Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Postby SQ » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:57 pm

I know redesign's pretty much stalled, but I may as well make my footprint here while I have the time.

I think that instead of trying to update what we have, we should cut our ties with 'the old org' (which I'll get into later) and forget all about it. We'll start anew with new systems and/or ways of doing things. We'll simplify the .org and make it more enjoyable to use for both viewers, editors, and reviewers.

But first, some definitions of terms I'll probably be using:
Spoiler :
The Old .org
By this I mean the 'catalogue mentality' that is often referenced in other redesign threads. The original purpose of this site was to catalogue all AMVs ever made. Viewing, sharing, critiquing was secondary.

Viewers
Could be referred to as people who do not edit videos, enter anything into the catalog, or editors who primarily view rather than edit.

Reviewers
Can be editors or non-editors who primarily review videos in some way, shape, or form. This can be through OP exchanges, QCs, star ratings, AMV Announcement forum threads, etc.

Editors
Users who primarily edit or display videos. But more specifically, they are assumed to be experienced with the site and have been around for at least a year.

AMVing
The general term I use for "making AMVs" or otherwise being [actively] involved with the .org site community and its editors.


Before I get to the huge list of suggestions, here is my overall opinion of the direction this site should take, influenced by the "What's wrong with the .org" thread.
Spoiler :
I, personally, believe the .org needs to completely drop a lot of the things that made it very "elitist" to outside view. It should be an open and accepting environment. Right now, it's intimidating and there's a very large learning curve to understanding how things work. While attempts at making the .org more user-friendly exist, usually in the form of guides, these are hidden away and hard to find for first-time users.
I know I personally have tried to get people to join the .org to experience better quality AMVs than Youtube, but the community drives them away. 98% of the time when I mention the .org to aspiring editors, they say they've heard something negative about it, or that they tried and were driven away by one thing or the other. We need to stop this. The .org cannot survive by only catering to the "technology adept" people. While AMVing is a technology-driven hobby and does involve what would be considered above-average intelligence, times are changing, technology is advancing, and it's getting easier and easier for the hobbyist editor to create videos. Just because videos may not be up to the level of 'professionalism' that most would like does not mean we should ostracize these people from the community alltogether. There is always a possibility that the subpar editor can become the above par one in the future with help and guidance. And if not, they can still become an active member by participating in other ways such as reviewing others' videos.

Because of this, there needs to be an over-all drive to 'simplify' the .org and make it easily understandable to the majority of users, not just the editors or technology adept.

In addition, we need to get rid of the 'catalog mentality'. That is the old .org and it's not going to work in this day and age.
Catalogs are boring and clog up the system, making it harder to find videos to actually view. The site is donator-driven. In order to get donators, you need some sort of community. Therefore, indirectly, we are a community-driven site. Not a catalog-driven one. We've already made the move to local downloads and streaming videos. We've been preparing for the old .org to die for quite a few years now. It's about time we finally cut the rope and focused on a newer, better, higher functioning .org. The catalog should take a backseat to the entertainment and community.


Now it's time for the overhaul of suggestions. I'll jump into things here.

FORUMS
There are too many of them. Forums should be welcoming to the new user and experienced user alike. I understand that some years a go there was a drive for more forums and seperation but now I believe this is overkill.
Spoiler :
I'll start top to bottom.

These are lists of proposed forums and subforum structures.
- indicates a root forum
-- indicates a subforum
--- indicates a sub-subforum
Indicates a main forum that should be deleted entirely, but right now is in use.
Indicates a new forum not currently in use, but should be considered

Anime Music Videos
- General AMV

- AMV Announcements
-- Recommended AMVs (moved below)

- AMV Suggestions
-- Recommended AMVs (moved from announcements)
- Opinion Exchange (for the use of formal opinion exchange)
-- Beta exchange (for the use of informal critique/opinion exchange of unlisted videos)

- Multi-Editor Projects

- AMV Contests
-- Org Supported Contests (all contests will share the same forum)
--- Project OrgEditor (2011) (threads would be put in org supported forum instead)
-- Iron Chef Tournament(s)

- Heads Up! (threads can go in the OT or respective general hardware/software forums)

Anime
Leave as-is.

