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Author Topic: The Future of EQFA  (Read 1223 times)

Maggie

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The Future of EQFA
« on: October 06, 2017, 12:25:44 PM »

Let me know what you think. Should I stay or should I go?
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Czarine

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 11:58:17 AM »

I think it depends also on what this site costs to you personally (as in money and time). Is it worth it? If it's stressing you out and eating up your time and money too much (without giving back enough), it might be best to let it go, or at least find another solution.

If the site has to go, I'd like there to be a free place where the community could "migrate" and post their art, if not as private, cozy and great as this. I have no idea how active our members are in other sites like Facebook or deviantART, or if they even are something that could work as an alternative.

I'm not a very active member, but I like to drop in here once in a while (once in a month or two? Haven't been counting) to see what others are talking and drawing about, and sometimes post my own doodles too. I love Elfquest, but I'm also super busy, so I can't contribute as often as I'd like.  :-\ It would make me sad to see this place go, but I also see why this question has come up.
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Afke

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 05:10:14 AM »

I'm with Czarine... also speaking from the experience of letting go of an EQ forum I once ran (I paid for it, but it wasn't fun anymore and I didn't have enough time... why keep it? It had a good run for a couple of years though, I still look back fondly at it).

Seeing how at the recently closed down Rivertwine Holt forum people are also sharing the places they can be found on the web, I know it will never be the same as being in the same place all together -- but I love to keep in contact with as many of them as I can, if only by following their creative work. It is sad to see a site like this go, but on the other hand change will always happen in life.

I come here a couple of times a month, and I love seeing what everyone makes, but the posts aren't as frequent. I myself also am not busy with creating EQ related stuff, so I have nothing to post myself. I like being on a site that I can contribute to myself. There's no other place like this on the web.

Maggie

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 08:34:03 AM »

Ok...well...

I've decided to keep the site going.

Why?

Because we have enough people for the calendar. When it looked like things weren't going to work out the major players here stepped in and stepped up. I don't need you to post all the time, or put up fan art on a regular basis but I do need to know that you care about being here. It doesn't matter if this "Holt" is big or small. That's never been a deciding factor but I do want to at least have the active members doing something to show that updating the site and paying for it isn't a silly thing to do.

So rest easy, we aren't going anywhere for the time being but I think we do need a facelift in the new year because the site is getting old.

Maybe it would be good for us to have a bit of a chat about what we would like to see and what we are all able to contribute. Do we still want the calendar? If so what would make it easier for you all to participate etc. I would love to hear your ideas for the future.  ;D
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jaRf

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 12:43:29 PM »

Good to read.
I'll write something here once I'm done w. the calendar entry. :P
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Yavia

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 05:33:01 PM »

Oh, ... Maggie - I do cry a little. Sorry, but your words -
Quote
but I do need to know that you care about being here. It doesn't matter if this "Holt" is big or small.
about the holt, it touches me.
I feel home here, safe and warm. I am here to enjoy that comments can be enlighting and encuraging and very funny in a friendly way. Here I can watch fanart Pictures of all my favorit Elfes (other holts inclusive) and be at least once a year motivated to draw and be a part of it.

I do say the calendar is the biggest event on this side. It's something people came looking for (I do think so - another side I have in mind is best visited in December cause of their event then.) The visitors (members) leave comments and life it up a little bit. But hornestly I do like the calendar very, very much. It would be sad if it have to go. So big yes! I want it! from me.
But I know this time was a close one. Maybe - a small critisim - cause only 5 members give their vote to Ekuar. Out of 18 voters?
I don't know why we struggle this time. From my part I can say I missed the beginning of the theme disscussion like every year. So I haven't voted and came by as all was chosen. Not a problem normally but Ekuar only wasn't mine in the first place. The given time to draw a picture is long enough for me. It's good. I also don't think there could be squeezed out much more time out of the year.
Easier for me would be if someone pass me the date when the theme discussion normally starts every year. Or does it change?
I am able to contribute that I will allways try to paticipade or jump in every comming year for the calendar. I've done it so far and I will go on with it. Elfquest is in my life since I was 12 and this holt is the best place to share my hobby and be accapted with it.

I like to have a place to talk, discuss and even draw about "the final quest". I once read that cause of spoliers it's not requested. For I don't find any threat about it I belived it true. And I don't dare to open one. If it is taged "beware of spoilers" could we open one seperate section? Could it bring a little more life in here cause it's new? I'm really curious about your opinions to it.

A facelift... That means the whole side? Another look or another software? Do you have anything in mind?

