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The new forum has been a lot of work and it's not done yet


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    Since migrating the forums, I’ve spent some time away from work, gave up free time, and sacrificed sleep to get everything just right. While I was visiting family the day before Thanksgiving, I actually had to stop in the middle of a conversation to fix a server that was crashing.

    Yet, there is still more work to do.

    There are changes coming to the software that I’ve directly suggested to the NodeBB team, there are changes I’ll be contributing myself, and there are still numerous items on the to-do list, including improvements to the theme. This is not something that was even possible with the old forums.

    If I were consulting on a project like this I would charge upwards of $175/hour for all of the customizations, bug fixing, and code changes I’ve made. Even though I try to run this site as a business, the “pay” is peanuts. I do this because it can be fun but when it stops being fun, why should I bother having this site at all? And if patron support stays at it’s current level, shutting down will have to be a consideration.

    Suggestions are welcome and I will take the appropriate action based on the type of feedback. Direct and higher quality feedback is easier to act on. Subjectice negativity, is not only impossible to act on, it’s also frustrating. I want everyone to like the site but I also cannot please everyone. If you don’t like something, please try to understand why you don’t like it and then provide feedback in detail. You also need to understand that your feedback may be easy, difficult, or impossible to address or I might disagree.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Official Answers TripleA Moderator

    @djensen Thank you for all what you are doing for us. 👍

    Myself, I have spent an unusual amount of time on the forum and in front of my PCs before, during and after the migration, in order to identify problems, deal with feedback, provide information, give support, suggesting my ideas as regards content and organization, sorting threads, cleaning-up topics… just to name some activities. (Thank you to my family for their understanding ♥ )

    Now, I don’t even do this as a business, I do it just for fun. As Dave with this site gives me the chance to ideally combine my hobbies: I love strategic boardgames, I am an IT-interested autodidact, I love to moderate discussions and deal with change management. Doing all of this and the feedback I sometimes get from the community is “salary” enough.

    Instead, I will be happy to donate another 50 USD for my next 2019 Gold patronage in some weeks.

    I don’t expect that everyone takes the same fun out of this site as I do. And I am aware that only a fraction of users even reads the topics in this category including this thread. But in case you read it, and in case you take some fun out of this website and have not donated so far - please consider doing it now!


  • 2019 2018 2017

    Kudos to both of you for all your hard work and dedication over many years.


  • 2018 2017 2016

    Yes i don’t like everything
    Yes I have a harder time finding the sites in Need
    Yes it takes me now longer to get to my games, but honestly?
    It is ok, because of you David and you P@nther and everybody how spends his time and effort to make this site great!

    It is more then enough for me that you guys are saying and Keep trying to make this site more and more suiteable for as many People possible.
    It is more then enough for me to be even able to learn new Friends to meet and Play.
    It is more then enough for me to be even able tp Play triple a, b/c all my hardcopies are in the US together with my playgroup i had to Play every once in a while.
    This is all what is left for me on triple a.
    So please Keep up the good work.
    Thank you all for your time and effort you have spent, spend and will spend.

    THANK YOU!!



  • @djensen @Panther Great work and thanks for all you guys do!

    I’d highlight that the new forum IMO is already way better than the old one. The interface is much cleaner, searching actually works, its better organized, and has much better customization options. Are there a few things left to still add, sure, and there will always be ways to continue to improve it. My only advice is don’t burn yourself out as its already to a good place and the remaining todos can be slowly knocked off.

    The final thing I’d like to mention is all of this is also true for the TripleA software, lobby, dice server, and forum (https://forums.triplea-game.org). Without these, folks wouldn’t be able to play A&A games through PBEM, PBF, or the lobby or get fixes/enhancements to TripleA. We also don’t run it as a business so don’t make any income at all from it so do it purely as a hobby and for fun. We could really use more donations and more volunteers (everything from developers, forum/lobby moderators, testers, marketing, server admins, map makers/maintainers, etc)!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Thanks for the hard work David. And Panther, who is so very helpful whenever I have a problem.

