Website History

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Miss Lewis
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Website History

Post by Miss Lewis » Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:51 am

Maybe sometimes I am too nosey for my own good but I’ve always wonder what made you decide to make and run this site. I’ve loved Road to Avonlea but I’ve never thought to open a site about it because I’m not very good at computer server maintenance . Is this site run off your own server or hosted by another server?

I got wondering about how you keep this site going, especially the forum, when it seems nobody is visiting or posting things. I can tell this forum goes though lags of time that it is very quiet and it’s not easy checking a forum like that every day or week.

I am trying to think up some good discussion topics to bring up here because in the past there have been some outstanding discussions that made me think of the series in whole new way. This is why I very sporadically keep coming back to this place.

Is there any other cool history about this website that you, Timothy, like to share with us?

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Post by Timothy » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:52 am

Well Miss Lewis, to answer that we will have to go back a few years to when things were very different. So lets all hop in Alistair Dimp... Er, I mean Dr. Brown's time travelling DeLorean and set the flux capacitor to the late 1990's (Okay, who's Ace of Base tape is this in the car stereo?).

In the years following the series final and 'Happy Christmas Miss King'--when the series was still fresh in peoples minds--interest in the series converged with the rise of Avonlea related websites and internet communities. In the states, if you mentioned the series to some random person you would likely get a blank stare (Today, you get an even longer blank stare). It wasn't easy to find fellow RTA fans. So instead of randomly knocking on doors and and trying to find the 1 out of a 100 person who might have heard of the show, the web provided a means for which to share opinions and discuss the series with others.

There were even role plays games (or collaborative writing projects if they are story-line/plot based) where you could write as an Avonlea character (I can't remember how many times someone wanted to be a long lost member of the King family). Around this time, I started writing collaborative stories with Jan, Shelly, Katie and a few other writers. In an effort to compile our stories, we started editing the stories in web format. The only problem was that I didn't know there was a text editor... So I started coding everything in html. This was the beginning of the adventure of creating an Avonlea webpage.

Of course, there had to be some sort of purpose to start a webpage. Influenced by some great RTA websites and discussions with fellow RTA friends, I thought it would be a fun project to write reviews of episodes and post them to the web. Additionally, I wanted to create a virtual environment for Avonlea. So this is how I started creating this website. It started out on a free website--but because I needed more space and functionality--it was moved to a hosting site. I use their server for webspace and create all the content.

So this brings us to today. You're right that the forum is not a buzzing hive of maritime discussion. This is not uncommon for a series that has produced no new content in over a decade. For an example of how interest in the series has waned, take a look at the following website for one of the oldest and most popular RTA discussion groups--formerly RTA Underground--now Avonlea Village. Look under the title 'Message History' and observe how the number of posts have declined from the late 90s until now.

I think there was anticipation among many that there would be more RTA related movies. After the christmas movie, I had no idea that the greatest dramatic show in Canadian history--with some of the most compelling characters--would only get one movie and no spin-offs. (Cheers had Frasier, Mash had 'After Mash' and 'Trapper John M.D... Heck, even the Dukes of Hazzard got an ill-fated spin off where their cousins replaced them). Nevertheless, I still like discussing the series and complaining about why Sullivan won't listen to his fans or his cast members and just make the next RTA movie.

I usually come to the site and read this day in Avonlea history, quote of the day, and see the rotating image, and so I can see if there is a new post under the 'Forum-Latest Topics' section. There really isn't a lot of maintenance involved. I think that people can get busy in their daily lives and not have a lot of time to post. That's understandable and it doesn't bother me. If you consider making a website, let us know if we can help. There are a few on this forum who have experience developing webpages over the years.

I hope that helps and thanks for asking.


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Post by Shelly » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:27 pm

Just throw the Ace of Base tape into Mr. Fusion. ;)

For another POV, I'll answer this, too.

* * * * *

Shelly's Avonlea was born in May 1999. It was sort of created on a whim; initially, I didn't think it would become what it has, nor did I think I'd still be running it nearly ten years later, although, originally, it had quite a bit more content than it does now. Although I still have a good deal of stuff there (fan fiction, a section on Felix and Izzy, one on Cecily, my own bios of various cast members, wallpaper), the main focus is on news--what the cast members are up to now* and other Anne- and Avonlea-related goings-on.

Also, for a time in '99, I had sections on Sarah Polley and Zach Bennett, as they were my favourite cast members. I ended up ditching the section on Sarah, as--at that time--there was a very good fansite for her (Sarah, Plain and Short--which is no longer online; there is now, which has grown into a fantastic site), and I thought it pointless to keep a section going on Shelly's Avonlea. On the other hand, my section on Zach was growing--so much so that it spun off into its own, separate site, Forever Zach, which opened on his 20th birthday (February 17, 2000).

Like this site, both my sites were originally hosted on free hosting sites for several years. They're now hosted on my personal domain, which is on a paid site. I have more control over what is uploaded, not to mention I have ample hosting space to work with.

* Back in the day, I had an FAQ section. The most frequent question I got was, "What is (insert actor's name here) up to now?" This would birth "Avonlea in the News"--which started out as just another section of my site. Looking back, it kinda makes sense that I ended up doing that, since the predominant sources for Anne- and RTA-related news--the Avonlea Traditions Chronicle and the Avonlea Spectacle--have both ceased production (ATC in 1999, the Spectacle in the early/mid 2000s). Kindred Spirits magazine, based on PEI, is still in publication, to my knowledge; but, in the issues I've seen of it, it's more focused on LMM-related things than the Anne and RTA franchises.
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Post by Wild Roses » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:44 pm

Those were fascinating reads! Thanks for sharing guys! Shout-out to Miss Lewis for asking such a great question, too.

I'm glad you have kept this site up and running. I still find out facts about the tv series I didn't know because of this site. Also, I quite enjoy seeing what articles and news is posted about the actors.
"We couldn't buy the logic that Jesus was the only way. That meant the Buddhists and Hindus who had never even heard of Christ Almighty were doomed to hell, while Ku Klux Klan members were not." From THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES by Amy Tan.

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Miss Lewis
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Post by Miss Lewis » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:26 am

Thanks for answering my questions and thanks Shelly for adding in your website history too. I’ve always considered you the expert on anything Zach Bennett related (you know a lot about the RTA too).
Timothy wrote:Around this time, I started writing collaborative stories with Jan, Shelly, Katie and a few other writers.
Ah so that’s part of the famous story role plays that you guys refer to once in awhile on this site. You guys must have liked those stories a lot since you wanted to preserve them in web format.
Timothy wrote:This is not uncommon for a series that has produced no new content in over a decade.”
I keep forgetting that fact…that it’s been over a decade since the last showed aired. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

I’ll add my thanks with Wild Roses…thanks for keeping this site running.

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Post by hannikan » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:21 am

Thank you for asking about this! I was curious about this, too. It's fun to hear the history of all this. I love all the LMM, Anne and RTA sites! Thanks for keeping them going Timothy and Shelly! I agree that it's hard to believe it's been over 10 years since RTA went off the air.

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