Plans for SixPrizes in 2011

What’s going on everyone? Happy new year!

I just want to pop in and give a “state of SixPrizes” update because I haven’t done one of these in a while. I want to let everyone know where the site is now and where it’s headed.

Framework Rebuild

My big focus right now is rebuilding the framework of the website. I knew almost nothing about coding, HTML, PHP, or CSS when I first started the site, so as is, the site isn’t constructed with the most structurally sound methods. Everything works, but the perfectionist in me wants to make it better. So right now, I’m basically taking the site apart, piece by piece, and rewriting the code.

While this isn’t totally necessary, I’m hoping it will help improve 2 things:

1. The site will load faster

2. The site will be more flexible for changes in the future

Not to say any design changes are necessarily upcoming, but I’d like to know it would be relatively simple to adjust the layout if need be. And if I ever had to take a hiatus from working on the site, it would be easier for someone else to pick up where I’ve left off.

Simpler Submissions

I’ve also been doing a lot of work on the back-end WordPress interfaces. WordPress is the software we use for the blog portion of the website. Anyone who has submitted an article probably knows what the administrative interfaces look like.

My goal here is to simplify the admin interfaces to make them a more user friendly, and to make it much easier for anyone to submit an article.

I’ve made some strides in this regard by removing a lot of unnecessary options from the WordPress menus and re-enabling the visual editor. As you type a post for submission, you’ll now be able to see what it will look like on the site, in real time. It’s pretty cool and you’ll be able to get your article to look exactly how you want, without as much help from the editors.

Of course, editors are still a vital part of the site, as all articles need to be proofread, cleaned up, and scheduled. But now you can do things like insert images yourself, insert deck list tables, and create title heading with a few clicks. I think it makes the writing process a little more enjoyable.

That reminds me that I also need to redo the submission guidelines and instructions again to reflect these changes…

Organization

I think we’re starting to run into troubles with figuring out way to organize all the information on the site. I’m starting to learn a lot more things you can do with WordPress, and it offers a lot of cool ways to organize information (if you know how to do it).

Right now articles are assigned categories and tags. Categories are usually broad and tags are specific. For example, some categories we use are “Card of the Day” and “Deck Analysis.” Example tags are “Luxray GL LV.X (Rising Rival RR 109)” or “LuxChomp.”

I’m thinking in the future instead of using “tags,” I could make a custom namer called “cards.” And each post will be assigned with the cards in the article.

Then I’ll make another custom taxonomy called “decks.” And each post containing a deck will have a deck assigned to it. And so on… I don’t know if there are many other ways to organize by card and deck though. If you have any suggestions, please drop a comment.

I’m also considering getting card scans on the site. I’m thinking each card will have its own page with a description and history maybe, then below that we can show a list of all articles or decks mentioning/using that card.

Again, I’m just beginning to learn how to do this stuff and I’m not totally sure the best way to go about it, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about.

Be More Beginner Friendly

I want to include resources or something of that nature for new players, but I’m not sure how to do it. Again, this is a problem with organization. I’d like to be able to point someone to a page that has a list of all the articles they should read, in order, as a beginner.

Like a “Start Here” page that guides a new visitor through all the must-read articles of the site and tells them how the site works and how to do things.

Maybe even have tutorial type stuff… like series of article that explain how to do things. I dunno… this is just a somewhat vague idea I have in mind.

Improve the Forums

Forum activity has been up as of late, and I’d really like to continue to help them grow. I’ll probably need some people to be mods and help me with that, so either e-mail me or comment if you’d be interested in modding.

I am not great at using vBulletin (our forum software), but I know I should be able to assign people to moderate certain subforums and stuff. That’s something I’ll eventually work on.

I also want to improve the functioning of the forums and improve any aspect of them really. Layouts, colors, options, etc… if you have any ideas, let me know. I focus most of my time of the blog portion of the site, but the forums are important too.

Improve Underground

I’m pretty happy with where we’re at so far, but I want to continue to improve the program and make it no-brainer for any serious player. The writers have been incredible and I’ve been seriously impressed with how knowledgeable and helpful these guys really are.

I want to get all the Underground systems and processes streamlined… like when you first join, I don’t think I have things user friendly enough yet. Again, we probably need a step-by-step guide of what to do when you first join.

