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Thread: ODN Changes

  1. #1
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    ODN Changes

    Hey guys! Long time no see!

    I just wanted to let those who WERE still here know, that I plan on making some big changes to ODN here in the next month or so. Traffic is dead, activity is slowed to a crawl. This is partly due to lack of updates to the software and features, and partly due to lack of marketing and continued activity by our veteran members (like myself).

    As a result, I plan to completely redo the site. New site, new database, new site infrastructure, etc. Everything must go! It will be sad to see all the great content disappear into the ether, once and for all. There have been a lot of great debates here. But there's no point in hanging on to the past, especially if it doesn't benefit anyone...that...and if I have to continue paying out of pocket for it every month!

    So I plan to restart ODN on a new platform, probably WordPress/BuddyPress to start since I'm a WP developer (I'm biased). I'm not going to expect to revive ODN back to its glory days, but I do expect it to at least have relevant features with relevant content. Even if traffic doesn't pick up much, I'll still use it personally as a blog system and as a social media tool.

    I just wanted to stop in, say hi, let you know what I was thinking, and see if anyone was still here.

    I'll keep ya posted here as we progress through the plan.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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  3. #2
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Hey guys! Long time no see!

    I just wanted to let those who WERE still here know, that I plan on making some big changes to ODN here in the next month or so. Traffic is dead, activity is slowed to a crawl. This is partly due to lack of updates to the software and features, and partly due to lack of marketing and continued activity by our veteran members (like myself).

    As a result, I plan to completely redo the site. New site, new database, new site infrastructure, etc. Everything must go! It will be sad to see all the great content disappear into the ether, once and for all. There have been a lot of great debates here. But there's no point in hanging on to the past, especially if it doesn't benefit anyone...that...and if I have to continue paying out of pocket for it every month!

    So I plan to restart ODN on a new platform, probably WordPress/BuddyPress to start since I'm a WP developer (I'm biased). I'm not going to expect to revive ODN back to its glory days, but I do expect it to at least have relevant features with relevant content. Even if traffic doesn't pick up much, I'll still use it personally as a blog system and as a social media tool.

    I just wanted to stop in, say hi, let you know what I was thinking, and see if anyone was still here.

    I'll keep ya posted here as we progress through the plan.

    Apok, we have never talked, but I have read so many of your posts it seems, I kinda know you. I have learned a great deal here on ODN and hope to continue to. This is the first (and only) debate site I have ever been a part of. I found ODN when I was searching a topic and ODN came up as a search result. I almost blew it off, but after reading a couple threads, I was impressed by the civility of the site, and the intellect of most the members.

    True, traffic has slowed significantly, but I really liked fallowing you and Sig in particular, duking it out. I will miss not being able to look at old threads when I'm bored at work.

    I just wanted to say thank you. I have really enjoyed your site and wish you the best in the future
    Belthazor

  4. #3
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Good to hear. I've lost all interest in debating in general... But I do miss the discussions we used to have back in the day.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

  5. #4
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    Re: ODN Changes



    I didn't know traffic mattered to you. Any way we can help?
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  6. #5
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Apok, we have never talked, but I have read so many of your posts it seems, I kinda know you. I have learned a great deal here on ODN and hope to continue to. This is the first (and only) debate site I have ever been a part of. I found ODN when I was searching a topic and ODN came up as a search result. I almost blew it off, but after reading a couple threads, I was impressed by the civility of the site, and the intellect of most the members.

    True, traffic has slowed significantly, but I really liked fallowing you and Sig in particular, duking it out. I will miss not being able to look at old threads when I'm bored at work.

    I just wanted to say thank you. I have really enjoyed your site and wish you the best in the future
    Belthazor
    Thanks Belthazor! A big part of the site staying up for as long as it has, even after myself and several vets "retired" was due to the fact that I enjoyed the idea of it being an archive of great information, debates, ideas, etc.

    I started looking into some options for importing this data, and it may be possible to actually save that data and convert it to a new system. Meaning we may be able to keep all the old threads and posts. Still looking into it though.

    ---------- Post added at 10:45 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:43 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post


    I didn't know traffic mattered to you. Any way we can help?
    Well, as mentioned above, we may be able to keep the old data and just import it into a new forum system. I'll be moving this site to a new, bigger/faster server probably next month. Once things are migrated and changes have been made, we can work on ways to increase traffic and interest. Probably a lot of social media marketing. But for now, there's no need for it.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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  8. #6
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Looking forward to it.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

  9. #7
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Hey guys! Long time no see!

    I just wanted to let those who WERE still here know, that I plan on making some big changes to ODN here in the next month or so. Traffic is dead, activity is slowed to a crawl. This is partly due to lack of updates to the software and features, and partly due to lack of marketing and continued activity by our veteran members (like myself).

    As a result, I plan to completely redo the site. New site, new database, new site infrastructure, etc. Everything must go! It will be sad to see all the great content disappear into the ether, once and for all. There have been a lot of great debates here. But there's no point in hanging on to the past, especially if it doesn't benefit anyone...that...and if I have to continue paying out of pocket for it every month!

