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Unread 2010-08-16, 15:33   #1
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I saved some ideas that you guys had for the site back in 2008, and I hope we can implement some of them soon:
  • Photography contests (probably using the graffiti "checkbox voting")
  • Promoting Mechapixel via Flickr -- which Lucian did set up here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/mechapixel/
  • Forced Participation: pair up random active site users for Faceoffs, give them a theme, give them a month to do it. I don't know about this, maybe?
  • Make Aarkie's Corner (SFW) more prominent, and at the risk of turning into a Fark clone, encourage others to post weird news and display the last 10 or so on the main homepage? There has to be a way to do this without requiring constant moderation to weed out the bad ones, like Fark requires.

I used to be a big fan of pursuing strengths as a web community, so it's probably time to evaluate what Mecha's strengths were over the years. Photoshop contests were a no-brainer, but what else?

Here are my own ideas:

Design
More modern overall design, and less pastel colors (I was really fond of those, as seen on the old contests page). It was clean, but the problem is it was kind of boring. Voice your opinions on the old site design, because if most people liked it then I might not change it up much. One feature I'm considering is a lightbox effect for entries - see example here

Homepage
Latest threads box on the homepage, similar to how we had the latest threads window on the forums home. Keep up to date on what's happening in the forums with just a glance at the homepage.

I'm not sure about having thumbnails for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place of each contest on the homepage, as we used to have. It's probably a good thing to retain, because who doesn't like to see their entry on the homepage, but it looked bad when we had contests with 2 entries. So exactly which features will be displayed on the homepage is still up in the air, and I'm open to ideas.

Voting Jury
No more voting jury. No more select group of people who have more powerful votes than others. This causes drama. However, weighed votes are important because someone might have a grudge or be high as a kite, and come along and vote entries a "1" or a "10" completely at random over multiple contests, thus greatly skewing results. This can and has happened.

My idea for a solution is to introduce VotingBalls(tm)*: weighed voting for everybody. Your voting power is automatically adjusted in very slight amounts after every contest you vote on, based on how far away from average you were on each entry (not counting your own influence). Higher Balls results in your votes in future contests being worth more, lower Balls means your votes make less of an impact. Your balls would only affect slags, and would be private and remain hidden to anyone but yourself.

* actual name TBA

Contests
As mentioned, Photography contests are a wildly popular idea and will be added. Volleybattles will either be overhauled or thrown out completely. They require so much time invested, they just never picked up, so I need opinions on how they can be improved or perhaps simplified, if at all.

We need to reduce the frequency of contests a bit once things get rolling again, just while the site is getting back on its feet. This means instead of a Daily Graffiti, they will be every other day or every third day or something. Slags initially will be at least 1 week apart. Back in the day we always adjusted the frequency of Slags based on how active things were on the site; for example, they varied from every other day to once a week. We'll need to do that again.

I'll probably send out a single email to all site members once contests are open again, just to let them know the site is back and a bit different now.


Please use this thread to post what you would like to see added, removed, or changed on Mechapixel. Now is the best time to give your input, since I've got an open template and we need a new gameplan!
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Unread 2010-08-16, 16:06   #2
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VotingBalls I'll vote for that solely on its name alone, but the concept seems to be good.

Volleybattles could go away. If someone wants to do one, maybe users could be informed to do it in a forum thread or something.

Aarkies: Well, I always thought Fark made a huge mistake in choosing to censor rather than embrace his input. Hell, they make (made?) money, they should have hired him. Mecha gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor... and when you look at the number of posts, that's a lot of quality content.

Homepage: Randomize the thumbnails from the contests?
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Unread 2010-08-16, 16:11   #3
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Your balls would only affect slags, and would be private and remain hidden to anyone but yourself.

Greatest sentence I've read all day.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 16:32   #4
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Is this where we sign up for the free bacon?

I'm liking the idea of the voting jury getting lost (scram) in the interest of fairness. The graffitis and slags as you mentioned sound like a good idea. Start out slow, gain some interest and then go from there. A few of us will need time to dust off the ole PS anyways...
Thanks for doing this, i know it is time consuming!
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Unread 2010-08-16, 17:39   #5
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My $.02 (Canadian):

No to forced participation. That just seems wrong somehow.

Photography contests would be awesome. Give people a theme or whatever and turn them loose.

I agree that we don't need a voting jury. In fact, I'm not even sure we need voting. People take voting way too seriously. But if we have to have voting, the Voting Balls probably work as well as anything.

Increasing the visibility of Aarkie's Corner is a good thing, though it might eventually need Fark-style moderation if lots of people start posting links.

When/if you bring back the arcade, having some sort of multi-player interactive game things would be awesome. I remember times when various MPers would find games online hither and thither and challenge one another and/or do something collaborative.