Music & Video
I think we should combine these into one category and call it "editing" or "Technology" or something similar. For now I'll just go with "Editing".

Editing
- General Music (general music discussion can go in OT.)
- Audio Help (combined & consolidated below)

- General Video & Audio Help (misc. queries that don't fit elsewhere, also combines the general music and video forums)
-- Footage Help (Should be a better name for this, but it would take place and combine the AviSynth and capture/rip forums)
-- AviSynth
-- Capturing and Ripping
-- Video Software Help (we should re-consolidate all the software into one forum again, I think.)
-- Video Hardware Help
-- Adobe Software, Sony Vegas, Windows Movie Maker, Mac Software
-- Video Software Help Archive

- Compression, Encoding, and Converting
- Special Effects

When re-combining all the video software forums, I would suggest making a new rule for these forums, such as a standardized naming convention. This could be as simple as asking users to put "[software type]" in title, or adding some sort of subtitle option to this forum so it doesn't actually affect the actual topic title.
An example being this:
Topic title: Can't rip DVDs
Subtitle: Using DVD Decrypter

It would show up as this in the topic list:
Can't Rip DVDs
Using DVD Decrypter

Web Site
Leave as-is, with the possibility of consolidating 'site help' into site feedback, making one single forum of "Site help and feedback"

Proposed Forum Features / Design
Overall, I would like the forum to be able to do the following:
- Have tags or keywords, especially in regards to the help forums, AMV announcements, recommendations, MEPs, and contests.
- Sort threads in the AMV announcement forum by topic created date, or introduce an auto-locking feature. Details here
- Place an emphasis on searching topics in the above forums (with the exception of AMV Announcements) rather than creating new topics.

- In regards to user profiles, have the ability to choose your own user title (I believe this might've already been implemented) once you've donator status.

- If modding is a "problem", hire more mods, but limit them to certain forums. Currently all mods are global mods. There shouldn't be any problems with allowing forum-specific mods. This also allows more community-driven modding without affecting vital parts of the site/forum. You could also have "helpers" that only have the ability to move topics from one forum to another, so as to aide abatement of spam, but not risk too much potential malicious mod activity.
- Have some sort of mod application process. Right now there doesn't seem to be one. It doesn't have to be public. But some sort of process would be nice. Like a little checklist of standardized requirements or something. Same goes for coders/developers.

- Link to the "How to use the .org" guide ON THE MAIN PAGE OF THE FORUM, AT THE TOP. Also add a subtext of "If you have any other questions, visit the site help forum" or something similar.
Alternatively, just put the site help forum at the very top of the board instead of at the bottom.
A[n obvious] guide on how to use phpBB would also be nice.


SITE'S MAIN PAGE
I haven't kept up with everyone's site redesign mockups, but I'm going to go with the assumption that the less coding there is, the better.
Here's my general suggestions regarding the main site page's re-design:
Spoiler :
- When logged out, make "become a member!" text and/or incentive more obvious.
For example, have the link "Become a member" under the login box, but maybe add some text like "Becoming a member allows you to download videos, X, Y, and Z! And it's totally free!"

The rest of the suggestions refer to the main page as you are logged in.

- Consider color-coding the different 'categories' of links. It may be just me, but I find there to still be too many sections, even when able to minimize them. Having different colors for each 'box' will help users identify quickly which section they need. For example, 'my account' could be blue, 'search for amvs' orange, 'fans' green... Etc., etc. Something like this. But prettier.

- Have an RSS feed for news. If you have one already, make how to get to it easier. Consider putting the twitter/facebook/etc. links closer to the news. Or at least make them more obvious. I didn't even know they were there until I started dissecting the page for this post.

- Put quick search for AMVs on the top right menu instead of the bottom of the left one.

- Link to the info/help page about the banner contest somewhere in the whole banner voting box. It could be as simple as adding one of those little (?) tags and having it link tot he info page. I realize the banner contest is linked to under 'contests' but I doubt that will make sense to someone who just joined.

