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Author Topic: Shortcomings of DC and How to Improve  (Read 29283 times)
mouser
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« Reply #75 on: March 01, 2011, 04:59:17 PM »

Very nicely put positive ideas phitsc  Thmbsup

Many of the concrete suggestions you are making are ideas that are very seriously being considered.. The front page suggestions in particular have been discussed very recently here; the front page *will* be changing soon -- the open question is whether to make it a much more dynamic page of recent things on the site (a la techsupportalert.com) or whether to go in opposite direction for minimalism, and have a SEPARATE "news" page which collects all new stuff on the site.

But regardless, a change is coming that will do a much better job at showing recent new stuff on the site from all people.

Believe it or not, the main reason that i only update the main page with my software updates is that its a damn pain to update that page -- its all done manual html editing and ftp, and it's just not set up to make it easy for others to add updates about other releases on the site (coding snacks, mini reviews, etc.).  So no matter which option we choose for the front page, i'm going to make the recent content areas wiki-editable by moderators on the site, so we can update it much better.  That should be in place before the end of the month.

I think the growth of the coding snacks area argues strongly that we also need to revamp the software listing jump page -- to make it easier to find software.  Right now there are a ton of different pages on the site that collect different things (Coding Snacks page, MiniReviews page) but it's too disorganized, and needs to be better presented.

The point about the site domain name.. has been problematic from day 1, but i have a habbit of messing up naming issues and this is no exception and its hard to fix at this point.  BUT a much more dramatic "fix" would be to have the site actually "bifurcate" somewhat into two different sister sites -- one for reviews and general software discussion, and one more of a repository and home for donationware authors -- set up using a proper cms that would allow everyone equal standing.

Edit: To answer more directly -- there are some real ways on this site that my large applications are treated differently than other apps.  This is largely a reflection of, on one hand, the historical artifact of the history of the site and it's momentum -- when i really didn't envision so much participation.  And on the other hand the lack of a good infrastructure currently to really help other authors and make it easy to present full large applications and use the license key system -- and frankly a complete lack of interest by other coders in this (probably because it's pretty clear how hard a road it is to try to make a real go of donationware).  But that second part is a self-fulfilling vicous cycle -- where the lack of interest and the lack of infrastructure feed on each other.  I *would* like to expand the site to make it possible for other serious authors to make DC their home and host their applications on an equal footing with my large applications (providing they are willing to make the same maintenance commitments as members expect) -- I suppose that's the third reason it hasn't happened yet, that i remain a bit nervous about other people changing their mind after a while and "withdrawing" an app from DC based on less than desired support from users, resulting in disapointment on all sides.

Lots to talk about in more depth here..  Bottom line is -- i am very happy to let this site evolve to as the members want it to evolve.  I do not have a fixed set vision of what direction i think DC should go -- im happy to let the community decide the general course.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 05:08:53 PM by mouser » Logged
Ath
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« Reply #76 on: March 01, 2011, 05:07:05 PM »

The point about the site domain name.. has been problematic from day 1, but i have a habbit of messing up naming issues and this is no exception and its hard to fix at this point.  BUT a much more dramatic "fix" would be to have the site actually "bifurcate" somewhat into two different sister sites -- one for reviews and general software discussion, and one more of a repository and home for donationware authors -- set up using a proper cms that would allow everyone equal standing.

Wouldn't that suggest as if there are actually 2 kind of people here, some that read and/or write reviews, and some that use+donate &/| create donationware? Guess even that suggestion also is quite counterproductive Sad
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Josh
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« Reply #77 on: March 01, 2011, 05:08:25 PM »

+1 for CMS!

Quote from: mouser
but i have a habbit of messing up naming issues and this is no exception and its hard to fix at this point.

CH&S, FARR, FBP, DADR
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timns
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« Reply #78 on: March 01, 2011, 05:14:59 PM »

Very nicely put positive ideas phitsc  Thmbsup

And on the other hand the lack of a good infrastructure currently to really help other authors and make it easy to present full large applications and use the license key system -- and frankly a complete lack of interest by other coders in this (probably because it's pretty clear how hard a road it is to try to make a real go of donationware).  But that second part is a self-fulfilling vicous cycle -- where the lack of interest and the lack of infrastructure feed on each other.  

