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Goodbye vBulletin 4, hello XenForo! (ongoing announcements; report issues)

Dan

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Experimenting with rearranging the subforum order. The more social (and much busier) groups are above the more professional groups. I think having the Planning and the Built Environment subforums at the top, to give the impression that Cyburbia is really a professional site, is less critical now — especially given the popularity of professional discussion groups on social networking and news aggregator sites like Facebook and Reddit.

A shortcoming --FAC regulars may not scroll down to see the planing-related posts. Let's see how this works for a week or two.

EDIT: Never mind. I think folks might be used to the FAC where it is, and not scroll past the planning-related subforums.
 
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Dan

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Ahhhhhh! A nice healthy purge of:

* Users with 0 posts, who haven't visited Cyburbia in a year or more. NHPlanner did a purge of some older 0-post members a while back. I just squeezed out a bit more.

* Also deleted the banned spammers with 0 posts. A minor shortcoming -- they could re-register, as one already did. (From India, but through a server farm in Denmark. We now completely block registration from IP addresses in India and a few other countries with a very high spam-to-legitimate-user ratio.)

Some message boards don't purge, but I thought it was about time. (I'm glad NHPlanner did it while I was in the distant background the past couple of years.) It makes the membership count more accurately reflect reality, and reduces bounced emails from notices.

 

Dan

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Added a few more smiles.

:shrug: Shrug

:dd: Debbie Downer

:il: Illinois

:wi: Wisconsin

:mullet: General contractor

:flamingo: Flamingo

:ca: California

More this weekend.
 
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Dan

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Added more smilies. This is getting ridiculous. :D
 

Dan

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Added a regular expression to control new user names. New user names can include the letters A-Z (uppercase and lowercase), eth and thorn, numerals 0-9, spaces, and period/full stop, hyphen, and underscore symbols.

Names can’t start with a space or non-alphanumeric character. They also can’t use accented letters, Cyrillic/Arabic/Hebrew or other non-Roman alphabets, Chinese/Japanese/Korean, other symbols, or emoji. Sorry, but your username can’t be 👉👌 or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Removed Google Plus from the "Share this page" widget.

Directing search engine bots to stop trying to crawl long-gone parts of the site. This should help accelerate the now-slow reindexing of the site, and boost the number and placement of more content-rich pages on Google and Bing.
 

Dan

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Added a few more smilies,
 
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Dan

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I tried to edit a longer message, and got an error. Again, something probably related to the site's firewall. I'll have a look tonight.
 

Dan

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Why'd the total message count go down? I did a long-needed purge of the (hidden) spam subforum. I originally saved the spam messages for "research". Most forum spam now takes the form of profile links from new users, and we catch them pretty quickly.
 

Dan

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The Career Development and Advice forum is now Workplace and Careers. The scope is a little bit broader, with discussion about the "daily grind" also welcome.

The Economic and Community Development forum is now Community and Economic Development.

The Student Commons forum is now Student Union.

💑I merged the Announcements forum into the Job Board forum, and changed its name to Jobs and Announcements. Same rules apply.

✂ I deleted the Plannersphere forum, after moving its threads into other relevant forums. Feel free to post links to interesting news articles or blog entries in other forums, with your thoughts about the content as a conversation starter. Don’t just post a link alone, like on some other web sites (coughRedditcough).

✂ The long-dormant APA Los Angeles Chapter forum (previously hidden) is gone. I moved relevant remaining messages to other relevant forums, and deleted posts announcing webinars, lectures, job listings, and the like.

✂ I also deleted another dormant forum, Perry’s Cantina, which served as a proto-blog from the late Perry Norton, FAICP. I moved its messages into other relevant forums. Some Perry's Cantina threads date back to the late 1990s. The moved threads don’t have any tags or prefixes with their original source, but participants in most of them include Perry Norton or Earl Finkler. If you stumble across an interesting old Perry’s Cantina thread or post deep in one of the forums, feel free to upvote, or add a comment. There is no such thing as a “zombie thread” on Cyburbia. :)
 

Gedunker

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I’m really liking XenForo on mobile devices Dan! Very quick loads and nice, clean look.
 

Dan

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I’m really liking XenForo on mobile devices Dan! Very quick loads and nice, clean look.
Thank you! So far, no problems with slowdowns, except for some minor drops in speed when I'm making backups or doing something processor-intensive behind the scenes.

Today's update - another style to choose from. :)

Untitled.jpg
 
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Dan

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I increased the number of posts per thread page from 20 to 50. I'm hoping this will help make threads more "content rich" in the eyes of Google and Bing, make them more likely to be indexed, and increase their position in search results.
 

Dan

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Even though the back end control panel is fairly simple, I'm always finding new features to play with. For example, you know the little alert notification thingy on the top right of the screen? I can send an alert to everybody, or users who meet certain criteria. I can send a poop emoji alert to everybody if I wanted to. I won't, though. I'm nice like that.
 

Dan

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A higher resolution Cyburbia header/logo image will now display on a retina/high resolution display.

Mobile phone bookmark icons should display in full resolution on your iPhone or Android home screen.
 

Dan

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Upgraded to Xenforo 2.1.1. (Phwew. It's the first time I upgraded XenForo.). Please let me know about any problems or issues here.

EDIT: There's a bunch of new features (see the link for some), including Facebook-style likes with like, love, haha, wow, sad, and mad faces. I'm not a fan of the whole "K" think for numbers of posts, threads, and views in a forum, so I might dig into the code and change that.
 
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Dan

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I uploaded new favicons before the update, with its colr matching the "new Cyburbia" theme. Are you getting no favicon, or something for a different Web site?
 

