Mhh, I'm kinda split on this.
I've been pretty inactive since I've been running around like crazy trying to get a few things off the ground, and haven't had much chance to poke my head in here. I've been meaning to revive my Blog as a development blog, but I've realized the more I talk about stuff the less stuff gets done, leading to a visible decline in forward progress... The struggle is real. ^^;
Thats actually a scientific thing, apparently its something to do with the act of talking and thinking about it actually causes your mind to feel it has made progress and effectivly takes the pressure off before actually doing anything. I try to always discuss things like development or projects when already well into them for that very reason.
Costs and blogging points first. These are dedicated hosting costs, yes? I'm mostly used to shared virtual hosting, so the prices are a bit of a sticker shock to me. The cost on the Wordpress server seems excessive- especially for how few of us use it. I'd honestly forgot the mini-blog stuff was there, also. From what I'm seeing at a glance, the Mini-blogs look as functional as the full WP blogs, and from what you've just said, they cost less. How hard is it to migrate existing blogs? Is hand-reposting the only option?
The hosting costs are virtual machines, the KM one is only $5 a month, but over a year even that adds up. Back in the hay days of FTV and MATV, we had actual dedicated servers just for downloads with 1TB drives in them pushing 30TBit of bw, now we just have little VMs.
You can get cheaper hosting, but believe me when I say it is never worth it. We have had real trouble in the past with cheap hosts, the hassle, lost time, lost data etc just isnt worth saving a couple $ a month.
The company we use is very good and even when problems occur, they are quick to sort things out. The tools they provide to us are very good too, and it means I can duplicate the entire VM and clone it or move it anywhere. We also have daily backups, all things that really help in case of a disaster.
The main web server is actually MATV's original server and the WP Blog server is actually Fansub's original server. The old Fansub server actually has a lot of the original broken FTV stuff on it and the blogs, so I simply left the Blogs there when Daft said he was happy to keep it going.
Its been upgraded and various work done on it, but its now a little under used hench the idea of moving KM to it.
The Wordpress Blogs are nicer, and frankly I think I prefer those (and they are somewhat of a standard) compared to the mini-blogs, the problem with anything Invision Power based is they will randomly change things and make it not backwards compatible, their next version (4.0+) is a prime example of this, its a right mess frankly.
There is a hosting cost to wordpress by our choice to separate host it, but its free in terms of license. The mini blogs have a license cost, so I'd much rather ditch those and stick with Wordpres, especially as thats where the most of the data is.
And also, there is no import tool to or from the Mini blogs.
As to activity declining in general... I think that was really a natural outcome of a number of things lining up. The server issues prior to the merger hit this place hard, not long after the minecraft server burned some of us out. (I know I put more time into that than I should have...)
That server issue was a real blow to me and Daft, we lost everything that day, and we thought we had it all backuped up. Literally years worth of data was lost. I think thats a good part of what ended it for Daft, all the new systems he had spent years working on just gone.
I lost a lot of data too in that mess, and was about ready to quit too. I still don't fully know waht kept me going. That is also the last server we bought from that hosting company, it was the 4th time we'd had a server blow up from them and we'd had enough. This what I meant about cheaper hosts not being worth it.
I don't think the name matters all that much, especially since everyone in this hobby knows that simulcasting has changed the face of it all. Is there some reason we can't just park one domain on the other or both on a new one and let people pick which site template they want via a dropdown? They're basically the same page with different CSS, from what I'm seeing at a glance.
I would suggest a Discord, but I have mixed feeling about community Discords. They tend to move conversation away from the website itself. I feel like they drift back towards the days of more static websites w/ IRC channels. This could encourage a shift towards more formal reviews/writeups on the site and more spoiler heavy chatter in the discord. I dunno, it's a thought.
The sites are basically the same with some little bits on a conditional based on the url hostname, the colors / graphics are entirely CSS themes, and you can swap the themes indipendantly of the site code, ie MATV url with Fansub theme (if you check the bottom of the page you will see a 'change theme' button to do this your self).
I can easily point one domain at the other so if you access one it redirects you to the other, but the address in the browser will change, and that ruins the feel for many. I could do that for free however.
Changing the software would take too much time, time which I don't have. Even trying to fix the code problems is a mounttain right now and I just can't do it, and I'm not even that good a coder.
It really looks like the main thing needed is to consolidate the site. Right now we kind of have four things stitched together, as far as I can tell:
Straying Away from the front page gets us
- Featured Stuff (forum posts and a few featured posts. Also blogs, but ignoring that for the moment.)
- Oddly presented Episode Guides (Screenshot galleries?)
- Crunchyroll Index (offsite links)
- Forum Posts
This seems to me like it could be condensed considerably to punch up a smaller number of sections. Merge the old FTV Webzine blog with the news and featured posts section. Drop the number of links to the Gallery, rework the forum template if at all possible and reduce the subforum count, go for a more responsive layout that breaks things up. (When I finish with my current client site build, I'd be happy to piece together a mockup to help with this.)
- Redundant links to the same Gallery section (which claims to have AMVs I'm not seeing... somewhere?)
- Blogs in two flavors
- IRC chat link
- Karaoke Monster Forum Post link
- FTV Webzine blog (defunct)
- some offsite links
OK, so to explain what you are really seeing there. The Frontpage is basically MATV's original frontpage made to look like Fansub's. Its totally MATV's code, meaning it was designed long ago to just display screenshots for the DDLs, and when you clicked on one it took you to the series page, thats where you see all the screenshots per episode - that used to show how many files were available, and you clicked an episode and it took you to the episode page which was full of all the torrent info and DDL links.
Roll on a few years and we hit copyright crisis, so I basically copy all of that and call it 'streaming' insted of 'series' and then I pull in RSS feeds from crunchy roll and re-format the data to fit and make almost the same thing, so in the end you get to CR's viewing page insted of a DDL. Thats why it looks the same, because its 95% the same code just copy and pasted and then hacked around like crazy and a ton of new bits tacked on the backend to make it work with totally new data. It took another 6 motnhs just to get a link between streaming and series becuase they were not compatable.
Both of these, the 'series' and 'stream' type pages are running separately, and neither of them are connected to or part of the Gallery its all custom code. The Gallery is a module from Invision power and part of the forum suite.
The DDL section (/series/) is obviously a problem copyright wise, so it got renamed from Fansub DDLs to be user content like AMVs or trailers, to basically give it a purpose still. The idea was we could torrent other related things and put them up for DDL insted of Fansubs, that kinda didn't really happen however.
The main Gallery has got videos in there, take a look here https://www.fansub.t...ery&category=11 The point of renaming it to 'and AMV' was to give a hint that you can upload them here, not my fault not many people have done it.
There is however a problem with the Gallery, it has a 100MB upload limit right now, which is imposed by Cloudflare. They refuse to allow it to go any higher without paying thousands of $$$$ per month for an enterprise plan.
I have spent 2+ years trying to find a way around it, and they only say pay up or switch off protection. Well if i'm going to turn off protection, I may as well not pay for it as it wont do anything. The other option would be some weird mess of proxying to split off upload requests to bypass cloudflare and all sorts of complex re-routing of stuff which will take me ages to do and probably not work very well, and I know full well that Invision Power will change something next version and break it again.
I'm going to be tied down with this for at least a few more weeks, tho'.
Some help with the code or even the CSS themes would be a huge help, at present I'm trying to do all of it on my own and I simply don't have the time any more.