Define larger application? I would be over the moon to have my three games and three NANY apps involved. Of course, two of those programs are Java, and so will the next two apps that I release on DC - so how does the licensing thingy work for them?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 05:17:02 PM by timns » Logged

mouser
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« Reply #79 on: March 01, 2011, 05:18:35 PM »

Quote
licensing thingy work for them?

the license key can actually be invoked easily enough from a DLL;  but first we have to figure out to what extent we are going to continue the free license keys.  there have been a few non-mouser apps that use the license key system (Mobysaurus Thesaurus, etc.).
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timns
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« Reply #80 on: March 01, 2011, 05:19:20 PM »

Quote
licensing thingy work for them?

the license key can actually be invoked easily enough from a DLL;  but first we have to figure out to what extent we are going to continue the free license keys.  there have been a few non-mouser apps that use the license key system (Mobysaurus Thesaurus, etc.).

But then my OS-agnostic game and application are tied to Windows.
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mouser
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« Reply #81 on: March 01, 2011, 05:23:00 PM »

Good point.  the license key code is actually platform neutral c++, but still, it's not painless.
It sure would be nice to revisit the idea of license keys and do away with them if we could..

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app103
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« Reply #82 on: March 01, 2011, 05:24:38 PM »

Quote
licensing thingy work for them?

the license key can actually be invoked easily enough from a DLL;  but first we have to figure out to what extent we are going to continue the free license keys.  there have been a few non-mouser apps that use the license key system (Mobysaurus Thesaurus, etc.).

I'd consider it for my stuff, but there are 2 problems with it:

1. I haven't written anything I feel is big enough to be worthy of it.
2. I am not always as smart as people give me credit for, so figuring out how to add it to anything is still an obstacle (also the reason behind #1).
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timns
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« Reply #83 on: March 01, 2011, 05:25:44 PM »

Good point.  the license key code is actually platform neutral c++, but still, it's not painless.
It sure would be nice to revisit the idea of license keys and do away with them if we could..

If it's C++ it could probably become Java... and I do like the idea of a consistent licensing scheme. IF you think the software is appopriate to the DC 'brand'. I'd like to think Auspex would be a suitable candidate (and of course that IS a Windows-only application)  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 05:27:35 PM by timns » Logged

barney
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« Reply #84 on: March 01, 2011, 06:09:40 PM »

About phitsc's post ...

Interesting concepts ... and the first real specifics that have been mentioned, methinks  undecided.  Generalities of the, "You should do better," nature don't really admit of much discussion.  When the what could be better is specified, then there are grounds for discourse.  To date, save for your comments, I haven't seen any  ohmy.

But, then, I am significantly myopic  cheesy.

I'm also very late to reply, sorry  embarassed.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 06:11:45 PM by barney » Logged

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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #85 on: March 01, 2011, 06:19:06 PM »

About phitsc's post ...

Interesting concepts ... and the first real specifics that have been mentioned, methinks  undecided.  Generalities of the, "You should do better," nature don't really admit of much discussion.  When the what could be better is specified, then there are grounds for discourse.  To date, save for your comments, I haven't seen any  ohmy.

But, then, I am significantly myopic  cheesy.

I'm also very late to reply, sorry  embarassed.

barney, the specifics mentioned have been the subject of discussion since ages ago on the forum and chatroom and such "What I've been thinking about doing xxx/yyy..." topics have been from time to time brought up for various reasons. Judging from previous such events, I predict that we'll continue to debate on the same things at the next fundraiser.
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barney
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« Reply #86 on: March 01, 2011, 06:23:20 PM »

Oh, one (1) other thing.

I think I've seen the DC main page three (3) times since I've been here.  Mostly I, like many others I know, respond to RSS feeds, because I just don't have time to browse, even the sites that interest me.  An RSS feed, on the other hand, takes me directly to the posts of interest to me, but allows me to filter the posts that, while probably very interesting, don't have some bearing on where I'm going at the time.

Perhaps I'm missing a lot with that course, but it seems to have worked so far.  So, if you do make significant changes in the areas mentioned, RSS 'em  tongue tongue.
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Armando
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« Reply #87 on: March 02, 2011, 10:28:43 AM »

On a practical note (not directly related to the dialogue here, but on-topic).

