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Upcoming: Epic Transition for EpicSki.com - Page 2

post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ragin' cajun' View Post
For those with internet handicap plates will there be a tutorial of some sorts by the new team?
That's a great question! When the new site is up and running, a good place to start will be the FAQ. It will give you a bit of an overview of the different features, and clear up some of the differences between the current V-Bulletin platform and the Huddler platform. Beyond that, if you search "tutorial" in the new site, you'll pull up text and image tutorials we've prepared on everything from creating a new forum thread to embedding a video to tagging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ragin' cajun' View Post
Will clicking on the old epicski.com get me to the new huddler site? Do I have to change anything to log in?
All of the URLs from EpicSki will indeed still be functional, so all of your bookmarks will work, etc. Your user name and password will still work exactly the same. You'll still go to EpicSki.com, it will just look a bit different.

Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! We're definitely pumped too.
post #32 of 55
Video 2: Take a look at the newest ScreenCast narrated by Stins! Worth watching just for the voice.

Wiki Preview Video 2
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Thanks AC for giving birth to this great site. Did you ever think the kid would get this big?
+1000. Thank you all of you that work so hard to make this site possible. Us flatlanders would go nuts if we didn't have this portal to the life we wish we could actually live everyday. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. I look forward to logging in and getting back up to speed after the transition. I'm going to need to find something to do during the downtime. I guess I should go skiing
post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Thanks AC for giving birth to this great site. Did you ever think the kid would get this big?
There are regularly well over a thousand users on EpicSki at any given time these days, there are 1,364 at this moment on a random Tuesday.

I would at one time get excited when I saw 15 online -- really excited. I can't even comprehend 1,364 different people at a time on the site. I honestly thought the software would break around 50 to 100 (and the old software probably would have!). I also thought there was a limit to how big a community forum could grow before it deteriorated into worthless noise and those who brought value got so bogged down they left or were drowned out. That's why EpicSki was always one of the more aggressively moderated ski sites, to battle that fear but with balance not to squelch the vibrancy of discussion.

But no, I never thought it would get this big. And at the time I felt I was very ambitious as to how big it could grow, but I didn't envision this size.
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Us flatlanders would go nuts if we didn't have this portal to the life we wish we could actually live everyday. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. I look forward to logging in and getting back up to speed after the transition. I'm going to need to find something to do during the downtime. I guess I should go skiing
I was a flatlander at the time I started it and it was the same sentiment you expressed that created the need for me to do something like this. I couldn't ski so I wanted to talk and think about it all day at the office. Mountain living came as a result, but it was lack of access to the moutnains that led to the creation of EpicSki. Glad to see it still serves that need!
post #36 of 55
I have a suggestion to make. I'm afraid it might sound confusing, so I'll try to be as clear as possible.

One feature of the current site that bugs me is that threads will no longer show up under "New Posts" if you have read them, and there have been no new replys.

It would be nice if there was an option to turn this feature on or off, or you simply got rid of it all together.

It is a PITA when I KNOW that I just read a thread that was in the 6:30pm area of New Posts, and now I want to either read it again or reply to it, but it's not there anymore! Now I have to go hunt down the specific forum it was posted in, and look for it there.

For Example, this happened to me while trying to post this suggestion. I read through this thread about 20 min ago, and since no one else has posted since then, it no longer shows up when I hit New Posts. In order to find it I had to go to the Community Announcements page.

I realize that this is a small thing, but I think it would be nice if New Posts (or something different maybe?) was simply a list of threads organized by the time and date of the last post, and it stayed the same whether threads have been read or not.

WOW, That is a lot of typing for a simple(ish) issue.

I hope I haven't been too confusing.

Thanks for all the good work guys!

post #37 of 55
JPH, for the new site, if you find a thread interesting, subscribe to the thread by entering a check mark in the subscription box when you read the thread. Posting a reply automatically brings up the option to subscribe to a thread. Unsubscribe whenever you want by un-checking the subscriptions you want to quit, which will be listed on your personal page at the new site.

In the current forum that capability is in the Thread Tools menu, and lets you subscribe or unsubscribe without posting. This lets you easily find and return to threads, even if there has been no activity by checking your subscriptions in your UserCP. Click on that link. Its amazing, I am subscribed to 5036 threads here, and can search or look up any of them fairly quickly. This functionality is going to be available at the new site as well.

