Well guys... I'm hoping that with our first round of major changes you'll all see that we're working in the right direction.
First, let me explain the large release that happens usually around fall.
Basically, as Macmahoon said - some things on the site are tied into all kinds of other stuff. Some of these features have been around almost since the beginining (see uploader tool and cults). When we make the decision to change a few things like this that seem simple, but are interwoven into the complex backend of the site... as soon as we rip one out we can't launch the site until its all finished.
Think of it like a race car - If you had a successful car that was winning races, but you kind of knew that the frame wasn't quite right... but you were still winning. And say that car had to race 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. To fix that frame, you couldn't just go around fixing little parts around it. You need to start over. Copy the best parts of the car, build a new frame and keep the old one racing until the new one is finished.
So this is what has happened... there is a fundamental core of what stays, but we've ripped the site into bitty pieces and are re-building it in a way that makes a lot more sense.
NS has had a history of strange development... especially over the last 3-4 years or so, where we were on a development cycle of launching new weird shit that is half working, and not addressing the core of what the site is. This has led to a disorganized, half functional, jumbled mess of shit.
Honestly, forget the karma system think about the fact that there are FOUR pages to manage your account.
Last spring we sat down and put a totally fresh set of eyes on the problem. We completely revolutionized our design process, and set out not to launch a bazillion new things, but to refine what is already there, and fix all the god damn half-functioning features we have littered about the confusing navigational landscape of Newschoolers.
We listen to every single thread that comes up about improvements to the site. We save each thread and put it in a folder of site suggestions - and this is how we guide the overall development of newschoolers.com.
Over the last year we've dealt with crippling budget cuts, huge staffing changes, a corporate merger, and the complete collapse of the world economy. However, the core team of NS dug their heels in, went into hiding and sank a full year of their lives into making this the best god damn skiing site that has ever existed.
I know the summer feels like a million years long, and day in and day out you can focus on the weaknesses of the site - but remember we've got some cool stuff coming.
Our first two major goals were the cults and the galleries. Even the small part of adding cult search required re-writing the whole thing... so we decided to totally go for it. Cults are getting the most massive upgrade of anything on the entire website. I'm not leaking it yet, but I think you guys will really like what you get out of this.
Galleries are the 2nd big task. Again, we have only been able to upgrade them to a point, at which point we needed to destroy not only galleries, but the entire media handling of the entire website.
Again - lots of changes coming here, and I think you're going to really like it. We've been listening to all of you for your suggestions and factoring as many of them in as we can as we go along.
The third major goal that we've got in the works is the re-laying out of the site, merging pages and deleting sections that are useless. We're making only one account management page. The articles section (which has only ever gotten 13 entries in a whole year) is getting scrapped. The homepage and all sections will be aligned in columns. We've got an expert graphic designer putting a fresh skin on the site instead of the fucking amateur bullshit we've been pumping out for years. The top level navigation will be useful, instead of constantly having to mouse over to what you want.
When these three changes are done, we launch in one big hit. Immediately at that point, we start fixing all the little stuff that you guys talk about. That stuff is a lot easier, but we can't fix it until we launch the new version of the site.
Think about the racecar again... we've got to finish the new one to the point that it can get out onto the road and take over for the old one. Then, we've got that frame fixed, and its time to take the fuck over.
This is Newschoolers' tenth year of being alive. 10 years and we aint' goin' nowhere.
Just you wait. This winter is our turn.