Recent Site Upgrade and New Milestone Recognition!

 

Hi, all! Usually I put admin posts like this in the forums, but to ensure that this post gets maximum visibility, I'm putting it front and center on the blog! 

As you may know, we had a large site upgrade last week, dubbed The Recipe Release by my site guys at Hoop.la (hence, the photo above)! I wanted to take a few moments to explain what it does and how its functionality will affect you in the coming weeks. Please, please read on, as I've already received many questions about some of the changes that came about, and this post will probably answer any of yours. First . . .

What The Recipe Release Does
In short, the upgrade gave super admins (basically me) the ability to create recipes (or mini-programs, if you will) to automatically send messages to members of the site when certain milestones are reached. So, for instance, I can now automatically send emails when people make first posts, to recognize people when they reach certain activity levels (more on activity levels below), or to nudge them for feedback if they haven't been on the site for a while.

An aside: There is a glitch in the lapsed member email formula, as many of you unfortunately experienced last night when you received an email saying you hadn't been on the site in 90 days though you had! I know, I got one too! (My apologies again, but I've got my site guys working on a fix as we speak.)

We're bound to see a few more glitches as this software is fully rolled out, but, all in all, I believe it is a great addition. It will make it vastly easier for me to keep up with members and hopefully make newcomers and old-timers alike feel much more connected! It's also made it possible for the first time to acknowledge members when they reach certain activity levels or milestones on the site, which brings me to how this change is going to most impact you . . .

How It Will Affect You - NEW Activity Titles, Levels, and Milestone Recognition!

We've always had activity levels (you know, those lighthearted little titles, like "Nibbler" and "Gobbler", under your name in your member profile). These titles are earned as you gather activity points on the site. Your activity points can also be found under your name on your member profile. As an example, see Evelindecora's profile below. (She's accumulated 61,636 activity points and is a so-called "Cookie Queen in Training"!)

Evelindecora's Member Profile

What's different now, as of this upgrade, is that we have: (1) some new activity titles that will appear in more areas on the site, (2) a new way of computing activity points, and (3) a way for us to acknowledge members when they reach new activity levels. Please note, earning activity levels and points isn't intended to be a competition, but rather a way to encourage healthy participation on the site and contributions to areas (like the forums, surveys, and chats), which can be great resources, but are currently less utilized than some other areas.

A bit more about points 1, 2, and 3 . . .

1. New Activity Titles in More Areas
Because many of you have been incredibly active over the last couple of years, I recently expanded the activity levels and titles to acknowledge our most active members. In the past, we had three titles; now we have six defined as follows:

  • Nibbler: 1 to 499 activity points
  • Gnosher: 500 to 999 activity points
  • Gobbler: 1,000 to 9,999 activity points
  • Super Gobbler: 10,000 to 49,999 activity points
  • Cookie Queen in Training: 50,000 to 99,999 activity points
  • Cookie Queen: 100,000 activity points and above

Currently, these titles appear in your member profile (as shown above) and in comments you post in forums and private messages. In the next week or so, if all goes as planned, they will be added to any blog, clip, chat, survey, or calendar posts that you initiate. Again, the goal here is to more visibly acknowledge your contributions. And to have some fun recognizing people as they "graduate" from one stage to the next!

2. New Way of Computing Activity Points
Activity points have always been awarded when you comment on posts; initiate or comment on forum topics; and contribute photos, blog posts, or other content to the site. They are also awarded when people like or follow your work. Basically, activity points are a measure of your overall participation and interaction on the site - and we all know that more of these things lead to more fun and learning! 

What's new is that I recently adjusted the formula for calculating points so that it gives more weight to contributions that take greater effort to make (like writing a blog post versus commenting on someone else's photo) and to encourage participation in some of our less utilized areas, like the chats, forums, calendar of events, and surveys. This formula is known only by me, for the same reasons that I keep the hot list formula private - to encourage healthy participation, not competitions or gaming of the system.

3. New Way to Acknowledge Members When They Reach New Activity Levels
This point brings me back to The Recipe Release! Now, when members cross the threshold from one level to another (like from "Nibbler" to "Gnosher"), they'll receive a congratulatory email from me. In addition, this milestone will be posted to the activity stream called "Milestones and More" that can now be accessed in the bottom right of our home page and looks like what you see below . . . 

Milestones and More

Right now, milestones will be posted here along with all other types of site activity (comments, likes, etc.). My hope in the coming months is to isolate just the milestones, but no guarantees, as this could take significant programming.

Anyhow, that's all she wrote - for now! Again, my hope is that these changes will encourage even more participation from this already extremely active community, but, more importantly, give us more occasions to applaud one another for making this community so vibrant.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please post them below, and I will do my best to address them. Thanks so much for reading!

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Econlady posted:

I laughed when I heard that you got the same email.

