Pleeb

Coming Changes to Tulpa.info

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There's going to be some changes coming to the site. Some changes are long-term plans that won't be happening for awhile, a lot of them will be happening soon when the new content is ready and we have the new Site Redesign.

 

I should probably call it more of a restructure than a redesign, though we are going to be changing the theme and the layout (a big thanks to everyone who actually has been talking to be about their ideas with the color scheme; if you are one of those web designers that know the difference between an ugly and professional color scheme, please PM me so we can collaborate).

 

For these past several weeks, I've been fairly busy. While my latest blog update says that I'm in Florida, I actually came back to Delaware about two weeks ago for some reasons that I'll disclose soon enough.

 

Before I continue, let me just shout out a short list of what's to come:

  • A new site layout and color scheme
  • A wiki
  • Dedicated, separate, subdomains for sections of the site running on a different CMS (expect wiki.tulpa.info, community.tulpa.info, articles.tulpa.info, at the very least)
  • A new research and science-oriented splinter for the community
  • A new, optimized, progress report system similar to dream journals on dreamviews
  • More research oriented boards (and a new off-topic structure)
  • Several new premium features such as this (which will be utilized especially on the science splinter and community forums)
  • Targeted advertising to openminded and relatively mature userbases (e.g. Dreamviews -- PM me to suggest more)
  • More user-driven moderation (users will be able to send 'warnings' to other users as an alert, similar to this website's infraction system)
  • Many other community-based perks and features that you may enjoy on the side while being a member of these forums.

 

Please note that the various features above are stemmed not off random ideas I had, but things that several individuals have approached me on in the past. A thanks goes out to everyone who has made these suggestions, sent emails, and talked with me on IRC relating to these things.

 

There has also been a proposal for the new layouts. Here was the most recent proposal, which was a collaboration between Tulpacouple and Purlox (with one tweak by me, with moving the Guides board to General and out of Research):

 

Site Related

  • News and Announcements
  • Forum Questions, Comments and Suggestions

 

General

  • New Users (stickies with links and advice, mass intro page, general resource page for the new users with plenty to read while their accounts are activated)
  • Questions and Answers
  • General Discussion
  • Guides (containing tested guides)
    • Untested Guides (untested guides will be here until they are tested enough, then they get moved to the normal board)

    [*]Articles (redirects to article section)

 

Research (NOTE: we may splinter)

  • Theories
  • Research (probably empty, because people should use the sub-boards)
    • Research Collaboration (collaboration with other members on doing research)
    • Research Proposals (for people not dedicated enough to make the research themselves)
    • Research Logs (logs of researches that were done in the past)
    • Hidden Research (section that can be viewed only by few people; research talked about here would be skewed if people knew about it being done, should later be reported in logs when it is completed)

    [*]General Psychological/Scientific Discussion (for stuff that wouldn't fit elsewhere -- NOTE: This can go in off-topic, maybe?)

 

Community

  • Progress reports (redirects to the other part of site with the new progress report system)
  • Tulpa Art
  • Tulpa Fics (I know this could go into Art section, but I think it would be better if it had its own section so you can more easily find what picture or fics depending on what you are looking for)

 

Metaphysics

  • Metaphysics and Tulpae (later we can give them more sections if they become more active)

 

Off topic

  • Off Topic
    • Absurdity (similar to Dreamview's Senseless Banter, and contains the worst kind of off-toipc)

 

Why changes to the layout are needed

You see, when I first created Tulpa.info probably about 6 months ago, I didn't actually know much about site design, SEO, marketing, and the like. Sure, I had some marketing classes from uni under my belt, but as far as design goes, I suck at it. The result was a fantastically written -- and poorly SEO'd -- XHTML website. After realizing that SEO should be priority, I began to do a lot of research. My full time job was learning marketing, SEO, and proper design and coding practices. Tulpa.info was able to be badged with the WAI-AAA WCAG 1.0 title, which is very, very hard to accomplish for a website.

 

It didn't stop after this, though. Even after the website was stable, I continued to learn proper SEO and marketing practices and web conventions. I began to learn about microdata and the psychology behind web design, colors, layout, and overall professionalism of a website. While I'm still pretty much useless when it comes to a color scheme, I'm now starting to understand the dos and don'ts of web design.

 

And we have a lot of don'ts.

