Just going down the list, so forgive the randomness.
It's very difficult to take posts like this seriously, or even feel bad when they occur. Here's why.. not once have you ever PM'd me with an issue. Collaborations are still welcome on this site, by anyone, as long as they show their work and/or write their posts with as much detail as possible. Collaboration doesn't happen in moderator or donor forums. Each of the moderators do their work privately, on their own, and it stays that way until they have factual information to present to the community. We don't want to deal with "I think this is right" or "maybe I messed up".. we try to get it as right as possible because so many people come to us for advice and help.
Here are screenshots of the three hidden forums on this site:
- Donor forum
- Senior forum
- Moderator forum, there is only one thing blacked out because it's personal information.
We have nothing to really hide. The only things that are done behind closed doors are things like guides that need SERIOUS tweaking, we are talking very very rough drafts, and Twintop's BiS list. Giving an example, Twintop will start a rough list on his own, then once he feels it's in tact enough to be proofread, he puts it on the Senior forum. I end up going through the list about a dozen times myself before it goes live; I check tooltips (sooo many have tooltip errors or different stats listed that he has to change), gemming, names of items (lots are wrong), etc. There's always a huge list of mistakes, and we put things like that where they're limited because it's just not finished enough to put publically.
Regarding locked threads: I don't honestly know everything that's been happening on site. I've been largely MIA since mid-July because I needed a break from the game to focus on personal things, which included a cross country move from New Mexico to Virginia. If you look at the screenshot of the mod forums, there's a thread titled "locking threads" from November when I was made aware that some threads were being locked for ridiculous reasons. If that's happening, it needs to be brought to me.
Criticism: I actually handle it very well, then it's constructive and not rude or condescending (which is the opposite of constructive). When one person posts in a thread "omg the mobile site is god awful pls fix halp" and I go and see the mobile site (which was, in fact, god awful), then okay. I don't need more posts saying the same thing over and over. What you missed from the feedback thread was the messages I received on site, on facebook, on twitter, etc. There comes a point where it's overwhelming, and where you feel like no matter what you do someone's going to bitch about it because it isn't good enough for them. When that point comes, you can likely expect it to be met with unpleasantness. Also, crowdsourcing is good for things like "there's too much white", but not so much for things like "mobile site's broken, this is broken, that's broken".. We only need ONE of those reports.
Anyone can post whatever they like on this site as long as they follow the forum rules. Everyone's well within their right to post in that thread, yes, but being redundant and yes, making it an echo chamber, was unnecessary. Disrespecting me, any other mod, any site user, and the developer who is creating this wonderful site is where I draw the line.. That's where it becomes "well within their right" to "you're about to get a warning for breaking common rules of respect".
I didn't announce the changes to the site on a forum post and I should've. I honestly didn't think it'd be that big of a deal and legitimately thought people would be ecstatic with an updated look. That was my mistake and not one I'll repeat again. I'll say that a sandbox/beta link will likely never be provided in these situations. While opinions are taken into consideration (and most def bug fixes), it's not something that's necessary.
Donating $30 or more to the site helps more than you can imagine. But donors are just that, they are not shareholders. Donors get the extra perks, but they (like every other site user) have no say in site operations. Your opinions MATTER TO ME, but because you have them doesn't mean that I need to change everything you think needs to be changed and so on. Donors opinions are no different than a regular user or lurkers opinion to me, they're all equally as important. If they weren't, I wouldn't have made the thread (or have the forum there at all!)
Sephorae is an experienced web developer. She knows what she's doing. She's done work for this site before, she just finished flaskup.com, has done work for riggnaros.com, and countless other gaming related site (and plenty of non-gaming sites). When I see someone come into a thread and say she's "spent a couple of hours hacking a theme", it upsets me a LOT, because I know how many hours she's spent working on that theme and customizing it to what I want. Respect wasn't shown for her and it was very insulting in general.
Speaking of customizing, I went to her on December 29th about having something new done. I told her, "I want something fresh and new, maybe a pearlescent type theme that's more priestly, then trimmed shadowy purple and golden healy". By Feb 27th, she messaged me and said she was "up to her eyeballs in my code". I won't go into details because it's boring, but a lot of the stuff we had with the old template is VERY VERY outdated and there's huge security issues with it. The code was a mess, everything was a mess, using it wasn't ideal or even safe anymore. That brings me to talk about using other templates: I don't have the time. Using multiple templates isn't as easy as "just let us pick". Here is what one of the two very basic themes look like:
If I choose to let people pick from whatever, it's a super pain in the ass for me. We aren't Curse, WoWHead, etc.. we don't have a team of web devs that can do things like this. It's only a few of us. That being said, using multiple templates means maintaining multiple templates. First, I want to point out how WHITE that template is, just saying. There's no where to put a widget, there's no ads, there's no navigation bar, no social networking etc. All of that stuff would have to be added, if it even could be added with that theme. Every time something changes (and things change often), I have to go and edit multiple templates to reflect the change. I won't even get into how much of a pain it is to update the stream page sometimes. Having multiple themes isn't something I'm interested in doing or maintaining, as I barely have the time to maintain the one that's there. Nevermind the fact that every time anything on a theme changes, I'll have to deal with things like I've dealt with the past few days; no thanks. It's not an option, it was never intended to be an option, and I doubt it will ever be an option.
When I first started this site, everyone hated the dark theme. Complaints that I got frequently were "it's too dark", "the font is too small", "the banner is too big", "ugh, ads?!", and so on. I can't even remember the last time I got a complaint about the site after the first couple of months. The issue here is that we literally went from one extreme to another and I realize that it's shocking to many. So are the complaints because you hate how the site looks now or because you're so used to what was here before that you just aren't used to it?
At the end of the day, I'm always going to be direct and honest with you all. I'm always going to be pissing someone off. And there will always be someone who's unsatisfied with whatever hard work we are doing here. The only thing I can do is create a site that *I* like, try to accommodate the majority of users, and hope that there isn't a shitstorm like there was the past few days over it.
In closing, I've gotten FAR MORE positive reaction than negative. The site won't change much from how it is now, outside of bug fixes, icon colors, and perhaps a darker shade of purple. If someone wants to leave the site because they hate how it looks, well, that's their issue. I try my best to do what I think is right and good for this community, even if it pisses someone off. I won't apologize for that.
As a sidenote, I'll be playing in WoD and will be on the site much more. If there are problems with threads being locked, moderators/other users being out of hand, etc, I'm always here for PM. I may not always respond, but I read every single one.