What’s up from Adam

Hey everyone,

This is a check-in, update type post to make a few announcements and get feedback from y’all on some things.

1. TcgScans.com Launch

Most of my time the past couple months has been spent working on TcgScans.com, which is a project I’m sure I’ve mentioned (far too) many times already. The project has taken some twists and turns, but you know I’m cool with that and will just go with the flow, and I’m finally at the point where you could say the site is launched.

Right now, here are my main purposes behind the site:

1. Quickly look up cards if you don’t know what they do

pokebeach.com
It's like this... except you don't have to discard 2 cards.

I’ve got an search suggest feature (kinda like Google) so if you start typing a card name, it’ll show up in a drop-down list and you can click on the card you’re looking for. It’s pretty slick.

I might eventually add a voice search feature as a convenience for people with mobile devices. I don’t know how good it’ll work considering some of the weird Pokémon names (try Zigzagoon), but it’ll be the same voice recognition thing that Google uses (I think).

2. Compare prices from the biggest card sellers

Right now I’ve got prices from Amazon, Professor-Oak, Troll and Toad, and Collector’s Cache showing. There is also a link that’ll do an eBay search for you, but it’s on my To Do list to pull up the best eBay price and show it on the page as well.

This is a feature that wasn’t in my original plans, but along the way I thought it would be cool if I could show prices for easy comparison, and somehow I figured out how to do it. (Yes, I’m good.)

3. Rate cards

I am honestly not sure how useful this feature is, so I might end up removing it, but for now it’s there. My intentions behind the ratings is basically to give a new/intermediate player a basic notion whether or not a card is good.

Obviously some ratings will be way off (why is this Hoppip a 6.2?), but hopefully if enough people rate the cards, the numbers will even out. I’m still monitoring whether people are actually rating the cards or not… I’d say there is mild success so far.

The advantage to not including the rating option is that I can make the site load a little faster.

4. Comment on cards

This is another feature that may eventually be removed, or down-graded. Right now I’ve got Disqus comments up on that site, but may switch to the default WordPress comments (which will also help the site load faster).

I’m not sure what to expect as far as commenting goes… like I doubt any advanced strategy talk will spring up, but the option is nice to have. I’ll keep an eye on the commenting activity over the next couple weeks and make a decision. I really want the site to load super fast, so I’m trying to cut down to the necessities.

Also, one other advantage from switching to WordPress comments is that I could auto-link card names (more on that in a second).

5. View random cards

If you’re ever bored out of your gourd, there is a random card feature. It’s kinda to see cards you might not have seen in a while (or ever).

That’s mainly it I guess. I’m always looking for feedback, so please let me know if you have any suggestions. Literally any feedback you have at all helps me. Even something as small as “this doesn’t work how I thought it would” or “the colors are stupid” is helpful for me.

One thing I know I need to fix for sure is that the pages load real slow sometimes. The reason is that the card pricing feature is energy-extensive, but I’ve got some ideas on how to adjust things so you don’t have to deal with that lag.

And here is bar graph of the site’s traffic (pageviews) so far, incase anyone is interested:

Edit: Pageviews the day after posting this announcement:

Wow! Previous most views was 1,202 and today we’re at 5,888 with a couple hours to go. Snap!

But enough about that… onto the next order of business:

2. Auto-card Linking

You may have noticed card names on the site underlined like this: Sharpedo TM

This wasn’t in my original plans (though it probably should have been), but I thought it would be helpful for newer players to link all card names mentioned within articles to their appropriate page on TcgScans.

pokebeach.comAt first I was just going to put a link at the bottom or top of every post that said something corny like “Don’t know what these cards do? Look them up on TcgScans.com!” but I thought it would be way cooler if I could somehow automatically link the cards within the articles… so I did some research and figured out how to do it.

There are some bugs at this point that I’ll have to work out, but so far so good. I’m hoping that it’s helped some people out so that they know what cards the writers on the site are talking about.

I can image how confusing it must be for some people when they don’t know what all the cards do, so hopefully this helps get everyone on the same page. So if you’re reading an article and you come across a card you aren’t familiar with… just click it!

I could link elsewhere (like eBay or something), but I think going to TcgScans.com is probably best.

