20 Years of Stratics
State of Stratics October 22[sup]st[/sup], 2017
State of Stratics October 22[sup]st[/sup], 2017
Twenty years ago, yesterday, Ryan “Den Dragon” Findley launched “Den's Den: The UO Statistic Site.” Out of this adventure in HTML coding, Stratics was born. Over the past 20 years Stratics has faced many challenges, each of which were faced by an individual, or individuals who came together, who's efforts stabilized Stratics, helped it progress and continue. Today the site is not at risk or in danger of closure, but it is at this point nearing a crossroads. Once we reach this crossroads we want to assure everyone our only thoughts are to continue forward and improve Stratics. We also intend to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise to expand and improve your experience here at Stratics.
We recently put in a system to block most proxy and IP masking services. The intent of this was not to circumvent anyone's desire for privacy but to end the abuse of such services for individuals who consistently disrupt our community and use them to evade suspensions and bans or use alternate accounts for illicit or deceitful purposes. We'll continue monitoring this system as we go forward, but as of now it seems to be beneficial to the site.
Some people had requested the ability to use the expanded posting options that are currently active only on staff accounts. At one point this option was live for all users, but many found it frustrating because it causes text to linger in the post box. This is the result of a conflict with one of the theme-related plugins, and due to the plugin no longer being supported by its developer there is little we can do to fix it. As a compromise, we have given users the ability to opt in to the plugin. Please see this post for more details. [Discussion] - Do you want to make tables in posts?
Our Wiki has continued to grow, largely thanks to @BrianFreud and a very few individual community members. As of the writing of this post the wiki contains 22,073 content pages, 129,072 total pages, and 117,250 uploaded files, since it was launched internally there have been 151,456 total page edits and there are many more to go. Anyone willing and capable of assisting in continuing to expand the inclusiveness of the Stratics Community Wiki is welcome to pitch in at any time (such is the nature of a wiki!) or, if interested in a more formal role, to fill out a staff application.
We also updated from HTTP to HTTPS. This was something we had put off for a long time due to concerns about necessity and functionality, but as the internet has moved forward HTTPS is becoming the standard, and as such we decided it best to go ahead and make the transition. We know it has not been a completely smooth transition (the recent issues with Tapatalk, for example, were related to this), and if you are still experiencing issues after clearing your cache and cookies, please let us know.
A new landing page is still planned for Stratics with the intent to restore a stronger focus on news and play guides. However, this is currently stalled due both to technical challenges and low staffing. We want to take this time to encourage all of you who may have considered acting as a reporter to submit an application at this time. If you would like to write and publish reports, stories, or guides, please let us know! Additionally, Legends or Aria, Albion Online, or Shroud of the Avatar you are encouraged to apply as well, we are also always accepting applications for Forum Moderator, and Wiki Editor positions for any of the game titles we support on Stratics.
The moderation staff continues to maintain a high standard of civility and discourse. While we will never please everyone, we believe that the rules update and the increase of transparency in posters' warning and history has been largely beneficial to the site. However, we are of course always considering how our rules affect the community and how best to most fairly maintain order in a forum with such a wide variety of playstyles. We are always looking to close loopholes and improve the integrity of the forums. We recognize that our rules don't always have the desired effect due to various factors that may not always be apparent to everyone, but we are always open to suggestions and feedback.
Fiscally Stratics is doing well. While we do not intend to publish exact numbers, we will say that we're close to hitting a comfortable amount in an emergency reserve fund, which means soon we'll be able to focus solely on annual operating costs, and a larger portion of generated funds over those costs being allocated more towards contests, games, and expansion of site features. All our staff--including the Leadership Team (which constitutes the Board of Directors for Gamer's Gambit LLC, which holds legal ownership of Stratics)--are still and will remain unpaid volunteers as long as it remains legally possible, and ALL money that comes in to Stratics remains with the LLC and the site.
We’d like to thank everyone who has donated to the site in the past, and encourage everyone to look at our ad-free subscription options. You can find a link to the subscription page and more details in the footer of this page.
Stratics has held an unusual position as a third-party medium between the UO developers and players for some years now. While Stratics currently has no formal agreement with the development team, in many ways it has continued to function as an “official unofficial forum” for the game and filled a needed role of being a valuable communication tool between the player base in mass and the developers. It has been necessary at times for us to weigh our place in this unofficial relationship against our commitment to providing services, ways, and means for our community to interact with each other. There has also been a certain amount of leniency on certain behaviors present in our community to allow access to group communication with the development team to as many people as possible, simply due to a lack of viable alternatives mean for them to do so. As the launch of official UO forums draws nearer, we will be evaluating how these dynamics change and begin at looking towards potentially making changes to better serve our community's needs. (This does NOT mean that the doors will be opened wide for topics currently verboten.) We will solicit feedback and community thoughts on the topic— look for threads requesting feedback on potential options once we have more details.
Additionally, while in the past Stratics has had active communities for other games, in recent years it has primarily supported Ultima Online. While we intend to remain heavily focused on UO as promised in the “Save Stratics” campaign, we feel that a slight branching out to other games—specifically to sandbox-style games most likely to appeal to and overlap with the current Stratics community—is a logical and reasonable move that will help ensure the future of Stratics as a whole.
The Stratics forums use Xenforo forum software, and as Xenforo is in the process of moving to a new version. This means that at some point in the foreseeable future as support ends and functionality begins to decrease, will have to update our software—and some of the plugins we currently use may not be available or supported in the new version. Of particular note are the current themes, which may not be completely replicable in the next version of Xenforo. While this is not an immediately imminent concern, we do want the community to be aware that it is on the horizon. As technology moves forward, we must move with it.
Above all else, we would like to thank the hundreds of former staff members and tens of thousands of community members over the years who have made 20 years of Stratics possible. Stratics would not still be here without the efforts, care, love, hard work, and passion of countless individuals both past and present—and it is those qualities in the current community that will keep it going. Here’s looking forward to another 20 years of Strategy and Statistics.
As always, you are welcome to send your feedback and thoughts to [email protected], which forwards to the entire Leadership Team. As this address is a forwarding-only address, any replies will be from an individual Leadership member, but have been discussed with all available team members. Please bear in mind that we are volunteers and most of us work full time, so if you do not receive a reply within a week or so and were expecting one, email a reminder.