I really want to work on improving the community aspect of the Underground as well. I want the members to be able to interact with each other more and have easy ways to communicate… like if they’re looking to play an online game or something, it should be easy to get in contact with another Underground member.

I’m almost thinking a private Facebook group or something of that nature might work, but I don’t know. I’d rather have an on-site community portal type thing. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Long Term

My “big picture” goal for the site is to get it to a point where the PokΓ©mon TCG community can pretty much run the thing. Eventually I won’t have to do so much work on it, and the collective efforts of PokΓ©mon TCG fans like you will be the ones keeping it afloat.

My big thing is to get really good systems and processes in place, so that it’s easy for anyone to become a member and contribute to the site. I’m going to continue to streamline things and eventually I’ll be able loosen the reigns.

Anyway thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end of this, and thanks again for supporting the site!

Adam

Reader Interactions

26 replies

  1. Tony

    Sound like some great plans for this year! I’ve really been impressed how 6P has “evolved” (good Pokemon term) this year. It really does seem to get better and better. Let us know what we can do to help!

  2. John Rea

    First Comment. :D

    Good job, and when are the Winning suggestions for the BUG and Suggestion of the month Article going to come out????

    I know it’s the 2nd but just wondering.

  3. Dakota Streck

    It all sounds really great Adam! Looking forward to all of it, especially the faster site (atm, me connection speed is like 1mbps)

    • Adam Capriola  β†’ Dakota

      I think part of the loading issues might be the Facebook like buttons I’ve got on the site. As soon as I added them to my development site on my computer, I noticed things loading slower.

      So I might end up removing the Facebook article like buttons… I’m not sure how much value they bring anyway. I’d keep the rating buttons though.

        • Adam Capriola  β†’ Dakota

          Yeah exactly. I’m going to be removing almost all the Facebook stuff by the end of today, I just don’t see much value in it.

          I do want to get people on the Fan Page though, so I’ll keep that stuff, but the rest will be gone.

          The comments are loaded externally too actually. I could use comment templates native to WordPress, but I think the Disqus comments are kinda cool.

          If I were to switch to the regular comments again like I had long ago, the page has to refresh every time after you make a comment which is bogus. At least with this you don’t have to wait for a page reload, so I think it’s about even in terms of loading times added up plus the added functionality.

  4. Karol Nowak

    These future plans are sounding great! It seems like 6P is in for an awesome year.

  5. Brandon Bittinger

    If you want some help with the card scans I think I may be able to help! I have majority of cards from most of the current sets.

  6. Zade Kaakarni

    I’m quite excited for these improvements. Its going to be awesome, no doubt.

    You said this, “I’m almost thinking a private Facebook group or something of that nature might work…”. I am no underground member but I highly doubt this will work. Because once your in the facebook group, private or not, you stay in the group. I say it will be very hard for you to manage both actual underground members and facebook underground members. Some on site means of communication would be best. Maybe one that automatically adds/removes people from the member list once you allow/disallow access to the underground content. Im only thinking of reducing problems for yourself. :)

    • Adam Capriola  β†’ Zade

      Yeah I agree with what you’re saying, I’ve gotta start looking for on site solutions. Making a Facebook group is easy, but in the long run it would be kind of troublesome to manage.

  7. Joshua Pikka

    Your future plans sound good. 6p was at its best when a lot of people were contributing with different ideas. So not everyone of them was a good deck, it still good to help beginners, and nice to see a lot of ideas you didn’t see anywhere else.

    As I posted in the forums once, the site had gone stagnant with 5 people writing the same article over and over again, and any good article that you could find was premium content.

    But if your future plans include getting more people into the game contributing original ideas, thats cool. I wish you guys good luck, and you know your buddies at http://www.teamomar.com have your back, if you ever need us you know where to find us.

  8. Anonymous

    Sounds great! I’m looking forward to where 6P will go from here. =)

  9. Sophie Grace Hirst

    I have to agree with pikkdogs – there are too few writers contributing too few original articles. I understand that restricting the amount of members who can submit articles is a means of controlling quality, but I would argue that it has had the opposite effect.

    Whilst articles are showing less grammatical errors and are flowing more smoothly, they are also becoming less inspired. The same writers are churning out the same stuff, and it has become boring.

