The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesign)

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The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesign)

Postby CodeZTM » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:05 am

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Disclaimer: These interviews are not associated with A-M-V.org or its administration. The Lip Flapper is brought to you by the letter "I". Additional consideration was brought to you by Bob INC. Bob INC, bringing you crackpot anime theories since 1997. Get your free tin foil hat today!
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Description

Welcome to the Lip Flapper! Each week, we delve deep into the community and get a look into both individual members as well as group discussions on various issues that surround our hobby.
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Interview Spotlight

With so much discussion going on in the Site Redesign, I thought it be a good time to get the administration's point of view on the situation, and we speak with GloryQuestor (the website administrator of a-m-v.org) this week.

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Interview

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Thank you for joining me today, GloryQuestor. How about you introduce yourself real quick for the readers that may not be as familiar with you?


Hi, everyone, I'm John aka GloryQuestor. I started out creating AMVs in 2004 and soon got active with the IRC chat community, which was very helpful in getting me started in the right direction for my editing. I have been consistently AMV editing since then, and am still actively making AMVs today.

I've had a pretty consistent rise from joining the site to becoming an admin. In 2006, I was promoted to Channel Operator in the IRC chat room. In 2008, I was invited to be a forum moderator for the site. In 2010, when Jasper left the site, I stepped up to take over her duties as Website Administrator. Despite all of that, I still remain the same person I always was, a member of a community built around a hobby that combined two of my favorite art forms. :awesome:

I got involved in the convention side of things in 2006, when I started submitting and visiting Tekkoshocon, Anime Weekend Atlanta, and later Anime Central. I became staff for both Tekkoshocon and AWA in 2008, then later on became the AMV head for Tekkoshocon's "sister" conventions KuroKiiro Festival and Sangawa Project. This coming September, I will be back at Anime Weekend Atlanta, and in October I will be staffing Another Anime Con at Bashar's invitation. I've met and been working with a lot of people in the AMV and convention community, with my greatest influence being Vlad Pohnert, who I've worked with in AMV rooms since 2008 and been learning a lot from every time I work with him. :amv:

Let's see... my favorite anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion, I'm a big fan of 80's music, I like classic video games & anime-based games, virtual pachinko & pachislo, trading card games (Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Duel Masters), and enjoy spending time walking into and around the town I live in. Currently, I'm spending my time going back to college to get a business administration degree and in the downtime working on convention contests and watching anime, while spending time with my friends both IRL and online. :)

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Today, the focus of my interview is about the site re-design. Care to let us know a little bit about the current design team and what they're currently attempting to accomplish?


The current design team is being managed by I Fight For The Users (aka trythil, but I'll use IFFTU since most everyone here is more familiar with his current nickname). He was put in charge of the project after attempts to build the site within our administration did not really get very far and that the head of the last redesign attempt (Kariudo) has a lot of IRL issues that he had to deal with and he could not continue. IFFTU had a plan on how he wanted to get the design done, and after discussion, the administration decided to endorse his website plan.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Any general comments that the administration would like to make about the re-design?


Well, there's not much to comment on right now. What IFFTU has released is a very interesting design with both it's pros and cons, but I'm sure that we would like to see a lot more get done. I know that he has been in contact with Kariudo privately about what he needs from the site, and that they are in discussion about what the administration needs the site to have so that past mistakes with our present site coding are not repeated.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: So what sparked the current increase in design/coding? We went a long time without any activity, but now it seems to have gone BOOM.


Well, when I took over as administrator, I really wanted to get the ball rolling on getting the site revamped, since it's been discussed many times in the past but never really was done. The present website code is still based on code done when the website started, and by now it's pretty much a huge mess to administrate. Some of the issues seen with both the site and the forum stem from a really bad code base that, for many things, has to be physically edited just to get anything done. Right now, the Technical Admins (Derobert and DokiDoki) are the only ones who know enough about the code to keep it running. We certainly do not want to keep the site operating this way, as it gets in the way of everyone wanting to do things to improve it and, if we were to lose both Dero and Doki, it would effectively cripple the site.

The administrators as a whole really do not want to keep this site as inflexible as it has been and the site could really benefit from a fresh website with new code and a structure that makes editing the code to add or modify the pieces a lot easier than we have it now. So, now that IFFTU is in charge of it and he has been getting a lot of other members involved, the site redesign is finally moving along after years of waiting.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Is there anything the average a-m-v.org user can do to help in this process? Even if we can't code or design?


