If you are reading this message, then you have probably already noticed that things are looking a little bit different around here at LetterMo! Over the summer and fall, our volunteer team has been hard at work in the background as we first moved our website to a new server that is less expensive to operate and second, began work on a complete overhaul of the website itself. The fruit of all that work is what you see here. We encourage you to explore our new home and hope that you enjoy it!
Why the New Look?
Why, you might ask, was such a change needed? To put it plainly, our old site was, well, old. The LetterMo site has existed for around a decade, and it contained a decade’s worth of blog entries, forum posts, and media uploads. That might not sound so bad, but that is just on the front side of things. On the back side of the website, it contained a decade’s worth of plugins, modifications, and spam dust bunnies that snuck in at some point or another. What’s more, many of these plugins and modifications were from various experiments that had been tried over the years to add new functionality to the our community, but were no longer being used.
The first part of our work was to identify how the whole thing worked together and what pieces of the website were essential to the LetterMo experience. As we tried to update various components of the site, however, things started to break and it quickly became clear that a simple refresh of the front end of the website wouldn’t be possible.
We had to build it new from the ground up.
In our monthly board meetings, we decided that we wanted the new site to have a clean and modern interface that would work well on desktop and mobile devices. We also wanted to start the website with just the core of the LetterMo experience, which in conversation together, we identified as:
- User Profiles and Friendships for finding penpals
- The member forums
- Our blog
Without those three pieces, we wouldn’t be able to host a Month of Letters, so that is where we started our efforts. We have ideas and dreams for future things we would like to roll out, but these pieces were the heart of LetterMo.
The good news is that we were able to import your user profiles from the old website into the new website!
Though we did our best to get everything, there were a few things in your profiles that didn’t make it in the trip from the old website to the new one:
- Interests – The profile fields where you could list your interests did not import, despite our best efforts.
- Number of Letters Written Per Year – This one is hit or miss. Some profiles had their answers import correctly, while others didn’t because the importer recognized some of the answers as dates rather than ranges.
- Birthday – We thought these had all imported correctly, but we’ve had a one or two reports in the beta testing phase that their birthday was wrong.
- Profile Images – If you had previously uploaded a profile image to the LetterMo website, it did not make the transfer and you will have to upload it to the new site. If you had a profile image that was automatically tied to your email address, then the new website was able to grab it when your profile was imported.
We encourage you to take this as an opportunity to check and update your profile information to make sure you are ready for the Month of Letters Challenge next February!
Where Are My Friends?
Sadly, the one thing we could not bring over to the new site were all your friend relationships. We tried gallantly to find a way to export those connections, but could not find a solution. In the coming months, each of us will need to rebuild our friendship connections on the website.
I Found Something Missing/Broken
Though we did invite a group of our members to do a round of beta testing on the new site, which uncovered several things that needed fixing, we are sure that there will be more things found now that everyone is on the new website. We would appreciate it if you let us know if you find something broken, missing, or not behaving in a way that seems right so that we can get it fixed. You will find in our General Forum a topic for the new website where you can post your questions or bug reports. Alternatively, you can email our board at email@example.com.
What Happened to the Old Site?
We have archived the old website for the time being. This allows our board to go through and catalogue all the old blog posts so that we can keep them for posterity, as well as any other information that we discover we are missing and would like on the new website. Please note, the archived site is no longer being monitored, is not accepting registrations, and will not have any new content added to it. Once we are sure that we have pulled everything we could possibly need or want from it, in about a year or so, we will download a full backup of it and then remove it from our server all together.