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Just a few thoughts, tips or details of stuff thats changing or can be better used on the board.

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Scotty

03-05-2016 2-27-22 PM.pngIts that time of year again .... time to go through all the polls and calculate who is winning the race to be the 16th recipient of the CaleyThistleOnline Player of the Year award. The CTO - POY award was started in season 2000-2001, and other than the Supporters Club / Trust Player of the Year award, it is the only external award recognised officially by the club and included in their year on year stats, a fact we are very proud of. 

An interesting fact about our award is that in the 15 years of its existence it has never been won by the same person twice, although, to be fair, it has often been won by a player who has made such an impact with ICT that he has moved onward and upward at the end of that season or the next. Ryan Esson, who won the trophy in 2010-11 is the only player still on the books who has won it before. 

Last year Marley Watkins was like a runaway train in this poll. He amassed the highest quantity of votes and points for 4 out of the first five months of the season as well as the last two months of the season and won it with 79 points. His closest rivals were Graeme Shinnie - looking to be the first ever player to win it for a second time - and Greg Tansey who both amassed what would normally be a respectable total of 44 points each. Ryan Christie and Josh Meekings rounded out the top five with 36 and 29 points respectively. 

So onto season 2015-16 and with several of the top points scorers from last season gone, it was a question of who would step up and take the challenge this year .... The season started early with our Europa League debut and Gary Warren was the front runner that month winning the Player of the Month and grabbing maximum POY points in both games against Astra Giurgiu.  In August, with a heavy six game schedule, Danny Williams grabbed the monthly honours on number of votes received, closely followed by Ryan Christie and Owain Fon Williams. Christie however jumped into the points lead in the standings courtesy of more of his votes being first place votes. September and October belonged to Miles Storey and it was beginning to look like he "might do a Marley" but up stepped CTO sponsored player Liam Polworth to grab the honours for November and December. Miles was back at it again in January winning the Player of the Month again, but Ross Draper, Owain Fon Williams and Carl Tremarco have all taken it in the last three months. With one month, and three games to go, so a maximum of 15 points up for grabs, there are still 5 players who can win it. Miles Storey currently leads with 51 but he is only 5 points ahead of Ross Draper. Gary Warren, Owain Fon Williams and Liam Polworth are a little further behind, but not out of it by any means. Click on the graphics below to view the current standings. 

03-05-2016 2-56-49 PM.png     03-05-2016 2-56-10 PM.png    

      

 

Scotty

CTO Updated Rules

blog-0405028001338573590.jpgI mentioned in our last blog that we would be updating the rules/terms/privacy/copyright and cookie policies that we use .... and we now have !!!!

The rules, as well as our privacy and cookie policies are now posted and active and can be accessed by clicking on one of the links at the bottom right of the page.

We have done away with the lengthy rule set that tried to cover every eventuality that happened on the site over the last 18 years, or may happen in the future because not only were they unwieldy and unwelcoming for new users, but they were also like a lightning rod for the tiny minority of users

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whose sole function on the planet seems to be a desire to create chaos or discord or to try and get one over the mods by finding something we hadnt covered ... Those guys can continue to play their games somewhere else, but the vast majority of users are not going to be subjected to a huge rule set just on their behalf. We're not playing that game anymore.

The new rules are about as generic as we can make them and although we have added a few specific examples based on things that have happened on the boards and which required moderator or admin intervention over the years, we are pulling back a bit and putting the onus on users to police their own behaviour somewhat.

Lets face it, most of you know what is appropriate or inappropriate in terms of the words, images or links that you post or the attitude you display. If you have to wonder whether you will get away with something you post, or the tone in which you post it then maybe you need to think again ? Thats all we are asking !!!

I know some folk will read this and not bother to click on the link, so for those users, here's a list of a few specific things that will bring you to the attention of the mods. Its not the full list - read the rules for that - but just enough to fill this blog post !

1. Personal Abuse / Agressive Behaviour: As we note in the new rules, we do have a minority of users who seem to delight in this and in making everything personal. We will continue to take a dim view of this and those who want to carry on doing it will soon find out how the new points system works. Its fine to disagree or discuss and debate the issues with someone, thats what forums are about, but you should be able to do it without making it personal or aggressive. We would also include passive aggressive behaviour in this such as posting snidey comments that denigrate someone for starting a topic you dont like. If you dont like a topic, ignore it and dont post in it rather than again making things personal ....

