tMP, me and the future of the site :)

Discussion in 'tMP Site News & Suggestions' started by TheMusicMan, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hey All

    I wanted to let you all know what's happening with tMP, and of some exciting plans for the future.

    As you're all aware, when I founded tMP, my goal was to create a site that catered for people involved at all levels of banding, for everyone to have an opportunity to post issues, and to discuss band related items with others. I hoped we could create a welcoming community of people passionate about brass banding. There is no doubt we have succeeded beyond what I ever imagined.

    However, over the past couple of years, I've had a lot on my plate that's kept me from spending much time around here. Around the beginning of this year, I began to consider the possibility of finding someone else to serve as the site admin. We have a great team of moderators, and Phil does a fantastic job running the server, and I'm very thankful for the excellent mods we've had over the years. However, the site needs someone to lead the charge on major projects such as updating the software to be mobile-friendly etc.

    A few months later, a gentleman approached me about buying tMP and handling the admin duties. It's very important to me that tMP remains in the hands of someone who values the culture of our community, so I spent some time getting to know him before making a decision. We hit it off immediately and I could not be happier about passing the admin torch to him.

    I'd like to introduce you to Jeff, the new owner of tMP. I shall allow Jeff himself to tell you a little about him, and what he can bring to tMP.

    When Jeff and I discussed the future of tMP, the biggest thing we both thought needed changing is our software platform, I tried at one point to make it mobile friendly, but this wasn't really successful, and vBulletin as a platform now has a murky future. Jeff is an IT expert, and has the skills to migrate from the current vBulletin software to a more modern and progressive forum platform called Xenforo. It's actually an off-shoot of vBulletin, coded by a couple of Brits, but better, and one that without Jeff's intervention, tMP couldn't afford to move to.

    I'm not about to fly off into the sunset in my helicopter, far from it (I wish!!), and Jeff has asked me to remain a part of the tMP leadership team, which I am excited about. I still love brass banding, although in recent years I've been spending more of my time in front with baton in hand rather than sat playing. I don't have so much time to have deal with the chores and responsibilities of being the owner and admin etc. I want to remain a significant part of tMP, and so going forward, my primary role will be making sure we continue to have a culture that's open and welcoming to all bandsmen of every ability level.

    I'll hand over to Jeff next to tell us a little about himself, and to outline his initial plans for tMP.

    Please shout on here or privately if you have any questions.

  2. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    A Job Well Done and Thank you .
  3. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Sunny Sunny Bournemouth
    Thank you John, I used to run a busy football website so I know just how much work you've put in to TMP and also how frustrating it can be. You've done a great service to the brass band community, thanks again!
  4. midlandman

    midlandman Member

    John thank you seems so little compared to the time, effort and quality you have put into this site
  5. JohnB

    JohnB New Member

    Thanks for all your work over the years. Very much appreciated!
  6. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    The Sunny Isle of Wight
    As everyone has said so far - thank you
    I shall continue to support as a (paying) member - even if my current membership has expired (I believe there was some problem with Paypal taking the DD).
  7. Jeff W

    Jeff W Administrator Staff Member

    Hey all,

    First off, I'd like to thank John for entrusting me with the responsibility of owning this community. I've participated in various online hobby forums for many years, and I'm always impressed at the collective knowledge and experience on forums like tMP. These communities are amazing.

    A little about me: I'm not a big company and I have no employees, I'm just a quiet guy with a wife and a ten-month old daughter working out of our guest bedroom. My wife and I own three forums, and spend time every week working on them. If you're considering such a gig, I can tell you that it's rewarding to know you're enabling community to happen, but you're more likely to get rich by working as a music teacher.

    I'm from the US, so I apologize if I accidentally say the wrong thing without realizing it--we speak a different dialect over here. The UK has a special place in my heart--I spent 6 weeks traipsing around the UK back in college. My two friends and I walked the Cotswald way, the West Highland Way, the Pembrokeshire Coast, climbed the 3000's in Snowdonia as well as Ben Nevis up in Scotland, and generally toured the country on foot. We were so destitute that we couldn't afford to pay for lodging, so we slept out in parking garages and fields. Yet despite being thoroughly bedraggled, we experienced amazing hospitality from most of the people we met. We were invited into homes, fed home-cooked meals, given showers--I remember one gentleman and his wife gave us a lift to the train and when we got there he surprised us by pulling tickets that he'd already purchased out of his pocket. I try and pay that hospitality forward whenever I get a chance.

