Fresh Off The Block


May
29
2018

A better organised Discord, Forum changes and more – Spring Cleaning on Technically Motivated

With Spring in full swing and Summer not long away, many people will be engaging in Spring Cleaning to get their homes and workplaces organised ad tidy. Here a Technically Motivated, we also believe in the value of Spring Cleaning; and I'm pleased to be able to detail some tweaks – both small and large – we have or will be bringing out across the site and our other services over the coming days.

Discord

The first such change, which is already live, is to our Discord. Many of our Discord regulars use our Discord to discuss technology-related topics that we at TM currently do not have articles about, whether just out of personal interest, as a suggestion for a new topic for us to cover, or to help them plan out an article of their own to submit to us. Many of these discussions previously were taking place in our #articles text channel, which is also used to inform Discord users of new postings on the main Technically Motivated website; and this was sometimes causing these announcements and subsequent discussion – the intended point of the channel – to become drowned out.

Following feedback from the Moderators, I have subsequently introduced a brand new text chat channel to our Discord, #suggestions, as a dedicate channel for discussing anything tech-related that isn't yet on our blog, with linking to other sites fully permitted (within reason). As part of this change, #articles is now only to be used or discussion and announcement of articles that DO appear on our site; and the channel no longer permits links of any kind from non-Staff users. We have also introduced categories to the Discord channel list, to neatly organise all our available channels.

Forum and Private Messaging

For the last several months now, we have been actively beta testing a new Forum, to replace our long-standing Forum solution of many years. The aim of this test was to find a replacement that would be more efficient, but still offer a comparatively similar set of features to our existing Forum, due to the software powering that Forum becoming outdated as well as causing performance issues due to significant database load.

During the Beta, the replacement Forum received a number of updates and very quickly matured into a complete solution, even allowing us to cross-post topics from the blog to our Forum; as well as introducing the ability for players to report inappropriate topics. Following testing of the most recent crop of updates, the Technically Motivated Moderators and myself have deemed the new Forum suitable for our purposes.

As a result, on 31 May 2018, the existing Technically Motivated Forum will be closed down and replaced, with existing Forum links now leading to the new Forum and the Beta Test page removed. We hope you will find the replacement easy to use and appropriate for all your future discussions.

As part of the switch to the new Forum, unfortunately all existing Private Messages will be lost. We have been informed by the developers of the new Forum that Private Messaging is not a supported feature and is not planned to be added, as it is not considered essential to the main purpose of a Forum; and there are already other WordPress plugins that offer dedicated Private Messaging functionality. We plan to reintroduce Private Messaging at a future date; and are already beta-testing a potential option to reintroduce the feature, which we hope to roll out very soon. However, we will not be able to import your previous message history. Sorry 🙁

Other News

You may have noticed a slight change to the sharing buttons that appear below each of our posts. As part of our commitment to user privacy, Technically Motivated has ditched AddThis, which had the potential to track our users even if hey weren't logged in to any Social Networks; in favour of a brand-new solution which does no tracking whatsoever. The new sharing buttons are also more efficient, resulting in slightly faster page loads across our site. So now you can read and share our articles both faster and more safely than before. We may tweak the appearance of the buttons in the coming days, but you can use the new buttons right now if there's anything you want to share with your friends, family, colleagues or followers 🙂

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    Previous Articles


    Oct
    07
    2016

    Forum and Mobile Updates, and minor fixes

    For the last few months, I have been inviting users to help Beta Test a new Forum to replace our long-standing one, which has been found to cause performance issues for our server. Although the new Forum works well, something that personally disappointed me was that the new Forum Software did not have the capability to enable guest posting. The current Technically Motivated forum has a public "Site Troubleshooting" section which permits all visitors, whether registered or not, to post if they have any problems using our website; and unfortunately, this was not something the new Forum would allow.

    However, the Forum we have been using for the Beta has since received updates; and a recent new feature will allow us to enable guest posting, allowing us to restore this functionality for the new Beta forum. We will continue to keep the new Forum as a Beta while we test how well this works and whether it is secured enough to not enable abuse; but if all goes well, it is my plan to announce an official time-frame for phasing out the old Forum and switching to the new solution.

