Oh what a week. If 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger', your COPA 3 team is now immortal! It seems fit to be writing this today, on the (Northern Hemisphere's) darkest day of the year.
The feedback from the membership has been invaluable as we have been tuning the site, both in performance and in function. We do understand the anguished passion in the comments; they come from peoples strong feelings for the organization and all it represents, and no one understands more than us how central the intangibles of the community interactions on this website are to its future. We are committed to that future.
But the process is necessarily incremental, will play out over weeks not hours. The complexities of the COPA website present themselves like the elephant to the blind men. Some see the forums, some see the calendar, some see safety program registration, membership renewal, regional programs, content management, magazine archives, member search&discovery, weather pages, non-member recruitment, expired member solicitation, outbound email, magazine mailing lists, help pages, and so on. That does not begin to touch what is below the surface.
So member feedback is vital. But so are objective measures. Bob Anderson posted on Monday some performance measures of the site, which were truly atrocious:
Not captured in those stats were further performance problems. There were long freezes, that could run to the minutes.
We have identified a major cause of those freezes on some of the most popular browsers on COPA, Chrome and Safari (at least; IE may be affected too). A particular browser resource was being exhausted, and we have corrected this now by turning off "sockets". This does not affect our users, as we presently do not use the feature implemented in sockets ("TOAST notifications", a kind of real-time pop-up notice).
And, we have put in many, many performance improvements. Those F and D grades reported above are now improved to B and C. Below is a current report, also comparing the new site to the old. Interestingly, the old site received lower grades of E and D compared to the B and C of our new site. But grades don't tell the whole story, as the response time of the old site is still measuring much better than the (even improved) new:
Clearly we have more work to do, but what we are doing is improving things.
Ultimately the test of the upgrade will be the degree of involvement of COPA members. A major aspect of the new software is the ability to empower members to contribute to the site in richer ways, through building libraries of articles (wikis), taking ownership of the development of groups (Regions), and the easier publication of social events (calendars). But for now, we can measure involvement in the simplest possible way, web traffic. We instrument our software through Google Analytics, and it gives us a window on the last 5 years, showing a very gradual upswing:
Probably the most significant recent change in that is the up-tick that started in Jan 2013, which we believe is the effect of Gil Williamson's membership retention campaign.
As we go forward, this will be an important measure of the success of the site. It is too early to see anything in that data, but we do know based on a zoom into the last year's data:
we are entering a couple weeks of historically low traffic over the holidays, and traffic is usually not fully back until 2nd week of January. The down-spike on the right-side of the graph is a lost traffic when we made the cutover, a handy marker.
These are just a couple of the measures we will be watching going forward as a check on our subjective impressions of how the site is running.
We are going to be largely leaving the site untouched for the next week, as the team replenishes with their family. I am incredibly proud of all the contributors to this effort, who have delivered on a vision of where COPA needs to go next. Our development team tagged out last night at 2am, after working through their 3rd straight Friday night. This week will be a well deserved break. We will pick up slowly the following week, and be back at full steam from the start of the new year.
No problem on AOL LOL
Thanks for the work. Thanks for the updates, and thanks for having such an upbeat sounding post despite some vocal and unhappy campers.
Of course COPA 3.0 is far from perfection.
Of course as many of us I'd like faster improvement.
But what a commitment, what a work, what a professionalism, what a willpower.
You deserve respect and admiration.
Good work! Thanks….
Can someone learn me if there is a button like on the old site, that you can click and see a listing of all threads irrespective of subject or category? I used that button every time I logged on and I am sure its here, I just can't seem to find it….
Thanks again and happy holidays!
Well, cancel That last request…by jove, I think Ive got it! Nice...
Boy, for those of us that lived through the migration from 1.0 to 2.0, this migration brings back memories. Tim G must be smiling quietly.
This version will sort out with all effort and talent of this there can be no doubt.
Thanks for all your hard work on this.
Can I put in a personal plea? Can we have our proper names back?
For me that is a really important distinction between COPA and the
anonymous forums that I also read and isn't a trivial difference at all.
Thanks again for all that is being done to improve the site!
To FrankC's point, can't someone drag Tim Gieseler out of retirement for a public flogging. Just for old times' sake?
Thanks to the dev team for all your hard work!
I'm getting a rather large Badge ~3.5x3.5" that covers most of the first post of each thread on my laptop computer (Windows 7). The screen resolution is set at 1600 x 900. I can view all other internet websites with no problems using Explorer. Would appreciate any ideas on a possible fix?
Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to making this transition successful! I've been busy with year end activities in my own business so have been on here sporadically - each visit has been an improvement from the prior one which indicates good progress being made. I have no doubt that you'll continue to have success as more tuning is done to bring the site to a point that everyone feels great about at the end of the day.
I sincerely thank you for your tireless efforts that you've so graciously dedicated to the organization. The entire COPA 3.0 team stepped up to give their time and talents which is greatly appreciated. Thank you again for all of your hard work!
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