I’ve been busy as of late. We were due for a facelift on the frontend and backend. Not THAT backend – which I’m sure some of our enemies would to like to see.
The previous AQ worked well for us but the theme was outdated, not scalable, not stable and contained old hack code that would have been very difficult to clean. Even if it could have been cleaned, the theme was 3rd party and wasn’t supported, so we would have continued to have headaches. I got tired of involuntarily advertising Levitra – plus with the Holy Father in town we should look our best.
And this is much cleaner, faster and more scalable. It’s much more secure and will be much easier to fix if it does get hacked. It’s also better optimized for search engines. I personally like the look and feel; it seems more like I’m reading a newspaper and I find it easier on the eyes to read.
Some or perhaps all of the new features may stay permanently depending on how they act technically, how they affect the user experience and whether or not the hive likes them. These include:
Avatars – For now, they’re limited to a 48×48 pixel square and shouldn’t exceed PG rating. You can upload your own as long as they stay within the size limit which is pretty generous.
New comment system – The pro is that it’s very organized , clean and has a very readable tree/reply system. When I first installed the initial comment system, I was immediately lobbied to improve it, which I and others think the new system accomplishes. The cons is that media files like videos and pics can’t be embedded in comments – yet. That said, graphics and media outside the initial post (which can still have media embeds) can often be distractive.
Social media sharing – This is important to keep up with the direction the InterWebz is going. It can also be a game changer if we ever get a hair and start promoting AQ again. If any of you want to bring people here, you can share the site itself on the main page, or any of the stories/posts once you click into them.
Better Mobile platform – Another improvement to keep AQ from reaching the end of the internet. It matches our branding, is cleaner and has better features. Grab your phone or tablet and take a look when you get a chance, you’ll see our old logo from the phpBB days. I’m really happy with this one.
Post editing – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lobbied to include this feature over the years. Well it’s finally here. You can edit your posts for up to 30 minutes after that fact. So, if you screw up your spelling or grammar, or the buzz from that last drink starts to wear down and you regret telling an admin what you really think, you may be able to get to it before he does.
Better Email Update System – This one is handled locally instead of going to Feedburner. It’s right on the front page, right column underneath the new and improved “latest comments.”
New and Improved Latest Comments – just reminded myself of that in the preceding blurb.
Comment voting – Lets see how that works out. I never thought I would like this but I think I do.
Search Engine Optimization – Much better search engine optimization and better organization for the good bots, while taking measures to reduce the bad bots. Over time, SEO will improve as I continue to make upgrades and we as a group continue to add content.
Better Administration – I’m much less mean than I once was. One reason is because I don’t need to be any longer being that the membership has been an absolute JOY over the last several years. The days of “pugilism” (as one poster put it) were interesting, but I wouldn’t go back to not being able to go anywhere, including on vacation, without being chained to a laptop. I didn’t enjoy being called at home by angry posters I didn’t even know. Another reason for me being less mean is that I’m getting older and more easy going. After all, we’ve been active for over 13 years now. The biggest improvement I made to the administration is making Tim (Timwhit) an admin. He’s been a loyal friend to me and this website since the very beginning. So now you can try to get over on him instead of me. If you need something, like getting author status, or other issues, he’s around a lot more than I am.
You may see more changes/additions as we go, but please leave feedback on our new digs here – good or bad here.