MER Site Refresh

Stuff that relates to the running of the forums, and not to Ranger reenactment.
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Greg
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MER Site Refresh

Postby Greg » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:03 pm

Manveruon wrote:Maybe it would be nice to have a sort of "hey, look at me!" page? Hmmmmm...


At the moment, it's called a wiki...but it isn't showing the amount of content necessary to really serve that function. YET.
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Manveruon
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Manveruon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:01 am

Greg wrote:
Manveruon wrote:Maybe it would be nice to have a sort of "hey, look at me!" page? Hmmmmm...


At the moment, it's called a wiki...but it isn't showing the amount of content necessary to really serve that function. YET.



Makes sense. But I wonder... I wonder if it might be possible (even prudent?) to maybe create a sort of polished-looking "cover page" that basically says, in a nutshell, "this is who we are (which would need a name... like... the Middle Earth Ranger Society?), this is what we do, here are some pictures for you, here is a link to a larger picture gallery, a link to our wiki-page for further information, and a link to our forums, if you want to join our community." THAT page could theoretically be the one with the neater, cleaner URL, and the rest could maybe stay the same? I dunno... I mean, I'm just spitballing for the heck of it. Am I speaking crazy-talk? Feel free to tell me so, if I am.
Last edited by Manveruon on Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby caedmon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:15 am

Manveruon wrote:
Makes sense. But I wonder... I wonder if it might be possible (even prudent?) to maybe create a sort of polished-looking "cover page" that basically says, in a nutshell, "this is who we are (which would need a name... like... the Middle Earth Ranger Society?), this is what we do, here are some pictures for you, here is a link to a larger picture gallery, a link to our wiki-page for further information, and a link to our forums, if you want to join our community. THAT page could theoretically be the one with the neater, cleaner URL, and the rest could maybe stay the same? I dunno... I mean, I'm just spitballing for the heck of it. Am I speaking crazy-talk? Feel free to tell me so, if I am.



Not crazy talk, totally doable. Also, I really need to update both media-wiki and phpbb to the latest versions, and that's usually a great time for a template refresh.

I've been scheming something like this one since I saw it. http://www.middle-earthhoney.co.nz/

I can do it, but we also have some photoshop jockeys, I'd love some suggestions.
-Jack Horner

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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Manveruon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:25 am

OooooooOOOOOOoooooooHHHHH!!! Now THAT is gorgeous! Something even vaguely similar to that would be absolutely incredible!
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Elleth » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:23 pm

Yeah, something like that honey site would be easy: the only catch would be getting the right photos for it. I'm willing to pitch in! :)

(I love the trail marker that advances as you scroll down the page - that's a delightful little easter egg!)

I think a Bootstrap template might be a good time saver on the development side:
https://blackrockdigital.github.io/star ... -creative/
(as an example)

The only caveat I'd offer is don't go anywhere near WordPress. Once upon a time it was great: now it's so compromised it's almost rarer for me to hear of someone who *hasn't* had problems with their site being hijacked.
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Udwin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:39 pm

Not related to the business card discussion (sorry, I can't resist!):

but arghh, seeing that honey site (while it's very slick and shiny looking) makes me realize that man, sometimes I really do hate Peter Jackson.
"...honey produced right here in the real Middle‑Earth, New Zealand, for Lord of the Rings™ fans."
LIES LIES LIES. Everyone who's cool knows that 'the real Middle-earth' is ancient mythic western Europe 6,000 years ago. Duh. ; )
Anyone else noticed this? On the internet--at least the parts I frequent--I've observed that 'Lord of the Rings' has really come to mean 'Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings™'. If you want to find stuff about The Lord of the Rings, you have to search for 'Tolkien', and you'll still have to sift through boatloads of movie-based content as well.
The honey site's tagline should properly read,
"...honey produced right here in New Zealand, which fans of 'Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings™' films will recognize as the backdrop used to represent the epic primeval landscape of the real Middle-earth."

This is why I should not be in charge of writing taglines for things. :p
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Elleth » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:47 pm

That's the price of popularity I think. It might be purer in 1980's B&W fanzines and creaky elvish language websites... but the upside is there's lots of resources (and talent) in the Middle Earth re-creationist world that simply wouldn't be here if not for the films.

And frankly, I like a lot of what PJ did. The Shire was pitch-perfect to my memories of the books.
Elves close enough, Rohirrim awesome.

Anyhow.. I guess I don't mind much of the movie content filling the search pages, just so long as it keeps to the spirit.
(which is admittedly hit or miss)
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Udwin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:03 pm

Haha, exactly. I just have a kneejerk reaction to seeing obviously talented 'LotR' cosplay types, I think 'ahh, if only they were crafting with barktanned leather, metal, and linen instead of vinyl 'leather', craft foam, and cotton broadcloth. At the very least, I just want to drag them through the mud and leaves.

Anyway, back on topic.
I totally agree on the futility of passing out business cards to people who are only superficially interested in talking to folks in 'weird' clothes; you really have to be judicial in who gets one.
Also that having a nice frontpage would probably be a good first step. That 'bootstrap' template is so 20teens startup artisan something, but it would sure look professional!

Whatever happened to the proposed URL domain name...thing? We voted a while back to make it 'middle-earthrangers.org' or something, right?

The only thing that makes my eyetwitch is Manv's suggestion that we would need a group name. While I'm not a fan of monoculture, I've noticed in this hobby/sport/lifestyle that there's an awful lot of splintering (at least when it comes to facebook groups)...with the result that each has a handful of members, instead of a larger umbrella organization with a large membership.

