Dear OMSI community, friends, supporters and team members,
The turn of the year 2020/2021 marks the end of a turbulent time. Not only does the Corona virus continue to plague us all, but there has also been a lot going on in WebDisk, both positive and negative. There have been many ups and downs this year and so here is a short overview of the changes this year. We would like to thank you, the great OMSI community, who have gone along with all our changes and have always remained loyal to us.
Starting with a heavy blow for the OMSI community:
Closure of the official OMSI forum
For a long time, the OOF was the first point of contact for the entire community for questions and problems of all kinds regarding OMSI. OMSI / public transport friendships developed over the time, so the sudden departure on 26 April was all the more painful. The break with the OMSI community on the grounds of dedicating themselves to a new development pisses off many of those involved, who have taken care of support, moderation and community there for years. We are experiencing a split in the community that will continue to heat up the climate for months to come. We would like to express our gratitude to all OOF moderators and participants, without whom an operation of such magnitude would not have been possible.
For the OMSI WebDisk, until then mainly a download portal, it was quickly clear that the OMSI community would move to our rather smaller platform. Shortly after the time of the OOF closure, all the statistics went through the roof and gradually a new community formed here from former OOF users, but also new previously unknown users who appreciate the constructive and friendly climate here are always joining.
The WebDisk was not even remotely prepared for the short-term onslaught. Numerous stability problems and performance issues were the result. As you can see from the news on 27 April, the next step was inevitable in order to keep this platform usable:
Expansion of the server capacities
In an unprecedented action by Wörki (WebDisk project leader) and miwi (technical assistent) organised the move to a new server and data centre in less than two weeks. Thanks to our new hosting partner Tube-Hosting, WebDisk has been running on a completely autonomous rack server (Technical details) since 8 May. The server is now prepared for the future.
Team expansion: The Experts
At the same time as the technical move, Tatra (former co-project leader) established the Expert System at the beginning of May with the aim of acquiring people for qualitative support, self-help and the wiki. In addition, the experts support the moderation in the forum. There was already such a system in OOF; some of the OOF experts at that time find a place in the team here again.
International Community & Discord
Our WebDisk Discord is also gradually filling with life, with users all over the world. Our platform is enjoying growing popularity and so it quickly became clear to everyone involved: WebDisk is going international! From June onwards, English sections will be set up first, before French is added as a third language. Due to various add-ons from our western neighbouring country, the French OMSI community is also growing. In the long term, we also want to offer a home for the Polish community.
A new team
For the administration, the community that had grown in this way also meant additional work and increased potential conflicts. In April, CSP Animex was called in for Mediation to resolve differences between the team and the users.
Then, on 29 September, came the next break in the history of WebDisk: Tatra, who had been a team member since October 2018, first as co-administrator, then as co-project leader, was removed (Statement on changes in the team). His administrative actions were no longer adequate for the increasing number of users and thus, as a result of overload, there were numerous administrative mistakes and arbitrariness in office. We would like to formally apologise to all users who were treated unfairly during this time, or who were unjustly banned or denounced. If you think you are still affected by this, please contact us via the ticket system and we will try to work through what happened together with you.
We would also like to apologise for what happened in the course of the external downloads and external pictures (discussion) in July. This was clearly done without the community's best interests in mind and you were insufficiently informed, which does not correspond to the idea of transparency of the WebDisk. Unfortunately, some threads and also some downloads were irrevocably lost, which we very much regret. In retrospect, you should have been clearly informed (also the international community) and there should have been a clearly defined grandfathering for old posts.
Unfortunately, we can't undo all that now. The rules regarding external downloads and external images have been in place for a few months now and everyone should have internalised them.
After the final resignation of Tatra at the end of September, CSP Animex, who succeeded him as co-project leader, put together a new team and thus created the basis for a new role system: WebDisk will henceforth be merged with the gaming community Crystal Soul Production (CSP Gaming), whose project leaders (Managers) are Wörki and CSP Animex. r2d2_2 fills the vacant mediator position. With Schleswig-Holstein and Lµkas two long-time OMSI specialists join to the team. They will take care of the users' needs as Administrators. Besides the Experts, whose primary focus is the forum and the wiki, there are now also Inspectors especially for the filebase as the biggest OMSI download portal. Bamp, Schleswig-Holstein, r2d2_2 and Lµkas check all downloads for conformity.
The new team has been working for three months now and has settled in well. With currently five general contact persons and eight area-specific moderators, the WebDisk team is also better equipped for the future, while at the same time mutual control and bilateral exchange prevent abuse, wrong decisions and arbitrariness.
New structure on the WebDisk platform
With the increasing number of posts and topics, the WebDisk forum - which was initially only intended as an alternative to the OOF and therefore only covered a fraction of the areas there - became more and more confusing and it was clear that the forum areas had to be revised and expanded. After a new category system had already been worked out together with the experts in May/June, but the proposals lay fallow for months, Schleswig-Holstein and Lµkas began a new attempt at restructuring immediately after taking office at the beginning of October: In the night from 9 to 10 October, the entire Help&Support area was tamped down and all threads were moved. The result was a comprehensive reorganisation of the sections with a new structure, essentially based on the three pillars "Help", "Support" and "AddOns".
This was followed by further changes in the article system, Wiki and FAQ. In this area, too, WebDisk should now be ready for the future and everyone should know exactly where to create a thread. A short overview of all areas can be found in the signpost, which Lµkas kindly organised.
Advent & Christmas promotions
We already had an advent calendar with prizes and freeware content in 2018. In this year the advent calendar with pre-christmas raffles came back! We received very positive feedback from all over the OMSI world. Schleswig-Holstein was the main contact here and organised the freeware downloads. The prizes were supplied by our partners AEROSOFT and HALYCON after Wörki contacted them. A big thanks also goes to the content creators who provided their freeware content. Potentially there was something to win every day + an encore from the community, so this year's advent calendar was once again a step up from 2018.
The promotions were a great pleasure for all team members and also for the users.
What else has happened
Besides the major changes described above, various features added and changes were made:
- Regular software updates by the technical team
- Various bug fixes
- Implemented suggestions from the community
- Connection via a 10GBit line, which now ensures a good download speed even during peak loads
- New themes
- Re-introduction of Registration via Steam
- We added a FAQ
- Community participation through numerous polls
- The WebDisk goes mobile
- Revision of wiki categories and articles
Small note to our content creators
Outlook for 2021
In 2021, the WebDisk team will continue developing the WebDisk as the OMSI community platform. We are currently working hard to establish a set of rules that will serve as a guideline for new users and clearly and transparently outline what is allowed and what is not, and more server updates are on the horizon (e.g. WoltLab Suite 5.3).
Once again, we would like to thank all community members, friends, supporters and sponsors of WebDisk, our team members and former team members as well as AEROSOFT and HALYCON for continuing to support this great platform, for accompanying us through the ups and downs of this year and for remaining loyal to us now.
We wish everyone a great start to 2021, stay healthy and keep supporting us!
on behalf of the entire OMSI WebDisk team.