Plans for a New Forum (complete!)

I have created a "Getting Started Guide" to help people get acclimated to the new forum:

During the upcoming beta test, I will revise the guide to include other features or idiosyncracies that people find confusing.


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The data migration to the new forum feels solid, so we're now ready for the beta testing phase to begin!

The new forum is at:

The Getting Started Guide is at:

What can I do?

  • Create a new account via the "Sign Up" button on the forum homepage using a valid email address. Pick your favorite username, as this account will carry over when we go live.
  • Explore the new forum and get comfortable with the basics: categories and tags, reading and navigating posts, and creating topics and replies. If you create new test topics using the "Sandbox" tag in the Meta category, I'll make sure to delete those before we go live.
  • Post any feedback about usability and style in the "Plans for a New Forum" thread on the new forum. I'm especially interested to hear if there are aspects that make the new forum difficult for your personal use or things you do in the Chat Area that you can't figure out how to do on the new forum. I will do what I can to correct the most urgent issues before we go live, and schedule other requests in the future.

What happens to the Chat Area during the beta test?
  • The Chat Area remains the authoritative place to get news and updates. Janny will continue posting news and updates in the Chat Area during the beta test.
  • Janny, herself, will not be reading the new forum until we switch over. You should continue to post in the Chat Area if you want her to see your post.
  • I will frequently sync new posts from the Chat Area to the new forum so nothing will be lost. This means that you could ostensibly switch over to the new forum early if you wanted to, and you wouldn't miss any news.

What happens to data in the new forum after the beta test?
  • There will be no more database rollbacks. Any accounts you create, preferences you save, or posts you make will carry over when we go live.
  • I will delete any posts with the "Sandbox" tag in the Meta category when we go live.
  • I will not be migrating any new posts back to the Chat Area.

How long is the beta test?
The length depends on how much feedback I receive, and how long it will take to address the critical issues. I'm envisioning 1 week if everyone takes to the new forum like ducks to water, and up to 3 weeks if we need more refinement.

What are the other phases?
  • A soft launch (1 - 2 weeks), where we stop posting in the Chat Area. The new forum becomes the authoritative one but we don’t announce it beyond the regular visitors here until we’re sure that all of the kinks are worked out.
  • A hard launch, where we archive and delete the Chat Area, redirect all links and bookmarks, and live in the future!

Please say something if anything is scary or unclear. I'm probably providing way more detail than necessary in these nerd posts, but I want to make sure that every step we take towards a new permanent home is well-telegraphed, and that the place we end up is welcoming, active, and inclusive.



first p0st!!1!

This is beautiful! Thank you thank you for this, Brian!!! I’ve been exploring for a few days now. No obvious issues with the data import, though there is a ton of previous content so we’ll have to wait for others to chime in. The basic functions that existed previously seem to work, and some (like search) are much better. So I’d say it’s off to a great start already.

One point on navigation - the image link to return to the main page of the form might not be not obvious enough on its own. People generally like a clearly worded button or link to click. I found myself appending to the domain a lot to navigate, and most won’t do that.

Hehe. I can confirm it works very nicely on Raspberry Pi and Chrome, which the old forum did not always do. Also very nice to have a place to put geek stuff that won’t get mailed to people who are uninterested!

Thank you again. It’s easy to look at the surface result and miss all the effort that goes into something like this. We’re lucky to have you, and your care for the project shows in the posts and details.

Thanks for the kinds words!

I’ll see what I can do about making the “back to category” link more obvious. On short posts the “Janny Wurts - Official Forum” logo seems reasonable enough, but I agree that the triskelion next to the topic title on longer threads is not super obvious. At a minimum, I’ll update the New User Guide to mention this.

Snagged my user name!!

@Maia An update on your requests:

Easy linking to Paravia Wiki
Adding this one to the backlog of "nice to have"s. There are no existing Discourse plugins that support this but, as you said, using the Spoiler Tag plugin as a starting point should allow me to create a custom plugin. I’ll come back to this as time permits but it should be an easy add.

Easy linking to Interactive Map
I have some modernizations planned for the Interactive Map (think zoom levels and drag-to-navigate). As a result, the current ability to link static pages of the map will be replaced by a more flexible way to link to any “area” of the map. So, I’ll come back to this request once the map has been modernized (sometime later in the year).

