Saturday, February 4, 2012

WHY are we doing this and WHAT are we doing?

This is the place for all members and prospective members of and to come for updates on the progress of the development of the next version of chat.

Why is development necessary?

Development is necessary because the domains have already expired or will soon expire, and the current chat owner, hao, is having a lot of trouble with maintenance and upkeep. He has not been present and he has not been in touch, for understandable reasons (and we hope he's OK!). Some of the current moderators therefore propose to take over the burden and allow hao to focus on his humanitarian work in Africa (for which we greatly respect him).

What is going to happen to the current forum and chat?

The bad news is that nobody has the admin passwords but hao, therefore nobody can administer or preserve the current chat and forum. Forum posts will be lost and user accounts will need to be regenerated. As a database administrator, I have personally always felt this to be a dangerous aspect of the current setup, and the new admins, both IT professionals, will try to work to make certain this weakness doesn't happen again.

The good news is that we intend to reproduce the look and feel of the current chat as far as possible. We propose to purchase the current version of the software, which will have upgrades to the look, feel, and functionality of chat.  We will also have a forum like the current one. Other than having to reapply for your user account, the changes should be largely transparent to you.  We want to preserve the experience you already have as far as we can, with functionality enhancements you'll like.

Can I be a moderator in the new chat?

For now, we plan to keep the current mod structure with little or no change, to avoid disruption and petty politicking. After the transition, this will be reevaluated, and it will either be kept in place, or a mechanism will be proposed and discussed to make moderator selection fair and equitable.

What else is changing?

We may have enhanced capability to log chat and monitor for unsafe activities. However, IT people are lazy and we will probably only do this if there's a legitimate need (ha). We intend that all else will proceed as normally as humanly possible.

I have suggestions or comments or complaints!

Great! Please feel free to post in the comments section of any post on this blog.

Much love to all... speedwell

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