eFiction Update #1: New Design, Social Media, Moderators Wanted

Hey all, Tyler here.

As many of you may know, I took over the eFiction project a short while ago, and promised to provide you all with updates on the future development and support of eFiction. Consider this post a digital digest of what’s new, and what’s to come. I plan to do similar posts in the future as well, so stay tuned for those!

1. New Website Design

As you may have noticed, the eFiction website has been updated with a more presentable design. Here’s what’s new, and what I’m still working on.

  1. The entire website has received a facelift. The goal was to make everything easier on the eyes, and also more presentable and easier to navigate.
  2. The Forum area has been rebranded to Community. This is a cosmetic change, and all old forum addresses should automatically redirect to the new Community address.
  3. The Download section has been updated. While we will continue to link to and support our Github repository, I understand that many of you, especially the less tech-savvy people out there, aren’t all too familiar with Github, or how repositories work. Hopefully this new page will make everything easier and more straightforward for the end user.
  4. A Hosts page has been added. We intend to showcase website hosting providers that have been confirmed to work with eFiction. We are also going to be operating as an affiliate for many of the hosts displayed on that page, so if you want to support eFiction, you’re welcome and encouraged to sign up with one of those providers, as that will directly benefit eFiction.

2. New Social Media

We’ve created two new social media accounts, specifically a Twitter and a Facebook. We highly encourage everyone to follow and like our new accounts, as we’ll be posting news and status updates on both of those platforms respectfully.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eFiction_org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/efiction.org/

3. Community Moderators

We’re constantly dealing with a lot of spam each and every single day, which is honestly a bit of a problem.

  1. We’re going to be looking for Community Volunteers (aka moderators) to help us moderate our Community forums, and keep everything safe and secure. I’ll post a recruitment thread over on the forums within the coming days, so if you’re interested in helping out, simply follow the instructions listed in that thread. (this article will be updated once the thread has been made)
  2. I’m writing an entirely new set of official Community rules and guidelines, which every member must abide by at all times. Most of the new rules are rather generic, and common for any community. So don’t expect anything outrageous here! You can read more on that here – https://efiction.org/community/site-news-updates/new-rules-forums/

 

Still To Come…

And now, here’s some of the stuff that I plan to introduce in the coming weeks and months, as well as a quick glimpse at a more long-term feature coming to eFiction itself.

1. eFiction Newsletter

We plan to create an email newsletter detailing all of the latest news and information on eFiction, its community, and its developmental status. This newsletter will, for the most part, be community focused. So, expect to see featured stories from some of our members, featured eFiction websites from our community, some helpful tips and tricks, and more! Basically a digest of everything eFiction, all in a single email, sent monthly.

2. eFiction Demo Website

You may have noticed that we took down the demo website. Don’t worry, this is only a temporary thing, and was done during the transfer. Basically, I forgot to transfer the demo site. Whoops!

I’m going to be recreating the demo site from scratch, and once I feel confident that it’s ready for public view, it’ll be added back to our main website for display. There won’t be an announcement for when it goes up. It’ll sort of just appear overnight.

3. Community Council

We plan to create a Community Council of sorts. Basically, we’ll recruit dedicated members of the eFiction community to provide us with their expertise and experience. We’ll keep them in the loop on what’s going on behind the scenes, and ask for feedback on new features and ideas before they’re made public.

 

Sneak Peak

The future of eFiction is bright, and full of potential! As mentioned before, my immediate desire was to make eFiction’s main website more presentable and accessible. Basically, turn it into a modern website, so your everyday user could find the information they needed to get their eFiction website up and running. While this is something that I will continue to work on moving forward, this overall vision of accessibility will also make its way into the eFiction software itself.

eFiction Hosting

I’d like to introduce eFiction Hosting, which is powered by DoRoyal. We intend to provide anyone and everyone with a free (or paid via account upgrades) website hosting platform that’s specifically optimized to host fan fiction archives. Here are some of the planned features eFiction Hosting will provide.

  1. It’s free! Every website hosted by us will be given a free subdomain, and can freely host their own eFiction archives. Setting up your eFiction website will be as easy as creating an account on eFiction.org, and launching a new website via the upcoming dashboard.
  2. It’s fast! Since we are hosting it ourselves, we’ll make sure that our hosting environment is always ¬†optimized for our software. Everything will be fast, intuitive, and secure.
  3. It’s automated! If you simply wish to host an archive for your fan fiction, eFiction Hosting will allow for you to do exactly that. Click, start, write. We want this to be as simple as possible.
  4. And finally, it’s also entirely optional! We won’t force you to use our hosting platform, and in fact, our more advanced users might actually want to avoid it, since it does offer quite a few limitations.

Limitations of eFiction Hosting

While our own hosting platform will include the entire eFiction software, it will have a few notable limitations in place. Again, the intention here is to provide an easy to use platform that’s fully automated for the end user. Here’s what eFiction Hosting does differently.

  1. It’s not open source! While the eFiction software itself will forever remain open source, and fully customizable in every single way, the eFiction Hosting platform will be optimized to be as secure and stable as possible. For this reason, we’re not going to allow for our hosted users to modify their site beyond basic edits to the theme, and basic modifications.
  2. There’s advertisements! Every eFiction Hosted website will include advertisements. These won’t be intrusive, but they will be visible for all users. This is how we can make the platform free for everyone, as we really do want to avoid enforcing monthly fees for basic and core functionality.
  3. Paid upgrades! We won’t limit your storage, or how many visitors you’re allowed to have. The core of eFiction will always be free for everyone, and ad-supported. Instead, eFiction Hosting users will have the option of paying for additional and entirely optional features, such as the ability to use a custom domain name, the ability to remove or use custom ads, or the ability to buy user-created modules and extensions. On that note…

eFiction Extensions

These will be provided for everyone, whether you’re using eFiction Hosting, or are running the self-hosted software on your own server. The majority of all Extensions will be free, and created by other eFiction users. Think of this as our version of the WordPress Plugin directory. Instead of visiting our forums, or another third party website, you’ll be able to automatically download, install, activate, and manage, eFiction Extensions from your eFiction Administrator Dashboard.

We ourselves will never sell themes or extensions, but we will allow for extension developers or theme designers to create and sell premium extensions or themes via our directory. This should open up additional revenue sources for developers.

 

That’s about it for now, as far as updates go! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comment section below. I’ll answer what I can, though do be aware that a lot of what I have planned is still confidential, and some of these plans may change depending on user feedback.

Tyler, signing off!

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Jimmi

Awesome. And good luck with everything. I noticed you returned back to 3.5.x, correct? Thanks for everything you do.

Jimmi

Hey Tyler, thanks for the answer. I couldn’t see any new commits on GitHub repo, so I was confused. When I hit on efiction (not so long ago), 3.5 was outdated, so I started to port it as a plugin for our CMS. Now you returned back to this version and I really don’t know what to do now – wait for your new version or continue. By the way, I wrote you on FB.

hollyda

Hiya,

So, I have some questions as the tech mod of an archive that was recently considering moving away from eFiction because we thought it might be dead. It’s not (yay!) and this is our ideal solution. Still, is there a good way to contact you to discuss more in-depth and offline?

Azurite

Good to see that this isn’t dead after all!
I’m all for big plans to find ways to support the software, but I wonder if consideration has been given toward something like having a Patreon, for those of us that want to support the future of eFiction but aren’t interested in hosting with DoRoyal? I also think it would help potentially expedite getting software out (in a dream world, maybe), since, you know, time = money and all that. But as someone who knows little to no PHP, that could be silly talk.