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Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007, 12:30 am
atrata: finally, the post of doom!

Results of the Request Post of Doom, plus comments from the other journals and from e-mails, under the cut. Sorry it took me so long. It's kind of huge, and I'm ill today. Note that something's presence on this list doesn't mean it's absolutely going to make it into the software. It's a long list, yo. I think we'll be putting it to the community to find out which of these features are most important and are therefore things we should focus on first.

As you read them, maybe see if you can come up with some name possibilities? The project really needs a name (I have gone all mafia about it and taken to calling it "our thing," which probably won't work), which will make it easier to talk about and enable us to get started on cool things like logo contests, to keep people excited and involved.

I'm also going to refer to LJ plus its clone sites (JF, GJ, IG, Scribblit) as "LJC."


Thing we like about LJ: Our friends lists
Ways to make it better: Stop calling it our "friends list." Ability to click the "also friend of" link so you can see who's reading you (I think we should totally call this function "who watches the watchers?" or maybe just "quis custodiet"); makes it easier to decide if you want to add them to your reading list. Some tech stolen from RSS readers so you can close a post when you're done with it; makes you less likely to miss things and easy to come back to posts later. No friends limit.
Thoughts: The nomenclature has really got to change, and that's not going to be difficult to do. I gather the reasons for f-list limits has something to do with server and bandwidth resources. Possibility of setting the limit as high as we reasonably can and allowing users to purchase the ability to increase that limit? I would like to have no limits at all, but that's going to depend on the sort of back-end we have.
Migration Madness: Will need a way to read journals from LJC on reading list. dizzycadence is working on a way to do this w/ authentication so you can also read locked posts. (Assuming they've got you friended.) More info here. Also, implement clone-based username linking: < lj user= , < jf user= , < gj user= , < ij user= , < sc user= .

Thing we like about LJ: Layouts
Ways to make it better: Support for external stylesheets. Make it easier to customize fannish layouts without having to learn arcane S2 rules.
Thoughts: I think external stylesheets are a must-have. And while we're talking markup, validity & accessibility will be paramount, so the site will be browsable by non-standard methods (voice browsers, iPhones, Lynx, whatever. I actually do a surprising amount of text-based browsing these days).
One step further: Tag-based filters + linked stylesheets/custom layouts = a page of Pirates posts with a nice Pirates layout. One click and you're looking at a page of PoT posts with Tezuka in the background.

Thing we like about LJ: Icons
Ways to make it better: More of them. Mass uploading. Saved keywords. Longer keywords. Multiple keywords. Maybe tags instead of keywords (so, "show me all of so-and-so's Naruto icons" will be a possibility)? Larger icon (byte) size?

Thing we like about LJ: Image hosting
Ways to make it better: Allow comments to scrapbook images. Add vid hosting.
Thoughts: I feel like scrapbook needs to be seriously re-imagined. I have not done said re-imagining. I think people use scrapbook for a few different things: artists to host their artwork, picspammers to host this week's pictures of Johnny Depp, icon-makers to store icons, others to put up misc. pics of their cat or store the art they need for their layouts. Maybe do something like split this functionality in two: galleries, with thumbnails and tags and the ability to comment on pictures; and something that works a lot more like an ftp server, so you just have storage space and you can upload the 150 icons you just made and call them whatever you want to call them. Maybe? Also, if storage were more FTP-like, you could put up things that weren't necessarily images. Still thinking about this piece of it.

Thing we like about LJ: Comments. Comment threading. Comment notifications.
Ways to make it better: Editable comments. Formatting options (RTF? Wiki formatting?). Easy previewing. "Unfold all."
Thoughts: Apparently the "unfold all" thing comes up in suggestions, and it's always determined that it's too much of a resources hog. Would it help to do it without icons? What about making it a feature you can purchase? Editable comments (with system-added datestamp, like in forums?) and formatting options FTW.

Thing we like about LJ: Tags
Ways to make it better: Ability to subscribe to certain tags of certain users. Ability to not subscribe to certain tags of certain users. Ability to search the site by multiple tags. Tag browsing. Tags, tags, tags.
Thoughts: I think we might also want to tag our actual journals and communities, to make searching/browsing easier. I think this would work a bit like interests, except better; it'd allow us to easily look for, say, users and communities with a lot of Battlestar Galactica femmeslash.

