babushka
posted this
Time ago

I am. Wheezing because apparently when you draft a post on mobile and then edit it it becomes TINY... I know I should just report this on github but asdfghjkl.... Tiney post... Teeny tiny little draft aaaa


babushka
beefox
Time ago
phantomflame03

now that rebloggin works I'm so excited to really fill everyone's dashes lol

beefox

ye now that can repour without leave dash is much easier repour!



babushka
posted this
Time ago

babushka
staff
Time ago

Regarding Images

staff

As some of you have noticed, older browsers can't display WebP images, and you get a warning about it. This decision was made based on two factors:

1) WebP has been a standard for a while now

2) The cost of storage

Storing two image formats gets expensive, real fast - especially when older image formats, like PNG, are up to 15x the size of the WebP image.

Technical data from CanIUse said that the number of people who wouldn't be able to see images would be negligible - however, it turns out this isn't the case! Firefox and Chrome are listed as supported for a long time, but apparently on iOS, they rely on Apple to provide the libraries, which they apparently didn't until iOS 14. This means the math was WAY off.

So, this is a heads up - without a downtime I'll be reconverting all the images, this time including a PNG version. This does mean the site gets a bit costlier to run, but a LOT more people can't use it than I anticipated, so I'm hoping it's worth it. This'll take a couple of days, so the warning will stay in the header in the meantime, but I wanted to let you know.

In addition, this will also solve the compression issue with stuff that was converted - a library I used had some internal changes that I didn't catch so the quality setting didn't work anymore. This is now fixed, and has been pushed to live, so images uploaded going forward should work fine too.


babushka
staff
Time ago

Community Update

staff

We're almost there - you can probably expect the next update to be the downtime announcement. But first, a few things to go over.

Blocking Returns

You might remember me saying a few CUs ago that blocking would be temporarily removed in the update - this is no longer the case! It's been redesigned and reimplemented to be simpler and more managable. Rather than trying to make it state of the art, I decided a simpler system that does what you need it to most - stop people contacting you - and divert the effort in making it foolproof towards making it harder for you to see content you don't want to see. I feel like this fits better with what blocking is - a nuclear option - and that tag blocking etc can be improved further to deal with just not wanting to see certain content, so that's what my effort will be going towards going forward.

Existing blocks still need to be cleared out due to the nature of the changes, but once they're re-added you won't need to add them again. There's no need to do this until the update hits.

Art Discovery and UI

If you've looked at the site, you'll have figured out by now that I'm crap at UI design. Art Discovery is implemented in the update but looks very boring. I'm aware of this and a UI update is planned to coincide with - or be released before - the app, since having them be at least vaguely thematically similar is probably a good idea. Also, nobody could agree how the Discovery pages should look, so that played a part too.

To help with that, I'm planning a workshop on the UI and Art systems soon - feel free to drop by and give me your thoughts on both of them. This'll get a dedicated post after the update hits with more info and times.

New Help Site

I've been working on setting up a dedicated, proper help site for the rewrite.

I won't link it just get, but if you guys could comment on this with aspects of the site you find confusing - or found confusing as a new user - that'd be extremely helpful! I'll make sure to write an article on the topic ready for the release.

Release Schedule

There's 29 issues left on the "essentials" list, and I closed another 14 today. That means we're talking a matter of days now. I have my Red Team doing their thing already (for those who aren't computer people - this basically means hackers for hire doing a quick security sweep and letting me know of any security issues I missed) while I finish up.

The plan is a staggered release - most of the update will release in a few days, with extra features rolling out piecemeal over the following days/weeks. This is mostly due to the scale of the rewrite and new features - I actually counted earlier, and only 17 lines of code remain from the current build of Waterfall, out of a few hundred thousand (more in the rewrite!). That's as close to a total rewrite as you can get. It also means that, almost certainly, some bugs are going to be introduced because of how much has changed. So, the bigger features get held back a bit so that while I try and fix those bugs, there's fewer moving parts - less new weird stuff that could be affecting things so I can squash them better. Not terribly ideal, but that's the trade-off for being a team of one.

Anyway, we're very close now. I'll finish up and run a few test converts on the dev server to make sure things run smoothly, and then give you all at least 12 hours warning about the downtime.

