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Update 4.4: An Early Look

Hello all!! I have a few quick announcements for Update 4.4, and I hope you'll enjoy these changes.
Performance Improvements
In 4.4, we're going to be enabling support for Lazy Loading. This will cause pages to load more smoothly as assets further down the page won't load until they come into view. Should help to improve loading times site-wide. Furthermore, we'll be improving non-image attachments to posts, providing more details about the downloads (such as download count, type of download, etc.). The letter avatars, for those who haven't uploaded an avatar yet, will be swapped to an SVG from the current image. This should be faster to render as well, since avatars are called in a lot of areas of the site.
Other notable improvements:
Duplicate Clubs query removed from activity streams. Notifications and follower management will see an improvement (Hope to have more on this in a bit, this is provided from the CMS) Member search speed should be a bit better. PHP performance improvements, to help with site speed.  
Hopefully more to come soon, stay tuned!
Read more...

Update 4.3.5

Hello all, update 4.3.5 is around the corner. With it are coming some bug fixes, minor edits, and some other various and sundry items. Currently in beta, but expected release in about a week or two.
 
Core - Search & Activity Streams:
Improved searching for phrases (when the search term is wrapped in quotes) when using Elasticsearch. Fixed creating activity streams on front-end. Fixed duplicate topics showing in some streams if using Elasticsearch and posts/comments have been split. Fixed error being logged when accessing an invalid page number of paginated results when using Elasticsearch. Fixed a typo in the Elasticsearch "Analyzer" setting description. Core - Social Promotion / Our Picks:
Fixed reputation information sometimes missing from replies to status updates and from topics on the "Our Picks" page. Fixed missing CSS if "Our Picks" is the community's home page causing missing images. Fixed promotion occurring at wrong time if scheduled to occur at midnight † Core - Posting:
Fixed edit being lost if the edit triggers the URL or word filter. Fixed issue where attachments may be rejected if URL filter is set to reject all URLs. Core - UI:
Fixed height of blocks in some grids. Fixed missing Tumblr icon in email footer. Fixed W3C validation error. Core - Clubs:
Fixed possible error when editing a club. Fixed price not showing correctly for paid clubs which do not have a renewal term. Core - Misc:
Updated CKEditor to 4.10. Fixed URL input fields not handling the value correctly if a "?" is immediately after the domain without any path. Fixed disabled reaction types showing in the reputation summary on user's profiles. Fixed it being possible to add a member back into a personal conversation after they've left by accessing the URL directly. Changed the "next" link which shows on mobile on the last page of a paginated table which, although disabled, points to a page that doesn't exist which was reported to trigger an error on some SEO diagnostics tools. Changed the online user list cutoff when using Redis to be consistent with when not using Redis (30 minutes). Forums:
Changed the permission check when viewing all topics created by a member to if the viewing user can see the forum they are in, rather than if they can view the topic† Commerce - Subscriptions
Fixed reactivating a previously expired subscription not moving the member back into the correct group. Fixed transferring a subscription from one member to another. Fixed duplicate subscriptions being created if member generates multiple orders for Subscriptions before paying and then pays more than once. Fixed broken record showing in the list of subscriptions if a member with a subscription is deleted. Fixed handling of subscriptions when merging two members. Commerce - Support
Fixed incoming emails not being received if the email was CC'd to the support system rather than sent directly. Fixed merging two accounts not reassigning ratings/feedback on support request replies. Commerce - Misc
Fixed entering a coupon a code may redirect user back to the first step of the checkout process. Fixed error caused by history logs for an alternate contact which has been deleted. Pages
Fixed error on "create item" page if the database is on the community's home page. Fixed attachments to editor fields in databases not being saved correctly. Gallery
Fixed error when editing a video in Gallery which does not have a thumbnail uploaded. Fixed URLs for video thumbnails in the XML sitemap. Increased maximum size of image descriptions to prevent value being cut off. Marketplace
Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Marketplace files. Literature
Fixed error viewing the literature comments a member has made from their profile. Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Story entries. Removed name of story from the header of each entry when viewing a specific story. Calendar
Fixed issue where recurring events may show in wrong timezone. Fixed error when editing an event to remove the end time.
Read more...