Thing we like about LJ: Memories
Ways to make it better: Nested categories for better/easier organization. Tag memories. Move them around, edit them, delete them without it being a tremendous pain-in-the-ass. Add notes or comments to the links you add to your memories. Add outside links to your memories.
Migration Madness: There would ideally be a way to transfer memories to the new service. I suspect it may be possible to hack antennapedia's lj migrate script to do this. Will maybe work on that now, because I'm kind of ansty to get coding. *grin*
One step further: People talking about the functionality they'd like to see in the memories section started to sound a lot like people talking about del.icio.us. Adding del.icio.us-like bookmarking to the site? Made of win.

Thing we like about LJ: Communities
Ways to make it better: Easily back up entire community, comments and all. Better moderator functionality, like the ability to change the security on every community post at once.
Thoughts: One thing that was brought up was, put some measure in place for when comm mods disappear. I'm not sure there's a way to do that with code, but maybe there could be some kind of policy in place like, if no one hears from the mod in X days, comm members can elect a new one and the site admins can make it happen.
One step further: I like the idea of community types. When you go to create a community, obviously you have to option to make it be whatever you want. But maybe newsletters are a special type of community, where you set up a post template and enable the "I edit a newsletter" feature, and then as you're browsing, each post has an "add to newsletter" button by the "add to memories" button and all the other little buttons. Or you make a fanworks community and have the option to add challenges to a Master Fandom Calendar (more on the MFC later).

Thing we like about LJ: Filters
Under consideration: Levels of "public," such as locking entries to logged-in users only. Ability to label posts NSFW combined with a default SFW filter (by default I mean it's always available if you want it, not that you're forced into using it). Ability to lock posts to all members over [18] (actual age TBD) or all members AND guests over [18]. Only okay if easy and largely unobtrusive cookie-based "yes, I'm of age" guest-pass thing is possible (which it should be). No, it will not keep the kids out. Yes, it will cover our asses.

Thing we do not like about LJ: The amazing changing unchanging TOS
Ways to make it better: Be clear. Be detailed. Be responsive. Have some balls.
Statement: Not even under debate. This will happen.

Thing we do not like about LJ: Search functionality is well-nigh useless
Ways to make it better: Search by tags -- more than one at a time. Ability to narrow results. Search by fandom.
Thoughts: I'm probably going to put together a mockup of what I think the search page is going to look like, and then solicit input. This, I feel, is really important functionality and it's going to help to have an idea of what we want early on, because it's going to be a big driver of the data model.
One step further: While I absolutely think that users should be able to opt out of having their individual journals searchable (much like what LJC does now with appending the norobots stuff to headers), I think it would be AWESOME to be able to have a little search thing on posts that lets you search through (collapsed) comments to a given post.

Thing we can't decide if we like about LJ: Paid accounts
Likely course: Free accounts + option to buy highly modular add-ons. No generic "paid account" as such, but allow users to purchase the add-ons they want and will use. Possibly offer packages for the super-lazy.
More info: Because this is going to be a non-profit venture, the only purpose of charging for add-ons is allowing us to afford the resources to provide them. I'd like as much of this stuff as possible to be free, but right now, I have absolutely no way of knowing what we will and will not be able to provide. It's also going to vary depending on what users want. So, the very tentative "maybe it will cost extra" list: voice posts, a gazillion icons, pages, vid hosting, killfilters, unfold-all, more layouts, SMS capability, actual server space (http://user.awesomename.com/site/), more friends, more accounts, widgets, custom mood themes.

Thing we can't decide if we like about LJ: The nav bar
Thoughts: Some people like it, some people hate it. At the very least, if it's going to be an option, it should be customizable (and maybe hideable?). I kind of like the idea of a nav bar made of widgets.

Thing LJ has never heard of: Master Fandom Calendar
How it works: You create a community. The system says, "hey, is this community going to have challenges?" If so, you can add them to the Master Fandom Calendar, which users can go check out and view by fandom. Anyone can add new events, but only event creators or their (designated) proxies can edit or delete them.
Why? It would be hugely cool? It would help foster a sense of community? I know challenge-listing communities pop up all the time, asking people to show up and announce that they're running such-and-such type of challenge. Everyone thinks they're a good idea, and they last for like two weeks, and then people stop posting. I think making "add a challenge" an automated process that the system takes care of would help a lot.

