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I've noticed the website has recieved a marked increase in traffic, post-Anthrocon, despite doing practically no advertising at the convention. To all you new readers: I hope you're enjoying the site! I plan to do more advertising at upcoming conventions with the hope of increasing readership further. To facilitate this, a few issues have to be taken care of. Read more to see what my plans for the next three months include.

First off is the code itself. PHPNuke is a really neat piece of software in that it can power this entire site without me having to learn serious PHP and MySQL coding. Flayrah currently runs version 4.4, modified slightly to suit my needs. There are, however, a number of annoying bugs (many of you have written me about password problems, lately, and I haven't been able to find a solution), and the site is often awkward to manage and use.

I seem to have a couple of options. PHPNuke 5.0 is out, and I could upgrade the codebase to that version, in the hope that some of these bugs have been repaired. Just today, I discovered a code fork of the PHPNuke project, entitled PostNuke. I'll be doing some research to see if I can migrate Flayrah to this codebase, as it sounds more stable. Expect this migration to happen sometime in the month of September--my August weekends are booked full, at the moment, and I haven't had a lot of evening time during the week to devote to the site.

Along with the code migration will probably include an overhaul of the 'look' of the website. If anyone out there has some inkling of graphic web design (I have very little), and is willing to help, let me know. We'll talk.

I'm still working on trascribing an interview with Jeff Eddy of SofaWolf Press. Look for that in the next few weeks. It's a good one, I think.

Some of the Flayrah.com team will be present at Mephit FurMeet at the end of this month, including possibly myself. Look for us around the con, or at the Midwest FurFest table. The first batch of promotional material should be floating around, as well.

I'm very interested to hear what readers think of the site. Do we publish too many general animal tidbits? Not enough? Should we concentrate more on SF material? Should we add some new catagories of news? And if so, what should we add? Do we suck or rock?

Comments

Your rating: None

If I have to choose between those two descriptions, then Flayrah rocks. I really enjoy being able to find news about real animals, science fiction and fantasy, anthropomorphic fan news, and related topics. The ability to make and read comments on articles is great, too.

As for new categories, there has seemed to be a call and/or need for a "weirdo" category... Maybe call it "Eccentrics"?

Your rating: None

You guys really show that you care about this site. You maintain it well, and you have a good mix of interesting information.

I have a few recommendations:

  • If you can, also send the comments when someone synchronizes with Mobile Flayrah. Although you have higher quality standards than Slashdot, the comments remain an important balance on information.
  • Furry fanzines started the fandom, but they're not well-represented here. If any of them read this, and want to advertise what is in their latest magazine, that would be very helpful.

If I think of other suggestions, I'll post them!

Chip Unicorn

Your rating: None

The current Mobile Flayrah is somewhat of a hack provided to me by Feren. I'll be looking around for other solutions when I do the site code upgrade.

As far as fanzines go, I'm all for it! I happen to like them quite a bit, and I post news about thatm when I can find it. It would be a great help if fanzine editors started submitting stuff to me.

Your rating: None

I read Flayrah.com every day that I am at my computer. You definitely rock. One of the main reasons it is so interesting is the diversity of animal-related news. I am not equally interested in all the categories, but I appreciate having the variety of news called to my attention so I can read what I want. I do not think that you need to concentrate more on any category, but it would be nice if more readers submitted more news. I will try to take my own advice and send you more news, which will probably mostly be in the s-f and movie line. The only thing that bugs me about this site is the scrolling news bar on the left, which obscures part of the main news page until the bar has scrolled all the way up. It seems to be an unnecessary annoyance rather than serving any useful purpose.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I don't see the scrolling news bar - but I have noted that the "topics" link brings up a list of topics that don't work when you click on them. You could eliminate that itemoff the main menu anyway, as the same links are found under "read news by topic" anyway, and those links are always available and always work, so it's redundant.

I'm reading this now on 1280 x 1024 res, but I've actually been able to use this site on a webtv, which is a bizarre 584 x 380 resolution. It's klunky at that size, but it still works. And if it will work on a webtv classic with no Java or SSL, it will work on anything.

Your rating: None

Well as a semi regular contributor, I am biased when I say Flayrah rocks. But it is one site I hit every day.

The one thing I wish you guys did a little more of is self evangelizing yourselves in the fandom. You have a durn good product. Let folks know about it. Word of mouth is great and it keeps folks coming back but theres nothing wrong whatsoever with building a little brand name identity. Its only good for the site and for your readers.

Distribute a few flyers on what Flayrah is and how it works at some cons, host a room party or two, heck take out an ad in some convention program books. Whatever you do, keep up the good work!!!

Your rating: None

I admit to dropping the ball on promotion at Anthrocon. We will have flyers at Mephit Furmeet at the end of this month. I'm going to be looking into conbook advertisements for the next couple of conventions.

Your rating: None

Well if you guys don't have anybody going out to Conifur, let me know and I'll be glad to put some out for you there. Thats the next con up for me.

David Cooksey

Your rating: None

Aureth asked:

>Do we publish too many general animal tidbits?

I'm interested in these, but the problem is that usually there's not much to say about them. One of the things that will really keep this site going is items which stimulate discussion. Just stating facts alone is OK, but stating facts then positing an opinion ("I think it would be splendid to open up ANWR for drilling! Heck, give me my pickaxe and I'll start the first well!") is even better.

>Should we concentrate more on SF material?

Well, I'd like to see more SF-related stuff, but that's because I'm too lazy to read SF-related news sites. My fault, not yours, but I won't complain about more SF coverage.

A couple of other comments: It would be nice if the polls rotated weekly - they tend to get stale after that. Also, it's difficult sometimes to see what topics have new comments and to see who has posted new comments in an active discussion. I'll chalk this up to shortcomings in the code, though - perhaps it will improve with the next version, but if not I'll still read the site.

>Do we suck or rock?

Definitely rock. Flayrah is growing slowly and I note more and more familiar names are popping up - that's great to see.

-Duncan

Your rating: None

> Also, it's difficult sometimes to see what topics have new comments and to see who has posted new comments in an active discussion. I'll chalk this up to shortcomings in the code, though.

I'll second the motion - it would be nice if there was an easy way to navigate to all the new comments posted since my last visit without having to hunt for them all, especially ones that have been appended to articles that have scrolled off the main screen.

Your rating: None

May I suggest the new category Entertainment? It could be used for upcoming movies/TV shows/books that don't have a full review listed, and could also be used to advertise fanzines and online comics. Sometimes posting something in Furry News or SciFi news isn't the best fit for the article being posted.

But hey, other than that, Flayrah rocks! I visit every day looking for new articles and polls, and to see if any new comments have been posted. Keep up the most excellent work people!

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About the author

Aurethread storiescontact (login required)

an agronomist and Cornwuff from Northern Illinois, interested in sf, homebrewing, photography and running