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August Office Hours Summary

Posted by Kim on August 17, 2019, 1:25 pm

Missed this month's office hours? Here's a summary of the questions and answers that happened!

How ya been, Kim?

Mostly pretty great! I've been programming stuff for 2.0 hard this past week. It's been heavenly. Also in some ways quite painful -- the thing I'm focusing on right now is completely rebuilding the character and group profile editing systems from scratch, and that is... oh boy. It feels like doing brain surgery. But last night I finally hit a point where it was starting to show the first signs of visible user-noticeable life and I'm frankly unbelievably stoked about it. I stayed up half the night with excitement continuing to program when I saw that. :D

what are your biggest hopes from the rebuild, Kim?

I think... my answer to this may sound humdrum, but it has to do with maintenance. The current site is coming up on 10 years old. Programming practices and languages have evolved since then, and I've evolved as a programmer. It's gotten to the point where it's really difficult and time consuming to create new things for the site, and I sorta live in fear of things breaking that can't be easily repaired without ripping out the entire proverbial floor. I'm so thankful that the rebuild will let us get ahead of that, refreshing the site before the need is dire and the site potentially faces downtime.

Which is not to say I'm not absolutely stoked about the various new features and upgrades that are already taking shape and the more to come. ;) I am! But I see so much of the "guts" of the RPR on a daily basis that I'm just looking forward to those guts looking, uh, pink and healthy and vibrant. ;)

So I guess my biggest hope is that this rebuild makes the RPR strong and healthy for another decade of awesome RPs and community, and makes it robust enough to handle even if we have a large uptick in people wanting to use the site. :)

How weird did it feel to do programming for rpr when the site first came to be?

I don't think I felt like it was weird at all. Mostly I just felt excited about this wild idea I had to build a mini profile-builder for some folks so they didn't have to make MySpace and Wix sites for their characters anymore XD

When bug testing comes around, will any guides be posted on how to hunt down bugs? How to get a bug hunting mindset?
That is a really good idea. I know I'll be posting some basic instructions and a list of areas I'm particularly concerned about that I want people to really try out, but I'll try to make sure it includes information on what bug hunters do when they're actually looking to find something they can break. :)

I think Sanne said she made a guide to bug hunting somewhere if I'm not mistaken? I'm not 100% sure on that though :/
Sanne's bug hunting article actually got converted into a help article: :D

for those of us involved in the beta testing who have never beat tested, would you be able to offer any advice or reference links or something we can use to educate ourselves on what the best way to beat test in the most helpful ways are?

YES, for sure. Here's some advice for beta testing:

1) When in doubt, report. There is NO PENALTY for being wrong about something being broken. You are never bothering me. Be safe, not sorry. You'll see in that article Sanne wrote that in order to get 100 accolades (for closed bug reports,) she reported more than double that - and at least half those reports turned out to not have a bug at all. And that was totally okay.

2) "It doesn't work" and "it won't let me" are the very beginning of a bug report, not the end. Please, please, don't send me a bug report that only says "It won't let me X." Describe what page you were on, how you tried to do the thing (what button? what link? in what widget? on what character?) and what happened when you tried. Did the page just sit there and do nothing for a long time? Did you see an error message? Did the page go suddenly blank? Did something happen but it was the wrong thing? The more descriptive you can be, the easier it is for me to find the problem and fix it. :)

I'm really looking forward to beta testing. Since we're going to be testing on a copy of the site, people can get even more wild with testing than usual, up to and including deleting their accounts and making bunches of new ones if they want. >.> Just for the testing version.

I might also set up a sort of uh... free vending machine thing for the test site

So you can get your hands on all the items and make sure they are working

2.0... we will still have all our characters and profiles? Or will we need to create new ones? Will the old rpr still be here or is it going to be completely replaced by 2.0. (I apologize if these are all things you've already explained elsewhere)

Great question. All of your character profiles, your posts, your inbox messages, your kudos - basically your everything, will be kept and carried forward to 2.0. This is meant to be experienced as an upgrade, not a fresh start for users.

The "old RPR" will be completely replaced by 2.0, but 2.0 is intended to contain everything the old RPR did.

Is there anything at all you anticipate we would lose after the rebuild is set?

Nothing really comes to mind. I'm bending over backward to get everything in. I'm mildly worried that some emojis will make themselves painful to port, so you might discover you had a topic title you'd put a rainbow emoji in that has now turned itself into a star and needs to be edited back. But even that might not be an issue.