All of your currently subscribed threads will carry over to the new site.
post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPowHound View Post
One feature of the current site that bugs me is that threads will no longer show up under "New Posts" if you have read them, and there have been no new replys.
Since the creation of the "New Posts" page is in process this week, I just checked on the way we're setting it up. Turns out that the threads don't go away, they're just bold if they're unread, and not bold if you've read them. We agree with you that system makes more sense.

Additionally, our subscriptions work exactly as Cirquerider described above. Looking forward to getting goin
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Gill View Post
I just checked on the way we're setting it up. Turns out that the threads don't go away, they're just bold if they're unread, and not bold if you've read them. We agree with you that system makes more sense.
That will be great.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Gill View Post
Since the creation of the "New Posts" page is in process this week, I just checked on the way we're setting it up. Turns out that the threads don't go away, they're just bold if they're unread, and not bold if you've read them. We agree with you that system makes more sense.

Additionally, our subscriptions work exactly as Cirquerider described above. Looking forward to getting goin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13 View Post
That will be great.
Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted!!
post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
Video 2: Take a look at the newest ScreenCast narrated by Stins! Worth watching just for the voice.

Wiki Preview Video 2
Hey now, stins has a great VO voice, she's just got the bad luck of recording in an echo chamber with a crappy headset microphone . If we ever get her in one of my vocal booths she could be the next Sigourney Weaver .
post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post
Hey now, stins has a great VO voice, she's just got the bad luck of recording in an echo chamber with a crappy headset microphone . If we ever get her in one of my vocal booths she could be the next Sigourney Weaver .
One of these days, I need to learn where your user name comes from....meanwhile

post #43 of 55
Sounds exciting. I can't wait to see the new features. Epic is of sufficient size and has enough participation that the Wikis might actually prove useful and dynamic.

Can you include a feature along the lines of:

- User attempts to create new thread entitled anything like "What ski for a jong/intermediate/etc?"
- Huddler intercepts this and immediately redirects them either to the appropriate Wiki, or to the SEARCH button
- A little animated bear pops up on the screen and explains politely that we have these great Wikis to avoid the noise created by such posts. If they post anything like that again, the bear isn't so pleasant the second time ;-).

Oh, and can we have avatars?
post #44 of 55
Avatars are part of the site. Based on input from the member advisory group, there is a very mixed reaction to including them at all, and in the initial launch they are small and animation and flash are not enabled. You can upload your own photos or link to an image, and the resizing is automatic. There are also profile images that are considerably larger. Needless to say, we will edit images deemed profane, vulgar or nekkid pics of your sister. (apologies, but it had to be said)

Related to that, signatures have not yet been programed into the initial version. That may be added based on member input later, but was not part of prioritized changes to the Huddler platform for the first launch.

We can revisit both issues after the move since the site is completely customizable.

I'm not aware of a "courtesy bear" that will advise you of a pre-existing content, but searches seem to be very effective on the site, especially if members use the tagging structure. Tags are menu driven selections based on categories, subcategories and brands, names, places etc that have been pre-defined. We will add to the tag library based on member input.

I like the friendly or annoyed bear, and we'll have put it on the agenda for future improvements.
post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
Video 2: Take a look at the newest ScreenCast narrated by Stins! Worth watching just for the voice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post
Hey now, stins has a great VO voice, she's just got the bad luck of recording in an echo chamber with a crappy headset microphone . If we ever get her in one of my vocal booths she could be the next Sigourney Weaver .
Aw! You two! You're making me blush. Haha, well...for the next video installment, I have to say a HUGE thanks to reducedfatoreo for his audio editing genius.
post #46 of 55
Sounds good. I'm looking foward to taking it for a test drive on Friday.

Stins (just in case you want to put a face with the voice)


You should get reaquinted with skiing. I'm sure there's plenty of bears that would show you around the Tahoe area resorts.

Oh, and add me to the group of flatlanders who uses this as a way to escape to the mtns when I'm not there on trip. Thanks!
post #47 of 55
How well will the new site work with mobile devices? There are some definite challenges navigating the current site.
post #48 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
How well will the new site work with mobile devices? There are some definite challenges navigating the current site.
The new site is pretty solid for reading on good mobile browsers - iPhone, Blackberry, etc. but mobile performance isn't a strength of the platform yet.
post #49 of 55

Wikis/Tagging/Photo Hosting/Profile Fields/Success Metrics

I am looking forward to the wikis as a more effective tool for sharing the nuggets of good information that are currently buried deep in a variety of threads.

