I am currently in the process of reviewing all of the membership levels at GMIC and what each level will offer. This includes subscribing membership as well as the incremental membership based on participation in the community. This will include:
- Changes in image uploads (detailed below)
- Offering more incentives to subscribing members including an enamel membership badge, and the ability to use images in signatures.
- Icons to support membership level
This has been a difficult area to resolve and has caused much angst over the years. Following a recent discussion amongst the moderators over lost images in older topics, where the image has been hosted elsewhere, I have reviewed how we manage uploads.
The simple fact is that images, if not handled correctly can unecessarily take up a lot of server space. Modern digital camera and phones can create image files that are HUGE and if not edited or compressed prior to uploading, a single image can unecessarily take up lots of expensive server space.
I have tried over time to increase the allowance for all membership levels, to make posting images a lot easier to manage. A good image quality on screen can easily be managed well under 200kb. However this method of restriction has always put the onus on the member to edit the image prior to posting. This has ensured that the image fits the criteria for membership and can be uploaded to the GMIC server. I am more than aware of the problems this can cause some members, both in terms of time and lack of IT skills and as an alternative some members find it easier to host their images on their own websites or servers. This is fine in the short term, but over time I have found that links to images are lost and that topics can become almost irrelevant without the image to support it.
I have therefore been looking at other ways to upload images to give incentive to posting on the GMIC server. What I would like to achieve is similar to ebay where a member can upload (within reason) any size file and the software automatically reduces and compresses the image to a more manageable size. This in turn will hopefully induce more members to post images here at GMIC than host them elsewhere.
But this is not as straightforward as it sounds as there are limitations to the software, which I am still working on getting around. After several weeks of trial and error I am nearly there and you may have seen over the last week that images that are uploaded now display at a max of 300 X 300 px thumbnail, click on the image in a post and it will open to its full size. Hopefully this will be resolved by the time I announce the new membership levels next week.