I need to get an update out to all of you. I have not yet had a chance to review all comments that have been dropped before making this as I wanted to get it to you ASAP and there is a lot to catch up on. Before I begin though, I want to address two things:
1) This is not the full update, we have enough people who do not frequent the forums and character limits that I will be making a full blog announcement on things that will be coming after this (like a year end wrap up), but I wanted to connect with all of you first.
2) I need to apologize to you all. My absence as of late has no doubt put a number of you on edge, but I want you to know that this was a calculated move. Regardless of this, as I said, I owe you all a big apology for leaving you in the dark for so long.
It became very clear that how things were running were simply not working. We quickly hit a point where the frequent updates from me were of little to no impact with many in the community (based on comments received). Things needed to be looked at, addressed, and changed. As such, I made a conscience decision to dive head first into these issues and see about getting things sorted out.
Everyone is well aware that over time issues around here piled up into a small mountain. Each of these items has varying degrees of impact on the community which our existing tools didn't give a good view of, and coupled with this there was the failed KS. It became very clear that having only me available to address these items and filter information to programmers was not sufficient and the programmers had a hell of a time assessing the data that was coming back. Between myself and bluesguy we were able to tackle getting the details (roughly) on the impact for items, and then we set priority on assorted items to give our programmers a much more clear path. This new setup has allowed for our programmers to get a number of items prepared for testing (which we are now working on) so we can release our first major update since this change. We still have issues relating to visibility on these, but those are also being looked into (this is actually close to being resolved as well).
This brings me to the Inner Council. We have this team, we had some generally good intentions with this team, but we were not leveraging this team to the full potential. As it was still somewhat of a concept, we also didn't have the best guidelines for these folks to have a clear idea of what we were expecting to happen with the team. They also, with the right support, have a greater view of OP than out normal members could possibly have without me dedicating all my time to appraising of what is happening (and that would be a gross misappropriation of time and help no one). So, we are setting things up to grant this team the support they both need and deserve, which will position them to be able to assist in the management of the community as a whole. This means we will have more eyes available, and varied schedules presenting more coverage over the course of the day.
Systems in place had very little in the lines of reporting we could generate (at least without a LOT of manual fiddling in order to get the data we needed). For anyone who has worked in a development environment before, this essentially meant we had been working blind and had no way of knowing what was really happening in the community outside of reports on the Forums and in Help/Support (which is only a small subset of those actually using OP). Now that we know what data exists within the systems, we are working out building a customized reporting solution to allow for the team to actually see first hand what is happening here at OP to make much more informed decisions.
Lastly, communication was set to a very vague schedule (if you could really say we had one in place at all). This left communication disjointed and muddled things up more than it was helping. For anyone who did not know, we have a Newsletter, Blog, Social Pages, and this Forum for general communication not related to Help/Support. Starting fresh in 2016 we will be launching a monthly Newsletter with a monthly roundup of news, community highlights (not decided if this will be CotM or something new) and contest winners (if applicable), industry news and highlights, as well as any special promotions we may decide to run on subscriptions or anything else. Updates to the Blog will be done on a weekly basis that will cover brand news (non-technical), tech updates, brand events (when we happen to have some), and community contests (when we happen to have some). Finally, we have our Social Media and Forums which will not have a direct schedule (major news will still be delivered this way by linking to Blog updates or present items in a more real-time nature).
There is more to all of this then I can hope to include in this posting, but I wanted to get this out to you (edited down for character limit as it may be).