New Features and Changes

Discussion in 'Forum Announcements' started by bios, Sep 15, 2007.

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What do you think of the website's overall performance in terms of speed and connectivity?

Poll closed Nov 7, 2010.
  1. Better and Speedy Indeed.

    85.7%
  2. Worse and Slow!?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. No Change / Can't Determine.

    14.3%
  1. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Unscheduled Downtime 10/1/10

    Windows 7 Forums was down for update today. We would like to apologize to all members and visitors for this unanticipated period of downtime, which lasted for a short period today (October 1st).

    We sincerely thank you for your patience and cooperation as we constantly work to improve your experience visiting and using Windows 7 Forums.

    Best Regards,
    Windows 7 Forums Team
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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  3. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    User Profile Customization

    We are following closely on bringing back this feature. With the service migration a success, this feature will soon follow. Currently, members may notice some issues with their user profile that will undoubtedly be fixed as soon as possible.

    Please note: You can now "change your profile" but it will not stick... yet! So don't waste time on creating that ultimate profile style just yet.

    Thank you.
     
  4. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    New Service Online

    We are now online with our new service. Now is the time to tell us what you make of it, if you have been here long enough to know the difference.

    What do you think of the website's overall performance in terms of speed and connectivity?


    Now is your chance to give a definitive answer to this question (unbiased). No one will ever be penalized for giving their constructive opinion, but reliable feedback lets us make important decisions. Please vote in the above poll and post your comments below! Forum staff members are also welcome. We will take Premium Members into special consideration.

    (The vote you cast will be public so we can try to triangulate your location in case the answer is slow!)


    Thank you for participating on the website!
     
  5. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Re: New Service Online

    Well after reading all the praises, triumphs and tribulations of the new service I too am grateful for the change. Sadly, I can not rejoice with every one about the new speed and over all performance of the site. For me it's still the same. Still 4 to 6 seconds for the site to load and 2 seconds for a back page click. On a positive note I have seen some page load times in the 2 second or less range...I'm thankful for that. I have conversed with Trouble and we've done some basic diagnostics on my end to find the problem of whether it's a hardware or a ISP issue. So I've come to the conclusion that I'll just have to live with it.....
     
  6. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Re: New Service Online

    Things are running great here, though I'm unsure if there's much of a difference now in comparison to when we were running memcache to reduce the server load.

    Looking good so far - will report anything suspicious. :)
     
  7. Sonny

    Sonny Fantastic Member

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    Re: New Service Online

    Things seem to be running smoothly for me. As compared to the before and after it does seem to faster.
     
  8. Firecracker

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    Re: New Service Online

    Seems to be faster, but then the old server might off had fraggy HDD's.

    What is gonna now happen to the old provider?
    How did all the data get moved?
    How long are we here untill we move again?

    Some people might not notice much because their internet speeds are slow. I recommend a 1.5MB/s connection.
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Forum Updates: October '10

    Once again, I bring you our latest forum updates, and this time, for October 2010.

    I am pleased to announce that we are working closely with the vBulletin Development Team on their release candidate builds of the software. The software is running live, and barring unforeseen circumstances, is being updated to the latest build on a nightly basis. What does this mean exactly? Helping vBulletin will help with the next release of the forum software: 4.0.8. We have already made our small contribution of squashing a few bugs here and there with User Profile Customization. Some additional bugs with this functionality have been isolated, and will likely be addressed by the development team as time allows.

    What is User Profile Customization?

    You can now customize your member profile to your specifications under "Customize My Profile". Recently, we have worked to help implement a design feature which allows us to specify a default profile if no such profile has been customized. User Profile Customization is still a feature that appears on forums running older versions of this software. These forums, however, are susceptible to security vulnerabilities that were patched and removed in the 4.x series. I hope that you will test out UPC and begin the early stages of reclaiming your profile - making it into something you can 100% control and personalize.

    Feature changes:

    Reputation Fix: We have reduced the influence of reputation, to a large extent, whereas, while it will still be possible for you to build, gain, and use reputation, it must be used carefully. "Reputation Power", or the ability to modify another person's reputation through your own actions, is no longer being revealed. However, all user reputation points have remained unchanged. You will now also gain extra experience points from using (and not receiving) reputation!

    Experience System Adjustments: The experience system has been rebalanced to benefit those members who post new threads and replies the most. Whereas before, the XP system was heavily dependent on a member's accumulation of reputation points, the system now benefits thread creation, views, and posts. Because the XP system is designed to reward participation on the forums, this recalculation was absolutely necessary.