We have a star emoji? :o We have a rainbow emoji? Where?

No, but most people's phone keyboards do, and they use them on the forums alllll the time.

This is another one of those things the site was never really built to support. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did cope with them, but it was basically entirely by accident. Now I'm discovering that its handling of them is.. quite fragile. A little hard to port. Working on it though. ;)

I remember you saying pms are now going to be able to be self titled, but initially are they still going to work as they do now where we can select a title before sending it? Like when the PM is first sent

Yes, you can still choose a title for them before sending. Personal retitles are entirely optional. :)

will I have to put the links to the images back into my profiles, after the upgrade happens?

Hold on I'mma load your profile up in 2.0...

Looks a-okay XD

Images on your profile are showing just fine in 2.0. I don't anticipate a problem with images anyone has added through BBCode. Or, indeed, with images people have put into character/group galleries. We're taking all that stuff with us.

We will still use BBCode?

Yes. All existing BBcode should continue to work. I'm also experimenting with adding new BBCode tags, for instance supporting soundcloud and the like.

Ooh, what other new BBCode tags are you thinking about adding?

One new bbcode I'm considering is basically a single tag you could throw down like "My rps" that would create a list of links to all your active LFRP ads.

I seem to remember you talking about creating a separate LFRPAO board for those who weren't looking for smut. Was that gonna be an entirely separate forum or would that just be like one of the checkboxes you can click on before you post your request?

So... The Adults Only forum is no longer going to be opt-in. Everyone 18+ will just immediately have access to it, without needing to figure out how to turn it on in their settings. However, you WILL need to opt-in to seeing RPs tagged for sexual content on that board. It's not so much a "checkbox" filter as it is a tab.

I put a fair amount of attention into trying to make finding RP easier for everyone in 2.0, regardless of what they're looking for.

Will there be a way to see when you and someone else were made friends on here?

Maybe? Hadn't really considered that one, to be honest!

will the bake-sale's goal keep getting bigger as we reach it until the end date? (Just saw it went from 5k to 10k here recently) just curious~

The 10k goal was my "real" goal, but I wasn't sure we could reach it. If it looks like we might smash that one, we might add another stretch goal with corresponding new backer rewards, but 10k is always the main goal I really hope we make it to! :)

are you really going to make it so you can change the message topic in PM's? Because honestly it'd be super helpful!

100% for sure! It's already done! :D


When is the actual end date of the bake sale? I know you said 45 days but I can't find the date

45 days from the start of the bake sale is... September 19th 2019. Which is honestly kind of an awkward middle of the week date, and there's a bit of a possiblity we'll push it through the weekend just to have a more sense-making ending date. ;) But as of now, that's the scheduled last day. Which is 34 days from now!

I remember reading about widgets being able to be placed side by side instead of stacked/on top of each other, how is that going/is that still happening?

YES THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ASKING. Yes, I'm still intending to make this possible. It's one of the more "audacious" goals of the Audacious Phoenix mission, and one of the things I've been tackling in this absolutely brutal week of programming. XD As of now I still believe this is possible to get into the initial relaunch, and am working hard to make it happen.

"How" is a little hard to explain just in text. I hope in the coming weeks to have video demos, but for now, lemme try to explain it this way: profiles will know about rows and columns. Each row contains columns. You can specify whether a column is 100% wide, or 50% wide, or a number of other widths. Widgets can sit comfortably within a column, making it possible to put, say, an image widget on the left side, and a text widget on the right, for a very simple example.

It sounds really complex when explaining it, but I hope to make it pretty intuitive. It SHOULD just feel like dragging around building blocks.

And of course if you still just want to stack all your widgets one on top of each other, you can continue to do that. ;)

The real hat trick with this, of course, is making sure not to break existing profiles and their templates even while adding the new capabilities.

Do you think there is potential for the limit on the number of widgets on a page to be upped?

I'm not ready to make promises on this, but let's say the potential exists.

Oooh, now I'm really hyped to see the 2.0 version.


Is the idea of people with epic memberships having the ability to create and upload custom flourishes for around their icons on their profiles one that is possible/worth suggesting in the AP suggestions forum?

It's funny you mention this, I was just playing with this today. I would definitely put it into the AP suggestions forums.

At an absolute minimum I'm hoping to expand the selection of icon borders available to epic members. It's been a long time since we added any.