One thing that has bothered me over the years is -
sometimes people put a lot of effort into gathering info about a particular subject. Think of Steven Avery's list of software free for business use. Crush's and my list of Disc Catalogers. I'm sure there's others. These tend to die a death because the load of maintaining them is too much/too boring/too whatever, for one person.
I would love to see some sort of a wiki aspect/area that this kind of thing could be moved to. Re Stephen's efforts, I posted an index of sorts here. As I say in that post "It's a brilliant resource, it deserves as much promotion as it can get !!". If it were a wiki it could continually be updated and would get better and better known - instead of sinking into oblivion...

This may have been suggested before (I believe it was but only casually) and certainly doesnt fit into the forum setting, and I have no idea about the technicalities but I'm just throwing it out here again.


Re Reviews -
I can see why the reviews section (full- as opposed to mini-) died a death - too much work.
I wonder could a wiki style section be good for that too? Give it a structure - e.g. add your pros and cons.

Same as Tom here. It was probably discussed before, maybe was it even discussed 100s of times. Who knows... In any case, the wiki model for reviews and in depth discussions about certain type of software would be nice. Many threads here could serve as starting points to some of these wiki entries.
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« Reply #88 on: March 03, 2011, 01:55:11 AM »

to me, it looks like the fundraiser is already a great success, so...

...does this mean that DC is perfectly fine, i.e. why try and fix it when it works so well?

admittedly, perhaps the fundraiser would be an even greater success if the site were "different", but it could easily be a total disaster too. (i fear a dramatic site change could mean losing long time DC'ers if they felt alienated.)

perhaps we should just love the chaos and charm that is DC. it's organic, it has faults, it has merits, it has a life of its own and, maybe, we are best just letting it evolve naturally without going into hasty genetic modifications.

perhaps part of DC's charm is that it is "wrong". we all live with and accept the flaws because it's worth it for all the exceptional things that are here too. maybe all the negative aspects of the site that have been mentioned thoughout the forum recently are necessary - they act as a filter or barrier - if you haven't the love or patience to see past them then you are better off going elsewhere.

over the past few days i'd been thinking that change was a good idea. now, i think slow evolution or even contented stagnation is better. i'm probably too sentimentally attached though.

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mahesh2k
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« Reply #89 on: March 03, 2011, 02:05:37 AM »

How about support wiki pages for the software hosted on DC ? I mean there are many threads which are solving problems but it's always better to sort those problems/answers by version. Just a thought.
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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #90 on: March 03, 2011, 03:14:00 AM »

Also the site has developed itself, over the years, into such an inflexible framework (based on the old SMF 1.x forum implementation since 2005) with loads of custom features integrated (such as donationcredits system, search mod, badges mod, blog authoring components etc.), making it such a burden to even think about moving the site forward beyond very occasional minor enhancements.

While it's totally understandable, please keep mind that various forum software out there (e.g. SMF 2.0) are rapidly evolving inside and out making forum functionalities and forum management processes so much more user-friendly, powerful and streamlined than what we have here, and all the new userland developments will be based these new frameworks.

We are basically sitting on the back of a dynasaur here waiting to be phased out. General appeal and user experience does matter big time on the web like it or not, and the standards for which are set by what others are doing not by our own "contented stagnation".

That's just a thought about the website itself.
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app103
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« Reply #91 on: March 03, 2011, 03:45:10 AM »

Let's see now, lotusrootstarch...

  • You don't like the main page.
  • You don't like the software and/or software page.
  • You don't like the reviews page.
  • You don't like the forum.
  • You don't like our events.

You have found fault with all of these and want us to throw them all away and start from scratch.

Is there anything you do like? Are we doing anything right in your eyes?
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phitsc
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« Reply #92 on: March 03, 2011, 04:01:44 AM »

Although I really don't care much, I tend to agree with lotusrootstarch on the point he made above. It's really not a question of liking, but rather seems to be a fact (seems as in I don't really know) that the technology used by the site is rather old, and as such a restriction on what would be possible. Although a modern look is not essential for this site in my opinion, simply because the site lives from its great community, it certainly is a pity and could turn off new users.
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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #93 on: March 03, 2011, 04:02:50 AM »

Let's see now, lotusrootstarch...

  • You don't like the main page.
  • You don't like the software and/or software page.
  • You don't like the reviews page.
  • You don't like the forum.
  • You don't like our events.

You have found fault with all of these and want us to throw them all away and start from scratch.