2. Inappropriate Posting / Swearing etc: Its a football forum with a primary demographic of male users of a certain age range. there's going to be swearing and there's going to be things that are perhaps not totally "PC". We are not going to get our underwear in a knot if someone lets the odd profanity go, or there is the odd image or link that gets close to the edge, but be aware of where that edge is. We have an audience that ranges from teenage to 80+ so bear that in mind when posting.

3. Illegal Content: There is nobody who likes to see ICT on the telly over here more than me, and yes I have partaken of 'dodgy feeds' to get that fix, but please dont post those links in open forum. Also, please try to refrain from posting copyrighted material if you dont have permission. We're not saying this to be assholes, we're saying it to protect the site from even the vaguest hint of action from various organisations or the authorities. We have developed good relations over the years with the club, with photographers, with the likes of the BBC or other media, and with people within the SPL/SFL/SFA and we still work closely with a lot of those folks ... it allows us to post things other sites may not get, or just to get verifiable info and such like. We wont allow anyone to jeopardise that.

4. Topic Hijacking: Topic Hijacking is not to be confused with going a little "off topic". We can all go a little off-topic here and there and thats to be expected and wont get you in the bad books unless you do it all the time and all over the place. Topic hijacking is where you purposely try to bring the topic around to your own different and unrelated agenda by changing the topic entirely rather than drifting into off topic territory ... and is usually quite recognisable as it is done on multiple threads if the poster feels strongly enough about a subject or wants to get a topic across. This is tantamount to bully boy tactics and wont be allowed. You want a topic on your subject, then start its own one ... if its of concern or interest to site users it will gather its own momentum.

So thats my personal top 4 .... like I said, there are a few more in the actual rules, but its basically all just common sense stuff .....

With regards to the privacy policy, we didnt change anything there other than making sure you could get to it from the link at the bottom of the page, and adding an additional portion to the end detailing the cookie policy.

The next post in this blog will be details of our re-vamped Verbal/Yellow Card/Red Card warning points system, but this will probably be next week now as the mods are still going over the finer points of it ... we want it to be fair, transparent and consistent and I think it will be ...

Scotty

Too Many Rules !

blog-0732144001338402988.jpgI know some of our members think we never listen, but for the last year or more, the moderators have been discussing tweaks and changes to our site terms, rules, privacy policies and such like and it is largely based on feedback from the community of users as well as a couple of other factors.

Normally, rule changes happen as a result of something bad happening on the site or some member or other pushing the limit and responding with "well, its not in the rules ... where does it say that?" .... forcing us to add yet another line, paragraph or section to the ever expanding rulebook to cover this or that eventuality. However, this time it may surprise some folk to hear that we are going to be going in the other direction over the summer and simplifying them !!!

The reason for this is threefold ....

  1. Almost a year ago (or possibly longer) we received a detailed suggestion and framework from a site member who is neither a mod or an admin suggesting we adopt a system of "golden rules" that relied on the common sense of users to know what is and is not appropriate on the forums at any given time.

    We liked this idea and it formed the basis for a lot of discussion over several months before we put it to one side as we got busy with other. We did however vow to come back to it later ..... well now it is later !
  2. The software we use for the boards - especially as it relates to warnings and banning - has evolved since we started discussing the changes we wanted to make, and it now fits nicely into the framework without too much effort. This was fortuitous rather than planned.

    Until last month you all had warning bars you could see beside your user info on your own posts (but not on other peoples) and we (mods/admin) would issue warnings based on our interpretation of our not inconsiderable ruleset. Sometimes you would get 10%, sometimes 20% sometimes none .... no consistency.

    This system has been replaced by warning 'points' and we can now assign a value and reason for each infraction with specific points awarded - so consistency regardless of moderator/admin personal feelings. Minor things may attract a single point, more major breaches would have a higher points total. Once you reach a certain points total you may find that your posts are moderated for a while, that you have a posting (but not viewing) ban for a specific time, and ultimately of course the "Ban Hammer" is still around ! Its still the same consequences, just a more consistent way of reaching the decision. Of course, if you are sensible and dont disrupt the forum then this is all irrelevant !

    As we are a football forum we are classing these as Yellow / Red Card offences. Get a yellow and all that happens is your points add up. Once you reach a certain number of yellows you get what in football terms would be equivalent to a 1 or 3 match suspension (moderated/suspended for a short length of time). Get a red card offence and you will either be moderated or post-banned but eligible to return after the suspension is served ... unless its so serious we remove your account privileges forever. All points are valid for 14 days and automatically disappear after that so again there is consistency and no bias in the matter as the system does this all automatically.
  3. The final reason for implementing this is because, under European law, we now have to add another page to our terms detailing our cookie policy and this would mean new users having to wade through Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Forum Rules, Copyright Notice and Cookie Policy before joining .... I am tired just thinking of this.... let alone reading it. We want to simplify all this so you can basically enjoy the site, use common sense to govern your own behaviour, and only need to refer to the rules/policies if you have a specific query.