Graffitis were great - maybe they could be even less formal - just have a forum where people post interesting pictures or themes, and then people could respond in the thread? Some of the best photoshopping on the site happened spontaneously in threads, I seem to recall.

Exquisite corpses were fun.

Finding some way to promote the special sense of community that happens here would be great.

Okay, that's rather a lot of opinions. :peebottle:
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Unread 2010-08-16, 18:12   #6
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I'm a bit overwhelmed after stopping in tonight, I can't quite wrap my head around everything yet. But....

As I said, I'd like the radio back and updated at least once a month, don't know how legal it is, but I thought it was great.

I'd like the movie club back, but if no one participates, no point really.

I don't see anything wrong with ad's on the site, there were always twice (or 3 to 4 times) as many freeloaders as members on. There are many making good money with far less content. (don't know what the rules are, or how it would even work)

I too hate the voting, doesn't matter, elections, contests, voting brings out the ebil. Now on approving graffiti's, that's a yes or no, not really a vote.

I know exactly what dave means about forced participation, but, it may get someone off their ass and do something, perhaps a name change? I am guilty of this, i admit.

The active thread notification thing I already mentioned, it really is overwhelming to come back to all this. Is there a threads active since last visit button I have missed? In the same vain, I'd like to see a pop up or something when someone enters a graffiti. I know people have entered after I visited and didn't know there was anything new in there. I'd also like to see them stay open, that way, if someone gets an idea, they have the freedom to post something. I know that may be hell on the database.

I gotta go rest my head now!

Oh and yea, mechapictionary was awesome!

I found the new post button, but it was filled with aarkies posts, they were not in there before.

Last edited by Dinahmoehum; 2010-08-16 at 18:32. Reason: I toopid
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Unread 2010-08-16, 18:24   #7
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Hmmm...yeah, I didn't think of the moderation thing about posting links. I'm not sure if I like that. That's one of the reasons I left fark. Too much of a free-for-all. It's certainly more laid back here anyways but it's something to think about.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 19:09   #8
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Great stuff guys, keep going!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinahmoehum View Post
I don't see anything wrong with ad's on the site, there were always twice (or 3 to 4 times) as many freeloaders as members on. There are many making good money with far less content. (don't know what the rules are, or how it would even work)

The active thread notification thing I already mentioned, it really is overwhelming to come back to all this. Is there a threads active since last visit button I have missed? In the same vain, I'd like to see a pop up or something when someone enters a graffiti. I know people have entered after I visited and didn't know there was anything new in there. I'd also like to see them stay open, that way, if someone gets an idea, they have the freedom to post something. I know that may be hell on the database.
A lot of good ideas here. Small google ads are something I'm going to put in, and yeah the site used to have a TON of lurkers who never posted but browsed contests.

You can view new posts by clicking the link in the blue bar at the top, but I too miss a latest threads box on the main page, and will be working on that really soon.

Integrating a bookmark for "unread entries" in Graffitis is an awesome idea and it won't be too rough on the database. I added that to the "to do" list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domestic Goddess View Post
Hmmm...yeah, I didn't think of the moderation thing about posting links. I'm not sure if I like that. That's one of the reasons I left fark. Too much of a free-for-all. It's certainly more laid back here anyways but it's something to think about.
Hmm just to be clear, you left Fark because they were too strict in moderating links, or they were not strict and let any garbage through? I'm asking because whenever I used to hear "I left Fark because..." I wanted to try to avoid repeating those mistakes on Mecha.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 19:27   #9
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Volleybattles will not be missed probably, too much time and structure.

I liked the active threads window above the shoutbox too... I loved it when the forums were real active. This helps.

VotingBalls sounds great. If only for the shear awesomeness of the name. Agree that the jury system is out.

Love photo contests, I think that can be a great addition to slags. I wouldn't even rule out having them as contests as well as graffitis. Maybe have voting on seperate categories, like "composition", "exposure", "subject" stuff like that. Although I could go either way on this... I too tend to think that voting in general should be more simple rather than complicated. Especially as we get going.

One other thing... I liked the "featured pic of the day" thingie. Anything to showcase the history and great work that was done here, and will be done in the future.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:07   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ved View Post
Great stuff guys, keep going!

Hmm just to be clear, you left Fark because they were too strict in moderating links, or they were not strict and let any garbage through? I'm asking because whenever I used to hear "I left Fark because..." I wanted to try to avoid repeating those mistakes on Mecha.
I guess I didn't make that clear!

Mostly, some mods were Nazis and some weren't and so there was a ton of inconsistency. Like, they'd say, "Oh, that's racist! Can't post that link!" But disabilities were fair game. Or, "Nope. No stories about pedophiles" but lesbian serial killers? FINE!