I will eventually look into auto-linking cards on the forums as well, and I could also pass along the code as a plugin to anyone else that has a WordPress site and wants that feature (like OneHitKO… does anyone else run WP?).

One thing I wanted to make sure with the linking is that the links were unobtrusive, since I knew there would be a lot of cards linked within an article and I didn’t want it to be distracting. Is the dashed underline ok with everyone?

Also, I am considering just linking ALL cards within deck lists by default. Right now it links the card only the first time it’s mentioned within the article, so the full deck lists aren’t linked. Any thoughts on that?

For any writers that want to take advantage of the auto-linking within their articles here’s how it works:

The very first time a card name is mentioned within an article, it’ll be linked. Automatically. You don’t have to do anything. Just make sure you type the card name with set abbreviation for Pokémon. Trainers and Energy don’t need the set abbreviation.

And if a set has more than one version of a Pokémon, then make sure to include the set number too. That’s it.

3. Dislike the dislike?

facebook.comI’m considering removing the dislike button from the site since people are trolling it and I think its put some people off. We’ve had kinda sparse contributions as of late, and I think the dislike button is a part of it.

I do think it serves some usefulness as far as getting feedback and keeping the quality high, but some people take the dislikes personally, and I don’t want them to have to stress over that.

We’d go with just a like button, akin to Facebook, if we were to make the change.

4. Yes, it’s a Saturday night and I’m writing this.

Hopefully next Saturday night I’m out getting into trouble (make it double).

-Adam

P.S. Check out the latest episodes of Prof-It! and PokéClass.

Reader Interactions

47 replies

  1. David Griggs

    1. Yay!

    2. Yay More!!

    3. I like the dislike because some articles SHOULD NOT be on the front page… I’ve seen many an article that was poorly written get buried and think they should always be that way. As for content, personally, between work, testing for BRs and playing Ping Pong, I’ve just not had time and am pretty sure similar is true for others. I do not think, however, that the dislike button is the sole cause. (It might be a factor, but I always write pro articles that everyone loves. >_>)

    4. May I recommend alcohol? Red Stag and Dr Pepper or Cherry Coke is amazing.

    • Adam Capriola  → David

      Hey David! I’ll think about it… I am fairly certain that the dislike has caused some people to stop writing, but maybe that’s a good thing? I dunno. I guess there are a combination of factors that have caused the drought (school, for example).

      I’ll continue to monitor things and make a decision at some point.

      Also I’ve been laying off the booze lately (I’m a health nut and am trying to get into really good shape). Never had Reg Stag before, but my drink of choice in recent times has mainly been Golden Monkey (Mankey).

  2. Taylor Richmond

    Hoppip has such a high rating because of J-Wittz.

  3. Anonymous

    Everything looks solid! Nice to see a post from you, and thanks for the shoutout!

    Here’s my thoughts on the dislike button. I think as long as an article is well-written, coherent, follows a central theme, and leaves an at least semi-thoughtful insight for their decisions deserves to be on the front page. Some articles don’t deserve the thumbs down that they’ve gotten (a hahn’s first article on Reshiphlosion comes to mind). Some people are just straight biased: let’s face it, no matter what ThePurplePro puts out as his next article (even if it’s a decently written, solid article) , people are probably going to thumb is down based on their past experiences with his last few. 

    I think some kind of medium should be in place. Instead of a dislike button, there should be some kind of “flag” system, where you can flag an article as unsuitable for the front page (I have no idea how easy/hard this would be to implement). It wouldn’t keep a public count of people have flagged it to prevent bandwagoning, and you could possibly include a text box for input on why the article didn’t belong. That being said, maybe that system would be too much hassle, but it’d help quality control in a discreet way. This would encourage more people to leave comments explaining why an article wasn’t up to par instead of just giving people the incentive to click the +/- buttons. I bet you a handful of people click the button before they even read the article just based on the writer!

    My two cents, anyways. That being said, article quality in general has skyrocketed since I first read things posted on this site, and I think that’s awesome.

    • Adam Capriola  → Anonymous

      Thanks for the input Josh! I’ll think about what to do… the dislikes are sorta like flags right now. I have no idea how I’d implement a separate flag system, but I could look into it at some point.