I just throw in what cross my mind so far. I don't want to judge or blame anyone!
Oh, and I moped up all my sentimental slime so that noone would slip.
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Berit

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 11:00:45 PM »

I also like this site, very much, but I often worry if it is too much for one person to handle... if you need help at anything, you can always ask me... I haven't been around lately because I've been ill again, but that can't be helped... and other reason is, this is quite silly and I don't like to hog up attention is that there has been some nasty people here... I know, humans always build their nasty villages in our hunting/mining grounds... it always happens... I've kinda waited for sort of man hate cool down... if you are the only female in a place filled with men, you get hate... and same goes the other way around...

Seriously, there is a reason male members tend to leave the place... there isn't much to be done about the matter but I just wanted to bring it up... still I have to say this place has been remarkable on how accepting and open armed it has always been (Not even gonna mention what nonsense I have to deal in Tumblr!) This is the only place in whole wide web where you would be accepted even if you were something as unique as a blue skinned Fugate from Kentucky!...

But if the cost comes too much give me a holler, okay? we can speak about it...

and my idea of increasing activity would be more of those challenges... for reason or another they don't really work now (and I'm too stupid to post artworks in the right folder! sorry 'bout that!)...  I'd like to think of a way to make them work better... not sure what it would be just yet, but people could always suggest better ways...

AND there are always places where people here could draw together in the net, would be fun if we got something like that rolling too!

AND I can always try to run RPGs here! we live in different time zones so it could be impossible to have live RPGs, but I was thinking a slower moving one, where I'd give a description about what is happening and all those who are interested could pop in whenever to say what their character/characters do about it... Not sure if people are interested, but we could try?... I just have to point out that English is not my main language so typos and goof-ups will happen!...

those are just some random ideas, sorry about the long post... I'm just trying to get all the members howling again like in the past!! AYOOOOHHHHH!!!...
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Treefox

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 05:25:34 AM »

How did I miss this thread? I can just say, that I am thankful if the site remains! While I feel sad, that there is not so much activity here, I still absolutely love the things that are happening and just meeting our old packmates here and letting our hair down is worth a lot!
As for afke and Yavia, for me there is no other place like this on the web. This still feels most like home to me.
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Amberfox

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 01:26:04 PM »

I haven't been online for a while myself, so I'm behind in replying to email, posting to the ONE online RPG I'm in...sigh. Like you, Berit, illness (and in my case, injury and emergency travel) have kept me quiet. I have been working on and off on art. I have several items to post, but now my scanner is acting up. If it's not one thing...But I do plan to try and get it back up and working this weekend.

I have to agree with the others that have commented already. I can understand if you should choose to leave and/or close the site. This is truly a lot of work, and often it seems you have to chase after people just to get something simple done. I think that can be said by anyone that's run a website, holt, or game. However, I will also have to stress that I love the site. It's rare to find somewhere you can share your love of something without a lot of judgment or unwarranted scrutiny. Over the many years I've been involved in Elfquest fandom, I've had a lot of both. This is the one place I've felt comfortable enough to just be myself and share what I've done regarding EQ. I also really love seeing and reading what others have done, no matter if I agree with whatever aspect or not, I just enjoy seeing what others have done. It inspires me, period.

What to do to have others post? That's difficult. There will always be times when members just vanish for whatever reason. Sometimes what you have to do is just remind them the site is still alive and active, but again, I can understand you're busy with your own activities in daily life that this may not be much of an option. So, maybe when it gets quiet, if you're a member (not Maggie), post something and make a comment about it - be active! Contribute! Maybe propose activities or challenges; it may not get a lot of responses, but those responses may encourage other members to post just because of the activity of the site. Remember, people will vanish from time to time no matter what, as frustrating as it is.

So, I will definitely step it up as I have stuff to post...just have to get my scanner to agree with me. And thank you, Maggie, for sticking it out with (for) us so we can all enjoy Elfquest on an absolutely amazing site.
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I may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride!

jaRf

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2017, 09:52:53 AM »

Not finished with cal. art but still posting this. :P
(Though I finished some major steps in my art stuff and thus I think it's okay. :) )
Besides, I want this out of my mind.


site itself & fan-art calendar

Yes, please! Keep it.
Even though it is maybe not the most frequented place it still is a place to host EQ related artwork. And yes: The calendar is one of the big things.
The calendar has quite some tradition and I think it is a fun opportunity for people around the world to be creative.