One of the things unique about this site is that it isn't too big for its britches and it is consistent. Does that make sense?
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:08   #11
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^^^ yeah, sure does. That's probably a big advantage Mecha not ever becoming wildly popular, but still being just big enough to have constant new things to look at or do.


I understand the view from the "ditch all voting" crowd, and the "keep the same voting that we had" crowd. I lean more towards the latter, but I am weary of over-complicating things.

One compromise I've thought about is, possibly in lieu of any kind of weighted voting system, Slags have a scale of 1-5, instead of 1-10. Much easier on most of the voters, and it takes away some of the importance of what score you get (I don't know about you but getting a 4 out of 10 is just awful, but 2 out of 5? Not the worst thing ever!)

As far as doing away with scale voting altogether, I just can't see big awesome works of art that Slags often produce being judged with a checkbox; like or dislike is too simple for me personally when it comes to appraising some photoshops.

Last edited by Ved; 2010-08-16 at 20:12. Reason: .
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:19   #12
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I just took a peek earlier at my profile and settings stuff, and some things took me back to the days of my good ol' 14.4k modem (when we had to walk up the internet both ways and it took 90 seconds to download a jpg of someone naked and we liked it that way). I didn't even remember I'd had a hotmail account at one point. Anyway, do we want to update profiles to include some of the new-fangled social networky sites that have our faces and spaces all atwitter, or will that taint () the sanctity of our community here? I think I'm following most of you on Facebook these days anyway, but I'm sure I'm missing some others because I never considered y'all might have separate birth names.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:23   #13
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I like 1-10 personally. What about one of those slider bar thingies? I saw that once for voting somewhere years ago -- seemed pretty cool.

1-10 seems appropriate, imo, for the work, like you said, that goes into a slag entry.


Overall though as far as contests are concerned, I'd be more for baby steps back into that realm with simple graffiti "photoshop this pic" and lighter themes to garner participation. This place, I think, will have to grow back into slags/tournament faceoffs.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:33   #14
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Very good point about starting off simple again, b0rg.

Peaceboy, I'd be all for more social networking things, so I'll do some research and see what other small-medium sized communities are doing these days in member profiles. Besides just friends lists I mean.

Also I am toying around with lightbox stuff, possibly for entries wherever there are thumbnails. This should be compatible with Firefox/IE/Chrome/Safari etc. Clicky the image:

Click the image to open in full size.

There are other scripts that might be more appropriate for contests, such as ones that feature built-in slideshows.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:34   #15
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Like the Lightbox thingy. It even works with Opera!

I definitely agree with starting off slow and steady. Graffitis are fun, not as time consuming, and pretty low pressure. I think there is a time and place for Slags, but no need to rush into it. Also, contests, like the original "Twelve Days of Slagmas" were an absolute blast, and made for a great, creative challenge. I also like the photography ideas, and think there's definitely a place for those. I hope to add more ideas, once the brain gets around to thinking of them.

Last edited by kokopelli; 2010-08-16 at 20:38. Reason: Added stuff.
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:50   #16
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Here's a weird, random, pre-slumber, barely thought out idea. Maybe some kind of contest where a theme, idea, concept or something is given, and people can use whatever medium they want to make an entry. Like, someone might do a standard kind of photo manipulation photoshop, where someone else might take a photograph, someone else might make a pencil drawing, painting, audio recording/audioedit, videoedit, etc. Kind of like a multimedia anything goes. Heck, someone could even do a written meditation on the topic. Not sure how one would vote, or if one would even need to.

Too esoteric?
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Unread 2010-08-16, 20:53   #17
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Hmm actually you all can go try out different lightboxes here: http://mechapixel.com/forums/profile.php?do=editoptions

Scroll down to "The Image Resizer" near the bottom, above Date and Time Options. Try some different ones, refresh this thread and see what you think of that image above. I kinda like Shadowbox because it has a little +/- thing in the top left that lets you further enlarge it to its full size. Problem is I don't think it works with every browser, but Lytebox (the default) does.

This isn't the most important issue with the overhaul, but I'm just testing it here with the intent of using it to spice up photoshop contest pages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelli View Post
Here's a weird, random, pre-slumber, barely thought out idea. Maybe some kind of contest where a theme, idea, concept or something is given, and people can use whatever medium they want to make an entry. Like, someone might do a standard kind of photo manipulation photoshop, where someone else might take a photograph, someone else might make a pencil drawing, painting, audio recording/audioedit, videoedit, etc. Kind of like a multimedia anything goes. Heck, someone could even do a written meditation on the topic. Not sure how one would vote, or if one would even need to.
Hmmm a media free-for-all contest. Might be too broad, or it might be awesome. Remember how sometimes "flash entries" won photoshop threads back in the day? Maybe such a contest shouldn't have voting, it would be more of an exhibition. I could add an option to graffiti contests for disabling votes, when setting it up.

