Hello, Lyoko Freak! It's been about a week and a half since the forum was upgraded from the old version of phpBB2 to the latest release of phpBB3, and with so much happening on the site I figured a proper announcement of everything was needed.
Without further ado,
Welcome to the new Lyoko Freak forums!
A lot has happened since last week. Here is a small sample of what's new as of today:
Forum software has been upgraded This was by far the largest and most needed change of all. Prior to Wednesday, October 3rd, Lyoko Freak was running a very outdated version of phpBB2, released some time in 2005. As far as I am aware, the code remained in this state for seven years. This forum became a haven for spambot registrations, and by October 1st we were seeing about 20 to 40 spambots register each day. After at least two years of community discussion whether or not the site should be updated, Lyoko Computer, the site owner and head administrator, pulled the trigger and brought our quaint old forum into the year 2012. We're now proudly running phpBB 3.0.11, the most recent version of the forum software. With this upgrade we also implemented an unbroken security solution that has completely stopped our spambot issue, hopefully once and for all.
New site administrator Lyoko Computer has extremely graciously given me almost full administrative control over the entire lyokofreak.net domain for the purpose of overseeing functionality upgrades and patches to LF. What this means for the site is that we have a direct form of access to how we want the community to take shape and form. I've already taken advantage of these privileges to augment the functionality of the site and prepare it for the new members coming in with Code Lyoko: Evolution.
New and improved functionality Over the course of the upgrade, new functionality was added to the site. While in the forum settings, I turned on several new features such as Quick Posting, as well as tweaking signature settings to be less impossible to negotiate with. Users now have 1024 characters to work with in a sig, as well as 8 links to use in the signature. Additionally, over the course of yesterday to today, I have added in no less than six new forum styles to choose from. There are variants of the current default theme and variants of the older subsilver2 theme for anyone to choose. Other functionality includes automatic spline reticulation. It was really hard doing it by hand.
BKO changes This one isn't quite set in stone, but a thought that has been coming up recently in the community has been over the entry barrier to the Big Kids Only forum. When the forum was larger than it is now, having the 75+ post limit made a lot of sense to provide a source of motivation for new members to become active in the community, as well as providing a place for more mature discussion that did not quite follow the rules of the general forum. However, in our reduced member count, having such a monumental entry barrier for effectively the most active subforum in the site does nothing to help us out. Therefore, as of October 9th, 2012, the entry requirements for BKO have been reduced drastically from 75 posts to 7 posts for new members. All members registered before October 9th have been automatically grandfathered into having BKO access. As the forum grows once again, obviously this limit should be scrutinized and reconsidered, but for now this should foster growth and discussion within the entire community while the forum is still as small as it is. If you're wondering how we're doing this, one of the new phpBB functions is a Newly Registered Users group. All new users with 0 to 7 posts are automatically placed in this group, and when they get more than 7 posts they're automatically placed into the standard Registered Users group. NRU can only see the existence of BKO, while RU has full access to BKO.
Tapatalk support This is something I've been looking forward to for a while, to be honest. As of tonight, October 11th 2012, Lyoko Freak is now officially integrated into the Tapatalk mobile forum system! Tapatalk is an app for iDevices and Android devices that allows users to view forums natively on the device, which eliminates the need to manually resize the webpage to fit on the screen. It's a much nicer alternative to viewing the forum on the go, but it's just that: an alternative. Being able to access the forum via a web browser is not at all restricted, and can be done at any time. Tapatalk on my own iPhone
Looking forward We're not done yet, people. While Lyoko Freak is now much more up-to-date than it was just two weeks ago, we still have tons of work to do on the site. Look around at the other themes; all but one of them lacks any special features that really identifies us as Lyoko Freak. Or take a look at lyokofreak.net; the content of that site hasn't been updated since 2006. As a community, we're going to have to try to make the forum a more personal home, and to figure out what needs to be deleted and what needs to stay. This means we're going to have to crawl through the main site and figure out what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of. Should we keep the quizzes? What about LFF? Where does it all go? That's for a later time, though.
In short, a lot has happened, and we've now got more ways to use and enjoy the forum. May we continue to try to find a new logo for eternity.