So what to expect ????

We havent quite worked out the full details yet, but you can expect the Terms of Service, Forum Rules and Copyright Notice pages to be rolled into a single Rules page that is shorter and vastly easier to read than the original. The current pages run to about 4000 words of legalese that we have had to add over the years. The new draft is about 1500, and although that might sound a lot, its written in plain English so sometimes takes more words to express the same thing !!! I would say that overall, the document is about 25% of the size of the original ! By the time it gets to final draft, the rules may be even shorter if we can manage it !

We are not going to get rid of the privacy policy as we feel it is necessary to inform users of how we deal with privacy and other concerns and of course we are also mandated to now have cookie info which may or may not be part of the privacy page. These will be linked to in the rules rather than printed in full.

....... more to follow soon including details of new rules, the points system, and privacy/cookie policy

Scotty

blog-0388371001335492024.jpgWe have enabled a feature that we hope will make life easier for our existing members and also maybe gain us a few new ones who perhaps cant be bothered registering and just want to sign in .... Facebook and Twitter integration.

We already push our own articles (previews, reports etc) out directly to CaleyThistleOnline's Facebook and Twitter pages, but now you can sign in here using them too !!!

There are three basic scenarios:

  1. blogentry-2-0-49225800-1335489894.png
    If you are not registered, but you have a facebook or twitter account, you can now login using that ... just click the icon next to the sign in link at the top of the page ... this will take you to the page where you need to authorise our facebook or twitter app to log you in and after that it will just ask you a few questions needed to setup your account here ...


  2. If you already have an account here and your facebook or twitter account is registered to the same email address, then signing in with the same facebook or twitter button at the top of the page will link it to your existing account and you can use that to login in future if you wish. This might prove handy for those folk who sometimes forget their logins or who like things a little easier than having to remember multiple passwords.


  3. blogentry-2-0-37602400-1335490602_thumb.
    If your facebook or twitter account is not registered to the same email address as you use here, or you want to do it manually, you can also do this by editing your profile .... go to your "My Settings" page by clicking on your name up at the top of the page when logged in and selecting it in the dropdown. When the page loads, you will see a link to 'manage Facebook' and 'Manage Twitter' on the left side of the page. Once there, just follow the instructions to add Fb or Twitter to your account and synchronize it.

Once facebook or Twitter is connected to your account you can login using either of them, or your normal forum login and you also have the option to push your CTO status out to either account or to import your facebook or twitter status in here ..... you can also promote new topics you create to your facebook page or twitter account and all sorts of other stuff ......

This is the first in a number of changes we are going to be making to the site in an effort to make it easier for users to interact with each other on the site here and with friends or fellow fans on social media

As they say ... watch this space !

Scotty

blog-0514909001327000832.jpgIts been a few days since our last entry and we thought we would introduce one of the new features of the board to you ....... "shared media"

You know how it is, you are happily adding stuff to the forum and you think .... "mmm, I already uploaded an image or file that I need to add in here too, or that would be perfect for this thread ...."

In the last version of this software, you would need to go hunting on the site, browse your hard drive or perform a google search to try and find that file or image then upload it or link to it and all that palaver ... but no more !!! To help you with all of this in the new forum comes the "My Media" link.

Next time you are typing a forum reply, have a look up to the button bar and you should see this one nestled in amongst things

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Clicking on it will bring up a popup called your Media Library .....

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You can add anything you previously put into a post as an attachment .....

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EXAMPLE:

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You can add a link to a photo album you uploaded .....

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EXAMPLE:

You can add any individual picture from a gallery .....

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EXAMPLE:

You can add a link to an event .....

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EXAMPLE:

You can add a link to a blog entry .....

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EXAMPLE:

You can add a link to a downloadable file .....

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EXAMPLE:

Happy Media Sharing !!!!

Scotty

blog-0047668001325525333.pngNow that the first few days of the new version of the site are over, and we are into a new year, its time to blog about the numerous ways to find content across the whole site .... this has drawn a lot of questions, some users have figured it out, but it has also left a few folk scratching their heads.

On the old version of the site you could use the search function to search for keywords in posts and bring up a list of topics containing those words. This functionality is still there. You could also use the "view new content" link on the forum index to see posts that were made since your last visit. This too is still there.