- Consider a "more.." link for 'new vid on the block'. All could be videos uploaded within the last few days. Or hour. Or however active you deem appropriate. You could also consider having the vid info summary there instead of just the video title. Similar to how we do things with the vidid tag on the forum. I would like to know what anime/song combination, at the very least, is available through the new video without actually clicking the link. But I'm sure others would be interested in the screennames/bios of 'new' editors.

- Speaking of that, why not a "new editor on the block" or "Newest user"? Link to new user profiles. It promotes the welcoming of new users.

- "How to use the site" guide is under guides, but I believe it would be beneficial to double-post it under "site help" as well.

- When pressing the "more..." link in relation to new journals, I think it would be beneficial to scrub the first few lines of text from each journal, similar to how gmail allows a 'preview' of each email before you click it. If this is not possible or too difficult, a 'title' for the new journal entry being shown would be nice. In fact, I'd prefer to have the entry's title being visible rather than the date it was written.


EDIT PROFILE INFORMATION PAGE
You'd think this is a simple page, but in reality...
Spoiler :
I really think this is where those questionmark tooltips would come into play very nicely.
A simple page like this has given me trouble for quite some time.

- Explain what the newsletter is. Somewhere. What's in it? Why do I want or not want it?

- "special Options" gmail account. To be honest? Unless you're planning something really awesome in the future on the backend, I'd get rid of these completely. I don't think anyone uses them, and they're difficult to use even if you are using them.

- "All my videos have been entered into the catalog". Get rid of it. It's an arbitrary checkmark that disqualifies you from the VCAs. Anyone with half a sense will keep it checked, even if they didn't enter in all of their videos. And really, most people make videos that aren't considered anime music videos too... If they don't list those in your catalog, should they be honest and leave the checkmark blank? You should either get rid of this checkmark completely or change it to something like "Don't auto-include me in .org contests (such as the VCA)". That makes everyone happy and it keeps your intentions transparent so everyone knows what they are.

- "Profile" portion, with text. It'd be nice if you added a little note such as "simple html tags such as bold, italic, etc. work in this." That note is everywhere else. Why not here? It'd be nice to know.

- Add a 'preview' option for the profile text. That would also be nice.

- "Studio affiliation". Explain what a studio is. Somewhere. Anywhere! Please. This eludes all users for quite some time because it is never really mentioned... Anywhere. You could cheat a bit and just put the definition of 'studio' in the 'new studio' window pop-up.
"A studio is a name for a group of editors who like to be recognized as one entity and/or frequently work together on videos. When you add a studio affiliation to your videos, you automatically add studio members as collaborators..." etc., etc.

- "Top X anime/AMV" lists. These are way too hard to edit and many users don't bother with or update them at all. Unless you are planning something awesome with them in the future, get rid of them or turn them into text input, so we type whatever it is we want in there ourselves. I realize the "top favorite videos" stats on the main page will disappear if this happens, but a simple fix could be used.
Such as, if you'd like to favorite a video, enter in the video id or link instead of its name (on the edit profile page). And then do something on the backend so the ranks still work. I don't think the top favorited AMVs thing is very popular to look at, though. So doing away with it entirely wouldn't harm anything. We still have our top 10%, top opinions, top stars, etc., rankings.

- Should you not want to get rid of or change the 'favorite videos' option, at least explain what that whole 'rank' box thing is on the video information page(s) where you can enter it in. Maybe make 'rank' clickable or have a hover text explaining "inputting a number here will add this video to your 'favorite videos' list on your profile'...


MAIN PAGE LINKS
Here I discuss some pages that're linked to from the main members page.
Spoiler :
Local downloads page
It may be a good idea to explain to people that if they actually want to see every single local video they've downloaded in the past, they need to become a donator. Link to a 'make a donation' page for this, as well. More incentive to donate.

My Journal Page
- Consider adding a mass-editing or checkmark system, so you can make more than one entry private at a time.

- Add a 'delete entry' button somewhere. Currently, you can only mark things private, not delete them.

- Add a 'mark everything private' or a 'delete all entries' button. I've been here for many, many years and honestly I'd rather not have people reading the crap I put down in 2003.

- Add pages to journals. There is no decent navigation for journals with many entries right now.