    Windows 7 Discussion and its related forums have been branched off into its own sub-division to avoid confusion, as many "help me" posts have been placed in this forum. Not to mention, members with under 10 posts will be prompted to confirm that they are actually posting in the correct location once again.

    Windows 7 Forums Toolbar Update: The Windows7Forums.com Toolbar has been updated for IE/Firefox/Chrome and can be found under Downloads.

    Feature removals:

    The Helpful Answers feature (Did you find this post helpful?) has been removed, as members can still "Post Thanks" and add or remove reputation. This had become a redundancy on the site that was not used often, and therefore calling a large JavaScript, which was bulky and unnecessary.

    You will no longer see the "Check if my thread already exists" button when creating a new thread/discussion. The reason for this is that as soon as you begin typing in a new thread name, a search immediately begins for similar threads. This was deemed to be a redundant feature.

    What happened at the October 2010 Moderator/Staff Meeting?

    The October 2010 Moderator/Staff meeting went well. A number of forward looking remarks and ideas were proposed, and it was a good get together for our moderators to speak and discuss issues. Some of the details presented here were discussed, and some brainstorming on how to improve the website for all visitors was discussed. Proper moderation was high on the priority list. Moderators are hopeful to reconvene in December and discuss new developments. While we had hoped to put the October meeting online (by means of recording it), it was elected not to do so at that time. We expect to do this in December, for interested parties.

    On The Horizon

    We have scaled back some additional features which may have been slowing down page rendering. It is expected that by around March or April 2011, the website will take on a brand new look, which will be more acceptable to the new HTML5 and CSS3 standards. We expect pre-set, and professionally designed user profile themes to be made available around that time. During that time, the look and feel of the website is likely to be updated and optimized. A new website style is inevitable. A new text editor upgrade to replace the existing one will be brought in around that time. This single feature will have the most impact on the most members on the website in a very long time, as it will come with easier ways to format and post messages. As time allows, more tutorial videos will be posted and the website will continue to expand and grow thanks to the contribution of many of our members, near and far, around the world.

    The goal is to provide a simple to use, but feature and content rich repository of information, and this challenge is now being met through the natural growth of the website, as well as careful planning that is taking place to bring new and streamlined features to all visitors. The intent of that strategy is to help new and existing member use the website in the ways they see fit.

    Thanks for reading. If you have any comments on the latest changes, please post about them here! *-:)
     
    #489 Mike, Oct 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2010
  10. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Reputation System Replaced: Replacing a Broken System

    Reputation System Replaced: Replacing a Broken System

    Systems break down all the time. Computer systems. Cave systems. Stereo systems. Economic systems. Government systems. Solar systems. Science and history showed us that every system, without proper maintenance, or adjustments, fall apart. This seems to be a trend that has rocketed Windows7Forums.com to use on a mass scale, globally. Images of broken systems could include, the fall of the the Roman Empire. the widespread system failures of Windows ME. An out-of-warranty iPhone. A supernova that occurred in 1604 AD. And less importantly, the reputation system on Windows7Forums.com.


    This thread is specifically for those who care about reputation and accumulating points.

    The reputation system has been changed, and replaced completely with the experience system. The experience system has existed on the website for some time. It was reintroduced to the website after being re-coded from scratch, and rewards all members for their activity. It is completely automated, calibrated for fairness, and is the result of all of your activity, on the website. It existed side-by-side, with the reputation system, but remained largely ignored throughout the year. It also includes achievements and awards. Almost all of these processes are automated and new ones can be added at any time.


    What happened to my points? *Pounds Fist*


    It had been noticed that a small group of individuals had received reputation levels of over 100,000, and had prevailed in doing so by continually giving each other reputation. When reputation power, which is derived from reputation itself, was given out, it was not spread to our thousands of members, but stuck within an elite group. To make matters worse, hardly anyone gave out bad reputation. Giving out bad reputation is the only way for someone to lose their reputation power. This could confirm a few good things. Either people are innately good people in general and/or no one cared about giving anyone bad reputation to begin with. Further analysis showed a conflict of interest, as moderators were, perhaps, not suited to use this system – it would be best left to our members to police themselves with such a system, and enjoy the fruits of their contributions.

