Jess(i?e+)? or Hope (she/they, он/она)
icon by perpetualwhirlpoolofconfusion on tumblr (picrew link)
multifandom, sfw blog
i draw, write (in Russian), animate things. creations are tagged as #babkart
black lives matter
Community Update - August 2020staff -
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
As of writing, we have 31,804 users, 51,610 blogs, and 396,653 posts.
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.
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.
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!
Community Update - End-of-February 2020staff -
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!
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.
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!
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!
Patch Notes - 0.25.0staff -
The OmniDash™ is now available. Enable it in user settings.
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.
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.
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.
Patch Notes - 0.23.00staff -
Saw a post on Tumblr, liked the ideas. Two hours later, you get this update. Enjoy.
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.
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
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.
RBing here since I know some folks are asking themselves it
Waterfall - End of Year Onestaff -
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.
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.
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 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. 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
- Thellere Project Lead
Currencies we're supporting at launch for the CM are US dollar, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, British Pound, Euros, and Japanese Yen
That should cover the majority of users and if not, I guess USD is the default
i have two super derailing off topic questions that are not necessary for you to answer i am just silly
second is how come every country has its own dollar, how
I feel like "do not interact" should be a separate thing from "do not reblog" because like...I tend to not want my personal posts reblogged but I really don't see why that shouldn't allow comments???
maybe "dnr" and "disable comments" should be separate options since some people wanted to disable comments but allow reblogs
Sound familiar? Seems like WordPress has similar things in store for Tumblr as we planned for Waterfall, but at much higher rates. Not to worry - we’re planning on getting the commission marketplace out next week, and comments will finally roll out within the next 24 hours!
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
@ 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.
This is correct - it literally just renames the blog to a nonsense sentence so others can use the URL
Art Posts - How they work, and what's the pointthellere -
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.
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 the latest staff post is causing a kerfuffle so I might as well address it. I have a headache right now and I suck at communicating anyway so please, before bitching about anything in this make sure it's what I actually meant.
So the staff post said I don't want salt and vent blogs or posts on here. As a general rule that's true but I think we need to examine what I actually MEAN by those and where something actually is OK to post
The general thing here is I want to avoid being Tumblr 2.0. By that, I mean I don't want a culture where being rude and aggressive is seen as normal or something to be celebrated, and I don't want posts that are excessively negative to get more notes than positive posts. That's just not what this site is about. It's tiring, I don't want it, and neither does anyone else.
Now. Venting is infinitely more allowable than salt posts. If you're venting, you're getting something off your chest. That's fine, it's healthy - the dnr tag etc exists specifically for this purpose. Even more appreciated is having a vent blog - just a private space where you can post stuff out of the public eye. Passworded/protected blogs are coming in the rewrite to help with these.
What's less justifiable are salt posts. These aren't getting something off your chest, these are, by my definitions, just straight up attacks on something/someone. Instead of making a salt post, just... I dunno, take a deep breath? Or post it on Tumblr.
I'm not saying "NO NEGATIVITY ALLOWED EVER REEEEEEEEEEE", that'd be fucking stupid and I'd really hope nobody is thinking that's what I want to say. What I am saying though is I don't want a culture that encourages making negative posts because it gets more notes, or end up with another situation where making complaint posts is fine, but god fucking forbid someone offers a solution to a problem.
Hopefully this clarifies what I was trying to say a little, and if not, ask box is open.
ok nice! I think the nuclear definition of salt (and/or bitching because posts i've seen were mostly incredibly civil) is what was keeping us all miscommunicated here. I should say i don't fully understand what it means too. But you're right, straight up attacks will never bring anyone any good
have a feeling a lot of artists will still use commissions outside commission marketplace because of the possibility of forward payment. art takes, like, a ton of time, weeks or so, and people need money urgently from time to time. however a lot of folcs are still excited for commission marketplace and i don't think that's a thing that exists anywhere else so let's see how it all works out in the end.