Mid August Update

Posted 15 August 2021, 15:49:07 PDT by Starbask

The mod team here with an update on July, August and hopefully some fall plans!

July Wrap Up

It's mid August and July is well in the past. On the moderator front, the month of July has been going pretty well! We got a good system going for the prompt changes that were made in place. The team has been absolutely wonderful tackling these things.
On a side front, the mod that usually heads up event planning (Starbask/Nai) had a very rough July (and unfortunately first week of August). Event planning and some things on the site side were delayed due to that. So while the moderator team itself has been fantastic this month Nai has been working on getting things back on track on the event planning side and some other areas she coordinates/focuses on. (More will be included in sections below on this.)

Please thank the mod team for their hard work every so often if you get a chance! They've been working very hard and been incredibly supportive to one another during tough times that might not always be apparent to the broader group. This isn't new and as a team we may not wear our hearts on our sleeves and openly talk about when things are difficult for us, but we've worked very hard over the years to maintain a pretty supportive space so that for the most part it doesn't show when we're struggling. I (Nai) dropped the ball here a bit and it is showing in the delay on Starfall Faire's timeline but behind the scenes it's been pretty positive despite this. So thank you everyone for your patience. It means a lot!

 

Website News

A bit of good news and bad news here. Please bear with us!

The good news is our site developer is currently hard at work on site updates. We were in the process of working with our website developer to get updates to our codebase in place (as our last larger update mentioned). Those plans have been finalized and we're now no longer just planning out what all changes we're expecting to see or requesting, Mana has OK'd that work to be done on the site. We were aiming for this to take place in early August, and as you can see it's mid August now and the website hasn't really changed. Patreon's patrons are wondering too about changes on that end. So what's up?

Well here comes the bad news. It's taking longer than expected because of previous changes we made to get the site into the state it needed to be in to function for our group. Our site developer is working on this but there's a lot more file conflicts than expected. I've been informed 1-2 is usually...bad and we have, well a lot more than that. More than 10x that amount. With that in mind we're a little unsure of the timeline on this. We'll keep checking in with development but with that said this will likely be a pretty big expense Mana will be paying on top of what she currently pays for routine site upkeep and support from our site developer. If you see Cy around as well please extend support their way, as they're dealing with the headache that is our codebase right now to get it upgraded. Thank you Cy, you're amazing!

(Skip down to "Events & Activities" if you don't want more background on site update delays.)

So why is it taking longer, Nai?

The above paragraphs are probably for the most part what everyone cares about but others may appreciate the context. First, I'll give a bit of background about our site specifically. Then I'll give some background about Lorekeeper and general codebase stuff for those who may be less code development savvy.

Our site is pretty customized. This means we've asked for a lot of things, some small and others bigger, that are outside of the base lorekeeper code that our site is built on top of. Development was done earlier on to handle how complex elnin can be and customizations made to how our staff workflows are (things like being able to soft reject prompts with a message if I'm remembering right). We have also requested some quality of life things that the community mentioned they wanted to see early on (toggles for breeding or to hide profile images, changes in filters, bug fixes, etc). This all happened mostly towards the start of our site's founding Summer of 2020, though we do ask the occasional site bug to be squashed since then.

Other groups and open source contributors have been working on some neat stuff for Lorekeeper since it's creation, doing their own unique customizations they have paid folks to code for them just like we have! Not all features developed for Lorekeeper are automatically shared and contributed towards the Lorekeeper project though. So you may see other Lorekeeper sites with some pretty different features their developers were paid to make that you will not see on our site because we did not pay for them.

That said, some really neat features have been contributed towards Lorekeeper's project by some generous folks out there who were willing to contribute their work for vetting with the intent to become a part of Lorekeeper. Once they’re vetted they get added to the main core codebase. Lorekeeper from a year ago has undergone some really awesome improvements. Some of those features are new and we would love to have them on our site. The problem is...some of the changes at times are similar to things we've already asked for since then. They may have been created by another developer for a different site with sometimes fewer or more advanced features than our site currently has. This...ultimately leads to conflicts between files. It's like two people trying to solve the same problem at the same time but using different methods. Our developer is going to need to be paid to resolve those conflicting files and make sure that when stuff is added in our site doesn't break.

This is pretty normal in coding, rather if you have two people that have never met before not communicating on things, you're likely to see overlapping ideas. This is going to take time and some patience. We really hoped that there wouldn't be a lot of conflicts but it wasn't the case, and to be honest a bit expected to a degree. Our site was an early supporter of Lorekeeper and we got access to the foundation pretty early. It's to be expected it's grown a lot as more sites have picked it up.

This delay will mean there are delays in other places people are probably expecting movement. We've been cautiously trying to plan our events and other site updates to avoid compiling a ton of changes on top of work that will come in once the code is sorted out and updates are able to be added. We'll post news as it comes but until then I'll give updates on the other fronts our team is working on and how those are impacted.

 

Events & Activities

After the slump that was July for our event planning mod, we're getting back on track here. Plans for Starfall Faire are underway. Expect to see announcements about that event going up in September! We'll also be working out prompts and activities for the coming fall months.

A few notables:

This Starfall Faire we'll be seeing some fresh faces guesting. The event is a bit smaller than it has been in past years to accommodate timelines and planning delays. That said, we're pretty excited and the elnin are looking spiffy so far. We hope folks enjoy seeing them in September! These will be adult elnin designs.

We're also slowly starting to plan out what the rest of fall will look like, as well as winter. We had a very large Kittsunami last spring, with hopes of maybe doing some smaller breedings this fall but with site development and July's delays we'll not be doing any more breedings this year. Looking at timelines we'll need to be really on top of things to not rush an event we plan to host late October and throughout November. With Starfall Faire in September and likely more designs in November in general we just don't want to add more work on top of these events. We want the events themselves to be enjoyable and that's difficult to accomplish if mods get burnt out.

With the above in mind there will be some side activities popping up in October/November. We’re aiming to keep December relatively calm after 3 months of higher activity behind the scenes.

 

Patreon-Related News

Typically we don't address Patreon things but due to the website update impact and our own event planning, some of the things we want to implement Patreon-wise will take more time. Some of it's a matter of coding, some configuration that I (Nai) am hesitant to do not knowing when other site configurations will fall. Events will also largely be absorbing the moderator time so implementing anything larger all at once will definitely be challenging.

Please do not be critical of Mana for website delays/rewards on site relating to that. She has spoken with me (Nai) in the past on this. Some of it I was interested in possibly doing sooner but July was pretty terrible on the mental health front for me. I also wanted to get a better handle on where everything else was sitting before diving into changes that would consume a lot of time I needed to commit to keeping other aspects of the group moving.

Our developer Cy is working hard on the site. It's a big job and it will not be done for free. It’s fair to say a good chunk of Patreon funds will be sustaining this work. If Mana needs additional funds to pay for these site updates (due to them taking longer and being larger than we initially thought they might be), I fully expect she'll communicate with the moderator team to let us know where that sits. She has not been in close communication with us but the ball has not been dropped relative to getting back on track on the moderator side.

While this work was planned in advance, things cropping up is always an uncertainty and we're all working around things to keep the group active every month. Apologies in advance that we don't have a solid timeline on this but the things we do have down more concretely we'll keep folks up to speed on. Thank you for sticking it out with us. We hope the things we can do in the coming months remain largely positive, although we know it can be hard to prevent things from overshadowing the things that are good. >^<b