    So I plan to restart ODN on a new platform, probably WordPress/BuddyPress to start since I'm a WP developer (I'm biased). I'm not going to expect to revive ODN back to its glory days, but I do expect it to at least have relevant features with relevant content. Even if traffic doesn't pick up much, I'll still use it personally as a blog system and as a social media tool.

    I just wanted to stop in, say hi, let you know what I was thinking, and see if anyone was still here.

    I'll keep ya posted here as we progress through the plan.
    Like Belthazor, I have enjoyed the civility and format of the site. The toolbar is beyond any other I have encountered. You can do more with it than any other debate site toolbar I know of. In the development of a new site I would appreciate a one-on-one debate forum, in addition to the open forum, in which others can vote on a debate, similar to the one used on DDO where you have a five round debate, maximum 10,000 character limit, and time frame for each round of the debate (72 hours being the maximum or else you forfeit the debate).

  10. #8
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    Like Belthazor, I have enjoyed the civility and format of the site. The toolbar is beyond any other I have encountered. You can do more with it than any other debate site toolbar I know of. In the development of a new site I would appreciate a one-on-one debate forum, in addition to the open forum, in which others can vote on a debate, similar to the one used on DDO where you have a five round debate, maximum 10,000 character limit, and time frame for each round of the debate (72 hours being the maximum or else you forfeit the debate).
    We actually had a 1 v 1 format back in our prime. People would register and they would be locked into the thread (meaning no one else could post). Then the community or a set of judges would rate the debate. That was when we were highly active however.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  11. #9
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    We actually had a 1 v 1 format back in our prime. People would register and they would be locked into the thread (meaning no one else could post). Then the community or a set of judges would rate the debate. That was when we were highly active however.
    That option would be nice again.

    Peter

  12. #10
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    Re: ODN Changes

    A quick update....

    Looks like in theory, a conversion rom vBulletin (the forum platform we are using now) to XenForo will go smoothly and use a brand new database. It will import only basic forum information such as:

    Users
    Usergroups
    Forums/Forum name
    Threads
    Posts

    Anything outside of this, much of which is customized, will not migrate over. This makes the process cleaner as we don't have to deal with outdated and irrelevant tables (for those techies).

    So my first thoughts are to convert from vb to XF. The site will look fairly plain in the beginning (as there won't be any extra goodies to start with), but a) it will run smoothly and b) allow us to build on that which in the end, will be far more feature rich and superior than our current site in every way.

    After the conversion is successful, we'll add WordPress to the mix as our content management system, which will really make the site shine. I'll bridge the 2 together so that 1 login will work for both. Articles posted in WP will be easily discussed via XF.

    I don't have an exact timeline for this, and there are costs involved, so I'm not rushing out the door to do this right away. But I do hope to do the conversion w/i the next 30 days then, add WP a month or two after that, then I'll migrate the completed site to a new server that will make things run even faster. Maybe by the end of the year we'll have a 100% completed revamp of ODN.

    Best case result: the new version brings in new traffic and perhaps even a bit of revenue to help pay for the server costs (in the form of some ad placement).
    Worst case result: the new version looks good, there is little traffic (much like there is now), however, we have all the old threads available to use as an archive and I don't have to delete the site. The new server will not only be faster but should be more affordable.

    ---------- Post added at 09:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    That option would be nice again.

    Peter
    That feature will never happen without a large, active community.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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  14. #11
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    A quick update....

    Looks like in theory, a conversion rom vBulletin (the forum platform we are using now) to XenForo will go smoothly and use a brand new database. It will import only basic forum information such as:

    Users
    Usergroups
    Forums/Forum name
    Threads
    Posts

    Anything outside of this, much of which is customized, will not migrate over. This makes the process cleaner as we don't have to deal with outdated and irrelevant tables (for those techies).

    So my first thoughts are to convert from vb to XF. The site will look fairly plain in the beginning (as there won't be any extra goodies to start with), but a) it will run smoothly and b) allow us to build on that which in the end, will be far more feature rich and superior than our current site in every way.

    After the conversion is successful, we'll add WordPress to the mix as our content management system, which will really make the site shine. I'll bridge the 2 together so that 1 login will work for both. Articles posted in WP will be easily discussed via XF.

    I don't have an exact timeline for this, and there are costs involved, so I'm not rushing out the door to do this right away. But I do hope to do the conversion w/i the next 30 days then, add WP a month or two after that, then I'll migrate the completed site to a new server that will make things run even faster. Maybe by the end of the year we'll have a 100% completed revamp of ODN.

    Best case result: the new version brings in new traffic and perhaps even a bit of revenue to help pay for the server costs (in the form of some ad placement).
    Worst case result: the new version looks good, there is little traffic (much like there is now), however, we have all the old threads available to use as an archive and I don't have to delete the site. The new server will not only be faster but should be more affordable.

    ---------- Post added at 09:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 AM ----------



    That feature will never happen without a large, active community.
    How do you propose to do that, any ideas?

