A little over a year ago, we decided to move from Blogger, and create our own website. We agreed that we didn't want the site to become anyone's full time responsibility. There would be no coding, no babysitting servers. As Ken mentioned in a recent article, our honest expectation was that we would have about 50 members, and get maybe 15,000 page hits a month. We figured that for a site that small that for around $300 we could buy some software, a template, register a domain, pay for some cheap server space, throw the site up and basically let it take care of itself.
As of December we were getting 700-1000 unique users per day and over 2 million page hits per month.
Okay, here's the deal. This site was not coded from the ground up by any of us. It's like none of you coded your browser. If you want your browser to do anything that it doesn't do out of the box, you find and install plug-ins. So for example, if you want to be able to see Flash content, you probably have installed the Adobe Flash plug in. Every so often you go to a site, that tells you that your Flash plug in isn't up to date, so you have to download the new version and install it. If a new plug-in starts crashing your browser, you probably don't go in and hack the code to fix it. You probably uninstall it, and wait for a patch or a fix to be published.
Well Fortress Ameritrash is like that. It's a core program with plug-ins, like the forum, added to it. I make small bug fixes. I might hack a few trivial things here and there, like the forum and comments doesn't display your real name, and you aren't required to enter a title into every comment you make, but for the most part, the core functionality of anything if let alone. If any of us got into that, this site would become a full time job.
I get a lot of requests to add things or change the way certain things in Trash Talk work. Trash Talk happens to be a plug-in component called Fireboard. It also happens to be a major headache. It's not production stable. It sucks down huge amounts of CPU, it is fairly buggy, and as of Jan 1st the developers disappeared. Trying to change it's core processing, or enabling something like embedded youtube would be like trying to balance a rock on a house of cards, especially considering that we are essentially on probation with our server provider.
In fact, we are stripping a lot of bells and whistles out of the site just to keep it viable. If one of your favorite features or functions has gone AWOL, feel free to let me know, but