    It is not known if intentional steps were intended to break the reputation system, but for those who cared, including myself, and especially one of our best moderators, Randy Baker, it became apparent early this week that the system was not working as intended. Options were limited in dealing with this problem. Options involved resetting everyone to zero (redistribution), penalizing those who were found to have too much reputation (out of the question), add additional requirements to gain reputation (hurting new members in the process), or kill the system altogether (create massive outrage).


    What's important to note is that those on the top of what had become the "reputation pyramid" had complete control of reputation point distribution, and very few were on the top. Those on the bottom, had very little hope of banding together to gain reputation. If someone at the bottom was “rep’d up” by someone who accumulated massive reputation, they would instantly get, on average 15,000 to 30,000 reputation points. This enormous amount of points distorted a system that was designed to deal with a maximum of around 1000 points per account. The green pips symbolized 100 points of reputation, while some members had over 200,000 reputation points, and 20,000 reputation-altering power.


    To top things off, when someone was given reputation, they would be given a “reputation beyond repute” on the fly. The reason for this is that the green reputation pips were designed to represent a low level of reputation. 100 points of reputation for each reputation pip. The system was never designed to have millions of points floating around.


    A conclusion: The website has outgrown the reputation system.


    What could be done to fix this problem for all members, and give everyone a chance to enjoy the hallmark of success? Our goal is not to restrict the accumulation of reputation points, but to make it representative of a member's accomplishments. The system was supposed to be a community-used tool that shows what someone has done. Much like the ability to use the "Thanks" button and rate a thread/topic. What could give someone the chance, slim, but very possible, to reach level 100, and be recognized with vast achievements and cool awards? The re-calibrated experience system.

    I would like to thank a few people for identifying this problem earlier. This problem only matters for those people who care about reputation, point systems, or giving members something to achieve. Primarily, I believe these members are Trouble, Mitchell_A, and Captain Jack. These members articulated that there may be a problem with the system. I believe the problem was first brought to our attention by RAK, but largely dismissed, a very long time ago.

    I have confirmed through logs that some abuse of the reputation system did occur, and was widespread. Not long ago, a script called Helpful Answers was active on the site. This script was removed due to its large size, which had the potential to slow down rendering time for those on poor connections. It could be misused, as a person could use double their reputation power on the same posting. It became clearer that the reputation system had been damaged beyond repair and took advantages away from our new members – our active members – and our hardworking members. You know, the ones that visit every day, and actually help people. Maybe the person reading this is you, if you've made it this far. And even if someone asks a hundred questions, that generates a hundred responses, shouldn’t that be a reward, since it will no doubt help others as well? Not necessarily, with the old system.

    A New Experience

    The answer is experience. Your experience will show for you when you post messages. To see your level and total experience, check the right-hand side of your profile information on a post. To see the status bar indicators, you can look to your left, and hover your mouse over them to get more detailed information like “points to next level”. Over time, this will be brought into your profile for easy access.

    The experience system gives every member a rewarding opportunity to use the site. We have disabled point giveaways to avoid any widespread abuse. You have the chance to build a reputation – and perhaps you already have. It is our obligation, as stewards of the website, to ensure that such reputation is based on merit. This system will not be perfect. Right now, it takes members who have not been on in ages into account as well. This can be changed. It is likely some careful tinkering will take place to make the system as strong and representative as possible. This system will return different results for everyone depending on how the website is used. Bloggers and content-focused users will see different results than traditional forum users. Depending on your usage habits, you may earn points for writing blogs, or you may earn them for ending discussions. But you will not be limited in what is possible. While it is clear this system is not perfect, we haven't found one that works better yet, and this is a very good sign.

    Visit the Experience System at Windows 7 Forums Experience

    Tell us what you think of this change in the comments below.
     
  11. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Reputation System Replaced: Replacing a Broken System

    Wow what a huge response..... (not)





    Why do we bother (he say's nudging Mike)?
     
  12. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Forum Software Upgraded to vBulletin 4.0.8

    The forums have been updated to the latest release of vBulletin v4.0.8. During the testing phase, we were invited to work in close quarters with vBulletin, the forum software designers, to help improve this version.

    "4.0.8 fixes over 390 bugs since the release of 4.0.7."