Assuming nothing terrible happens, next CU will be the downtime announcement.


babushka
posted this
Time ago

I understand that a separate discovery page means less recognition for new artists automatically since people usually just don't... Go there if they have enough content on their board to scroll through. However

1) the amount of content in waterfall allows me to scroll past my entire dash and find out the place I've stopped yesterday, make a pause and think "now what"

2) so i am gonna visit the discovery page if there will be one since it's a little easier than searching for separate tags.


babushka
posted this
Time ago

on frustration with Waterfall development

1. Where does frustration with the site development come from?

Waterfall is a nice functional site with decent people on it, it has some neat features, doesn't lag terribly, and doesn't allow creeps on it. However, it's still underdeveloped, and you can't deny it. There's no fast reblog, the queue is set up for two days forward for no apparent reason, I can't write a text box, a message, or create a page without encountering some bugs. These issues are currently being worked on at a steady pace, and we have all agreed to wait until those are solved because we understand the struggles of one man behind this unexpectedly huge project. Most people I know aren't frustrated with how fast the site is developing. However, there is no set in stone date people can look forward to, and all the existing deadlines keep getting delayed, which create some frustration for some of us.

The frustration arises when people start talking about some new global features, or the overhaul of the old, already existing ones, and the way those discussions are being handled. As I see, people on the staff side experience concerns with the way some of the current systems work in the way that they're not very "beneficial for the site" in terms of newcomers, which is frustrating for staff, too. As someone who doesn't see the site from the inside, I often assume that the most trouble newcomers are having are the same troubles I am having, and a lot of them might disappear after the second update. However, the discussion of possible overhauls of big systems that people are currently allegedly misusing creates the illusion that those overhauls will happen and form a new direction for the site. Even if nothing is being implemented right now, people are starting to worry as if though the changes are already being implemented because they are being talked about.

They're mostly being talked about on discord, where it's easy to take stuff completely out of context since a lot of messages are happening at the same time, and the information is easily missed. This leads people to wrong conclusions from time to time and causes more frustration. Also, discord is not something everyone has, visits regularly, or even is aware of, because of multiple valid reasons, including mental health ones. So, some frustration from my side roots in me seeing staff blog say something like "I've talked to people on discord on it and they say it's fine so we will do it" while me not being aware the discussion even happened or that I could join it. I've only seen it happen once, however, so this is more of an exception, but I thought it still is worth mentioning.

In this part of the post, I've covered my perspective on where the frustration comes from. The second part of the post will be about how it is expressed and handled.


babushka
autiestella(she/her)
Time ago

Community Update

staff

This will be a more text heavy update than the others because honestly, there's not a whole bunch interesting to show about most of it. Buttons are only interesting for so long.

Group Blog Overhaul

I got halfway through rebuilding group blogs when I realised there was a much easier way of doing things than emails with convoluted codes. Instead, group blogs are now managed entirely from within user settings, including accepting invites and leaving them.

Also, I added a few extra permissions since I figured if I'm going for granularity I might as well go all the way.

Badges Overhaul

There's been some new badges added, and I've completely redesigned the way badges work internally. What's staying the same is that blogs can have up to three.

The differences are that now, they're broken into categories. The initial idea was that badges can be used to display achievements of some kind, and, when BiNet pulled the shit they did, was extended to have the Bi flag as a fuck you to them. Then the rainbow pride flag was added, and it sort of snowballed into the 12 we have right now for various reasons. Anyone who looks at the option list and how it displays can probably guess that it wasn't intended to have so many badges as options. At the same time, I can't really get rid of them now they're there without upsetting people, so the obvious solution is going to be categories of badges.

This is split into two bigger categories - User Badges, and Blog Badges. User badges are stuff available at the user level - stuff like the pride badges, any patron badges, Doctor/Scientist, Exterminator etc etc. Blog badges will be locekd to that blog, and will be mostly sort of achievement related, as well as the Artist badge when the CM is re-added. There'll be a lot more to choose from, and also earn - and this time the page is actually designed to take it into account. Oh yeah, you can reorder them now too.

There's a lot of badges added for actually participating in the site, that sort of serve as achievements. They'll be awarded automatically without need for intervention from me.