AnthroDynamics, GDPR, and You

What is GDPR? How does it affect AD?
GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. It is an EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of that personal data outside of the EU. However, there are certain points that should be noted, and we'll discuss those. You have individual rights when it comes to your account and data, the two primary of these being the Right to be Informed and the Right to Erasure.
The Right to be Informed
Encompasses our obligation to provide "fair processing information", which you can find in our Privacy Policy. Emphases the need for transparency over how we use your personal data. The Right to Erasure
The broad principle here is the right to enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. We will always inform you of any changes to our Privacy Policy, either by email, social media, forum post, or private message. Any changes to that policy will have a waiting period before they go into effect, which will be announced along with the changes. The key phrase in the right to erasure is "Where there is no compelling reason for it's continued processing". In other words, yes, we can delete and remove your account, unless there is a need for us to retain your details. For example, to comply with tax codes (from financial transactions). AnthroDynamics will use a system of account deletion that will leave most Text-based content, but remove the Gallery Images associated with that account if no transactions exist.
Lawful Bases for Processing
Consent
We feature a setting to not automatically opt-in to administrator emails, such as newsletters. You can always edit your Notifiication settings to be able to opt in or out of these administrator emails, as well as any and all other types of notifications. When we change our Privacy Policy or our Terms of Service, our system will automatically ask you to accept them again.
Cookies
We store a small amount of data in cookies. These are used to authorize user accounts when you re-visit the community. Other cookies are used to provide a service at the user's request, such as changing the Theme.
Why go through all of this?
GDPR is all about being a good steward of the stored data of our users. Note that there is no requirement under the GDPR to delete or remove any information sent to the server by our users. While we do offer you the option to delete your account to comply with the Right to Erasure, it will be at our discretion if we remove all user-submitted content from that account, with the remainder being anonymized. The analogy with this is that it's similar to email: once someone sends you an email, you aren't obligated to delete that email. The same is true of user posted content. Ultimately though, we want our users to feel comfortable in using our services, knowing that their data is ultimately theirs.
Read more...

Layout Changes

Just a quick one today, not really for new features but more for homepage layout and whatnot. We've removed the "Popular Contributors" block in favor of a block of latest journal entries. We've also swapped the Swiper Slider on our different themes to an actual application, so that the themes no longer update their sliders separately (More work for us ._.). So now there'll be consistency there (Also, now I won't chew myself out when I forget to add the "new" sliders onto the other themes...). A few other minor changes will be noted below as well.
Twitch.tv embeds are finally enabled! Still working on Picarto (Sorry, their API is kinda terrible). Some blocks on the home page were updated with a "Show More" button. (Ok ok, namely the Dev Blog and the new Journals block....sue me.) Two more themes are in the works, but uh....they're not quite ready to roll out yet. So there. Have that. Small update is small, but an update nonetheless. If you all have any questions, suggestions, or comments, you're always free to post them in the Q&A Forum. 
Read more...
  • Developer Blogs

    Articles written by the developers of AnthroDynamics.

    Update 4.4: An Early Look

    Hello all!! I have a few quick announcements for Update 4.4, and I hope you'll enjoy these changes.
    Performance Improvements
    In 4.4, we're going to be enabling support for Lazy Loading. This will cause pages to load more smoothly as assets further down the page won't load until they come into view. Should help to improve loading times site-wide. Furthermore, we'll be improving non-image attachments to posts, providing more details about the downloads (such as download count, type of download, etc.). The letter avatars, for those who haven't uploaded an avatar yet, will be swapped to an SVG from the current image. This should be faster to render as well, since avatars are called in a lot of areas of the site.
    Other notable improvements:
    Duplicate Clubs query removed from activity streams. Notifications and follower management will see an improvement (Hope to have more on this in a bit, this is provided from the CMS) Member search speed should be a bit better. PHP performance improvements, to help with site speed.  
    Hopefully more to come soon, stay tuned!