How are you planning to handle tagging with customizable tags?

Also how is the Epic photo hosting going to work with regards to automatic resizing (what will the default dimensions be for each photo size? i.e. regular 800 x 600, small, thumbnail), maximum image size MB, maximum number of images, etc.?

Will you have the ability to automatically display relevant fields from a poster's profile when browsing a particular subforum? For example, when browsing the Trip Reports or Snowsports Video Photography, I would like to automatically be able to see what camera and camcorder models that a poster owns/uses. When browsing Ski Instruction, Ski Technique, Racing, or Backcountry; I would be interested in seeing the poster's experience levels/# years experience, certification levels, boot model, ski model(s).

I think text signatures help to build community and should be permitted but videos/photos should not be allowed in the signature line.

What are the metrics that will be used to judge the success of this transition?

What are the phase 1 features? What are the phase 2 features?

Finally, what time (PST) on Friday do you expect to shut down the site & what date & time do you hope to bring it back up?

Best wishes for a smooth transition.
post #50 of 55
The vBulletin search, as broken as it is, does offer up a lot of advanced features we sometimes would find useful even when the regular search works much better.

Any plans on being able to search individual forums, individual date ranges, individual member posts, etc?
post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post
I am looking forward to the wikis as a more effective tool for sharing the nuggets of good information that are currently buried deep in a variety of threads.

How are you planning to handle tagging with customizable tags?

Fantastic questions - some we can't answer quite yet, but I'll do my best.

The primary function of the tags is to help surface relevant, related content. Most users won't, and shouldn't even know the tags are there, they should just find that on every page, there is a link to something else worth exploring.

We have taken a very different approach to tagging in that we provide a large, structured base of tags for use on the site, rather than using free-text entry. For example, if there 5 threads in various forums about Breckenridge and we asked for users to tag them using free-text entry, chances are some would get tagged "Breck", others "Breckenridge", maybe "Breckenridge Colorado"...the lack of standardization ends up defeating the purpose. In our system, you would select the tag (through drop down menus or search) "Breckenridge-Resort" so that all like threads can be accurately linked. I'm not sure how well the analogy will resonate, but think about tagging photos on Facebook - they're so valuable because the only tags you can use are the names of your friends so that all photos of a given person, regardless of source, are compiled together.

Further, our tags are hierarchical so that if there are threads debating the pros/cons of all Colorado resorts, they can be tagged with just one tag, "Colorado-Resorts" and that content will be shown as relevant to all Colorado resort pages on the site, rather than having to assign all 15+ tags (Vail, Breckenridge, Snowmass, etc.) - does that make sense?

Quote:
Also how is the Epic photo hosting going to work with regards to automatic resizing (what will the default dimensions be for each photo size? i.e. regular 800 x 600, small, thumbnail), maximum image size MB, maximum number of images, etc.?
We accept and store the images at their native size, then they are automatically resized depending on how they are used, i.e. if you embed on in a forum, it will be automatically resized to its optimal size there. You can then link it to the full size image to be viewed in another tab or window if you choose.

Quote:
Will you have the ability to automatically display relevant fields from a poster's profile when browsing a particular subforum? For example, when browsing the Trip Reports or Snowsports Video Photography, I would like to automatically be able to see what camera and camcorder models that a poster owns/uses. When browsing Ski Instruction, Ski Technique, Racing, or Backcountry; I would be interested in seeing the poster's experience levels/# years experience, certification levels, boot model, ski model(s).
Very cool idea. I'm not the technical brains behind this operation, but I know that making the users' display custom dependent on the forum would be challenging. That said, as a very realistic first step, for all gear, resorts, etc. users can associate them in terms of "I own this" "I want this" etc. so that when you go to those gear pages, you can immediately find which users have it, see their profiles, find their recent activity on the site, etc.

Also, we can customize the user profile questions over time. Right now we're just inheriting the existing ones found in the user CP, but we expect the new user profiles to get a lot more traffic because they have a lot more functionality. One thing we plan on implementing shortly is adding the "Days Skied Per Year" bio question to users' reviews to help you understand if the reviewer is on your level or not. Let us know if you have other suggestions for user profile questions that we can include on the site and we'll keep in mind the sub-forum suggestion...it's a great idea.

