Freebird Updates, Upgrades, Administration, and Feedback Request


#1

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned on New Year’s Day, I wanted to do a better job this year of providing regular and recurring updates about some of the things going on behind the scenes here at Freebird.

Infrastructure Upgrades - Server

Last night I completed a full migration to a brand new dedicated server with much more storage, memory and processing power. Our previous dedicated server was still working great, but I had started to notice that application responsiveness was beginning to slow down (remember, we are operating on a JavaScript application in a browser - not a standard webpage). This upgrade was long overdue and was made possible by your generous donations and Patreon subscriptions. For you techies out there here are our new specs:

Memory: 8GB (previously 4GB)
CPUs: 4 (previously 2 CPUs)
SSD Disk: 160GB (previously 60GB)
Data Transfer: 4TB (previously 2TB)

This will also drastically improve our page ranking with Google which has laid out new requirements for page ranking and speed. More on Google in a minute.

New Infrastructure in Work - Microblog

As an additional service to our community forum, I am working on building a linked microblogging service. Most of you are familiar with the most famous microblog out there – Twitter. For the majority of us, Twitter is no longer an option due to bans, shadowbans, or general frustration with the administration of what is a competently designed and beautiful platform. It’s really too bad but I see this as an opportunity to build our own thing centered around free speech. Our microblog will run on the open source Mastodon platform and will also have a stand-alone dedicated server. If people don’t want to use it, that’s ok but I at least want to try it out and completely integrate it with our community. I’ve been searching for a viable open source alternative for several months now and Mastodon is it. My goal is to get it up and working by Sunday evening. I’ve done most of the testing this past week in my free time after work – so a live integrated deployment is very much doable (although it may not be very pretty at first).

This is the platform:

Alphabet Soup

One of my favorite things about our community is the ability for members to customize their profiles with a picture, animated gif, background photo, birthday, profile information (such as favorite quotes or bio), website, location, and more. Many long-term community members are not taking advantage of these great features and the home page is starting to look a little bit like an alphabet soup. Adding a profile photo or any other information is not mandatory but it is highly encouraged.

Administration of Threads and Posts

I try to administer threads as quietly and as efficiently as possible. If I see a duplicate post, I do my best to quickly merge comments into existing threads and unlist (make invisible) duplicate threads. Occassionally, there may be a newer thread with significant community-created original content and older comments will be merged to that thread. This is all done to help search engines get our content out there to people looking for original thoughts and ideas on issues of the day.

There will also be times that I edit thread titles. These edits are made for the same reason I just stated above - to help search engines rack and stack our content and for people to find our content. The more people that find our content the larger and more influential our community gets. This is very important. When a community member makes a thread the title of the thread creates the URL. Please use the body of the thread to provide your commentary and the title of the thread to accurately and uniquely describe the event or concept. Please try to avoid nebulous or generic thread titles as they will create nebulous and generic URLs that will never be found. Google is not going out of their way to help us, but they can’t ignore us anymore either:

When creating a thread please do not just drop in a link without any commentary - or with your commentary in the title. I have built in a custom thread preview function for users on desktop which provides a snippet of the OP without clicking on the thread, just hover over the title. If just a link is provided then no snippet will be shown.

Many of you who have come over from /pol/ follow the /pol/ green text format which I personally like. For those of you not familiar with this format here is an example:


Really Unique Thread Title - With Some Brief Amplifying Perspective

Body of the thread if not original content is quoted directly from the source. All content that is not original is kept in this quoted format to show the user they are reading source material. This makes it easy for others to see the difference between the source commentary and your personal commentary.

All original commentary is placed between or below quoted source material. This is especially useful for a tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) summary. If you want people to engage your threads don’t just post a link that makes them leave the thread and have come back to comment. People just won’t bother in most cases - which leads to dead threads. If the article you are posting is very long, a tl;dr summary is a good way to get other community members to engage and comment on your posts. Post what you think about the article and briefly explain why people should care. The same applies to posting a video.

The link is then placed at the bottom like so. This format will look familiar to people who have been here for a while and to people from /pol/.


Finally, if I go in and make an edit to your thread please do not undo my edits. If you have a question about why I editied your thread please send me a direct message. I’m always happy to chat - just give me some time to respond.

Private Groups

Now that we have a way for members to donate I am building some private invisible groups for donating members only. More to follow on this but the functionality is in place. I just need to finish building the rules of the road.

Banned Members - Return Procedures

For those of you who have been here a long time, I wanted to get your feedback. Several months ago enough community flags were generated to ban SteveSPHR. The way the ban system works within our community is designed to be highly unpleasant and abrupt. When the threshold is met - a permanent and 1000 year ban is initiated automatically. There is no purgatory. There is no appeal. There is no way for a banned member to log back in. The ban has no mercy. This requires final confirmation by me as admin, which is to confirm that I am only doing the bidding of the community and am not banning someone based upon my own personal views or frustrations. This does not apply to spammers and link builders whom I ban promptly and permantly at my discretion for the benefit of the community. This only applies to former members who were at one point in good standing.

This brings me back to SteveSPHR who sent me some pleasant correspondence recently. Should there be a way for former active members to be allowed back into the community after time served on a long ban? I know that Steve personally frustrated many of you, but he also provided a lot of good debate and conversation. Does the good ever outweigh the bad and are there times to reconsider membership? Should we have a form of probation if we allow a former member to return? I leave this up to the community to decide. I have posted a poll below and all votes will be anonymous.

