I mentioned this on the Discussion board but I wanted to get it out to everyone so you are all informed. I am in the middle of building the new Archive. It is being coded from scratch and I anticipate it being done in the next few weeks.
I had initially thought of a content flow model for the front page (like Facebook where the newest items go to the top) but have decided to stick with the more compartmented style like the current front page. There will be sections for each kind of content (stories, images, captions, discussions). The images and captions sections will be hidden on initial page load and you will be able to click to expand that section and see it. That way, users at work or in public who don't want the images to display can avoid that and people who don't like captions can just ignore that section.
The site is a responsive design so it will look and work well on smartphones and tablets and image display should be dramatically improved with the best sizing for whatever screen you are using.Obviously the submission process for stories will be much improved and I think I have solved the garbage character issue so they should display correctly. When I migrated all of the stories, I had it check for those issues and correct the html so it displays quotes and apostrophes instead of garbage.
I plan to integrate the Continuous Story section into the site unlike the current one which is just i-framed in. It means that there will be more Continuous Stories available so the stories can be focussed more on people's interests (like an AB/infantilist story separate from an AR/AP story) and that users will have to have an account to post to them.It also means that updates to the Continous Story could appear on the front page. I have not yet decided if they will be collapsed like images or not.
I am going to add a distinct section to the site for people to promote paid projects. At minimum it will allow you to post images and information about your project with the ability to add links to purchase, get more info, etc.
There will be content tagging for pretty much everything where content contributors will be able to tag their contributions so content can be browsed and searched by the categories it fits into. I am considering setting it up so registered users can also tag items in case the contributor doesn't. The tagging will allow things like Story Contest entries to be found under their subject category (AR, AP, etc.) while also being viewable as part of the contest - so you will be able to see all of the contest entries in one place but after the contest is over the stories will still appear in the correct area of the site. This has been a weakness with the current software where the contest entries are separated by what contest they are part of.
The biggest changes should be to how content is contributed, organized and displayed. There will be the current avenues to view things organized by content type (images/stories, etc.) but there will also be the ability to go to a user's public page where all of the content they have contributed will be together - kind of like Deviant Art. Everyone who wants can have their own page(s) to display their work. It will use subject tagging to organize content into categories for browsing organized by subject or category in the rest of the site. Contributors will be able to organize their images into albums and I will be adding the ability to select an album type for a sequence of images - the images will be displayed in upload order, so the first image uploaded will be the first one displayed. No more uploading in reverse order or having to contact me to "fix it".
I have already migrated all of the over 1,300 stories and almost 5,000 chapters to the stories. Quick note: Don't post any stories here that you want on the new software unless you are prepared to re-post them when access to the new site is opened up to everyone. I am not going to migrate any more stories. On the development instance they are being displayed, are browsable/searchable, are updating view counts, have tags to categorize stories and otherwise doing all of the things that the current Archive software has stopped doing. I am also going to be adding the capability to "like" stories and that number will be displayed as well.
My next steps are setting up commenting/discussion and private messaging. I believe I will be able to migrate all of the existing story reviews, discussion comments and private messages to the new site. I will let you know when I move the data because after that point, anything posted here will not be moved or updated and you would have to repost it to the new site for it to be available. After Discussion and Messaging, I plan to migrate the existing images and large media. Then I will focus on the content creation side where people can manage their profiles, add stories and images, send messages, etc.
If you have any ideas or suggestions, I am also going to post this to the Discussion area and you can share them there.