Tuesday, February 10, 2015

RPGBA Cease of Operations End of April.

Let me start with a story about how the RPGBA was born. RPGbloggers.com had changed hands, and there seemed to me to be many complaints about how long it took for a site to get reviewed and approved. I know of of one case where even after 45 days, the site still had not been reviewed. Part of the problem I knew was the manual nature of the process. Each Feed URL had to be put in by hand by the Admin of the RPG Bloggers. I thought there needed to be a better way and so I write from scratch and a few libraries the code base that would become the RPGBA. There were some that said another network was not needed and yet flash forward to today, where we have over 600 members.

600+ members all sounds good doesn't it. I know it does sound grand, and yet something still bothered me. I couldn't put a finger on it until I asked a simple questions, how much traffic does a member of the RPGBA get from the RPGBA? When I asked that out to the members of the mailing list, I got very few responses. The most of the responses I did get were very very low. Only one site claimed that half their traffic was from the RPGBA. The truth is that most traffic that people get is from various social networks and the community aspect of the RPGBA just never really took hold.

This got me to asking the question, is the RPGBA relevant? I could not help but answer "NO" to that question. If you then add in the various issues we have had over the years, 2 successful data breeches, 2 breakages of the Twitter posting tool, and several other minor code issues, then it really no longer seems worth it.

Which brings me to the sad announcement that when the RPGBA.org domain registration runs out towards the end of April, the RPGBA will cease operations.

Before I get many email asking me if things can be transferred to someone else, I have thought about it many times. Each time, I come to the same conclusion and that is "NO".  The code base, which I always had hoped to make very modular never really made it that far, I just don't feel comfortable letting someone else at it. Not to mention the amount of work that be required to move it to a new location. Also, the user accounts are not really mine to give away. I have no right to allow someone else to use them. As members, you entered into an agreement with me and I have no right to say that you now have that same agreement with someone else. Lastly, it goes back to the relevant issue. Today the RPGBA just isn't relevant. Now if someone want's to start their our Network, I would be more than happy to let people know that it exists here.

It is my fond hope that everyone will understand my reasoning here. I hope all of you have many more years of RPG related blogging and podcast ahead of you. I know I will still be around doing my thing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Database Back Up!

Not sure what happened but the database for the RPGBA is now back up and running.  I am going to keep on eye on it to make sure that things continue to work correctly.

- Jeff

Database Missing.

Seems the Database that runs the RPGBA is missing. I'm in the process of contacting my hosting provider to try to resolve the issues. While this is in effect, the RPGBA will be down.

- Jeff

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RPG Blog Alliance is 3 years old!

Greetings Everyone,

Hard to believe to believe but according to a post here back in 2011, the RPGBA is about three years old. If you would have told me three years ago that it would have over 600 sites with valid feeds, I would have thought that was crazy.

Why do you ask? Well to put be honest, I figured that we would never have more than 50 to 100 sites. Heck at one point in early development of the software, we had memory issues and it was really hard to poll over 30 sites at a time. Luckily I was able to fix that and I dare say that even if we had 2000 sites it would be an issue. Of course if Murphy has his way, he going to make a lair out of me.

I'd like to thank you all for being member of the RPGBA. It helps vindicate a choice I made over three years ago in writing the software that runs it. As some will be aware, there were many people that thought the RPGBA was redundant and/or not needed. I wisely (or some would say unwisely) chose not to listen to them and write the software that is running today. And as the number tell it, you guys didn't listen to the neigh saying people either.

I'd also like to ask, like I'm prone to do from time to time, if there is anything you think we should be doing at the RPGBA? Are there things we are doing right? Are there things we are doing wrong? Please let us know. Thanks again for coming along with us on this journey.

