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Michael Tanczos

Article Writing Reflections - How'd we do?

38 posts in this topic

First off, I want to congratulate Boreal Games for winning our Article contest for April with his article "Understanding Component-Entity-Systems"

 

Now that we have two months of article writing under our belts, I wanted to call on the community to give some feedback on what's going on with the site in terms of article writing.  I think what you guys don't see is the huge number of articles in draft status right now.  Hopefully we can move a lot of them to something ready for community review.

 

We have a ton of ideas right now of ways we can help each other in this awesome community and the pillar of our site has always been the sharing of game development knowledge and ideas.

 

So let's have it.. what went right?  What went wrong?  What could be better or fixed?   Do you like this direction and what do you think it will take for us to sustain this effort for the long haul?   Do you feel as though the community has enough control of the process and if not, how would you like to see us expand things?

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My first article made me nervous. But once it was out there and people started to respond (positive or negatively), it made me want to write more and better articles. Plus with the contests, I think plenty of people are motivated to write articles. It's so easy that it's hard to say "no".

 

I wonder however if an article is under Peer Review, can there be a way to make editing marks on the page. I know you can make comments, but it's not the same. For me anyway.

 

I say 9/10 on the whole process.

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I wonder however if an article is under Peer Review, can there be a way to make editing marks on the page

 

I'm a bit surprised this topic never got more attention when I originally brought it up...

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One of my favorite things about this web site was always the articles.  There was a while when there were never any articles.  Now I come to the site all the time.  The only thing I would suggest is an article list that is a little more reserved on the front page.  I still come here to look at forum posts more than anything, and the articles seem to take up a large amount of screen space.  Something on the side so I could still see all the active forum posts might be better.

 

But overall, I love the new way of creating content.

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I wonder however if an article is under Peer Review, can there be a way to make editing marks on the page

 

I'm a bit surprised this topic never got more attention when I originally brought it up...

 

Honestly, that's the first time that I've seen that post.

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One of my favorite things about this web site was always the articles.  There was a while when there were never any articles.  Now I come to the site all the time.  The only thing I would suggest is an article list that is a little more reserved on the front page.  I still come here to look at forum posts more than anything, and the articles seem to take up a large amount of screen space.  Something on the side so I could still see all the active forum posts might be better.

 

But overall, I love the new way of creating content.

 

Well if you scroll down past the articles, there's the "Interesting" (posts) tab. But IIRC, there was a time where there was a New Content widget on the right side of the front page. On this site, not the old site. IMO, however, I have no problem with the articles being front and center. Compels me to click on one of them just to see the content.

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I agree with Drew, er, Gaiiden... better markup would be welcome. Personally, I'm really bad at catching errors as I write so it would be nice if there were a mechanism for others to point out standard grammar/spelling stuff without having to leave a comment. I think Markup would also be equally useful for pointing out content issues.

 

I'm don't think it would be easy to do, but the article editor isn't super friendly. Browser spellcheck doesn't seem to work in the window, and it would be nice to be able to have a larger viewing area with images in text (or at least a thumbnail).

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I'm don't think it would be easy to do, but the article editor isn't super friendly. Browser spellcheck doesn't seem to work in the window, and it would be nice to be able to have a larger viewing area with images in text (or at least a thumbnail).

 

The editor was probably more targeted towards programmers so it is based off of a code editor rather than some form of WYSIWYG editor like forum posts use.   Unfortunately the way it works is different than a standard editor in terms of spellcheck functionality, so it's unlikely we'd be able to implement something like that.

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The only thing I feel could be improved in the article editor, is adding proper latex support. It's kind of a pain using links or images. I know it's not very high on the priority list but it would help when articles are somewhat math-heavy. And the "Preview" button is broken, by the way. It only previews the last saved draft, so when you want to preview your work you need to "save draft" at which point it brings you back to your article anyway, so the "Preview" button is actually redundant. Last time I checked it did this, though, it might've been fixed since then.

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Hi,

 

I think the articles are great. I don't write them because I'm too beginner level, but I love to read them and they are very helpful. The only thing I'd like to see right now, from my personal perspective as a beginner and reader, is an expanded subscribe feature. Unless I'm missing something, when you subscribe to an article you get notified of that article changes and comments on it, which is cool. However, I'd like the ability to subscribe to an article series that people sometimes do, or a specific author. I think it'd be nice to get notified when a new article is published as part of a series.

 

Anyways, great site.

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However, I'd like the ability to subscribe to an article series that people sometimes do, or a specific author. I think it'd be nice to get notified when a new article is published as part of a series.

 

I like this.

 

And LTArnas just sparked an idea :) Is there a way that an user can show articles that they recommend or like. Something like how Amazon does. So, for example, if I go to Evolutional's profile (or whatever page this would be) I can see Evolutional's Article Picks as a list of thumbnails and titles.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
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However, I'd like the ability to subscribe to an article series that people sometimes do, or a specific author. I think it'd be nice to get notified when a new article is published as part of a series.

 

I like this.

 

And LTArnas just sparked an idea smile.png Is there a way that an user can show articles that they recommend or like. Something like how Amazon does. So, for example, if I go to Evolutional's profile (or whatever page this would be) I can see Evolutional's Article Picks as a list of thumbnails and titles.

 

What's interesting about this idea is that I really wanted ways to allow people to pull together different articles and other links that follow a particular theme.. and it would include both local *and* external links.   Think of it like "If you are into xyz, this is absolutely what you want to be checking out".    Something with better quality than a Google search because it is hand-curated for the very best stuff.    I'm wondering if something like this could be used collaboratively.. I'm not sure what that would look like though just yet.

