Site Re-Launch

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This is the space where we will organise the re-launch. Please join if you would like to participate.

Having profiles with photos, a background and a brief bio is important. It lets people can get to know one another a bit and connect with others with shared interests.

Many people are not completing their profiles after signing up. It is not clear why that is, as we have not received any feedback. In early July, we added a brief tutorial on how to do this. It has had over 100 views. Still, this situation has not really improved.

Perhaps one reason is that the system was set up to automatically create a default profile when someone signs up. We changed that yesterday so that instead of an automatic default profile being generated, the new user is prompted to set it up.

Any feedback on how we might encourage / assist setting up profiles will be gratefully received. We are doing our best, but flying a bit blind to be honest.

I configured the messenger feature today. This allows direct and group messages. It works as you might expect. You can react with emojis, write as you like, and attach a video or files to any message. Below is a brief tutorial video.


Upgrades and Usage Stats

The cover image is our usage stats for the calendar year. We did the major software upgrade in July. At the same time we shifted focus to research, advocacy, and capability. We added a new logo and did a redesign of the site layout. Regular posting of news and events related to the public research sector started at that time. These things led to an increase in unique visitors. My estimate is that ~400 is the baseline of bots (search engine scrapers and the like). Taking that into account, we had ~500 unique visitors in July and September and ~600 in August. The bandwidth usage also went up substantially after the upgrade reflecting an increase in traffic. Today, we did a minor upgrade from 13.0.0 to 13.1.0-B2 that solves some issues that have been niggling.

Site Improvement, Maintenance, and Financial Support Request

The site has been free for anyone to use since the beginning in 2021 (no advertisements or selling your data either). This has been possible due to a few donations, all volunteer labour, and the kind developers at providing pro-tier access to the software for free. We want to ensure that there is the financial certainty in place to keep it going into the future and improve the service. We believe the most stable way to do that is for members / visitors like you to give a relatively small monthly recurring donation.

We have added a Donation Page with recurring and one time donation options. Your donation will help cover expenses such as the iFramely (embedding tool) fee, domain name registration, and server costs. If we can get enough regular donations, we will be able to pay for customising the app (iOS and Android) for this site.

We are well aware that times are tough for those in our public research sector. Your donation of any amount is a huge help. If a one off donation suits your situation better, please do that.

Thank you for using Te Ara Paerangi Community Hub and for your help to keep it growing.

A few technical notes for where things are at with the community server. At the moment, the site is being backed up once per day. That means we could lose up to almost 23 hours of activity if things go completely pear shaped. This is a limitation of the current hosting plan.

While reviewing the back up situation, I took a look at resource usage logs. We are well under the max use for the hosting plan for the moment. I will keep an eye on it as time goes on. We do have a plan in hand for shifting to a server with more resources in future.

We've been adding events this last few weeks as we hear about them. Today, hits from google searchers are hitting a particular event. That suggests our site is being indexed at least as well as the site that has the original event posting that we link to.

Last week we added an events section. The idea is to make it easier for people to find out about things that they would be interested in attending (in person or online). At the moment we are populating it with things we find out about from various sources.

It is open for anyone to add an event. If you or an organisation your are part of is hosting an event or know about something that is interesting to you, please do add it to our events section. You can do that by clicking on the + in the upper right and then on EVENT.


This week, I have been making short tutorial videos to do some things around the site. There is an embed button in the editor. When I tried it it did added some code with a link to the video, but nothing showed up when the post was made.

I have been working around this by using the copy embed code option from the youtube video itself. This is not a good solution. It does not scale the video size based on the screen size. It requires fiddling with the underlying html. It is just not user friendly at all.

I looked further into the documentation and the discussion boards as well. I found that to make this button do what it is meant to do, the site needs either an iFramely or Embedly account. I signed up for an account on iFramely as it looks like it would allow for scaling based on screen size. It is not yet working properly for me. But I will continue to try to sort it out.


As I build out the site for re-launch, I am weighing costs vs. benefits for any feature. iFramely would incur a monthly cost of USD $29. At the moment, we have no income stream to support the site. We will have to have a broader discussion within the community about how to sustain it over time.

Yesterday, I did some looking at the new features and modules for version 13 of Two modules stood out as helpful for on boarding new people: Help Tours and Attendant. Help tours is a way to make guided tours of the site showing what it is able to do. It will take some time to make this work well. Attendant generates a pop-up window for new users with featured spaces, people, groups, etc. to follow. I have activated it and have included featured spaces.

I've started making help videos and making posts in the user help space with those videos. This way we can point to them and show people how to do things. If you have ideas for ways to make things easier or have had specific issues figuring out how to do something, please add them in the comments.

The upgrade to version 13.0.0 of UNA has been completed with the help of one of the developers. We are now waiting for the site to be moved from the discount hosting that we started on to a scalable hosting in Aotearoa.

The site appearance and functionality will be changing. Input from the community will be helpful to make this site work best for everyone.

While I have not had a lot of time to work with the new version, from what I have seen it is much better than version 12. It is easier to navigate around, the new post editor is great, and more ways of adding content that are more intuitive. See the release announcement for more details.

There is a new site tour tool that we can set up to help users learn how to do things.

There are apps for iOS and Android that can be customised for our site. I am keen to do that a bit down the track when we have things a bit more settled.

The week of the 19th of June, I am on holiday. Will pick back up on this the next week.