Allow me to explain what this is, why I did it, what I'm trying to accomplish here, and what to expect. But first I need to give some back story.
I posted stuff randomly. There was a forum. It was a small forum, but no one checked the rest of the site. No one really cared about the rest of the site, as there wasn't really any reason to. The update schedule was sporadic and whenever I felt like it.
Since the goal of the site was to generate interesting tutorials/articles/reading-material, it seemed natural to turn the power of an active forum into content. I created an article and menu system that encouraged people to write. The whole site was user run and anyone could pretty much post anything. This lead to meticulous perfectionists to just create large arrays of empty menus of "coming soon!" content and swarms of 10-year-olds to create utter crap. This drove most of the long-time members of the community away and lead to the dark ages of NP. The idea was to create a large base of content with an update schedule of "constant", but only about 3 articles of any use came from that year.
Left with pretty much nothing, I gutted the site and rewrote it from scratch (+ 3 articles). This was a closed site where I (and about 2 or 3 others) exclusively wrote the content, but we posted on a strict daily schedule. I'm not sure how I did that. But it did get the readership at an all-time high. The daily updates lasted about a year. NP5 lasted about 2. That 2nd year of NP 5 lacked many updates and the readership dwindled back down to all-time low numbers.
The Dry Erase Board
Since the forum always had its own pulse apart from the site, I didn't really see much point in joining the two. I wanted to add more social features, but they didn't fit in with the theme of "Nerd Paradise". So I split the site into two halves. The academic/nerdy unsocial version was The Dry Erase Board. Intended just for posting such articles. The other half was never completed. Since the only lifeline of the site was more or less removed, this lead to even worse numbers and what few people left demanded I switch back.
This used The Dry Erase Board code but had the "fun" features of NP added back in and was titled back to Nerd Paradise. However, the update model was still sporadic and the only sign of life was in the forum. Thanks to a few key posts with high Google rank or other sites pointing to them, the readership wasn't quite as bad as any of the dark ages, but was pretty much completely stagnant. There was a sporadic update schedule with a somewhat active forum. Basically, just like NP3.
I've started with an immobile site, and most recently I was stuck with one, after traveling to both extremes between. I've learned quite a bit from the NP4 days, and the NP5 days. Both had lots of merit, but neither were capable of taking this site to the next level.
NP4: lots of content from outside sources, site takes care of itself, no control over what gets the spotlight
NP5: lots of content from inside sources, site does not take care of itself, absolute control over what gets the spotlight
NP5 and NP6 were blogs without specifically labeling them as such. Now it is. From your profile, you can start your own blog. Whatever you post, goes public. Of course this is a site for informational/technical blog posts. Not wah-my-boyfriend-left-me blog posts. If you really think you've written a masterpiece, then there's a little checkbox you can check to suggest it for front page content. If the admins like it, then it moves to the snippets pool of content which is featured on the front page and is more prominent and browsable to the casual visitor. So if the raging hoard of 10-year-olds from NP4 come back, the user won't see a drop in quality. But again, everything you post, will be publicly visible from your profile page, and in the pool of searchable content. Yes! There's a full text search page now!
NP7 = content from both inside and outside sources, site takes care of itself, and a fair amount of control over what gets the spotlight
So by now you've probably started poking around at the mysterious new menus. You'll probably notice many of them aren't working. With this release, I'm not going to try to make everything 100% working. The stagnation on NP has lasted too long for me to wait until everything is in pristine condition to make the switch. My goal was to lay down the framework for moving NP forward. I've been coding like a madman for the past few months to create a strong foundation for a lovely technical blogging infrastructure. There are huge gaps in the UI. Many of them I know about and have surrounded them with orange construction cones. Others I haven't, and hopefully you won't hit your head too hard on that exposed industrial exhaust pipe.
This is the giant pool of front-page-worthy content. When you write an awesome blog post, it ends up here.
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This deviates from the format of the standard blog post/article/tutorial in that all subjects are separated into granular chunks. Each chunk is not owned by one specific person. Edits are made freely by a small group of people as the subject tutorial approaches perfection. Due to the meticulous nature of this section and the controlled teaching approach, it's closed from public editing. However, the root node, is available for viewing and can give you a glimpse of what kind of information it will contain.
This is a forum. However, it is optimized for asking and answering questions of a technical/academic nature. When you post a question, you will receive notification of when someone answers your question. When they answer, you can state whether they successfully answered your question or resolved your issue correctly. Then that user gets points.
You're there right now! You know how this works. This may be a good time to mention that the posting experience is identical across the whole site. That said, please don't upload any bad images or illegal music. Technical/Academic Q/A, although not forbidden is mostly intended for the Knowledgebase. The forum is now pretty much a social utility. Let loose. Post anything. Go crazy. Not too crazy. But crazier than usual.
As described above. There's more to it than just writing technical posts. This is the mechanism you'll use to respond to many of the site features. There is a drop box to define which kind of post you're making and more form options appear based on which one you pick. For example, this is how you make contest entries.
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Occasionally I or one of the admins will post some sort of writing/feedback prompt about an issue. Usually current events or some touchy subject. The response mechanism for this is creating a blog post which are back-wired to the original prompt so we can go through them quickly. We'll pick the notable or humorous snippets and post them in a condensed format on the front page.
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This will be the social-network-y aspect of NP. Right now when you click on it, you'll be given a geography browser which shows you all members of that region. A visual interface with nifty stats is in the works, but was too much to finish and release now.
The Nerdity Test
This is identical to the nerdity test on NP6. In fact, I didn't even rewrite it. The code just magically works from the previous version.
Are back! The option to make an entry is on your blog page.
Actually works! Sorry I'm not quite forgiving of typing errors...but still! It searches everything. Snippet posts. Blog posts. Forum posts. Post comments. Knowledge Base entries. Your own messages (not anyone else's, of course). It searches everything.
I actually wrote a spellchecker. If you click "Preview" located on any place where you post text, it'll highlight incorrectly spelled words in the preview.
So there you have it. Nice foundation, terrible UI, lots of holes. Luckily, the first one is the hardest thing to change, so you can expect good things in the near future, especially now that I'll have people nagging at me to fix features that are broken and spew lava at my users. I'll be honest, this is the most unstable version of NP I've released. Most of the content isn't even ported which I still need to do. You'll probably see me post old posts as new ones for the next few weeks. That's why I'm leaving up the old NP located at this URL
. Ideally I'd spend another month on it patching things up. But I've been doing that for several months without anyone lighting fires under me, while at the same time NP stagnated. So here we go. I'm excited, you should be too.