    Of course Kenny and Dakota are going to be getting ‘Writers of the Month’: they write so many articles, they are bound to, eventually, write one or two that are somewhat appealing. Reading Battle Reports and ‘COTD’ reviews from the same people has become tiresome e.g. 120HP is good, not great (yawn).

    The biggest problem with this is that it leaves little incentive to actually purchase the premium content and, coming from someone who, competitively, is a beginner, this should be a real concern, especially considering you have the objective to become more ‘beginner friendly’.

    People like submitting articles. The exposure your site offers in this respect is what sets you apart from the competition; that is, it just isn’t the same submitting work on a forum. With a dedicated review team, it is certainly worth considering opening the floor to more contributors.

    • Dakota Streck  β†’ Sophie

      I agree with most of what you said apart from the following part:

      “Of course Kenny and Dakota are going to be getting ‘Writers of the Month’: they write so many articles, they are bound to, eventually, write one or two that are somewhat appealing. Reading Battle Reports and ‘COTD’ reviews from the same people has become tiresome e.g. 120HP is good, not great (yawn).”

      Just because we write a sizable amount of content doesn’t mean we’ll always win. Quantity does not replace quality. If we wrote 6 articles a day and (Adam was stupid enough to let us :P) but they all sucked, I really doubt we’d do well.

      I think I speak for both Kenny and I when I say that we really appreciate that people (seem) to like reading our articles. One thing you should take a look at is the poll. Tony is in the top two, but I think he only wrote a few things this month (great things). The number of articles doesn’t have as much to do with it as the quality. I do understand your argument fully though and do agree with you on some point that submitting more does increase your odds of getting something good (sorta like buying more than 1 lottery ticket)

      Finally, any1 who’s an approved contributor/featured writer can submit Battle Reports/Card of the Days/deck analysis’s, etc. Lately, I have noticed more people submitting COTDs, which I am happy about because it can be difficult to write one each and every day, so a day off helps sometimes. Have you ever tried one? From reading your comments on various articles, you seem to have a way about your writing that many people don’t, so I would look forward to that.

      • Sophie Grace Hirst  β†’ Dakota

        Thank you for your kind words. As you continue to reply to my criticisms with dignity and graciousness, I find myself regretting the harsh tone with which they were dealt.

        As a matter of fact, contributing towards this site is something I have been considering. As both a keen and able writer, and a novice as far as competitve play is concerned, I feel I could bring a different perspective to the site.

    • Adam Capriola  β†’ Sophie

      Thanks for the really well thought out comment Sophie! I agree with you that not enough people are able to submit articles right now so I’m becoming more lenient with the approval process. I have purposely made the process to apply a little hard to figure out, just to weed out some of the people that are really not that serious (though I need to make revisions to the process).

      Most people that actually do figure out how to apply do get accepted as contributors though. If you or anyone wants to go through the application thread, you can check it out here:

      https://sixprizes.com/forums/sixprizes-site-talk/1521-front-page-contributor-application-thread.html

      You’ll be able to see who got accepted and who didn’t. I think I’ve been pretty fair with who I’ve accepted, but I’m open to criticism if some people that haven’t been accepted should have been.

      Most of the people that get rejected are people who are new to the game and don’t necessarily have the most basic strategy under their belt yet. OR they are people who just don’t have the writing skills necessary. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.

      The problem is that with newer players submitting articles, oftentimes their decks or strategies are really flawed and they are probably better off getting help first in the forums or wherever to refine their strategy. The front page isn’t really the place to fix common mistakes with deck lists or even tell someone a card doesn’t work the way they think it does (ruling clarifications).

      So I mean there has got to be a balance… slowly we’ll have more and more people contributing. Part of the problem I think was that we had the “Writing Staff” for a couple months and I think that alienated some people, but we’re now done with that. Over time more people will be approved and hopefully we’ll get more unique submissions.

      • Sophie Grace Hirst  β†’ Adam

        Thanks Adam. I must say, from what you have said, you seem to be taking SixPrizes in the right direction.

        As I have been sending more and more posts, I feel it is time I should probably get my own membership. To avoid confusion, my name is Ricky and I have been using my partners Twitter account, for ease-sake, to send posts.

        Writing for the site is something I am very much interested in and, after reading many articles over the past several months, have come up with some interesting ideas I would like to share with the SixPrizes community.

        Once I have created my own account, I shall forward my application to you through the appropriate means.

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.