Quote:
I think text signatures help to build community and should be permitted but videos/photos should not be allowed in the signature line.
We have taken all signatures out for the time being, but will consider adding them back in in some form dependent on user feedback. I agree, there should be some ground rules, but that decision is above my pay grade


Quote:
What are the metrics that will be used to judge the success of this transition?
We measure everything imaginable, but at the highest level, this is about taking the great content here and bringing it to a larger audience. That means increasing natural search traffic, finding ways to disseminate content off-site with links back to spread awareness of the site, and lots more. I know that's a bit vague, but we need to get stable first, then we'll unveil some of the great future plans (there are many...)

Quote:
What are the phase 1 features? What are the phase 2 features?
Phase 1 is a smooth transition to ensure that all existing users are comfortable and confident in using the new forums. We certainly want folks to adopt the wikis, the "list" (keeping track of your gear, etc.), reviews, and everything new that we open up, but that will take time.

As far as Phase 2, I'll just say there are lots of plans, but right now our focus is to release and iterate using the community's feedback. So phase 2 will largely depend on all of you.

Quote:
Finally, what time (PST) on Friday do you expect to shut down the site & what date & time do you hope to bring it back up?

Best wishes for a smooth transition.
I think we'll take the site down fairly early on Friday. We're finalizing the schedule tomorrow (Thursday), but expect it to be down in the morning. There is a LOT of data to move, and final set-up that can only be done once everything is transferred, so for all intents and purposes, we'll say it will be down for all of Friday. If we can get it up sooner, we absolutely will.

Thanks again for the awesome questions.

dan
post #52 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
The vBulletin search, as broken as it is, does offer up a lot of advanced features we sometimes would find useful even when the regular search works much better.

Any plans on being able to search individual forums, individual date ranges, individual member posts, etc?
Definitely. Right now we feel like we handle maybe 90% of the most commonly used vB features, and unlock another 200% more in addition. We have every intention of closing up that last 10%, we're just trying to triage with the rest of the feature requests.

That said, as a company of nerds, you can count on the fact that advanced search is high on the list ...
post #53 of 55
Maybe I missed this in the above thread, but is there some sort of system for rating sellers/buyers once you've concluded a transaction with someone? VBulletin actually has this, although very few forums use it (one of the motorcycle forums around yamaha R6 has it). Both a "star" type rating and/or plus/minus rating system along with a brief text description would be great. I also like the idea of restricting someone from posting for sale items until they've been a member for x days and/or made a contribution to the forum and/or posted a certain number of times.
post #54 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
When Ted joined us, he couldn't stop smiling!
Well, that was, until tog started boring him. Can we ban someone for being boring
Yeah, well...oh... that's beyond comment!
I guess I'm just not a wookie...
What's up with the avatars? Were they nixed? (Hopefully, since they are "so third quarter 1999" to quote an awful movie - August)

Oh, now that I've read Cirque's post I see they'll be with us. I see Ted smiling......well . Perhaps we should have a "Pick an Avatar for a User Contest" which would at least make it interesting. Users wouldn't necessarily have to use them...we could have a gallery. Kind of like voting in Year Books.

Other than that it certainly is an interesting time here! Looks like some great stuff is coming this way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Gill View Post
We have taken all signatures out for the time being, but will consider adding them back in in some form dependent on user feedback. I agree, there should be some ground rules, but that decision is above my pay grade
dan
Well here's a vote for the sigs over the 'tars! Maybe we could settle this with a ski off? I could assemble a team here..I assume Ted will be on the other team, so we'll take Cristina!...
post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post
Maybe I missed this in the above thread, but is there some sort of system for rating sellers/buyers once you've concluded a transaction with someone? VBulletin actually has this, although very few forums use it (one of the motorcycle forums around yamaha R6 has it). Both a "star" type rating and/or plus/minus rating system along with a brief text description would be great. I also like the idea of restricting someone from posting for sale items until they've been a member for x days and/or made a contribution to the forum and/or posted a certain number of times.
We didn't make the buy/sell/trade functionality a priority just yet, so for the time being it'll work just as it does now. Certainly a place that's ripe for improvement though...we'll most assuredly get there.
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