Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

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Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby PaulX » 04 Aug 2014, 23:08

As mentioned in the We are back article on the home pages, Ravetalk has been reopened as a means to an end. Traditional forums don't really cut it for most people any more, they have come to expect the facilities that they find on social media sites like Facebook and we need to move with the times.

I had put Ravetalk on hiatus as I felt it had run its course. One of the problems I found was that traditional web forums were seen as a bit old-fashioned, especially by younger people, and that people are now accustomed to social media like Facebook. Yet at the same time, there's a growing number of people becoming fed up of Facebook and its restrictions and feed filtering etc. Also, Soundcloud has started messing people about, issuing copyright takedown notices that in some cases are without justification because of its corporate owners.

So I think there is a niche for a Facebook-like site that caters specifically to the underground dance music scene, ideally with some kind of means for artists to share and collaborate on their tunes, maybe also give tips on DJ-ing, tunemaking and promotion etc. I have toyed in the past with turning Ravetalk into such a site but the available open source social media software wasn't really up to it back then and I feel Ravetalk has too much dead wood and baggage, so it would be better to start afresh.

I have to give a big-up to Dave Skywalker for the inspiration for this. :idea: We have discussed some of these issues before on Ravetalk but a discussion held by Dave on FB came up with some good ideas that made me realise that not only is there a clear 'gap in the market' for such a site - but that it was viable to build one without corporate backing too, especially thanks to crowdfunding (thanks to Alan 'Wey Hey Hey' for that idea). Dave may well still work on his own site and he has my blessing if he does. In fact, I think a plurality of such sites is probably a good idea. It would be good if sites could agree on some common standards for sign-ups, however, so that people could sign up to multiple sites with something like OpenID if they want to (but still be able to sign up individually to each site if they prefer).

Moderation should also be much less of an issue, as people would be in control of their own feeds and be able to choose for themselves what they want to see or not see. It would also be good if there was some of that interactivity that used to exist between artists and fans on Myspace.

The working title for the new site is "Beyond The Rave", which I think works on several levels:
* It's one way of indicating that we've moved beyond Ravetalk.
* It makes the R-word less of a problem with authorities as we are 'beyond' the rave (OK, that's a bit weak maybe, but the R-word will be less of an issue anyway as we won't have firm tie-ins with specific events anyway).
* It adds scope for discussing after-parties, what we do when we're not raving etc, and also doesn't tie us to only being about 'rave'.
* It even gives the haterz an easy nickname for us (beyondthegrave). ;)

It's only a working title, though. There is plenty of time for people to come up with a better one if they think Beyond The Rave really blows.

There are various pieces of "Facebook wannabe" software out there, some of which are open source (and free) and some of which are proprietary (and have to be bought). I have investigated dozens of them and they all have pros and cons, none of them is perfect. There is a third choice that involves building everything from scratch - but I think that would be by far the most expensive, both in terms of money and time. We will discuss all these options over the coming weeks.

But that's enough of a spiel about The Project at this stage, here are a few notes I jotted down about the kind of things that are needed to get this idea off the ground:


Skills needed
Back end developers - skills most needed will be PHP, MySQL; but people with knowledge of other languages such as Python, Java or C++ are welcome to suggest ways they could contribute, e.g. mobile apps.
Front end developers - HTML5, Javascript, Flash, UX, UI
IT - looking after server issues

Designers - Photoshop, Illustrator etc. A decent logo is needed! Also general design work to give the site a unique look.
Photographers - needed for site editorial and also as event 'spotters' (as pioneered by DSI).

Funding
Crowdfunding - Indiegogo or Kickstarter? (needs full transparency on costing). Use funding for start-up costs and upgrades. Day-to-day running costs should come from other sources (see Monetisation).
Getting the word out - this is one way that everyone can contribute! Sharing stuff on FB and Twitter in particular will help the site grow.

Monetisation - banner ads, enhanced event facilities, subscriptions, any other ways to help fund the day-to-day running costs.

Site software
Open source or proprietary? Pros and cons of each

Functionality - Facebook, Soundcloud, Shoutcast, DSI, ability to create Pages and Groups

Mobile devices - all esssential features of site must be usable on a tablet or smartphone.

