Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So, You Want My Business...

I probably haven't mentioned it before. I am my guild's webmistress. Now, this is just a fancy title to cover up the fact that I find a guild hosting site, monkey around with what little coding I know how to change to make the site red and black and have a nice banner graphic. Then, I sit back and authorize members. Well, hubby had made a nice splash page that I was only partly responsible for, and one of my guildmates had noticed the coding for the enter button was wonky. After granting him access so he could fix it , he noticed many problems with the coding in other places on the site. This was not due to my monkeying, so he contacted DKPSystems. They said they had no plans to fix it to make it compliant. No Plans. I pay for this service. The discussion began on what to do when the site went up for renewal. I offered up stay here, move back to GuildPortal, self host, or better idea. The guild was split in three, with the comments basically stating that they would go wherever the site administrators wanted. Well, our site was ready to expire, and I only had 9 out of a potential of over 50 or more active members responding, so I went to renew, just for a bit, so a decision could be made. I can't just post the new site up on the info tab in World of Warcraft. Our membership spans several games, because we try everything that comes out. We have members in the military who visit the site when they can when on duty. We have members who have left gaming and joined the real world (shocking!). We have some members that refuse to enter another mmo unless it is Star Wars. So, we have to annouce changes on our web presence, however craptastic it may be. I didn't want to renew with the package someone had prodded me into getting mid way through Burning Crusade (it included dkp tracking and other neat things raid leaders like to have), because we're at a raiding standstill, and have grown beyond needing points to buy things. We roll on everything, passing when we know someone can benefit from an item more than we can. We're just cool that way. So, I let the site expire. I had a note to support asking how to downgrade the site, since we didn't need all the services we were paying for. NO RESPONSE. Well, if I had even been considering staying there just to save me some work, that notion had gone the way of the dodo. I was done. I used my card, paid for three months, and posted the stay tuned for moving instructions post on the front page.

The decision? We will be a self hosted site. I hate leaving behind all the forum posts. History takes a dive. When DKPSystems sites expire, they are blocked. When GuildPortal sites stop paying, they revert to free. And your forums are still there. So, I can go back and read all that history from Star Wars Galaxies, our stumbling into different other games. I will never be able to go back to the more than a year of history in our DKPSystem forums. This saddens me. Do I want to do a straight copy and paste of all the forum threads? No. Ugh. I think I will find the juicy bits, and scrap the rest. I haven't found a way to export that from them, though they have a tool to import forums.

If you have any pointers, I welcome them. Hubby already has a site where he has an active forum community, so I am sure that we will not have a problem with setting up shop. I guess what I want is an easy WYSIWYG editor for a blog style news page, with side bars that can hold such info as who is on Ventrilo, a shout box (they love that stuff!), a calendar everyone can use to make raid signups (should we ever get back into it), and links to what we like to visit.

Sorry about the page long grumpfest. I stil haven't heard from DKPSystem about downgrading, and I asked three days ago. I let my guild down by letting the site expire for a full day. I'm mad, and hormonal. This is not a good combination. Anyone have a chocolate bar?


Kestrel said...

I don't do that stuff anymore, but as I recall, most of the free forum software available to you from your webhost will allow almost all the stuff you want to do. I think phpBB is one of the best, most popular, and easiest to use of the free offerings.

If you all want to spend a bit of money, then I unreservedly recommend vBulletin; however, the license does need to be renewed annually.

Good luck!

Leiandra said...

I use phpbb3, with hosting sites like siteground, you can actually have it installed pretty much for you. But yes, there will be customization.

EQdkp-plus is a pretty sweet dkp system with a lot of those whistles and bells. You do have to pay for it (not much), but it's a one time payment. Or if you want ads, it is free, but who wants that?

We can talk if you want to talk about features or programs that are already out there.