    Peter

  15. #12
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Make the conversion? Yes. I know how to do it. I'm a WordPress developer, I have a license for XenForo (which I just renewed), so now it's an issue of getting the WP framework together and bridging it with XF. I've already begun an alpha stage.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  16. #13
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Worst case result: [...] we have all the old threads available to use as an archive and I don't have to delete the site.
    Whew!
    I hope this is indeed the worst case result. When I read your OP and you said "everything must go" and all the old content would "disappear into the ether once and for all", I became very disconcerted.
    I occasionally check in to see what's new, but more often than that I visit simply to review old content. I, personally, find this to be a valuable repository of dialogues and exchanges wherein I was able to develop and articulate my own thoughts on various matters and preserve them in a manner that doesn't exist elsewhere. My own children are coming of age where some of these same issues discussed so many years ago are starting to enter their field of interest, and how cool is it to tell your kids, "I participated in a debate on that very subject back when you were a toddler. You can read the whole thing here."
    There have been many marvelous robust debates throughout the years on this site, and it would be a sad loss indeed for them to vanish;
    I'd even consider it a minor personal tragedy.

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  18. #14
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Hey Gal, long time.

    And I agree 100% with you on this. My kids are coming of age as well and I've mentioned some of the discussions that have taken place on ODN. I've been proud of some of them and been made humble by plenty of others. It can be a great source to share with kids.

    The #1 reason for me not taking the site down despite the costs and lack of traffic, has in fact been the history and content that exists here. So many great threads and posts by so many brilliant minds. Seeing that all just disappear into the ether has always troubled me. But up until recently, I didn't have a good solution.

    I don't know if we can revive ODN. I have A LOT of ideas for it, ideas that would modernize the community. But at the very least, it will be an archive for us vets to recall and for new parties interested in debate and these topics to browse. I'm doing my best to prevent it from fading into oblivion.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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  20. #15
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    Re: ODN Changes

    I wanted to point out that I shared the exact same concern Galendir has. There is a hedge that Apok was willing to grant me. I downloaded many of my threads just so I would have the specific languauge/links available. There is a download option in the Thread Tools drop down at the top of the thread.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  21. #16
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    Re: ODN Changes

    When you are ready Apok, let me know and I will feed into you what heat I can from my small but slowly growing blogosphere.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  22. #17
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    Like Belthazor, I have enjoyed the civility and format of the site. The toolbar is beyond any other I have encountered. You can do more with it than any other debate site toolbar I know of. In the development of a new site I would appreciate a one-on-one debate forum, in addition to the open forum, in which others can vote on a debate, similar to the one used on DDO where you have a five round debate, maximum 10,000 character limit, and time frame for each round of the debate (72 hours being the maximum or else you forfeit the debate).
    I can only agree even more and more.

  23. #18
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Is there an app?
    "Real Boys Kiss Boys" -M.L.

  24. #19
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    Re: ODN Changes

    "Looks like in theory, a conversion rom vBulletin (the forum platform we are using now) to XenForo will go smoothly and ..." A #10
    It can.
    I've been party to such cyber-migrations before.

    Some of it is software dependent. But the host / systems techs doing the grunt-work affect the outcome as well. They can (for example) help minimize lost posts,
    comments posted to the previous system during the transition.
    Getting the transition performed in the early AM, when bandwidth is lowest can also help, though that often isn't an option the Owner / SA controls.

    Is there a target completion date?
    Information available to posting members to survive the transition? (including simple stuff like the new domain name, new URL, etc.)

    Good luck.
    "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." Plato

  25. #20
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    Re: ODN Changes

    Here's an update...

    After participating in a thread over the last few days, I've seen firsthand just how antiquated our current system is and it's motivated me to work a bit faster. I'm working on the new forum right now actually, and will be able to send our mods to that development site w/i the next day or so for them to learn the new system and practice with it. While the staff is getting used to the forum system, I'll be working on the CMS (using WordPress) and customizing it for ODN's needs. Also during this time, but after the staff is somewhat comfortable with the new features/settings for moderation, I'll invite some public testers from this forum to the dev site to help test it, cause a little mayhem for the staff, and let them have some practice with the new mod tools.

    As far as a time frame, I'd like it to be fully migrated within 60 days or so, but what I'd like and what actually happens aren't always the same.

    While some may like the aesthetics of this forum, the new one will be both more functional and aesthetically pleasing IMO.

    As far as 1v1 debates, may be possible, but on a limited scale. We'll have to see. Right now, it's all about the migration, features will have to come later.

    As far as an app, not yet. But there may be a couple in the future. One that accesses the site more efficiently on mobile devices, and another that has to do with argumentation, fallacies, logic, etc. That's down the road though.

    There won't be a new domain name. We are keeping our current domain. It's just the site that is getting a makeover. I use the term "migration" because we are migrating from one software system to another. We aren't migrating to a new domain however.

    Once we have switched over to the new format, we will then begin advertising the community once more. We'll be more integrated with social media as well.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; November 17th, 2017 at 02:35 PM.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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