Forum Updates

Kitesurfing or snowkiting...if the wind's blowin'...where you goin?

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Forum Updates

Postby bcruz » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:17 pm

So, I was reading the SPAM post that is now locked from November 16th and it bothered me to the point that I would like to respond. I do not want to create an argument on this forum between anyone, so no reason to start one. We all know that I and every single person here has put a lot of time and effort into being a part of this community. Whether you are working on the code, acting as a moderator, making posts, or even just lurking, I hope you are doing it because you enjoy it and love the topic. When this site was created, it was difficult to find other Kite boarders in Chicago, figure out where they were going to ride, and to connect and inform others in the sport. That's the main goal, and that's why it's still here today.

Now, when this site was first created, almost 10 years ago, I was programming every day and it was fairly simple for me to make changes and update it over time. But, I got extremely busy with work and life in general, and will admit that the back end code for this site has been mostly untouched, save for a few major updates I have done out of necessity over the past couple years, primarily to combat hackers and spammers. Thankfully, during this time, we have had a great community of moderators and other users that have maintained the mission of this site.

I am so happy to see that everyone is still using it, and proud that our community of 3-5 people has blossomed into hundreds, if not thousands, around the Midwest and even the world. I feel like I owe it to everyone to keep this thing up and running, and given my computer background, am not happy with it being out of date. The problem is that as much as I tell myself I am going to make changes, I just never get around to it. As a solution, I am just going to bite the bullet and hire some developers. I have already talked with several people and am getting bids to update things and add some really cool features. I have lots of ideas in the works, but will see how much it is all going to cost.

Here's where you come in. My idea is that the community can help fund this, but only if you want to and care about it. If you don't want to be involved, or think this is a bad idea, no problem, you can keep on using it as if you never read this message. I don't think it's going to take a lot of money, so I'm going to create an option for anyone that would like to donate. It's going to be a clear and transparent campaign, and everyone that donates is going to get a say in what features they would like to see. My goal is to raise $5000 total, which I will match with my own money, for a total of $10,000 to be put towards site development. I know lots of developers, and we can get a lot done for $10,000 if it is managed properly. If nobody donates, I will likely just use my own money anyway, and do less, but would LOVE to see some people chip in to match it and get more mileage. No amount is too small, including nothing. If you want to put in $20, fine, if you want to put in $5000, well that is more than fine also!

100% of the money will be spent on improving this site, and it is going nowhere else. I hope everyone agrees that this is a good strategy. If you don't agree with this, and don't have any interest in donating, no problem. You will still get the benefits of the improvements we are making.

Please let me know if anyone has any questions. If you would like to donate, you can do so here via PayPal.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby FSP » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:31 pm

:) good one! and so how did them complainers do for donations???? heeee
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby adseguy » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:04 pm

It's a concept and I hope you can pull it off. I'd be much happier with a nicer and better working site. Although, this is the first I've ever heard of a site needing donations for some simple coding. I've seen donations asked for hosting costs or because of legal stuff, but never on something like this. I thought something was funky when I talked to bcruz about all this and he wanted money involved and keeping ownership and blah blah blah. He treated it like a business :lol: . So I shifted my offer from "I'll help fix it up for you out of love" to, "I'll fix it up for you guys, but I keep my new content under my property." Glad I did, this is just the weirdest concept I've seen and I hope I'm not coming off mean about it. I have many other hobbies that I follow/started on forums. I've never seen one get created/updated through money. It's all out of passion. Hey, whatever, it's your site and just my simple opinion :wink: . Goodluck.

PS: That's quite a some of money being gathered there and the IRS will be triggered through Paypal so make sure you have your 501(c)(3) or legit buisness account setup or you are going to have problems. This happened to one of my cars forums so I've seen this problem in the past, but it was for hosting costs. Let me know if you need help with that too.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby bcruz » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:06 pm

So far so good, and I really appreciate the advice with the tax situation. Excited to see what we can finally do with this site! It has been on my todo list forever, it's just that my job keeps getting in the way. Anyway, hopefully it isn't too much work or too expensive, I have some good ideas I have wanted to do for a long time. Will keep everyone updated.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby Kevin » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:09 pm

That's not cheap. My workplace paid about 10k for web developers to make a nice website, but that was in a business model as part of a marketing strategy.  I agree with Adrien I think it's a little unusual to do this with a kitesurfing forum.  

