Disclaimer: While these interviews are not associated with a-m-v.org, this specific episode perhaps may (in a small way perhaps) reflect the opinions of the site administration. Addendum: The information in this interview is slightly outdated. The administration has had meetings since this interview took place and there are some changes to the information. More information will come in a future interview.
Welcome to the Lip Flapper! Each week, we delve deep into the community and get a good look into both individual members as well as group discussions on various issues that surround our hobby.
_________This Week in "The Lip Flapper"
We start off March with a quick interview with Kariudo, and get his take on the current site update status. AT the end of the week, I'll sit down and review a video about an infectious disease that's toe-tappingly terrific!
_________The InterviewQ: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this week. So, how about we start off and ask you to introduce yourself?
Sure thing. My real name is Derek, and I thoroughly enjoy pizza. I prefer to use Kariudo with most people online (at least those I haven't met in person). It tends to get shortened to Kari, which is fine by me, but it has caused at least one person to think that I'm a girl.
-------------Q: So Kariudo, what got you involved in AMVs, and when did you become involved with the A-M-V.org administration?
My friends back in highschool got me involved in AMVs, because that's what friends are for (getting you hooked on things that cost money
). They started off with some DBZ vids, and then they started pushin' the hard stuff on me. I'm pretty sure it was either ShonenDizzyCow's "Evangelion Opus" or the first AMV Hell that sealed the deal. Soon enough, I was reading the guides and fumbling my way through editing my first video.
I was first approached by paizuri about becoming a mod back around [American] Thanksgiving in 2006. So I've been part of the administration for over 5 years now. I wasn't really thinking I'd ever be a mod, or admin for that matter, so I was pretty surprised when I saw that PM in my inbox.
-------------Q: You'll have to forgive me for the minor sidetrack before we really get into the meat of the main discussion, because I can't help but ask this as a long time fan of "Blue Trailer", HOW did you manage to get those people that perfect shade of blue? Especially those eyes!
Well, I'm glad that you're a fan of it. That one's not really one of my favorites. I'm one of those people that looks back on past works and can only see the flaws. I honestly didn't remember that I did Rei's eyes until I watched it again.
Most of the blue in that one came from messing around with the "Change to Color" effect in After Effects 6.5. I just messed around with it until the stuff that wasn't blue became blue.
-------------Q: Can I ask if a remake with the new Eva movies might be in the possible future? A blue pirate Asuka might just be the most amazing thing ever.
I haven't edited anything since I completed my most recent amv (I Mustn't Betray), and I don't know if I'll make any more amvs...but that project might be something for me to look into after I get through my current trial of life.
-------------Q: Ok, I'm done with my blue obsession. I believe that there is a lot of changes that the site update has wanted to implement. Care to share any confirmed/denied updates that will or will not be included in the eventual update?
That wish list is part of what lead to the stalling of the redesign effort. There's more to it than just that (I can go into more detail if you'd like), but it certainly was a factor. New site layout aside, the main additions we were looking to include were:
-A more developed journal system (replies, editing previous entries, more allowed bbcode/html tags)
-Streamlining the catalog entry and uploading process (Mostly replacing those big, long animu lists with an autocomplete box like what we put into supersearch...and adding web uploading as an alternative to FTP)
-Better catalog administration tools (part of the reason why the music catalog remains so unkempt is because the tools we have just plain suck)
There may have been a few more, like changing the star ratings from 1-5 to a sliding scale with finer ratings (like 3.4 stars), but it's been a good while since I've looked over those threads.
While new features are nice, it really shouldn't be the focus right now. There's a ton of code that makes the org what it is. It's more than enough of a job right now...adding more things on top of that just makes it that much harder to finish. That, and it's really easy to lose yourself in adding features and forget what's supposed to be getting done in the first place.
Right now, the focus just needs to be on rewriting the existing code, and making it open-source. Part of the reason why the development of the org (separate from the rewrite) has stalled is because we couldn't get the site's code out to people who wanted to code. The current code can't be open-sourced (and its readability is questionable too,) hence, it needs to be rewritten.
-------------Q: The update is going rather slowly at this point. Can you share what is tying everything up? Or rather, a ballpark figure when we can expect to see things?
I'll admit that I'm the biggest reason why the rewrite has stalled. Because of that, there is no ETA. I really want to avoid saying something as unsatisfying as "life got in the way", regardless of whether that's true or not...so with that in mind, I think there's two parts to why I'm a big factor in the stall.
First, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, and I hadn't lead any previous coding projects. I sat down, made a plan with goals that weren't as well defined as they should have been, tried to execute it, and failed.
After that, I sat down again and made a new plan. I read up on Test-Driven Development. I went out and re-read the documentation for the tools that had been selected, and worked on a side-project to make it all sink in. I haven't tried this new plan yet.
The second part is one of my personality quirks. In my mind, a manager needs to be able to teach the people working under him/her how to do the tasks which they will be assigned. Additionally, I think a manager should take part in the work themselves. I wasn't able to make myself competent enough in unit testing (part of TDD) to feel like I could instruct and direct the people who would be working with me.
-------------Q: Is there anything that we, as A-M-V.org users, can do to expedite the process?
We need more people. Right now, my thoughts are that 7-8 people would be our mark. Enough to break up the work into small enough pieces, but not so many that people start stepping on each others toes.
Experience with PHP and the MVC paradigm (Model-View-Controller) would help, but anyone with a few college programming courses under their belt (or other programming experience) and willing to learn should work just fine.
We need someone who has experience with unit testing, can learn phpUnit (unit testing framework), and can lead people in making unit tests.
We also need someone that can lead the rewrite. I don't know if I'll be able to dedicate the time needed to lead the project. At this point, I should just step down as project lead. If we want this to keep moving forward, we need another person to help lead the project.
Even if I do step down, the rewrite needs to collaborate with someone on the administration to get at the hidden parts of the site (mainly the moderator and administrator functions, but also for anything related to the database schema). Right now, that pretty much comes down to dokidoki or myself.
-------------Q: Moving away from the update, the forum has gotten a lot of re-organization requests. Any chance these might be granted in the future?
Well, there is support on both the user and mod sides, so I'd say it has a fairly good chance of happening. I've really got to find some time to set aside to sit down, evaluate everything, and start talking with people. Some of the suggested changes sound good (merging general music with general discussion), others need some investigation and thought (recommended amvs being demoted to a sub-section again). I should have time to do that by the time people are actually reading this.
-------------Q: Anything you'd just like to say to the a-m-v.org userbase in general?
Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!
Other than that, the only thing I can think of is really to echo what you said in the "What in the bloody smucks happened?" thread. If you're worried about the community, don't wait for someone else to do something about it. Take the initiative, and create something to get people involved. OrgEditor, Brad's IC tournament and the Lip Flapper are all things that help the community.
I can't come up with many suggestions myself, but another idea for a contest might be a theme contest. Pick a theme or a restriction of some sort (like, video must be edited using only avisynth), give people 2 days to edit, get a thread together to announce them all at once and discuss which one you think did best. Kinda sounds a bit like OrgEditor, but I did warn you about not being able to come up with much.
-------------Q: Well thank you for taking the time to speak with me this week Kariudo. Any advice/suggestions you might like to make to newcomers to this site?
New members should dive right into the forums. The body of the community might be the main site, but the heart and soul exists on the forums.
Participation is key to a good time on the org. If your only purpose is to pimp your youtube channel, you probably won't like the org. If you like amvs, have an opinion on some aspect thereof, and want to share/discuss it, you'll have a much better time.
Kariudo (and all of the site administration) does a pretty nice job keeping this place nice and tidy. I've yet to have a bad experience with them or the site moderation.
I (like many of you) are anxious to see the site re-designed. I see dreams of a new journal interface and a less difficult upload/QC system, and I want it NOW. After reading this and speaking with Kariudo, I realize that I'm part of the problem! By continuing to add more and more into what needs to be done (instead of offering suggestions as to how to implement them, or offer coding experience), I continue to delay the project without giving anything to it!
So let's all take 10 minutes this week and think about someone we know in our lives that really knows coding well. See if they'd be interested in a project! As a freelance web designer myself, I know that working sites are excellent things to add to a resume and can attract potential future clients. Especially such a large and complicated site with so much work involved with it!
Oh, and "Blue Pirate Asuka 2013". Banner makers, MAKE IT HAPPEN.
-Currently, the monthly calendar has not yet been confirmed. I'm waiting on a reply before I can set everything in stone.-
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for all relevant information about future Lip Flappers, as well as past/future interviews!
____Next Time on "The Lip Flapper"
Join me Friday when I sit down and review a fun/dance video about a disease that I personally love. Will we see a modified review system? Perhaps... Perhaps...