We're Back!

Mike

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No, seriously, we're back!

For those who didn't catch my intro thread, I'm Mike. I'm the new owner of Living Reefs and I'm here to tell you that I'm all in on rebuilding and revitalizing this community!

Yes, I know the challenges. There are other sites that are bigger, more popular and have more to offer. However, I've dealt with this before. There is plenty of space for those sites and this one too! I've revived multiple dead communities and turned them all into active and thriving communities. I'm very confident I can do the same thing here.

How will this happen? Honest answer...very slowly! I went back and looked at traffic stats for the last several years. You have to go back 9 years to find a time when this site was fairly active. I'm not sure exactly what happened but it was like one month this site was great and the next month it was a ghost town. So, we're pretty much starting from scratch here. With that much time of this community just sitting here doing, basically, nothing...this is going to be very similar to starting a whole new site...which may be what it needed all along.

The difference is, however, that this site already has a ton of content. Pictures, advice, threads and members! Yes, we already have members! Granted, most of those folks have moved on by now. A lot may no longer be in the hobby. A lot may have a sour taste in their mouth about this place. But, there are members who are already registered on this site who would like to see it make a comeback...of that I can assure you. It's just up to me to find those members and let them know that we're back and plan on sticking around!

I have already sent out a few feeler emails to members. Unfortunately, most of those went unanswered. That was to be expected, though, because nobody knows me and I'm sure the thought is just that I'm a guy who bought this site and won't, or can't, change anything.

So what will be different?

This is probably the answer everyone will want to know. The primary difference will be me! Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not an arrogant prick. What I mean by that is, unlike a vast majority of community owners, I have the ability to write my own code. What this means is we can change/add anything we want to this site and, usually, very quickly! We don't have to hunt down, and pay, a developer then wait for them to build and test the code, then do it again for any changes that need to be made. I don't rely on third-party developers at all, which also means we can usually upgrade our forum software much faster than other sites that do need to wait for third-party developers to update their software to make it compatible.

Another difference is that I don't believe in a huge rule set. Basically, just get along with everyone and ignore the ones you simply can't get along with. As long as members aren't degrading one another, it's almost anything goes on my sites!

Speaking of writing my own code...

Today is the day I start writing the custom code for Living Reefs. I have so many ideas in mind for the future of this site but, for now, I'll keep this briefly about the main features we'll soon be adding.

New Tank Showcase

Yes, that's right, I'm going to be building LR our own custom-built tank showcase. This will be similar to what you may find on other sites, or what you're used to in the past here on LR. Members will have a specific page dedicated solely to their tank, or tanks. You'll be able to edit this page to look however you want it to look, including uploading photos or changing the layout and style of everything within the page. Basically, you'll be able to do anything with that page that you can currently do with your threads, but you'll have even more options! So many different ideas running through my mind on this one but here are the key differences between ours and ones you'll see on other sites...
  • Link a thread - You can have your showcase where folks can't comment on it. Basically your own show-n-tell. Or, you can add/link a thread to it to allow a full discussion that's specific to your tank(s).
  • Link a media album - Just like threads, you'll be able to link an album from the media gallery, which will just be a giant slideshow of all the photos you've added of your tank(s).
  • Stock list - You'll be able to add a tab that will show a list of all the stock (fish, corals, etc) that you have in your tank(s). You'll be able to name them, add notes to them and, of course, add photos of them!
  • Equipment list - There will be a specific tab just for your to list all of the equipment you're using, with optional photos of course.
  • Plenty more to come - Again, these are just the primary things that our tank showcase will do. There are plenty more ideas I have to add later on!
Of course, we'll also still have the tank showcase forum for folks who choose to just keep everything updated right here in the forums and don't want to submit things into a showcase.

New Species Database

I always thought this was a neat idea, to have information about all the different things that live within our aquariums. But, it's a bit strange, in my opinion, having it simply be a re-designed section on the forums. I'm thinking we need to build an entirely new database specifically for this. One that folks will be able to search through based on all kinds of different things.

Let's say I'm looking for a list of fish that get along with my clowns. How can I search that on the site now? I can't! I have to ask a question and wait for answers. Well, what if we had a database that allowed folks to search based on that specific criteria? What if we had a way to search for all fish that can be kept in a reef rank that is 20 gallons? Yeah, you see where I'm going...that will all come to fruition soon!

Suggestions Welcome

On all my sites, I am ALWAYS open to suggestions on how to make the site better and easier to use. No suggestion is too small, or too big! I won't guarantee all suggestions will be implemented, but I will guarantee all suggestions will be taken into consideration.

Conclusion

As you can see, I'm not just wanting to build up the community. I'm wanting to build an entire site dedicated to saltwater reef aquarium owners, new and experienced alike. I can't do it alone, though! I'll need help, and lots of it! You can help, just by being here and letting others know you're here! With your help, we can not only bring this site back to what it was 9 years ago...we can make it so much better than it was 9 years ago!

I'm all-in on this project and plan to stay that way, with or without progress in the activity department. That will come on its own if I do my part, and at least a few of you who read this come help me out! If you've made it to the end of this incredibly long post, thank you! I hope to see you around the forums and, please, don't hesitate to drop me a DM to say hi. I, genuinely, enjoy conversations with members of my communities. It's what makes a community, and I can't wait to be a part of this one!
 
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