Emoji

I realised I use emoji a lot on Discord, and that bleeds over into some of my shitposts on here as well. So I went ahead and added them, meaning that when the update hits, all your sparkling heart stuff will show as the actual emoji. In fact, if you're reading this after the update, that should actually show as the emoji rather than text.

There's also a second component to this system. I've designed it to support custom emoji sets, meaning that, as you can see form the second one there, custom stuff can be added. This means that in addition to the inevitable Official Waterfall Emoji Set, individual artists can upload their own sets for the site to use - or, if I ever get off my hands at make it/figure out what licenses I need, the Patreon alternative I talked about building a while back can allow artist's patrons to get access to special subscriber only stuff for artists.

For now though, it'll be manually curated by me. I have a couple artists in mind who I'll approach soon about it (or you can offer in the Discord, if you feel brave), but the exact criteria I'll be using for now on which artists have custom sets uploaded is still in the air and will likely evolve as the site grows. Uploaded emoji (other than the patron stuff) will be usable by all users on the site.

EXPERIMENTAL - Chat

Been a long time coming, but I have a working prototype of a chat system. However, it's a little buggy right now, so if this makes it in, it'll be marked as experimental and opt-in. It currently supports one-on-one, and group chats with no defined maximum limit. More on this next time, but I wanted to mention it.

It's especially broken when I try it in the app prototype, so this might be someting pushed back to a future update.


babushka
thellere(he/him)
Time ago
sidh

Looking into how to do a twitter art giveaway has really dissilusioned me on the idea that most of them have been fairly run at all

And like probably without the artist even being aware that if they're using a third party website to pick a winner from the retweets they're only drawing from a tiny pool of like the 100 most recent retweets only

thellere

Quietly adds something to the to-do list because I didn't realise something that simple was basically impossible on there



babushka
lerunscorner(she/her)
Time ago

Community Update - August 2020

staff

The bees are imminent

In July, we...

  • Got more server hardware
  • Finished the image transcode system
  • Started the new text editor
  • Published our public roadmap

Site Stats

As of writing, we have 31,804 users, 51,610 blogs, and 396,653 posts.

Site News

There's a lot this month. We'll start with some Commission Market news - we finally got approved by PayPal, so it'll be an option going forward once the rewrite hits. We are considering removing Stripe entirely - users have reported some bad experiences that are shaking our faith in them, as well as being too complicated to use, so some feedback here would be great. Additionally, we've had a couple reports of them trying to make you use unexpected transaction methods - if you try and buy a blog slot or pay for a commission and get redirected to Apple or Google Pay, do not proceed with the transaction - hop in the Discord and let us know so we can figure it out.

To answer a concern that was brought up last month - using PayPal will not change the NSFW policy of the site. Business and partners have different rules from individuals, and Waterfall's existing content policy puts is well within the safe zone by all the interpretations and second opinions we got. If PayPal elects to go back on that, we'll simply look for another option or roll our own.

I needed a break this month because there's only one of me and mental fatigue is a little bitch, so I switched focus some to work on Springwater's blog analytics dashboard.

This is still a prototype (you can tell by the labelling) but even with the test data, I can already tell people will find this very useful, especially artists. I'll do a writeup next month about what's included, since at the minute I'm still surprising myself with what breakdowns I'm able to do with it.

I'm considering doing a mockup of the dashboard to see how it'd look with the stylesheet used there - certainly it'd look a bit more modern. You guys let me know what you think before I start?

Next up, I finally started work on a custom text editor. It's SO much better. Looks better, behaves better, and, since I accidentally backspaced when I finished writing this post and had to start over, it'll also save state so if your browser crashes or you acidentally leave you don't lose everything. I don't have screenshots of it since it's still effectively a glorified text box, but I do have screenshots of the new audio player.

There's still a few kinks to work out, mostly related to mobile, and I'm not sure whether we'll keep the visualisation there or not, but it works and I'm pleased. Album art support! It'll auto-populate with whatever ID3 tags the file has and then you can edit the picture, track name, artist etc. It'll also eventually have playlist support for musicians to use in art posts.