No matter what happens with the official EQ. Yes, the closing of the scroll was bad. (And the multiple restructures in-between also.) And maybe FQ is the last EQ (though it was written in the FAQ that Wendy might still do something, just without the pressure of deadlines that comes when you publish comics on a regular base). But still - all that should "not touch us" - on a level that interferes with our own fan-art.

E.g. J.R.R. Tolkien is even dead, but still people draw and write (even without relation to the newer movies). Regardless what becomes of ElfQuest official, we can still do our own thing.


calendar voting

* people must be aware that a voting is going to happen (and thus a new calendar will soon be open for participation)
* possible choices should be suggested and discussed
   (topics should leave a certain degree of artistic freedom)
* voting must be announced prior to opening the vote act
* voting should be open for a reasonable time

* the question is: Should non-artists be allowed to vote? And can voting (in this conjunction) still be kept anonymous?

This year was especially bad because of the missing e-mail notifications and the specific topic. Even(!) if it had been "Rayek only" I would have objected.  ;)
And iirc. we had more votes for the topic this year "entirely one character" than submissions... (as I said, I hope the people who were voting for the very topic "entirely one character" will also deliver)

As far as I recall we also had some very good runs, e.g. the weekly planner was 2012-2014 and we had a lot of entries. So it should be possible to generate interest and response.  :hippie


And keep in mind:
* Not everyone is totally fine with each topic (e.g. I didn't participate in emotive portraits or something, cause I felt totally unready for such a complicated topic (faces are
   complicated but very important).
   I know that this year not everybody agreed on the topic. AND people missed the voting.
* People will drop out. For whatever reasons (iirc. I named some possible reasons elsewhere). But in any project around the world from 100 people maybe 20% will drop out. It
   just happens. So we might want to be careful with "close calls" and in time try to motivate other artists to possibly contribute.


site overhaul

The question is: do we need "new software" and the likes?
To put it simple terms: Imagine there is a mill. Driven by water from a little creek. It runs and all is fine.
But occasionally a piece of wood comes down the river and clogs the big wheel.
What people do then is to burn down the mill and erect a new one instead of removing the piece of wood.

The site was running fairly fine in the past. Unless it is ridden with security holes and / or bugs (that "attract" these pieces of wood) it could be running the same way as in the past. Of course, if the software chokes upon the sheer number of member or entries and doesn't scale up well it should be updated or changed. The risk is, that during these transitions, there will be a lot of "collateral damage" and fallout of all sorts.
But maybe there are just a few flipped bits that need to be flipped back.

Besides the missing e-mail notifications I am quite fine the the functionality of the site. Searchable gallery, "new" posts, forum, ... and it doesn't need many multiple clicks and stuff to go where you want. I have seen forum overhauls that suddenly needed many more clicks for everything and that is aggravating me. Some sites were virtually destroyed by updates that rendered content invalid, messed up a database of users and the likes, or was just unefficient to handle (lots of slow JavaScript, lots more clicks needed to achieve your goal, ...).


non-techy stuff
* Is there a cost report? Does it need some kind of donations?
* How can we establish contact to new or former artists? How can we motivate people? How can we advertise the existence of EQFA?
* Where are people? A good bunch is on DA, I know, but some might even have migrated elsewhere, various holts, private websites, tumblr (not really an artist's platform, I know),
   FB (...). Some probably live secluded from the loud and short-lived internet life.
   Any ideas?

more techy stuff
* How exactly is the site running? Is is a bare metal server? Managed hosting? Virtual server? Do we have physical access to the server?
   (As far as I remember Obi Rak Kaeliri was /root on the old board and to me it seemed like bare metal.)
* Make a backup of the site. Just in case.
* most important: Fix e-mail notifications. Without a base of communication every project is bound to fail.
   People do not automagically come back. They post, but when they don't seem to get a response it "slips down into darkness" on their mind, and memory gets eaten / covered
   by daily "distractions" of life. Maybe, after a long time they remember and wonder, and maybe check back, just to find there have been responses. And so it would be for every
   participant in a discussion. Moreover any important announcements (regarding e.g. the calendar) will not fall on deaf ears, the announcement is quasi never even voiced.
* maybe - of course, that is time-consuming work - check for "Karteileichen" (members that only exist on paper, people with invalid addresses, e-mail bounces back with "not existing")
* ask ourselves: Still permit login for those (in case they come back)? Or e.g. make a little banner that notes that people should keep their addy up to date and that they need
   to contact some administrative person if they would like to re-establish their account?
* check for orphaned stuff on the site (are all pictures "linked" (tagged, meta-info,...) with the correct copyright / copyleft?
* What about site security? Do we have hardware redundance or something? Regular backup? Site hardening against possible attacks? How is data stored? Do we have encryption?
   Salted modern hashes of passwords and the likes?
   EQFA may not seem to be a real target for crackers at first glance, but I think it is a possible prey. I can reason that if you want.
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Yavia

