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Announcement The Summer 2019 RDF Update Megathread (1 Viewer)

xydrine

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Hello Everyone,

It's summer, and it's time for our Summer Update. As we announced late last year, we are going to be doing large forum update announcements on a quarterly basis. But don't worry - you all know me, I love to keep you updated on a nearly day-to-day basis with announcements regarding maintenance and everything else.

I had actually hoped to get this update out earlier this month, but we had some last minute incidents that needed to be addressed before going forward with this update. This pretty much pushed our schedule back for all planned announcements from mid-July and on.

Due to my absolutely horrible ability to schedule announcements/dates/etc, I've been trying to stop giving out dates for certain announcements although it is very tempting. This is even more important when it comes to our Arkangel project (see below) - to have something done right, sometimes deadlines are just not a practical guideline. So going forward, whenever I give out timeframes regarding announcements/launches/etc, they will be tentative and details/information will be attached to the timeframe explaining this.

With all that said, let's get into the specifics!

State of the Forum

RDForum has been through a lot of growing pains the past couple of years. I would say that many of these came to a head over the past six months, in the form of blatant brand-bashing and personal attacks. These, over the past couple of months, have died down - we've had to issue a lot less infractions as of late after ramping up moderation and warnings due to the increased amount of negative activity on the forum.

Guys, you have to remember - we are all one community here. We are one community, one team. Your fellow forum members are not the enemy - the enemy is out on the road running RADAR and LIDAR. Who cares if someone uses a device that operates differently than yours does. Do you like your device? Does it do what you want/need it to do? That's all that matters.

Due to the amount of negativity we have seen lately, we decided to modify our warnings/infractions system and create a proper method for filing appeals regarding infractions.

You can see the latest details regarding the warning/infraction system changes here: Warnings/Infraction System Details, Inquiries & Appeals Process

The RDF Infraction System & Appeals Process

General Information:


The "Moon Door" section contains an on-going, automated listing/tracker of warnings, infractions and bans issued to members of the forum.

Please see the second post in this thread for details regarding the infraction inquiry/appeals process.

Here's some information on the automated infraction system...

While all infractions are different, most of them are 0 or 1 point infractions, and expire after 6 months. We may also create a custom infraction, with a specified number of points, and expiring at a custom time.

Points are cumulative and could automatically create a ban.

Warnings may or may not contain any points. We often refer to warnings as infractions, but it's usually relating to the same system. Some warnings may not even go through our system, but in a comment or post by a staff member.

Point-based warnings/infractions are when things start getting serious.

3 points = 2 day ban
5 points = 7 day ban
7 points = 30 day ban
10 points = permanent ban

The number of points you receive will be in your notification via PM or posted in this forum section.

Infractions are a direct warning, and they should not be taken lightly. But they are also primarily a teaching tool and reminder of how to act on the forum. Infractions are public so members can also learn from others mistakes, they also provide accountability and history. Enough infraction points can accumulate to an automatic temporary ban as a time out, or if severe enough a permanent ban by jury.

Permanent Ban Grand Jury:


Being a forum of the People By the People there is a grand jury system in place for permanent bans: Announcing: The Commission (RDF's Severe Infraction Review System)

We understand everyone can make mistakes, but it is very important to the community we respect the rules made by the RDF administration. It is also important to respect all our valued members and manufacturers that care enough to be on the forum.

Infractions are a direct warning, and they should not be taken lightly. But they are also a teaching tool and reminder of how to act on the forum. Infractions are public so members can also learn from others mistakes. But due to the nature of an infraction only Admins/Smods can reply in an infraction thread.
Just a note to the members: The forum staff decided a while ago not to let members post in the User Infraction section. Our reasoning for this, is that prior to doing this, many members would troll and bash the member who was warned, infracted, or banned. We felt that some of the posts set a tone to the thread and forum that was not becoming. If any member does have some information to share about the incident or member, please PM the the administrators and moderators of the forum, by reporting the original post in the user infraction thread.
The Commission (RDF's Severe Infraction Review System)

As a way to ensure active members receiving a permanent ban receive a fair shake, all permabans will be reviewed by the Commission. https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=50883

--

There are also other methods of warnings/infractions we may employ, such as thread-banning or section-banning someone.