Final piece of UI news - we'll be adding a bunch of accessibility options. There'll be stuff like a colour blind mode, dyslexia mode, font size options etc. We'll run these by members of the community before launch to make sure we're covering the largest cross-section of users possible. They'll all be off by default, but users can pick and choose which ones they find useful and turn them on.

Oh, and something about how we've started working on chats too, but nobody cares about that.

Back on the backend, the main roadblock now is making posts.

Legacy code sucks.

In theory I could port it wholesale, but there's a few improvements I want to make in a couple of places, as well as fixing mentions code and whatever is happening with queue time calculations. Purely text based posts work, but file based posts need some more work, as well as link posts, because I'm just not happy with those at the minute.

That's all for now, so see you next month, and give the roadmap a look!


babushka
thellere(he/him)
Time ago

what do you mean that's not how the waterfall dot social patreon works


babushka
cjadewyton
Time ago

Community Update - End-of-February 2020

staff

Wow, two in one month? This must be big.

Sarcasm aside, this actually is a big one, and it's also a mini one, so here we go!

App News

As 0.98 released earlier, containing fixes for a few things and UI improvements, we had a look at our issue tracker and came to a conclusion - we still want 0.99 to be the test run for the full site.

This makes things awkward - adding the new features that are still missing is, in the site's current state, an absolute pain. Additionally, the UI right now doesn't really lend itself well to adding them in the first place - you'll probably see a couple of hacks here and there in the latest update even.

Then we realised that, for the app, we need to rewrite everything anyway so that the apps can communicate with the server. I won't go into too many technical details in this post because it'll be confusing, but after running it by our Kickstarter backers, we made a decision - rather than rush 0.99 out so we can go "ha, out of beta before the others, take that, other sites!" we're going to take our time. Starting tomorrow, we'll start planning and working on the app development stuff, including the new server communication protocol that they'll use.

Why does this matter if you don't browse the site on mobile? Well, one of the good things about this unified protocol (API, if you fancy some furhter reading) is that we can hook anything we want into it. Phone apps? Sure. A desktop client, ala Discord? Easy. Since we're Sony partners for our game dev projects, a PS4/PS5 app? Easily doable.

It also means that we can allow use apps - things like XKit or a fancy stats site will be possible with it. On the technical side, it also means we can pick any coding language we want, and we're picking one that's a lot nicer to work with so weird stuff like the queue timings bug should be easier to solve.

You can see where that's going - essentially, we build the site once, and everything else is just a way of interacting with it. With that in mind, it means that once the API is further along, we can rewrite the web version to use it as well as the apps - that way, everything works consistently, and you'll finally get a UI that looks good instead of very clearly being designed by a programmer that thinks hawaiian shirts are actually quite fashionable.

We'll be testing a few things out in the app that we want to translate over to the desktop variant, so we might actually have a weird situation where the mobile apps are slightly better than the desktop version for a little bit. Considering how mobile apps usually are, this has almost certainly never happened before.

This also means that subscriptions et al are delayed a little bit - Kickstarter backers were more than fine with this, saying that "honestly you need a bit of a lie down, so take your time and do it right rather than rushing to finish". We do need a bit of a lie down, and it's just generally good advice - so other than bug fixes on any of the new stuff or any critical errors that crop up, we'll get the badges and themes in for those guys, get them sent out, and then send out separate keys later for the subscriptions.

Raffle

You might remember us saying there'll be a raffle for beta access to the app alongside the KS backers - we'll let you know how to enter that in the next community update at the usual time next week!

Ad News

An update on the ads - general consensus was we should go for it, so we did. Unfortunately, AdSense turned us down - we half expected that, so it's not a huge shock to us. Speculative reasoning is in this post, but it most likely boils down to us allowing NSFW, which we're not getting rid of. So we'll be running without ads for a little while. Given the post about them where we explained why we needed them and us saying above subscriptions aren't coming for a while either, you're probably confused - that's understandable. Instead, we're running a Patreon for the time being to keep us fed, just like we did before the Kickstarter. This isn't quite pre-paying for subscriptions, but it doesn't sit right with me that you're giving us money for nothing so the chances are we'll offer to convert them to subs once we're ready for them. It's not our first choice, but beggars can't be choosers.