APIs - OpenID, Facebook, Google. Enabling people to register with their FB, Google accounts etc as well as the traditional method of signing up. It would be good if people setting up similar sites could agree on some common means of logging in to each site, e.g. OpenID, so that people don't have to sign up to each site individually each time (unless they actually want to keep different identities), that way we can avoid a "Betamax v VHS" situation with multiple small sites fighting it out to have a monopoly. Plurality is cool.

Moderation policy
As people will be in control of their own feeds, moderation should be much less of an issue than it is with traditional forums. This is one of the biggest reasons to go for a social media model in the first place. Ravetalk had a reputation for being too strict, but a lot of people fail to realise that it was a situation that was caused by the cosy relationship with some events, as well as the more 'permanent' nature of forum posts. But since event promoters will be in charge of their own particular domain on the network, and individuals will be in control of their own news feed, I can't see there being the need for anything like as much moderation going on. However, we'll still need people to investigate complaints, deal with abuse of the facilities (e.g. spambots) etc, so let me know if you'd be interested in this kind of thing.

I think that's enough to be getting on with for now. Let the discussions begin! :D
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby PaulX » 05 Aug 2014, 18:15

Just to explain a little more on the "crowdfunding" thing. This is really a last resort for things that we can't get for free (e.g. software that requires a licence to be paid for, e.g. Social Engine, which costs a few hundred quid, or to hire a freelance developer to get specific coding tasks done that are beyond the capability of myself or other volunteers). I'm hoping that we can get something off the ground through voluntary efforts as far as possible. If anything does need to be raised in this way, I aim to get things properly costed and be transparent at all times.

I would want regular running costs to be treated separately, as mentioned in the first post.

So obviously I would prefer to get everything working on free, open source software where possible. But it's worth noting that when it came to forum software, paid-for platforms like vBulletin and Invision Power Board usually had features before open source software like phpBB (the software that this forum is based on). That wasn't always the case, though, as phpBB was often ahead of the curve in its heyday.

There'll be various test sites set up to see which software platform is the best for this project. It has to be chosen carefully. It's not just about which has the coolest features, it also needs to be software that's likely to be supported for years, because if they stop developing it, the site is left high and dry as there will be no easy way to transfer posts and profiles from one software platform to another.

Do we have anyone who can contribute the skills mentioned in the first post? :unsure:
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby jamin » 05 Aug 2014, 22:44

I don't think I could help you with any of this except moderating BUT I think your idea is sound, offer you luck and would be a user..
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby jay_uk » 06 Aug 2014, 09:19

Sounds good what you are planning. I can't offer any help other than support and being an active member. Maybe Ill donate if the forum gets the user base and has a wide variety of topics.

I for one much prefer forum style than facebook/twitter. Information is eaiser to find with the conversation being in one place, email notifications about the topic im interested in, instead of vast amounts of information etc..
Looking forward to the new rave talk.
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby djdoublezero » 12 Aug 2014, 15:58

all sounds good. Can def help out with SQL stuff. Also photography
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Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby sim667 » 16 Aug 2014, 19:29

I can help out with photography and design.....

Also page design etc I have a freind who loves that kind of thing, it's way above my head, but I can out you in contact Paul if you think he may be of any help
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby muppet » 19 Aug 2014, 23:36

jay_uk wrote:Maybe Ill donate if the forum gets the user base and has a wide variety of topics.

Whoa, that's big of you! :notworthy: (joking :P )

Nobody has asked for financial support, that bit has already been explained. What is needed to get this thing off the ground is people support, especially spreading the word.

One problem with this forum is that it covers such a narrow demographic. It's really "Aphex Twin and Bangface Talk" rather than "Rave Talk". If people try to talk about anything else that comes under the umbrella term "rave", there isn't much interest from the regulars.

I think the idea is that the new site is intended to have a much broader appeal, run on a more commercial basis, while Ravetalk will remain a small backwater where people can have those more in-depth forum chats. Not sure how we're going to attract that user base though.
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby deasthlm » 22 Dec 2014, 14:05

Hey there! Is this site still running or has it now been replaced with another?
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Re: Beyond The Rave - help us shape the future

Postby PaulX » 24 Dec 2014, 15:38

deasthlm wrote:Hey there! Is this site still running or has it now been replaced with another?


It's just about running, just very quiet. Work hasn't started on trying to implement a social media platform yet and people are busy doing much more important stuff like farting about on Facebook. ;)
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