Thing LJ has never heard of: Master/slave accounts
How it works: You sign up with an e-mail address and set up your main account. You can then set up other accounts (for RL stuff, RPGs, whatever) and link them to that same e-mail address. All features of all accounts are accessible from the master account.
Other thoughts: I love this idea, but I'm torn about implementation. Should Master accounts get unlimited slaves? Or they get X number of slaves and can buy more? I like the idea of purchasing add-ons and then allowing users to split them up between accounts as they see fit. So, buy 100 additional icons, and give 10 of them to your RL account and 35 to some RPG account and the rest to your fannish account. Etc.

Thing LJ has never heard of: RPG consoles
How they work: Easy way for mods to see what's going on in their games -- maybe a listing more like a forum so they could see where the most recent activity is. What else? I'm not an RPer, so I don't know.

Thing LJ has never heard of: Post templates
How they work:The site has default templates for different types of post (fic, art, regular journal entry, icons, whatever). Users won't have to use them if they don't want to, but it'd be shiny if they did, because then we could use those fields as metadata to search against. Fields and field values editable by user.

Think LJ has never heard of: Account types
How they work: Much of this functionality is fen-specific, but I also want this site to be a place where non-fen can feel at home. I think it'd be kind of nice to say, when you are creating your account, "no, I don't want all the fannish bells and whistles," and then you won't be bothered with quite so many fannish options. Obviously, you should be able to change that at any time, and activate said bells and whistles.

Whew. Okay. That's a lot. But see what I mean about how awesome it will be if we can even do half this stuff?

So. Anything I missed? Other thoughts?

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
esteven

This sounds already wonderfully thought out. I'll be looking forward to scribblit

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:07 am (UTC)
ketchupblood

-cough- Not scribblit...
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
mezi99360

One feature I like (and I'm unsure if it was something that most other people dislike, that could be a reason it's not here) is the little window that comes up when you hover an icon, the one that has the little options about "add this user/community" and "join this community" and "view profile" and the like. If most people already said they dislike it, then sorry to have wasted your time.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
atrata

Oh, no, I think most people pretty much love that feature. It's definitely something we'll be trying to keep.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
inglorious_dmk

One step further: Tag-based filters + linked stylesheets/custom layouts = a page of Pirates posts with a nice Pirates layout. One click and you're looking at a page of PoT posts with Tezuka in the background.

Out of all the shiny things you've thought up here (and it all sounds awesome) am I odd for thinking this by far the coolest?

*is such a layout dork*

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
atrata

Not at all! I think that's probably one of my favorite things here, too. :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
joyinthedance

Oh god, YES on editable comments, subscribable tags, the "master/slave" accounts (though I don't like the name at all), and post templates. A place with those four things would be heaven.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
atrata

Yeah, I'm sure the Master/slave accounts would be called something different. That's just the computer-dork terminology for that sort of thing.

Glad you like the ideas! :D
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Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
seshat1

Wow, this all looks very well thought out. I'm still going through it right now but an idea I had is this: Facebook has an awesome tool for uploading photos that makes it really easy to upload and rename them, and it is WAY better than LJs. I have no idea how it works etc but if we could get something like that it would be great. :)

A thing to add to the communities would be the ability to multiple lock posts (by the mod or post owner), as well as being able to see all entries you've posted in a comm. I know that sort of thing would have come in useful recently!

I love the level of public thing. Definitely being able to lock your posts to logged in users only would be great.

These really are some great ideas. :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
atrata

Thanks! Most of them aren't mine, but still. *grin*

I definitely like the idea of some kind of console to better keep track of the posts you make in communities, and allow you to batch-edit those posts (change security, mass delete, whatever). Good call.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
joesther

This is fantastic, and brilliantly thought out. Well done.

I have one comment about the editable comments thing. I like the idea that they'll be editable, because, hello? How many of us have typo'd something (or used the wrong icon) and have wanted to go back and fix that something? But I'm wondering - maybe it would be better if they'd only be editable until they were replied to/commented on? Because otherwise, I see a lot of potential for problems, not the least of which is possible wank. Just a thought.