- There are many suggestions regarding using an entirely new journal system. I'd like for you to consider those. But if changing the entire system is impossible, please consider my suggestions for slight improvement of the current system.

My Banners page
- Group the banners into collapsible groups, so we don't have to have a page stretch if we've uploaded many banners. Some would like to only view rejected, unworthy, or worthy banners. Others may not want to view any.

-Update the explanation of the voting criteria on the page. Right now it makes no sense, and it says 'logo' instead of 'banner'.

Super Search
Add something like "You can get more options for searching by donating." and add a link to the donation page. Any spot to add incentive to donating is a good one.

Newest Videos
Get rid of it or somehow merge it with the 'more' option suggested for 'new vid on the block'. The emphasis on locally hosted AMVs (as these are the only ones for new vid on the block) is biased and outdated.

Newest Downloads
Delete it or combine it with new videos/new vid on the block.

Opinions Given
When you click the opinion you've given, you should be led to your opinion. Right now it leads to the page with all of the opinions for that video on it, and you have to search to find your own.

Modify Alerts
Why is the left-hand site navigation gone from this page??

Opinions Received
You should group these similarly to how videos are grouped on the main profile page. Only show those videos we've deemed 'important'. Then allow us to maximize to view all videos.
Alternatively, just auto-minimize any videos with no links and/or no opinions.

Enter new video
I'll discuss this later.

Edit Videos
- Allow users to delete their video entries without your approval. Why should we have to ask for your approval? Just allow us to delete them. Even if you give us a 'delete' option that's really a 'locked away from everyone's view, yet still technically on the site somewhere' option, that's better than nothing. We need to get rid of the old org's mentality about this.

Make a Donation
I've discussed this multiple times and I'd rather not repeat myself again. Read this. Basically, just get rid of the pledge system.



















Please remember these are just MY PERSONAL OPINIONS. I am by no means stating all of my suggestions should definitely be included. I am absolutely willing to be contested/proven wrong/change my opinion/etc.
As an old member of this community, I have suggested many features in the past and almost all of them have been implemented. So I would ask you to please consider my opinions as I do not believe I've intentionally steered the .org in any wrong direction.


PS:
Okay I started this post about two months a go, and was gradually adding onto it through the drafts system. I have more to say but I've lost drive to continue updating this post. So I will submit it, as what it has I think is helpful as-is. And I'll leave it if other people would like to contribute/add-on.

I may edit this post with your contributions later. =3
Last edited by SQ on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Postby Ileia » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:34 pm

For the most part, I agree. I don't have much to comment on except, well, the newsletter has been dead for a long time. Unless there are plans to get that back up and running, we could just do away with that completely, especially with the Org's Facebook and Twitter being more active now. Favorite anime can go, that's fine. Favorite AMV is still used by a lot of members and I think that one should stay. Other than that, yeap. Everything else is pretty spot-on (that "all my videos have been entered into the catalog" thing has been bugging me foreeever. >_<).
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Re: Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Postby Otohiko » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:55 pm

SQ wrote:Forums
Spoiler :
Anime Music Videos
- General AMV

- AMV Announcements
-- Recommended AMVs

- AMV Suggestions

- Opinion Exchange (for the use of formal opinion exchange)
-- Beta exchange (for the use of informal critique/opinion exchange of unlisted videos)

- Multi-Editor Projects

- AMV Contests
-- Org Supported Contests (all contests will share the same forum)
--- Project OrgEditor (2011) (threads would be put in org supported forum instead)
-- Iron Chef Tournament(s)

- Heads Up! (threads can go in the OT or respective general hardware/software forums)

Anime
Leave as-is.

Music & Video
I think we should combine these into one category and call it "editing" or "Technology" or something similar. For now I'll just go with "Editing".