The best thing that members can do is continue to comment on what you see about it you like and what you don't. You can give constructive pros and cons about the website design as it's being done, but remember two things:

1) It is a Work-In-Progress. Give IFFTU some time to get it more developed before you start really tearing it apart. :uhoh:
2) IFFTU is apparently willing to take your input under advisement, but don't start complaining if there are aspects of the developing site that eventually don't meet your expectations.

So, please, we do encourage everyone to go to the Org Redesign Suggestions page and let everyone know what you think about the design. Your comments are very welcome, but just don't expect everything you want to happen right away. Give the site time to grow from its new infancy when we get there. :)

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Care to let us know about the technical website hosting the re-design documentation? Is any user allowed to register and leave comments/messages?


From what I can see, anyone can join GitHub for free, but any issue comments made there should pertain to the site as presented and be constructive and be more about bugs and issues with the current site presentation he has up. If you have a more general commentary about the site or a "I want to see X be implemented" comment, we encourage you to please keep those on the Org Redesign forum for now.

I've noticed that there are a lot of notes from IFFTU about the redesign and the steps being taken, so it's also a good way to keep appraised on the progress of the site as it's being updated.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: The current website for the new site seems to be a bit bland. Is this just a rough draft design?


From what I've seen, yes, it is a rough draft in a very early beta state. With time and some refinement of the site, I'm sure that we will eventually realize what IFFTU has in mind for the site initially, so please be aware that everything you see right now could eventually change as more of the site is coded and built.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: There has been a lot of active discussion in the forum as of late with a lot of questions and concerns (as well as praise for the lead designer for taking such an initiative). The big two questions (and fears/desires) seem to be:

1) What features of the current site are going to remain?
2) What features of the current site are going to be removed?

Can the administration let us know about this? Will the administration accept the code "as-is" upon completion, or will they add/subtract features as necessary?


Initially, we will probably accept the code as-is, but we've already made it a requirement that we need clear documentation so that the website doesn't fall into the trap that has gotten our present site so unworkable. Once IFFTU gets the full site up and running, there will most likely be changes implemented behind the scenes, but the first version will be up for a while until we can get any additions done and working.

Again, we need to give IFFTU time to implement his vision of the website before any additions and subtractions would be considered. In the meantime, please enjoy the ride of the new site being done and continue to make suggestions in the Org Redesign forum as to what can eventually be added (and subtracted) once the first version is done and running.

CodeZTM wrote:Q: Thank you for your time, GloryQuestor. Any last minute comments or thoughts about the re-design?


Well, on behalf of the site administration, I would like to give thanks to David (IFFTU) and the members, both past and future, working with him on the site for their continuing efforts to get us an AnimeMusicVideos.Org site that will soon carry us into the future. I really can't wait to see it finally done after so many years, and to see trythil's vision of the new site come into focus.

Also, if anyone is at Anime Weekend Atlanta or Another Anime Con, or Tekkoshocon next year, don't be a stranger -- come up to the tables and say hi. Also, come on over to the IRC and say hi to me (I'm under the username G_Q). I really like meeting people and getting to know them better. It's really the part I've liked best about the community over the years, and will continue to do so. :)


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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby goЯz » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:23 pm

Great interview GloryQuestor, you're my favourite AMV editor, please keep up the good work you're truly an inspiration to the community =)
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Pwolf » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:29 pm

Thanks for commenting on the redesign, hopefully this will clear up some confusion about it's current state.
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Pwolf » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Pwolf wrote:Thanks for commenting on the redesign, hopefully this will clear up some confusion about it's current state.


Although, it would be nice if there was an announcement stating all this as well. It's actually been a while since David has been working on the redesign without any word from you or anyone. The only place we've seen it is in the redesign forum or in IRC which I think the majority of users don't see. An official announcement from the admins would do much more then just a lip-flapper interview. There's been a lot of speculation about what's going on, on my part as well, so it would be nice to see something in a more official capacity (aka, front page news item, announcement in announcement thread).
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby GloryQuestor » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:32 pm

Pwolf wrote:There's been a lot of speculation about what's going on, on my part as well, so it would be nice to see something in a more official capacity (aka, front page news item, announcement in announcement thread).


As I said in the interview, there hasn't been much to comment on because we really didn't want to get hopes up prematurely. The entire redesign project (both the prior one that was being handled by Kariudo and the current one being handled by trythil) were still made of ideas, with nothing concrete until trythil actually published the beta. Since we didn't want to disappoint our userbase, we really didn't want to make a more official announcement until it was at the point where the project was not only working, but was going to ramp up. That is actually happening now. :)

We were going to save this announcement for a little bit later since it isn't set up yet, but the administration is working on getting trythil and his team their own server on the colo so the beta can go officially public. It isn't in the interview since the server installation wasn't requested and confirmed until after the interview was submitted. We're working to get it set up the way trythil wants it set up, but the fact is that we are now stepping in publicly to say that we back trythil 100%, which actually we have been the whole time. :roll:
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Pwolf » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:50 pm

Well... beta.a-m-v.org works? what else is there to wait for?