 

For the site to prosper without issues in the long run, I want to redesign everything, this time the right way. There are a few ways of doing that, ranging from one centralized CMS running on a single domain to several CMSs running on multiple domains.

 

Before I go further, I want to explain the process I go through when I rationalize what's to happen next. For instance, when I had to work out the new site structure, it involved me writing down my ideas, thoughts, and pretty much free-typing until I came up with my decision. Here is an example of my rationale behind the new site structure (which is listed at the bottom of this rationalization):

When designing a new structure for the site, some age-old issues arise:
*How centralized do we want to be?
*Do we give up good conventions in favor of simplicity?
*Subdomains or subdirectories?
*What web conventions should we use, and should they be global?

These are hard questions to answer, and ones I've been obsessing over lately.

First, how centralized should we be?  One thing everyone seems to be requesting, is the ability to 
have a login and register button on every page of the site.  So you can log into your forum's account 
from the home page.  The easiest way to do this is to have a CMS run everything -- the forums and the 
home page.  This seems fairly easy and straightforward, right?  In this case, I can use MyBB as the 
CMS.  It will give me access to lots of perks and features, all hosted under the root domain.  While 
I'm almost 100% sure that I'm going to be using MyBB, some problems arise.  For instance, it's 
recommended not to have file extensions to your website content.

Instead of http://tulpa.info/guides.html or http://tulpa.info/guides.xhtml, it's better to have 
something like: http://tulpa.info/guides/ (as explained here: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI ).

This is not only SEO-friendly, but it's good practice in case you change the extensions of your 
pages.  The issue, if we go with MyBB, our root domain structure will look something like this:
http://tulpa.info/index.php       - Home Page
http://tulpa.info/portal.php      - News Portal
http://tulpa.info/forums.php      - Forums
http://tulpa.info/Thread-Glossary - A thread in the forums with the title "Glossary"
http://tulpa.info/progress/       - Progress Reports?
...
http://tulpa.info/page.php        - Other pages of the website

This isn't the best way to structure these sorts of things.  A better way would be:
http://tulpa.info/                        - Home Page
http://tulpa.info/portal/                 - News Portal
http://tulpa.info/forums/                 - Forums
http://tulpa.info/forums/Thread-Glossary/ - A thread in the forums with the title "Glossary"
http://tulpa.info/progress/               - Progress Reports?
...
http:///tulpa.info/page/                  - Other pages of the website

The issues arises when MyBB is not good at existing with a virtual directory structure.  It actually 
exists pretty poorly with virtual directories, which means that if we go with MyBB as our CMS, we end 
up having to deal with no virtual directories, and hence our structure would be formatted like the 
first example.

This begs the question: Should we sacrifice good conventions for simplicity, or ease of use?

In an effort to find out, I decided to check out what other big websites are doing.

Yahoo! News, for instance, uses .html extensions at the end of their blog articles.  About.com uses 
.htm extensions.  Microsoft is happy with the .aspx extensions on most of their pages, and MyBB.com 
themselves use the folder structure (e.g. www.mybb.com/about/) leading to even more subpages (e.g. 
http://www.mybb.com/about/mybb/).

Perhaps for our guides, if we went this wrote, we would probably do something like:
http://tulpa.info/guide/
http://tulpa.info/guide/introduction/

Their forums are hosted on a subdomain, as well as their mods site.  I'll touch on that in a moment.

But either way, after reviewing several sites, I still believe the directory structure would serve the 
strongest for our community, esp that we're still struggling for SEO (we're back below tulpa.com 
again, at the time of this writing), but doing that will result in less centralization.

One thing that I noticed, I've seen a lot of websites hosting subdomains rather than subdirectories 
for several of their sites.  For instance, news.yahoo.com, mods.mybb.com, etc.  The main difference 
between a subdomain and subdirectory is that the subdomain is seen as a completely different site and 
different domain.  The purpose of this is for, if we plan to have a different userbase, CMS, etc.  
Right now, we currently have several different CMSs running under the same root domain.  
Tulpa.info/forums has MyBB, tulpa.info/articles/ has wordpress, this isn't logically correct from a 
design aspect.  We should have one CMS per website (thus proper centralization).

