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An announcement

On March 12, we will have a one week open nomination period for a new Advocates Election Committee. The election will run between March 22 and March 26.

Neopoet Archive

We've applied a fix to the archive of our previous site (http://archive.neopoet.com). You should now be able to view all poetry posted up through April 7, 2010 (through 3:17 am to be precise). If you have any trouble, please reach out to us on the technical forum (http://new.neopoet.com/forums/technical).

A few updates

We've made a few improvements to Neopoet this week:

--We've added a new style of notification for private messages (just test it out -- it's a lot of fun).
--We've made the workshop/stream page a lot more usable (we're finally splitting the stream into pages of 10 poems each): http://new.neopoet.com/workshop
--We've created a "delete" button for poems and blog entries (a much requested feature!). (Please note we reserve the right to keep a backup of deleted content in our archives and backups for a period of time). You may also continue to use the "unpublish" feature if you just want to take work out of the public view.
--We've hidden the (somewhat useless) "revision information" field when you go to edit a poem or blog entry -- this will reduce clutter and make the site easier to use.
--We've made an update to the password reset process for new members.
 
We hope, in the near future, to launch the first of our many workshops. If you'd like to be involved, please let us know (http://new.neopoet.com/community/news/wanted-workshop-leaders). One note: if you have applied already, please be patient! We haven't made our selection of workshops leaders yet.

Everett Wiginton

Paul and I are happy to announce that Everett Wiginton (known here on Neopoet as Rett) has agreed to join us as on the board of Neopoet.

The board of trustees is a (now) three person group of members that sets strategic direction for Neopoet.

Rett has been a Neopoet member since May, 2008, and he's served about every way a member could: he's a member of the Advocates program, was a member of the AEC, the group that runs Advocates, for four straight terms (July 2008 - July 2009), including two as chair, and he's been very active in helping us host and administer our chat program. Most recently, he's helped us by acting as the administrator for Neopoet from October, 2010, to present.

Rett has a number of talents that we think will help in running Neopoet. He's a published author, and has significant management experience from the commerical world, including a thirty-one year career in the chemical industry.

We are very pleased to have Rett join us on our board of trustees. Please join us in welcoming him!

Server migration

Server migration is complete!

We've now tested our main server out for a full month -- it has been running very well.

I was on the verge of moving the server over last Sunday but had second thoughts with the storm (and our datacenter's mixed record with losing power). Sure enough, I got an e-mail Monday morning saying that they had lost power and they were operating off their battery backup and their generator (which was actually great news, since it was their generator / transformer system that had failed last time). 

Now I think we are truly and finally very ready to move back to our main server (which will also help us out somewhat financially, since the server we are on now is expensive). I'll likely do this over the weekend.

Among the backup measures that will be in place after the move:

--Live, real time replication of the database to an offsite server (a instant carbon copy of the database) through a secure, encrypted SSH tunnel. Also, a daily synchronization of the server code, including all uploaded member files (such as avatars). The offsite server is also backed up daily by a commercial provider. This will enable a very quick switchover in case the main server goes offline due to a failure at the datacenter. 

--Primary database storage is on a solid state drive, which is significantly better at withstanding physical trauma than a mechanical drive (the primary advantage, however, is random access speed -- it is about 5-10x faster, which will help reduce loading time) 

--Twice daily database backup to a (brand new) mechanical hard drive (providing a historical record of several days worth of data, with at least a dozen or so once a week backups)

--Encrypted backup to a USB drive dangling from the server itself

--A regular backup of the server configuration itself, which will make migration to a new server easier in the event this is necessary 

You should notice a small speedup once we make the switch, but the difference in capacity will be much more important once we start allowing new members to join the site again.

Update today

There will be some downtime this evening (about 1 hour) as we transition back to our original server. The transition itself will be very quick, however we will be using most of the hour testing our backup and restoration tools.

We have several new features on the way, including custom profiles for premium members, an easy "download all" tool, and other improvements.

Update: there's pretty heavy traffic in Brooklyn today (see photo on the left). I'm going to find another day to go down there. We'll keep Neopoet on our Rackspace Cloud server for the moment.

Update 2: the original server is back online, but to play it safe I will run some tests on it over the next few days before transitioning Neopoet itself. It is currently hosting the www.neopoet.com site, and soon I will move over archive.neopoet.com. 

A new look

We heard you loud and clear: the sidebar on the left is much too wide.

Rather than just shrink the sidebar, we'd like to try something a little more radical. We understand screen space is at a premium -- why not use it all for poetry? We've taken the left sidebar away completely (at least for now). In it's place is the new "tools" menu up top. You'll see that all menus are now dynamic -- you can hover your mouse over them and they will drop down.

On the right, we have a "context" pane that shows information relevant to what you are looking at. When you are looking at a poem, you'll see information about an author. When you are looking at a workshop, you'll see a listing of poems submitted to that workshop... and so on. (Just added -- when you are viewing a poem, you'll see a list of other works that author has posted on Neopoet). Please let us know if you have any suggestions along these lines!

While you are experimenting with the tools menu, take a look at the "track all" and "your works" pages. We think they will be very helpful. In the near future we'll also add a page that has similar functionality to the old "your missed updates" display.

We plan on changing things around until we find the formula that's right for everyone. Please let us know what you think.

Site suggestions. Feel free to discuss

This is a few suggestions I have come up with concerning the site. Right now, the site is minimal and looks nothing like what it will when the official launch happens.

. Whether they can be done or not I don't know.

1) Is there a way to lock to top menu bar so it always remains visible?

2) The left side bar is too wide and if there is a way to lock it in place it would be nice also.

3) Need more room width wise for the posts. Too much unused space.

4) The navigation doesn't seem to be intuitive enough yet..

5) Could use some more color

E-mail issues (now resolved)

We figured out the e-mail issue -- the IP address of the temporary server we are using (hosted by Rackspace.com) was on a spam blacklist. Rackspace has helped us take the IP off the blacklist. Some organizations, however, have a delay before they recognize an IP again.

--

Update: we are now routing outgoing mail through our Google mail service (the infrastructure that provides @neopoet.com e-mail for site administrators). This appears to be resolved.

Wanted: workshop leaders!

The core of the new Neopoet is the workshop --

We're looking for poets who will help coordinate workshops. Workshop leaders organize a structure around central topic / element, select poets who apply to join, and make sure the workshop runs smoothly. We expect each member who joins a workshop will contribute substantially -- a workshop leader should only help organize discussion, rather than providing it him or her self.

We encourage you to join us as a workshop leader. Since leaders set the syllabus, the commitment for each workshop series can be as long as you like (a month or more), or just for a single day.

We'd love for you to be a part of our inaugural group of workshop leaders:
http://new.neopoet.com/community/form/9

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