However, both systems have been beefed up a bit, and because we are now using the forum software for our articles as well, the search and view new content functions now spread across the entire site instead of just the forums.

Both features are still in the same place, right below each other on the header ...

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Lets talk about searching first .... its easier to explain !

SEARCHES

Search is easy, you enter the word you want to search for, and it will search by default in whatever section of the board you are currently in ... so if you are in articles, it will search articles, if you are in the forums, it will search forums etc ....

If you want to search a different area from the forum or site area you are in, just click the name beside the magnifying glass and you can select different areas of the site ... see screenshot below.

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And thats about it for searches .... if your membership level allows it, you will be presented with a list from your chosen area if anything matches. The minimum length for a search word is 3 letters.

VIEW NEW CONTENT

This is a little more complex .. but in the end, only as complex as you want it to be !

Like searches, the view new content link will show the new content in the area of the site you are currently in so if you are on the front page (articles), clicking View New Content will show any new articles posted in the last 24 hours, if you are in the forums, it will show forum posts for the last 24 hours ..... and so on and so forth.

this is the default "new content" listing filter for the forum for the last 24 hours when I go to view it. If this works for you, then there is no need to fiddle with the settings ....

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So what do you see ?

By default, you see the topics that have had postings in them for the last 24 hours and these are displayed in chronological order with the most recently posted in topic at the top. Just because they are on this list doesnt necessarily mean you have not read them .... In the example above, I have read all the topics, and we know this because the topic title is not bolded, and there is not a little dot to the left of the topic title. If a user has unread topics - regardless of filter - they will show up like the image below instead.....

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On the left, you can click on the link to change the content type ... allowable options are Forums, Members, Calendar (entries), Blogs, Gallery, Downloads and Pages (articles). They are all pretty self-explanatory.

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Once you know what content you want, you can then filter the timeline. Each of these sections can be filtered by 8 distinct time periods .... as shown below

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"content I have not read" shows anything you havent viewed and in this context, because I have read everything, it will show up like this .....

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New since my last visit will also show the same result as nothing new has been posted (no new topics, no replies) whilst I have been typing this blog entry.

Past 24 hours is the default filter and is shown above (where I mention default filter)..... Depending on how often you visit the forum you can extend this to a week, 2 weeks, a month, 6 months or a year ... just click on the entry. The same principle applies to these as to the default filter ... content you have read as well as content you have not will be displayed and those you havent read will show up as bolded and with the little dot to the left. Clicking on the little dot - instead of the topic title like it used to be - takes you to the first unread post.

If - like some users - you only want to see topics listed that you have not read, set it to view "content I have not read" or "new since my last visit". These are all tied to your account and will show less items than the other timeline filters .....

blogentry-2-0-29048800-1325526094.pngWhilst the previous two categories of filter can only have one choice applied to them, the "Other" section can have a multiple filters (kind of) .....

Lets say you have chosen FORUMS as your content type, and you chose the "past month" as your timeline ..... for me this would report something like 8 pages of topics .... we want to reduce that ... so the "Other" options can help here .....

If I want to just see topics I follow (topics where I pressed this button on the right side of it) blogentry-2-0-30892600-1325524583.png then I could add that to the filter and it would show Forum topics from the last month which I follow.

If I want to see only topics I have posted in then I would select "topics I participated in" to see topics I have posted in in the last month

If I want to see only topics I started then I click that option and I will see any topics I started in the last month.

Where the multiple selection comes in - and this is the only multiple selection available - is that I can also use the "Filter By Forum" to only search within one specific forum (eg. just "ICT" or "Serious Topics" etc)

[NOTE: to clear the choices made in the "other" section, just click on them again]

In the screenshot below - I am filtering Forum Topics for the Past Month which I started, and which are located in the ICT forum ... as you can see, that whittles it down from 8 pages to 5 topics ! I dont start many topics, just post in them !!!

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A final little feature we should mention, once you have your list of topics ... is the ability to preview them .... just click this little button to the right of a topic title and you can see a section of the first and last post ....

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So there you have it .... clear as mud isnt it !!! Why not just go to the View New Content page and try it all out for yourself .....

blogentry-2-0-62176700-1325526185.png Oh ... and while you are there ..... try out this final little button we didnt mention ! Its the quick navigation box ! another little hidden gem which can be found immediately to the right of the view new content link !

PS - Happy New Year to you All !