    On a related note, you may have been aware of the boxes on our homepage showing the latest conversations people have been having here on Technically Motivated, be it on our comment boxes, our forum or on Twitter. However, in recent months, you may have noticed only the Twitter feed was properly working. After some investigation, I've been able to restore the latest comments pane, which had been broken by a glitch. However, the Forum pane has been completely removed, as it turns out the current Forum has broken this feature, and the new Beta Forum does not yet offer a replacement. You can still however see the latest Forum posts for the non-Beta Forum on our sidebar.

    In other news, we have recently upgraded our Mobile site, which should now offer an even better experience when viewing us on your mobile or smartphone. You'll now find a much easier-to-navigate menu, as well as easy sharing links atop each article; as well as links to our social pages in the footer. We have also changed the colour scheme to better match our desktop site; and updated the copyright notice. Whether you visit us on your mobile or your PC, we hope you enjoy your time here at Technically Motivated.

    Jan
    17
    2016

    Forum Updates and News

    Greetings, visitors and Techies.

    Ever since Technically Motivated launched in 2009, our goal has always been to create a technology blog that connects people together whatever their technology expertise; and to create a community of people helping each other or simply having fun and engaging in conversation, while also providing a useful resource.

    Part of the way we've tried to achieve this goal is through use of a Forum where people can start whatever topic is on their mind; and others can join in or start their own. We're now looking for your feedback on potential changes to the Forum to help improve its performance and the overall experience going forward.

    If you're interested in helping out, we ask you to try a new Forum setup we're testing on our specially-crafted page, http://www.technicallymotivated.com/new-forum-test. Here we are testing a brand new Forum Software solution. You'll still find most of the same Forum Categories and sections as in the current Forum, but as well as a different design, you'll hopefully notice a new, more powerful post editor and a much more streamlined approach. What we would like to know is whether a Forum with a simpler feature set and design would not only perform better for Technically Motivated going forward; but also be well-received by our community. Your feedback will determine what route we take for the Forum going forward.

    Don't worry though, we won't be taking down the old one just yet! For those of you who still prefer the current Forum or aren't willing to take the plunge to try something new just yet, the current Forum remains fully functional and open for everyone. Regular visitors might be happy to know that we no longer have advertising on the Forum and Thread Indexes, in order to fix a bug where the adverts would mess up the layout of the Forum and make certain content disappear or look weird, making for an ugly experience on some pages.

    Let us know what you think of both the new Forum and the fixes to the current Forum by posting comments below, or by contacting us directly via our Contact Form. Remember, Technically Motivated is here for you!

    Feb
    28
    2012

    New Features and Updates now live on Technically Motivated

    Technically Motivated was down for an extended period from Friday to Sunday to perform major site maintenance. During this time, as well as fixing the issues myself and many readers had come to notice throughout the site, I also worked on and tested many new features and enhancements for the blog, which I’m pleased to announce are now live. Read the rest of this entry »

    Apr
    05
    2011

    Forums back up!

    Due to a mistake in the upload process, a required update to the Forums that was meant to be installed after I moved everything to the new server, didn’t get applied, and instead a new install was created in another folder. This resulted in the Forum temporarily being unavailable.

    I have corrected the mistake now and upgraded the forum – getting rid of the extra one in the process – so the Forum is now back up. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    Dec
    14
    2010

    Forum is back up

    The forums were temporarily down earlier today to address a security concern, and install a much-needed update to the software. They are now back up and fully up to date. Thanks for people’s patience!

    In other news, we’ve noticed lately that there has been some load on our servers lately, causing occasional slowness. If the site is appearing to go slow for you, just try waiting a little longer, or come back later when thins may have calmed down. If you are finding the site is too slow or not working for an extra long time, please check your connection, and then if the problem continues, please try to contact me using the Contact Form whenever you are finally able.

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