Friday, January 30, 2009
For this week's article, I'd like to address a subject that has been at the heart of many of our discussions over the past few days.
More than one of my RAFfriends has noted that lately the veteran RAFians and the RAFpantheon have been acting 'clique-ish' towards the newer and younger members of the forum.
As a veteran RAFian myself, I cannot claim much objectivity on this subject, and I'm certainly not pretending that I'm immune to clique-forming-tendencies. After all, I'm a female with the ability to speak and type. Cliques are hardwired into my genetic makeup.
*ba-dum-pssht! ...yeah... stand-up comedy is not for me...*
I joined RAF nearly a year ago, and I can still very clearly and easily remember what it felt like to be a newbie here. People were nice and helpful, and they were willing to listen and let me have my own opinions. Sure, they argued with me as often as they agreed, but they accepted that my opinions were VALID.
Nowadays... I'm not so sure about us, as a forum. Not to say that I don't consider us still the best forum on the web, because RAF is still RAF, no matter what, but... we've lost a little bit of that tolerance-and-acceptance-and-lovingkindness-for-everyone feeling that we had just a few months ago.
Folks, all I'm asking is that you think back to what RAF was like when YOU were a newbie, and try to treat our current newbies the way you'd've wanted to be treated. The mods can't be expected to do all the work for you, guys.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
January may/ will be the first month in RAF history, that the forum was viewed 1 million times.
What is a hit?
It's also called pageview... each time the page is loaded it counts as a hit. Because RAF is a forum, this number tends to be high.
Update 1: 10PM. RAF Forum passes 1 million hits in January alone:
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
If I know this forum and its denizens as well as I think I do, then I am correct in the assumption that the vast majority of us consider RAF to be the best thing to happen to the internet since the invention of the hyperlink. Most of us consider RAF to be our "Home Forum", and even if we visit other forums sporadically, RAF always receives the greatest devotion of our online free time.
Why should this website, of all the websites available for our use, be the one that draws us most powerfully?
I've been doing some thinking on the matter, and I've managed to narrow it down to the ten biggest factors that, for me, at least, are why I can't stay away from RAF.
10. It is centred on books. As much time as we may collectively spend on the Bored Board, it was the Animorphs books (and to a lesser extent, Everworld, Remnants, and now GONE) that brought us together in the first place. Let's not forget that. Many other forums so easily lose track of what brought the members together, until only the newbies have a clue. The great thing about this: it means that we all love to read, at least to some extent. When many literate people of similar tastes meet as friends, amazing things happen.
9. The site has interests and conversation to offer for a wide range of age-groups. Whether you were born at the dawn of time or in 2000 Anno Domini, there is a place for you on this forum. Whether you're 26 or 10, there is someone here who'll be happy to talk with you. This is a rule without exception.
8. The background is a most soothing shade of blue. Oh, come on! I know you were thinking it! It's easy-on-the-eyes, which is conducive to posting more here than in other sites, where red letters on a black background give you a headache in three minutes.
7. RAF has supporting pages. Even when you aren't posting actively, you can still stay up-to-date with RAFian goings-on by visiting the blog, the chat, or the wiki. Even when life gets in your way, you can still maintain contact with your old online friends. It's a very user-friendly and real-life-tolerant forum.
6. The staff actually know what they are doing. Richard and the other RAFstaff are attentive, active, and fair-minded. When we need help, they are there. When we need to shut up or change the subject, they tell us in a nice way. When they make rules, they enforce them. They treat newbies with a kindness that isn't often seen in other forums.
5. The forum allows for freedom of expression while maintaining a fun, safe, and kid-friendly atmosphere. We all have opinions, and thanks to the open-mindedness of RAF's members, none of us is afraid to express those opinions. We know that there is a limit to what RAFians consider 'acceptable behaviours', and we respect those limits to the point that some of our members even invite their younger siblings and friends to join, knowing that the site won't offend them or scare them away. RAF isn't OCD about preventing heated discussions, and it isn't one big cuss-fest, either.
4. The members treat each other like family. Anyone who spends more than five minutes in RAF knows that the members genuinely care about each other. We can playfully rib each other, and nobody takes offence. We are there for each other during hard times.3. Even beyond the books, the members share a wide range of common interests. Some of us write music, poetry, and fan-fictions. Some of us play in RPG's or haunt the Bored Board's games. Pinky and The Brain, H2G2, and the works of Orson Scott Card and Scott Westerfeld are just a few of the things that interest many of us.
