IxDA Website and Discussion Forum Updates Coming Soon

23 Jan 2012 - 5:00pm
2 years ago
7 replies
923 reads
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Hi IxDA members, friends, and discussion participants!

We're currently putting the final touches on an update to IxDA.org that is in some ways subtle, but has a few larger changes included. As we've all noticed over the last few years, some things about our current web platform work well and other haven't worked that well. The goal with the next release of IxDA.org is to fix some of these issues, make a few changes to functionality, and get us onto a new hosting and maintenance platform that will make all future updates much easier.

One of the main sticking points for maintaining the IxDA.org platform has been posting to the discussions via email. Email posting has caused discussion threading issues, moderation issues, performance problems, and often breaks and overloads the system. For all these reasons we've decided to discontinue the ability to post to the forum via email and move to web based posting only. 

To go along with these changes we're also going to be building out the IxDA.org volunteer team. Stay tuned for a more detailed call for volunteers within the next couple weeks.

The new updated site will be going live around February 15th - 16th 2012. On this day there may be some downtime. More details will be released as the plan comes together. 

Technical Updates

  • IxDA.org will be moving to a new host, Pantheon. This is a dedicated Drupal host and will alleviate many performance and crashing issues we've had with our current hosting.
  • We are working with Alley Interactive to perform updates, maintenance, and support for the new site. This will allow us to more quickly make incremental improvements and plan for the next major version of IxDA.org.


Minor Updates

  • Login will accept username or email address
  • Timezone for local events have been removed, all local events will be listed in "local" time
  • Minor tweaks and fixes for display issues
  • Local groups map will accurately display all groups

Major Updates

  • Posting via email will be disabled until further notice. This may ruffle a few feathers, but is a necessity if we want the site to continue running smoothly in the short to medium term. Email posting has caused many of the issues with the current system, often breaks, and requires a lot of ongoing maintenance and management. 
  • The primary way to post new threads and comments on the IxDA Discussion Forum will now be through IxDA.org directly. RSS, email notifications, and other ways of consuming content will continue to functional as normal. 

 

Comments

24 Jan 2012 - 12:03pm
jstanford
2003

Are you kidding me? I can't believe I am reading this email on an IXDA forum of all places. Isn't the whole point that of our profession that we are not trying to have technology break the user experience? Is this an April Fool's joke? Email is THE KILLER APP for enabling forum conversations. I am not going to take the time to click over to the website to post a response when the medium I am using to read is email -- not to mention I have to go through the hassle of logging in, scrolling down, blah blah blah.  Imagine if you were having a conversation with someone in person and after the person said something, when you tried to respond they said, sorry, I am no longer accepting comments in person, instead I'm going to need you to walk over to that phone in the corner and call me on my cell phone in order to tell me what you think about what I just said. That's what you've created. I have never in my life been on an email forum that enforces such a ridiculous rule. Effective immediately, I am turning off my IXDA email feed and only reading IXDA when I happen to remember to stop by the website which is is extremely rare.
" This may ruffle a few feathers," is the biggest understatement of the year...Here's a tip: next time check with users.

24 Jan 2012 - 12:49pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

We have checked. Please try to be civil.

We are a volunteer organization with little to no money and time. We're doing the best we can, and if you'd like to see things move in a specific direction please volunteer to help us. I have been managing ixda.org myself for the last two years with little support, but lots of anger directed towards me. These choices are being made based on usage data, maintenance costs, performance issues, and many other criteria.

If you're going to be angry about these decisions then please be respectful and keep in mind that the choices aren't made arbitrarily on a whim to make me happy. IxDA.org's email integration is very broken, and fixing it would mean changin the entire infrastructure. This would mean that all other issues (login, local groups, and more) would have to go on hold. Currently, the only way to address these other areas is to move to a new host, and moving the current email posting setup to a new host would cost more than we can afford at the moment.

Should we delay all other improvements to maintain one feature that is used by a relatively small number of people and breaks constantly? We weighed the options and decided to go ahead with the overall improvements. 

24 Jan 2012 - 12:11pm
Adrian Howard
2005

 

Rather sad to see the email list go since I find mailing lists fit much, much better in my workflow. I guess I'm sitting in the ruffled class :-)

For anybody who prefers email to web forums - I've just setup a google group

http://groups.google.com/group/ixda-heretics

It won't sync with the ixda site forums of course, but might be useful if some folk want to stick with mailing lists.

Cheers,

Adrian

 

24 Jan 2012 - 1:47pm
Adam Korman
2004

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your work to help make sure this thing keeps going. I wish email replies worked too, but I'm not angry about it. For those who are really upset, I have two suggestions:

http://www.ixda.org/about/participate/volunteer

http://www.ixda.org/about/participate/donate

-Adam

24 Jan 2012 - 4:14pm
tonyzeoli
2008

Matt:

Thanks for the extended explanation about why IXDA must move off email listservice for now. As a Meetup.com user and member of the New York Tech Meetup List, I know that the listserve is a primary function, which helps to keep members connected and discussing all sorts of relevant (and irrelevant) topics.

It's unfortunate that this has happened, because I don't know that people will default to login after clicking the link. It's certainly a trade-off and I'm sure it's a little humbling to put up a website for a global interaction user group that can't utilize one of the oldest of web technologies to keep communication flowing. I'm certainly supportive of the situation and feel a bit frustrated myself that I don't have the necessary skills to help. I hope one day this resolves itself and we can get back to responding by email.

I want to add to those who feel they want to jump out and start another list somewhere else, I don't necessarily think starting a Google or Yahoo group to replace this is a good idea. I would much rather search for and post to one system, then have to utilize two different ones that don't talk to each other. I did find it easy to click the link and if I'm logged in, I should be able to respond. It's certainly a trade-off I'm willing to accept under the circumstance.

Now, that being said, I am a lurker, because I haven't been as immersed in interaction design work as I have been in WordPress product development over the last two years, so I hope me popping up now to speak isn't seen as a negative by those who participate a great deal. I can only manage to do so much every day, and this list hasn't been as much a priority for me as NYTM, but I do appreciate the forums and the discourse. It's certainly valuable and I will continue to watch from aftar while participating when I have the time. I thought this was important enough to say something, because I see that some of the stronger comments leveled, while fair, could have been framed in a different way.

Tony Zeoli

24 Jan 2012 - 4:58pm
Alan Hogan
2007

Is it just me, or does opting for “daily” instead of immediate IXDA notifications have no effect?

Or is there a waiting period before the setting applies, perhaps?

24 Jan 2012 - 9:42pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Sigh.  I've been frustrated by the inability to post via e-mail for some time, unwilling to get up the gumption to sign in to the website to post a comment, letting my opinion drop instead. That extra hump -- logging in, oops what was my password, figuring out the forum mechanism, etc. -- hasn't been worth my time, which says a lot about the decreased value I've perceived here since the last technology change. 

But I did it this one time, just so I could legitimately say "Never again.". Changes like this -- forcing a behavioral change in users, making things (be perceived as) harder -- provide a superb "jumping off" point.

Maybe it's just my online "age" dictating what works for me, but I've yet to find a web-based forum with sufficiently compelling content to bring me back on a daily-ish basis for more than a week or two. 

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