State of the website

Posting rules: It shouldn't need saying, but... play nice. Please keep your discussions civil. You can disagree, just don't be disagreeable. And, of course, all of the usual stuff like no spamming. Tex adds: I'll be rigorously enforcing this as we go along. We're probably going to be a small community in a little lifeboat, so we can't have members at each others' throats. This is for the sake of the project as a whole. So when you post, pretend you're speaking in person with your very wealthy auntie who has always treated you wonderfully and currently lists you prominently in her will. I won't be tossing anyone out of the forums because we are all in this together (except spammers: immediate membership cancelation), but I'll delete suspect posts right away.

As some of you have noticed, the website has been a bit unstable for the past month. Not to worry, that doesn't mean it's coming apart. On the contrary, we've been bringing it up to date and beefing it up, making it more secure against hackers and such. That work is pretty much done now. And the LightZone software is completely separate from the website so it wasn't affected at all. (Read more below).

The site software hadn't been updated in almost three years, so there was a lot to be done. I did part of it, and Dan Schiavone of Snake Hill Web Agency did part of it. Sometimes the updating simply couldn't be done without some disruption, and sometimes I made stupid little mistakes that caused unnecessary disruptions (I'm not the pro that Dan is). And we're still occasionally finding files that didn't make the transition to the new site. But we're mostly done now, and the site should be pretty stable for a while to come.

To a certain extent, being "mostly done" is a necessity. I'm preparing for a cross-country move, from southern California to North Carolina. I have much packing and such to do, so I won't have much time to devote to the website for the next month or so. Fortunately, CleanTalk has really fixed up our spam issue. Not a single spammer has made it through since we activated CleanTalk, while over 2300 legitimate users were able to register without problems. We've had a few improper rejections, maybe one every day or two (about 1/2% of legitimate registrations). The spammers were a big distraction and a big "time suck" for tex and me, so it's a huge relief not to have to deal with them.