Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hello, team!

Hello, everyone! Trang asked me to write this post to let you know that I'm going to be coordinating between the administrators, the developers and the contributors who form the Tatoeba community. As she explained in her previous post, she and sysko are very busy now with other responsibilities. Thus, they can't be involved in all the same ways, and to the same extent, as they were in the past. However, she will maintain an active advisory role in which she promptly answers the questions that I pass to her from the developers. In turn, I will make sure to relay those answers quickly back to the developers. In addition, as I've been doing for months now, I will make sure that the problems and requests posted by contributors on the Wall make their way into help tickets so that they can be tracked and solved in an organized way.

I will also be working with the developers on ways to make the site robust. We will be documenting and spreading the collected knowledge that prevents problems and that helps us recover from them quickly when they do happen. At the same time, we will be planning how to restart development.

I will soon be contacting people who have contributed to development, or have helped us get back on our feet after problems have occurred, or both. But just as importantly, I urge you to contact me if you can help with the technology on the site, whether or not you have done so in the past. You can always send me a private message via Tatoeba to tell me you would like to get involved, along with ways that you can be contacted and a description of your skills, interests, and experience. (There will be other ways you can contact me in the future.) I'll let you know how the current software on the site is set up and how you can jump in.

I'm excited about our getting together to make this site, which I love so much, stronger and better in every way. Join us in making 2014 a happy new year for Tatoeba!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We need a better team!

Alright, so we have a problem.

Last month Tatoeba crashed and was then unavailable for more than a week, which is a pretty long time for a website that is used every day by thousands of people. After we managed to get Tatoeba back up, there were still issues with the site being very slow, and there were some additional downtime. And only now, after 3-4 weeks, things are stable again (at least they seem to be). It's a good thing that we got everything to work again, but it's not a good thing that it took so long. Now that I don't have to worry about Tatoeba not responding, or being too slow, I'd like to take some time to talk about the current situation.

I don't want to sound dramatic, but the current situation isn't good. There was a time when Tatoeba was actually growing, as opposed to the past 2 years where things have been stagnant. There was a time when users would report bugs, and they would be fixed within a few days, sometimes within a few hours. There was a time when users would request new features, and they would be implemented and released the next week. And if Tatoeba crashed, we could be working on it before you would even notice it was down. Basically, that was the time when sysko and I were both very involved in the project, and had necessary the time, motivation, energy, and passion to work on it.
But things have changed and now it feels like the project is going to fall apart if we don't do anything. Not right now, but one day. I mean, it's still working, a lot of people still love it, but nobody can maintain it properly anymore, and nobody can make it grow anymore. There are so many things that we could do, that we should do, but neither sysko or myself can (or want to) do it, and it will never be done unless someone else than us is willing to take care of it.

So my priority right now is to make a better team for Tatoeba. We need more people to take on tasks/responsibilities that would usually be done by sysko or myself. I'm talking about things like accessing the server and updating Tatoeba's code to include bug fixes or new features, writing on the blog and on Twitter to keep users informed of what's going on or what we're working on, replying to emails that are sent to, etc.
As far as I'm concerned, I know that I will never be able to dedicate as much time and energy to Tatoeba as I used to, and neither does sysko. But I still want this project to keep growing and be more successful, and I know it's not going to happen if there's only sysko and myself in charge of these "higher responsiblity" kind of tasks.
Of course we wouldn't give such responsibilities to complete strangers and there are some people that are in my "need to talk to" list. But whoever you are, if you're reading this and feel that you would want to participate to this project on a higher level, then contact us and let us know about it!

Now, before I end with this article, there is another topic that I'd like to mention briefly: donations. This has been brought up a few times on the Wall and also in our IRC channel, that we should start a donation campain, or try to raise money through Kickstarter or selling goodies. I will talk more about this in another article but my short answer is, yes, I agree. And this is probably going to be one of the next priorities. But first, we need a better team and hopefully 2014 will be a better year for the Tatoeba.

Happy New Year by the way :)