Hopefully this all makes sense and you understand where we're coming from! We don't want to keep things in a perpetual cycle of being written and then thrown out, which at this point, 0.99 would honestly be, so we're going straight for the next stage and doing the app stuff.

See you all next week for the proper community update!


babushka
star-rice(he/him)
Time ago

Patch Notes - 0.25.12

staff
  • Editing blog descriptions now uses the textarea editor instead of a single line input.
  • Blog descriptions now support the same range of options that posts do.
sidh

Yesss

Links in description Activated



babushka
cjadewyton
Time ago

Patch Notes - 0.25.0

staff

NEW FEATURES

  • The OmniDash™ is now available. Enable it in user settings.

    • This allows you to see all the blogs you follow, across every blog you have, without switching. This'll go nicely with Quick Reblog in 0.26.
  • Drafts are now available for all post types except answers and reblogs.
  • [EXPERIMENTAL] Author Mode is now enabled for all post editors (except chat posts, due to formatting requirements).

    • This extends the available post formatting options to include most of standard markdown.
    • A formatting guide will be available over on @support shortly, and styles are applied immediately on pressing Enter for a new line.

BUG FIXES

  • Comment and Reblog notifications are now styled slightly better.
  • Liking a post on a blog's tagged page no longer creates two hearts.
  • NSFW setting now correctly carries over between your devices if you change the setting on one of them.

CHANGES

  • Users can now choose to view explicitly NSFW art in the featured posts section. This requires an explicit opt-in, and is only available to adults. Turn it on in your user settings.

Things will seem a bit slower on the update front for the next couple of weeks - we're taking a day or two to focus on bugfixes for this update, if any are needed, and then there's two big bugs left that we want to fix (namely, post editing eating images sometimes, and the way queue post times are calculated resembling a drunk bloke with a calculator) and then we'll be making a big push for 0.26 where blog archives, improved search, and subscriptions will roll out.

We've also started development of the next stage of the Art Theft System - you can read a little about the basics here.


babushka
posted this
Time ago

i like how different people are using the pin feature differently and overall having fun with it! waterfall is truly a unique place!


babushka
staff
Time ago

Patch Notes - 0.23.00

staff

Saw a post on Tumblr, liked the ideas. Two hours later, you get this update. Enjoy.

NEW FEATURES

  • You can now select a post to pin on your blog, that will show at the top of the first page. To pin a post, go to the edit page for that post and hit the toggle. To unpin it, edit the post again and toggle it back.
  • You can now set your dashboard to show only original content, without reblogs. Enable OC Mode in your blog settings.
  • You can now search only the people you follow.
  • You can now filter notifications to display only the activity from your mutuals. Enable it in your blog settings.

babushka
cosmicaces(they/them)
Time ago
An Anonymous user asked:

are you sure you all arent getting a little gungho about this? It just feels like you're trying to push into everything immediately before Waterfall is even a complete site. I'm worried you're going to end up in dire straits if you take on too many projects at once

staff

I considered using dev hacks to move this to @thelldev instead since it kind of fits better there, but actually this is a pretty valid question that I imagine a lot of folks are quietly asking themselves so here we go. Naturally, this is written from my perspective, and doesn't necesarily convey the viewpoints of the rest of the team.

Glacier is still, largely, a side project, and is remaining one until Waterfall hits the stable milestone. The only reason it's being announced now is because some of the features Waterfall was going to have just sort of... fit better there, I guess? And we don't want folks to think we've cut them.

As for doing too many projects at once, that's honestly just how I work best. I personally need at least three on the go at once or I burn out a lot quicker than if I just have one - having a main project (currently, Waterfall) and then some side projects means I can freely flit between them when I run into a roadblock I need to think through, while still being productive.

There's also the monetisation factor - not to be all Capitalist™, but I've dumped a good £20k/$26.5k of my own money into Waterfall, and I do kind of need to start putting the stuff out to start making that back (let alone the cash to cover any wages for the time I and the other staff have spent on it). The Commission Market was the first step (albeit a tiny one - we ended up getting 18 cents of the $15 spent through the CM so far), the premium features will be next (releasing in 0.24), and then most likely, Glacier will be up. Things would be easier if I just threw my morals out the window and plastered ads on the site, but I said they'd be the last thing I tried so the last thing they shall be despite some folks saying I should just go ahead and do it because we deserve the cash.

