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Least Expected: A Journey of Reconstruction

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Least Expected thoughts and plans [Sep. 11th, 2005|03:34 pm]
Least Expected: A Journey of Reconstruction

starbrow
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]
[Current Music |Robert J. Kral - Angel Original Soundtrack - Start The Apocalypse]

wibbble and I are pondering starting up a hosting company for fanfiction/slash authors (and of course, anyone else who wants to be hosted with us). We could get it up and running by Jan/Feb next year, but we need to know if anyone's interested, first of all.

As well as getting great hosting for yourself, you can also rest assured knowing that you'd be helping out Least Expected, get back on its feet, as the server we would use for hosting would also be the host for LE.

To give an idea of the packages we can offer, let me lay out some very basic specs.

For 1 gigabyte of hard drive space, 2.5 gigabytes of bandwidth, it would be roughly £30 a year, with other packages offering more space and bandwidth of course. We also plan on offering customised story archive software, installed and configured, as well as email, databases, unlimited subdomains, web-based account management, everything you would expect from a webhost, plus we're located outside the US, and as far as well can tell under UK law, fanfiction is not illegal, so we are willing to fight any cease-and-desist orders we get for written fanfiction on any hostee's behalf.

This is just a post to ask for interest at this point. If you think you might need or want a new webhost about January time, or if you just want more information, drop a comment here, and I or wibbble will answer.
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Thoughts on ratings [Apr. 4th, 2005|10:08 pm]
Least Expected: A Journey of Reconstruction

starbrow
One of the first things that needs to be worked out when setting up the archive again is how to rate the stories. With recent kerfluffles over how stories should be rated, and cease-and-desist letters sent (was that genuine, does anyone know?) from the MPAA, I'm /pondering/ scrapping the MPAA ratings system in favor of...something else.

Maybe.

It does add more work, as any stories would have to be recategorized as well as resubmitted to the archive, and I do know that many many people just want to slap one rating on their finished story and not have to worry about differing ratings systems for different archives.

So. Thoughts? Would you prefer to keep the MPAA ratings system? It's legally unenforceable, if that letter was real, and it's quite simple, and it's what people are used to.

On the other hand, it's not really terribly specific, and stories are mis-rated all the time because people don't know what they're doing. (Rating a story NC-17 just because it has slash in it is one of my pet peeves.) It doesn't make any distinction between a rating for explicit sex and a rating for explicit violence.

So, I don't know. Ideas?
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Introduction and stuff. [Mar. 14th, 2005|04:10 pm]
Least Expected: A Journey of Reconstruction

wibbble
[Current Mood |okayokay]

Hi, I'm John, the husband of starbrow, and the guy writing the new archival code for Least Expected, and handling all the other technical stuff.

The code, in a basic form, has actually been finished for some time. You can see it in action on http://elance.slashgirl.org.uk, and on E's other sites if she ever finds the time to input all the meta-data. The code requires cleaning up and some new features added, not least of which will be multiple user support. (At the moment admin authentication is done using Apache's built-in authentication system, which is very unwieldy, but simple to set up and quite secure.)

At the moment, slashgirl.org.uk is hosted at our flat in Edinburgh (in fact, it's hosted on Dome) on our DSL connection. That's fine for E's sites and for our email and the like, but it's not suitable for hosting something like Least Expected. Therefor, Least Expected cannot go online for public access until we have a server colocated, which is unlikely to be any time before the end of the summer, and possibly not at all this year. (The delay is pretty much purely a matter of money: a server will cost us almost US$1,500, and the colocation fees are likely to be around US$100 per month. We're planning to pay for this by offering pay-for hosting, including installation and configuration of a version of the code used on slashgirl.org.uk and Least Expected, but we need to save up money to pay for the initial costs and have several months running costs in place first.)

Until we have the server in place, we're going to work on refining the code, the website, and collecting the stories and entering the meta-data into the database. The last part is likely to take quite some time, and we'll be happy to take volunteer help with it (not least because I can't/won't do it - I'm not a slashgirl and having to read over hundreds of stories is a scary prospect to me).

A lot of people - including starbrow - are excited at the prospect of Least Expected reappearing, but I thought that it was only fair to let you all know right away that it's not going to be appearing right away. There's a lot of work to be done, and there's hosting to organise and pay for. With luck, it'll be available before the end of the year, but it is possible that it won't be until next summer, or even later.

[Updated:
I just quickly want to add that on matters of policy, I can only speak about the broadest levels, ie, what's allowed on the server. I'm not involved in setting policy of Least Expected itself. (I'm just adding this because there was a question about RPS on the previous post which I answered from the point of view of the server admin, but now starbrow is home and has told me the answer from the POV of the Least Expected admin, and its a slightly different answer.)]
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Back to the beginning [Mar. 12th, 2005|04:58 pm]
Least Expected: A Journey of Reconstruction

starbrow
[Current Mood |determineddetermined]

wibbble and I are undertaking a great task -- completely redoing the Least Expected archive with fresh, updated code in PHP instead of nasty Perl. We plan to include the ability to add comments to individual stories, possibly unique user accounts, an ease of navigation and uploading all around.

And then I shall go on a quest to track down every Tolkien slash story ever written and encourage the author to put it in the archive.

This may take a very long time to complete, as we need to straighten out several things first, not the least of which is webhosting. We plan to place the archive on our own server, the very first of the websites to be hosted by our very own hosting company. We may not make it there for about a year -- we will see how it goes.

As time goes on and we work out the intricacies of code-writing (yes, we are writing code specifically for this site, although we may offer it later as part of a hosting package), hosting, and re-archiving everything (all 856) that's currently saved on my computer, we are going to need help. Beta testing. Archivers. Words of encouragement.

That would be where anyone who joins this community would come in. If you wanna help out, cool. If you want to throw some words of encouragement and expectation our way, we would be immensely grateful. If you just want to watch the progress, nifty.

Be prepared for a long bumpy ride. Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your tray tables are in the upright and locked position.
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