NearbyGamers

A Few Suggestions

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NearbyGamers General
Will game for a chance to get out of the house.
2007-03-13 03:54:07

Since knowing in general where a person is is a great help, I advise making the following mandatory.

Location, location, location.

Where are you? Doesn't have to be specific, a nearby city would do. Just so long as people know in general where you can be found. Organizing members by location would also help.

Just a thought.

Gamers posting in this discussion

If you can see this, you're blocking JavaScript. Or I broke the maps.
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The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-13 06:10:37

I think locations are darn handy but not essential. In addition to these (very new) forums, I have other features planned that are usable even without a location. And I always want people to feel they can protect their privacy by leaving things blank instead of deliberately bad data (like saying they're at the North Pole or something).

So even though I've had to write a fair bit of code to special-case gamers without locations and gamers without locations will miss out on a bunch of features, I'm going to keep it optional.

Web Designer/Developer and Warhammer 40,000 Gamer
2007-03-13 08:23:44

At the moment it is a good thing that locations are optional, I am having trouble adding my location which is Buckinghamshire, UK. If it was mandatory I would not of been able to sign up, but as it isn't I am able to join and try and help get it fixed!

Harkins, I sent you a PM about my location problem, no doubt you are getting loads of them and it is taking you a while to work through them. No rush! Keep up the good work man!

2007-03-13 08:34:21

Indeed, it seems locations in the UK don't work at all. Or at least, they have thus far defied my every attempt at enntry.

I play many games
2007-03-13 10:16:37

Me also. Location is very useful, as long as it works!

world+mechanic = game
2007-03-13 11:50:20

Just out of curiosity, is it even worth my time to try a location in Iraq (if there are problems with UK locations)?

Also, the text box for posting is really really narrow...like two characters wide. Is this a browser problem or a site problem?

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-13 13:53:12

UK addresses are a known bug in the Google Maps API. Apparently they get their geocoding data from a source who doesn't let them serve it up. I'll work around it today.

As for Iraq: Yeah, I'd guess against it. You can use your latitude and longitude if you know them, just drop a couple digits from the end, eh?

If the posting box is really narrow, what browser are you using? Can you find its full version number?

My knees hurt.
2007-03-14 07:29:27

I don't exactly want to put my street address, but I can't just put my city, since somebody else lives there too. (It's taken). How do I enter a nearby street corner? Or do I just need to guess at an address? Since it won't let me just name the intersection...

My knees hurt.
2007-03-14 07:46:50

Uh, yeah, so I just put a nearby area code, and it worked fine. Nevermind then.

world+mechanic = game
2007-03-14 10:37:43

Coordinates are a good solution. And if you want to keep your privacy, just knock off the seconds or something.

world+mechanic = game
2007-03-14 10:41:04

Still, that colocation thing is a pain in the ass. For this site to take off, it will have to accomodate large cities. I'm skeptical that there's a solution to preserve people's privacy. Maybe if you explained how to generate grids or latitude/longitude, that would allow people to pinpoint themselves without skylining themselves. And that doesn't even get into multiple gamers in the same apartment building.

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-14 16:26:51

The way to enter an intersection is like "Main st and 1st ave, Anytown, ST". I badly need better help there. I'll write it after lunch and the UK geocoding bug.

Bear Gamer, GM & Player for 20 years
2007-03-14 18:19:52

When you type a reply to a post it would be cool if you could see what you're replying to. Sometimes I forget what all I was intrigued by.

rawr
2007-03-14 20:57:03

Having lunch with the Harkins has the advantage of getting to dump suggestions on him. Then his response tends to be, "post it on the website." I can't blame him; I'd do the same thing.

So here are a couple of suggestions. Some are small nit-picky things, and other items may be out of scope of this site. That's for you to decide, weeeee.

Nit picky: Forums layout. I enjoy a little more of a tabular view, a simple border or a even just a horizontal line separating posts would go along way to improving readability. Also, narrowing the column for the poster's name would help tremendously for the first post. Maybe move the initial poster's name to just under the title. As is, those first dozen lines are so painfully narrow because of the map that it hurts readability.

