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Hello MJEOL’ers!

This is to announce that the first few donations towards getting stable, commercial (not free) software for your MJEOL forum have come in. Thanks to the members who have done so.

Any donations are greatly appreciated, but the forum software we’re reaching towards is $149.99. Believe it or not, it is the cheapest of the best and most stable forum software. We’re not a 1/4th of the way there yet. You may get bored reading this long post (haha!) but I wanted to really let you guys know. :apple

EDIT: Ah! To those who visit sister-site DONGBANGER.COM, for fans of TVXQ, thank you so much for your interest as well!

Why should you care? ….read on

You MJEOLers should care because a lot of you guys spend a substantial amount of time here. :P So when things are running great, you don’t have to worry about the forum being down for maintenance, or down for security upgrades, or unreachable because I’m struggling to install modifications which already come with commercial forum software.

Even the many, MANY of you who chose to be lookie-loos (of particularly the Fanfiction area teehee!) will benefit from having more reliable access. Your favorite fanfiction authors could post to their heart’s content instead of wondering when we’ll be back online so they can update their stories.

You should care because you all enjoy each others’ company or find consolation from your fellow members, even if you disagree with each other.

You should care because more stable forum means you guys don’t necessarily have to deal with as many spam registrations or posts from a$$holes who post links to naked pictures of celebrities…. or post repeatedly about viagra…. or go on and on about Uggs, or whatever. :yuck

You should care because the addition of stable addons makes your online experience more fun. Any increased stability is to your benefit.

You should also care because I have never seen the level of participation on free forum software as on commercial software. I don’t know why that is, but people seem to be more comfortable… I guess.

What is THIS forum we’re using right at this moment?
As of 10:26pm May 7 2010, we’re using phpbb3, which is a free forum.

What caused this?
Believe it or not, I spend most of my online time looking for and installing (or trying to install) modifications that you guys can use at these forums.

The last time we went down for a while, that was me scouring the internet looking for WORKING modification instructions for an updated captcha (security) plugin, a shoutbox and a topic prefixes mod for SMF (which was right before this one). I was unsuccessful and the number of spam registrations had already increased.

So the switch was made to phpbb3.

Just finding WORKING versions of a shoutbox and topic prefixes mods was ridiculously time consuming because of the nature of free stuff. I went through many mods/addons (some of which were abandoned by their original coders) which did not work or caused all kinds of errors at the forum. Not only did I have to update the files one-by-one, by hand, but I also had to update each individual skin file(s).

You know how something works well in the default skin, but if you switch over, its not there or it doesn’t work? Well that’s what I mean.

And of course the longer it takes for me to update free forum software, the longer the forum could be unreachable to you all.

At one point it was totally unusable and I had to uninstall and reinstall, then re-convert all your posts. I was THIS close to closing down the entire MJEOL forums until some undetermined time in the future. :pullhair

What did we used to use a while back, anyway?
We used to be with vBulletin. It was not free and we were with them for a very, very long time. However, they have recently greatly increased the cost of their upgraded software and increase the price for access to their updates.

Their cheapest option for bare-bones updating of our forum with them would have been $175. For the full suite, they wanted us to pay $295 and $80 for access to updates. WTH?! WTH?! WTH?! :yikes

Think I’m exaggerating? Check it out for yourself:
http://www.vbulletin.com/index.php
https://www.vbulletin.com/order/index.php

I’ve decided to switchover to the slightly cheaper forum if possible. The $149.99 is a ONE-TIME fee and any access to updates are only $25 bucks.

How can you help?
You can donate via paypal. You don’t have to have a Paypal account to donate. You decide how much you want to donate and how often you want to donate.

NONE of your financial information is shared with me or anybody else at MJEOL. Paypal handles everything. It’s as simple as when you buy something online with a credit card, check card or debit card.

