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  1. To say that the last 24 hours have been hectic would be nothing short of an understatement. Now that the dust is starting to settle, I'd like to take a moment to explain why Ninfora came to existence, and what we have planned for the future of the site. NSider2 was a great home for nearly a decade. Deciding to leave NSider2 was a decision that was not made lightly. The NSider2 staff has realised that the site has been stagnating and dying for a very long time. We have desperately wanted to turn that ship around. Even if we didn't wind up attracting new members, we wanted to at least make the site a welcoming place for members that have been around for so long. Unfortunately, working with CrowdGather - the site's current owners - meant that it was nigh-on impossible to accomplish even our most basic of goals. We have a lot of admiration for this ever-resilient community and hope to see several ambitious ideas come to fruition in the coming days/weeks/months. Transitioning to a brand new site was our very last option, but it's unfortunately the one that we needed to go with. I personally tried to reach out to CrowdGather on June 1st and expressed interest in purchasing the site. After waiting for so long without a reply, I was assured that the email was forwarded to the sales team. I waited. And waited. And asked some more. Nada. My request to CrowdGather falling on deaf ears was not the first. CrowdGather's apathy and inactivity was what spurred me to submit a buyout request in the first place. I assumed that they may be interested in earning some money for having kept NSider2 running for so long. I can't imagine that the site is generating too much revenue at this point, and the cost of operating it is certainly non-negligible, especially when you consider their staff hours that have been (ineffectively) poured into the site. Difficulties with CrowdGather have been ongoing for years, which has also become immediately clear to the community as a whole as CG tries to perform damage control. In the name of transparency, I'm going to openly share some of the issues that have proved to be a headache for us: Years ago, NSider2 began serving malware when reached through Google and other search engines. Users that clicked on a link to NSider2 would be redirected to unsavoury sites if they did not already have a cookie from NSider2 on their system. This issue would not often affect users that frequented the site, but people unfamiliar with the site would be immediately turned away from the malicious activity. CrowdGather has not maintained NSider2. Basic security needs were entirely neglected, as indicated above. We were running with painfully outdated versions of IPS and various other software packages on the back-end. Administrators visiting the website or logging into the admin control panel would also be nagged with messages prompting us to update to newer versions of IPS 4 to patch critical security issues. Sadly, we were powerless to do so, and requests to fix this were ignored. The entire upgrade process was not handled well. The database took weeks to rebuild, and after realising that one queue of work was constantly getting "stuck", I had found that a simple plugin was conflicting with the automated tasks. This plugin was a very old version, and the problem we were experiencing was a bug that had been fixed long ago. As usual, we were unable to do anything beyond disabling features and making the site less enjoyable to use. Things get broken. A lot. View counts not updating is one of the more notable recent problems. Performance is awful, but could be trivially improved with a few hours of maintenance. I was able to optimise the database substantially with the limited SQL Toolbox that the IPS admin control panel provides alone, but I could only do so much. Simple details such as copyright footers would not even be updated. @Pelord's story is particularly telling: He had requested that CrowdGather update the home page's copyright footer from 2014 to 2016, but this still has not been done. The front page in general clashes heavily with the rest of the site. With all of these problems and no buyout option on the table, we were left with one final choice: Start fresh, and try to keep the community involved every step of the way. Admittedly we could have had a bit more to show at the time of @Chrom's original announcement, but our first priority was to gauge interest and to force CrowdGather to show their hand. We believed that CrowdGather may have been open to the idea of a buyout if they saw how unhappy the community (and particularly the staff) had been with their non-involvement with the site. CrowdGather showed their hand. Their iron fist, even. CrowdGather "quickly" (relatively speaking :P) removed the announcement thread; banned Chrom's account; and placed a wildcard IP ban on Chrom, likely banning access to several others around him that may be using a similar IP range. I was not immediately banned, but I did respond to a single post mentioning Ninfora. I showed my enthusiasm for the new site and hyped up how awesome it was to have it running as it is. Shortly thereafter, I found that my ability to submit posts and use the private messaging system had been disabled. Curiously enough, Pelord has since also received similar treatment, despite not having any activity on NSider2 since the incident. The most likely speculation for this is the simple fact that he was an admin. So this is why Ninfora is necessary. It gives us the chance to start fresh. I have a personal affection for you wonderful people, and I wanted to be able to provide a forum that's given the love that NSider2 so desperately needed and deserved. I'd like everyone to know where Ninfora will be headed in the future. So here's an "FAQ" to explain things! Who owns Ninfora? While I am in control of Ninfora's domain name, cloud instance, and software licenses, I will primarily be focusing on back-end issues and bug fixes. I love technology and putting together things that "just work", so being able to personally determine the infrastructure and software to use was a fantastic opportunity for me. However, I am not a designer. I am not a community manager. I am not a mediator. I do tech, and maybe some other things when necessary. @Chrom will continue performing administrative duties. @Pelord