Waterfall Staff

Staff blog for Waterfall. To ask questions, go to @ask-staff instead, but first read the FAQ. For tutorials on basic features, head to @support.

Please report bugs in the Discord, not here.

Waterfall FAQ

Community Update, Supplemental

We were going to all in on the Star Trek joke here, but apparently, stardates don't start until 2323.

Regardless, here's the update we said might show up mid-month!

App Testing Raffle

The app raffle is now closed, and 100 winners have been picked. We'll be messaging these people soon once we've figured out the best way to get everyone in the right place to give us feedback and bug reports, and figure out how to get the info we need to grant access. In addition, we're picking a handful of people who didn't win as "staff picks" - either because of their contributions to the site, or because they do something that none of the other entrants do and it's something we want to cultivate. These people will be messaged at the same time as the raffle winners.

Changes to Art Theft and New Tools for Artists Coming Soon

We've only touched on it briefly before, but with the upcoming API upgrades, we'll be in a position to start working on Art Theft 2.0, and we've gotten some fancy hardware to help with it. We're on version 1.3 or so right now, but we want to take it significantly beyond what we currently have. We'll do a writeup on the new system a bit later on, but it'll crank it up to 14.

We're also investigating extremely experimental features to allow you to track how your art is being spread across the web on other sites, though these may not be available depending on how well they (or whether they actually do) work.

In addition, those in the Discord might know that we've recently acquired a very large, very expensive printer. We're happy to announce that, following the launch of the app, we'll be adding the ability for artists to sell on-demand prints, similar to another artist hub site. Artists will be able to set their own price, but the key difference is Waterfall can do it a LOT cheaper than the main competitor - for a 24" poster, I believe we figured out that our fixed price take can be as low as $8 per print, compared to dA's $20 minimum. Artists can either adopt a similar price as they would on dA, or lower the price for the same take but to encourage sales. We'll release more info about the programme nearer the time, and after the lockdowns end for us to get spare parts and supplies.

We'll also be adding PayPal to the commission market as soon as is feasible.

API Development Update

We've started making some real headway now, with some of the boring technical implementation stuff finally over. There were four main areas of rewriting for the API that we expected would give us trouble - logins, media, emails, and the new suite of moderation and security tools. In a traditional, simple site, logins aren't a problem - however, given we're taking Waterfall multi-node instead of being on a single server to resist downtimes (such as when we have to reboot the server to install updates), it gets a lot harder. Luckily, this problem is now solved. Theoretically, the other three can wait since logins were the only "critical" part - media can be made do with for now (though we're still overhauling that because I'm just not happy with the current setup), and emails "work", but as you've seen, they seem to be doubling up at the minute and we're not 100% why. That's why this bit is here - this is a heads up that we'll be working on the email server today, so emails for new followers or new accounts won't be getting through for a little while. We'll be setting up an entirely new pipeline for emails to make things much more efficient and streamlined, and give us better control over how it works. We'll let you know when the new server is up, if you don't figure it out yourselves from the emails you start getting, though the server may be down for up to 24 hours.

The current phase of development is still under "The Basics" banner, my internal denotation of the core stuff - think roughly how the site was in March of last year. Once the basics of posts, users, and blogs are implemented, we can start work on the new UI, and then add all the modern stuff we currently have as we go. Now we're getting into the swing of things with how the new technology we're adopting works, this stage should go a lot quicker now, though we anticipate a slowdown when we start building the UI as we get familiar with having to actually use JavaScript. Luckily - the rest of the team are now being formally trained in how to code, so this will soon no longer be a one-man show with the rest of the admittedly gorgeous team sitting around looking pretty.

An accurate representation of the team's thoughts on attempting to reverse engineer the existing code to learn from, via The Profound Programmer.

[text: “thousands of lines and zero comments am I being punished for something”, photograph of an infinite distant horizon ready to ignore your pleas for help or death.]

Site Usage

We got an interesting ask earlier asking about how the site usage has changed during the quarantine, so I thought I'd mention it here!

Overall usage is up about 31.6% in terms of daily visitors, with a week of particularly increased activity when the new Animal Crossing game released. After that week, there was a small dip, which then slowly increased back to normal levels, then kept rising.

Commission Market Usage

Likewise, usage on the Commission market has increased. We don't have figures for how many new artists joined, but we do have figures for the number of commissions and money changing hands.

There's been a 15% increase in the number of commissions taken per week since we adopted our new fee structure, and, if our math is right, a 35% increase in the amount of cash artists are taking home. Waterfall's income remained about the same with the new fees in place, so we're considering this a success for now. We anticipate these numbers to climb once we get PayPal integrated.



Notes
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