We do not enjoy giving out warnings/infractions. We are only enforcing our rules system - please don't take it personally.

We try to do everything we can on our end to make your interaction with the forum work - we do NOT simply ban people for no reason like many sites do.

UPDATED on June 15, 2019: Revamped thread with updated information.
And the appeals process, which can be viewed here: Warnings/Infraction System Details, Inquiries & Appeals Process

APPEALING AN INFRACTION/INQUIRING ABOUT AN INFRACTION

For better organizational purposes and to give members a structured way to inquire about or appeal an infraction/decision made by the staff, we have created a simple process which will allow you to get additional feedback from the staff on why you were given an infraction/the reasoning behind a punitive action we performed.

As stated in each individual infraction post in this thread, there are a few static guidelines that need to be understood/followed when considering an inquiry/appeal...:

Guidelines for warnings/infractions and inquiries/appeals:

1.) 0 point infractions (warnings) may not be appealed for reversal or discussed with the staff. These are, as stated, warnings only, and are for your information only - they are not point-punitive; the warning notes indicate all that you need to know about these types of infractions (warnings).

2.) Private Messaging any staff member about your infraction will result in a 1 point infraction.

YOU ARE NOT BEING RESTRICTED FROM INQUIRING/APPEALING, just do it properly - by following the instructions here in this post. We don't ask much of you guys - and this is not much to ask for.

3.) Inquiries/appeals are done through the report button (seen in the below instructions), meaning your inquiry/appeal will be viewable by members. This is for transparency purposes and to allow other users to see staff responses to an inquiry/appeal. So just be aware that your inquiry/appeal is viewable by members. There are absolutely no legitimate reasons for why an inquiry/appeal about an infraction (anywhere) should be private (key word: legitimate) - so if you want a responsive/respectful answer from the staff, be respectful and detailed in your inquiry/appeal.

4.) We are not going to argue/debate with you regarding your inquiry/appeal - make your inquiry/appeal as detailed as possible and we will address it as we see fit - but once we close out the inquiry/appeal report, the matter is closed. Again, I don't like repeating myself, but it should be repeated that this is why you should make your case to us in the most detailed manner possible.

Instructions for filing an inquiry/appeal to an infraction (must have been a point-punitive infraction, as mentioned above):

Instructions:

STEP 1:
Head to the infraction thread here in the Moon Door section and locate your infraction thread, which has been posted by a staff member, for example in the above image.

STEP 2: Click on the "Report" button underneath the post showing your infraction details.

STEP 3: Fill out the report form with as much detail as possible - I typed a simple example in the image above, you do not need to follow that format, just be as detailed as possible (mentioned in the guidelines above here in this post) as to why you are inquiring/why you are appealing/etc. It's up to you to make your case to us. Be detailed, this will not be a discussion, AGAIN, as mentioned above. I can't stress this enough. Once you are done, hit the blue "Report" button and your inquiry/appeal will have been submitted. You will then see the report inside the report center here: https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?reports/ - you should also be notified about updates to the report.

Once the staff reviews the report, we will respond accordingly.

Again, this type of system is to better organize/structure the inquiry/appeals process for infractions - it helps other members of the forum as well as the staff, for various reasons.

While this thread here is not able to be responded to by members, if you have questions there will be a thread mentioning the implementation of this system in the Announcements section in the coming day where you will be able to ask any questions about this system/process at that time.

Thanks!
For transparency and feedback purposes, as mentioned in this thread: New Feature - May 23, 2019: Report Center Activated For Members - For Transparency & Feedback Purposes... - we have decided to open up the Report Center to the public. Please see this thread regarding details about this function.

The site has really been hot lately - we have had roughly 950 members online per day on average this past month, which is our highest amount we've ever seen. Additionally, we have seen a 106% increase in registrations over the past 30 days, which is up from a 94% increase from 30-60 days ago, though that may have been related in part to the fact that we are now encouraging people to become members of this community via unregistered ads (see below for more information).

This community is going to start getting a lot more members soon because of the launch of Arkangel development, so expect a lot more activity and new members.

I hate to repeat myself, but I feel like this is something that needs to be said again - remember, we are all on the same team here, guys. Let's work together and treat everyone here with respect and the way you would want to be treated - save the negativity for the ones who are not on our team, the ones issuing tickets!

