Greetings, inhabitants of MyMiddleEarth!
Today marks a huge day for the network, which continues the recent trend of improvements on not only the MyMiddleEarth.com social site, but our network as a whole. We are now entering into the FOURTH major evolution of the Middle-earth Network websites.
As you have noticed by now, the old domain is no more, and http://MyMiddleEarth.com is here to stay!
The decision to go ahead with this change was a difficult one for the Founders to make, but ultimately we felt that it was a necessary change. First and foremost, we realized that our old domain name was too cumbersome for its own good. Having to tell people that not only did it end in the more uncommon “.net”, but that it also had a hyphen smack in the middle was just not a recipe for success. So the decision was made to take this opportunity to move our entire network to a new domain, and a new hard drive partition on our server.
Without getting too deep into the technical mumbo jumbo, this transition allowed us to do a few crucial things:
- No longer are we restricted by a difficult to explain domain name.
- We were able to dramatically clean-out and optimize the database.
- We had a chance to purge several old plugins, themes and bits of code that were either security risks, or simply unused or unnecessary.
- It allowed us to replace some of those previously mentioned old items with shiny, new stuff! And who doesn’t like new stuff?!
So while the majority (but certainly not all) of today’s changes were largely “invisible” to you, our loyal inhabitants, they are still very important and will have a hugely positive impact on our community going forward.
Most of all though, from myself and the rest of the Founders of the network and our core staff, we just want to say THANK YOU for being an integral part of what we are building here at the Middle-earth Network. This community is truly one of a kind, and you all inspire and encourage those of us who work behind the scenes daily. We will continue to strive with our full passion and effort to continue making the entirety of the Middle-earth Network the absolute best it can be!
- Our new Defenders of Middle-earth membership program is now active. By supporting the network you gain great perks for your personal blog, some great digital and physical items, and right right to call yourself a true Defender of Middle-earth!
- We have launched the official MyMiddle-earth Store! We will be adding new merchandise regularly, so be sure to check often.
- We have also launched an experience point (XP Point) system! You gain XP Points by performing certain actions on MyMiddleEarth.com and our network of sites (including receiving points for writing blog posts on your OWN blog!) For more details, click the “Points” link in gold lettering on the top right hand corner of this site, or visit your personal profile.
- To go along with this new XP Point system (Which is still in BETA – There will be glitches from time to time), we have launched an XP Point Store! Here you can spend your hard earned XP Points on a number of cool items.
- Your personal profiles now have additional customization options, including a custom header, social media links (if you feel inclined to show them publicly), and the ability to display a Youtube video on your profile as well. You can take a look at My Profile to see examples of these features in action.
- There is a new Community Driven Q&A page. If you need help with a feature on the site, or if you are trying to figure out how to do something on your personal blog, or just have a general inquiry about the Middle-earth Network, this is a great place to pose your question to our entire community and get feedback. You can up/down vote on answers, and accept the “best” answer to a question you asked, all which earns users “QA REP” points, which are a measure of how active and helpful members have been in this community Q&A page.
- We have improved functionality of our “Album” feature. This feature is different from simply posting a photo onto the common “Activity” stream. The Album feature allows you to keep a central page of ALL of your uploaded photos, which you can add captions and descriptions to, and which fellow users can comment on as well. You can access the Album feature by clicking the golden “Album” text in the top right corner of the social site, or by visiting your personal profile.
- As always, we continue to encourage our users who have a desire to write their own content to Create a Site on the network! Even our “Free Folk” members can make great use of this feature absolutely free of charge, and it’s a great way to interact and contribute to MyMiddleEarth!