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  #1  
Old Feb 15, 2010, 10:21 AM
quintin3265's Avatar
quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Default Moving forward

After last week's discussion about the site and its future, I took some time to evaluate the current situation and decide how to move forward, with the input of many of the comments from the previous thread. First, I'll list the things I definitely decided, and then the remaining questions that are open to suggestions.

-------------------------

The things I decided upon:

First, I'm not going to promote this site at the Shizz any longer. So that nobody thinks I'm ignoring their messages, I disabled private messaging at the Shizz. While I may still post at Overclocked ReMix, where the reaction to the site has not been as negative, I also disabled private messages there to avoid ill will in the case that I don't visit often. You can contact me here or by E-Mail if you need to get in touch with me.

Second, while help is still welcome and I'm willing to discuss compensation for anyone willing to provide programming or graphics work, beginning now I'm going to leave open the possibility of the site making a profit. Up to this point, people have basically been saying: "make us something that we like, alone and for free, and then we'll use it." I don't have a problem with doing things non-profit, and originally intended this site to be non-profit. But a non-profit organization requires substantial work from the community in order to succeed. I understand that people are busy and have other things to do, but there's no satisfaction in getting neither help nor money in return.

I'm going to make the site closed-source, and contact everyone who has volunteered to help with programming and graphics to notify them of this decision. They can decide to continue their contributions, but at this point there is no opportunity for compensation and I'm not going to try to hide from people that the site now has the possibility of generating a profit. I contacted Chris from the VGMdb several months ago and he was OK with this decision. While still following community suggestions, I'm also going to exercise greater control over decisions.

Third, as to songs, the site will remain free to use. Songs can still be removed at any time, they can be downloaded by anyone, and registration will continue to be free. If the site ever makes a profit, revenue will be generated using the proposal below.

Fourth, the current site, as it is, is dead. It cannot continue without significant changes.

----------------------

Now onto the proposal for addressing the issues discussed before. While I agree that focusing the site on either originals or remixes is a good idea, a significant weakness is that focusing will eliminate a good portion of composers from participating. The other problem, particularly with a focus on originals, is the site's domain name and title, which has recognition at other sites and incoming links. It is desirable to change the domain name and site title at some future point, but only when enough people are visiting to carry over. I believe that both types of music should continue to be allowed.

At some point soon, I'd like to make slight graphical changes to the site by somehow adding more "game-themed" graphics. I also plan to move around things on the front page to highlight music, as suggested by one poster.

I propose that the central focus of the site be a new "experience" system. Using this system, most operations will lead to either a gain or reduction in experience points, following a table like the one below:

Code:
things to gain experience
-post song or video:  5 points
-high ratings:  rating points every 6 months:  a song with rating 6.6 gets 6.6 points every 6 months
-song is a lossless file, or video is HD quality:  1 point
-post review:  1 point for each 250 words in a review
-update profile periodically to keep it up-to-date:  1 point for profile update, per three months
-host compo:  3 points plus 1 point per entered song
-submit song to compo:  3 points
-place in a compo:  (# of entries - place + 1) points
-vote on compo: 1 point for full voting list
-buy experience:  $0.15/point using PayPal, minimum 25 points; will change to control inflation if necessary
-update toplist:  1 point every time updated; limit once per month
-song view: .01 points per view
-song download: .01 points per download
-post a new song revision: 2 points in addition to the standard bonus for posting any song

things to lose experience
-unacceptable comment or obscene images or songs:  -1 point
-posted songs not video game songs:  -1 point
-DMCA takedown notice:  -50 points
-remove song: -10 points
-add feature to display some sort of badge for people who have large amounts of experience saved up
-invalid song or profile information (wrong length, invalid location):  -1 point
-spend for song promotion on frontpage:  highest bidder gets highest placement above the fold - at first, prices may be as low as one point per day
-compo prizes:  however many points the user wants to use as a direct transfer to the winner
-free link:  highest bidder gets highest placement
-redeem for actual prizes:  periodic promotions; -300 points for free games or CDs, for example
-songs with "not selected" influences:  -1 point per 3 months
-entry into random lotteries for stuff like T-shirts or software (except in the four states where this is prohibited)
-VGMdb forum bullying or harassment without constructive criticism:  -1 point
-accounts with total experience falling below -10 suspended
Most people will earn experience by participating in the site. Revenue can be generated by selling experience points to those who participate less often or who want to get the word out about their music. The key use for experience points will be for people to promote their songs on the front page. Like Google AdWords, placement will depend on how many points the user is willing to spend. New and charting songs will continue to be displayed below the fold as they currently are.

