discussion / Community Base  / 31 May 2022

WILDLABS Platform Updates

Hi everyone, I'm Filip, director at Octophin Digital, a little digital agency building things for the wildlife conservation sector. The WILDLABS team have been working with us to build this new platform.

It's been such an amazing opportunity to finally get to rebuild the platform after years of discussing it on excited dream-sharing phone calls, but we're no way finished yet. We've launched but as with any technology project (speaking to the right audience here!) you'll know there are bound to be issues and improvements for weeks, months and years down the line. We've also got some more major new features and sections of the site launching this year.

We all want this to be an evolving piece of software that captures what this community needs, but it might take a while for all aspects to be perfect. So please bear with us, but most importantly let me or the WILDLABS team know if you spot anything that isn't right or have any suggestions.

We'll be using this discussion to post changelogs for each release. We're going to be as transparent as we can be here so some of this might be dull but necessary fixes, but features and larger improvements will also make it in as they're deployed.

May 30, 2022: 

  • Major improvements to performance including automatically scaling image sizes (still some work to do here), aggregating / minimising code and caching things like group statistics so they don't have to recalculate every time.
  • One of the pains of working on the web at the moment is a constant onslaught of bots. We tried so many out of the box spam prevention methods but the bots had been trained to get by all of them. So we went with a simple, bespoke, wildlife themed question such as "Do tigers have stripes or spots?". Although some of you are no doubt working on training machines to answer wildlife questions, the bots attacking the site are currently fooled. We're going to keep monitoring this. If you spot anything that appears to be spam, please let someone know and we'll take action.
  • We've changed the sort order on the feeds to prioritise new content rather than comments for now but will be tweaking this while we look at how people use the new platform.
  • We've added an events tab to groups to show events happening in that specific part of the community
  • Careers postings were appearing too far down the feed so we adjusted the sorting to make it equal across content types
  • Using an article or event's summary text rather than a trimmed main body text on feed items (summary text will soon be required).
  • Fixed some issues with which content was appearing on a member's activity feed on their profile
  • Fixed an issue where adding something to a collection could cause an infinite amount of requests to the server effectively denial of service attacking ourselves(!)

Hi everyone,

Another little update on changes and fixes we've been making to the WILDLABS Platform.

Mostly bug fixes this week. Most of these are responding directly to issues / feedback raised by members so please keep letting the WILDLABS team know if you come across something wrong. Thank you to everyone who reported these.

June 07, 2022:

  • We fixed a compatibility issue with many interactive parts of the site and desktop Safari versions 13 and below. Users on these Safari versions should be able to edit your profile and other things now.
  • Fixed an issue where people were not alerted that they hadn't filled in a required field on the user profile form if it was in a different tab so they couldn't know why the form was failing to submit.
  • Fixed an issue with the layout of events on the events page when an event header image wasn't set.
  • The default state for content was draft which was being set accidentally, so we've made content default to published. The actual draft functionality remains as before.
  • Added careers and funding opportunities to the site-wide search as they weren't being picked up.
  • Added back the 2021 State of Conservation Technology Report to its own dedicated page on the Platform.

Hi everyone!

Another update on improvements we've made to the WILDLABS Platform. This week's deployment is a big one and has a single focus as we've launched the new (private, direct, instant, chat...) messaging system. You should see "message" buttons on community members across the site and a messaging button in the top of your toolbar when logged in. (You can exclude yourself from messages in your profile settings if you don't wish to be contacted).

This is a giant, tricky bit of functionality that needs to feel seamless and easy to use. We're really happy with what we've put together but there will no doubt be bugs to fix and improvements to make. There'll be some improvements coming in next week but we hope you can already jump in and start networking with other members of the community.

Please let the WILDLABS team know if you run across anything you feel needs fixing or have any suggestions.

June 16, 2022:

  • Messaging system
  • Fixed a bug where comments on articles were being trimmed to a fixed length. Thank you to @andse and @carlybatist for spotting this. One of those funny bugs which highlights that we must have been only testing comments with "test test test" and short sentences!


Shout out to @Cris in my team at Octophin for doing a huge chunk of the messaging work. 

Hi everyone! 

After our big launch of messaging last time, this week has mostly been minor fixes and tidying stuff up but I decided we'd be transparent about all these Platform updates so here's what we've been up to.

June 24, 2022:

Functionality improvements

  • Improved the search when mentioning someone so it can now cover all parts of a full name, not just the start of a username.

Styling and output changes

  • Usernames were being duplicated on some card layouts when no header image was provided
  • Removed some "message" buttons that were available to not logged in users (going to an access denied page)
  • Removed "th/st/nd" from some dates to make dates easier to read for all audiences
  • Improved the profile picture display when visiting a profile on mobile
  • Changed the click area size on tabs on the about page
  • Fixed some word wrapping on tables
  • Centred usernames on comments as the alignment was off
  • Fixed an issue with consistent group resource card sizing
  • Improved table display inside articles to make long tables scroll horizontally
  • Tidied up the like count display on articles
  • On some browsers the discussion comment date was moving around when clicking the open replies box so fixed this.
  • Funding opportunities and careers opportunties were showing a stray "introduction text" label in some displays.


Shout out to front end developer @valeria in my team at Octophin for doing loads of these.

And also a GIANT shout out to Ronan (@RHugtenburg) who after a year of being the greatest placement student ever has left Octophin to go back to University to finish their degree. They're the best level of budding conservation technologist so I'd hugely recommend anyone after a future programmer keeping an eye out for their future plans.