Is there anything you do like? Are we doing anything right in your eyes?

Let's see app, how much can you sell a Toyota Camry 2000 in 2010, same config?
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app103
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« Reply #94 on: March 03, 2011, 04:25:23 AM »

Let's see app, how much can you sell a Toyota Camry 2000 in 2010, same config?

Irrelevant, unless you are a greedy stock holder wanting this place to get spruced up with a coat of paint so it can be sold off to the highest bidder and make you rich.

But I think a better question would be...what is craigslist worth? That hasn't changed one bit in many years.

You still didn't answer my questions...

Quote
Is there anything you do like? Are we doing anything right in your eyes?
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #95 on: March 03, 2011, 04:37:45 AM »

I agree SMF upgrade should be there.

Quote
Although a modern look is not essential for this site in my opinion, simply because the site lives from its great community, it certainly is a pity and could turn off new users.
We're using same theme and maybe same version for more than 2-3 years i guess.
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tomos
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« Reply #96 on: March 03, 2011, 06:08:25 AM »

on the "looks" front:

Quote
Although a modern look is not essential for this site in my opinion, simply because the site lives from its great community, it certainly is a pity and could turn off new users.
We're using same theme and maybe same version for more than 2-3 years i guess.

I personally dont see that as a problem - I think the site looks really good (it's nudone's artwork that makes it, but I mean that in general too).
Do you, mahesh2k, phitsc (or anyone), really think people wouldnt come back because the theme isnt changed tellme or because it isnt 'modern'?
I'm curious actually - any examples of a 'modern' forum (looks-wise) ?
Most of the forums I visit are software related and are bog-standard/out-of-the-box = ugly as sin smiley

(dont get me wrong, I'm not against any change to the theme & or forum software - I presume, as said above, that a forum upgrade would bring improvements and be better for the future of the site, etc.)
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« Reply #97 on: March 03, 2011, 06:34:21 AM »

Do you, mahesh2k, phitsc (or anyone), really think people wouldnt come back because the theme isnt changed tellme or because it isnt 'modern'?
I'm curious actually - any examples of a 'modern' forum (looks-wise) ?
Most of the forums I visit are software related and are bog-standard/out-of-the-box = ugly as sin smiley

Definitely not. As I said, I think the people that make up the DC community are here because these are such a great bunch of people.

On the other hand, think of sites such as lifehacker, sourceforge or xda-developers. All of these have received a major overhaul look-wise in the last one or two years. And this even though they all have a very large "community" that I'm sure would not leave just because these sites did not look modern any more. To be honest, I don't know why these sites decided to change their look other than just to show the community that they don't stand still. I don't know if with the changes also came functional enhancements. I don't know if the changes also concerned the base. But I certainly noticed that they did change.

I would assume though that these sites have other financial possibilities, and are not run by only a handful of people.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #98 on: March 03, 2011, 07:10:35 AM »

Let's see app, how much can you sell a Toyota Camry 2000 in 2010, same config?

Who cares? They're disposable crap cars. Now what would a completely original 65 Mustang fastback, 53 Corvette split window, or a 57 Chevy sell for these days?!? (hehe)

Some "Classics" actually do stand the test of time. Because (they actually have substance) their value isn't based on their scrap weight. We're not exactly trying to compete with the fashion tragic FaceBook crowd here now are we?

This grandstanding carrot-on-a-stick game is childish. If you really have so many grand ideas, then share a few. So they can be viewed on their own merit. Nobody really saw a problem with the Conestoga wagon trains...until they saw the new trains being pulled by a steam locomotive. Show us that kind of leap (which you purport to have - If you are only bowed to...).

...Then (and only then), if the idea is shot down, you will have fair reason to bitch (IMO).
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #99 on: March 03, 2011, 07:45:58 AM »

Quote
Do you, mahesh2k, phitsc (or anyone), really think people wouldnt come back because the theme isnt changed tellme or because it isnt 'modern'?

I don't think theme/software has anything to do with people signing up or donating. But it's just for improving the DC look and feel. I don't know if they'll stick or comeback to forums because of just modification in theme or upgrading to latest SMF. Most of the dev/designers/regular users of DC don't care about the looks of any forum. They stick to the forums for other reasons. But i can't say the same for new users or lurkers who rarely post on forums. Definitely worth to take poll on this point to know what new users think about look and feel of DC.
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