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A MESSAGE FROM TAUNTON NEW MEDIA

sysop_ | Posted in The Archives on

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Hello everyone. My name is David Kenney; I am the Manager of Internet
Operations here at The Taunton Press. I’ve been in my new position for
about a month now, and we have finally started to get a handle on our
current situation. We have arrived at a strategy for improving our
Discussion Boards, and I’d like to share it with you all.

This is not an excuse for the recent problems; we are simply trying to be
honest with you about the facts, what our plans will be in the future to
improve things, and what level of service you can expect from us in the
future.

Let me start by apologizing for the recent problems. We do hear
everything you have to say, and we are extremely grateful that you have
stuck with us for so long. The fact that you folks are the ones responsible
for the success of our products and the strength of the Taunton community
is not lost on us for one second.

Here’s our current problem: The vendor that hosts our Web site and
discussion boards and has provided all the maintenance and technical
support for the last three years has been bought out and is no longer in the
Web hosting business. We are now searching actively for a new hosting
company that can essentially pick up right where we’ve been dropped off.

On December 28, the discussion board message database became corrupt,
and as many of you are painfully aware, the boards were up and down
frequently over the next week. We are now back up, but unfortunately, the
posts from part of November and all of December have disappeared.
Because of the current level of support we are getting, these are unlikely to
return. (My apologies to the gentleman who, during that time, posted the
cure for male pattern baldness and other afflictions.)

So while I enjoyed reading your theories about the crash – a small Y2K
budget, a vast, deep-seated conspiracy to silence the voices of the brave
dedicated souls who frequent our boards – it was unfortunately just the
same technical problems that have been plaguing us for some time and for
which we now are currently unable to get adequate support.

Here’s what we’re doing to improve things:

A Dedicated Server

We will be moving the discussion boards to a server of their very own – to
a “discussion board farm” where all they do is run Web Crossings
Discussion Boards for other companies. This move will undoubtedly bring
a new level of performance and stability to the boards. Additionally,
removing the discussion boards from our web server will also increase the
performance and stability of our web site.

This separation will not affect the way you see our site and boards at all.
The boards will be down for a day while we move the content, and you
will need to update your bookmarks after that. (We’ll be back to let you
know when.)

Increased Staff

The New Media group will be hiring a new person to help deal with the
growing popularity of our boards and the technical and managerial issues
associated with that growth.

Better Moderation

The magazine groups will now be responsible for moderating their own
discussion boards. These new moderators will be making themselves
known on each of the boards over the coming weeks.

Support

Many of you who have been with us for a while have become used to a
level of service provided by a Web hosting company that gave us technical
support and fixes almost immediately. We also had a terrific moderator
who (often at the expense of his other duties) spent close to 75% his time
watching the boards, responding quickly to requests, and relaying
technical problems to our hosting vendor to get resolved.

I doubt that we can get back to that level of support. (Truthfully, I don’t
think we can afford to.) However, with the changes coming, we will
definitely see the level of support improve from where we’ve been
recently, but it will take some time as we go about implementing the
changes, and as the new moderators and support staff come up to speed.

We won’t be able to provide immediate responses to e-mail requests that
simulate a real-time dialog. Typical turn around time for e-mails is one to
two days.

So, here’s what you can expect from us in the future:

-more active participation from the moderators

-faster, more consistent acknowledgment of your requests

-better performance

-increased stability with fewer crashes

-more reliable technical support.

To finish up, our commitment is genuine, and I guarantee you’ll see
improvements in the coming months. All of us here at The Taunton Press
are extremely grateful and appreciative of the patience you have exhibited
and the loyalty you have shown. We will do our on going best to make
sure you have a well-supported, high-performance forum that is on a par
with the quality of the content that you folks post.

If anyone has any questions, I will try to follow up on any future postings,
but also please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
Additionally, I am always willing to communicate with folks through the
antiquated old telephone service. I can be reached at (800) 926-8776 x280.

Sincerely,

David

Replies

  1. Linda_H | | #1

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    This sounds great!! I'm looking forward to the improved service. It would also be nice if the messages we open could then be highlighted in a different color so we could see at a glance which ones we've already read. I've seen it done this way on other websites. Another big improvement would be making more and clearer categories for various sewing subjects. Anyway, I like Threads magazine and the message board. Good luck!!

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