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Unread 2014-03-25, 12:45   #1
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Ved
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I had to do some necessary server software upgrades this past weekend and they irreparably broke some things with vBulletin (the base software our forum uses). I also discovered a root exploit that had apparently been hiding on the server for a while; we were non-maliciously hacked a year ago.

Due to these things, for better or worse, it is now necessary for us to get away from the current forums we use. They are old as shit, are insecure, and are not functioning correctly after the server updates. Hell this vBulletin software will likely cease to function soon on its own due to critical things not being able to run; it runs on PHP and some methods used are fully deprecated and are breaking scripts. This version of vBulletin is also no longer supported, and even if it was a free and simple process (which it is not), our forum has so many custom hacks it wouldn't work at all; it would be easier to just start over fresh - probably with a free board with less features, but more secure in any case.

What this means is another total overhaul to the site is necessary, if we want to keep the new forums tied in to the contests and user system and such. This will take a lot of time, and we don't have a lot of time.

A decision needs to be made regarding contests, and the options are (ordered by time/cost from high to low):
  1. Redo the entire contest system, modernizing the site and encourage contests to start back up, but be easier to view and participate in. This basically means making a push for Mecha to become an active photoshopping site again, but comes with the huge risk of no one using the system. I am reluctant to do this unless a great idea comes up/is presented, because I don't know if I can handle it (the last few years have been completely dormant and I gave up and just redirected the home page to the forums a while back)

  2. Try to keep contests as they are visually and functionally, meaning people could submit suggestions and entries if they ever wanted to, but nothing changes otherwise. Would still require a large amount of time and effort to integrate contest system into new forums.

  3. Keep the old contests up as an archive (VIEW ONLY) but no new contests would be possible. Not tied into the new forums/login systems whatsoever.

  4. Remove contests and turn Mechapixel into a forum with shoutbox, nothing more.
I'll start out by saying I'm leaning towards #3, but I'd be more likely to do #1 then #2, because #2 (the way the site has been since 2010) feels pointless to me. Why put forth effort to convert something if it's not going to be used, unless it's being completely redone to be better (option #1)? No matter what we do I plan on keeping forums and some sort of chat/shoutbox available, because that's what has mattered the most over the years - especially recent years.

To expand on my thoughts on Mechapixel, it's no secret that I was into the site a lot more a decade ago when contests were in their prime, but after the dramafest in 2007, that and the decline of contests just killed me. Four years ago I came to terms with the fact that my original vision for Mechapixel had long died, and that actually reinvigorated me - I started caring again. I did the rebuild that you see today and I made a Facebook page so people won't be in the dark during downtimes, etc. Since then I log in to look at the Shoutbox occasionally, and have occasionally tried to brainstorm ideas to make things better.

At this point I want to either fully accept Mechapixel for what it currently is (a small shoutbox/forum for some long-time online acquaintances) and treat it as such as we move into the new forums, OR rethink the creative material and the way contests/submissions and done, and give them another chance. The site is woefully out of date with all the slick technologies going around these days, not even to mention mobile goodies and accessibility.

Anyway what do you guys think about all of that? The site can't stay/look exactly the same, only due to the technical reasons that I mentioned. Since I need to redo that part now anyway, might as well think about what to do with the contests at the same time.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 12:46   #2
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I forgot to mention one other sad bit of news: the Arcade has been permanently shut down. It has a lot of security holes and I'm pretty sure some of our intrusions have come through it, even through shady flash games that we hosted.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 13:06   #3
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As far as contests go I always enjoyed graffiti contests the most, mainly for the laughs.
I think the time, artistic and technical talent for slags became too much for me and maybe some others.
I would still love to see some shopping around here, Aarkie, Repo and occasionally even I throw some in threads and yep I laugh, well not laugh at myself but others.
So maybe not so much contests but even if we had just forums and shoutbox we could have some threads of shop this pic or something.
Sorry if I am not much help seems more like I am just rambling.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 13:28   #4
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I don't think that's rambling at all, I think the idea of photoshopping in threads rather than taking the risk of re-designing a full fledged contest system. Personally photoshopping for me these days reminds me of the Fark days, just messing around for laughs (and yeah, getting votes). If we wanted voting, maybe it could be simple Facebook-like "likes", but I'm not sure a tabulating a leaderboard is even necessary. Maybe an Xbox-style achievement thing where you'd get medals or something, like "50 People Liked This" etc.

