoy visiting them. I understand the new system will be more convenient for you, and you don't have lots of resources, and forum posters only make up a small fraction of the visitors to the site, but please make sure the forums don't become unnecessarily painful to visit. Pretty please? (Do a Kickstarter to get money to make the forum experience not suck! I'll pledge!)

Quote:

The new layout will stay narrow as it avoids excess white space / line length on larger screens (i.e. the idea is that it's more readable for the same reason newspapers have columns). If you prefer it to use the full width, you can of course adjust it with a greasemonkey script or similar.
I don't necessarily mind fixed width, but I think the current layout is too narrow. Since we're talking about Double Fine, I think that the width is fine there. The total width of the page is the same as the current AGs design, but here there's so much space lost with the green border, the white border and the avatar column that the area for the post itself feels really small. Anyway, I'll tweak things to my taste if I need to, but I promise I'll give the new design a chance first. :)

Marek 04-10-2012 02:01 PM

We'll do everything we can to incorporate feedback into the new forums.

Double Fine runs on version 1.x whereas we'll be running 3.x, so there may be differences. Searching for member posts will show the topic titles they've posted in, and below that a bulleted list of posts they've made within that topic. Seems like a good way to display results. Not sure about the 'go to first new post link' - I will check this.

I've done a tweak to the CSS which should give you a very easy hook for adjusting the width. You'll only need to override 1 CSS property.

zobraks 04-10-2012 02:10 PM

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I DON"T feel fine!!!).

Seriously, I can't believe you guys are going to let threads like Adventure game scene... uh, game, community playthroughs (and so many more) go down the drain.
:frown:

Jannik 04-10-2012 03:02 PM

I don't think archiving the old forum is that big of a problem. In most cases new posts in a forum thread are only related to recent posts. So as long as the person who continues a thread in the new forum adds a link in the first post to the archived thread (and, if it makes sense, also copy the content of the first post in the archived thread and/or the last post), things should be fine *in most cases*.

The forum change is obviously not ideal, but I don't see it as a big issue.

EDIT: Arh, accidentally left out the word 'copy' ("also copy the content...").

Intense Degree 04-11-2012 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek (Post 607151)
If someone could volunteer to write an import script we'd obviously still love to merge the forums. We looked into having this done professionally, but we currently don't have the resources.

What kind of money are we talking about?

I hear Kickstarter style community funded projects are very popular recently! :D

TimovieMan 04-11-2012 07:47 AM

The forum change will only be inconvenient for the first few days. After that, most of the long-running threads here will have been started again. Plus it's not like anything is going to get deleted, now, is it?

I'm all for the changes! http://users.telenet.be/TimovieMan/Images/thumbs.gif

Adventurere No.1 04-11-2012 09:13 AM

Mar(e)k you haven't mentioned anything concerns the Poll's system upgrade , will it be eliminated ? if not , are there any changes vital or minor ..maybe! , like more choices more features ?

Mad Manny 04-11-2012 09:01 PM

I'm fine as long as the new forum doesn't require captcha, that's one of the reasons I use this forum.

lewuz 04-12-2012 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kurufinwe (Post 607140)
originally posted by marek: However, we will not be able to import any content into these new forums, and so the current forums will be turned into a read-only archive.

Well, that sucks. That really, really sucks.

+1 :(

orient 04-12-2012 02:34 AM

Cool -- I was just thinking of how the current site design has almost passed its use-by date. I hope the new home page puts news articles in with reviews, previews etc. and lists them all chronologically in one place (and not trapped inside a little box with a scroll bar :-P)

I have no problem with old threads being locked as long as they still exist somewhere. Looking forward to it!

Marek 04-12-2012 03:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mad Manny (Post 607398)
I'm fine as long as the new forum doesn't require captcha, that's one of the reasons I use this forum.

We'll keep this as-is, i.e. the only captcha is for registration.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adventurere No.1 (Post 607341)
Poll's system upgrade , will it be eliminated

You'll definitely still be able to post polls.

Quote:

Originally Posted by orient (Post 607414)
I hope the new home page puts news articles in with reviews, previews etc. and lists them all chronologically in one place (and not trapped inside a little box with a scroll bar :-P)

We had some debate about this, and even mocked up a unified feed, but it looked pretty messy (e.g. with some items having images and some not). So news will keep its own little corner, though the scroll bar is 100% gone. That thing was never a good idea.

orient 04-12-2012 04:23 AM

Ah well, you can't win every battle. What about the Hype-o-Meter and Scene of the Week -- staying or gone!?

I do like the user quote above the latest forum posts -- I hope that stays in some form or another. It's a nice little gateway into a thread you may have previously missed, and it makes that user feel special. At least I did when I used to be chosen :-P Before I stopped posting regularly, but I'll start posting more now that I'm back into the adventure game swing.

Lady Kestrel 04-12-2012 08:17 AM

I don't mind the long threads being archived. I rarely go back more than a few pages to check something anyway, and the really long threads tend to load slowly.

Best of luck with the changeover, Marek! There are bound to be small glitches, but hopefully nothing major. (Fingers and toes crossed, just in case.)

Jazhara7 04-12-2012 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diego (Post 607126)
That said, don't change the color layout or the logo for example, because those things are your "brands" for many years and you wouldn't be doing a favor to yourself, if for example, new forums would look like this.

I agree. We might end up having another discussion about what the background colour of the forum is supposed to be. :P


Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurufinwe (Post 607163)
Oh man, the Double Fine forums are terrible. I was wondering a few days ago if it was something the had coded themselves, because the experience seemed so inferior to what you generally find on any other site.

I second that! :crazy:


Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek (Post 607417)
You'll definitely still be able to post polls.


I hope you've finally added a standard "Other" option that will be added to each and every poll that is created. ;)


- :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

SweetDalilah 04-13-2012 03:32 AM

What can I say, having to reopen all the long running threads really sucks :frown:, but I guess there is no other way to do it.

I do however have a question about profile info. You said our profile info and signature will disappear. Will the number of posts we made and the threads we opened also disappear? And how about our friends list? Are we going to have to add our friends again?


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