How's it all going so far, overall? On schedule, a bit tricky and behind, pulling ahead?

At the moment, we're on schedule. I just broke through a really tricky problem with previewing widget edits that had been holding me back, which has me bouncing in my chair with joy.

Also, just a random report here: This morning I set it up so that when you delete a widget, it just turns that widget red until you hit the "save changes" button for the profile. Until you actually save your changes, you have the opportunity to change your mind about deleting that widget.

Is the sexual content 'degree of maturity/explicitness' check boxes or slider whatever it maybe -- a thing that is happening? or just the romance slider is the last of the lfrp post slider/box options?

So.. there IS a romance slider that's been added, and also a checkbox for "contains sexual themes"

Were you thinking of something else?

Yes, there was a post in the suggestions that was about having a slider that shows, 'fade to black' to 'detailed explicit' as well as a middle option to chose from along side the general 'this will have sexual content' check box.

Ahhh, gotcha, gotcha. I think this is a really good idea I probably won't be able to get to *at launch* but would like to revisit.

How is the 'save' or 'fail safe' feature for making sure posts aren't lost in accidental refreshes going? Still in concept?

Good question! 2.0 currently has a set up where trying to leave or refresh the create topic/forum reply/edit forum post/compose PM message screens in any way other than posting the thing gives you a warning, so you can avoid accidentally leaving the page and losing your work.

Also just this morning I taught the character and group profile editors to know when you have unsaved changes, and give you the same warning if you try to leave/refresh without saving those changes.

I'd like to teach it to ALSO remember your work so even if your computer, say, crashes, you're still unlikely to lose work, but again - I'm on such a tight schedule to turn out 2.0 on time I don't want to promise that one will be at launch. ;) Still, it's a big step up from the no-protection-at-all we have now! :D

Unrelated... How are the pigs doing?

They are happy little fellows. Truffle turned 5 years old this summer! And Ghiradhelli... sigh. I'm trying to convince him that his new piggy furniture is not just fancy litter boxes.

Kim, what about the rebuild is your absolute most favorite feature so far?


I THINK it's going to end up being the native support for columns on profiles, but if you're asking about features I've already built...

I think it actually is the ride-along tutorials for certain key pages, like the RP Finder. I feel silly saying that, but making sure people know how to get the most out of things gives me such a little thrill. ;)

the quick bbcode bar at the top of the message box, will that be available for the quick chat launch?

I am DEFINITELY planning to add that for launch.

What project so far has had your proudest piece of code?
Rebuilding the profile builder code is what I'm in the middle of now, and I suspect it's going to be one of the things I'm proudest of writing in my life so far. It handles most of the same things that the current one does, but it's SUCH a stronger piece of code. So much more extensible. It's really one of the beating hearts of the RPR featuresets, and months of love is being poured into it. I cannot WAIT to be able to show some video demos in the coming weeks.

The profile builder is itself basically a complete piece of software on its own, that happens to live inside another piece of software (the RPR)

can you keep the bacons in the ordinary shop once the bake sale is over???

Probably not! They are a special occasion item. :)

Would it be possible to make the 'dragons tooth' multiple use instead of all at once?

Possssibly! I'll look into it, though I doubt it'll be on my list for launch changes. ;) You never know, though!

Not really an important relaunch thing - but, more walrus outfits?
HA! So we seem to add about one walrus outfit per year to go along with the theme of Epic Week. >.> I don't think it'll be a 2.0 thing, but they do come along at regular intervals and should continue doing so.

Will next Epic Week likely be another simpler one? Or do you think you'll have the time and capacity to go big again without hurting your health?

We'll see on that one, but with this being our 10th anniversary Epic Week, and with the site being in a more stable place to handle expansions... I'd like to go pretty big.

Darth_Angelus and I have already started work on it, in fact. >.>

Actually, for that matter, onion has already started on updates to the Doubutt game as well.

Could template makers offer up templates to be made available to free users if they can meet standards, or do you think confirming standards would be too much work?

Hmmmn. Well, I do sometimes hire template makers to help design new official templates, so something like that happens from time to time.

But I think what you're asking about is taking a custom template designed for Epic Members, and converting it to be official? My concerns about this actually center around copyright and sourcing of background images/icons and the like. Typically I like to be involved from start to finish in template design, even when working with a commissioned designer, so I can be certain we're not going to have any kind of copyright claim for official site templates in future. I DO have a checklist for official templates and the standards they have to meet before they can be released site-wide that is quite comprehensive and for a well-built custom template, it could be referenced while reviewing and making any necessary updates.