- Jeff

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

RPGBA Status Report


It's been about four months since the last status update that I have given. So, I thought it was high time that I did one. After spending a lot of time routing out the hacking attempts and the code injections, and other such security issues, I'm happy to say that things have been stable and so far all the hacking attempts and stuff have been cut way way down and there have been no known breaches that I am aware of. If you know of any, please contact me so I can attempt to deal with it.

With the security stuff mostly out of the way for now, I am also happy to report that we are currently at over 600 working feeds. You will notice I said working feeds. There are several sites that have working feeds but haven't posted anything in a long time (aka last 365 days) and many of those have very few posts. I currently unsure of what to do with them right now. On the one hand, the websites are still up and system isn't having issues with the number of websites, so why do anything. On the other hand, these sites are clearly inactive and perhaps even abandoned. I would love to hear the RPGBA membership thoughts on the matter.

Finally, I do plan to go to GENCON 2014 this year. I was wondering if I should bother to try to set up a quick and dirty meet and greet. I know that I attempted to do one I think in 2012. I think there was three people that showed up. Part of that was my fault. I think I failed to promote it. Please let me know if I should set up an event. One thing to remember that there is that Pulp Gamer (I think that right) usually has a media meet and greet, which is for pretty much all bloggers, podcasters, and the like. Although I don't think I got much interaction with people there. So, let me know what you guys want me to do.

- Jeff

Friday, November 22, 2013

Results of Survey

Greetings Members of the RPGBA,

Let me start by saying thank you all for taking the time to do the survey. The current 169 response was far more than I expected to get and with around 560+ sites on the RPGBA, I think it's a good sample size to judge things from. Here are the results that I have gotten so far.

1. Do you see an increase in Traffic by being a member of the RPGBA?

Value   Count   Percent %
Yes     123             72.8%
No          46          27.2%

2. Do you monitor the RSS Feed?

Value   Count   Percent %
Yes     82              48.5%
No          87          51.5%

3. Do you use the RPGBA Twitter Account?

Value   Count   Percent %
Yes     51              30.2%
No          118         69.8%

4. Do you get any value from being a member of the RPGBA?

Value   Count   Percent %
Yes     138             81.7%
No          31          18.3%

In addition there were two free from texts that i am still reading through.
5. If you get value from the RPGBA, what sort of value?
6. Are there any additional Comments?

Overall, I have to say the responses were fairly positive. In truth there were a few surprises to me. The first being how high the Twitter Feed monitor went. 30.2% doesn't sound high on the surface but it is higher than the 10% I sort of expected. The RSS feed at 48.5% was actually a little lower than I expected but still not far off from the 60% I was sort of expecting. Lastly while only 72.8% saw an increase in traffic, 81.7% found value in being a member of the RPGBA. The write in comments that I have read so far have been really postive and there are a few good ideas in there as well. I'm going to review all them and likely send out another email and blog post to comment on them.

At this point, I guess some of you may be wondering what this all means? It means that it will be worth my effort to go through every line of custom code and related libraries that make the RPGBA work and review it for security holes. One thing for sure is that I'm likely going to need to simplify the structure a bit because the more complex the structure the easier it is for a hacker to hide stuff (some of the bad code I've already found was hidden 4 directories deep). I may even do an enhancement or two, but I'll have to see how much time the code review is going to take, so no promises there.

Again, thanks for all the postive support that you the membership of the RPGBA has given me.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Spammers, Hackers, and the Value of the RPBGA


It's hard to admit but the RPGBA has once again been the target of Drug Site Spammer. I rather not get into the details but basically, if one did a search for the RPGBA in Google, they would get result that makes it look like the RPGBA sells mail order drugs or something. This is not a new thing for the RPGBA it's something that we been fighting quite a bit off and on for a few years. Not to mention the few hacking attempts we've had over the years as well.

This all brings us to the question is there value in keeping the RPGBA around? After all, there is no charge for membership and all the costs in time and money (and sometimes sanity) are pretty much mine.

So, I'd like you guys to take survey with a few yes or no questions. Please answer as honest as you can.

You can find the survey here