On 25th January 2019, UKMIX will celebrate its 20th anniversary
- happy birthday UKMIX! I've been resident at UKMIX now for nearly 13 of those years, and it continues to mean a great deal to me - as it does for many other posters.
As the 20 year milestone approaches, I wanted to take the opportunity to make some announcements, as there will be some significant changes coming up.
Chief among those changes is that current site owner Lars will be moving on. After 20 years at the helm, Lars isn't able to devote the time needed to maintain UKMIX and to drive the site forward. And UKMIX isn't able to move forward in the way it needs to if we continue as we are. The contributions that Lars has made to UKMIX over the years (particularly early on) cannot be overstated and though it doesn't always appear to be the case (with the "7 new messages" issue many of us have, and the "Maximum Login Attempts" error we are all experiencing
), UKMIX remains online and functional because of Lars and the work he has put into UKMIX. And we continue to enjoy it because of him. But the site is gradually breaking, bit by bit. And to move things forward, and to get UKMIX moving in the right direction again, we need some change.
With that in mind, I have agreed with Lars that I will shortly be taking responsibility and ownership of UKMIX - I won't be making any changes to how UKMIX is run (Matthew and Shane will continue to support in their roles as administrators and the moderation team will continue as they are) but I do plan on implementing some changes in forum functionality. So it'll be goodbye to the outdated Twitter feed and homepage, and we will be bidding a goodbye to our fabled reviews section (which JSparksFan has kindly devoted time to looking after over the last couple of years, in an effort to keep our homepage somewhat fresh). A change in functionality you say...
Yes! We currently operate on an old version of phpBB - I want us to move over to a new forums software called vBulletin. In terms of functionality, that will present an unlimited amount of opportunity, with lots of additional features coming as standard (with even more being possible as part of modifications). But initially, we'll carry the same design over and we'll settle into our new home, and we'll get used to our new software. Some of the exciting new features that come as standard include the use of a user profile that will operate like a mini social media profile (with the ability to upload a profile picture, post on each other's walls etc), the ability to create your own social groups (for e.g. the three Dua Lipa fans might wish to create a Dua Lipa fans group), a new user reputation system, the option to use a new blog and calendar facility, a significant increase in new smileys, the ability to include tables in your posts and so much more.
Over the last 5 months, I've been working with a tech guy to write the coding that will enable us to transfer the forum database over to the new software and create a password hashing system that will enable everyone's passwords to transfer over encoded and confidentially - there's also been around 50 posters that have been testing the functionality of our new software on our test site and they've provided feedback to help me with ironing out any issues (which I've been working through, and will continue to work through over the coming weeks).
In addition to the software changes, I will be introducing a paid Premium User functionality to help fund the running costs of the site, as I'm keen to avoid using Google's advertising system which is very restrictive in terms of the content it allows - I'm currently finalising the details on this but it'll likely cost in the region of just $12 per year, per user and will allow for an enhanced user experience (with those who opt support the site in this way having access to a huge amount of additional features - those that don't want to become premium members will still be able post with the same options they have at the current UKMIX). It would be awesome for those that can afford the $12 per year cost to seriously consider contributing to the site in this way, as it will help cover the running costs which I will otherwise be covering (and the additional features will be pretty cool).
Once we're live, I also commit to reviewing the outputs of the last Feedback Survey we did in 2016 and ensuring that where possible, the actions agreed upon are implemented. And once we're settled, we'll do another feedback survey to understand what exactly the community wants and to take on board any ideas to help us grow.
There's far too much to cover with one post but in terms of timescales, I will be working with Lars to complete the transfer over the coming weeks (with everything hopefully sorted by February) - at the point we do the transfer for real, the site will be offline for a couple of days but I'll communicate firm dates soon.
Over the next week, I will also confirm the details of the premium user facility and once finalised, will confirm how you can purchase the premium membership feature. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please post them in this topic.