Politiforum Upgrades, New Categories, Thread Creation, and Member Recognition!


#1

I hope everyone is having a great summer!

Over the past month or so I have been working really hard on some critical backend changes to improve user experience, make the site faster, and increase security. Since I don’t allow advertising here (getting banned by Google made that decision easy) I have put a lot of work into making Politiforum as lean and as efficient as possible. This has a dual benefit of keeping my costs down and improving performance. I generally roll out changes slowly and incrementally so all of you don’t get frustrated with me. Since you may not have noticed, I wanted to share the list of changes with all of you:

  • HTTPS Everywhere - this was a real pain and took me longer than it should have. We have a total of 37.8k posts (that is AMAZING by the way - we have only been live for 16 months). Mechanically, each post creates a new URL which is how the site remembers exactly where each user left off when reading. I had to check each URL to ensure it was accurately redirecting to HTTPS. So, please forgive me for not responding to messages as quickly as I used to. This took me a lot of time and I do have a day job.

  • Improved the usability and design of the password reset page.

  • “Get a room” reminder sent once per topic, to any user who replies to the same user in that topic 3 times in a row.

  • Much more secure cookie and token rotation scheme and database storage

  • Improved the usability and design of the invite accept page, so please invite your friends!

  • Included a Narrative Bot as the new default for welcome private messages.

  • Added new subcategory style options and moved subcategory settings to category edit (more of an Admin feature).

  • Created congratulations emails (and badge) to new users who get a number of likes by established users.

  • Generalized topic timer support for close, open (close temporarily), delete, publishing, and reminder (more of an Admin feature).

  • Rebuilt theming system for easier theming, allowing users select local color theme to taste (dark, light, etc). This is complete but the themes are not. I have a test theme in there now. Click profile, preferences, interface, theme - it’s a little ugly but should be wrapped up in a few weeks.

  • Allow new signups to change their email address as well as resend confirmation, in case they typoed their signup email.

  • “Private email mode” site setting finished which ensures that no content is leaked to the outside via emails when the site’s content is sensitive.

  • Rebuilt user prefs page to use subtabs.

  • Updated Emoji sets to latest, plus Unicode 9.0 additions and added skin tone support.

  • Added required user fields to invite accept form.

  • Fully integrated CommonMark to keep Politiforum lean and mean. http://commonmark.org/

  • Added new Emoji selector derived from Twitter’s emoji picker.

  • Implemented mini-onebox for internal and possibly whitelisted domain links (replace with title).

  • Made my life easier by creating automated actions based on word list hits: block posting, require approval, auto-flag, censor, etc. This keeps the spam out!

  • Made it easier to message private groups (for those who use this feature you should have noticed).

  • Group owners can now invite people to groups without admin support.


New Categories

Now that all of the hard tech stuff is out of the way, I would like to focus on adding some new categories. Below this paragraph is a list of what I am considering now and would like to start testing by next weekend. I will need some help with writing new category descriptions and would like some volunteers. To read the current category descriptions look at the top of the home page and click categories. The text below each category is the category description.

  • Education (not sure if this should be about political education or education related topics - @Scott)

  • Technology

  • Science

  • Entertainment (this could be a sub-category in the Lounge - not sure yet. Just a fun place to talk about books, movies, television shows, games - whatever) @Lynn

  • Finance (could be a sub-category of economics - my stock picks have been doing well, how about yours? - what about cryptocurrency discussions?)

  • Conspiracy (this could be a controversial category but I am tossing it out for consideration)

  • Environment (@rEVOLutionary_Minded)


Just a word on new thread creation and the possibility of MEGA/Generals

I want to ask each and every member to please use the search option before posting a thread that you think may have been created before. Cleaning up and merging threads is more work than you might think - and it is a manual process. Anyone is free to post whatever they want here. I just ask that you please give me some consideration and do a quick search to make sure you aren’t duplicating. If you find a similar topic, just add your post to it! You don’t even need to make a new title. I am convinced that our search is better than any other forum search out there. I spent a lot of time customizing it and if a similar or duplicate thread exists, you will find it. How do you think I am able to find duplicates/similars and merge them? I have the same tools that you do.