    Update 4.3.5

    Hello all, update 4.3.5 is around the corner. With it are coming some bug fixes, minor edits, and some other various and sundry items. Currently in beta, but expected release in about a week or two.
     
    Core - Search & Activity Streams:
    Improved searching for phrases (when the search term is wrapped in quotes) when using Elasticsearch. Fixed creating activity streams on front-end. Fixed duplicate topics showing in some streams if using Elasticsearch and posts/comments have been split. Fixed error being logged when accessing an invalid page number of paginated results when using Elasticsearch. Fixed a typo in the Elasticsearch "Analyzer" setting description. Core - Social Promotion / Our Picks:
    Fixed reputation information sometimes missing from replies to status updates and from topics on the "Our Picks" page. Fixed missing CSS if "Our Picks" is the community's home page causing missing images. Fixed promotion occurring at wrong time if scheduled to occur at midnight † Core - Posting:
    Fixed edit being lost if the edit triggers the URL or word filter. Fixed issue where attachments may be rejected if URL filter is set to reject all URLs. Core - UI:
    Fixed height of blocks in some grids. Fixed missing Tumblr icon in email footer. Fixed W3C validation error. Core - Clubs:
    Fixed possible error when editing a club. Fixed price not showing correctly for paid clubs which do not have a renewal term. Core - Misc:
    Updated CKEditor to 4.10. Fixed URL input fields not handling the value correctly if a "?" is immediately after the domain without any path. Fixed disabled reaction types showing in the reputation summary on user's profiles. Fixed it being possible to add a member back into a personal conversation after they've left by accessing the URL directly. Changed the "next" link which shows on mobile on the last page of a paginated table which, although disabled, points to a page that doesn't exist which was reported to trigger an error on some SEO diagnostics tools. Changed the online user list cutoff when using Redis to be consistent with when not using Redis (30 minutes). Forums:
    Changed the permission check when viewing all topics created by a member to if the viewing user can see the forum they are in, rather than if they can view the topic† Commerce - Subscriptions
    Fixed reactivating a previously expired subscription not moving the member back into the correct group. Fixed transferring a subscription from one member to another. Fixed duplicate subscriptions being created if member generates multiple orders for Subscriptions before paying and then pays more than once. Fixed broken record showing in the list of subscriptions if a member with a subscription is deleted. Fixed handling of subscriptions when merging two members. Commerce - Support
    Fixed incoming emails not being received if the email was CC'd to the support system rather than sent directly. Fixed merging two accounts not reassigning ratings/feedback on support request replies. Commerce - Misc
    Fixed entering a coupon a code may redirect user back to the first step of the checkout process. Fixed error caused by history logs for an alternate contact which has been deleted. Pages
    Fixed error on "create item" page if the database is on the community's home page. Fixed attachments to editor fields in databases not being saved correctly. Gallery
    Fixed error when editing a video in Gallery which does not have a thumbnail uploaded. Fixed URLs for video thumbnails in the XML sitemap. Increased maximum size of image descriptions to prevent value being cut off. Marketplace
    Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Marketplace files. Literature
    Fixed error viewing the literature comments a member has made from their profile. Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Story entries. Removed name of story from the header of each entry when viewing a specific story. Calendar
    Fixed issue where recurring events may show in wrong timezone. Fixed error when editing an event to remove the end time.