And I cried when I got hundreds of confused messages about the erroneous email this morning . . . my site guys are going to get an earful from me about this!

That's very interesting. I really watch every single detail of every single cookie posted everyday and like and comment and go back to visit a particular one... yesterday I googled translated a quote in Polish that I read on a stunning cookie by Piernikomania. Maybe it is too much, I know, but this is my passion... not yet an obsession. Actually I was scared to receive an email at some point telling me to stop being so active, instead it looks like I earned points. 

So funny you got that mail Julia! Thanks again for continuing developing Cookie Connection.

Julia M. Usher posted:
Econlady posted:

I laughed when I heard that you got the same email.

And I cried when I got hundreds of confused messages about the erroneous email this morning . . . my site guys are going to get an earful from me about this!

I'm so sorry I just sent a new one to you just now - minutes before reading this blog post!

BAKRGAL aka Barb Florin posted:

Thanks for all your efforts here, Julia -- sounds like CC is really jumping into a new era. BTW, I love your "Recipe Release" photo ... just looks like a charming little shot of an afternoon in a warm kitchen!

Thanks - though I can claim no credit for the photo; it is a stock image (source in attachment below) that I paid for when in a hurry to get this post done.

This is fun Julia!! I love the activity on the site and feel like I am continually learning new techniques and getting ideas in order to improve my own designs. Long way to go but that's the fun of it. The sky's the limit, if you will .

I daily see new clips that inspire and educate me . Thank you for all that you do Julia!!! And an extra thank you for being as personal and available as you are to each of us .

Cookies Fantastique by Carol posted:

This is fun Julia!! I love the activity on the site and feel like I am continually learning new techniques and getting ideas in order to improve my own designs. Long way to go but that's the fun of it. The sky's the limit, if you will .

I daily see new clips that inspire and educate me . Thank you for all that you do Julia!!! And an extra thank you for being as personal and available as you are to each of us .

Great to hear this, Carol. I try my best to be personally available, but it is becoming increasingly difficult as this site and my various other platforms grow. So I hope people won't be too put off by a few automated messages, but will instead view them as the most practical way for me to stay in touch with their needs and accomplishments on the site.

Thank you for this awesome site and all the effort you put on creating this fantastic place for all cookie decorating (and art in general) lovers. Although I would come and visit every now and then, I never saw the "Join Our Community" until today! so I just joined in and I'm excited!
Paula

Sweet Little Bird by Paula posted:

Thank you for this awesome site and all the effort you put on creating this fantastic place for all cookie decorating (and art in general) lovers. Although I would come and visit every now and then, I never saw the "Join Our Community" until today! so I just joined in and I'm excited!
Paula

Great! So glad you spotted the button!

Julia M. Usher posted:
Evelindecora posted:

Great news, so exciting!!! Thank you Julia for improving Cookie Connection day by day, I am so proud and thankful to be a small part of it ❤️ 

Thanks, E! Means a lot to me!

Wow Evelin! You're so wonderful in your artwork indeed and are always collaborating with us! A bunch of thanks!!! And congrats!!! You surely deserve it!!!

 

Sil Quiroga *Homemade Cookies by Sil* posted:

Lovely! I'm always admired of how much you work!!! And always ask myself, do you take holidays from now to then?

Thanks for all you give us!

Sil,
Your eternal admirer from:
Homemade Cookies by Sil

Thanks for the always kind words, Sil! I am working very hard right now, but hope to take some time off at the end of June! Can't wait!

Well Julia, I can't add anymore to the beautiful compliments.   It's not a cop out, I would've said it too if I'd arrived sooner. . You're appreciated and loved. 

"The Recipie Release"!  Too good!  Tech people have a terrific (and interesting) senseof humor.

I wonder what your site guys would come up with if you put them in front of a cookie with an icing bag?....

Many thanks Julia

Pip

pip posted:

Well Julia, I can't add anymore to the beautiful compliments.   It's not a cop out, I would've said it too if I'd arrived sooner. . You're appreciated and loved. 

"The Recipie Release"!  Too good!  Tech people have a terrific (and interesting) senseof humor.

I wonder what your site guys would come up with if you put them in front of a cookie with an icing bag?....

Many thanks Julia

Pip

 Thanks, Pip! Made my day!

Cristi Klemp posted:

I'm thrilled and very excited to start learning and creating using your sugar veil lace methods.  Your absolutely amazing and so graciously inspiring to all.

Wow, thanks for such nice words, Cristi! Great to have you here!

Sue03 posted:

Thank you for this post. I understand more about this site now.

 

Great! If you haven't yet read our "Site FAQ" or "About" sections under "About" in the main navigation line, I recommend you do so, as they provide a comprehensive overview of the site, as do many posts under the "Profile Setup, Posting, and Other Site Tips" forum. 

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