On October 3, 2006 I setup hosting, but on October 6, 2006 the software was installed and invitations to join the community began to go out. Sure it was all hush hush until February 2007 while trying to set everything up in terms of policy and making sure the software we began with was working well together, but the community itself was born with the first one hundred people who received the link and an invitation to join on October 6, 2006.
The idea of the Haven was something born over time. I spent most of the year hoping to find a community that already fit the bill, I even spent time helping other communities establish new aspects of themselves, but in the end it just felt like things were still missing. Though a couple places came close to what I had been looking for I just couldn't shake what was missing.
I wanted to attach the original message I had posted of the idea of the Haven, but unfortunately it's so lost not even the Wayback Machine could retrieve the page I posted it all to. Unfortunately I can't even remember what I said, but apparently it was good enough for several people to contribute startup cash through Amazon Honor System and PayPal. The promised community was enticing enough to draw interest from other captioners at the time, which became the beta testers. Everyone invited in those first few months either already had a hand in the TF/TG community at large or had begun to contribute in some way before it was even a public site. Back then the site itself varied drastically in appearance and functionality from day to day as we tried to manage software we had no understanding of and force different systems to bridge together for the first time. Policies could change on a weekly basis, and probably one third or more of the members had a staff title of some sort.
On February 20, 2007 the site became public knowledge. Within hours our traffic had spiked so much that our host assumed we were being attacked and shut down the domain until they managed to get hold of me. In truth we weren't attacked until 2009 when a hacker took advantage of a security hole in a modification to the forum in order to use our domain to attack a small college in Canada. That time they also shut us down, but we were able to verify the integrity of the code and remove the door they had used quickly.
When I began what would lead to the Haven my goal was simple and quite small. A community which dabbled in a little bit of everything, but could point you in the direction of something more focused on what you may be looking for. I never expected it to become the destination, more of a fun place to stop on the journey. Things changed when I opened the future of the site up to the early staff by inviting them to take part in shaping the community with me. It's a decision which led to something that while similar to some places I had hung my hat over the past year (as I had invited people from just about every stop along the way) it was still truly something standing alone at the time we opened the doors.
It's been an interesting ride to this point. This community has evolved far beyond my expectations of what I was putting together. All that's left is to see what it becomes in the next 10 years.
Rachel's Haven is now operating on a secured domain, that's what the little "s" in https stands for. Likely you also see a little padlock icon now when you visit the site. However, some are having issues that can mostly be solved by doing the following:
1. Clear your Browser's Cache
2. Delete Rachel's Haven cookies from your browser. There are three of them and should be named rh-forum, rh-gallery, and rh-library. Everyone will have rh-forum, but you will only have the other two if you have visited those sections
Those using tablets and smartphones can again use the site with the complete menu without having part of the site cutoff from view. With that said there are further plans to be implemented regarding mobile browsers, but for the time being things are working as expected in that they are similar to the previous software. A 'responsive' version will come in the future.
Had to add the again part as this is actually the second time the Awards database has had to be redone from scratch. The heroine of the day is none other than Jezebel, who wrapped her hands around the data she was given, recreated each past award in the system, then came back through and reassigned them to everyone who had ever had one. Now if you think that's a small job let me just say that at the time the rebuild was started we had created more than 255 individual awards which were assigned to 828 accounts, some with several awards.
So, if you're happy to see your award restored don't forget to tell Jinny how awesome she is!
When you have a forced deadline, no time for help, and barely enough time to do the necessary task you just have to take care of the basic needs.
While the appearance is definitely far from perfect it is at least functional for the time being.
In addition, though the Library is still currently offline when it does return to service it will not be connected to the member database. What does that mean? Well, you can try to log in all you like, but you will keep getting messages about how there is no such account. Unfortunately this is something we could no longer avoid due to the timeline given by our host to upgrade specific software or have the site disabled.
The good news is the software in question is now done for. The bad news is after 12 hours at the keyboard and 30 hours awake I am calling it a day. So have fun, enjoy poking around, just remember there's more to come in the next few months.