With a paypal account, all you do is click the form or simply login and send a donation

At the top of the forums, you should see a Paypal donation mini-form at the top right. You can use that, or use this link:
https://site2.mjeol.com/donation.html

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POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS
These are just a few of the improvements for you with the proposed new forum

+ More Advanced Shoutbox
The shoutbox now is cute and important, but an improved shoutbox would be added to the new forum with direct links to bbcode, smiles and font styles and colors. You would also be able to set your own preferences for the shoutbox like whether or not to show the shoutbox on all pages or not. This means each individual MJEOLer will be able to control whether the shoutbox even shows up on all the pages they see. :apple

+ Reputation System
With the new forum, you could rate each others specific posts an give the author/poster reputation points within the forum. If a fellow MJEOLer(s) here is just killin’ us with great information, great stories, great smackdowns or whatever, you’d be able to give rep. points to that person(s) and have him/her recognized at the community.

The reps would be highlighted with titles or badges. :biggrin

+ Personal Conversations
According to the IP.Board’s website, you would be able to create private topics accessible only to you and anyone else you personally chose to invite to it. How many direct conversations have you wanted to have just between yourself and few other members? You should be able to do it with the updated board. :bowdown

+ Highly Improved Member Profile: Facebook-like profiles
You would have facebook-like profiles where you or other members could post on your private ‘wall’ and leave your messages. Or you could leave messages to let other members know what you’re up to. :announce

On your personal page, of course you could select your own avatar and, thanks to additional profile fields, let members know things like what your fav MJ album is or where you were when you got the devastating news.

Your profile will also give you and visitors to your MJEOL member page an Activity Overview including your recent posts and more. :pacify

+Ignore Users
You would be able to hide ALL content from any particular users by adding them to your IGNORE list. :hitting

+ Facebook AND OpenID login
The new forum would support both Facebook Connect and OpenID by default. :cherry

+ Multiquote!
Ah man, I miss multiquote. With the new system, you’d be able to designate more than 1 post to quote and respond to them all in one fail swoop. :apple

+ Topic Rating
You’d be able to give a specific topic a rating. If you hate it, then rate it so. If you love it, you’d be able to give it 5 stars or anywhere in between. :respect

+ Calendar
The improved Calendar application for the new IP.Board forum would allow YOU to add calendar events for other members to see (subject to approval of course). In addition, all members would be able to see who’s birthday is which day as well. Post when you’re going out on a date with your crush, when you’re graduating, when’s your first day of college, when you’re starting your new job, when your baby is due, etc! :educate

+Multi Question Polls
You would be able to create your own little mini-surveys with multi-question polls. You could ask the community to vote on more than one question relate to whatever topic you’re posting about. :apple

+Additional Top Rated Commercial Addons
There’s already a history of top rated additional addons we could purchase like:

  • GALLERY – which would show all of the photos you add to your MJEOL community album
  • BLOG – create your own individual user blog right here. You can let people know that you’ve just updated your fanfiction story by posting an excerpt from it, or keep everyone informed about what your dog does, or rant about how Goldman Sachs is getting away with murder, or flame Sarah Palin for…opening her mouth! Or almost anything!
  • DOWNLOADS – Specify who can have access to your downloads and who can’t. I think you may be able to link to your pre-existing downloads as well.

:whistling

+ Improved Moderation
For my mods, your job could be much easier with the improved moderation layouts. There’s a Report Center for when members report offensive posts and private messages.

There’s also mult-moderation which would allow for running several mderation commands with a single click. Of course there’s a warn system when you send out warnings to posters for flamming, spamming, running a muck, or generally acting a ding-dang fool at MJEOL.

+Administration
Aside from the built-in goodies you guys would get, it would just be a lot easier for me to Administrate up in here. With an improved forum, I would, in theory, be able to easily add any updates or addons (like an arcade, downloads section or shop, etc) without the time-consuming hassle of turning off the forum for a substantial period of time trying to add it manually.

Thank you for your time and consideration especially considering what milestone we’re about to reach on June 25 2010.

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