I understand that you want to wait until there's something more concrete but a simple post stating, "Hey everyone, we have someone dedicated to working on the redesign. He has a design we like and we will be posting more details as things progress" is better then just saying nothing at all and then letting people, including myself, speculate about what's actually going on, which in most cases is "nothing". Even as a member of the original team of programmers slated to do the redesign, no one told me anything about this. It doesn't really matter if you guys have been backing this project 100% for all this time if no one knows about it. The general consensus is that nothing is happening at all on this site as far as changes are concerned. When David first posted a thread about his project in the Org Redesign forum is when you guys should've come out and announced something. That's what I would've done I guess. I much rather prefer the admins be more open and transparent about things going on behind the scenes. Not just in a random sub forum or interview thread but on a more global level.
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Radical_Yue » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:26 pm

Pwolf wrote:Well... beta.a-m-v.org works? what else is there to wait for?

I understand that you want to wait until there's something more concrete but a simple post stating, "Hey everyone, we have someone dedicated to working on the redesign. He has a design we like and we will be posting more details as things progress" is better then just saying nothing at all and then letting people, including myself, speculate about what's actually going on, which in most cases is "nothing". Even as a member of the original team of programmers slated to do the redesign, no one told me anything about this. It doesn't really matter if you guys have been backing this project 100% for all this time if no one knows about it. The general consensus is that nothing is happening at all on this site as far as changes are concerned. When David first posted a thread about his project in the Org Redesign forum is when you guys should've come out and announced something. That's what I would've done I guess. I much rather prefer the admins be more open and transparent about things going on behind the scenes. Not just in a random sub forum or interview thread but on a more global level.


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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby pacotacoshell » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:29 pm

Radical_Yue wrote:
Pwolf wrote:Well... beta.a-m-v.org works? what else is there to wait for?

I understand that you want to wait until there's something more concrete but a simple post stating, "Hey everyone, we have someone dedicated to working on the redesign. He has a design we like and we will be posting more details as things progress" is better then just saying nothing at all and then letting people, including myself, speculate about what's actually going on, which in most cases is "nothing". Even as a member of the original team of programmers slated to do the redesign, no one told me anything about this. It doesn't really matter if you guys have been backing this project 100% for all this time if no one knows about it. The general consensus is that nothing is happening at all on this site as far as changes are concerned. When David first posted a thread about his project in the Org Redesign forum is when you guys should've come out and announced something. That's what I would've done I guess. I much rather prefer the admins be more open and transparent about things going on behind the scenes. Not just in a random sub forum or interview thread but on a more global level.


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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby irriadin » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:39 pm

I have to agree with the others. More transparency with the redesign effort (and at the very least the staff acknowledging the existence of an official redesign) would be good to see.
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby macchinainterna » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:47 pm

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Furthermore,
pacotacoshell wrote:
Radical_Yue wrote:
Pwolf wrote:Well... beta.a-m-v.org works? what else is there to wait for?

I understand that you want to wait until there's something more concrete but a simple post stating, "Hey everyone, we have someone dedicated to working on the redesign. He has a design we like and we will be posting more details as things progress" is better then just saying nothing at all and then letting people, including myself, speculate about what's actually going on, which in most cases is "nothing". Even as a member of the original team of programmers slated to do the redesign, no one told me anything about this. It doesn't really matter if you guys have been backing this project 100% for all this time if no one knows about it. The general consensus is that nothing is happening at all on this site as far as changes are concerned. When David first posted a thread about his project in the Org Redesign forum is when you guys should've come out and announced something. That's what I would've done I guess. I much rather prefer the admins be more open and transparent about things going on behind the scenes. Not just in a random sub forum or interview thread but on a more global level.


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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby GloryQuestor » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:50 pm

Let's be fair, the admins have been open with you about a lot of things:

- The front page has the last thing that was announced, which was the forum reorganization. That was announced, it was finished, and it wasn't that long ago.

[GloryQuestor - Redacted and discussion moved. pwolf is right - should not have been mentioned.]

- As I mentioned, we are all very approachable and open to anyone who wants to talk. Kariudo is around here a lot doing his job as Forum Administrator, and I do respond to requests when you direct them at me to answer.

