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    • This really is a key point. If you manage a Facebook group, or moderate a subreddit, there's a sense of ownership even if you're ultimately still using someone else's system. Here on Cake, there's no such thing as ownership over a topic by a certain person or group. If anything, the conversation starter "owns" their single conversation, but that's about it.

      Yes, a huge point. When Facebook let people start their own groups on any topic and Reddit did the same, it was absolutely huge for them. I have always wanted to do that on Cake, and if we had succeeded in raising a significant round of financing, we would have.

      The shame of it is I lived through so many failures in tech that just couldn't get traction in their early incarnations β€” Windows, Pixar animation, NeXT, Amazon auctions β€” but somehow they got second, third and fourth tries due to cash flows from other projects at their companies (or Steve digging into his personal bank account), so they could make the improvements that eventually enabled them to catch on.

    • It's funny, I think G+ went through the opposite trajectory. They had a great thing, that really caught on and then they introduced features that killed it. I think their introduction of moderated communities really killed the product as they were impossible for the owner to maintain the quality of posting and became a magnet for porn spam and trolls.

      I considered circles and the circle sharing that came with it to be an incredible innovation. I still use circles in google voice.

    • Google+ had some great features, but for whatever reason Google just doesn't seem to be able to make it work with social networking.

      I really liked Orkut, which I think was their first go at it long before +, but whenever I mention that one I seem to be the only person who ever used or remembers it.

      They are still at it too. Just this year Area 120, which is an experimental team at Google launched a new one, called Keen - staykeen.com. I haven't looked at it all but it's interesting that they are still trying.

    • I've lost faith in Google as innovators. I used to consider myself an evangelical for their products. Not not anymore, I won't use their products if I can avoid it.

    • If Cake were on Xenforo, I definitley would keep using Cake. I'm here because of the conversations, the people, etc. I think that's why most of us diehards are here.

      If this is strictly an issue about it being too expensive to maintain the site's current code and layout as is and switching to Xenforo would make that problem go away, then that's an option you should heavily consider. You can add that to my list as #6.

      That's something I obviously wasn't aware of, so that's good to know. A sleeker look and feel might attract more people to Cake, but it won't keep them here. What will keep people at Cake (that's the goal, right?) is the quality of content and conversations that are happening.

      At Rivals.com, we have a much simpler looking feel than what's on Cake. It operates as an old school forum that has been updated a bit. We finally got reactions that go beyond a simple "like" last year. But, what keeps people on the boards is the quality content about Cal sports!

      So, I do think if switching to Xenforo would keep Cake alive for the foreseable future and allow it more time to grow and attract new customers and implement some of the strategies that I and others have proposed, I think that would be a good route to go. Obviously, it's not my decision to make. But I do believe that all the diehards on Cake would continue to use it if it switched to Xenforo. I know I certainly would.

      Remember, one of the things you've told is you believe there are 10 millon or so people out there who would really like Cake and what it offers. I don't think Cake ever has been destined or created to be a big social media presenece like Facebook or Twitter. That's not its goal. At least I don't think so.

      But, I do believe its goal is to be a place that finds a sustainable niche market of customers who really enjoy it and create a thriving, self-sustainable community. That's the 10 millon people you were talking to me about.

      Given that Cake is still very young, I believe that it can still reach this goal and perhaps even exceed this goal and become even more popular. A lot of things sadly die out before they are able to see and realize their full potential. I certainly wouldn't want that to happen to Cake!

    • I started a community on Google Plus in December of 2015, it grew to have over 5,000 accounts in spite of the fact that I often removed spam accounts. During the time prior to Google Plus ceasing to alphabetize the membership, some of the spammers started creating accounts which started with an exclamation mark because that would show up at the beginning of the membership list. I had to change the community to an "Ask to join" community. But the responsibility became hard to bear. During the time that I was responsible for that community. My Dad died then my wife died. I also had four surgeries plus two other procedures under general anesthesia and I began regretting having been the one who started the community. If I had not, it may not have gotten started and yet it became a very active community.

      The thing I miss about Google Plus is what I think of as its Niche broadcasting features. Cake does have topics but the moderators decide which topics will be kept and which will be discarded. Cake does not allow someone like Jefferson Graham to set up a Niche broadcast of Jefferson Graham's photography which people might have to ask to join.

      I don't think that Panels has the kinds of features which made this sort of thing work on Google Plus, although with a little tweaking it could probably be made to function similarly.

    • I started a Stay Keen and I have 57 followers but there is no ability for them to communicate with me or for me to communicate with them. Also, the suggestions which the Google search feature offers is 99% off base.

    • So, just to throw it out there building on my prior comment regarding G+... I think implementing circles would be huge! It would allow people to build their own communities which would be stressless and completely self policing. It wouldn't be a target for spam or trolls because no one would know the reach of their posts. Circles and circle sharing was, in my opinion, one of the keys to the early success of G+.


      That was the fatal flaw of communities, spammers and trolls had a defined audience to target.

    • There are a lot of suggestions of implementing new features but as I understand it with the current codebase and development costs, and without new investment, that's not an option.

      That's why I floated my thought about open sourcing. Curious to hear the thoughts of @Chris and @Vilen about it and if it is an idea that you have kicked around.

    • I’d love to open source it. What would we have to lose? My vague understanding of open sourced projects is you have to have a very good technical lead tho who is on it for integrating decent code into the code base, no?