Look at something like the Company of the Green Dragon - that's a regional group with a nice, simple frontpage that explains 'who we are, what we do', galleries, and links to an active forum, which can have subforums for different regions/races/organizations. Might be a good model to follow, albeit with a little updating.
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Re: Forum business cards?

Postby Elleth » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:50 pm

Oh, the template's just a general framework: I'd gut the thing. Pretty images, nice tolkien brush title fonts.. might even steal the "wandering path" animation idea.
But all the "gofKickfundMyTechnoHipsterPatreon" vibe would be in the rubbish bin. It just would save the tedious part of setup.


At the very least, I just want to drag them through the mud and leaves.


YES. :)
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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby caedmon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:50 pm

Well, here's my first take at a photoshop comp. This is just to get the conversation going. Yeah, I like bootstrap style long scrollers. Call me a hipster, I don't really care. Feel free to mark it up, or post your own comp. (I ran out of steam about 2/3 the way down the page, I think you'll see where that happened. )


And as for the forum's URL, I secured the domain, got overwhelmed with other projects and it's still waiting.

mer.png
mer.png (1.63 MiB) Viewed 5582 times
-Jack Horner

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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby Elleth » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:55 pm

LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby caedmon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:11 pm

Ok, If we're going to do this, I need help.

Regardless of final design I think we'll need the following:

  • A few large photos of wild land with Ranger's in the middle distance that are landscape oriented. (Most shared on the forum are: portrait, to small, and to close up)
  • A few large images of material culture items. (Once again landscape orientation)
  • A good Tolkien style map that is Creative Commons or drawn by a Forum member.
  • A good Tolkien style drawing/painting (i.e. looks like Tolkien drew it) that is Creative Commons or drawn by a Forum member (in a pinch I can do this one)
  • Someone to write a few good paragraphs for each main nav section


what about main nav? I only did 4 items I can now think of 5 (7 should be the outside max)

  • Who we are
  • Forum
  • Gallery
  • Wiki
  • Material Culture DB
-Jack Horner

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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby Elleth » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:40 pm

I can absolutely help with some images and maybe some maps or drawings.

Anything in particular you're looking for? (regions? text? particular items or types of items?)

How do you want large file size images? Uploaded somewhere? Emailed?
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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby Manveruon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:56 pm

I AM SOOOOOOO 1,000% ON-BOARD WITH THIS!!! Everything looks fantastic! How exciting!

Haha, exactly. I just have a kneejerk reaction to seeing obviously talented 'LotR' cosplay types, I think 'ahh, if only they were crafting with barktanned leather, metal, and linen instead of vinyl 'leather', craft foam, and cotton broadcloth. At the very least, I just want to drag them through the mud and leaves.


I fully admit, I started out exactly as you have described above. But I'd like to think I've come a long, loooooooooong way since those days, if I may be so immodest. I agree with Elleth here, in that I love what they did with much of the Jackson films (even though they may have been far from perfect as adaptations) and if it weren't for those movies, I almost certainly would never have become so interested in Tolkien's Legendarium. So, if for no other reason than that, I'm exceedingly thankful for them; they make an excellent "gateway drug," haha.

For me though, that's what a page like this would really be all about. Sort of a web-based billboard saying "HEY YOU! Are you a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan? If so, COOL! If not... well did you see the Lord of the Rings films? And are you interested in immersing yourself in the culture and history of Middle-Earth? THEN, BOY HOWDY HAVE WE GOT A HOBBY FOR YOU!"

But having the sort of "cover-page" site like this will also allow a lot of people who are only casually interested to come have a look, explore our pictures, drool a little over how very, very, super-amazingly-cool we all are (naturally), and then go on their merry way... and in theory, tell their friends about it afterwards! That way, if we WERE to hand out a business card with just the site's name and main page URL on it, the casual person could still go look at it and say, "wow, so THAT'S who those crazy people in cloaks were! I had no idea this was a real thing!"

Which brings me to...

The only thing that makes my eyetwitch is Manv's suggestion that we would need a group name. While I'm not a fan of monoculture, I've noticed in this hobby/sport/lifestyle that there's an awful lot of splintering (at least when it comes to facebook groups)...with the result that each has a handful of members, instead of a larger umbrella organization with a large membership.


Okay, so I totally get what you're saying here, and in general I agree... but for me, it comes down to this: when I'm out and about, I want to be able to tell people, "Oh yeah, I'm part of this online community called BLABLAHBLAH." And unfortunately, when people hear "The Middle Earth Ranger Forum," they just think of an online message board - a place for people to come and chat with each other. Doesn't sound very interesting or "official." But what we have here is almost an international "club," for lack of a better word (though of course it's an open club, without membership or bylaws, etc). So a name like "Middle Earth Ranger Society" works well for that. However, if JBook would not opposed to us using it as an umbrella term, I'd be perfectly happy using the "Middle Earth Reenactment Society," myself (though since that organization is his baby, I entirely defer to him on that matter).

Aaaaaaaaanyway, moving on to less abstract concepts, I have to say I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to help submit content to the site! I've got LOTS of great photos that will work, and I am happy to share them! And I think it would be cool if we could include the video Greg has been working on in the front page, once it's finished.

I really like the "Bootstrap" style for the page, and I love where you're going with it, Caedmon. I also agree with Elleth that the little map-path animation as you scroll is really cool and I'd love it if we could manage it.

Otherwise, I'm happy to draw maps, help track down royalty-free images, etc. Whatever you need!
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Re: MER Site Refresh

Postby Manveruon » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:57 pm

OOOH! And I have to say, I absolutely LOVE the Company of the Green Dragon site! That is EXACTLY the type of thing I meant when I first mentioned the idea. Spot on.

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