Since everything above seems like a pretty open approach, what is it you are not seeing that is "open" and "transparent"? I mean, are we going to open the floodgates of what the administrators do day-to-day? Not really. You have to earn your way to that responsibility, as my back story will tell you. I didn't get to this point right away, I got here after years of being with the organization and fostering relationships with a lot of the people who have been administrating before I did. What else is a community base for, if it is not to meet others that share the same interests? What is it that you want to see that isn't being seen or acknowledged?
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Radical_Yue » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:21 pm

I was at work so I couldn't respond right away but I guess I'll be making it a point to tell you what to post on the page that only you have access to for now on.

Didn't know that was my job in the first place, but sure, I'm up for the challenge.

This still doesn't fix the issue from the other night. It's just making it worse.
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby I Fight For The Users » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:23 pm

Hi,

Before fisticuffs, I just want to say that it's good that this is finally getting some press. Management of the historical record isn't necessary; we have all the facts preserved elsewhere.

Also, I have not been working on the .org codebase for a couple of days, because I need some time to clear my head. I have instead been doing hanging reverse ab crunches, pull-ups, piston squats, and playing Symphony, which -- aside from some game design issues that the developers are working on -- is a really fun music game. It's on Steam for $9.99. Advertisements.

Kotaku has a video of the game using Call Me Maybe if you're interested.
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby Shin-AMV » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:45 pm

GloryQuestor wrote:Since everything above seems like a pretty open approach, what is it you are not seeing that is "open" and "transparent"?


I think one of the issues stems from taking a really passive approach to the community. Being open and willing to talk/interact with community members isn't the same as actively approaching and expanding the userbase, or promoting and fixing the Org. Most people hardly know that there is an IRC chat, and even when they do they have no idea what IRC is.

Also being in a position of authority or of importance makes it difficult for new users to even approach someone. It'd really help just to see the admins/mods posting more casually a lot of the times, commenting in the announcement threads, or taking part in the general discussion forum that shows they're community members that care and are willing to approach and encourage people. Being tucked away in the IRC chat feels like its some strange cabal where strange machinations happen.

Basically, be more proactive and don't wait for people to come to you or even come to the site. I'm not saying start PMing everyone, but do more things that encourage people to come to the Org and stay on the Org. Youtube has a pretty expansive network of editors out there and we really need to reach out to them and figure out ways to accomodate them. We don't need to make them choose between youtube or the Org, but make the Org feel more relevant to them as an AMV editor and make the Org feel accessible as a community. Moderators/Admins that are highly visible and active on the forums goes a long way to show that there is structure and security.

We don't have to be like youtube either, but it just seems like there is some fear of change so there is a little bit of talk on what needs to get fixed, but then there isn't a strong follow up and seeming resistance on basic things that need to be changed and then 2 years later we are at the exact same point just with slightly altered forum subsections. :/
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Re: The Lip Flapper: Volume 28 - GloryQuestor (Site Redesig

Postby GloryQuestor » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:59 pm

Shin-AMV wrote:Basically, be more proactive and don't wait for people to come to you or even come to the site. I'm not saying start PMing everyone, but do more things that encourage people to come to the Org and stay on the Org. Youtube has a pretty expansive network of editors out there and we really need to reach out to them and figure out ways to accomodate them. We don't need to make them choose between youtube or the Org, but make the Org feel more relevant to them as an AMV editor and make the Org feel accessible as a community. Moderators/Admins that are highly visible and active on the forums goes a long way to show that there is structure and security.

We don't have to be like youtube either, but it just seems like there is some fear of change so there is a little bit of talk on what needs to get fixed, but then there isn't a strong follow up and seeming resistance on basic things that need to be changed and then 2 years later we are at the exact same point just with slightly altered forum subsections. :/


You weren't the first to make that proposal, but I definitely want to make sure it gets a serious discussion. That will be a topic on our next administration meeting. :)

EDIT: I should also mention a bit about why the site really hasn't been made that user-friendly for people. As I revealed in the interview, this site's code bedrock is pretty old and inflexible. The site was written at the time to achieve the original goal: "To create a website where every AMV ever created can be archived". The community-based elements were only added in the following years because they eventually became needed when the community around the site began to congregate and evolve. Unfortunately, the site has hit the wall--it continues to be a touch-and-go operation to even maintain and modify simple things right now. Heck, we can't even add new FAQs because they are hard-integrated with the site. So, at least from the site-side, much as I would love to see newer and more innovative hooks for newcomers to the site, there's really not much that can be done until the redesign is fully finished.

So, much as we would want to make the site more inviting for newcomers, it will probably be up to all of us who are here to eventually teach the newcomers how the site works. Even though we had started a marketing strategy (with business-style cards handed out at AMV rooms & events at conventions), we're going to discuss how to move that strategy to the next level.
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