    Given David’s comment above, here are a few random thoughts on the site as a source of income, with the caveat that I know nothing about on line business, my experience of running a business being very different:

    1. The site does not appear designed to generate income. Access to all areas is free. Financial contributions are voluntary.

    2. Much of the value of the site is derived from voluntary non-financial contributions, such as posts from fellow users sharing knowledge and expertise. The site can be viewed as merely providing a repository for this. Thus the financial value that might accrue from the site without discouraging such non-financial contributions may be limited.

    3. Despite those non-financial contributions from fellow members we lose the vast majority of joiners very quickly. Thousands have joined. Only a tiny proportion remain active. If we understood why we might be able to improve the rate of retention. My guess is that many join to gain an answer of some sort, but are insufficiently addicted to keep reading the answers to questions raised by others. What is the planned new joiner engagement process seeking to draw them in? One such might be use of the forum to play triple a, but at the moment this route is left to chance, with little attempt to encourage participation.

    4. Keeping new members for longer would probably generate some additional voluntary financial contributions, but is only a first step towards any sort of income generation plan, which would require that members gain more value from the site than it being an information repository. My willingness to financially contribute each year is based on use of the forum to discover other players and play triple a. If I am typical, then it may be a mechanism might be found to charge for this facility. Do we know why some contribute and others do not? What research has been done?

    5. Charging for already existing functionality is always going to be problematic. Easier would be to add value in new ways, except that finding new ways to add value ain’t easy!


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @Private-Panic I’m waiting on a feature in the next NodeBB that would allow me to turn off ads for member. I still need to acknowledge the Gold/Silver/Bronze sponsors but Google ads would be turned off. Maybe paid members get to use signatures?

    Thanks for the ideas. Like you said, I can’t take stuff away but I’m looking for ways to improve the offering for paid members so it feels more like a subscription.

    I’ll have to comb through your ideas, some great thoughts in there.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @Panther You’ve done and continue to do an amazing job as moderator!


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @redrum said in The new forum has been a lot of work and it's not done yet:

    My only advice is don’t burn yourself out as its already to a good place and the remaining todos can be slowly knocked off.

    Why does it usually take somebody else to point out burn out? That’s exactly what this is.

    I think I was so worried about losing members and traffic that I kept pushing until it was good enough and it didn’t quite get there (or so I thought). I guess it turns out, it is good enough. Thanks!


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @aequitas-et-veritas Have you seen the new “replies” icon on the navigation bar? Does that help find your games?


  • 2018 2017 2016

    @djensen yupp, it makes a difference now.
    I like it.
    👍🏽🙌🏽


  • 2018 2017

    @djensen,

    Thanks for all you’ve done over the years. And thanks for working so hard at getting this software conversion done. If you need to take a breather, then please do so. Burning yourself out over this won’t help anyone.

    The forum is serviceable in it’s current condition. Is it perfect? No, but the old forum’s software wasn’t perfect either. Relax, recharge, and then come back, ready to go. We’ll still be here.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @aequitas-et-veritas Only problem is that the list eventually gets truncated. What we need is a list of watched topics, sorted by unread.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @aequitas-et-veritas I think I found what you and the rest of the community are looking for:

    Nav Bar > Recent (clock icon) > All Topics (select box top right) > Select “Watched Topics”

    The problem is that this setting is not sticky. So you’ll have to set it again the next time. Personally, I’ll be using this a lot more.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Official Answers TripleA Moderator

    @djensen said in The new forum has been a lot of work and it's not done yet:

    @aequitas-et-veritas Only problem is that the list eventually gets truncated. What we need is a list of watched topics, sorted by unread.

    A workaround for the “Unread-List” on a category level is to set “Ignoring”:
    0_1543091902931_ignoring_0.PNG

    or on a topics-level to set “Ignoring”:
    0_1543091871671_ignoring.PNG

    In this context, these checkboxes to be found in the “Settings” are relevant, too:

    0_1543092850405_Watch.PNG

    This allows for effectively filtering what is part of the Unread-List.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    One thing I really don’t like about the new forum is that it allows you to post if there has been a reply and even shows you the thread again omitting someone else’s reply. Is it possible to do something about that?


