The Man That Can™(?)

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Waterfall Roadmap

staff -

Waterfall is just over 7 months old now, and, at the time I started typing this post, had 24,960 users. From the beginning I said 25k was probably going to be the cutoff point where I sat down with the volunteer mods and we had a talk about what the site was going to be. Part of that figure was thinking we’d never actually hit it, but here we are - by the end of the week, we'll have hit 25,000 users. We’re also averaging 1,000 posts a day now, which is frankly incredible for such a young site.

Before I forget though, here’s a post-mortem on the infrastructure upgrades over the last couple of days.

So, back to the future. A few days ago, I sat down with the mods and we had a nice little chat about what's happening, what we’re doing, and where we want the site to go. We even broke out a little math to help us work things out - a deep-dive on Waterfall's analytics, including a comparison to public figures for Tumblr and Pillowfort, are here.

We took all that into account when making the decisions. When a site gets to this size, it kind of stops being a hobby - it needs a little more constant attention, and a bit more work put into it. There were three paths available - close the site and piss everybody off, abandon the site and let folks run riot Blue Hellsite style, or double down on the site.

We decided to double down.

This does mean a few changes - for one, Waterfall will, going forward, become an operational division of The Overseer Project. This is the games development studio that I've mentioned I run before, but going forward, will also develop Waterfall. The community mods, going forward, will be part of TOP - both as staff, and as thanks for their efforts so far, part owners of the company too. In terms of the sites aims, this changes absolutely nothing - the TOS is going to stay the same, privacy policy stays the same, community guidelines stay the same, no ads policy stays the same. What it does change is the amount of technical expertise behind the site, as any support TOP gets with its infrastructure, Waterfall now also gets. In addition, Waterfall is no longer limited to just a tiny little piece of the hardware - Waterfall can now scale out to use every bit of capacity we have, if it needs to. It also means that people much better at programming than I am can be involved in developing the site in future. Games remain the focus of the company, but with this being an official project now, you can expect the site to be worked on a lot more often instead of restricted to spare time.

The Future

Once we'd settled on that, we had a quick discussion about where we're going with the site. The short version is - we're remaining completely committed to community and creators. Here's an overview of what’s coming. Not everything is listed here, but these are the major features.

Support Upgrades

Waterfall can now take advantage of TOP's infrastructure, meaning that soon - hopefully within the next week - reporting and support requests will receive a complete overhaul, making it easier for both you, and us.

Commission Marketplace

The marketplace is on track to launch very soon. There's not a whole lot to reiterate here since I've talked about it enough. Anyone over the age of 13 will be able to offer commissions, provided they're eligible for a Stripe account, which we'll be using as our payment processor. We spoke to a few artists and have settled on what was almost universally considered a fair fee of 10% on commissions over $10 for sales through the marketplace - Stripe's fee comes out of Waterfall's cut. All currencies Stripe supports will be supported and autoconverted for artists. The fee may be slightly higher for commissions under $10, but we're running the numbers to try and make that not be the case. We expect to launch this by the end of July. Don’t worry - we haven't forgotten about writers and musicians.

Blog Analytics

It’s nice to know who's looking at your blog. Sometimes it's just idle curiosity, sometimes you're an artist wanting to know how well you're doing. Statcounter lets you do some stuff, but given GDPR and improvements to adblockers meaning stuff like that is useless nowadays (ethical considerations aside), there needs to be an alternative.

Waterfall will be building in analytics for artists and blog users alike. You know your art has 100 reblogs but don’t know how many people have actually seen it? Now you'll be able to tell. It'll even get a little bit clever for you and tell you whether a specific post or piece was why people followed you. The system will keep users pseudo-anonymous to protect their privacy, while still giving you what you need to know provided they don't opt out. This will likely replace the Activity page.

Supporters

Patreon was a nice idea, until they decided their new fee structure was the way to go. Waterfall will be investigating a similar system, where you can give your supporters and followers tiered rewards. With the option to release stuff to lower tiers later, and then to the public, we think artists and creators will find this useful.

Artist Marketplace

Not actually a new thing, but more an upgrade to the Commission Marketplace. Folks wanted to be able to sell adoptables and merch - while the Commission Marketplace will launch without the capacity for this, we like the idea, and we're making inquiries with suppliers to make this a reality for physical products. Digital products like adoptables are also being investigated.

An App

Yep. An app. Soon, we'll be launching an IndieGoGo campaign to fund getting an app going. We don't need too much - we're just settling on the rewards right now. In the meantime, a prototype for the Android version has been bootstrapped.

This covers the essentials. There's still more not here - improve site navigation, bug fixing, the Tumblr importer etc etc. But we were excited to let you know about this, and thought now was the right time to do so! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let us know in the Discord!


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