I'm personally wired to need something to do, so multiple projects suits me quite well - Waterfall (other than the UI, which honestly I'm putting off for as long as possible because I hate it) is pretty much nearly feature complete, so this is actually more or less the time to start thinking of the next thing. The only major thing that has no code written for WF right now is the IM system (themes have been 80% written for a good few months), and the apps are basically just getting stuff to display properly (dumbed down, but not that difficult once a few bits of scaffold code are put in). The fact is - and I've said this a few times jokingly on thelldev - sites don't really need much time to be built. I know full well Pillowfort, Bdsmlr etc are still in beta after years, that's either due to wanting an excuse, wanting to milk more money out of folks, or the staff just not being very competent, but Waterfall is one year old and I took about three months off in there before the kickstarter to work on game stuff. If we're nearly finished at this point, I can garuntee that by June or so we'll be a stable site.

Note: That doesn't mean WF is DONE done when that last update hits, it just means that the site is feature complete for the first iteration, and other stuff can be added later at a much more leisurely pace. It's usable, there's nothing glaring that's missing that makes the site not able to be used. Both sites will see continuous development, especially with regards to the Commission Marketplace since that'll be iterated on almost constantly based on feedback.

So trust me, I get where you're coming from - but this is really just a symptom of how I'm wired. It's why I don't do vacations or days off, I have shit to do.

thellere

RBing here since I know some folks are asking themselves it



babushka
staff
Time ago

Waterfall - End of Year One

staff

Did you know that technically, Waterfall launched on the 10th of December? I just didn't make it public until the 17th. So, I figured today, the 16th, is as good a time as any to talk about the site over the last year.

The Past

First, I want to give a massive shoutout and thank you to the staff. When Waterfall started, it was basically just me trying to prove a point - that point being that Tumblr, a (at the time, allegedly) billion dollar company didn't have an excuse for their buggy mess, and that charging for access to a site like this actually wasn't necessary. I'd like to think I've succeeded there.

As the site grew, there was no way in hell I was going to manage to keep it going on my own - the original Discord mods were hired, and given part ownership of the company, and we hired an excellent infrastructure engineer to make sure the site runs like butter on the hardware side. Between keeping me on track when I make a bad decision, making sure you guys know what's going on and, on occasion, acting as a filter to make sure the occasional bad suggestion doesn't reach me, I want to give them a massive thanks.

The Present

Right now, Waterfall is in a pretty good state. We're not breaking even yet - far from it - but we did sell our first extra blog slots, which is genuinely the most excited I've ever been to see an email saying "hey you got 3 bucks". The Commission Market is almost done and ready for the public beta, and we've started teasing the app in the Discord.

Overall, not too bad - it'd be nice if there was more activity, but that'll come in time, I hope.

The Future

The end of the year is always a good time to start thinking about the next, which means we need to decide what's happening with Waterfall going forward. You already know about the app and sponsors, and we've had a few ideas internally that we've idly discussed. We might be announcing one in the next week or two.

Soon - whether that's the weekend, or the new year - the whole staff will have a meeting to decide where we're going, and what we want Waterfall Stable to look like. We've been in beta far too long, and I'm personally determined to get it out of beta by my birthday in April at the latest. Chat stuff, themes, the works - it's all coming. Our other projecst will be discussed too - did you know we were originally a game development company?

We'll also be starting some sort of marketing campaign - to get where we are from two single marketing posts is pretty astounding. Pillowfort, our main competitor, has been around four times longer than us, has a significantly higher budget from multiple Kickstarters and an entry fee, and conducts a VERY aggressive marketing campaign, but only has twice as many users. From what I've been told, a majority of those who use both prefer Waterfall. We also have more features, apparently. So while it might not be a win numerically yet, in terms of growth and satisfaction, I'm happy to consider it at least a tie. Given they're (allegedly, they've been saying that they will for quite a while) rolling out free users soon though, I think we need to pull our socks up and start advertising a bit.

