@joeylittle and I have been discussing some points over the past month, and some minor changes are to be implemented to improve member to policy aspects, mobile performance and a little happiness aspect.
- @joeylittle will mention the first point, being her baby, for premium members. This point has resulted from the improvements in item #2.
- I've been working away at the server setup, as happens, and as such with the improvements in technology, lowering costs of technology and such, I wiped a tidy $1000 off annual server costs. $950 actually, but I like to round up. I was working on it prior to merging the combat site, so that when I did the merge and the site was down for a few hours, I rolled out some new changes at the server to improve how each call was performed (increasing throughput and caching for each). I said nothing as I wanted to see if anyone noticed any issues suddenly arising. The changes shouldn't have caused issues the way done, and that was what I wanted to confirm over the last week. No, the costs are not savings from the combat site. The combat site paid for itself with its ads, costing a mere $100 per annum to host. It was a baby site, just as this site used to cost only a couple hundred way back when to run at that size (technology differences and cost then vs now). The savings came from introducing differing failover systems, allowing me to shutdown a couple of the nodes, thus costs, rolling things together a little more.
This means that I will be cutting the donate goal by this amount.
- We've been thinking about our warning system, how to improve its implementation so that members aren't punished by being temp banned when experiencing heightened symptoms which cause chaos here. So we're going to change the system to place the user into a moderated state instead. It will still remove the user from chat, profiles and other areas, but will leave them with posting of new threads and posts. All of these will simply go through moderation of staff instead, the same as all guest posts do now, requiring staff to put eyes on the content and whether we approve, edit or reject it, before anyone else can view it.
- I am going to progressively remove all Google ads from the entire site, replacing them with Amazon relevant ads to the content being viewed. Whilst Google ads are async, being they load after the page, on mobiles that is still enough to slow loading. So I've decided to switch totally to Amazon, site wide, which allows far greater control and caching of the content across the global CDN to help localise content to the reader for faster loading. So you will see changes to all ads over the coming month or so.
- I'm additionally stripping out more analytics, and out-dated aspects behind the scenes that affect performance, even marginally. There are several stats systems that monitors traffic to the site, of which I only need one, not several. Whilst Google is the most accurate, its also another script, another item to load, into every browser for tracking on page call. We have analytics at our DNS, which will suffice here forth and do not affect performance for the user. So some little tweaks to improve performance that bit more for users.