    As far as my plans for this site...

    The main changes I want to make are are technical. tMP has a welcoming and friendly culture for people of all abilities, and the last thing I want to do is screw that up. That's why I asked John if he'd be willing to stay involved on the leadership team and help shepherd the culture. Additionally, as a father, I really appreciate this place being a family-friendly community.

    As John already mentioned, when he and I were discussing how to improve the site, we both thought it'd be wise to migrate to new forum software. vBulletin was acquired by a large company back in 2007, and they've made a total mess of it... The lead developer and product manager got so fed up that they left and started building a new forum software called Xenforo. These days, Xenforo is moving forward as a robust, steadily-updated software platform. Versus the next version of vBulletin has been vaporware for so long that it's become something of a joke among forum admins to say that something will happen 'when vBulletin 5 arrives.'

    The most immediate benefit we'll get by switching to Xenforo is a mobile-friendly responsive design right out of the box--33% of our current visitors are on phones/tablets. It also provides better built-in spam traps, so that's a nice bonus. If you have feedback on swapping site software, I'm all ears.

    The other change I've considered is taking a close look at all the subforums and possibly merge a couple of them. When I was first browsing the site, I found the huge list of boards overwhelming and cluttered... the word 'cacophony' sprang to mind. When I asked John whether it was just me, he said he's received multiple emails asking 'Which board is the right one for posting about X?'

    Beyond that, I don't have any changes planned. If you have things you'd like to see changed, either technical or site culture, let me know either in this thread or via PM.

    Lastly, I know John is the visible face of the site, but I thought I'd also highlight a few other folks who've also put in a lot of time to make this community a pleasant place to hang out. Phil at looks after the servers and keeps the site online. The moderators pick up the spam and keep this place from being eaten by trolls. Much thanks to all of them.

    I look forward to getting to know the folks around here in the months/years ahead.

    Kind Regards,

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  8. Matthew

    Matthew Active Member

    West Yorkshire
    Thank you John for all your hard work, time and efforts over the years, it's been much appreciated. :)

    Welcome Jeff! :D

    I also run a large forum, which I've owned for many years now and we too ditched vB last year. The latest versions are really terrible (it was the last straw!) and after much research switched to XF too - what an absolute pleasure it is to use - reminds me of vB and IPB in the earlier days (please message me for the link if you'd like to look Jeff or anyone).

    Good luck! :)
  9. imthemaddude

    imthemaddude Active Member

    West Midlands
    Thanks for everything John - you've done a brilliant job especially helping us to make more friends in the banding world. Got some great memories especially when we froze to death (almost!) playing for Children In Need all those years ago now. Welcome Jeff!
  10. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
    Let me add my thanks John. I've valued and appreciated tMP over the years and look forward to many more. Welcome Jeff, you probably know you have huge shoes to fill :)
  11. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Thanks for all you have done in the past John, and a big warm welcome to Jeff.
  12. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Likewise - Thanks John for all you've done over the past years.
    Welcome Jeff W and thanks for stepping in.
  13. Jeff W

    Jeff W Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the warm welcome folks. Much appreciated.
  14. NatT

    NatT New Member

    I remember how much you helped me John when i first came here (name changes and picture changes etc) and now i see how much TMP has grown and how many people are registered now and it makes me happy to see that TMP is so big now!
    Welcome Jeff i hope everyone doesn't stress you out too much and i am sure you will do fantastic :)
  15. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Hi Jeff, Firstly welcome to tmp and good luck.

    I personally think it is going to take a bit more than tarting up the site and upgrading the software.

    What are your plans in getting people back to this declining forum?
  16. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    :tup . Plus one, and thanks to 'The Music Man' for what he has done in the past too.

    Anti-social posts and anti-social posters have and do cause other people to either leave the forum or reduce their use of it. I understand that moderation is a difficult issue but wonder what Jeff's thoughts and plans are on anti-social posts and posters.
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all you've done, John. Blimey, it's been a long time. And welcome, Jeff. You're doing great work in reviving this place.

    I think making the site mobile-accessible will result in a large upsurge in usage, with some of the traffic that migrated to Facebook making its way back - Facebook doesn't archive properly, is a pain to compose posts within, loses thread too easily, and doesn't in the final analysis tend to inspire high quality debate on brass band subjects - there is evidently room for a thriving TMP.
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