    AnthroDynamics, GDPR, and You

    What is GDPR? How does it affect AD?
    GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. It is an EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of that personal data outside of the EU. However, there are certain points that should be noted, and we'll discuss those. You have individual rights when it comes to your account and data, the two primary of these being the Right to be Informed and the Right to Erasure.
    The Right to be Informed
    Encompasses our obligation to provide "fair processing information", which you can find in our Privacy Policy. Emphases the need for transparency over how we use your personal data. The Right to Erasure
    The broad principle here is the right to enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. We will always inform you of any changes to our Privacy Policy, either by email, social media, forum post, or private message. Any changes to that policy will have a waiting period before they go into effect, which will be announced along with the changes. The key phrase in the right to erasure is "Where there is no compelling reason for it's continued processing". In other words, yes, we can delete and remove your account, unless there is a need for us to retain your details. For example, to comply with tax codes (from financial transactions). AnthroDynamics will use a system of account deletion that will leave most Text-based content, but remove the Gallery Images associated with that account if no transactions exist.
    Lawful Bases for Processing
    Consent
    We feature a setting to not automatically opt-in to administrator emails, such as newsletters. You can always edit your Notifiication settings to be able to opt in or out of these administrator emails, as well as any and all other types of notifications. When we change our Privacy Policy or our Terms of Service, our system will automatically ask you to accept them again.
    Cookies
    We store a small amount of data in cookies. These are used to authorize user accounts when you re-visit the community. Other cookies are used to provide a service at the user's request, such as changing the Theme.
    Why go through all of this?
    GDPR is all about being a good steward of the stored data of our users. Note that there is no requirement under the GDPR to delete or remove any information sent to the server by our users. While we do offer you the option to delete your account to comply with the Right to Erasure, it will be at our discretion if we remove all user-submitted content from that account, with the remainder being anonymized. The analogy with this is that it's similar to email: once someone sends you an email, you aren't obligated to delete that email. The same is true of user posted content. Ultimately though, we want our users to feel comfortable in using our services, knowing that their data is ultimately theirs.

    Layout Changes

    Just a quick one today, not really for new features but more for homepage layout and whatnot. We've removed the "Popular Contributors" block in favor of a block of latest journal entries. We've also swapped the Swiper Slider on our different themes to an actual application, so that the themes no longer update their sliders separately (More work for us ._.). So now there'll be consistency there (Also, now I won't chew myself out when I forget to add the "new" sliders onto the other themes...). A few other minor changes will be noted below as well.
    Twitch.tv embeds are finally enabled! Still working on Picarto (Sorry, their API is kinda terrible). Some blocks on the home page were updated with a "Show More" button. (Ok ok, namely the Dev Blog and the new Journals block....sue me.) Two more themes are in the works, but uh....they're not quite ready to roll out yet. So there. Have that. Small update is small, but an update nonetheless. If you all have any questions, suggestions, or comments, you're always free to post them in the Q&A Forum. 

    Removing Integrations

    Hello again all. I want to touch briefly on a couple of concerns with some of the integrated features that we will be removing for various reasons. We have disabled and/or removed these features in order to protect you, our users, and our community.
    1. Facebook Login
    With the recent news of the possibly illegal usage of User Data by Cambridge Analytica, we have some changes regarding Facebook integration with AnthroDynamics. We have permanently removed the ability to create an account using your Facebook credentials. Furthermore, we have also disabled logging in to accounts using Facebook as an authentication method. Users who have previously created an account with Facebook will continue to be able to use their AnthroDynamics account. All that requires is the account's display name and the password you set when first logging in. If you need help, you can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page, or the Reset Password functionality on the login screen. Please note that the sharing links for content will still work.
     
    2. Google Maps
    In an effort to remove all tracking software and integrations from AD, once 4.3 launches we will be swapping out Google Maps with MapBox. Because maps are used in Calendar events (for instance, when adding a venue), this is one of the central features that we feel needed changing. We will make this move as soon as it is feasible to do so.
     
    I hope this clears up our stance, and shows our commitment to protecting our community and its users' data.

