2018 State of the Forum

Discussion in 'TW Announcements' started by WesL, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. WesL

    WesL Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 5, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Huntsville, AL
    Special Affiliations:
    SKYWARN® Volunteer, Storm Mapping User
    Greetings all!

    Hope you have recovered from your holiday fun and looking forward to a new year ahead of us. I wanted to take a moment to give you some updates on the forum and also give you some insight to a new project I'm working on outside of TW.

    Forum Stability
    When Jack handed over the keys to the TW domain about a year ago, the biggest thing was to just get the forum back online. We had it up and running within a few hours, sadly without the data that was lost due to a hard drive failure, but TW was back. The thought of the hard drive failure has been on my mind for the past year and without providing hackers insight to the internal workings behind the curtain I will just say that our hosting on Amazon Web Services has been great and I'm pleased to announce that through the revenue of the guest ad program along with a kick-in of a special discount/grant/reward from Amazon, we will be purchasing a long term hosting contract for all of our hosting services for the next 3 years. That transaction is expected to happen next week and you will not really see anything different except for a phased decommissioning of the guest ad program in April. In the event that we need to roll over to temporarily scale up to larger servers, we will bring the guest ad program back temporarily to help cover those additional costs.

    I have also initiated the renewal of our software support license for Xenforo for this year as well and our domain is secured for the until 2019.

    Forum Upgrade
    During the first quarter of the year, we expect to move to the 2.0 version of Xenforo which with provide several key updates for TW members and admin staff. This update will also help speed up the site as well. Because the code behind the update is such a major change we are waiting for several other sites to perform the upgrade to shake out the bugs and we are also waiting on a few of our forum add-on products to release updates that are compatible with the new version. An announcement and e-mail message will be sent when we get the dates lined up. We will have full backups in case we need to rollback the upgrade.

    Perry Project
    So I've had our weather station sitting in my office for a few months now. Our friends at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center have been busy with some major projects but I've been assured that they are looking to get the station installed and running during their "slow" period of January and February. I'm going to work to hold them to that. The last thing we need is the site location so we can supply the hardware to properly mount it. I have a pretty great place in mind but we will have to wait and see if it works for them.

    New Feature
    I've been working with group of friends on several other non-TW projects over the past few months. Both of which are getting ready to launch in a couple weeks. One of the new projects will offer us the ability to have chats on TW with some cool features to help during severe events. More info on that down the road.

    Goals for 2018/ We are looking to improve in a few areas during 2018:
    • Improving our social media presence through more frequent posts linking back to TW posts especially during severe weather events.
    • Reviving major threads lost in forum crash.
    • More interactions with meteorologists (including meteorology students), emergency management and the weather enthusiasts through participation in regional special events (such as Rocket City Weatherfest, Weatherfest at McWane Center in Birmingham and SKYWARN events)
    • Provide operational data for the weather community. More details on this down the road but it is a pretty exciting opportunity that will make you proud to be a TW member.
    Finally, we are open to suggestions! Is there a feature or do you know of an event that we should be a part of? Let us know either by leaving a comment here or shooting me a private message. Our goal is to continue the strong heritage of TalkWeather being a safe place to ask questions, discuss weather and make friends.

    @WesL , @Jack Watkins , @Mike S , @Lori , @JayF and @greenem81
    jmills, KoD and JayF like this.
  2. Evan

    Evan Member

    Jan 10, 2017
    Likes Received:
    McCalla, AL
    Great job, Wes. My only suggestion would be additional advertising on FB, Twitter and AdWords to try to get new/additional members. Assuming there is any budget for such a thing. And, I've wondered if an intact copy of the old DB has all the emails of former members -- I think it would be great to send out this update to all prior members along with an invitation to return.

    Again, great job. Thank you, Wes, and thanks to all the staff. I'd love to see TW regain its popularity, and I truly believe it can.
    WesL likes this.

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