We’d like to thank everyone for trying to be patient during our downtime. A few people started a few conversations on our facebook, and we have received numerous emails inquiring when are we coming back?! We’re terribly sorry for the website down time, however things unexpected happened rather quickly and we were forced to play catch up. We have been busy redesigning what you see here, from what you can see on your screen to behind the scenes as well. We still aren’t ‘finished’, there’s more functionality to do, however we have the basic’s down pat and want you guys give it a starting test for us.
The obvious change you will see is the look of the website. We are working with a now heavily modified theme, using the same software that we used before. This is a testimony to the power of the WordPress software that we’ve chosen to use and stick with, provided that it’s done in capable hands, I might say so myself. The style is a little bland, we admit. But we can work on that later. What we have been focusing on is functionality. And some business matters.
Our official announcement is that this website has now changed ownership from Jason to myself, Phil Hart. Actually Dataforge, the company that I’ve owned and operated since 2005 is the official owner. I have been a semi regular commenter on this blog before, and helped the website during technical difficulties. Jason and I have discussed the possibilities of this change for months, but just last week it all came about very suddenly that he wanted to make this happen.
I like to write, sometimes. Excuse my babble below.
I am no stranger to online communities, I started a quite successful Bulletin Board System in 1992, when I was 14. Here is a newspaper article about me in The Franklin Times. This was before the internet was something everyone ever heard of. I offered message boards on all sorts of topics, online games, and an early form of email. I joined a group of other local BBS operators to create a network in the area to provide primitive networking of the message boards, games and email. Eventually we grew that system to connect to the internet, passing the messages much faster, allowing me to provide, from what I now understand, one of the first publicly accessible internet email systems in my area. My service grew to about 400 active users until the internet became common place and people faded off dialing into a computer in the corner of my teenage bedroom for their connection fix.
At my previous job, I helped to start a local internet service, inet4u. I then helped to acquire and transition to vance.net. When I left vance.net I sincerely hoped to take the name vance.net with me and turn it into an online community while keeping the services it offered. However, after leaving there and bringing my home business Dataforge to a downtown shop I started seriously working on my own community site. Taking notes from past experiences, and keeping up with what was happening on HiH I came up with some pretty different ideas than what this site has been doing. However, I was spending so much time helping everyone else out with their websites that I never got a chance to help out my own.
I had hinted to Jason a few times that I would be interested in helping him with the site and when the day came about a week ago that he decided he was ready to step back we had a serious conversation about it. I presented my ideas to Jason, and had already presented them to other members of the community. Given the condition of the website, Jason and I both thought it a good step to take.
Let’s get on with it. What has changed:
Old Comments Are Gone – Due to abuse of the comment system, complaints about comments people posted etc etc, all old comments have been removed. I really hated to do this, there were some, ok a lot, of great comments there but due to the widespread abuse of the comments over the years it would take forever to sort out the good from the bad. This was also required to make our other changes useful, for without removing the old comments, the following other changes would be pretty pointless for those still left behind.
Old Posts Missing Media – Posts from before today will be missing their attached media until we can sort though them. The problem is that we don’t have all of the media from before, so it will take a while to find and sort out what we do have, and if no one is terribly concerned about it it may not happen at all.
You now must create an account and log in to comment. Anyone can read all articles, for free. Anyone can read all comments. However, if you want to make a comment, you must create an account here. All we require is the username you want and a valid email address. Your username can be anything, provided no one has already taken it. Go to our home page, click on Register, enter in a username, email address and optionally a website link. You will be emailed a password. Then log back in with your username and the password, and you can then change your password to whatever you’d like. We do not want your name, address, credit card, age, anything like that. Your username will be tied to the email address given. If you do not wish to create an account linked to your current email address, we suggest you to sign up for a new email address at a 3rd party service such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo!.
Verified Accounts – A verified account is a user that has submitted proof of identity to Home in Henderson staff. This account will show the text [Verified Account] beside your username on your article and comment posts.
If you are creating a new account for the purpose of a Verified Account your username MUST be your real first and last name that you go by (for example “John Smith”), or if the account will represent your company or organization the username must be the represented company or organization name (for example “The Hot Dog Stand”). After creating and logging into the new account you wish to verify, please contact Home in Henderson staff to perform the verification. We will require to see your personal identification, and if for a company, proof that you are an authorized representative of that company.
It is NOT NECESSARY for the majority of users to make a Verified Account. Although anyone can use it, we expect this feature to be most beneficial to people known in the community like a government official or staff member, a business owner, or a company wishing to post about their services. These people want other users to know that it really is the person listed on the account, and not an impersonator. It is perfectly ok, and understood, that an individual may have multiple accounts, for example 1 Verified Account and also 1 non Verified Account. However each account must use a unique E-mail address.
All that stuff above is on the registration page as well.
Verified Account’s don’t work quite yet, but by the time we have any verified accounts to verify I think we’ll have that function ready.
Comment Ratings – You can now ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ a comment. Anyone logged in can do this, however you can only do it once per comment. Everyone is encouraged to like and dislike comments. If a comment gets a certain number of dislike’s the comment will automatically be hidden from view. A message will be shown that the comment is hidden, and you can click to unhide it. This dislike feature is for the purpose of something you simply disagree with, find it off topic or distasteful, to the more serious that you find it false, offensive, racist, or hateful. Such comments will not be removed, they can now be automatically hidden. This keeps everyones right to free speech in tact, while still causing the message to not be viewed readily. If you are easily offended, simply don’t unhide such messages.
However, the rating system is not for messages that you may think are in any way illegal such as libel. For that, your only option is to report the comment to our staff.
Report a Comment – This is one of the features we’re still working on, but in the next few days we expect to have this ready. For each comment there will be a report button. You should report a comment if you believe it to be ‘illegal’ such as libelous or encouraging an illegal activity, such as drug use, or child pornography. When you report a comment, a message is sent to our staff the comment that was reported, and the reason you specified that it was reported. The author of the comment will receive a message that their comment was reported, who reported it and the reason given. The comment will be evaluated by our staff to see if it is possibly an ‘illegal’ comment. If deemed an illegal comment the comment will be removed from the page. If a comment reaches a certain number of reports before we can respond to it, it will automatically be removed from the page until we can look at it. This report a comment feature is the only way to notify us of a comment you believe should not be on the site.
Remember, the report a comment feature is for something you believe to be illegal. If you report a comment and your reason is “This comment is racist”, or “This comment attacks my religion” or “This comment said the sky is neon green and that’s a lie” then the report will be invalid and the comment will go back up. If you disagree with a comment, you should ‘dislike’ it instead of reporting it.
We are still working on the website. Still working on some important features like advertising. Enjoy the website with no ads while you can. So you may see the site changing around, or giving a weird error while we are still working on it. I’d like to thank my wife for helping with this transition, but we have a long way to go still. The site will be live now so you guys can start with the commenting fun again, and we’ll continue to add back in things as soon as we can. It may take some time for us to get the swing of some things, so please be patient with us. I hope you can find enjoyment in this community once again.