Hey everyone! It's been a month since the last update, so it's about time for another one!
Let's get right to it!
Part 1 - Early Spring Cleaning
We've taken the old broom out of the cupboard for a bit, cleaning house a little bit, scrubbing some of the various old features on the website which are no longer in use out of the old shower curtain, polishing the silverware with some overall performance improvements, and afterwards we brought in some shiny new furniture to liven up the place slightly! Let's take a look at what's happened.
Due to the teams no longer existing, a lot of website content became outdated, and has now largely been cleaned up to create a fresh groundwork for any new features that will enhance our community!
To reduce the sheer amount of stuff on the front page, some of the older, unused forums have been consolidated into more general groups, or removed. Any outdated threads that got swept up during the forum cleanup have been moved to a newly created Archive forum.
New Announcements and Staff Blog
The Archive forum now also houses the old News & Announcements forum, as we are replacing it with a development blog that should hopefully be more engaging!
You can find all future announcements right here on the OC Announcements blog! You can also follow the blog and set up notifications so you never miss an important announcement!
In addition, we've also added a Staff Blog, which is a nice cool place where we can post works in progress, thoughts and plans for future features and general ruminations about OC. We're hoping it'll be a great way to make the process of forming new ideas more accessible and transparently presented.
Another feature we're rolling out is highlights! A new section has been added to the top of the front page, which will contain any content across the website that has been highlighted. This is almost like superfeaturing something! This allows us to direct attention not only to announcements, but also cool content posted by our members anywhere on the site, as well as big events such as the charity fundraisers!
Creators' CornerSpeaking of posting cool content, another new feature (and the one I'm most excited about) is the new Creators' Corner! Replacing the Community Showcase, the Creators' Corner combines the features of a chat forum together with a gallery, and can be expanded to add any number of additional features! Check out the featured Creators' Corner post for more information!
The Creators' Corner is our first use of the clubs feature, which has a lot of potential that we didn't get to use before, so it kind of serves as a trial for the various options we could use it for. I personally am really looking forward to seeing it in action!
These changes aren't the final transformation of the website, but they bring us closer to a smaller, less cluttered environment fit for a cozy community. We'll continue improving the website as time goes on. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please let us know!
Coming up in the near future is also a rework of our Teamspeak structure - more on that below.
We also want to get started on non-structural changes as well. All the current changes are just a way of laying the groundwork for the more substantive changes coming up in the future.
Part 2 - State of the Autonomous Group
One of the most burning questions people had for us was the state of the Autonomous Group mentioned in the last update. While we don't want to press the task force charged with founding this autonomous group to rush their preparation, we do understand that everyone's eagerly awaiting any information, so we poked them to see what's up. We're happy to report that the group has set up a preliminary founding council based on its original meeting, and are starting to get ready to begin recruitment soon!
We've spoken to the task force about certain things that it would be nice to have as soon as possible, such as any estimated / projected dates about their progress, as well as the name of the new group, however, a good name is something someone should take time with... you know, to avoid naming your community something that's basically 2 words with practically no way to brand them... we were on a tight time constraint, ok?
How Long Till It All Goes Boom?
One of the most common questions / concerns we received was about much time the task force has to get their own website & voice communication platform, before they have to leave. When it comes to time constraints, we don't want to pressure the task force, so we want to be pretty flexible when it comes to the timing. Right now, no deadline has been set.
We really want the task force to transition from being community members to being independent in a way that feels natural, and not just kick people out.
[PvE] Guild Ownership
The [PvE] guild was founded for and maintained by the Event Team, a large number of whom are also the founding members of the new Autonomous Group. Since [PvE] was founded as a guild dedicated to scheduled / regular PvE events, we felt it was only fair and logical to transfer direct ownership of [PvE] to the task force, who have already begun a restructuring process.
Guilds in General
While the transfer of [PvE] was a very easy decision to make, we are still considering our options when it comes to community guilds - many guilds came here to participate in scheduled events, and since that's an activity we're no longer providing, we are open to facilitating a transfer of other community guilds from OC to the new group. Whether this will happen or not is up to the individual guilds themselves, and the newly formed group. While it is our hope that these guilds will have a place to go, the new group might wish to remain limited to a single guild.
Depending on how the various guild leaders, their members, and the new group decide, we'll explore our options further in the future!
The Fate of Minecraft
A few people have asked about this, and while we don't have a definitive answer just yet, we can present where we're at right now.
Our Minecraft server was set up for a team structure which, with the recent changes, we ended up not implementing. As of right now, it still has not been decided whether or not OpenCommunity will keep its Minecraft server. A lot of the founding members of the new autonomous group were the most active users on the server, and as such, we did offer to send them the world file, so that they may set up a server under their control, and continue playing.
For now, the Minecraft server continues to run on the OC servers, but in the future it may be transferred over to the autonomous group, if they so choose.
We are planning to update the Teamspeak soon, to facilitate a better, more cozy environment for our members, but we'd like to update it all in one go, together with the new area for the autonomous group, since we'll be reducing the OC event areas.
Currently, we are waiting to hear from the task force, giving them the time necessary for them to consult each other and come up with an idea for what they'd like in their own area.
In order to make the transition from OC to the new group easier, and more visible, we also offered the new group the option to use the clubs feature on the OC website, at least for the transition period from this community to independence. To view the various features of a club, you can check out the Potato Test Club we created for testing / showcase purposes a while back, or the newly created Creators' Corner, which replaced the Community Showcase.
A club can function either as an extension of the community or a relatively isolated part of it, so it works perfectly for a transitioning section of the community that will eventually decouple from it, and it's something which we can easily point to from any page, without redirecting people directly to a discord or external website. It can be either just a simple page with information on it, or it can have a whole slew of features such as a gallery, a board for chatting, and a blog to post developments. The owner can also assign moderators, who can moderate the content within it, offering a lot of freedom.
As always, the decision of which features - if any at all - they want to use, is up to the group.
What are your thoughts on some of the changes that are up for discussion? Let us or the task force know, or speak to your guild leader about what you're hoping to see for your guild! We're inviting the task force to post and comment as well, to share news and information about the goings on with the other members of the community.
We want to keep the founding of the group as transparent as possible, but we can't speak for the new group, so we can only give the information that we have. For any additional information regarding the autonomous group and its founding task force, please contact Stormmy Knight - @ktommo10.