2. It's a fairly 'small' community. Of our 400-or-so members, fewer than 80 are highly active at any given time. This allows us all to know each other on a username-basis, and we recognise each other and follow each others' posts. It encourages a strong sense of unity that cannot exist in sites where you might never see two posts from the same person in one thread. RAF does not NEED to be a 'large' forum. As the forum grows, all active newbies are welcomed with open arms, and the veteran members notice them and remember their names, which simply does not happen in a huge website.
1. We have Richard. Seriously, folks! Where else are you going to find an administrator like Richard? Anywhere else, the admins get in your face and 'put you in your place' before you've had a chance to post. Anywhere else, the guys in charge get an unfair high off of exerting control over others. Richard delegates his power and uses it fairly. Newbie or Veteran, you get his full attention when you bring him your questions. He gets his point across to you with a single sentence, instead of making a two-page lecture illustrating every last mistake you've made in an argument. The books brought us together, but Richard and his forum are what kept us together.
Well, those were my reasons for liking RAF more than any other forum. Why don't you all tell me your reasons? Thanks to Touquie, we now know why you STAYED, but why have you stayed LOYAL?
In your opinion, why is RAF the best?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
At this rate of 3 hosts, and 5 domains, there would be no more money left in my bank account. So in an effort to save some mulah, I'm going to discontinue the Blog host (which used to host the RAF Chat also, until I moved it to XEHOST).
This would mean that in March 2009, I will stop paying for that server. Blog will be moved to XEHOST's server the the coming days.
This server drop will leave us with 2 shared hosts.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Avatars. Most of us have them, some of us change them like we change clothes, some of us could not care less. Regardless of how you feel about those cute, funny, or quirky little icons beneath our usernames, you rather must admit that they say something rather distinct about the person that uses them. Sure, we can all use our signatures to SAY things, very deliberately those are designed for textual statements, and we are all free to psychoanalyze each others' siggies to our hearts' content. Avatars, though, are a direct representation of the person who is speaking in each post.
I, for instance, use Wakko Warner of the Animaniacs as my avatar. It has been this way since I joined RAF last February. Of course, I am not some strange-looking male dog-cat-skunk-creature wearing a red hat, blue turtleneck sweater, and no pants. I do not belch publicly nor speak with a Scouse accent. I don't sing about the state capitals to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw".
Why, then, should I choose Wakko to be my avvy?
To be honest, I just am terribly fond of the Animaniacs, and as a fan of Animorphs, you might consider me an Ani-maniac, after a fashion. When I first joined RAF, the image of Wakko was the first one to catch my attention, so I went with it, and I have never had any desire to change it.
Richard, on the other hand, simply uses an understated red letter "R" for his avatar. Short, sweet, simple, and very easy to understand, this avatar tells much less about Richard than Wakko tells about me. The most we can gather is that he holds an affinity for the colour red and that he doesn't feel the need to project his personality at all times.
Others, like Claire, show a fondness for an actor or a television programme. Phoenix uses an image of a supernova, and Anna changes her username and avatar with almost dizzying frequency. Touquie uses a scrolling image of the four elements and their Japanese names. Qwerty uses the avatars of various RAFians, scrolling according to the alphabetical order of the members' usernames.
Tell us, RAF: why did YOU choose YOUR avatar? What does it tell us about you, as a person?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
now RAF's biggest donor Russell has donated a THIRD time.
We thank him as usual for his contributions to RAF.
In addition, he will be given the now customary +50 karma; which will
also cement his position as the most Karma'd member.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
It's no secret that people become obsessed with RAF. Without the obsession, would RAF be alive today? Perhaps, but it wouldn't be nearly as cool as it is.
Signs of The RAF Obsession
- You're going through your regular daily activities and you think, "I wonder what [RAFian] is doing right now."
- You have RAF dreams.
- You no longer picture Richard as a mighty deity, but as a cool guy that has a cool forum.
- You know the secret of Pie.
- You know Orsino so well, he could be your pet.
- You have a RAF significant other
- Whenever RAF is down you go through withdrawal
We all know there is the RAF obsession. What I want to know is why.
All members come to RAF for the same general reason. The Animorphs. Is that why everyone stays? For some, maybe. However for many more, I highly doubt that is the reason.
Why do I stay? The answer is simple. The people! Where else can you find such a diverse community who have the similar tastes? RAFians are awesome. They all have a great sense of humour, are good hearted and love The Animorphs.
So my question for the table is
Why do you stay?
The January RAF Party is done; the place is a mess, hung-over members litter the grounds, and records lay tattered, smashed... destroyed.
What happened on January 11, 2009 is quite spectacular. First the forum experienced activity like never before.
8,156 new posts were created
77,318 hits were recorded
Both these statistics are new RAF Records!
Tallying the two days of the RAF Party, we see 13,424 new posts created (that is more than the individual months of August, September and October 2008). As for hits, the two days accumulated 112,349 hits on the forum alone.