Some topics seem to come up all the time. I’ve received comments that “we have this thread every day/week” and that wears people out. Some examples are: Seth Rich, ACA/Obamacare, Loretta Lynch, etc. These are topics worthy of discussion! I’m going to try to create some MEGA/General threads for a few of these topics. That means I will need to sort through those EXCELLENT 37.8k posts I mentioned above, identify the correct ones, and merge them in the right chronological order. The search will help me identify topics and threads using the advanced keyword feature - then I will very carefully begin stitching them all together so the conversation is in context and makes sense. When these MEGA/General threads get created, I ask that you all please post within them instead of creating a new thread that I will have to merge later (and make sure all URL redirects are functional). I’ll give a heads-up before any MEGA/General is created. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to provide them.


Congratulations!

Finally, I want to thank everyone for spreading the word about our community and sharing links to great posts! That’s how we grow and get more users to talk with. Here are the users over the past 30 days who have done a great job sharing links to Politiforum: @FiredUpDem @nord @Citizen @Phasor @CapsFan @3percenter @Anna @HHM @Mark91

Top Ref July 6 - Aug 6 17


#2

#3

Someone has been busy :slight_smile:
I am new here, but from what I like to post I would say that:
Technology and an Environmental topic would be cool.
I am always reading Tech sites and am big on the Environmental issues. Would love to see those 2 categories.
Also a BIG “Conspiracy Theory” guy (as my Flat Earth post showed) And wouldn’t mind seeing a topic/category relating to that.
Will also be willing to write/ volunteer - just give the word.


#4

@rEVOLutionary_Minded great suggestions and I will gladly add those to the list. I too spend a lot of time reading tech sites and to me there are always political implications to technological advancements, even when they are not readily apparent. Overall, it’s just an interesting subject to consider and discuss.

Thanks for the recognition and the willingness to volunteer. I’ll take all of the help I can get. I like to be transparent and give the community a chance to weigh in. So when it comes to picking the new categories, I’ll create a poll for everyone to vote within this thread. My goal is to get some feedback today and launch the poll tomorrow. When it comes to writing the descriptions for the new categories the community voted for, I’ll create a private thread among the volunteers. I’ve tried to write things by committee in the past and it just takes too long.

I ask for 3 volunteers:

  1. @rEVOLutionary_Minded
  2. @Scott
  3. @Morgan

#5

As always you can count on me. As long as I don’t have to think or take credit for anything, Izz in. :grin:


#6

Thanks for all of the hard work @Patriot I know very little about how much work goes into running an interactive website like this. It’s easy to forget that someone is behind the scenes making everything work, but…

1501076371760


#7

I really like the idea of Mega threads. Too many good threads get slid by similar topics before they can really get started. I’m glad to provide any suggestions.


#8

Cool! I didn’t think that many people saw the links I posted!


#9

You can count me in for helping with the category descriptions.


#10

I think having some non-political categories is a great idea. If we do that we probably need to do a good job of keeping the conversations light and not mixing in politics. Entertainment category = :+1:


#11

Thanks for volunteering @Morgan

@Lynn we all need a little entertainment once in a while! I just had an entire conversation with my wife over an early dinner about when Kevin Spacey actually became a well-known actor. It was in 1995 when he was in Seven, the Usual Suspects, and Outbreak.


#12

He caught my attention in The Negotiator… “Because You Need To Remember… I Am A Stranger To You…You Have No Idea What I Am Capable Of”…


#13

Thanks for the recognition @Patriot I will keep sharing with my fellow Democrats. Maybe one day we will outnumber the right wingers here :scream: I see my two little shares had almost as many clicks as your 76 :star_struck:


#14

I completely forgot about that one (1997). Also a good performance by Samuel L Jackson.


#15

Ahh yes, you haven’t been banned in the places I have been. I have to share my links in the comments sections of other forums and blogs. You got all of those clicks on Facebook. Keep it up! I challenge everyone to put me in last place!


#16

I bit my tongue not to respond to that one in your stead… yes… indeed, it is one swollen tongue…:rofl:


#17

That’s because you have class.


#18

Checking out that theme. I really like it… Seems more “clean” or crisp. Pretty cool.


#19

I still have some more work to do on it. It’s not perfect yet. For people who like more of a geometric effect…it will be a hit, but my menus need some tweaks. I have a dark / night version I’m almost done with too.


#20

I vote for a tech and entertainment category too. I like camping too but not sure if anyone else does.