If enough people participate, they will earn enough experience to fund prizes for compos. To pay for hosting costs and to provide me more time for development, the redemption value of experience points will be slightly lower than the cash value of the prizes. Since experience is awarded for generating site hits, everyone is encouraged to link to their songs, which in turn generates more listens for everyone. That, in turn, generates more revenue from advertising, which results in greater prizes and more development and more exposure, and so on. The greatest part of all this is that, if it works out, you can earn free stuff simply by spending your time contributing content to the site without actually paying for anything.

The hooks for all this were programmed from the beginning. They can likely be implemented within two weeks. But believe it or not, this exact idea as presented here started entirely from zircon's post. It's funny how things turn out.

If you're interested, I'd like some comments on this proposal. Would you be interested in participating in such an experience system? Would it make you more likely to post songs? Or, should I simply sell the site because there is no demand?
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  #2  
Old Feb 15, 2010, 09:19 PM
Kidd Cabbage Kidd Cabbage is offline
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While I have already been posting music, and obviously didn't need another reason to post any, I have some thoughts about the system.

-The biggest thing is that the system tends to promote quantity by far over quality. You get 5 star stickers to post any song, whether it's quality or not, but the only star stickers you get for quality is hardly more than that every half a year, when I could pump out a crappy song a day and upload it (possibly more - but it's doubtful anyone would want to listen to them!).

-In the same vein as above, revisions give 2 star stickers plus another 5 star stickers for posting a song. That's 7 star stickers and doesn't really make any sense, considering how much more effort is put into making new songs rather than tweaking a song that's already made.

-I hope that star stickers are retroactive (at least positive ones) from the beginning of the site - like I've said, I've been trying to help out the site by giving it as much content as I could, and I don't want to regret not having waited until you decided that system was a failure.
  #3  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 08:10 AM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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After listening to you and another person, I agree with the idea of retroactivity. The experience points system, if implemented, should be retroactive. The net result of that will be that the barrier to entry for newbies will be higher. As a side effect, some people, like shawnphase, will end up with huge negative totals that, according to the rules, will result in account suspension. That's almost like an ex-post-facto law, where people are punished for something they didn't know was a crime. There has to be some way to deal with that issue fairly.

I think that the focus should be getting the system implemented for current operation first, because calculating retroactivity is an involved process in itself and can't necessarily be handled by the same functions as current and future points would. I don't see any harm in adding the retroactive points in a week or two after getting the system finished.

The issue of songs is a good one; we can decide the exact point values as needed to encourage or discourage behavior as time goes along. For now, perhaps a person should be 1 point for posting a song and points could accrue every 2 months instead of every six. Is this frequent enough? Remember, there is already an incentive for quality in posting songs that get lots of downloads and views.

I still think more input is needed before moving forward, because the opportunity cost of trying this new idea is high. The worst thing that could happen is a repeat of last May's dissatisfaction over graphic design, when I redesigned the site and then people offered comments that I didn't know about, and therefore couldn't act upon, at the time of the design.

I did hear some positive news, however, from someone yesterday that there are 28 people interested in entering a competition.
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Last edited by quintin3265; Feb 16, 2010 at 08:12 AM.
  #4  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 11:26 AM
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Kaleb.G Kaleb.G is offline
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I have a minor suggestion. On the front page, you should have an Flash-based audio player option available so you can click play and hear some of the currently top rated tracks on the site streaming right away.
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 01:37 PM
Kidd Cabbage Kidd Cabbage is offline
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On the same topic, when the site is redesigned, I think that in the song page, the download/listen options should be right there in front of you, since that's what most people care about - lay it out in a way that's logical when considering the priorities of the users. I'm serious when I say that out of all the people I have linked my songs to, like half ask "How do I download it?"
  #6  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 01:41 PM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleb.G View Post
I have a minor suggestion. On the front page, you should have an Flash-based audio player option available so you can click play and hear some of the currently top rated tracks on the site streaming right away.
This is already available, actually. Just click the "play in playlist" button for any grid, and you'll be able to play the current search results in order.