The image below shows us the comparisons between RAF Parties... The last 3 spikes are the RAF Parties. The last spike is January's.
Now I'd like to turn your attention to the following graph You see that Burj Dubai like structure?:
Here is where RAF eBooks comes in (you know, the place which houses all the Animorphs eBooks, and now includes Remnants & Everworld?).
Yesterday, January 11, saw thousands of users from all over the world coming from StumbleUpon; a social bookmarking website. This accounted for the unprecedented (according to Google) 3,284 visitors, according to StatCounter 3,969 visitors which visited yesterday.
The RAF average prior to yesterday was 583.
Congrats to Russell, who according to our stats, made over 1,000 posts on Sunday, and 1,941 in two days!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Okey, so we know exactly four things with certainty about our dear friend Richard.
1. He lives in Jamaica.
2. He likes Animorphs.
3. He listens to a tonne of music.
4. He has a very interesting accent, which can be heard on his YouTube video.
While it doesn't take more than this to instantly like and respect him, it rather makes you wonder...will we ever know ANYTHING about this guy?
Now, I'm not going to be a hypocrite here. I'm more tight-lipped about my Real Life than most currently-active RAFians, and I'm content to keep it that way. I'm not about to start nosing into Richard's personal life. However, I am still just as curious as the next RAFian.
Something tells me that I should follow the lesson taught by Orpheus and Pandora, and just leave well enough alone. Let the mystery live on.
Something Else tells me that I'm being totally ridiculous, and that mystery is for the uninquisitive and the lazy. The only way to know anything is to go out and find the answers!
I think that, for the mean time, I'll just continue to walk the fine balance between curiosity and mystery, and let Richard tell us what he wants, if and when he feels like it. He's been awfully good to the lot of us, keeping RAF active and functional for all our sakes.
Thanks, Richard, for everything.
P.S. - I fully expect to see you, Richard, and everyone else currently on RAF, at the projected RAFconvention in 2015!! Identifying you, however, will present an interesting challenge....
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I was just contacted by HostGator; they're willing to look into my problem further.
The forum will be turned off anytime in the very near future, and I hope to have it back up soon. This will facilitate the move back to HostGator.
Update: move complete.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Is the forum time on RAF wrong?
You can try clicking on Auto detect; if that doesn't work input the difference between what your time is now, and what the forum is saying. Say for example the time is 7pm where you are, and the forum is saying 6pm. In the box, type -1.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
I would like to thank, again, the above top 5 donors; those who contributed most (monetary value) to Richard's Animorphs Forum.
First AnnaKen established itself as a notable RAFrelationship, receiving its "official name", and then Estyler, Chouquie, and the short-lived Clanker followed it in close succession.
Other names were not so easy to decide. Teach9466 is rather awkward-sounding, some seem to believe. How do you combine Yrkd88 with ANYTHING?
I'm not slamming anyone's username, of course, but it is worth consideration when you choose your RAFpartner.
After all, while Dunna sounds interesting, Esteloomin, Estanker, Jorsinuff, and Esplouquie don't really roll off the tongue so very well, do they?
It seems like there is a new RAFcouple rising into the spotlight every time I turn my head. The wikians at RAFipedia are in a hurry to keep up with the tempestuous waves of RAFlove and affection. Since AnnaKen's separation, the collective RAFian consciousness has been spinning. How can something as permanent and sacred as a RAFmarriage be so easily broken? What is wrong with the world? What will happen to the rest of us?
These are powerful questions for us to consider. In the mean time, I'm just going to cling tightly to my sanity, Tyler, while I try like Heck to keep up with it all. Now that January has arrived, my free time is waxing longer, and I shall have more energy and time to commit to RAF and its wonderful, unpredictable, lovable, crazy denizens.
Well, I hope all my RAFian darlings have a marvelous weekend. Good-night, all!
RAF's main host has been down from 12pm today January 2, 2009. One hour later I decided to flip the switch so to speak on the host we recently acquired.
I am feverishly working to bring the website up-to-date.
Update 5pm: Updating complete. Attachments which were uploaded after the 27th of December will not work. In addition, attaching files, and uploading avatars have been disabled.
Update 8am January 3: XEHost is back up. I'm in the process of bringing back all the avatars and attachments that were uploaded after the 27th.
Update 840am: Old attachments are now back. Will be moving back to the old host; nothing will change, and no downtime will be experienced. Attachments and avatar uploading will be re-enabled.
His donation comes at a time when we'll be needing to pay some bills, so if you have some extra cash lying around (figuratively of course), then please head on down to RAF Donate. Or click on the DONATE on the right of this page.