Hink

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I uploaded new favicons before the update, with its colr matching the "new Cyburbia" theme. Are you getting no favicon, or something for a different Web site?
I am getting none. It looks like a little piece of paper.
 

Dan

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EDIT: let me try working on it tonight. I'm having the same issue in Chrome, but not Firefox.
 

Dan

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This is a line chart of Google index coverage of https://www.cyburbia.org. This is a good thing.

Just before the switch from vBulletin 4 to Xenforo 2, and from the http to https to URL, Google had 44,240 Cyburbia pages in its index. This included the Forums, image gallery, and the few blog and article pages.

After the conversion from vBulleitn to Xenforo, Gallery removal (for the time being), and http to https switch, search engine coverage plunged. There's a redirection script to redirect traffic from old vBulletin-generated addresses to new XenForo addresses, but it seemed like Google wasn't indexing many of the "new" pages. Also, it looked like Google was going to keep them out of its search engine. Google's crawlers and indexers marked tens of thousands of threads as "discovered - currently not indexed / status: excluded.". This often means that Google thinks the pages have low content -- that they're not worth indexing.

A little over a week ago, there was a sudden, massive bump in the number of indexed pages on Google. Today, 52,726 pages on Cyburbia are indexed in Google, and only 61 are "discovered - currently not indexed" There's another 30,608 pages that Google didn't index, but they're all either vBulletin addresses with redirection to their Xenforo equivalent, or nonexistent Gallery pages with redirection to the Cyburbia Forums home page.

What does this ultimately mean? More results for pages on Cyburbia in Google searches, possibly more visitors, and hopefully more members. :)
 

Dan

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You can new register and log onto Cyburbia using your Reddit account!
 

Dan

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Slowly starting to restore higher quality versions of custom member-uploaded avatars to the accounts associated with them before the XenForo conversion. This doesn’t include the old stock Cyburbia Forums avatars (.zip file, if you're interested). I’m not replacing any avatars uploaded after January 3.
 
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Dan

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Like this, same as on a laptop.

 

Dan

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There's a lot more duplicate accounts out there than I expected. Some people had three accounts, and I found one with five. I'm assuming most of the dupes are from forgetting usernames, or being unable to recover a password. Even though most of those duplicate accounts haven't been active in years, I'm merging them as I find them; usually the oldest accounts into the newest accounts.

If you're returning to Cyburbia, and you had an account before but for some reason can't get in, let me know (cybubia a-t cyburbia d-o-t org) or post here.
 

Dan

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According to Google Analytics, visitors to Cyburbia are:
  • Baby Boomers (55+): 17%
  • Generation Xers (35-54): 32%
  • Millennials and Generation Z (18-34): 51%
That doesn't reflect overall activity, though. The average number of pages seen per visit, by age group, is:
  • 65+: 4.69
  • 55-64: 3.09
  • 45-54: 3.73
  • 35-44: 3.20
  • 25-34: 2.43
  • 18-24: 1.65
Basically, the older you are, the longer you stay on the site.

Also, Google's guestmate of Cyburbia visitor gender is:
  • Male: 59%
  • Female: 41%
Not too shabby, considering that many message boards are virtual sausage parties.
 
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Dan

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1. The Environmental Planning forum looks kind of sad. There's threads on its front page that have gone three years since the last post. I'm really thinking about merging it into Make No Small Plans, with old threads having an "Environment" tag or something similar.

crying indian who is actually italian.jpg

2. Adding some new smileys. Have a look. There's more coming.

3. Purging the Gallery.
 

Dan

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All the old posts from the Environmental Planning subform are now in their new homes.

For what it’s worth, traffic to Cyburbia continues to slowly rise. It’s nowhere near the glory years from the mid-2000s — same thing with most message boards — but it’s a positive sign. I’ll post stats later. :)
 

Dan

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There's a new theme you can select. Maister will like it.
 

Maister

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Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like listening to some Barry White and cracking open a bottle of Champale when you've got 'Cyburbia After Dark' selected as the theme?
"...hey baby, you wanna work with me on some amendments to our adult regulated uses codes..."

1568294910045.png
 

Dan

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We had a smooth update to XenForo 2.1.4.

There's some tweaks to the privacy policy. The language is now much clearer.

Visitors who aren't logged in can now access the "contact us" form.
 

Dan

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Restored inline images linked from the old Gallery to their old threads. (Example: the Cairo, Illinois thread.) There's going to be far fewer broken image links in old threads. :) If you had a post that used IMG tags linking to a live image (as of 1-4-2019) in the old Gallery, the images should display again as an attachment, even though the Gallery is gone.

I also converted linked images that are still live on imgur and Photobucket to attachments, in case those sites go away. Unfortunately, a lot of the old inline image links from Photopost are broken, and I don't have a way to recover old linked images from Imageshack or TinyPic. If you see broken image links in an old thread, and know where to find the original image, let me know, and I'll edit the post.

You can now attach up to 50 images to a post (max 1 MB per image, 1600 x 1600 pixels), up from 10. Before you attach 50 images to a post, though, remember that attachments are stored on the Cyburbia server. You can still IMG tags to link to an image on a remote server, which helps save bandwidth here.
 

Dan

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I turned on the image proxy feature. What's that? If someone views a thread where a post uses the IMG tag to display an image from another Web site, XenForo will download the image, and store it on the Cyburbia server for 14 days.

Why have an image proxy? It's good manners, because it doesn't "steal" nearly as much bandwidth from other sites. Also, future releases of the Chrome browser will block pages that use content from https:// and http:// sources. Chrome users won't be able to see threads with inline images from http:// sources. If those images are served from the Cyburbia server, an https:// source, the thread will display.
 
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