The prez got his chance to speak last night and so I've decided to take my turn! I just wanted to write to everyone to say what state things are in in the world of Craftster and what changes are planned for the future. I know this is a lot to read so if you don't feel like reading it all, I've tried to make the section titles big so you can skip to what you are interested in.
(don't forget to stand up and clap at least 58 times as you read this)
SPEED OF THE WEBSITE
The speed at which Craftster's pages load isn't as fast as I'd like it to be. You might remember that Craftster moved to a much faster server in the beginning of December 2005. This helped a lot but there's still more improvement to be had. I'm working hard on this. And this brings me to the next topic which is...SOFTARE UPGRADE COMING SOON WITH HUGE IMPROVEMENTS
The software that Craftster uses is called Simple Machines Forum. (Well.. I guess I should say it's a tweaked-out version of SMF because I've changed and added a bunch of stuff to make it work well for our purposes.)
The developers are in the process of releasing a new version which I'm very excited to upgrade to when it comes out. Here are some of the things you can look forward to:
1. tons of optimizations to make things run much faster!!!
2. search within a topic
3. search within your personal messages
4. threads should print out much better
5. lots and lots of other little enhancements and improvements
I don't know when the new version will be released but it should be at most a few months time. Hopefully sooner.MORE NEW FEATURES PLANNED
I have this endless stream of ideas for cool new features I want to add to Craftster! I can't stop coming up with them! The problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day to implement them all... sigh... It's so hard. But the more people who subscribe and become a Friend of Craftster
, the more money there would be to hire a freelance programmer to help out with some of these new feature. So please consider subscribing if you haven't already.
Here are just a few ideas I have planned:
1. Adding a WikiPedia component to Craftster to provide a layer on top of Craftster that further categorizes and organizes all the good stuff in the forum.
2. Adding a feature where people can list all the various craft-related businesses where they live. Then anyone could type in a zip code and see push-pins in a map showing all places nearby to buy beads, fabric, go thrifting, etc. This will be great if you are traveling to a different city or just want to know about more places around you to buy supplies.
3. Perhaps adding the live Craftster Chat back in and making sure it doesn't overwhelm the server like it did many months ago when we tried it last.
4. I have a new script I'm working on to allow Swap Organizers to more easily check out the potential participants in their swap to prevent flaking.
5. Figuring out what the heck went wrong with the Shop Crafty directory and getting that back online.
There are a zillion cool things that could easily be added to Craftster to make it even more awesome! If you ever have ideas, please go to the "Suggest New Boards and New Features" to tell me about them.OFF-TOPIC DISCUSSION
Lately we've had a few rather passionate complaints about off-topic discussion on Craftster and I'd like to talk about all this. First of all I want everyone to keep in mind that Craftster's main purpose is to share brilliant craft ideas with one another and help each other out with craft projects. I need to do what I can to make this work and the off-topic discussions can really get in the way of this sometimes.
I think that there are two kinds of off-topic discussion that need to be distinguished:
1. Threads that are started and are totally off-topic to begin with like "Show off your pets!"
2. Threads that start out crafty but them spiral into off-topic tangents.
It's always tricky to know what to do. We (myself and the moderators) don't want to have off-topic discussion overshadow the crafts. But we also really don't like to censor people. So what we've generally been doing is allowing off-topic threads and off-topic tangents unless they turn into fights and drama and so forth. With over 800 message posted every day, it's hard to say we've followed this to a science. It's just impossible to do that.
It was pointed out to us that the line was unclear and it sometimes seemed unfair that some posts were getting deleted and some weren't. I know that it hurts when you post something and a mod deletes it. But please keep in mind WHY we do this. We are just trying to allow a bit of chit-chat and bonding and trying to prevent fights and drama. We are always going to try to prevent fights and drama. I know it's fun to debate things (believe me - I love it!) but it just gets in the way of the real purpose of this site which is the crafts.
I've been talking with the mods and opened this up for discussion on the Friends of Craftster board to see if we can find a way to open Craftster up to more off-topic chit-chat and bonding. Lots of ideas have been batted around but I still haven't found a the perfect solution that I think will work at this very moment. Some day I hope to be able to allow off-topic chat in perhaps a separate area of Craftster. But for now it's just too much time and effort for me and I have a ton of other Craftster-related tasks to focus on.
So for now, here's what we're going to do:
1. We're going try to be clear and delete any new threads that are started that are just totally off the topic of crafts.
2. We're going to try to delete all threads that already currently exist that are totally off-topic.
3. A little off-topic chit-chat within threads will be allowed but if it turns nasty, we're going to prune out the bickering and leave the craft-related parts of the thread.
I know this is going to upset some people as it happens. But please keep in mind that we're just trying to keep Craftster working as well as we can for it's main purpose.
So this concludes my State of the Union address. Um. Now go forth and glue something.
P.S. Thank you!!
to all of the Craftster Moderators! This place would be in shambles without your help!