    • The guy who had the idea for circles and implemented them is my old boss and friend, Andy Hertzfeld. I had lunch with him last year about Cake. I had the impression he was bored. I wish I could talk him into taking over the code base and open sourcing it. Damn that would be great.

      I couldn’t talk him into registering for Cake but he edited some of the Steve Jobs stories I wrote on Cake and he passionately despises Facebook.

    • You do need someone in charge of the repositories who understands the direction and the coding standards and apart from anything else is not afraid to question and reject code commits that don't meet those criteria.

      There are a lot of great automated testing and code quality checking tools that can be deployed within repos on GitHub (or other platform) which with a big project and codebase like Cake are a must.

      It can also be helpful to set up systems where commits can't be merged without review by a certain number of maintainers. This takes away the ability for the lead maintainer, however talented a dev they might be, to miss something.

      Then of course everything is merged into a dev branch and tested thoroughly before being pushed to the production branch.

      I do think it would be a very valid way forward though. I've worked with a few bigger and smaller open source projects in the past, although I'm by no means an expert, but happy to give any thoughts or experiences if you are interested. Maybe this thread is not the place for that though :-)

    • If Cake were on Xenforo, I definitley would keep using Cake.

      I think when we say Xenforo, people automatically think forums, olde and dying, replaced by Facebook Groups β€” but Xenforo has come a very long way. The big forums like ADVrider, MacRumors, IGN, Tom's Hardware, etc., all crush their counterparts on Facebook and are all built on Xenforo. Ride Reports on ADV crushes anything equivalent on Medium too and we're on an olde version of Xen.

      The thing is I can set up an instance on cakery.io, which I own, and see what we think. They've got a great editor now and some pretty decent-looking layouts, like:

    • The answer to that question depends a bit on what your goal with open-sourcing even is.

      On the one end, you might want to see active development of the code you release, towards some specific goal you set up yourself (like implementing multi-image posts, or private messaging, or any of the other things you personally envision for Cake). Perhaps you even want to publish just parts of the codebase - say, the iOS app but not the backend - so that people can update that and also build an Android app with similar functionality.

      On the other end, you don't want any of that but just don't want to lose the work that has been put into it. You publish the code for others to take it and do with it whatever they want, elsewhere. If someone wants to do something with the codebase, they'll mostly do it by "forking" the available repository and then working on their own copy.

      In the former case, you are right, you're going to need someone who is able to maintain and also steer the project. In the latter case, you're basically just archiving the whole thingamajig and don't need any expertise after the first and only commit. As always, the whole thing is a spectrum and you'll have to decide where the best place for Cake's code is on that spectrum. :)

      The way I see it with how this conversation is shaping up, the most realistic way forward seems to be a replacement of what we have with forum software, plus open-sourcing that is mostly for archival purposes once your costly backend has been shut off. That doesn't mean it can't ever be reactivated, of course.

    • Chris, it looks like this is really playing on your mind, may I make a suggestion?

      Don't stress it until the new year.

      Enjoy the holidays with family, then in the new year jump on a bike and go for a ride for a few days on your favourite roads.

      When you get home you will know exactly what to do.

      Day one, enjoy the ride trying not to think about Cake, just relax, day two ride and start thinking about the future.

      On day 3 things will start to become clear and will fall into place as you head home.

      Helmet time alone over a few days gives you clarity of thought, that you can never achieve at home or in your office or staring at a screen.

      Have a great, Christmas and New year.

      Russ

    • Upon pondering on it for a bit I have decided I love Cake as it is, as it is unique to other social sites and forums if you will, I think I love and will continue to love the way Cake is at present. Yes minor changes is good as long as the format stays the same.

      I don’t want this to turn into tapatalk (don’t and will never use it).

      I just hope that Cake will be more better in the future the pandemic situation as affected a lot of places. Give it another couple of years (end of 2022 or 2023) and I assure you, you will see growth.

    • It's unfortunate that you couldn't convince Andy. As I said, circles were incredible in G+ but didn't have the #topic cross-cut feature that would have made it unbeatable. Cake has the #topic cross-cut but doesn't have circles.

      If he's bored, maybe he would want to take that on.

    • Warren,

      Your optimism is based on only having been here a short while.

      Cake used to be a lot more active than it has been recently.

      I personally think that the amount of Cake that focused on Politics and Civid this year destroyed the user base.

      Prior to this year, there were many discussions of many different things but this year, there were two topics that like weeds in a garden choked almost everything else out.

      It may be that Cake may turn around BUT the last year has been a reduction in Cake activity rather than an increase.

      I would have thought with so many people having extra time on their hands that Cake would have flourished this year but it did not.

    • I personally think that is a scale thing. The intent was you subscribe to topics and your feed only includes them β€” photography, flowers, tech news β€” and you never see politics. That's the way it is on ADV and Reddit. That's the beauty of following your interests instead of people. On Facebook, your uncle suddenly decides to go public with his love of Trump and so your aunt counters by saying she detests him. It's in your feed and you can't avoid it.

      But with the low volume of posts on Cake you tend to go to All and have to pick through everything.

    • Chris,

      I was not posting about myself, I was posting about what I think reduced the amount of people on Cake this year.

      I do agree with you that the sparsity of conversations on Cake causes people to consume everything. But I think that this year, the number of non-political and non-pandemic conversations was very small indeed.

    • Heh, thank you. I've actually been stressing over this for a long time and to get it out in the open has been therapeutic. Retreating to ADV and my YouTube channel have been stress relievers for me.

      Here's what we did this morning: watch science videos on YouTube with the grandkids. They sat riveted and it was great.