Thanks for all your hard work. I can't wait till this is up and running and I can join up. :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:15 am (UTC)
atrata

Yeah, the wank potential on editable comments is pretty high, but I still think it's worth doing. I'm hoping the little "this comment was edited" thing will help a bit w/ the wank, but turning off the editing at some point is totally worth thinking about.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
jessicamariek

I'm sold. This one's gonna be AWESOME. Here's to what is shaping up to be one awesome site!

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
atrata

*raises glass*

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
r_grayjoy

Thing we like about LJ: Tracking and email notifications thereof. Important for authors/artists involved in fests, yo. ;)

Thing we like about GJ/IJ: Private messaging. Eliminates the need to find an email address for a user if one wants to contact them in some way other than posting a comment to an LJ entry. Could also be very handy for fest mods and the like.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:31 am (UTC)
atrata

Oooh, and you know, notifications on the Master Fandom Calendar so people could sign up to be notified when there is a new fest coming up in their fandom/pairing/whatever.

And yeah, both good calls on your part. :)

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)
rekallthegreat

Looking good.

I really like the idea that if the mod of a comm is gone for x amount of time with warning that the site admin can make someone else the mod.

About the nav bar, if it's decided that there's going to be a nav bar perhaps the opposite of LJ should be done; have the default option be no nav bar and those who want it can turn it on. Because I see a lot more people without the nav bar than with (this is especially true for those with custom layouts).

As for the name I would avoid any name with the name 'Journal' in the title. One thing that has always bugged me about IJ, GJ and even JF to a lesser degree is they all had the word 'Journal' there which makes their names extremely close to LiveJournal and make them seem more like a LJ clone. Something new and original is needed so that this site can stand on it's own without piggybacking off of LJ's success.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
component

yes, and since a vast majority of users probably won't necessarily be "journaling" in the first place, the word "journal" in the name kind of presumes too much about the use of a persons account. people arent necessarily going to use their account to talk about their lives, etc. they might just use it to write fan fic or to post pictures/comments.

we definitely need a catchier name.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:05 am (UTC)
cold_poet

Wow.

That is, like, the coolest site ever. *G*

The only thought I have to add right now, and you touched on this in the tags/memories part - nested tags. I moved my website to be entirely wordpress based in the last two days, and I am desperately in love with the nested tags. So, yeah, I guess this is another vote for awesome tagging and mems? *G*

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
opheliet

Dude, if we can do 1/4 of this stuff it'll kick LJ's arse.

I really like the Calendar idea, as long as there's some way to prevent abuse of it (I could see some people adding pointless things/spamming it, but I don't know how that could be prevented, either...)

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)
atrata

Yeah, I dunno. Probably there would be some Calendar Mods who could keep an eye on it and delete the spam.

Also, icon love. :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
ketchupblood

I love your little category names. Thing LJ has never heard of is just so much love.

About the nav bar... You could do what IJ does and let the user choose to show it or not when they're browsing. It should work fine, I think.

I absolutely love the idea of no 'paid-account' but a bunch of paid features you could buy. Hell, I love all your ideas. -applauds-

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
inglorious_dmk

I absolutely love the idea of no 'paid-account' but a bunch of paid features you could buy.

Me too! How many of us have been forced to buy full paid accounts just so we could have more damn icons? Too many.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
yourssincerely

This sounds amazing.

Or, what I understood of it sounds amazing. (I am not very technology/computer savvy, so some of those terms mean absolutely nothing to me, although I can venture a guess as to what some of them might possibly be vaguely like.)

I think this is all being very highly organized and very rationally thought out. I did not believe it possible after the first fandom attack, and I was a bit skeptical to believe this time around, but after lurking here for a while, I've been converted - I really think this "mass exodus" will happen :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 07:38 am (UTC)
atrata

Man, I hope so. There's still a lot of work to do, and there are still a lot of corners of fandom we need to reach out to, but in general, I feel really good about this. Everyone's support has been really awesome. :D

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 06:20 am (UTC)
doomette

Hi, I'm a lurker. :)

This post had me mostly going 'mmm, yeah, that'd be cool, I guess...' until I got to Master/Slave accounts. I was like "OH GOD YES!" ...out loud. So everybody around me was like "0.o Are you okay?"

Total embarrassment. But awesome idea. Whoever thought of that is made of win.

Thu, Aug. 9th, 2007 07:39 am (UTC)
atrata

Heee!

I think pretty much everyone is made of win. I've been bitching about it for years, and a bunch of people brought it up in the features-request post. :)
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