I don't think there's a help page for that topic. I should probably write a help page for playlists.
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  #7  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quintin3265 View Post
This is already available, actually. Just click the "play in playlist" button for any grid, and you'll be able to play the current search results in order.
OK. I feel it's hard to find though. The link is smaller than the links for the RSS feeds. Also, you have to scroll down a whole page just to get to any of the music. Music should be popping out at my face ready to be listened to.
  #8  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleb.G View Post
Music should be popping out at my face ready to be listened to.
This and what Kidd said is true
  #9  
Old Feb 16, 2010, 07:31 PM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Agreed, people won't bother to check the help file if they can't find something face-up. They're more likely to just get pissed with the site and leave. Quick, to the point, works.

*digression*
Might start to get "Stumble Upon"ed eventually. My experience with Stumble Upon is click the button, wait 5 seconds, if I'm not amused or interested, I'll start moving my hand slowly towards the Stumble Upon button (all hail it). I won't enter the site further if the front page doesn't do it for me and I think this is normal for people in general, "Stumble" aside.
*end digression*

So, I think adding stuff to the help file should probably be the last train of thought. If there's a more immediate way for someone to navigate, do that.
  #10  
Old Feb 17, 2010, 06:37 AM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnomnomnom View Post
Agreed, people won't bother to check the help file if they can't find something face-up. They're more likely to just get pissed with the site and leave. Quick, to the point, works.

*digression*
Might start to get "Stumble Upon"ed eventually. My experience with Stumble Upon is click the button, wait 5 seconds, if I'm not amused or interested, I'll start moving my hand slowly towards the Stumble Upon button (all hail it). I won't enter the site further if the front page doesn't do it for me and I think this is normal for people in general, "Stumble" aside.
*end digression*

So, I think adding stuff to the help file should probably be the last train of thought. If there's a more immediate way for someone to navigate, do that.
Do you have a suggestion as to how the visibility of this "play in playlist" feature could be improved? Should the text be bigger? Should it be a text-only link? Should there be a bigger graphic? Should it be located below the grids?

Also, as to the issue of music at the top, I'm aware of that issue and plan to correct it in the next release at your suggestion.

Edited: This issue has been resolved, and the changes will be available in the next release. You can view the latest code at http://svillage.mine.nu.
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Last edited by quintin3265; Feb 17, 2010 at 11:31 AM.
  #11  
Old Feb 17, 2010, 08:31 PM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Quote:
Do you have a suggestion as to how the visibility of this "play in playlist" feature could be improved? Should the text be bigger? Should it be a text-only link? Should there be a bigger graphic? Should it be located below the grids?

Also, as to the issue of music at the top, I'm aware of that issue and plan to correct it in the next release at your suggestion.

Edited: This issue has been resolved, and the changes will be available in the next release. You can view the latest code at http://svillage.mine.nu.
Eh, no, I'm not a designer, was just saying that if you have to show someone how to do something simple by having them read the helpfile, it's not very welcoming. I'd help, but I'd have to give it a lot of thought and I'd probably be wrong, lol. The best I can hope to do is comment on suggestions atm.
  #12  
Old Feb 17, 2010, 11:46 PM
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Kaleb.G Kaleb.G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quintin3265 View Post
Do you have a suggestion as to how the visibility of this "play in playlist" feature could be improved?
Have a big graphic of a "play" symbol in a circle, no less than 60x60 px. Also, people visiting the site for the first time (e.g. me) aren't going to know or care what your definition of a playlist are. Most people are likely just going to want to hear either the newest and/or the highest rated track (or some combination thereof), so have it right up front. If the person likes it, they'll probably get interested in the site and then want to look around some more.
 

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