      Immediately I could either make dislikes do 0 to the overall rating, or keep the number of dislikes hidden (but the overall rating would still take a -1 hit). I don’t know if either of those solutions would help anything. 

      • David Griggs  → Adam

        Dislikes causing 0 would work well, I think. Have it set up so that the number of dislikes are hidden and do 0 change, but if an article gets a certain number of dislikes, it gets hidden.

        • Adam Capriola  → David

          Yeah I think that’s possible. Good idea! I’ll look into it sometime this week when I have a chance.

  4. Anonymous

    I am all in favor of removing the dislike button. Not because my stuff has been trolled, but because it does not need to be there.

    If someone really has an issue with an article deserving to be on the front page, then use the comment function. If you fell that strongly about it, write in the in the comments with a real explanation.

    • Adam Capriola  → Anonymous

      Thanks for the input Andy. Yeah that’s a great point that people can leave a comment if they don’t like the article. I do like that the dislikes are sort of a form of quality control, but they are abused too easily.

      Only thing I wish I could do is make an option to unlike an article – right now if you vote, it can’t be changed.

  5. seth resol

    THE HOPPIP IS NOW AT 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. John Dedic

    Great work. It is amazing, how fast it loads. I am not one of the owners of super-fast internet connection, but it loaded in fewer than a second!!!
    Key shortuts are sweet, but Tab is not good option. It is used to “roll” over all page links and so, when pressed more than once you are not able to get into searchbar. There is also no noticing of disabled javascript (maybe because you want page to run as fast as possible?). Nowdays, lots of people have JS disabled, so it would be nice to have it there to enable clear functioning to all users.

    Rating system is ok, Dislike button disliked ;-)

    Thanks for all your good work. Keep it on!

    • Adam Capriola  → John

      Thanks for the feedback Jan! There are certain times when pages load super slow (like if you try to pull up a set list), but I’ll keep working to make it fast as possible. I’m glad it’s going pretty fast for you already though!

      Thanks for the input on the tab. What do you think should be used instead?

      And I just assume that most people are using JS, but if that’s not the case I’ll add a memo so everyone is on the same page. :)

  7. Colin Peterik

    I really really like the idea of the card ratings.. Where else in the world can you browse any card in the format, and potentially get a fantastic overview of the card by veteran players? Of course, it needs to be monitored/spot checked it some way. Having a log-in name solves most of the extreme up/down ratings, and requiring a small ‘fill in the blank’ type thing with a mandatory 100 word essay will take care of the rest. Overall, very cool! Don’t abandon it just because me and 30 other guys just gave Hoppip 10 stars!

    • Adam Capriola  → Colin

      Thanks Colin! Good idea with the registration/log-in + mandatory review before you can vote. I’ll try to incorporate that down the road, but for now feel free to spam those Hoppips.

    • Adam Capriola  → Ed

      Cool man! I’ll keep you posted when it’s good to go. It’s like 75% done right now, just gotta tweak some stuff.

  8. Anonymous

    3. Dislike the dislike?
    I’m considering removing the dislike button from the site since people are trolling it and I think its put some people off. We’ve had kinda sparse contributions as of late, and I think the dislike button is a part of it.
    I do think it serves some usefulness as far as getting feedback and keeping the quality high, but some people take the dislikes personally, and I don’t want them to have to stress over that.
    We’d go with just a like button, akin to Facebook, if we were to make the change.
     
    Please don’t. Its useful, along with profile comments, to see how the article is.

  9. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    I won’t deny that dislikes are lulzy.

    But now we have a fearsome FP editor in place, we shouldn’t even be getting anything that deserves to be voted off.

    Dislikes (and Likes for that matter) have been abused in the past by trolls, stupid people, parents and pets. It seems kind of pointless now (you can effectively register disapproval by not Liking or, even better, posting a comment), so I wouldn’t be sorry to see it go.