I think that kind of thing would be lower risk, because it'd certainly suck to build a whole new system and find out that competitive photoshopping has moved on. I know it has been years since I've even looked at Worth etc.

Also, if you want help with anything, I'm sure there are many here who'd be happy to contribute.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 13:41   #5
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#3.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 13:42   #6
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Ya I would probably say don't spend the ton of time it would take to revamp the contest system. It seems like people just don't have the time to devote to that these days. I don't even really look at the archived stuff much, but I think I would like to know that it is there in case I wanted to. Thanks for taking the time to keep this place going. Event though there aren't many of us left.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 13:50   #7
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From your list, I think #3 is the way to go right now. It is good to go back every now and then to reminisce about some of the great contests we had, so the archive would be nice.

As for future contests, I think that if they were to happen, they'd most likely be contained within a thread stemming from a news story or a picture that's just begging for something to be done to it (see the Putin/Merkel picture recently).

Some type of point system would be neat so that the creator could get some positive reinforcement from it, but that would of course mean a lot of work to integrate it with the new forum software, so I don't know if that's what you're looking to get into right now.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 14:40   #8
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Yeah, #3 for me too. I can't really see the full-fledged contest thing coming back, although it's nice to have the old stuff archived.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 17:38   #9
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Thinking about it, #3 seems to make the most sense. I say that, working with the assumption that 'shopping could be done in threads, in a more casual/relaxed way than the contest system would bring. I still get the itch every now and again, and see the occasional image that would be ripe for photoshopping, and it is always enjoyable to see what some of the good folks here are able to do with those images. Repo, Aarkie, and a few others still get some quality laughs out of me with their work, and if we're able to give them a forum (literally and figuratively), and at least archive the wonderful work that has been done on this site, I think that would be fine. I do feel that the existing work should remain. I'd also be willing to see if there are folks out there on other sites who might want to join in, but that would be down the road a bit, after Ved does that coding magic stuff.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 21:16   #10
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Yeah, #3 is my pick also. Let the photoshopping take place in threads or in quick grafitti like contests.
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Unread 2014-03-25, 23:30   #11
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I would love to see everything working again, but realistically, it's not going to work with only 20 of us here at most. I would say do what you can and don't sweat it, what ever is easiest for you. As much as I'd like to play, I know it's not going to happen as I can't get my work done as it is.
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Unread 2014-03-26, 3:15   #12
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I love lamp.

(and Mechapixel)

I vote #3, as well.
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Unread 2014-03-27, 15:31   #13
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Really happy that most of you are in agreement here. I've been looking for a new system and will start trying some out on the side. Shouldn't affect the live board in the meantime. I'll update here when there is something to show... it will take a while though. I haven't even settled on something but decent options seem to be MyBB, phpBB or even Discourse. Those are all free; the best paid board I've used is IPBoard (Invision) but as nice and full-featured as it is, it isn't worth the price tag for our needs.

I'd really love to try Discourse because it is super sexy and will likely be the future standard in forum software (just in time loading, scales great with tablet/mobile devices), but it will be quite a learning curve since it's in a language and run on a backend I am completely unfamiliar with. We'll see. If not that, MyBB is more likely than phpBB because it is easier to update and it's more secure at the moment (if for no other reason, because it isn't as widely used and targeted by hackers as phpBB).
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Unread 2014-03-30, 21:53   #14
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#3 sounds good to me too. I agree with Dinah - whatever is easiest for you.
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Unread 2014-05-16, 22:07   #15
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#3
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Unread 2014-10-02, 7:45   #16
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I think perhaps I need to crack open the ol' dictionary and look up the word Imminent.
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Unread 2014-10-02, 20:26   #17
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Unread 2014-10-03, 9:59   #18
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