Suddenly, boom! And we passed the 2000 entries mark in our article database!
I hope you forgive me.
And if you don't well, just scoot on to the rest of the site!
Of the 2000+ articles we have published, more than 99% are flyfishing and flytying related, so you will get what you came for.
I feel it's not that long ago I wrote the article celebrating the 1000 entry anniversary.
And it isn't.
The article was published in 2009, almost exactly two years ago.
Did we really write and publish a thousand articles in two years?
No, to be honest, we didn't. We published a couple of hundred.
But how then, did the number of sitemap entries suddenly jump to over 2000?
Well, because of our single largest success ever: the GFF Video Channel. For technical reasons each of the 800-and-some videos have an entry in the article database (it makes them searchable amongst other things), and that has of course made the list explode. So the 2000 article anniversary is kind of a pseudo-anniversary.
But, as you know, we don't let any reason for celebration pass unnoticed, and of course we want to write about ourselves on this happy day!
If you are a GFF regular – and half of you are: 50% of our visitors are returning visitors according to our stats – then you've read articles like this one before. The 1000 article celebration, the year that passed from last year not to mention our 10 year anniversary, which was 6 years ago almost to the date.
Yes, we just love writing about ourselves!
You may also have followed the Hard disk/Server Blues thread in our blog where I have personally tried to document the technical history and ailments of the site, which is run on a home made, steam and rubber band driven publishing system, that has served us very well these past years.
We have had our struggles with hosts and servers, but have hopefully postponed the next entry in that particular row of blog posts for a couple of years.
This time around I won't drag you through all kinds of boring numbers telling you how well we perform with regards to visitors and traffic (and we do!), but tell you a bit about all the plans we have had for the site over the years... and still have in some cases.
In no particular order I present to you the crazy ideas, some deceased and some still alive, that have been in the digital vise on the virtual GFF tying table.
Fly Fishing Wiki
When wiki's (like Wikipedia) first started popping up many years ago, I thought it would be a great idea to have a fly fishing wiki that could contain all the pooled knowledge of the GFF crowd.
I did set up the wiki page (wiki's are built with open source software and are free), and even made a skin for it to fit the GFF look and feel.
But the project never took off, and we were a little doubtful whether it would ever become a success or would merely be another source for spam and noise.
I still have the code, but lost track of my design files, so a screen dump is out of the question here. I wonder where those template files are?
Flyfisher to flyfisher. Flyfisher-2-flyfisher. f2f.
This idea was born back in the days where I traveled a lot on business and needed local fishing contacts in the areas where I came. I used to try to contact people through assorted bulletin boards and email and our own forum. Sometimes I missed opportunities and sometimes I struck gold.
I thought: why not have a place where you can offer yourself as a fishing companion to visitors? I have always enjoyed having visiting fishing guests, and have welcomed the excuse to go fishing. You can't let down visitors, can you? You simply have to go!
So f2f was born.
Let people know that you are willing to help. Enter your details, your location, what kind of fishing you can offer and what you are willing to do, from telling people where to go to inviting them to stay in your home and feeding them.
You would be amazed over the hospitality I have met while traveling and fishing, and I have set up many anglers in my home as well as taken people fishing, and I have met the same welcoming behavior many places in the world.
So why not tell people that you want to do that?
That was what this system was supposed to do. Get anglers around the world in contact with each other.
It could even be expanded with paid services, offering guides and lodges to announce their facilities to the audience. You could then choose private or commercial hosting on your trip depending on what was offered, your mood and your wallet.
The project stalled because of the complexity. There's a lot of work in setting up a system like this, and I simply couldn't find the time and energy to finish it.
This was a very simple me-too idea. Everybody had polls, so why shouldn't we? Well, maybe just because of that! Everybody has polls, so why should we?
I did finish a setup for the polls, but when I started thinking about it, it was just too much me-too, and I couldn't really think of what to ask, so I ditched the idea.
This was inspired by a concept found many places. A relay series or stories or articles, where one person would add a chapter or a section to a long and semi-random list, and then pass the torch on to a friend or contact to add the next one.
There's nothing wrong with the idea, and it would be fun to see it roll, but the problem is that it might be stillborn, never taking off, and since it requires quite a lot of work top create and make as maintenance and administration free as possible, I never got further than a small start page.
Like wiki's, widgets was a thing that suddenly was talked a lot about some years back. Widgets for your computer desktop, widgets for your tailor made home page, widgets for your Google search page, widgets for your mobile or smartphone.
But unlike wiki's, widgets never really took off, and while I did research the technology and create the stub for a GFF picture widget, I never finished it completely not to mention publish anything.
Now, this idea isn't quite dead yet!
During the many years of GFF's existence I have received hundreds of flies, and have a very large stash of very interesting patterns. But... and I'm really sorry to say this: I have lost track of the origins of a lot of them, and forgot whose flies were whose.
Some have letters with them, others nothing. Some are connected to emails in my huge mail-archive dating back to 1996. Some are just utterly lost in space!
I'd like to connect people and flies again and maybe get on with what was originally planned, which in most cases was to write an article about them.
The X-Flies was supposed to be a place where I could upload images of the lost flies, and people then could help me find their origins by claiming the flies as theirs or by directing me towards the originator.
This might also be a deadpan idea, but at least it would enable me to post photographs of all the nice flies I have been sent over the years.
When I first wrote about shooting heads, it brought quite a bit of attention. The talk about rods, lines, line weights and line lengths was peaking, and feet, meters, grams and ounces were flying. People were in general very occupied with line setups and optimizing their gear using THE rod and THE line.
I have personally never really bothered much with the details, but used what I had and been quite flexible. But I know that other anglers are much more into trimming their gear to perfection formthe optimal performance.
So I thought: why not offer a place where you can let the world know how you set up your rod and line? Let the users enter rod models and line details, so that others with the same rod can get it right the first time.
This sparked the development of LineCentral.
But I soon realized that registering details about rods and lines demanded a very intricate system that could take into consideration all the parameters involved, which meant everything from all rods by all manufacturers to all the lines and special adaptations that could be made to them by the anglers.
An odious task, which either required a lot of work and research from my side or a system that could handle and validate input from the users. Both would mean a lot of work, and the idea stalled in the making, and was never finished because of its complexity.
This is a forerunner for the wiki, but in a narrower and more focused form. The idea was to make a multi-language dictionary that contained the words we use and translations into all kinds of strange languages. I often read German or French texts, but have a pretty hard time understanding all the special fly fishing terms. Such a dictionary would also enable me to read fly tying instructions and material's lists in other languages.
It would of course require the participation of local GFF readers with knowledge of fly fishing terms in English and in their own language.
This only ever became a drawing board idea, and never made it to the coding stadium.
So many plans
As you can see from the above we're not short of ideas for functions on the site. Most ideas never get any further than the drawing board, while others will go on to the prototyping state and actually get to a stage where it can be tested. But even at that stage most of the ideas are discarded because we estimate them to require too much work to develop, too much work to administer or maybe we judge that they simply won't draw the audience we want.
In stead we spend our time on content for the site, and spit out new articles as fast as we can.
It also requires work to produce content, but it's also a lot more likely that it will draw visitors. Almost all our normal articles are viewed by thousands of readers while functions such as our forum, the user's galleries and other functions may gather a large number of spectators, but rarely lures in quite as many who actively participate.