Messages from the Staff

One thing we often do is ask our staff if they have anything they'd like to address to the community directly. Here are the responses we have received this time around:

Vortex said:
I hope everyone's having a great summer! This is an awesome time of the year for testing and I hope lots of RDF members take advantage of the weather to go out and do more testing. The more people we have testing and sharing, the more everyone benefits. I'm going to be mostly unavailable for the next little while once my daughter is born, but I'll still be peeking in here periodically. I'm looking forward to seeing everything you all have to share! Have a great summer! :)
KASHER1979 said:
It is exciting to see the group of members that have been participating and advancing lately. One of the best things that I enjoy about what I do here is pressing the “promote button”. :)

One thing I would like to remind everyone of is that if you have questions or concerns regarding a promotion you need to direct that to either myself or a member of the Security Detachment Team. We handle these requests and it’s important that we are the team members that are contacted about these matters.

Also I’d like to add that if you have a concern about the Security of the forum such as people that are behaving suspiciously or that you simply have an odd “gut feeling” about please report your concerns to SD immediately. You can either PM one of us or press the report button and report any particular thread that has the questionable member or post.

Thank you for your attention. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and enjoying your travels and hopefully staying out of trouble on the Highways. ;)

RDF Security Team
SquirrelMaster said:
Many of you know me but there was never a formal introduction given from me when I joined RDF's awesome staff. I started off on RDF years ago after getting a speeding ticket for 130mph. I learned my lesson and with the help of a bunch of people here, I got a nice set of ALPs and a beltronics STIR+ for my car. I browsed a bit but had been awol for a few years as I had just started my own business and was very busy with 0 free time to myself. A few years later, things have become more relaxing and I don't need to be as involved as I was when starting up so I came back here as I started adding to my car collection. While I do appreciate countermeasures, I don't really live for them. I have a few unidens, a v1, a couple escorts, a beltronics, and two all systems, but I only run cms in one car. I'm mainly on rdf for the community and the *occasional* drama. ;)

I am definitely a car guy. I can drive almost anything and find a way to have a blast in it. I live in an area where the roads out are twisty, windy, mountain roads which has made me definitely appreciate cars that handle well more than cars that can lay down rubber. That being said, I don't discriminate ;)

I have joined the RDF staff as DevOps and will be doing my best to help the forum run smoothly, safely, and securely. There is only so much @xydrine can do by himself and I hope to be able to make things a bit easier for him. Anyone can feel free to tag or message me if you need anything on RDF!

A lot of my experience and schooling has to do with electronics and firmware so that's what I very much enjoy doing. Making custom electronics, controllers, mods, etc is my hobby and I managed to turn it into my business which I am very grateful for. One major thing that I can apply this to on RDF is the ArkAngel project. I'll be making sure that devices like your radar detectors and laser jammers integrate well and reliably with the arkangel app, open api or not. Furthermore, when the arkangel hardware device is ready to be made, I'll mainly be working on that.

-SM
Launch of the Staff Rotation System

We are implementing a new system which is aimed at preventing the inevitable burnout commonly awaiting our moderators after an extended period of time. Moderating posts day-in-and-day-out takes a special kind of attention, and can make you go partially insane, for lack of a better term, lol.

It would be great to keep a permanent team on staff - and we partially do that, at the admin level, but when it comes to the Moderator team, there just has to be a churn due to the burnout problem. This is something we have to implement for their wellbeing as well as the forum's.

In the next couple of weeks, those of you who are eligible (based on variables and criteria we set) to become Moderators will be shown an application that you may fill out to apply to become a member of our staff. I will save the additional information for that thread - so be on the lookout for it if this is something that interests you!

Arkangel (RDFGS) and the Road Ahead

The time has come for the Arkangel project to begin development and all that comes with it!

aa.final.shadow.png


I am really excited to state that the Arkangel project (formally known as RDFGS) is finally coming to a point this month. We actually debated doing this on a kickstarter/indiegogo platform in terms of crowdfunding, but, with the amount of integrations this project is going to have with our forum community, we feel that keeping everything centralized is the best way to proceed.

I really don't want to talk much about Arkangel here in this thread because we've been working on the announcement/proposal/funding/development launch thread for months now, but I don't think a couple paragraphs will hurt so here we go...