Should a former member be permitted to return to the community, on probation, after a long ban?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters


#2

#3

All great news and good formatting tips. Thanks for the hard work!

I’ll say publicly that I support a return for Steve. I had plenty of disagreements with him but looking back I personally never had a frustrating enough experience that I thought he should have been banned. Others probably feel much different than me but I think he might balance out some of the comments from newer people. I voted yes and I’m good with saying that out loud.


#4

I think this Mastodon idea is pretty cool. Would everyone be able to see what’s posted just like Twitter? I also think having Steve back is a good idea. We had our spats but in comparison to some he wasn’t disrespectful.


#5

Having something like a penalty box might work. That way punishments scale up based on the offense. It could go from verbal warning, to a 1 day suspension, 3 day suspension, 5 day suspension, and then a ban. The 3 flag rule should stay. None of those things should happen unless the 3 flag rule has been hit or there is some other kind of really bad behavior that requires some kind of immediate suspension or ban. That might be too many chances but some combination might work. I’ve been banned from enough places to know that getting a straight ban sucks.


#6

I agree that perhaps their should be some step position in the banning process but in all fairness, I don’t believe that @SteveSPHR found his being removed a surprise. I struggle to welcome him back but second chances should be the norm and given his relative ability to argue a respective position and his own ability to get as good as he gave, I look forward to a step up in exchange from ‘others’ who frequent the forum.

To be clear, I voted yes, albeit with some reluctance.


#7

A ban is a ban. Once someone is banned then the ban should stick. In the case of Steve I think the ban was the right move at the time. That was then and this is now. There are other people here I would like to see banned but I won’t say who they are and I think they probably deserve it more than Steve did but thats 20/20. If the community gets to decide who gets banned then the community should also get to decide who gets to come back in. I’m always willing to let someone prove me wrong but if it doesn’t work out then the ban should go back.


#8

You guys used to go at it big time but to me the exchanges were always good. I know I learned alot. But I say that knowing that I like watching a good fight. If you are the guy getting hit you have a different take than the guy placing the bets.

We know that if Steve came back he will argue tooth and nail for illegal immigration, welfare, and all sorts of other far left stuff. I’m good with that as long as he is willing to debate it and not just repeat himself over and over to drown the other person out. If that happens then he gets voted back off the island. I’m not casting my vote yet because I want to think about this.


#9

Would it be like watching a car wreck or would it be like watching someone actually on the left open field tackle an “independent” who can’t ever seem to make a point?


#10

Not gonna like but I kinda want to see this. I think those two would be more like oil and water than bread and butter.


#11

:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy: I need a chuckle today… Thanks…


#12

I rarely ever report someone. Perhaps others use this feature quite often. If someone is that big a pain In the butt that they accumulate that many reports i say give em the death penalty. Fry em.


#13

I gotta ask why @SteveSPHR ? … Why this forum in particular? I mean, at best you are a semi-pro and at worst, by now, you are promoted to the pro ranks as a political operative in an organization that does the bidding of a man who actually did attack the press; who actually investigated reporters; who sought convictions on more whistleblowers and leakers than all other presidents combined; who as we know weaponized the IRS against his political advisories and as we are getting closer to finding out every day used his DOJ and FBI to affect the 2016 presidential elections and a man who has somehow ingratiated himself with at least 5 of the 6 remaining principles in the US msm as well as a tidy friendship with tech industry moguls of Facebook and Twitter, organizations that have worked tirelessly over the last two years to push from their respective public squares the conservative opinion… So why is it so important that you return to THIS forum? I mean, I know that debate in an echo chamber is dull but is debate amongst everyday political nobodies what you seek or is it to continue to sharpen your skills in teaching a new generation of Obama minions to carry on the progressive globalist authoritarian fight?


#14

Wew lad, that was intense.


#15

A free speech forum with people who get triggered by free speech? Ok then. I wasn’t here for any of this drama but why not welcome the debate?


#16

There is debate and their is something other than debate… disruption, not unlike the shallow and continuous remarks and comments made by a certain other individual on this form, is not debate, it is disruption…it adds nothing. He wasn’t kicked off for no reason and as the individual who engaged with him most… triggered isn’t exactly the correct word. It is indeed a free speech forum but as we can all agree, I defend your right to speak but you get to suffer the consequences of your words…


#17

Fair enough but if he’s simply a troll then do what should be done with all worthless trolls. Ignore him. If he’s a sophisticated troll that’s harder to do since they mask their trolling in well formulated debate as a way to derail a discussion. Very similar to what the troll @Montecresto1 does - although he is not a sophisticated troll. His trolling is poor and obvious. He just replied to my post with a comment that had absolutely nothing to do with the point I was making. Trolls are a part of the internet and always have been. There is really not much you can do about it other than call them out. If you take a troll seriously then you should stop doing that right now.


#18

One of the things I enjoy about the forum is seeing all the different avatars. I don’t know why people would just rather be a boring letter. You should make the default avatar something really undesirable instead of generic letters.


#19

I have the Mastodon server up and running. Anyone is free to join! I am working on getting some automated news feeds built in. This was a very complicated set-up so expect some changes along the way. But for now, if people want to play around please feel free to do so!