Last edited by Ved; 2010-08-16 at 20:56. Reason: .
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Unread 2010-08-17, 4:52   #18
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One of the things I was messing around with last winter was claymation. So the idea of a multi-media contest is more than a little intriguing. Understanding how a free for all could be unwieldy, maybe it could be an option for face-offs. For example I challenge Koko and if he accepts he gets to choose two or three media that we have to use. Even though the two entries could ultimately be done in different formats it would open things up without being completely out of control.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 5:25   #19
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I don't think everything even has to be contest content. I have always thought you people are talented and have a lot of varied interests and would love to see everyone share whatever media they want. Start a thread and have at it.
Maybe feature some of it on the front page.
Also with the now open to everyone SFW Aarkie's I think a fun graffiti idea would be to take some Aarkie stories/headlines and use them for themes for some contests (sfw ideas of course). Kind of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours thinking, of course in the case of Aarkie's maybe replace back with balls.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 7:44   #20
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Love the latest post list below the SB. That's a keeper!
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Unread 2010-08-17, 9:34   #21
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I really would like to continue to explore the multimedia option. Maybe we could have graffitis open for up to a week, Slags open for up to two, and multimedia contests (without voting, so maybe we use a different term? Or a 1-10 scale for voting?) for up to a month? Since the latter would be wide open, some folks might want to put a lot of time into their entry, and having voting or commenting end too quickly might discourage folks. Heck, we have some folks here who could do multiple entries in different mediums. I'd like to have some form of art here without tightly defined boundaries. Let's see what people have! :)
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Unread 2010-08-17, 9:57   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelli View Post
I really would like to continue to explore the multimedia option. Maybe we could have graffitis open for up to a week, Slags open for up to two, and multimedia contests (without voting, so maybe we use a different term? Or a 1-10 scale for voting?) for up to a month? Since the latter would be wide open, some folks might want to put a lot of time into their entry, and having voting or commenting end too quickly might discourage folks. Heck, we have some folks here who could do multiple entries in different mediums. I'd like to have some form of art here without tightly defined boundaries. Let's see what people have! :)
Concur. I like this idea a lot. I think it is really broad, but in a good way I think. I bet we will get tons of awesome stuff.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 9:59   #23
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Pretty cool idea about multimedia... and it sets Mecha apart from other photoshop sites that's for sure. Is there anyone else who does contests where anything goes?
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Unread 2010-08-17, 10:00   #24
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Oh and one other suggestion, very low priority... When I am scrolling a thread and get to the bottom, I would love to see a link back to the main forum page somewhere below the quick reply box. Or maybe even just recreate the below link tree that is at the top of the page... at the bottom of the page.

Mechapixel Forums > Site Discussion > Announcements

I know it is horribly lazy and stupid, but hey, this is a wishlist right?
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Unread 2010-08-17, 10:51   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash216 View Post
Oh and one other suggestion, very low priority... When I am scrolling a thread and get to the bottom, I would love to see a link back to the main forum page somewhere below the quick reply box. Or maybe even just recreate the below link tree that is at the top of the page... at the bottom of the page.
Yeah but that's easy... and I too don't like clicking in the dropdown to go back to the forum index.

I repeated the basic part of the navbar below, how is it?

Edit: also I need to add a "New Thread" button next to the Post Reply button, that is very annoying.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 10:58   #26
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oh hells yea. Perfect.
Thanks!
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Unread 2010-08-17, 11:08   #27
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yes it is, nice touch.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 11:13   #28
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Yep, that is quite handy.
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Unread 2010-08-17, 12:18   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ved View Post
lower Balls means your votes make less of an impact.
Like playing tetherball in a hurricane
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Unread 2010-08-17, 13:21   #30
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I see a few people have been sort of suggesting no voting on the contests. I personally think voting is essential. It is after-all called a contest. I find satisfaction in knowing what people think of my work and I know that when I first started photoshopping, the elusive graffiti trophy really drove me to make my work better. I mean voting doesn't have to be a big serious thing, I just think it should be there.

Also good idea to keep graffitis less frequent and open longer for now. And 1-10 on slags. ;) Even though it is harsh receiving a 4/10 haha. Sometimes you need to know when your entry is worth a 4/10. Helps me keep a perspective on what I'm doing. And I think that receiving an 8/10 on something makes you feel a lot better about spending hours on your photoshop than getting a 4/5. Just won't be enough of a spread between the entry scores with a 1-5 scale IMHO.

Anyway, I'm overjoyed by the direction the site is going and all the progress being made so thanks to Ved and everyone else.
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