The App

The app. You've all been waiting for it. So here's the deal. Once the Interstitial Update is out (essentially, the Commission Market, the Tumblr Importer, and a few UI upgrades) are done, I'll be taking a day off. Mostly because I havn't slept, but also because I've not had more than the time it takes me to answer the door for pizza in terms of a break over the last three weeks. After that, we're going full tilt - we've got layout mockups, and we've got test data working. The app will be put into simultaneous development alongside the rest of the Stable features. While that's going on, we'll be figuring out who gets to test it. I don't know if there's a limit on Android users, but I do know Apple Testflight limits us to 10k. That's fine, we probably won't have that many testers and most likely won't want to either.

Kickstarter backers are guaranteed access to the betas, and we'll be handpicking a couple other users who've been around for a while and have contributed a lot to the community. After that, we'll probably open a couple hundred slots on each platform and hand them out via a raffle.

The app development is a big learning process - we have one person on the team with experience there, and they'll handle the iOS version. I'll take over the Android version, as well as keeping the main site getting patches. When they're at least stable-ish, we'll submit them for review and try and get them out to everyone.

The Site

The site itself will be "feature-complete" soon, like I've said. That doesn't mean nothing else will be added, it just means all the essentials are in. One thing I want to do is make it look nicer - I'm not a frontend guy, and our designers don't really do code, so I'll be looking into getting them training or hiring a frontend developer.

Another is I want to find a way to improve communication with staff. Occasionally, though not often, I have a look around the Internet. Some interesting stuff I've seen is people going "Waterfall sucks, it has [this bug] and [that bug] and the staff aren't fixing it!". Fair enough, if there's bugs, that does suck - what sucks more is the staff not knowing the bug exists in the first place so we're not able to fix it. So there's very clearly an opening for better communication there, and we need to figure out a way to make it easier for you to talk to us, and us to talk to you. Not just for bugs - general feedback, asking for help, and making suggestions as well.

Environment

While not directly related, I think it's important to look at the environmental impact of sites like this too - as we grow, we'll use more servers. That, in turn, means we use more energy, and unfortunately, not all energy is generated cleanly yet. The best solution is to just reduce our carbon footprint - I try and do that by upgrading the servers periodically to make sure they use the most energy efficient components available. However, we don't own our own office space yet so don't have the luxury of being able to bolt solar panels to the roof or choose a 100% Green energy provider.

So, second best choice: I can offset. Or, more accurately, the company can.

After research, I picked a carbon offsetting service, one that:

  • supports sustainable projects globally so there's a short terrm impact helping people NOW,
  • AND ensures there's a long term reduction in emissions.

That way, even if one approach doesn't work, the other will. Hopefully.

First I needed to work out Waterfall's emissions - according to this, servers on completely non-green energy generate about 900kg of CO2 a year. We have five servers on-prem and one in the cloud, but lets just make it easy for ourselves and round up to one tonne for each server. I'll throw my desktop into the mix as well because it's pretty power hungry. Getting rid of servers is an option, and we definitely will consolidate as the budget and technology becomes available to do so, but it'd be a bit hard to do our jobs with only one server right now.

It turns out that actually, calculating your carbon footprint is a bit of a nightmare. There's so many variables to keep track of and work out that I lost track pretty quickly. Eventually I found a calculator and, since I don't drive anywhere, I worked it out to be about 80kg. There's five staff now, so to account for lifestyle differences, we'll round that up to 100kg each, for half a tonne.

That works out to 7.5 tonnes. And then I doubled that number, partly because I wanted to be safe, and partly because it felt like the right thing to do. And then, because I didn't personally buy those offsets, the company did, that can be claimed as a business expense which means I can just slap an extra 20% on there that the company won't have to pay on that expense, so we're up to 18 tonnes - make it an even 20. It's an overcompensation - the server figures assume 100% load, and we know that our datacentre is probably 100% green and our local energy supply is (at least) 60% green.

So, we're offsetting 20 tonnes of CO2. There'll be some folks who scoff and say that I'm doing this for PR - Well, yes, that's what makes it a business expense, I guess. But even if you think it's a bad idea, this method of offsetting is useful, and the worst case scenario is that the world is a little greener. Oh, and I'm personally throwing 20 bucks at #TeamTrees as well. You should do the same.