    4.3 Updates

    There are some major changes in the works for AnthroDynamics. As discussed in a previous developer blog, we are going to be updating emojis, search functionality, and some more layouts for Literature. I would like to take a few more moments to talk about some more of the upcoming updates.
     
    Clubs
    Clubs will be seeing some major feature changes when the 4.3 update goes live. On the top of this list is Paid Clubs. This means that a Club Owner can choose to monetize their club monthly. There are several options for this feature:
    For open clubs, the user will be immediately prompted for payment. Once paid, they are automatically added to the club. For closed clubs, the user will need to request to join as normal. Once the club owner has accepted the application, the user will be able to pay the membership fee and join as normal. For private and read-only clubs (Read-only clubs are also a new feature!), users have to be invited to join the club by the club owner. Public clubs are public, and so these cannot be set as Paid clubs. Club owners can also chose to waive the membership fee, allowing certain users to join the club for free (by invite). If a member fails to pay their renewal fees, they are moved into an "expired" state. All club owners can see the status and renewal dates of their members, and use the filter tools located in the Members panel to see active or expired members.
    Paying out these membership fees is done just as it is with our marketplace feature. You can request a payout through PayPal (so long as your account has over $40 in any given week). Payouts are processed (currently, at the time of this writing) on Fridays.
    New Club Type: Read-Only. In addition to open, closed, private, and public, we have added a new club type with this update. In a read-only club, everyone can (without joining) view everything in the club. They may not participate unless they are invited by the club leader, however.
    We have also enabled Club Leaders to fully moderate their clubs, including adding and removing content sections. We hope that these changes will make Clubs a more user-friendly and active feature in the community.
     
    Gallery
    Gallery will also be seeing a major overhaul in terms of functionality. For one, the uploading interface has changed dramatically:
     

     
    Gone is the somewhat confusing interface. The aim here is simplicity and functionality. Choose which category you want to post in, choose if you want to use an existing album or create a new one. Here on AnthroDynamics, we will likely remove the option to continue without using an album when Update 4.3 is live. Along with this change is a change to the upload interface itself. No more refreshing between images required!
     

     
    As you can see, you can now edit the caption, the description (and if we had remembered to enable it on the test!) the tags, all from the same upload interface. Setting credit, copyright, and notifications on all your images should be much simpler now. Images will ALSO support drag-and-drop reorganizing on this page. You won't have to use "Page 1" "Page 2" and so forth. You can manually reposition all of your images. The description field is a paired down editor box, but as you can see you can swap to our WYSIWYG editor at any time.
    Images should also process much faster than currently. The way these are saved and uploaded has been changed.
    Albums are getting a major change as well. Album creators can now create "Shared" albums. When you create a new album, you can now specify (Under the new Privacy Menu) who can submit to the album. These options are: only me, anyone, only the users I specify, only the groups I specify.
    Another great feature coming with Update 4.3 is a new Gallery layout!
     

     
    As you can see, images when selected from anywhere will automatically load straight into lightbox. The new lightbox is greatly improved over the one currently in use. Not only will it have more noticeable karats to move from image to image, it is also touch and swipe responsive (for our mobile users).
     
    Marketplace
    Only a few minor changes in the marketplace. The only one on the front-end will be that the content-starter can now leave one reply to reviews.
     
    Site-Wide
    Twitch.tv embed support is coming! You will be able to drop a twitch.tv link into the editor, and our WYSIWYG editor will automatically embed it. Search will be receiving an interface overhaul along with the functionality changes mentioned in a previous developer blog. We will be swapping to the new Invisible reCaptcha, so that users won't need to go through the full reCaptcha process unless the system flags for some reason. And we will be switching to Mapbox for maps (off of Google Maps) for use with Calendar.
     