As always, I'm going to check one site that I usually like to cite for structure, and that's 
Dreamviews.  When you go to their home page, it's hosted under www.dreamviews.com/content/ -- this has 
their main page with an introduction and overview of the site, has an overview of lucid dreaming, an 
FAQ on the main page as well.  At the top of the page, you see links that lead to their forums, dream 
journals, wiki, dreamtube, community hall, among other things.  Her is their structure:
http://www.dreamviews.com/content/   - Home Page and Home Page content (e.g. guides, etc)
http://www.dreamviews.com/forum.php  - Forums
http://www.dreamviews.com/blogs/all/ - Dream Journals
http://www.dreamviews.com/wiki/      - Wiki
http://www.dreamviews.com/DreamTube/ - DreamTube
http://www.dreamviews.com/hall/      - Community Hall

Excluding the forum itself (which would have been better as dreamviews.com/forum/), everything is 
hosted under a directory structure, and everything is hosted under one CMS.  That is, they're using 
vB, with wiki plugins, youtube plugins, market system plugins, blog plugins, etc.  From an SEO 
standpoint, yeah, this is pretty decent of an idea, but their solution is costly.  I would love to 
have a copy of vB and the plugins that DV is using, but it would cost upward of $600+ -- this is money 
that I don't have out-of-pocket, and I'm not sure if it could be raised.

For us, we'll have to make due with the resources we have.  In this case, for the articles system 
(using wordpress) the wiki system (which will use mediawiki, probably) and the new Research/Science 
site (which will use MyBB) will be separate websites; they should have similar but distinctly 
different themes, userbases, etc.  Thus, the addresses for said sites will be as follows:
http://articles.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Articles, hosted by wordpress
http://wiki.tulpa.info/     - Tulpa.info Wiki
http://research.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Science/Research Center

The next question arises, are we to have the community forums hosted as forums.tulpa.info or hosted as 
tulpa.info/forums?  It depends on the end-result.  Are we to have the main site, tulpa.info, just a 
simple static website as it is now, with no (or a different) CMS?  I could use wordpress as our CMS 
for the main site.  I could host the forums as: forums.tulpa.info or community.tulpa.info (I'll 
explain why for the latter, in a moment).

All the membership perks -- registration, arcade, possible community hall/market system, progress 
reports, "where are you from" maps -- could be hosted on the tulpa.info site that's dedicated to the 
community of tulpa.info, hence, community.tulpa.info.  This, of course, will still house the support 
forums for newbies, the general discussions, etc.  They'll still be the forums we have right now, and 
could still be called forums.tulpa.info rather than community.tulpa.info (the former is shorter, 
anyway).

So with that, I think it's a decent compromise.  The end-result of the new site structure similar to as follows:
http://tulpa.info/                       - Home Page.
http://tulpa.info/guide/                 - Location of guide
http://tulpa.info/guide/introduction/    - Intro
http://tulpa.info/guide/what-is-a-tulpa/ - What is a Tulpa?
http://tulpa.info/guide/page/            - Page in the guide
http://tulpa.info/guide/what-next/       - A "what next" type primer
http://tulpa.info/about/                 - The "About" page; could have sub-pages.
http://tulpa.info/chat/                  - The Chat page
http://tulpa.info/contact/               - You get the point.
http://tulpa.info/page/                  - Another 'page' in the site.
http://articles.tulpa.info/              - Tulpa.info Articles, hosted by wordpress
http://forums.tulpa.info/                - Community Forums (alternate: community.tulpa.info)
http://research.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Research/Science center (alternate: science.tulpa.info), hosted by MyBB
http://wiki.tulpa.info/                  - Tulpa.info Wiki, hosted by mediawiki
(please note that the '/guide/' is here for SEO reasons, and may even be changed to /guides/)
The root domain 'http://tulpa.info/' will either be hosted on wordpress or use static HTML.

There is one last thing I feel is worth asking: Which conventions are we to use for the website 
themselves?  HTML5?  XHTML?  MyBB is actually using XHTML while wordpress could be using HTML5.  While 
things like HTML5 are still in the dev stage, several websites are already using it and it opens us up 
to something called microdata -- a very powerful search formatting system, and something that I'm 
still trying to wrap my head around.  I really love XHTML, and I would use it if not for the fact that 
XHTML strict doesn't even render in the older IE versions, at least with HTML5 I can work in 
compatibility.