I'd highly doubt if any other major local kiting forums (i.e. nwkite.com, bayareakiteboarding.com, fksa.org, etc) spent that much $$ and they have great websites, but who knows maybe they did. I'd think you could look around some other forums both kiting and non-kiting and get some ideas, I'm sure people would give you some advice on how to do things yourself a lot cheaper. Personally I wrote some basic programs myself back in the day on my Commodore 64 but my computer education stopped there haha, so I'd be of little help.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby bcruz » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:08 pm

Yeah, I know. I could do it myself, the problem is that it takes time and with two kids and the job, I don't have a ton of that available. I have been meaning to do it for years, and have just never been able to get to it. I'm going to ask for a few favors and see how good of a deal I can get from some friends. I just really want to see some new stuff on here that I think everyone will really like. We'll see, it's just an experiment to see how it goes. I felt kind of reluctant to put the post up because I didn't want to make anyone feel like they had to participate. Now, as for ideas and suggestions, I would hugely appreciate those as well, with the caveat that I will do the ones that I think can best fit into time and budget constraints.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby skysurfr » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:25 pm

100 users x $50 = $5000

$50 / 12 months is.... $4.15 month.

$50 is less than a tank of gas.

8 six packs of 2 Brothers or their cousins the 3 Floyds.

Many of you have offered to help me, the beach, and our community. Here's your opportunity.

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Re: Forum Updates

Postby FSP » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:38 pm

live without, do within your means, stop and smell the roses...wtf? leave this forum alone, dont wast time with creative busy work and enjoy ur kids for christmas sake. this forum is fine and needs nothing more than it already is. go kiting in the refreshingly rainy cold weather and you will surely come to your senses
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby Jimbo » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:19 pm

What exactly is the purpose for updating the forum? To stop spam? Or to modernize the site? Or both? Or other? Can you post a link to what another forum looks like as an example of what you have in mind. This is the only forum I use so I wouldn't
Know what a good one or bad one would look like.

Thanks for all your work so far.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby skysurfr » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:30 pm

I like the idea of being aimed at something modern and new to see whats out there.

Adrien and Brandon can further explain this better than I can. However sometimes its harder to keep old bessie running as technology around you advances. Advanced Links, embedding, live feeds etc are all pretty much off limits here.

Readership and more so those posting where they are going is way down as far as I can tell. Perhaps a spruce up is in order before we just give up.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby V » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Brandon and I are on the same page with this where we'd just like to have a site that hopefully the kiting community can call "home" and proud of.

Since that first day the site went live, an enormous amount of time was spent keeping the site up and running with little or no help from anyone. We didn't ask, either. Over time, this community grew into a hodge-podge of guys on the beach who loved water-sports, into an organized effort to restore kiting (which was at one point banned in Chicago) and band together to fight government suppression of our rights under the Constitution of the United States. It was an effort that lasted years and took help from kiters around the world to achieve - most notably our very own Mike Urban. We have a lot of history and it pains me when I see a new guy show up here making demands of an already functioning website - demanding to have it - and acting in a very pushy manner.

This site has been free since the beginning to users and the track-record demonstrates this. The ideas Brandon and I discussed are very cool. In terms of sharing the ideas, I think that is best reserved for Brandon if he wants to do that. In terms of cost and site development, I am confident that Brandon is not demanding any $ from anyone with this request. He is simply saying if you want to help out the community, great, but it is not expected. Many sites ask for donations. Maybe the ideas are lofty and unnecessary, but cool nonetheless...

Anyway, looks like 10" of snow in Wisco this week!
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby adseguy » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:52 pm

Well I'm glad my incessant nagging to you and mostly Brandon has finally caught some wind (pun intended) and things are going to move along for a better site. My hope in all of this was just that. I see you take it as me "demanding" the site....yeah as if I have any room to demand anything haha. Let's be on a realistic plane here and not drag this down a level V.

Like I've said before: I have an active role in kiteboarding, a good skill set in computers, I've successfully moderated this site for about a year and half trying to earn some credit with you guys, and I thought I could help you guys out in the end. I spent months trying to just get some access to make healthy changes to this site, but to no avail. I then just said simply, "Listen, seriously, both of you don't really kite anymore all that much and you obviously don't take care of the site. It's a great site with a nice user-base how about I take care of it now, update it, and I can make this thing really nice. No charge, I swear." Somehow that got turned into, "Your site is shit, you suck at programming, Give it to me now!!" Come'on in no way did I say that and I'm sorry if the truth about this site hurt, but it seems to have motivated you and you are taking some acceptance I see above. Good to see.