Most designers seem to strongly prefer to submit a design to me that I then code, but I know there are some CSS whizzes out there.

I think if someone wants to volunteer to design templates, they're free to get in touch - but I'm probably not going to be building a thing that directly converts a custom template to an official one, if that makes sense. If I were to work with someone to make more templates after launch - say, you - we'd probably move them over by hand. :)

Just to be clear, ATM we're in a full official template release freeze until 2.0 launches, because that'd just be yet more templates I'd have to convert over to 2.0 ;)

where did the idea of Doubutt come from?

Doubutt was an entry into one of the early entries into the Genre Mascot art contests in one of the first epic weeks. :) Funnily enough, it didn't win -- the gag doesn't work unless you can see both halves of Doubutt, and there was no way to not have at least one of the butts covered by another character. So, after the contest, I asked Architect if I could purchase Doubutt for the RPR. He graciously let me, and Doubutt immediately took up residence on our 404 error pages. And then the year after, appeared in the RPR's first RPG ;)

Do you think another character would've taken up the PC in the RPG if Doubutt hadn't appeared? Or did you build the game with it in mind?

Oh, golly... I think we would have had a different sort of game if it weren't for Doubutt. The entire idea of Forohfor Fortress and it being a sort of... bizarre, shifting maze where things didn't completely make sense came directly from Doubutt and his role he'd been playing for the site at large as guardian of our "page not found" error pages. ;)

in RPR 2.0 Will we be able to purchase 'picture frames' Or anything like that to add more gallery slots on character profiles?

I'm not ready to make promises on this yet, but let's just say this is being very seriously looked into.

Is it possible that push notifications will work better with the website being made of new/modern code?

YES, this is possible. My fingers and toes are ultra-crossed.

Even if they don't right at launch, the idea is that almost everything in 2.0 will be easier to fix and maintain than it is now, so more work will end up being put into them to get them all the way up to snuff.

Oh! How is the 'small/easy' group or 'PM Group' thing going? Where we can create groups on a smaller scale/easier manner similar to PM's.

Unfortunately, I don't have more to report there yet - I'm not very deep into the rebuild of groups yet. Still hip deep in character profiles. :)

That reminds me, how's an easier way to navigate group inventories going? I think you mentioned you'd work on that since it's been a problem in the Armory

Although I haven't had a chance to touch group treasuries yet, I HAVE done user inventories! And it already includes a search feature where you can look things up by keyword, or filter by groups, such as "Pets" or "Epic Week Weapons" or "Healing Items", all of which will be immediately carried over to group treasuries when I get there. So that's sort of a start right there! ;)

What programming language are you using for this website?

PHP in a Laravel framework, javascript with jQuery in most areas of the site, and Vue applications for some of the heavier-duty editing panes.

Is there anything as a community, or individuals, can do to help (other than throw money at the bake sale)

Other than the bake sale, which is buying me the time I need to finish the rebuild... I actually do read this page: and the encouragement contest thread that ended recently. ;)

But just being patient with the lack of current-site updates while the new site gets built is also deeply deeply appreciated.

when do you expect RPR 2.0 will be ready?

I hope - I HOPE - to open up beta tests in roughly... *checks calendar* 88 days. (That's November 13th or so)

To be clear, this is an *extremely* ambitious schedule. Some might say... audacious. ;) But I'm doing my damnedest to get there.

Actual official launch date will depend on how much we discover that needs fixing in those rounds of beta testing ;)



August 19, 2019

Sweet! I'm glad she posts these lil summaries cuz I didn't have the chance to look at the forum! :)


August 18, 2019

Many thanks for the summary of Office Hours! Wasn't able to attend, and it's really nice to get a run-down of what was discussed. It's especially nice to get a sense of how excited Kim is about the upgrades; Her joy really bleeds through in her answers!


August 17, 2019

Thank you for putting up this summary for those who couldn't sit in on the chat session. So much exciting stuff!!


August 17, 2019

Kim wrote:
This morning I set it up so that when you delete a widget, it just turns that widget red until you hit the "save changes" button for the profile. Until you actually save your changes, you have the opportunity to change your mind about deleting that widget.

i accidentally deleted so much writing a while ago and now i'm so scared to go near those little delete buttons XD


August 17, 2019