Formerly a developer in the corporate world, HAWK (known as Sarah by her mother) said goodbye to the code and succumbed to the lure of social media. Community Manager for the SitePoint network for several years now. If you're a member of our community you'll be familiar with ^hawk.

Sarah's articles

  1. Just Launched: The New SitePoint Forums

    After nine months of hard work (and plenty of fretting), we have a new baby. Since January we have been working hard to prepare for the migration of our forums off vBulletin and onto the Discourse platform. The time has come to flick the switch and like any new parent, I’m a bit overexcited about […]

  2. A New SitePoint Forum Experience: Our Move to Discourse

    I have been the Galactic Overload of the SitePoint forums for half a decade now, and on the staff in some capacity for twice that long. In that time I have experienced many of the highs and lows that one would expect of managing a forum of our size, and the best is yet to come. We’re about to embark on one of the bravest, scariest and most exciting things that a community can undertake.

    We’re moving to Discourse at the end of this month.

    There are a number of reasons for this decision. From a business perspective, SitePoint has grown and changed a lot over the past year and it’s time to expand that growth over to the community side of things.

    From a technical standpoint, SitePoint and Discourse are a marriage made in heaven. It is an open source JavaScript app using the Ember.js framework, running Rails server-side. We’re a Rails house, which means that we have the resources to maintain and customise the software so that it works for us. Our devs have been tailoring the front end and writing plugins for 6 months already, so we’re pretty comfortable with how it all works. While they’ve been doing that, our forum staff have been testing and documenting the new processes that we’ll all be using.

    From a community point of view, our forums have reached a tipping point. If you’re a member, you’ll be aware that for some time now we’ve been fighting what can best be described as a monumental battle against scores of bots, spammers, and posts of little or no value. We’ve tried out a number of different initiatives in an attempt to turn things around, but the effects have been negligible. It’s time we tried something drastic.

    You’d be fair in thinking that a change of platform won’t fix an unhealthy community, because that’s true. So we’re going to do more than that. We’re proposing not just a new platform, but a new SitePoint Forums experience.

    Picture this…

    A forum that provides you with tools to positively influence the behaviour of other community members. A forum that empowers engaged members to hide posts that are low quality and recognise those that offer value. A forum with built in immunity from spammers, bots and trolls. A forum that runs on a platform that is flexible and open-source, meaning that you can help us to make it the kind of place that you want to spend time in.

    If that sounds good, then stick around, because that’s what we’re offering you.

    I think it goes without saying that a change this big is going to be difficult for lots of people in lots of ways. Change always is. We’ve been working on this all year and have done as much as we can to ensure the ride is as smooth as possible. No doubt you will have questions. I’ll answer some of the more obvious ones here, but if you have more, please ask. The more information you go into this armed with, the easier the move will be.

    It wasn’t long since the last change. Why change again?

    When SitePoint relaunched last year, we upgraded the forums in an effort to maintain some cohesion of brand, but it really was just a reskin. Our forums currently run on vBulletin, which was great back in the day, but it no longer serves us well. Coupled with that is the undeniable fact that we are no longer moderating the community in a way that is allowing for healthy growth. Over the years we have formulated moderation processes and procedures that worked well at the time and with the limitations that vB put on us, but things have changed and those processes are no longer as effective as they need to be. To a degree we have become stuck in our ways, so this change is as much about revising the ways that we manage, moderate and support the community as it is about the platform on which it sits.

  3. Talk Foundation with the Experts:
    The Transcript

    Today I hosted a really interesting Talk with the Experts session. The subject was the responsive front-end framework Foundation and our experts were designer Alex Walker and front-end developer Simon Taggart (both of whom used Foundation to build this very site). Earlier this week we released a video titled Bootstrap or Foundation? and offered the […]

  4. Talk Ruby with the Experts:
    The Transcript

    Today was one of the more exciting Talk with the Experts sessions that I’ve moderated in a while, but it had nothing to do with either the subject (which was Ruby) or the experts (who were our very own Mal Curtis and Alex Smith). It was because we used the live code window. If you […]

  5. Talk HTML Email with the Experts – The Transcript

    Today’s session of Talk with the Experts was a huge success by all accounts. As the post title suggests, the subject was HTML Email and our expert was Nicole Merlin of Email Wizardry. If you subscribe to any of our newsletters, you will be familiar with Nicole’s work. The number of attendees was approaching the […]

  6. Roll Out The Red Carpet

    If you’ve been hanging around this particular part of the internet for a while, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that it’s one of my favourite times of year – Awards Season! Our community here at SitePoint is the foundation of our business and the forums are a key part of that. […]

  7. Talk AngularJS with the Experts – The Transcript

    Talk with the Experts this morning saw us chatting about the powerful AngularJS framework with SitePoint group developers Mal Curtis and Brad Barrow. The hour turned up a lot of resources, all of which I have compiled into a list below for those of you that don’t want to sift through the transcript. AngularJS in […]

  8. Mobile Web Development with Matt Evans:
    The Transcript

    This morning saw me hosting another in our series of Talk with the Experts live chats in the Learnable chatroom. If you haven’t checked it out lately, make sure you do. It’s had a bit of a revamp and is looking all shiny and new. Today the subject was Mobile Web Development and the expert […]

  9. Talk PHP with the Experts:
    The Transcript

    Talk with the Experts this morning was a busy one, with close to a record number of attendees. Hardly surprising really, considering that the subject was PHP. Luckily for me, the experts were our very own developers Jude Aakjaer and Michael Sauter, and they were super quick off the mark. I didn’t even have to […]

  10. Talk with the Experts:
    Buying & Selling Websites & Domains – Transcript

    Today I had the pleasure of hosting Flippa’s Luke McCormack in our Talk with the Experts chatroom. We were discussing the ins and outs of buying and selling websites, domains and (now that Apple have changed their T&Cs to make it possible) iOS apps. Luke offered up a number of tips including how to use […]