What to know during this beta start up period.
This is the first of many new sites designed to house our media and content (sans forums in other words). The new forum is also linked above on the main toolbar. It's a very powerful forum suite called Discourse and it will allow our users to do a lot more than what our existing site can do. First off, both of these sites will allow you to upload photos directly to the server. No photo hosting should be needed, however you can also link to photos remotely hosted. The forum will actually support a host of easy copy and paste methods for putting up content as well.
Logins and accounts
For most of our members you should only need one or two logins. You can opt to use our social media logins like Facebook or Google and have a single sign-on account. Meaning you just click the Facebook or Google links on the login view and after accepting the prompt you will only ever need to use those links again to login. No username/passwords required. If however you are old school (and none of you guys are old school right?) and you want to have individual logins for each site you can do that. I would act quickly though and reserve your username. You can opt to use the same password, but keep in mind if you change it on one site it's not going to change on any of the others.
Another key point to remember is that unless you are planning to contribute news, reviews, or features to this site or any of our media sites, you would only need the single forum site account to do your day to day surfing. Logins won't be required on these sites in order to access or post response to the content here. The forums will be where any discussion happens (although like our old site it will be displayed here on each article page).
Where is all the Old Content going to be?
We aren't going to lose any of the old content. There will be a backup archive made of all of our existing sites and they will be hosted here with a link to them. This will be in the form of a flat HTML site only however so as far as old forum pages, campaigns and the like they will be unable to be changed or updated. There will be a transition phase so that people can either move blogs, or campaigns or any other items they wish to this site and the new forums. I would imagine if the beta test of Model Shipwrights goes well than that will be within the next few months. My goal is to try to have this all wrapped up by years end as anything beyond that will put me at serious risk for the sites going offline completely due to server updating that is going to be forced on me by the hosting company.
So... yeah... this is NOT optional I'm afraid.
I don't like... make it like it use to be!!
I will try. This is going to be a work in progress just like the site was in 2001 when it started. As time goes by I should be able to add more bells and whistles to the content sites. The forums will also change, but other than the structure and basic day to day things, I will not be making any coding changes to that. It has a team of like 200 people working on it and yeah I will let those guys do what they do best. I am not worried about the forum part of this equation.
If you ideas or feedback about what you'd like to see change or new features put them in the forum. If you look below here you should see a link to discuss this article there. That would be a good place.
There are already some issues I know of that will need work. The photo uploading for the media sites can be a bit wonky at times. I need to use them more and get feedback on them to really see what's what though. Like our old system (which of course mostly staff worked with) it can be a bit persnickity at times and want only 'what it wants' and nothing else. I'm afraid some trial and error is going to be needed. But don't worry about breaking anything, that's part of the process. :)