    Currently, Update 4.3 is in alpha stages, but we hope these insights are helpful to you all!
    Cheers,
    Alex

    Securing your AD Account

    I have seen time and time again on various websites that users have their account passwords "cracked" (Someone was able to use software to figure out a user's password). In today's developer blog, I would like to discuss some ways in which AD makes your account secure (with your help, of course). Let's discuss:
    Account Security
    AD has many ways to help secure your account. Our entire back-end is protected by 2-Factor Authentication. The same can be said about our database credentials. However, there's a few things that some users may not know about the actual website that I'd like to cover here.
    1. If a user fails a login more than 3 times, their account enters a special "Locked" status, which disables logins for that account for 15 minutes. Repeated attempts and failures will be logged into our administrator control panel. The only way to unlock an account is to wait. If a user cannot remember their password, there is a Password Reset feature on the login page.
    2. Users can optionally add 2 Factor Authentication to their account by visiting their Account Security page. Here you can add either question and answers, or an actual app such as Google Authenticator.
    Using these tools is the first step in keeping your account secure. We highly recommend adding at least the Question and Answer security method to help us keep your account secure.

    Upcoming Changes, More Development!

    Once more, I would like to take some time to blog about some upcoming enhancements to AD's community software. I will briefly touch on some major (and exciting!) changes that are likely to take place in late January or early February, if everything goes smoothly.
    Emojis
    The first step here is to change how Emojis are displayed and generated on AnthroDynamics. With this change, we will be hosting a poll (to be posted at a later date) of what type of Emojis our community wants to use. We have the option of using either the Twitter style, or the EmojiOne style. This new list will be fully scrollable, searchable, and you can select the skin-tone (if all goes well). Failing this, AD will develop it's own set of Emojis, and use those instead. One more thing is that the new Emojis system will also enable the :short_codes: function, and these will autocomplete as you type!
    Literature
    Literature is getting an overhaul! Imagery has become one of the most important roles in representing data, and having only one image for a story didn't sit right with us. Thus, we will be adding an area for chapter header images. We are also working on a grid-view listing of entries for a more unique style of presenting your stories, rather than the traditional list format (We'll see how that goes...). With this change, we will be adding default images to all Stories which do not currently have them.
    Cover Photos
    Speaking of adding default images...we will be adding default cover photos for those who have not uploaded one. Our goal here is to create a decent graphic that won't clash with any particular theme.
    Search Improvements
    We like to be able to search for exactly the content we want. Currently, AD is limited by MySQL searches (which require at least 3 characters), which not only limits user's ability to search for simple terms, but may also cause issues with database tables locking while a search executes. AD will be upgrading to ElasticSearch with this release. What this means for you is a much more functional search system. The new system will default to "everywhere" searches. You will have the option to search for all or any of your search terms, filter that by content title and body, or title only, and many more options. Generally, searches will execute faster with this change. Another cool feature is that ES understands language. For example, if you search for "community", ES will return results with the word "communities" as well, as it understands they're very closely related.
     
    That's all for now! We hope you all continue to enjoy all that AnthroDynamics has to offer.

    Community Updates and Enhancements

    With the recent downtime, I took the opportunity to perform some back-end server updates. You should notice somewhat improved performance for uploads. Things should be more stable from now on, as the PHP version was also updated. Some more things coming in the future:
    Tags Picker

     
    Finally a solution to not having to manually enter every tag. Please look forward to it!
    That's all for now.
    -Alex

    New Media System

    Hey all,
    This post will take some time to explain some changes that we'll be making to the Media system on AD. When the system goes online, you'll notice some brand new features, including:
    Artist profiles These are fully editable for each artist, and include a list of attributed songs, albums, and even a written profile and profile picture! Albums Each artist can create their own albums, and upload songs into these albums. You can upload cover images, change titles, and more. Songs Alternatively, you can just upload singles as well, which will still be associated to the artist who's profile they're linked to. Paid Songs! That's right, you can decide if you want to charge for your songs. You can add a demo of the song, and only those who pay can listen or download! With all of this and more, what's not to like? Get started now!
    Regards,
    The AD Team
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