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Posted by Dennis

The Cult 2008 Launches!

The Cult Launches - 2008ATTENTION:  The site speed is back.  In full effect.  And it may even be getting faster yet.  Also, you can now post new threads again.  Sorry about that. 

The day is finally here.  The Cult 2008 comes alive!  It started as a discussion between Kirk and I last Spring about updating the website.  And what began as possibly just a redesign, soon blew up into giving you all an entirely new user experience.

I think many of you were assuming you were going to login today (or last week, lol) and see the same site, but in a different color.  Perhaps with a new header?  Fuck no.  We went to bat for you all and spent countless hours designing and building and tweaking until we turned this into what it deserves to be.  We encourage you all to explore every nook and cranny of this new house. 

But here are some of the highlighted features:

  • The entire site is now databased.  This means every facet and element of it is now SEARCHABLE.   You have to be logged in to use this feature.  But go check it out. 
  • We have an entirely new Gallery system.  This is so immense and detailed, that it could almost serve as its own website.  I think we have  over 500 images in there.  Many of which, you've never seen before.  And during Chuck's next tour, you'll be able to upload you're own pictures finally! (the navigation on the Gallery is undergoing maitenance)
  • Dynamic sidebars.  Never have our sidebars been this interesting.  Between Random Images and New Content boxes, to Polls and a custom Workshop control panel for Premium Members.
  • A brand new Writer's Workshop, with a dynamic dashboard which notifies you when you have New Reviews, New Buddies, New Submissions, and plenty more!
  • Not to mention Chats, Groups, Blogs, and social networking Profiles!

And oh yeah... Chuck Palahniuk's exclusive writing essays return to The Cult!  Not only has Chuck allowed us to repost his original 23 essays from 2004-2005 (as well as his 14 Q&A sessions).  But he is unveiling 12 new essays for 2008!  Not only that, but these 12 new essays are FREE TO ALL!  The bonus to being a Premium Members is, you will get them one month earlier then .  Not to mention, you get access to all the archived essays, which Registered Members don't.   But to open up with a bang, and give you all something fun to chew on, here is Chuck's January essay, right now, available to everyone: Killing Time Part I by Chuck Palahniuk.

Then there's that other big piece of news -- the Forum is now completely free!  120x120 avatars for everyone!  Signatures for everyone!  And best, no limit on your Inboxes!  Some of you may notice that we no longer use VBulletin though.  We tried, folks.  We really did.  But it simply wouldn't integrate into our new database (called Drupal, by the way).  So it had to be abandoned.  What we have now is a work in progress.  A 'soft launch'.  It's going to get better though.  Trust us on that.  But for now, please go easy, and try to make the best of it.  Many of the features you grew used to simply aren't available in the core install of this new forum, but will soon be added as modules.  So stay tuned!  We promise.

Also, if you have a weird character in your username, like an ampersand or something, contact Mirka about it.

I'll wrap it up there.  As I'm sure you'd rather go explore the new site than read me all day.  We have a Poll set up so you can vote on what new features of the site you like best.  We also have a way for you to Comment and Rate most of the images in the Gallery.  The Forum is up and running.  You'll just need to be logged in to post.  Premium Members are good to go with the Workshop.  Just keep in mind that the next few weeks with the Workshop are very vital.  We've only unveiled half of the new features you'll be getting.  So your feedback is important for this section. 

This goes for all of you: If you find bugs on the site, broken links, images that don't show up, or glitchy resolution issues.  Anything.  We want to know about it.  You can email or post about it in our Website forum.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the work of Kirk, Clayton, Mirka, Brad and Mark, who, along with me, all pulled it together during crunch time.  Many of them were home on New Year's Eve working on the site.  And spent most of their Holidays at their computer.  But I want to make a special mention of Mr. Kirk Clawes, our Site Programmer.  If it wasn't for Kirk, none of this would have happened.  I may direct the whole operation, but if it wasn't for Kirk lighting the fire under my ass... then pushing me to consider all his new and dangerous ideas (lol), then going further by researching Drupal (what our new site is housed in), teaching himself how to use it, and then even designing the entire site (yes, this pretty new picture you're staring at, Kirk designed)... this would have been all talk.  And no results.  So thanks, man.  All those long MSN conversations where you wanted to rip my head off amounted to something, eh?

Last minute thanks and acknowledgements go to Roland Gaberz, and old friend of the site who has done a lot of great design for us over the years.  The header image you see above was based off a modificatin of Roland's original design.  I also want to point out all the work Clayton did (and is still doing) on our Writer's Workshop.  The guy is a locomotive.  And when he wasn't working on the Workshop, he was helping Kirk, or answering stupid questions from me, Mirka and Mark.  Clayton also spent all day Monday trying to get this site online.  So he deserves our gratitude.  And last, I want to thank Mark and all the Workshop mods who pitched in on our discussions about what the new Workshop should be.  Without their guidance, Clayton would not have had a clear concept to work with.

Thanks, everyone!  Sorry to keep you all waiting the past week.  We hope we may it worth your while.