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So today I wanted to take some time, sit down and let you know of the current state of the development of our projects, how things are looking and what exactly are we working on.
Now, you might have seen that progress has slowed down a bit and that has some reasons. As a first thing, we (as the staff) are dedicated into bringing the last final updates to this board for the phpbb era. As you know we are raising money from donations to afford a better forum software, probably vB5. But that can take some time, so we want to bring the development of this forum with its current software to a point in which we can say "we are out of beta". To do this we have to bring in some forum features that are currently being developed from phpbb contributors (so called extensions) and a lot of them are still in development, like the art gallery. Most of the ones we need are finished by now, which means we can now move on to implement the last ones.
Then, there are a lot of implemented, but non-complete features like the badges. There is soon supposed to be a big staff meeting in which we will collect all the badge ideas we've had and vote on each one of them. A new idea here is that we keep badges like 100, 500 posts and we add new "challenge badges" like the hyperactive badge, that will be rewarded with points. Tons of badge ideas but we will have to find out which are the best, implement them and figure out how the point rewards will work.
Then there is a community label update that we've been talking about for months. Better overall visuals for videos and channel, audio visualizers, better support for remix submissions that are currently very limited and the AOD's release to let artists know how their music is actually performing, in live statistics. There is a lot to do here and this one will also require one special separate big mod meeting.
Another huge part are smilies, fonts, emojis and language packs that we finally have to decide on, which to implement. Smilies for example have been here from the beginning and there were plans from the beginning to replace the phpbb's smilies or add new custom ones but again this is one of the things that constantly got "pushed" away by more important matters. A staff meeting is needed for this one too.
Speaking of staff and important matters, a lot of these things not getting done has to do with the current instability of the staff team. A lot of older moderators have retired, some got de-modded over activity minimums, the moderator position has a certain demand by now, it is no longer a rank and nothing else. Our attempt to fix this is the deputy rank that we introduced a while ago that allows users to contribute towards growing this community but with less responsibility and more freedom, which we really hope will work out and spark some interest and that is because we really need it right now.
The community has grown and its services are expanding. There needs to be someone who supervises copyright for the community label submissions, someone who is actively inviting users to the website and the discord, someone who watches over the sub-reddit, someone who is actively moderating forums/chat/discord and all that while having regular mod meetings about all sorts of matters that pop up like new guidelines that we didn't think about in the past AND special mod meetings about big topics like the badges and the community label update while we also try to keep up a good uploading schedule for the community label and making/supervising the contests running. And we are currently 5 staff members in total doing all of that. Furthermore some staff members will soon have a lot of finals/exams coming up and small breaks will be necessary. It is not ideal and it is holding us back.
Rushing all of the special mod meetings in the week can't happen as we are already too busy running everything else and rushing them will have them end up flawed. I do not know how long this will all take until we have a final "out of beta" version of the forum up.
To conclude: We are working on a lot of features proposed recently and some others from a long time ago and we will finalize them and implement them sooner or later. The how soon or how late that will be has a lot to do with the number of staff members. There is a hope that we will get some users joining in as deputies and take some "jobs" from our shoulders so that we can work out these ideas in the next mod meetings. If not, it will just have to take more time. The update of the community label and speeding up the queue will be a top priority from now on.
TL;DR: Due to a low amount of staff members, progress has slowed down a bit, but we are still actively working on getting everything done.
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