Supporting Author’s Favoured Causes
As has been done in the past, this will be handled with ad hoc authorial posts in the Community category. If we end up needing a more rigid platform to handle things, we can revisit.

Buy all e-books with one click
Linking to the page listing all 6 stories will probably be as close as we get to this. Some buyers already have some of the stories, which would require them to remove some e-books from their cart (increases chance of mistaken purchases).

Thanks for your suggestions!

@auricle yer awesome, 'ya gotta know.

This place will undoubtedly evolve and show what it does or doesn’t need, so zero complaints from this quarter on work that may not repay itself. Perhaps we could get enough people behind a subscription Patreon type system. Support the author, download access, input on what we’d like to see (just input - creativity isn’t a machine, much as publishers and readers might like it to work that way). Another idea which may or may not show value in the future. Things here seem to work nicely with just community discussion.

It’d be great to see the map get updated. I love that thing. I’ve had luck with SVG layers and PHP for mapping, if you’re interested in poking into that.

So very excited for this new forum to go live!

Thanks yet again for your efforts. With the new forum, all the key pieces are there. I’ve said before but it’s worth saying again: the Wiki is awesome.

It is a bit difficult to find all the great resources available - the best place is the About the Wars of Light and Shadow category post (thanks!). Maybe stick those on the main Links page under a new WoLaS section? Or link from there to a Wiki page? I had to stumble upon some of those from discus posts and web searches. I can’t say what most visitors to the site are looking for, but I imagine those resources would get enough clicks to justify them a more prominent place.

Which reminds me - the online dictionary is missing terms. Not sure how much trouble that is worth, as the information can be found easily in the books.

Again, no complaints from here. Just one perspective - hopefully it’s helpful input.

We're ready to move over to the new forum any time now. No major problems have been discovered by early adopters this past week and Janny has confirmed that the new forum works on her unique computer setup.

I want to give stragglers a little more time to learn about this switch, since I know that some visitors come here on a schedule of weeks rather than hours. With that in mind, I will plan to do a full switchover on Saturday morning (EDT), February 6, 2021.

What do I need to do?
You do not need to do anything to continue reading the new forum. If you wish to post, you will need to create a new account. This can be done at anytime – in the coming week or even after we have permanently moved.

What happens during the move?

  • I will do one final sync of any new Chat Area posts to make sure they end up in the new forum.
  • All visible links on Janny's main sites will be updated to point to the new forum.
  • Anyone that has a bookmark here will get redirected to a placeholder page explaining that we've moved. This will remain for a couple months. After that, people will get sent directly to the new forum without any explanation.
  • There will be no downtime.

What happens after the move?
  • The new forum will become the authoritative place to talk to other fans and get writing updates.
  • As soon as it's clear that we won't need to ever go back to the Chat Area, I'll permanently delete it and all of the account data. This includes names, emails, profile bios, and one-way hashed passwords.

How do I locate posts from the Chat Area going forward?
  • All posts can be searched for using the new forum's magnifying glass icon in the header. The search is much better than the one here so it shouldn't be hard to track things down.
  • All links in the Paravia Wiki that referenced Chat Area posts have already been updated to point to the new copies in the new forum.

The new forum is at:

The Getting Started Guide is at:


The move is complete! The Chat Area software has been laid to rest after almost 22 years of service (August 22, 1999 - February 6, 2021).

Enjoy the new digs – there’s telir brandy in the cupboard.


It’s a bid sad to see the old Chat go, but I think we had the longest running chat left in the world on that old piece of software. This new forum’s much more usable and Brian’s done an excellent job getting it up and running and all the old posts migrated across.

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Is there a way to sort the posts with the latest at the top?

Hi David,

Above the list of categories on the first page are three options:

  • Categories shows the main categories on the left and the topic threads with the most recent replies on the right.
  • Latest shows just the topic threads with the most recent replies.
  • Top shows the topic threads with the most views, regardless of recent activity.

If you always want to see just the latest posts, you can set this in your Profile Preferences. Click on your Avatar, then Profile icon, then Preferences. On the left side of the Preferences screen, find Interface. Here, you can set your Default Home Page to Latest.