Arkangel is the next evolution of RDFGS. And you could also say the next evolution of navigation, threat tracking and reporting, drive-based social interaction and honestly, this community and website as a whole. For a few years we've been wanting to create a new, updated version of the RDFGS (RDF Geographical Survey), which would be a direct competitor to Escort Live, Waze, Trapster, Torque and similar social, navigation, drive-tech enthusiast applications and the like, with an emphasis on the wishes of this community in mind, developed with this community's direct input, maintained for and by this community. The RDFGS 1.0 was more of a web-based database, with an app (deprecated and no longer active) for device-based assistance, and there have been an incredible amount of technological improvements made to both smartphone technology as well as countermeasure technology which allows us to implement many of the features we've all once dreamed of, in reality, through APIs and similar functions. This will be starting out as a software/app-based project but will also have an optional hardware component to it. More on this in the launch thread.

Arkangel is primarily going to be developed by myself and a couple other developers we will introduce to you in the launch thread (but you know them already), utilizing a professional application development and project management system for code tracking/revisions, testing, tracking and etc. I personally have been working since around the beginning of the year to plan for an uninterrupted six-month at minimum period of my life to be devoted directly to the development of Arkangel. That means I will be working on this project for at minimum 40-hours per week for as long as it takes to get finished - and this will all be tracked by a developer tracking punch-in punch-out style system for transparency purposes, since this project is going to require funding (not just for the software licenses, hardware devices for development/testing purposes, etc) - and I will be focusing on Arkangel 100% during this period of time solely and independently from any other project (such as doing freelance work which I often do, for income purposes, etc). Yeah, that's how serious this project is.

I want to make sure Arkangel is done right - we sometimes have projects that work out great, and sometimes ones that don't work out too well at all. For that reason, it has taken me a lot of time to prepare for the financial implications (personal) as well as legal ramifications (such as registering an LLC solely for this project, establishing proper tax operations, etc) and really planning out the project/preparing my place for development (you will see some pictures of my apartment in the launch thread - this place has WAY too many dry erase boards in it now, lol)... not to mention coordinating various details with the other people who are going to be working on this project with me. That, and gathering tons and tons of beta tester applications from all you - thank you all for submitting those.

So yeah, stay tuned - I want to have the launch thread for Arkangel up over the next week - or perhaps aiming for an August 1st launch date would be a good hard date to set (as I mentioned previously, I hate setting hard dates).

Very excited to finally start working on this project.

The Creation of the Content Team

The CMS has always been the elephant in the room here at RDF. That is no longer going to be the case. We are officially hereby commissioning the creation of the RDF Content Team, which will serve as this forum's instrument in managing the primary content of the forum. That includes articles, reviews, testing, sticky threads, how-to threads and pretty much anything that is rich-content related.

Right now this team is staffed by @CJR238 and @pwrpuma - we will be having a Content Team announcement thread as well as a signup questionnaire going up in the coming week for those of you interested in joining this team. Keep your eyes out for these.

Additionally, you will see various new Content Team-inspired features and functions going up around the forum, which will allow for the better customization and personalizing of content on various parts of the forum, such as Thread and User covers, seen here:

cctt.png


And here:

cccc.png


And of course, you can see this thread's cover at the top of this thread.

There will be an announcement about this feature soon, but you may add covers to threads/your user profile by selecting the "Cover" icon shown above and after a thread is posted, here:

coverimg.png


Anyway, expect a lot new cool tools for content creation, as well as brand new rich content being created, soon!

As a side note, the Content Team is responsible for updating the stickies across the forum (though I did mention it very vaguely above) so expect a lot of outdated stickies to be updated soon. Of course, if anyone wants to help out with any of this, you do not have to be a member of the content team to do this - just contact a current Content Team member for coordination purposes and they will help you with whatever you need. But again, if this type of thing does interest you, be on the lookout for the signup questionnaire coming soon.

The Creation of the DevOps Team

There have generally been teams for almost every part of the staff - excluding the one focused on forum development/administration. Not Administrator administration, true server administration/code development and tech-oriented problem solving. Essentially what I do.