Scotty

blog-0351208001325178529.jpgOur younger site members may not get the reference, but our older ones surely will ..... me, I sit somewhere in the middle and cannot really remember Sally Field's oscar winning speech where she made that cringeworthy comment, but have heard about it often enough, and know enough of who she is to chuckle ....

However, its a perfect segue into a blog about the biggest change on the site that some users will notice ... the replacement of the Red/Green dot system for a "like" system.

The Red/Green dots certainly caused comments when we introduced them, and I am not telling tales out of school when I said that most of the moderators had grave concerns over introducing them in the first place. However, we implemented it because some (myself included) thought it would be good, users could vote up the good posts and express concerns over the dodgy or negative ones ... and those same users would be adult enough to use it properly .... but not so.

In the end, some users used it the way it was intended, and we thank you for that. However, some abused it to take the piss, and yet more abused it to partake in cyber-bullying by saving up all their red dots for one or two users ... so much so that we had to create a new user category specifically so we could prevent the serial abusers from applying any dots at all.

Thats not the spirit of what we intended, and its one of those areas where poison can creep into the site so we decided - with the new version of the software - to swich to the new "Like" system which only has positive vibes ......

Users can "like" pretty much as many posts as they want (think I set it to 100 per day, but that can be increased if we want), and everyone will be able to see who liked a post, but it is not possible to "dislike" a post (and I doubt we would implement that if it ever became an option). This is more in the style of what was intended .... vote up the good stuff and show appreciation for those users making a positive contribution to the site rather than picking on users because they are younger, smaller or - in your humble opinion - less intelligent - than you.

As we are retiring the red/green dot system, it seems only fair to retire two legacy parts of that system that still exist.

1. We have already removed the permissions group for the "serial abusers" which prevented them from issuing any dots and they can now issue "likes" to their heart's content like anyone else .....

2. Negative reputation points ... Many users acquired a fair total of negative reputation points over the last two years of the dot system. I am investigating ways to reset these back to zero. I hope to reset all negative reputation back to zero and leave positive reputation untouched, but if thatproves too difficult, the we will just reset everything back to zero and start everyone from scratch.

Scotty

Sticker Shock ?

blog-0013704001325124622.pngWelcome to the new Admin Blog on the freshly updated CTO site ....

We had been warning of an update for months and in the background we have been tweaking and testing the new version(s) of the software but as with any change, when we finally take the plunge it catches everyone by surpise ... including us. Its a little difficult in the middle of a season, in between games and such like, but we wanted to get this upgrade done as we have many other projects on the go and this one has been postponed a few times.

They say testing is boring, but in my working life it is an absolute necessity and it is something we have tried to bring to CTO any time we do even minor upgrades. We have tested this for the last 4-5 months but like clockwork, despite the testing, we always face challenges and this time was no different.

Our last test of the upgrade process went like clockwork ... we took a copy of everything and upgraded it on a test site in about 20 minutes, then spent about a week doing various configuration changes .... so we flipped the switch on boxing day when we hoped most users would be away from the Internet !

Holy **** !!! the site burped, farted and fell over ! The upgrade did not work !!! or should I say it half-worked .... ok, time to rollback, use the backup copy of everything and try again ... this time it did work ... or appeared to !!!! except when we tried to add articles and the titles werent displayed, or when we tried to view the gallery and the whole site went offline, or when we tried to convert articles from the previous WordPress install and everything imported but got totally screwed up and showed itself as a new topic .... 800 new topics in 5 minutes .. .thats got to be a record for us !

Its taken a couple of days, and it was probably good that we had a match today as it forced us to check a few things that were not working as expected and I think the major parts are now working as expected .... The editorial team can now add articles (once we show them how), the gallery doesnt crash the site, the RSS feeds now work, and article titles and such like now work ......

We were also acutely aware of the "sticker shock" for all of you guys who woke up to find a totally different site in front of you. We havent really had much comment yet ..... not sure if thats a good thing or a bad one, but for those comments and queries we do get over the coming days, weeks and/or months, we will try to answer them in here or in the forums.

The new site is progress and although it may not have all the bells and whistles of the previous site in terms of what we could do with the article system (Wordpess is awesome - we cannot deny it), the mere fact that we now have each part of the site integrated into a single entity makes it almost seamless to navigate and over time as we refine it, the experience will be a lot easier for us, you and the editorial or other teams.

Please use the Website Support forum to highlight any issues you may have with the site, whether its a technical one, or something that may not work as expected, or where colours might clash etc. or to request more information about how to use a certain function. We will hopefully try to use this blog to keep folk up to date on whats going on with site development and also to maybe highlight the odd tutorial for parts of the site that have changed .......

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