Editing
- General Music (general music discussion can go in OT.)
- Audio Help (combined & consolidated below)

- General Video & Audio Help (misc. queries that don't fit elsewhere, also combines the general music and video forums)
-- Footage Help (Should be a better name for this, but it would take place and combine the AviSynth and capture/rip forums)
-- AviSynth
-- Capturing and Ripping
-- Video Software Help (we should re-consolidate all the software into one forum again, I think.)
-- Video Hardware Help
-- Adobe Software, Sony Vegas, Windows Movie Maker, Mac Software
-- Video Software Help Archive

- Compression, Encoding, and Converting
- Special Effects

When re-combining all the video software forums, I would suggest making a new rule for these forums, such as a standardized naming convention. This could be as simple as asking users to put "[software type]" in title, or adding some sort of subtitle option to this forum so it doesn't actually affect the actual topic title.
An example being this:
Topic title: Can't rip DVDs
Subtitle: Using DVD Decrypter

It would show up as this in the topic list:
Can't Rip DVDs
Using DVD Decrypter

Web Site
Leave as-is, with the possibility of consolidating 'site help' into site feedback, making one single forum of "Site help and feedback"

Proposed Forum Features / Design
Overall, I would like the forum to be able to do the following:
- Have tags or keywords, especially in regards to the help forums, AMV announcements, recommendations, MEPs, and contests.
- Sort threads in the AMV announcement forum by topic created date, or introduce an auto-locking feature. Details here
- Place an emphasis on searching topics in the above forums (with the exception of AMV Announcements) rather than creating new topics.

- In regards to user profiles, have the ability to choose your own user title (I believe this might've already been implemented) once you've donator status.

- If modding is a "problem", hire more mods, but limit them to certain forums. Currently all mods are global mods. There shouldn't be any problems with allowing forum-specific mods. This also allows more community-driven modding without affecting vital parts of the site/forum. You could also have "helpers" that only have the ability to move topics from one forum to another, so as to aide abatement of spam, but not risk too much potential malicious mod activity.
- Have some sort of mod application process. Right now there doesn't seem to be one. It doesn't have to be public. But some sort of process would be nice. Like a little checklist of standardized requirements or something. Same goes for coders/developers.

- Link to the "How to use the .org" guide ON THE MAIN PAGE OF THE FORUM, AT THE TOP. Also add a subtext of "If you have any other questions, visit the site help forum" or something similar.
Alternatively, just put the site help forum at the very top of the board instead of at the bottom.
A[n obvious] guide on how to use phpBB would also be nice.


Since this is kind of my area, I'll add a general :up:

I think consolidating the forums would be a very good idea, and I heartily approve of moving stuff like music and heads up to a more encompassing and prominent OT section which I propose to call "Community" forums ("OT" as a designation encourages spam). Actually I can think of a couple more thinks/sections that could go under "Community" forums in order to help foster the social links we need to build here. Rather than encouraging OT behaviour and cliques that were problematic in the ooooold OT sections, I think well-organized community forums will help direct things. Music and heads-up can go there right away, no questions asked, though. Although I previously voted against it, I would now actually also encourage a forum under that section for discussing non-AMV videos and announcing LAMVs (which has been happening in General Discussion politely, undisruptively and with aid to keeping people in the community - just see the latest ROS and LAMV announcement threads for an example of that).

Whether under site or community, I would like to see at least a token forum for feedback on .org-associated things that currently may lack exposure, in particular but not limited to: .org store, .org twitter/facebook, #AMV and the apparently-still-alive AIM room. People need to be better aware of those at the very least.

AMV Recommendations should still stay under general AMV rather than announcements. Announcements should be kept to announcements. Speaking of announcements, there IS an auto-locking feature.

Sorting and tags are nice. I don't really use either, but I'm sure both of them are fairly simple mods to install.

Section mods - this is something that I approve of and in fact for a while thought we had. At the moment we don't seem to have a severe lack of mods to be honest, but I can think of a few people to suggest for some of the specific sections. In principle, I think that's a good idea - in practice, I'm not sure we're desperate for mods right now.

Anyway, these suggestions have my support. Should we have an .org administrative meeting soon, I will be actively advocating some of these :up:
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Re: Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Postby Radical_Yue » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:36 pm

x2 on what Otohiko said.

Time to get rid of the Everstone and evolve into a Charizard. In other words...LET'S DO THIS! >:O
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Re: Submission; Opinion Redesign suggestions

Postby SQ » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:16 am

Thanks guys. I made a small change to the forums section; just moving the AMV Suggestions subforum to the suggestions forum from the announcements one.
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