New Website

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New Website

Postby osuinco » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:17 am

Leave it to me to be a stick in the mud. While not posting for quite a while, I still come in and read from time to time but anymore I am too busy to include what used to be 10-30 minutes/day reading through the site anymore. While I appreciate there is effort expended in maintaining a site, I think criticism is still warranted.

I hate the new format. From an aesthetic standpoint, it has all the excitement of a printout from an old dot matrix printer, complete with alternating line colors. The old format had a home page with varying photos of participant's boats, instant message areas for things such as sponsorship drives, links to related/similar sites and even poll questions. It was dynamic, it was visually stimulating, it was informative and it was exceptionally easy to navigate. This new has.....um, well, it has absolutely nothing.

The BEST feature of the old home page was the crawler with the five most recent posts. The crawler allowed you to drop by in the evening and see most, if not all of the active topics for the day. No hunting, no searching, no inputting key words into browser fields, it was simple, FAST and user friendly. This method of searching is antediluvian, archaic and extremely non-user friendly. I do not have the time, nor the inclination to go into every topic field to see what is new. Some of the topics are arranged by most recent post, but not all. In fact, on my screen right now, the 20 or so visible topics have about a 30% accuracy rate for chronological order. Lost me. As I said, my time is too valuable to hunt and peck through various sub-directories to find what is current. Also, before, when you picked on a topic, it took you to the most recent post. Now it appears to take you to the initial post. Anti-productive and a HUGE time waster for large threads with multiple pages.

You might have made administration/mechanics of the site more efficient, but that is all.

The old way was infinitely better.
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Re: New Website

Postby Rivertown » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:30 am

Thanks for your input, I, personally, liked the old format better too. Unfortunately, we had a choice of NO forum or to upgrade it to a newer version. The old forum was over 10 years old and had developed many security breaches that could not be fixed. Most hosting providers would not have accepted the forum and in fact, ours shut it down until we could upgrade it. So, unfortunately we did not have a choice in that decision. So, when presented the option of losing the website completely or restoring it in an upgraded version, I think most, like me, would rather have it, than nothing at all.

Yes, the old format was better in some ways and what we were used to it. And, my first choice was to continue using it, however, it was no longer an option for us.

Anyone is welcome to start up a new forum...

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Re: New Website

Postby osuinco » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:45 am

Riv, there are thousands of user comment-oriented websites out there that are just like what we had, many which have just cropped up within the past year or two. When you say, "We had no choice," what drove that? Cost?

BTW, not trying to be personal, I know you have the best interest of Caravelle owners and you do a great job, especially considering your lucrative salary!!!!!
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Re: New Website

Postby Rivertown » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:58 pm

The ONLY reason we changed the forum, was that the hosting company we had went out of business, so we had to move the forum to a new hosting provider. When it was originally moved, the old site was moved and came up. Within a couple of days, I was notified that the new host had taken down the site until some secuirty issues could be fixed. I was hoping the old site could be fixed, but the only way to fix it was to upgrade to a more recent version. This forum costs the same thing as the old forum - it is a FREE .php forum. So, there was no advantage in going with the new format to save any money. The donations given to the forum are for hosting and maintenance. There have been a couple of times in the past that Caravelle has approached me about taking over the forum, but the majority of the member-sponsors did not want to give it up and were willing to make contributions to keep it "member-sponsored" and thus remain unbiased. And, thankfully, we didn't or it probably would have disappeared with one of the previous closings of Caravelle. This is a FREE site to use, no one is forced to make a donation, but it remains online because of the interest and support of a group of regulars who help to pay to keep it online. If someone would like to donate some cash to have a custom-built forum, they are certainly welcome to do so. But, I don't think we can round up enough financial support to do that. It's a free-to-use forum and it's optional for you to use it.

On the other hand, yes, I do not like the fact that as is currently is, it's not that personable. If you can give me a little time, I can most likely make some customizations to the site to make it more personable. But, this is the first time I have worked with the new version myself, so I hope to improve it as I have more time to work with it. As far as some of the features you mentioned, most of them are still on here, just in different places. I will be turning on the "private-messaging" feature again, but I have to clear everything with the new host before I can do some things. I don't want them to shut it down again.

Maybe the following information will be helpful in the meantime....

As far as recent posts, from the Board Index page, there is a link near the top left to "view unread posts" just like there was on the other version. This will prevent you from having to sort through all of the posts to find the new ones you haven't read. Also, the icon to the left of the forum categories lights up red to indicate where there are new posts that you haven't read.

As far as viewing things in a certain order, the new version allows you, the viewer, to choose how you like to view your pages. You can check to see what setting you have yours on (like ascending or descending order) and customize them as you wish. Also, if you have yours set to view in "ascending order" and want to skip to the last page of posts for that topic, look to the right of the topic, if there are icons of pages there (if the posts are longer than 1 page) you can click to go directly to the last page. I haven't seen a page where the posts are not in order, if you can send tell me which page, I will take a look.

As far as the polls that were one the previous version, they are still here, just not on the home page. From the Board Index, scroll down to "Polls Forum" and the polls are located there. The "featured photo" that was on the home page shows up under "News Forum" for now.

As far as the photos on the home page. I will be working on a way to display the list of our member-sponsors and the photos of the member-sponsors on the home page again. Or, I may end up creating a new "Splash Page" or "About Us" page to post a welcome message, member sponsors and featured photos.

As far as the "donation link" that is now missing. Is that a bad thing? I guess I should put that one back on there somewhere. :shock:

A good thing... as far as the member list, you can now look through the member-list and see actual registered members instead of those being buried in the thousands of bogus spam registrations. The old forum did not provide a way to "prune" those out of the lists. So, yes, it does make the maintenance easier and better, but that also benefits the viewers. I believe there are several features that work better or are much easier to use on the new version (like the smileys, etc).

Also, note that there is a the FAQ link at the top right of the page if you need to know how to do something or change something. If you can't find an answer to a certain question, you can put it in a post and someone will help you.

Hope this helps....
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Re: New Website

Postby m_snow » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:29 pm

Me likey. Thanks for getting it up!
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Re: New Website

Postby sdk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:57 pm

Rivertown,
Thanks for getting things going again. I've been busy taking care of my sick Mom the past few weeks and did not realize the forum was back up and running!!
sdk 8) :D
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Re: New Website

Postby buyfire » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:23 am

sdk wrote:Rivertown,
Thanks for getting things going again. I've been busy taking care of my sick Mom the past few weeks and did not realize the forum was back up and running!!
sdk 8) :D



I'm assuming many members think the site is dead. I come here almost every day & didn't know the site was going to be down. On a whim, I checked back after being unsuccessful for a month and lo and behold, the site was back. It has been very slow here since the site came back up. Maybe Rivertown should send out a bulk Email to let everyone know we're still here.
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