A year in review from socialism.tools
Written by Socialism.tools Admin
Published December 16, 2021

Year in review

It’s been a long, weird year, and I thought I’d make a quick post to review what I’ve done this year. Socialism.tools started in 2020 but I only really started polishing it and adding regular content this year.

In the first half of the year, I added WMPL to enable Spanish support. I also helped DSA national a bit with their WMPL rollout and their translators. I learned a lot – mostly that making your site truly, fully multilingual is really hard. I turned off automatic translation for new posts and will likely remove WPML – the combination of not actually knowing Spanish well enough to translate myself with the tech rabbit hole of WMPL was a bucket of cold water on that ambition. WPML was a great fit for national though, I think – it’s extremely cheap, pretty performant, and the management features seemed welcome. I may revisit WMPL for this in the future, but right now I don’t think it’s worth it.

I made quite a few technical changes as well, dropping Cloudflare and enabling Bunny.net instead. This strategy worked so well I have a proposal pending at the NTC so we can use this strategy to host all non-main DSA sites (Chapters, OCs, WGs, etc) for a very low cost. Whether we go down that path or another, hosting this site and the associated apps has been a great learning experience for me, and I hope I can continue translating what I learn into posts here so others can get the learning without all the trial and error.

The site isn’t close to finished – I have a lot of changes I want to make to improve readability, and the way blog posts have to be written with Divi is annoying. But, with the addition of the newsletter and my now-monthly posting schedule,  I feel that I’ve hit a kind of “1.0”, a basic level of competency I can keep building on so it doesn’t feel like just a side project. The amount of hits to the site isn’t terribly impressive (Google and Ackee give completely different numbers, maybe around 100 a month? This is an ongoing challenge). However, I’ve gotten a surprisingly wide range of comments and feedback already from readers, so thank you to everyone who wrote me something, and apologies to the several people who were caught in my email snafu earlier this year (I promise I read your emails! Outgoing SMTP just failed silently)

I’ve got a few different things lined up for early next year. Here’s a peek:

  • Visual and other pedagogical improvements to the Security Guide – this a huge area of focus to me and more is coming. I don’t think security guides present the information in a clear and concise enough manner for users and after finishing the post I realized I made the same mistakes.
    • One security series will focus solely on Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar from the perspective of an organization like DSA that has a mix of low-tier licenses and free users performing “business” functions.
  • A renewed and standalone look at every major FOSS Slack killer. This is in progress, and as a lot of the work is done already, should be out soon.
  • Website visual refresh – I want to keep the 90s vaporwave vibe, but I think I could make styling more consistent and in some cases, more readable
  • Posting once a month – I think this is a good cadence that will push me but still be sustainable.