will continue handling social media and I'm going to get some software in place so that he can make an awesome home page. @CCH will continue creating graphics and making the site more pleasing on the eyes (he'll do better with the dark skin than I ever could ). Likewise, it would be awesome to see other people getting involved with various aspects of the site. I want to be able to make this site engaging. Some recent members here enjoy posting weekly reviews and creating fantastic fan art. I would love to see your guys' awesome work highlighted on the main page and beyond. How will Ninfora grow? Crazy as this may sound for a website, none of us are focused on "growth" right now. We're focused on attracting the tight-knit community that has existed for so long. Only when the community is happy and settled will we think about how to bring in fresh faces. If you're coming from NSider2, then right now this site exists for you. Monetisation? Generating revenue from Ninfora isn't a goal at all. I've had a few people asking about how I will sustain the site, and right now, I'm paying out of pocket. If I wind up spending a few hundred dollars per year to keep this site going, then that is fine by me. I love this community and I would happily stomach the additional expense. However, server bills and license fees are still very much a realistic concern. Some members have expressed interest in chipping in a few bucks here and there. I may set up a donation system or some sort of crowdfunding campaign at some point, but I am not worrying about that until much more work on the site has been finished. You will also notice that there are no advertisements on the site at present. I'm a stern opponent of what online advertising has become. If there ever are ads, they will not be Flash-based; animated; or have any sound. Even image ads would be unlikely. If advertisements are implemented, I would stick strictly with text-based ads. And even then I wouldn't care if you guys used ad blockers, since I still would be too. What will come of NSider2? No one knows. Currently, NSider2 has an entirely brand new team of staff. Ultimately, CrowdGather will determine NSider2's fate. It is up to CG to decide whether they will keep it running, or decide to sell it yet again, or even flip it off permanently. Personally, I want to at least see NSider2's rich history preserved forever. One big reason that I wanted to purchase NSider2 instead of start from scratch is because the site holds so much personal nostalgic value and memories. I have never been a part of a more vibrant community in all my life. Alas, NSider2 has sadly degraded into a site that I can no longer enjoy. NSider2 is also potentially the first and only website that I have ever been banned from. It hurts. It really does. That's me for now. If you got through all of that, thanks for reading! I'm still organising my thoughts and coming to terms with everything that has happened. But after talking with so many of you here and on Discord, I am highly optimistic for the future. It's going to be a bumpy road, but this community has always persevered through even the most difficult of times. Here's to another decade of the NSider legacy!
  2. Greetings Ninfora, As many of you will notice, Ninfora looks a bit different! We have been wanting to base our skin off of a different design for a while now, and tonight found a theme that should work far better as a base. I have set up this new theme and made many modifications that should hopefully be more visually pleasing. Switching to this new theme offers several immediate benefits. First and foremost, it updates the site with a fresh new aesthetic that's hopefully more pleasing than ever before. Second, the previous theme that we based off of had accrued quite a bit of technical debt, and it was difficult for us to properly maintain it. Finally, the previous theme was notoriously laggy while scrolling on some mobile devices. This new theme suffers from none of these issues, and so far I've personally found it to be an absolute pleasure to work with. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to share feedback here!
  3. Hey all, Life has been keeping me incredibly busy for the last several weeks! Ninfora was birthed during what has been perhaps the busiest point in my life, and as I've discussed casually on the forums, I'm hoping to have quite a bit more free time coming up. I would like to dedicate a lot of my free time to continuing to improve Ninfora. I want to make this site as enjoyable as possible to use. Time, however, is a finite resource. I've created a short poll that can help me gauge what's important to focus on. Effort that's put into area is effort that's not put into another. I want to see you guys are happy with, and what you think needs to be improved. Determining what you are least satisfied with will allow me to prioritize what's important. Feel free to submit feedback here as well. I'm hoping to make it easier to submit and discuss suggestions in general. The "mega-thread" presently pinned to the top of this board has been immensely useful, but there's also a lot of noise that makes it difficult to pinpoint which suggestions should take precedence. Thanks for your time! Your responses will shape the path that Ninfora will take in the coming weeks/months.
  4. I have removed the sidebar from the front page to see how everyone feels without it. For reference, the sidebar contained recent topics, the popular contributors block, and an upcoming events section. I have moved the contributors block and the upcoming events section to the feed page, and removed the recent topics section entirely since it is relatively redundant. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of sidebars on index pages, and I prefer the cleaner aesthetic plus the modest load time improvement this gives (particularly on mobile). However, I recognise that some people may have preferred this sidebar, so I'd like to get some feedback regarding this change here. I'm not going to make this a poll - at least not yet. I'd like to see some genuine discussion, and only create a poll if you guys find this to be a polarising change. Similarly, if there are any other forum statistics or blocks that you would like to see added/moved/removed, this is a great place to let us know.
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