 

I case you didn't scroll all the way through that, and are just interested in the end-result, here is how I plan to format the new site structure:

http://tulpa.info/ - Home Page.
http://tulpa.info/guide/ - Location of guide
http://tulpa.info/guide/introduction/ - Intro
http://tulpa.info/guide/what-is-a-tulpa/ - What is a Tulpa?
http://tulpa.info/guide/page/ - Page in the guide
http://tulpa.info/guide/what-next/ - A "what next" type primer
http://tulpa.info/about/ - The "About" page; could have sub-pages.
http://tulpa.info/chat/ - The Chat page
http://tulpa.info/contact/ - You get the point.
http://tulpa.info/page/ - Another 'page' in the site.
http://articles.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Articles, hosted by wordpress
http://forums.tulpa.info/ - Community Forums (alternate: community.tulpa.info), hosted by MyBB
http://research.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Research/Science center (alternate: science.tulpa.info), hosted by MyBB
http://wiki.tulpa.info/ - Tulpa.info Wiki, hosted by mediawiki
(please note that the '/guide/' is here for SEO reasons, and may even be changed to /guides/)
The root domain 'http://tulpa.info/' will either be hosted on wordpress or use static HTML.

 

Site Content

Most of this is discussed in An update and what's to come, but it's probably worth discussing a bit more, esp if you were confused about the above "/page/introduction/" and stuff.

 

The home page will have a quick 'catch' about tulpae (refer to my comments here), just a small introduction on the subject, and then information regarding the website, mainly the overview of what the website is (similar to DVs). Then, we'll have some standard pages (you can view Amadeus's topic in the Guides board for more information) discussing things such as imposition, wonderlands, etc. These will be less 'guides' and more 'overviews', but they'll familiarize the reader with the concepts and it will provide links out to the wiki for more information.

 

What of tulpa.info/guides/? Well, the guides and resources will be moved to the wiki and for SEO purposes, they'll most likely be manually 301 redirected to their wiki counterpart (this should give our subdomain wiki.tulpa.info a fighting chance as far a s rank too, since it will get some of that link juice from tulpa.info/guides/).

 

As for the wiki itself, it'll prolly use mediawiki. Now, I actually don't know much about wikis or how they're handled, how they work, etc. For those that do, maybe you can help when it comes to setting things up. I know some members want to write some wikibooks about their articles, we'll be having wiki-pages on things such as the wonderland, etc, but I don't really know much about wikis themselves, so yeah... We'll see how it goes.

 

The Research Splinter

This is still in the planning stages, though if you want to help with it, send me a PM and we can find a way to collaborate.

 

People have been independently suggesting this to me over the past few months (with the earliest suggestion probably back in September and the latest being last week), so I figured I'd throw this out there that it is being done before others send me an email requesting it.

 

But to get a gist of what it's about, here are three such comments I've had from a few members on the subject.

 

For instance:

The 'Research' board is a nice start, but you and I both know that little information has been gleaned from actual scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) experiments and projects there. I find that disappointing (though not entirely unexpected). I feel that research should be a primary focus of the community, but unfortunately that is not the case.

 

To that end, I wish to make a 'splinter group', if you will; a separate entity that is dedicated solely to researching the phenomenon. I have thought about suggesting another site section here, but decided that in order to be truly productive the group would have to be dissociated from the main site; i.e. require creation of a separate account. This idea has been suggested to me several times, and I feel like it should be implemented.

Or:

I'm thinking about either making it as a section of the existing forum or an entirely different forum. It will have it's own much more strict rules, that will be heavily against off topic and other distruptive behaviours. Posting videos, pictures or some other more types of evidence will be encouraged instead of the usual anecdotal evidence. Moderators will be more strict and there will be mods specific for the scientific forum/section.

 

There will be a place for discussing theories, for talking about research (past, current or future) and any general scientific discussion.

And:

The issue I'm seeing now is the age old community-over-the-subject. I could explain it here, but one need only take alook at the Western Touhou Fanbase and the MLP fanbase to know how this can cause tons and tons of problems. There's a ton less resaerch and discovery going on, and a lot more idle chattering, and people asking questions like: "Which tulpa should I make first?" I assume everyone here is adequitely intellegent enough for me not to have to explain what's wrong with that question. While it's true that there are a golden handful of topics that actually are about expanding our knowledge on tulpa and their capabilities, but these have been buried under multiple topics about individuals rather than the overarching concept.

 

As such, I put forth that there should be two forums: one for more community focused and individual accounts, and another strictly for serious discussion of the concept at large, rather than "What song does your tulpa like?". The former would have things like personal progress reports, off-topic sections, personal accounts would be more accepted there, etc.