I know you said this isn't supposed to be an argument thread, but after you said

V wrote:We have a lot of history and it pains me when I see a new guy show up here making demands of an already functioning website - demanding to have it - and acting in a very pushy manner.


I have to respond to that slander.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby FSP » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:36 pm

Adrian-you say there are such great things you would would do as a vision and so what would this be? more eyecandy? Mike mentions live feeds etc but hey post a link and they can watch??? hmmm lot of jockeying going on it seems?
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby West » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:37 pm

Brandon and V.....I have always said "what a great community of kiters we have on Lake Michigan"; and nothing has contributed more to the kiting environment here, than the Chicago forum........it is that plain and simple, Mahalo Boyz 8) !!!

Whatever we can accomplish as a group to make the forum better should be done, certainly we are capable of doing this; I would be stoked to "chip in" to help make this happen, it is definitely worth-while.....we need the forum.....
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby V » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:51 am

Adrien, you are totally right.

Why can't everyone see...the world would be a better place if everyone just did what you said, when you said it?
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby kwk » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Have enjoyed the site for the past 8 years so am happy to chip in even though I don't live in Chicago anymore. I wish we had a site like this in Corpus. There was one but no one used it.

V/Brandon, thanks for all your work and for funding the site for all these years.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby Artem » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:16 pm

Hey guys, here is what I think the site needs if you guys do end up changing some stuff around.

1. Make it smartphone friendly, create an app that can be downloaded so its easier to navigate and view the site.
2. Create something that is sort of like a twitter where people can be friends and get status updates from people. It'll be really useful for following the really knowledgeable crowd of kiteboarders. This way beginners can just look at West's update and see where the wind is without having to wait for a reply on the forum.
3. Maybe make a check in thing where kiters can check in on google earth so others can view where people are.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby grimace » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:51 am

I think 10k for a redesigned site is a bit much. I'm a web developer and so far what I'm seeing people ask on this site already exists in some form, so rather recreate the wheel and spend you $$ on it, use it for free and implement it here.

1. Forums are forums are forums. They are meant for information only (how to's, classifieds, vacations). Using them to find riding locations the day of or right this second is not there purpose because: A- the mobile experience is limited (still doable) B- not everyone checks or will set up notifications for threads.

-Some alternatives to this are:
Twitter (implement hashtags for riding locations)
Hookit - a site for athletes, sponsers, and other brands to reach out to each other.
Facebook- Create a group/page, nearly everyone is on FB
Email blasts aka newsletter approach.

All of these have a excellent mobile experience and a better chance to capture more of an audience.

2. Imaging and live links are difficult if not impossible to do here. Also with this is the storage, any image upload to this site probably gets saved on the server which eats up space which can increase you website hosting costs. Instead off load that to one of the programs above, or use Picasa, Flickr, Instagram/FB

3. With the site audience as large as it is, its time to think of more broader scope. You have kiters from the tri state area (I'm in Wisconsin) that look to this site. Think about creating more sub forums for specific locations of riders. In doing this maybe we can consolidate some of the other lingering forums that are out there and create a better experience for everyone in the midwest.

4. Maybe put some ads on here to generate a little revenue to help with the hosting costs.

These are just some thoughts, feel free to disagree with me or not. I still use this forum and will continue to use it either way.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby Kevin » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:01 pm

Artem wrote:Hey guys, here is what I think the site needs if you guys do end up changing some stuff around.

1. Make it smartphone friendly, create an app that can be downloaded so its easier to navigate and view the site.


Tapatalk. Like the 5th time I've mentioned it. It's my only request.
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Re: Forum Updates

Postby bcruz » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:12 am

OK guys, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and getting some riding in where there is snow. Anyway, I want to thank the people that have donated. I won't mention them by name unless they would like me to do that, but again, thank you! We haven't collected a ton, but I am working with some developers that are going to really help on the cost side, and every little bit helps, so again, thank you!

I would imagine that we are going to get work started on this thing in the next week or so, and we will have a completely upgraded site by next spring. There should not be much, if any downtime while we are making upgrades, as we will try to make all major changes during off hours while you are either at the bar or sleeping.

If you do make a donation, and have a suggestion for a feature you would really like to see, please include it in the message of the donation so that I can get it on the radar screen. Kevin, I am looking into tapatalk and other mobile solutions as well.

Anyway, I will provide more information as things come out. Thanks for the upgrade suggestions, thanks for the donations, and thanks for the support of the site. Have a Happy New Year!
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