      • Lynx Meche  → Adam

        Oh…you and baby_mario both. I’m not a kitty, I’m just an angry/honest person on the internet =p

        Also while I’m already here, dislike button thoughts. Dislikes are something semi-vital to this kind of thing. And even with those trolls, there are still comments. So even if the positive/negative buttons are trolled, the comments should still give actual input on what people think of it. Most of the articles lately look like the comments just about match the rating, so there should be enough honest people that they won’t get trolled off the front page through down-votes alone.

  10. Andrew Valren

    Adam this is just a suggestion but have you thought about putting up what cards are worth in the TCGO based on a common unit such as packs of cards? I have a hard time trading a lot of my cards online because the worth in the online world is much different as far as supply and demand goes in the real world. it could be like the rating system where people just suggest how much the cards should be worth? that seems like a flawed system, but a reference for online cards would probably help out your site a lot. 

    • Adam Capriola  → Andrew

      Hey Andrew! Hmmm that’s a neat idea! I’m not really sure how to monitor that type of thing though. I kind of only want to have 1 voting thing as to not confuse people, but I’d consider getting volunteers to manually put in online card values. That kind of thing would need to be maintained though just because of fluctuations… it seems like the online marketplace is kind of fickle.

      I’ll think about it though! The site is real basic at the moment and I’d like to add new features over time. If there are any vendors that start selling online cards, I could pull up their prices and get an average value. That would probably be best.

  11. Stephen Mills

    I’m excited about everything mentioned in the article; it will really help make the articles a lot easier to understand when we encounter a card we haven’t discovered before (or want to confirm the details of what it does). 

    As far as removing the dislike button, I’d rather have it in there. I understand that it can be abused, but having only one like button doesn’t show the true quality of the article as well – a lot of times, views would affect the rating of an article more than the quality of the article itself. It would be nice if a dislike required a comment, but I’m not sure how that would be implemented.

    • Adam Capriola  → Stephen

      Thanks for the input Stephen! Yeah dislikes requiring a comment would probably be best, but I don’t have any way to force that at the moment. I think that just having likes could work, but I’m not sure. I might try different things out and see what’s best.

  12. Eelis Peltola

    Don’t have much time so I won’t comment on the other stuff, but I’ve got a few bugs on Scans: cursor positioning with TAB isn’t working, and while the R thing is kinda cool, it prevents me from searching for any pokemon with r in its name. Tried to search for Feraligatr and noticed the Pro Tips after ten or so tries. :P Firefox 6.0.2, Windows 7

    • Adam Capriola  → Eelis

      Grrr!! I spent hours trying to fix that stupid R bug! Oh well… thanks for letting me know it’s still broke. Chrome and Safari work for the moment. I’ll test with Firefox more in the next few days (and IE too).

      Also I’ll be responding to every else’s comments a little later. I’m like brain dead right now though and need a few hours to chill.

  13. Anonymous

    I think on the front page of tcgscans.com there should be a top 10 most
    expensive cards in format. This would help new players out by showing
    them which cards have the most value.

    The dislike button does nothing but discourage writers. It’s a little
    rude to say that you don’t like a certain writer’s article. Instead
    writers should be fighting to get as many likes as possible, if an
    article has a low amount of likes then that would encourage the writer
    to write a better article next time and get more likes.

    I really like the idea of auto linking cards automatically. It would
    eliminate hassle if a player doesn’t know what a certain card does and
    the writers wouldn’t have to talk about what a card does too.

    P.S. I really do not like this Disqus stuff

    • Adam Capriola  → Anonymous

      Hey landogriffen! I could definitely try to do something with the values. Right now there isn’t any way to sort by price, but I could add it fairly easily. Good thinking!

      And yeah I’ll consider what to do about the likes. Other people have suggested ideas too and I’ll take a little while to figure out the best plan.

      Disqus is ok. Some people have issues with it, but it’s kind of nice that you can “like” comments. I really like that feature (no pun intended, hah).

  14. Mekkah

    Like/dislike has some annoying flaws so maybe consider a different rating system, like 1-5 stars then show the average? Or allow people to give an article a rating on some scale, but instead of showing the average, show the total. That means you can only get more points if more people rate your article, and it just becomes some kind of competition to get the most points. This does have its disadvantage, such as screwing up the point system as it is, and I’m not sure if it’s even a good way, but just throwing it out there. Just discarding the dislike button is fine as long as you can flag articles for removal.