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @simon33 It shouldn’t do that. Actually what it should be doing is automatically adding the intermediate post (no refresh required) to the end of the topic whole you’re working. I think it even gives you a notification in the lower right side.

    You should think of the post composer as independent of the topic. You can actually navigate away from the topic and continue to compose. You can also start a post and minimize it and come back later. You can even close your browser and come back and your unfinished post will be there.

    What browser are you using?


  • 2019 2017 2016

    Firefox on Ubuntu 18.04 64 bit.


  • 2018

    Your work is appreciated dj. Sorry if you had a bad day. Thought the transition was going pretty good.

    Obviously this isn’t a money maker. Most people don’t make $200 bucks an hour. Life is too short to be unhappy.

    Take a break or bag it. Triplea is the reason a lot of people are here.

    Anyway, good thoughts and good things for all : )


  • 2019 2017 2016

    @djensen said in The new forum has been a lot of work and it's not done yet:

    @simon33 It shouldn’t do that. Actually what it should be doing is automatically adding the intermediate post (no refresh required) to the end of the topic whole you’re working. I think it even gives you a notification in the lower right side.

    You should think of the post composer as independent of the topic. You can actually navigate away from the topic and continue to compose. You can also start a post and minimize it and come back later. You can even close your browser and come back and your unfinished post will be there.

    What browser are you using?

    Perhaps the Triple-A forum poster bypasses this? I’ve seen the popup but I’m not sure what happens if someone posts to a thread you’re reading and you don’t click the popup.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @barnee I may have exaggerated a bit to make a point 😀 . I don’t make $200/hour either. Not yet. 😉


  • 2019 2018

    @djensen While I’m still adjusting to the new forums, I think this was a good move. As far as monetizing the site…while I don’t know much about such things, making TripleA a pay-to-play service seems to me to be a good place to start. For example, TripleA access could be included for Bronze, Silver and Gold Patrons, while non-patrons pay $2/month or $20/year. Obviously, becoming a Bronze Patron would be the smart play in that scenario; either way, the objective is met.

    Beyond that, I think a slightly more aggressive approach to the support drive is warranted. I’m sure you don’t want to spam everyone who visits the site (and everyone hates spam), but increasing the prominence of the message that this site runs primarily on donations wouldn’t hurt. Perhaps a weekly newsletter, similar to the Digest sent out on 18 NOV and featuring links to the top-five discussion topics of the past seven days, could include a prominent message about the support drive.

    I find A&A.org an invaluable site and worthy of my financial support, which is why I became a Silver Patron several months ago. I encourage others to do the same, as there’s no better place for we A&A addicts to congregate with our own kind.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @The-Pripet-Martian Great ideas. I don’t think I can make TripleA pay to play without killing the community. Maybe I can limit the number of active games though. But even then, people would just go elsewhere. Another alternative is that games with non-patrons get deleted when inactive for x-months. Everybody else’s games stay forever?



  • @djensen Well unless we added similar limitations for the TripleA forums, I imagine most folks would just migrate their PBF games there if you added any limitations here since its essentially equivalent PBF functionality (and now very similar forum functionality as a whole).


  • 2018 2017 2015

    @djensen

    Thanks a million for all of the hard work! I’ve certainly enjoyed the website over these past many years!

    I do have one suggestion for the site. My apologies if this has been brought up before.

    Is there a way to have a some kind of indicator when viewing a forum page that marks which threads I’ve posted in? It was my primary method for identifying which game threads were mine. It’s quite cumbersome for my old eyes to try and read through all of the game descriptions for my name or the right team game thread. On the old site I’d simply scan for that icon denoting I had posted in it, and it had to be my game in the forums.

    Thanks again for all the hard work! I know what seem like simple suggestions often involve a lot of coding behind the scenes.

    -Whack


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