That has recently changed with the creation of the DevOps Team. Right now this team is not a team that is open for new members - if this ever changes it will most likely be on a selection-style basis, not a recruitment-style basis. But in the mean time, @SquirrelMaster has joined me on the DevOps Team and he will be helping me out with the system administration style tasks that I need assistance with, and all things that stem from this job.

Most importantly, and what we will be soon (besides integrations of Arkangel-based functions with the forum) are Security Detachment/RDFIA tools and Moderator-requested functions/features which will aid in the day-to-day operations of this forum.

More details will be outlined about what the DevOps team does in the RDF Constitution which we will be updating shortly.

A Shout-Out Regarding Previously Mentioned Topics & Some Brief Details for Upcoming Announcements

Just a few important things that have happened over the past few months and some other stuff...

New RDF Light & Dark Themes: Announcement - May 29, 2019: Merging In Themes Gradually Today! [ONGOING]

Regarding Link Monetization on RDF: Rules & Regs - Announcement Regarding Link Monetization on RDF...

RDF T-Shirts & Merchandise: Announcement - RDF Merchandise - On-Demand Ordering Now Available! Details Inside!

Join us in Rocket.Chat: New Feature - April 8, 2019: RDF Rocket.Chat Fully Launched!

Classifieds Marketplace System: We will be activating the new Classifieds-style system/marketplace soon which will have an individual announcement regarding this subject once live.

Premium Memberships: At the discussion and request of our Premium Members, we have implemented a couple changes to the Premium Membership system. These changes will be going into effect early this week.

Regarding Guest Advertisements: Right now this thread is in The Intermediate Place talking about the idea behind the ads for unregistered users - https://www.rdforum.org/index.php?threads/87298/ - I will be updating the forum this week in a public announcement on the overall status of this and why we decided to try it out and all that. For a quick heads up, we decided to try this - implement advertisements for UNREGISTERED USERS ONLY - to reduce and potentially eliminate the amount of donations we require each month. This has worked rather well (though we won't be seeing any of these funds for another month or so since there is a NET90 payout structure on advertisement funds) and while it won't fully eliminate the requirement of donations, we think it will dramatically reduce the amount that we require each month (for server, license, addon, etc fees). It's really a win-win situation - again this only effects unregistered users, and registering is, obviously, completely free. But again, I will be making a thread about this later in the week discussing the program with all of you. Stay tuned for that.

In Conclusion

So that's really it, everyone!

Now that I have (as of last week) fully finished everything I needed to take care of IRL in regards to personal IRL preparation of Arkangel development, I will be focusing this week on getting all of the final i's dotted and T's crossed - in terms of announcements (many mentioned here, including the VPN reboot, etc), additional feature/function/addon installation, etc etc etc - prior to the development of Arkangel. Again, the goal is to have no interruptions from anything IRL and really anything forum-related (project-sized interruptions) during the development of this project.

Let us know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions, etc here in this thread.

Drive and stay safe this summer!
The RDF Team
 

Vancity23

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Wow, I don’t think you have enough going on...lol...thanks for all you do, I have said it before, I, like many others any maybe you too, are on different forums (cars/boats/electronics/hobbies) but RDF is bar none, no question, the very best! From user navigation, to mods, management of the site, plus ongoing changes and improvements are what makes it so special. Be proud of what you have created to date, and look forward to seeing where it goes! Oh and Ark Angel how cool is that...
 

xydrine

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Wow, I don’t think you have enough going on...lol.
IRL that is an understatement, :rofl:...

But yeah, as I always say, this place is a group effort - that's one thing I love about this place. It's great working with a community that is as close as ours is. It's uncommon for online communities to have an IRL element to them so that only adds to it.

Definitely looking forward to ArkAngel development and a few of the other smaller things coming to the forum over the next few months. It's going to be nice working on a project that is actually related to RDF's niche instead of just working on forum-related tasks, lol.
 

gmcv893

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Did I miss the application?
 

xydrine

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Did I miss the application?
No way. You will absolutely know when ArkAngel dev starts - I have a good amount of transformations pending for the forum, just waiting on that to happen. Very very very soon. We're ironing out a few of the final details now/about to start proof-reading the launch thread etc.
 

gmcv893

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Glad to be aboard and reporting for duty. Thank you for making it interesting.
 

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