Small site changes.

#1
I've done a couple of small site changes.
  • New joining members (and those that don't have a particular high post count) will now be greeted with a block that explains their account has certain limitations. Once they've posted enough, the limitations are lifted and the message is no longer displayed. (I've not changed the limitations any, just how vocal the site is in regards to them existing). Current active members that have been here posting a while shouldn't see this message (unless I've misconfigured something Confused )
  • I've removed the Google+, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest links from the site. We've not been actively using them as a community (I've not been using them as an individual either) so they were kind of pointless (notibly Google+ was winding down to some extent anyway) I've currently left the twitter link as should the site go down for any reason, it's one way to communicate What's going on.
  • I also removed the the Pinterest javascript that was meant for sharing and showing images with their site and a browser add-on. (I wasn't using it and I don't think anyone else was, so it was literally a piece of code that could been used for tracking etc)
  • I'd been a bit slow on the uptake in regards to the posed legislative explaination on cookies. I'm not going to do like other sites and stick a message up across the page everytime you load the page up with some explanation about who and where data's being sent, instead I'm just going to tell it straight.

    Cookies for the most part just handle session data between your browser and the server, if cookies aren't used at all then the site and your browser can't synchronise the session correctly, you'd end up with the wrong session information being shown or things not working correctly like not being able to post etc. So the small amount of data that is shared is only for that. It's not collected by me, it's not profited on by me or a third-party. We do have one third-party call (Some required from another server) on the site currently and that's to the fontawesome servers (www.fontawesome.com, use.fontawesome.com)to handle some font's currently used in the site design. I can not personally guarantee that they don't track their font usage, however I've not heard or seen anything that suggests that its untoward.

    The main concerns online in regards to "tracking" is usually down to a webpage having embedded calls that are called everytime a new page is loaded or content updated and information being sent that can be used to "profile" whoever is calling those pages (Notably Google and it's application into many websites in this manner means it can build a significantly complex picture as to whom is surfing the web). This site doesn't have anything like that in the background, so the only tracking that a third-party can do (other than fontawesome) is by spidering the site and then analysing the posted content.

    I have no intension of adding advertisement to the site for this as one of the reasons also (Advertisements are tracked in the same way, every call to their hosting server is potentially logged by the corporations that run the advertisements. As they span many websites they again can produce a shadow footprint of your online activities.)
  • I've removed the statistics from the bottom of the index page, however you can still check the statistics page for the statistics information. (I felt there was no point having the statistics being called every page load, the information is only relevant when a user actually wants to know the information.) This does mean that you won't necessarily know when someone new turns up unless they post to threads that already exist enough to start creating new threads.
  • I've removed the legend that identified if a subforum has new posts, no new posts etc. Hovering a most over the icons to those forum tends to bring up the information anyway, so it was just visual clutter.


These changes should mean there is a very small improvement in regards to load speed and probably a few less warnings about outbound connections to random servers.

edit:
I've moved the Fontawesome related code to be housed on the server. That's basically a CSS file and some webfont files, there shouldn't be any calls to external servers now. (thus all the striked text)

As always feedback for such changes and any additional suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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