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Halloween is my favorite holiday (that's today, by the way, in case you are caught up in work and hadn't realized it). It happens in my favorite season of the year and its one of the few I try to take time to celebrate. Part of that is the whole pagan thing... part of it is that I just like costumes and masks

 

For those who haven't been visiting the forums this week, we've been having a bit of a discussion about reader / fan traffic and what things we can do (all of us, not just the site admin and authors) to bring more people to visit the site. Some people raised concerns with the glare caused by a white background, so we're playing around with an offwhite background. We might move away from our traditional blue and white to find something that gives us both a cohesive look and can still be functional in that way. We've tried to do some clarifying of the fan fiction policies... that there aren't any rigorous (or even very time consuming) restrictions on getting a story posted in either the forums (the lowest tier of visibility) or the open WhatIF level (the middle level). Yes, the top level (Featured WhatIF) stories DO have to undergo a lot more effort; but the end result is meant to put these stories on a pedestal. And the effort is relative to that (and equivalent to what the canon authors are required to do).

We've also chatted a bit about how it is difficult to get good feedback... something that is easier, of course, when the population is larger and more active. We talked about advertising/promoting the site through the interwebs... and other things. If you have an interest and ideas on keeping this community alive, healthy, and growing; please drop in and join the conversation.

 

In some of our recent releases, things have gotten somewhat dark. And one of the brighter, sillier groups of students was put through a period of rough times. But today's story should help reassure you. Wondercute might have taken a bit of a beating... but what these girls start endures... and even years later, Whateley Academy (in the 2nd Generation timeline) still has a group dedicate to all things cute and fluffy. Enjoy Morpheus' "Following the Path of Cute." You'll find it via the Latest articles panel... or in the Gen 2 story collection.

 

 

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Generally policy here at the Whateley site is to avoid politics, religion, and so forth. They're touchy topics online and tend to lead to explosive arguments even in the most disciplined and controlled places. I am, going to step outside that policy just a little to note - in the next few weeks, The US have elections. These elections include a much debated Presidency, but they also involve votes for legislature, as well as state and local candidates, and in some states various bills (or as they are called in California, propositions). Vote. Even if you think every candidate for every race is a complete waste of time... vote. And don't just walk into the voting booth cold... if you look at the candidates listed on the ballot and don't know what some of them represent, you haven't taken your responsibility as a voter seriously. The information is available to you. In every state. It's been mailed out to absentee/by-mail voters and in most cases it is online. If you think you might at some point in the next four years complain about what an elected official is doing, vote. Because at least then you can justify that you tried to put someone else in office. There is no state in the country in which the current "it is a blue/red state" could not be reversed by the people who haven't voted in the past (registered and voting citizens are a small percentage of the population), if not by people who have voted one way in the past and choose to vote differently now.

Vote YOUR mind, conscious, etc. Don't vote because a party tells you to. Don't vote because the media tells you to. Find a candidate who believes as you do, who understands your circumstances, and give them your vote. If that person doesn't exist, vote for the person who is more likely to introduce changes that will someday put your ideal candidate in office.

This isn't just an ideal. It isn't just something to do if you've got nothing better to do. It's your responsibility as a citizen of a nation. 

*sets the soap box aside*

 

Ok... that done... I'd like to welcome back Dom to the 'front page stage' as we get the continuation of his Gen 0 / Exploring the World of the Whateley Academy piece about the history of the MCO. He's doing great work with this story. Be sure to thank him for "A Good Man" ... this is Part 2 (and it is not the end of the story).

 

 

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Some recent changes to the core software that we use for the site has finally allowed me to do some more involved changes with the CSS without losing it every time we update the software. I've done some things to make parts of the forums pop a bit more and put some color into the way the site layout goes. I'll be adding and playing around with some additional things as I have time, mostly as an experiment in whether we'll stick with this template or more to something more modern when the next big Joomla update happens (after all, this template is supposed to become obsolete once it does). A completely new template might result in a complete rework out of necessity... or we may want something new due to added features that simply aren't possible in this one.

Activity has started to pick back up as we settle into Fall, though we aren't nearly as active at the moment as we were last winter. It's difficult to tell whether that was a result of all the efforts to move old stuff here from to its new home or something else... obviously, forums discussions boost site activity in general. What sort of things are we missing that would bring people in to chat more often? Contests? Short stories at 20 paces with Halloween themes but set in the WU without using existing canon characters? We could probably arrange for some prizes. Do we need to advertise? Are there similar sites out there with web links that don't mention us? Ask their admin's to include us? Person that gets us the most new traffic as a result of getting added to web comic or blog site link pages wins something? 

 

While we ponder ideas to increase traffic, you may be happy to hear that tonight's content is the follow up story to Phoenix Spiritus' "One Woe Doth Tread Upon Another's Heel"... it's a piece titled "Life's But a Walking Shadow"  Enjoy!