First off, I'd like to thank all you Cyburbianites for your kind words, regarding both this Web site, and my personal "issues." I'd like to thank all of those who are helping out with moderation and board maintenance, Ernie Sternberg and Bruce Majkowski at UB for allowing part of Cyburbia to remain on the school's servers for so long, and Chris Steins and Abhijeet Chavan of Urban Insight for their support, especially the past few weeks when I was dealing with broadband access and IP issues. Again, without Chris and Abhijeet, I don't know where Cyburbia would be today.
The future of Cyburbia ... no, it's not going anywhere anytime soon. 47 messages were posted to the Forums on Friday -- 47, with just the core group of regulars, and some of the new users that are starting to get into the swing of things. It's a new record. Traffic and new user registration in the Forums seems on the rise. The first hosted bulletin board, for the APA Florida Chapter, is up and running, and more are in the works. Considering the recent success of the board, which can be credited almost entirely to "the regulars," I've decided to keep the site up and running ... at least to the end of the year. If things keep on going the way they're going, the presence of Cyburbia will still be a given in the future.
I'd still like to see more traffic in the Forums, so there's a critical mass that can ensure every post is answered. I think a lot of people visit Cyburbia, post a message asking for help with some project they're working on, and then disappear when they don't get any replies. I'd also like to see more participants on the Forums from outside North America; about a quarter of the new registered users aren't from Canada or the U.S., but they hardly ever post.
Some thoughts for increasing traffic here ...
1) If you participate in other discussion groups where planners and "city geeks" congregate (mailing lists, Web-based bulletin boards, alt.planning.urban, etc.), put the Cyburbia forums URL in your signature -- maybe for a week or a month.
2) Tell your co-workers!
3) When you see a new "new user," drop them a message and welcome them to the board! I'm writing a form letter that I'll be sending to all new users; however, I think it's a good idea to have a more personal "welcome aboard" greeting too.
Now, the other stuff.
The Cyburbia Resource Directory -- this week, I'll begin to cull architecture links from the site, leaving only those that are relevant to planners, urbanists, "city geeks" and so on. This should help out with server load issues at UB; the architecture resource guide doesn't get that much traffic, but queries are processor-intensive.
After that's done, I'll be installing InLink, and we can begin to move good planning sites from the old database to the new; I give it about a month if there's a few volunteers that can help out for an hour or two every week. InLInk allows Cyburbia to have a more Yahoo/DMOZ-like hierarchical directory, and permits goodies like online reviews, editor's picks, link rankings, section editors, and so on.
I'm also investigating a photo album program, so users will be able to create their own photo galleries. City-related photo galleries are very popular, and a gallery can also meet the need for a "best practices" design database online.
Again, thanks to everyone for their support. I dbon't think there's that much you can do to help with some of the other issues I''m trying to work out, but at least you've made a difference with Cyburbia.