Added bonus: Quality and Quantity of a user. I'll admit, that one of the reasons I got on board for this website is because I love being able to look at a site a few years from now and see that I have been around far longer than most people, and I have a "respected" voice in the community. Some way of giving users the ability to 'rate' other's comments, posts, profiles, etc. This way, if someone posts troll-bait or spam on the forums, the users can easily hide it. While this may not seem all that valuable now, as the site grows, there is only so much time Harkins will want to spend reviewing all of the forums.

Nit-picky: Saving Forums "Drafts". I tend to start a post with the intent to make it a couple of lines. Next thing I know, the post is seven paragraphs long, I have another page of stuff to write, and the five o'clock bell has rung, and I want to get on the early train home. Just the nice ability to save a draft of a post, and come back to it later.

Hot Feature: Live Updating Reply section. The words make sense in my head. Someone had already suggested including the text of the post I am replying to somewhere on the post page. It would be really hot if that section updated on the fly if someone posted a reply before I did, so I can quickly change my post and not look like the guy who is beating a dead squirrel.

Nit-picky: Popular tags as links while editing a profile. I like how the popular links are now in the profile when you edit it. Since I'm a lazy bastard, can you make them links, so when you click on it, it automatically drops into the text box?

Ok, I'm sure I will come up with a whole laundry list of things to add to this list, but I know you are busy enough as it is, and working on more serious issues like letting the UK people actually... well... exist.

-Aeryn

P.S. Just for the record, I have not gone back and proof-read this post, so I'm sure it is littered with spelling and grammatical errors. But the boss is getting a little antsy, so I guess I should do something that resembles work.

*Funny story a friend told me: On her grandfather's deathbed, he tells her that she would never find a good man unless she learned to play Bridge, and even if she did find a good man, she would lose him to his Bridge partner.

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-15 06:53:56

Yes, replying will get better. As will the presentation of a discussion, though right now this is waiting on the graphic designer to finish redoing the site. So hopefully a week or two.

I plan to implement a praise mechanism (like on RailsWeenie, eventually with some weighting) and flagging mechanism (like on Craigslist) for dealing with spam/flames/crap.

I've got a sexy ajax-y tag editor planned for profiles, but not only is it waiting on the redesign, there's other stuff I see as way more important. But I'm glad to hear it anyways, it confirms my suspicion that it's worth doing.

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-03-17 14:02:31

Hi guys, Any chance of having a feature which lets you know who's online at the moment? John

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-03-17 20:12:53

...and maybe something on the forum page to indicate new posts? John

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-19 04:33:45

What's the point of showing who's online now? I'm not being flippant, I've seen it but never used it myself. I realize I'm fairly misanthropic and may be pretty unusual, so I ask.

I'm working on better indication for new posts, but right now it's behind making the map deal with the influx of new folks.

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-03-20 17:24:04

Hi Harkins,

Thanks for the response, and the amount of work you are doing on this site.

After a couple of days mulling it over I think I agree with you regarding showing who's online...to a degree. Here is what I have been thinking...

This is not a forum site, a la RPGNet, where trawling through individual posts to locate a person to contact makes a list of who is online a necessity.

Rather, this site aims to facilitate gamers finding other like-minded people who live locally and play the same games or have the same interests. In that case, having a standard forum style list of those online is not practical or even very useful.

Considering this site does have a messaging system, and contacting people would be useful to organise get-togethers I do think some sort of system to show when someone's online would allow the messaging system to work similar to an instant message system. See who is online and local, send them a message and get a private conversation going without having to wait perhaps a period of hours or days for them to get online and answer your message.

Now, I was thinking that any system to show who's online would have to be tied to the mapping system, which (along with the tags) I think is central to the whole site, so that a person can use a tag to find like-minded gamers nearby and start getting in contact straightaway to organise games, and get responses rapidly, and thereby get gaming quicker.

I do not know if it is even possible, but the system I was considering, which ties up who is online with the mapping would be use the pins themselves. At the moment, all the pins are red. Would it be possible to utilise a traffic-light system whereby logging in changes the pin to green to indicate the person is online, while a red pin shows that they're offline?