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2017, 02:16:34 PM »

Quote
This year was especially bad because of the missing e-mail notifications and the specific topic. Even(!) if it had been "Rayek only" I would have objected.  ;)
And iirc. we had more votes for the topic this year "entirely one character" than submissions... (as I said, I hope the people who were voting for the very topic "entirely one character" will also deliver)

eh-m, I just count 4 votes for the topic entirely one charakter... There was a respond of 10 people in this vote. At the charakter you prefer vote there have been 5 votes for Ekuar. Even if all 5 deliver, there are still 7 more to go.  ;)
There are some of these low numbers in voting in the last years. How did it work before?
As I stated before I can't memorised the date of voting. Fixing the mail notification is a really good idea to start with I think.



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Berit

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 06:06:39 PM »

Come to think of it... I also did not get any notifications the calendar thing is on... I only jumped in when Czarine mentioned she was drawing in the calendar... I wonder what is bugging the system?...
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Maggie

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 11:08:32 AM »

The site is old, I need to update plus it seems that people from certain areas of the world miss the messages while others don't. So could be the site, could be email providers or connection issues.

The sites server was recently updated by DreamHost and that has happened a few times. This can cause issues possibly contributing to the messaging problems. I never have issues so it's not something I notice and I need those with issues to let me know what's happening. Again difficult to solve problems you don't have.  ;D
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jaRf

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 03:52:47 PM »

In the light of the new topic voting: e-mail notifications are important, the word should be spread.

I'm repeating myself
http://www.elfquestfanart.com/index.php?topic=419.msg6896#msg6896
Roughly 6 positive responses shows there might be a larger problem (even if you cut out invalid emails/accounts, mails landing in spam and so on).

A possibility would be that the server IP block landed on some list like spamhaus, so that might intercept even sent emails on an earlier level...

I'm still thinking that not all problems can be solved by upgrading/reinstalling everything. Okay, it might likely solve problems, but it's using the big hammer. Moreover, upgrades or even complete changes of the system might lead to lost data or at least lost metadata (which is bad as well). E.g. the data transition doesn't work well and afterwards the images can't be displayed anymore or they are unlabeled, not artist credit, no tags or something like that.

Also we might want to lock bots / webcrawlers / spyders out.
25'586'588 views on a thread? I can hardly believe this is human doing. They are increasing traffic and load on the site and thus creating an unnecessary strain also on your purse. (-> robots.txt, htaccess,...)

Some tech info might be helpful to get forward.
Sorry for being a nerd.
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Yavia

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2017, 04:06:31 AM »

Just asking: Did you send out that the themes for calendar 2019 is open to discussion? If so, I don't receive that. But I try to be here more often, so I won't miss the vote again this time. Fingers crossed!

It is definitely a good idea to update the site. The immense traffic is a thing that must be solved - I have no idea how without hacking the data to bits like jaRf suggests but someone will know. If only to get rid of the bots.
But that's all to nerdy for me - I'm out
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Maggie

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2017, 05:22:31 PM »

I just sent one out about 45 minutes ago so you didn't miss anything. Unless you don't get the message.

The site has been updated from version 2.0.2 to 2.0.14 if anyone notices any odd stuff, other than the message issue let me know.
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jaRf

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2017, 12:39:08 AM »

PM received, but no email notification about it.
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Treefox

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 02:51:09 AM »

Again, I also received no notifications.  :-\
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Afke

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2017, 03:33:27 AM »

I saw the PM, but received no email, also checked my spam folders (which I do weekly).

Yavia

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2017, 03:53:31 AM »

Received it via PM, no email.
Looks like the email connection to the European Continent is cut.  Hm, is Donald Trump involved? ::)  :lol
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Berit

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2017, 06:39:49 AM »

I got the email notification, so all works well here!...
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EyesHigh76

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2017, 10:07:19 AM »

I recieved nothing, if something was sent....

If you need help with the forum, you can let me know I am currently admin of 2 Holt, which are about to merge, so soon 1 and I got some experience with maintaining a forum.

It would be a shame if this page would go away.
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Hyakurin

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Re: The Future of EQFA
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2017, 04:22:27 PM »

I don’t receive updates through my email unless directly from Maggie. I hope to participate more as I get life more managable. But if I say I’m in for the calendar, I’m in! :D At least you can depend on me for that!
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