    • Adam Capriola  → Mekkah

      Thanks for the suggestion Mekkah! I’ll consider a star rating system too. I know for sure that I can keep track of the star rating total (as well as the average). It would be kind of weird switching to a system like that since the point values would be crazy high, but it’s something to think about.

      I’ll keep watching the likes/dislikes and see how it goes the next couple weeks then make a decision.

      • Anonymous  → Adam

        Thank you for replying to my comment, I don’t see many web masters do that.

        EDIT: Wrong reply LOL

  15. Anonymous

    real quick, I say drop the dislike. I see no good reason for it that cannot be solved by a better way.

  16. theo Seeds

    (why is this Hoppip a 6.2?)

    That’s 8.0 now LOL.

  17. mike newman

    As far as linking to card scans in articles, I think it looks kind of messy when a card is mentioned once and linked, and then the rest of it’s occurrences aren’t. Aesthetically, it’s just off. However, linking every single instance of the card’s name would be ridiculous. My suggestions would be:

    1) No links in the text of the articles at all.
    2) Link every card in decklists.
    3) Have a section at the beginning, end, or even better the sidebar with “Cards mentioned in this artcile” and links to their scans, or something similar. This would eliminate the issue of cards being mentioned in the article but not included in the decklist.

    Anyway, just a thought, but the links we have now are much better than no links at all, and the new site looks awesome.

    • Adam Capriola  → mike

      Thanks for input Mike, it’s appreciated as always. I agree that it looks kinda messy with the deck lists right now and I’ll try to link every card in the deck lists by default. I might have that done by the end of the week/weekend.

      I will still definitely link a card the first time it’s mentioned otherwise though, since there are plenty of articles that don’t have deck lists. I don’t really have any way to put a thing in the sidebar though, and I’m sure people would miss it. Links within the article are much more noticeable. :)

      • mike newman  → Adam

         Fair enough! Have you looked at all into being able to hove over a link and see the card image? I’ve seen things like that on other sites and I think that would be perfect, where clicking the link would still take you to the tcgscans page for it. Just a thought! Thanks for doing what you do.

  18. Leigh Edwards

    Looks pretty cool, I currently use the ‘Gym’s Research Tower for my card browsing needs and it is perfect for what it is. If you are going for a simplistic site to search for cards you shouldn’t even bother because the Tower has it down perfect. However, where TCGScans could shine is the inclusion of comments, ratings and the price comparison (this is the best idea of the lot and should draw a lot of traffic to the site by itself, I know that in the future I’ll be using it whenever I’m about to purchase singles online.) Being able to rate and comment on cards is great too as other players can often be some of the best sources of knowledge, which is what you’re trying to gain when you use one of these sites anyway.

    Card linking is a great idea, more of the bigger Pokemon TCG sites should start doing it, I’ve seen it on YGO boards and hot dam does it make things easier when someone mentions a card you don’t know/aren’t sure of and you can see for yourself straight away. If I recall correctly some of them even pop up on the screen when you mouse over them which I think should be the direction you go with this feature.

    Ditch the dislike, there isn’t much point to it, a well liked article will be up-voted so the reception of articles can be charted that way, I don’t think seeing front page articles with a rating of -3 is encouraging.
    Ended up writing a bit more than I wanted but keep up the good work, it’s things like this that can serve to expand the game, even if it’s mostly invisible.

  19. Mekkah

    Switch, Judge and a couple of other often-used words are being auto-linked a lot when they don’t need to. Maybe implement some kind of clever script related to capitalization, or only linking them when the set is behind them, or some other kind of code? Or turn it off altogether for these cards, since almost everyone knows what they do, and even if not you can just add their scan to the article.

    • Adam Capriola  → Mekkah

      Noted, and thanks man. I haven’t gotten a chance to fix it yet, but I’ll try to make it so the script is case sensitive. I thought (hoped) by default it would be, but I guess it’s not. :( 

      I’m planning adjust the like/dislike system first, then I’ll get going on the links!

  20. Anonymous

    Did you remove the -1? I tried to leave one, but it said I had to leave a comment. I did, still didn’t show up.

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