For added privacy, or to indicate someone is away from the computer etc, everyone has the option to show himself or herself as 'busy' and the pin changes to amber.

I do not even know if this is practical or even something that people feel is necessary, but I feel that it would help to do what the site sets out to do. Facilitate contact between players so that more games are played.

Thoughts, anyone?

John

Yes, THE Dr Rotwang!
2007-03-20 17:27:13

I just want my profile to show me near Bloomington, IN and not Tempe, AZ. Because I'm, uh, not in Tempe, AZ.

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-20 20:21:58

DrRotwang, I sent you an e-mail saying this, but here it is again: "by the lake" is not a sufficiently specific address to place you on a map of the earth. Try something like "Main St and 1st Ave, Bloomington, IN, USA".

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-20 20:25:47

I like the idea of using markers to show who's online, though it really only becomes useful when you can read your messages through the site for a nearly-live conversation. I've put this on my todo list, though it'll be until well after the facelift that I look at this.

Bonus improvement: have gamer markers start out bright and fade to darker colors the longer it's been since they've been by.

Player and GM, long campaign experience
2007-03-21 12:57:07

Would it be hard to add a "save state" for the zoom of the map? I'd like to glance at my home page and see new gamers in the area. Right now, I have to 'zoom out' a couple clicks to do this.

Great web page! Thanks!

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-03-21 19:03:13

I like the idea of using markers to show who's online, though it really only becomes useful when you can read your messages through the site for a nearly-live conversation. I've put this on my todo list, though it'll be until well after the facelift that I look at this." Harkins

Thanks for bringing up the messaging system. I'm a bit confused how it works and whether it is the Jabber messaging system mentioned on the edit profile page.

Does the messaging system go to your email account or does it go straight to the recipient?

I've checked out the Jabber site and to be honest I'm still as confused. Any way this part of the site could be clarified for us techno-f***-wits out here? John

rawr
2007-04-02 15:04:26

I see a whole lot of ideas for colorings of the different tags. If we get anymore than we already have (three? colors so far), they are going to get confusing in our own heads, and we will completely lose new members is the rainbow of tags. Perhaps a legend somewhere? It doesn't have to be prominent, but it should be easily found. At most, a tab at the top, at the least, a small link under the map: button legend

-Aeryn

rawr
2007-04-02 15:16:42

Oh, another suggestion. I love the addition of an RSS. It makes me happy. However, instead of just showing the new topics, can it show the last 10 discussions that have a post? I'd rather see the discussions that are active, than just the 10 most recently created discussions. Thanks, -Aeryn

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-04-02 15:20:30

Harkins wrote: I like the idea of using markers to show who's online, though it really only becomes useful when you can read your messages through the site for a nearly-live conversation. I've put this on my todo list, though it'll be until well after the facelift that I look at this.

Hi Harkins, I'm also a member of a proboard forum site which utilises an add-on chat programme called (unsurprisingly) Addon Chat. I'm certainly not advocating any particular method of chat functionality within this site, however, something like this may be a solution. One each per tag which, in effect, creates a game specific live chat feature only for those who register as interested in that game. John

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-04-02 15:24:59

Aeryn wrote: I see a whole lot of ideas for colorings of the different tags. If we get anymore than we already have (three? colors so far), they are going to get confusing in our own heads, and we will completely lose new members is the rainbow of tags. Perhaps a legend somewhere? It doesn't have to be prominent, but it should be easily found. At most, a tab at the top, at the least, a small link under the map: button legend.

Hi Aeryn, I was thinking of using the members location tags to indicate whether they were online / busy / offline in conjunction with a live chat feature (see my above post) so as to help create a live chat board centred around the games people want to play. This would only involve four colours. Green (you are online) plus the three detailed above. Even a short list of the colours under the map would help I would have thought. John

Roleplayer, GM, particularly interested in OWoD
2007-04-11 06:18:13

"Bonus improvement: have gamer markers start out bright and fade to darker colors the longer it's been since they've been by."

I think this is a brilliant idea. As this site matures there are going to be people who stop participating, but leave a "active" account. Something the generally lets us know that someone hasn't been on in the last six months, year, whatever, would be great.

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