As a bonus, have even things such as:

When are you going to make a focus on research?

 

I've contacted all of these members, they'll be playing a role in assisting with this new splinter; if you would like to help, send me a PM.

 

The money

Okay, yeah, so there will be a donation system in place for tulpa.info. People who have donated will get some sort of perk, if they chose to have one (e.g. "Donator" status. I pretty much outlined what the money will be going to, and here's the list (there is one exception, and I'll discuss that exception in a moment):

After telling a few trusted people how much money I'm in the hole I have invested in this site, I've been told by a few people that I should set up a donate button.

 

I can be transparent right now, if you all want. Any income this site makes will first go to paying off the debt I inured through the work put into this site (I really don't want to go into it, as I don't want to be looked on as a charity case; I've told some members in this site, though).

 

After that, funds will go to software for the site, if needed (I may be dropping another $200-$500 out of my pocket [aka credit cards and loans] on a proper CMS for this site that would prove its successful future in the very far distance; I guess this would go into investments I talked about at the beginning?).

 

Next, the money would go into advertising.

 

After this, it will be put towards two things.

 

It will go into research, of course. For instance, for about $400 and a willing participant, a tulpa may very well be able to voice their words through a computer speaker, use the computer and do other things without any action of their host, or without possession; the technology exists today. I know a few who I'd trust with such equipment, esp whom would be trusted enough to send the thing back after the test....

 

The second thing it would go to, would be continued cost of the site (e.g. server fees, domain fees, etc); it would be nice to eventually invest in a dedicated server, that is, accumulate enough funds to buy one, then I put Gentoo on it, and we can live happily ever after!

 

Then I can throw it in the back of a pickup truck and drive it from Texas to California like moot did with 4chan!

 

 

Now, there is one exception to the above, and that's priority. You can read about it here: Want to help Tulpa.info? Pledge a donation Today!

 

In conclusion

We've got a lot of big things on our way. I may have missed to discuss some things I wanted to discuss, but if you have any questions and comments, please let me know.

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Looking forward to the changes, I hope a mobile version will come eventually.

 

THAT'S WHAT I FORGET TO ADD!

 

Yeah, we're going to have full (or almost full) mobile support.

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What will happen to the current forum threads? Are they all going to be moved?

 

Threads such as:

http://tulpa.info/forums/Thread-Hello

 

Will be moved to:

hxxp://forums.tulpa.info/thread-hello (without the 'xx')

 

And if you put:

http://tulpa.info/forums/Thread-Hello

In your browser, you should be automatically directed to:

hxxp://forums.tulpa.info/thread-hello (without the 'xx')

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am i the only one getting hnng feels from this?

 

i would donate if i had a paypal, but nope, i cant get one. i was actually toying with the idea of buying one of those EEG/EKG headsets from Emotive Technologies and try to see if i could lend them to someone with more experience(atasco and tristian maybe), but unfortunately i ran into some personal problems and my funds are now tied down.

 

but this all sounds glorious!


Ayo grill how you be?

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Guest Anonymous

Just my thoughts on the money: a music forum I used to visit had a bar on the top of the site that was about donations. The aim was usually $200, and it usually didn't get that. Maybe close, but usually not.

 

They had a free sign up, but that got you nothing but a name. No posting, personal messages or links to other sites. To access those, you had to be invited or donate, which was like 5 bucks for the month, 30 for the year.

 

Because the community was so self centred, it would work because the non donators wanted to be like the posters, and have access to links to links. Difference is, this community relies mostly on content hosted on the site. So there is little incentive for someone to donate unless they can't have access to something like GD, (Which is a stupid idea) or OT (and nobody would drop 30 bucks for that). Perhaps one on one tulpa help with a pro? I don't know.

 

Just my 2 cents.

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Kate here, I'm liking a lot of these changes, but I am curious about one thing:

The "Hidden Research" board. I think this sort of thing should be as open as possible, you could probably make it so only a select few can post, while others can only watch. I know there are people who wouldn't want to show their faces here, but seriously, if you want to help with research, you shouldn't be scared about being on the spotlight. Be it bad or good, I think everyone has the right to know everything about tulpas.

 

Besides this I'm liking a lot the other changes and we wish you guys a lot of luck to put it into practice :3

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Guest ThunderClap

Oh sweet, a mobile site. No longer will I have to combat text entry fields.

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