Conclusion

So, we've come a long way, and we've got a long way left to go. A lot of what we want to do depends on you guys - I've never really been one to wave "oooh, we need to keep the light on give us money oooohhhh the site might go down" in front of your faces in every post, but the success of the site does rely on you guys using it! Direct users to the site and engage with and produce content. If you're an artist, bring users in to use the Commission Marketplace as your main way of doing them (and while you're at it, let us know how we can improve it! We want it to be nice to use, not just give you protections), and, if you have spare cash, buy a blog slot (you can find the option in your blog settings!) or buy a subscription to help keep the site going when they launch.

We owe how far we've come to you guys, and I sincerely hope you'll all stick around for what's next.

Thank you.

- Thellere Project Lead

@thelldev


babushka
posted this
Time ago

transwerewolf

I love the cute little humor on wf we have of using readmores for small silly posts

Like on Tumblr they're mostly used for something lengthy or personal, and while we also use them like that too, we also use them in more rebloggable posts, and we have thell to thank for making readmores so smartly designed


babushka
thellere(he/him)
Time ago
moonfallunmasked

@ the people worried abt anti-hoarding measures, its not like the blogs are being deleted. once you notice the url changed, you can always just change your url back if it hasnt been claimed.

and if you can only get on once every few days or couple weeks, you can use that time to make a post and queue a thing or two?

from what i can tell, its not like thells making a system that completely deletes a blog after a few days of inactivity. shit happens. people are busy. people forget to post on a blog until oh shit, its been renamed. no one going to just delete your stuff for no reason.

+ with blog limits, people who already have blogs are grandfathered in, as far as im aware. like, dont make 12 blogs immediately before its rolled out just to save slots because thats a dick move, but if you have a handful of blogs now, none of them are going to get deleted when the blog limits are introduced.

tl;dr the staff arent unreasonable and you arent just going to lose your stuff (except maybe your url) if you cant get online every day or even within the release timeframe.

thellere

This is correct - it literally just renames the blog to a nonsense sentence so others can use the URL



babushka
staff
Time ago
staff

Interested in learning more about what the Commission Marketplace actually is? Here you go!


babushka
staff
Time ago

Art Posts - How they work, and what's the point

thellere

With the site getting popular on Twitter thanks to them being artist unfriendly now, I thought it might be useful to explain what exactly art posts are on Waterfall, and how the protection system works.

It's worth me noting that a lot of what I'm about to talk about is rewrite specific - for the beta (i.e. the current Waterfall version), it's pretty naive and still in testing.

So, art posts are a special post type that, at their core, are image posts with a different label. There's a few differences on the backend though - first, you can slap a copyright notice on them to let everyone know who you are. When you submit the post, some stuff happens in the background.

First, the server takes hashes of the raw and resized images (i.e. the full size version, the version resized for desktops, and the version resized for mobiles). The image then goes live. After that, it gets passed to a special server we have in the background, which will start doing all manner of things to it - flipping it, doing a ton of resizing, flipping the resizes, and - if we get the budget - maybe even a little machine learning to look for any watermarks or signatures you've put in and crop those out too. Every step of the way, it'll take a hash of the image.

The point here is that a hash is a "fingerprint" of a given image. Once it's finished taking fingerprints of every combination it thinks is likely, it stores them in the database and starts watching out for them. Then, if someone else tries to upload your art - either as an art post or as part of an image post - they won't be able to! Instead, it automatically gets converted into a reblog of your post.

This is an explanation of the simplest system at play, but there's more in the background - I don't want to go into too much detail on those because those are fancy and I don't want the entire blueprint of the anti-theft system out there for people to pick apart and find ways around, but there's some more at play and - if something does manage to slip by it and we find it - will be constantly improved on to make sure any artists on here get the credit they deserve.


babushka
cosmicaces(they/them)
Time ago

25% funded!

staff

We're now 25% funded! As thanks, here's a sneak peek at the new default blog theme redesign, and how we think when we're doing stuff like that.


babushka
thellere(he/him)
Time ago

The Official Waterfall Kickstarter is here!

staff

It's been a long time coming, and after almost nine months of blood, sweat, and tears, we're finally ready to launch the Kickstarter!

The main aim here is to fund the development of the long awaited mobile app. Anything extra will go directly towards improving the site and making sure it survives for a long time to come!

So, what are you waiting for?


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