    Highlights of bug fixes included in 4.0.8
    • Profile Customization bugs.
    • Template Bugs
    • CMS bugs
    • Widget bugs
    • Google Sitemap Bug
    Added features:
    A full list of changes can be carefully analyzed at Issue Navigator - vBulletin JIRA

    And I am pleased to show our list of bug reports and official feature changes as a result of making small, but timely contributions:

    [#VBIII-6422] /misc.php?do=showavatars Avatar List requires change - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIII-7180] RSS Feed Manager: XML Error: No error at Line 0 - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIII-7150] RSS feed not being picked up - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-5162] No way to reconcile filesystem attachments that no longer exist - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-7524] Notices no longer function, though listed in DB and AdminCP - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-9515] Uncustomized User Profiles Appear To Have Unchangeable Preset Values? - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-9666] Featured Blogs not appearing in AdminCP - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-9667] "Customize" tab in UCP doesn't automatically drop down in Firefox/Chrome - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-9325] Some links seem to be an unreadable white color by default on profiles - vBulletin JIRA
    [#VBIV-9764] Over 26,000 moderator logs inaccessible in AdminCP since upgrade from 4.0.7 - vBulletin JIRA

    These could not be possible without the assistance of many of our members running the software at all times. In comparison to other similar forums, Windows7Forums.com uses the latest, state-of-the-art forum software from the Internet's #1 forum provider. Many other remain using the 3.8.x series. We have been running feature complete, release candidate builds of 4.0.8 unannounced for the last several weeks. I will work directly with them on the development of vBulletin 4.0.9 (the next release) as well as the vBulletin 4.1.x series.

    Testing through Windows7Forums.com becomes possible when this software reaches a stable, feature complete, and release candidate part of development. At other times, private test boards are used, or Windows8Forums.com is used as an alpha testing ground.

    Enjoy the new functionality! Most of it is under-the-hood. Kind of like fine-tuning a well-oiled engine. Nonetheless, it is good to see the software moving in a positive direction.

    Take care,
    Mike
     
  13. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    We are pleased to announce the display of our new autumn vigil on the website – the 7 Pumpkin. No doubt, if you have looked close enough you have noticed this new artwork and its autumn leaves. We are pleased to enjoy this holiday season. It has been a tradition of Windows 7 Forums to sometimes feature mascots such as snowmen, Christmas trees, giant emblems of the sun, and other weird icons to recognize the various seasons and holidays throughout the year. In celebration of both Halloween and the Fall/Autumn time, we are happy to provide this alternative forum image to you!


    I’m also pleased to announce that the forum has launched a universal translator. This translator will allow the indexing of over 1.9 million XML entries to the search engines in the fifty most popular world languages. The site can now be read, and translated, in those languages instantaneously. A default language can be set in your Settings. If you do not speak English, this new software will display both the original text and its attempted translation to the website for potentially millions of people to disseminate. This is therefore a universal translator that will try to help English and non-English speaking peoples not only find Windows7Forums.com, but use it to communicate as well. This is a premium feature that is now available to all members.


    I have been informed that the Experience system has been updated, and the ability to set a mood is currently back online.


    The right-hand sidebar on the front page has also been updated and become completely retractable. This is now using a built-in software component, as opposed to a separately coded solution, thus saving the website an abundance of resources. Best of all, if you do not like the sidebar, by retracting it, it will have a tendency to remember your preference!


    I have been authorized to announce this information to you directly. More features are coming, which will allow you, the content creator, to continue to build Windows7Forums.com the way you like. You will be getting the tools you need to find answers, provide help, or simply hang out for awhile!


    We are looking for more ways to encourage participation of our members and will be looking forward to another full staff meeting early in December. A record of this will be placed online.

    Until next time,
    Mitchell Anthony
    Windows 7 Forums
     
  14. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    Wow.. thanks for the update.
     
  15. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    Good job Mitchell. Thanks for keeping us updated on the new stuff going on, including the new art work. Noticed it as soon as I logged on this morning.
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    As an update, the right-hand sidebar has been restored to its old default for members, as some rather confusing information was popping out of the other one. The current right-hand sidebar on the front page is working again, and I have confirmed the universal translator service should be working with that as well.
     
  17. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    Pumpkin time is over.....now we need a Thanks giving theme...........
     
  18. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    Pilgrims, Indians (Native Americans) and a turkey.
    Gobble Gobble.
     
  19. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    Jim as I'm stationed in Canada and we already had thanks giving, I'm not sure If that would work or not ;)
    Maybe we'll hold off a little bit and wait for Christmas?
     
  20. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Pumpkins, Leaves, and New Stuff!

    No tinsel around the "Windows 7 Forums" before the 20th December though.

    Bah! Humbug!!

    Scrooge
     

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