 

.. thinking about it some more.. it would be cool if you could rate those links and have the top most links show up first..

 

shit..  I think I just reinvented reddit.   Maybe we just could use something like reddit that allows for more game development centric subreddits.. where members could "moderate" particular sections collaboratively.

Edited by Michael Tanczos
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Well I was thinking more of something like the Amazon Wish List functionality, but with articles. However, I shudder at the thought at member moderation. I like the system here as is, thank you.

 

However, if user's are choosing what articles they like, then you can articles see that have been most chosen by users.

 

Am I being clear?

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I haven't written any articles myself (way too busy), but I've greatly enjoyed reading some that others have posted.

A few are too subjective and not fact-based enough, but the majority are great.

 

I agree with article notations (and I saw that thread, but didn't have any real input to add so I didn't comment).

 

I might get burned at the stake for saying this, but I would recommend adding another ad right here to help support the site, since articles are so vertical anyway. Just as long as it's one additional ad, not twenty. I don't want ads to fill up the entire vertical space, but a second one wouldn't degrade the page experience to me, and if it gets you guys 30-40% more revenue per article and isn't intrusive, that'd be great.

 

Also, the social buttons at the bottom of the page needs to be bigger. Right now they are about 16x16, but they should be 24x24 or maybe even 32x32. Note: I'm not talking about a site-wide increase! The social buttons are currently the right size for forum threads and the rest of the site! But for articles, larger share buttons would be appropriate. [example]

 

At the bottom of certain articles, it'd be nice to have a link that says something like, "Have programming questions? Ask for help on [the forums]!", to redirect traffic back to the forums. The link should go to the correct subforum. "Have art questions unrelated to this article? Our [Visual Arts subforum] can answer them!". "Recruiting for a team? Post in our [classifieds]!", "Looking for a job in the industry? Check out the [Breaking In subforum]!"

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I've noticed that I can up-vote my own articles as much times as a want (by refreshing the page). Although it's good for my morale, I don't think it's an intended feature, right?

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I think the article initiative is going very well!

 

I agree with Gaiiden about the annotations.  Also, I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to 'critique' articles.  I've used private messages a few times, then I saw others (like JBAdams) using comments to note on typos and grammar errors, so I used that instead...but then the comment is sitting down there the whole time, after the changes have been made, and they aren't really contributing anything any more.  Maybe a more 'official' way of reviewing an article would be better, if it's not too much trouble.

 

I also agree with Servant of the Lord.

 

Oh, and I noticed the same problem as Bacterius, with the Preview button.

 

EDIT:

I forgot to mention this...

When I go to the Author Control Panel and click on article Queue, a lot of the links bring me to GameDev.net error pages, saying that the page couldn't be found.  Have these articles just been deleted, or is this a glitch?

 

Also, while I'm talking about the author control panel, it seems the link to get to it is rather obscure.  Since it's just sitting up there with a bunch of free space at the top-left of the screen, maybe you could just make it read "Author Control Panel" instead of "AuthorCP" and make the text brighter so it catches the eye?

Edited by Casey Hardman
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It's a permission thing with articles.. you can see the full queue but can't actually view all the articles.   I kind of like the idea of seeing there are other articles in the queue but perhaps I need to unlink them if you can't access them or something.

 

As for the editor improvements, keep any suggestions like this coming.. having an awesome editor is extremely important for this.

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So why are there certain articles that I can't view?  Shouldn't members of the Crossbones+ group be able to view all the articles so they can review them and such?

 

The articles I was trying to view had the 'UNDER REVIEW' tag on them, which I believe means they've already been moderator approved (so I should be able to read & review them, right?)

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So why are there certain articles that I can't view?  Shouldn't members of the Crossbones+ group be able to view all the articles so they can review them and such?

 

The articles I was trying to view had the 'UNDER REVIEW' tag on them, which I believe means they've already been moderator approved (so I should be able to read & review them, right?)

 

Well drafts are still private to the author.. they have to "publish" it first.  After that it goes into an "Awaiting Moderation" state where Drew approves it.. then it becomes "Under Review" and everyone can see it.    Until the article leaves draft stage there isn't much reason for anybody to look at it.   "Under Review" is meant to be a time of improvement, not a final result.

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I see...but when I was trying to view articles in the AuthorCP, it said they were Under Review, but it still gave me an error when I tried to view them.  I should be able to, since they're Under Review already, which means Drew already approved them, right?

 

For example, in my AuthorCP, I can find the article 'Games as art and why you shouldn't care', but if I click on it, it gives me the error.

 

This is the error page it leads me to.  Note it says "we couldn't find that" instead of "you don't have permission to view that".

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Ah I see what you are talking about.   Drew has been pushing the system a little bit to publish into the future.. so they're not technically public until the publish date.

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Ah I see what you are talking about.   Drew has been pushing the system a little bit to publish into the future.. so they're not technically public until the publish date.

Yeah, being subject to this a time or two, it is a little unclear when things will be available.  Or, as our conversation went: wtf they hate me???  You looked at it and said, nope, he set it to publish this Thursday.....  Was a bit confusing.  :)

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Ah I see what you are talking about.   Drew has been pushing the system a little bit to publish into the future.. so they're not technically public until the publish date.

Yeah, being subject to this a time or two, it is a little unclear when things will be available.  Or, as our conversation went: wtf they hate me???  You looked at it and said, nope, he set it to publish this Thursday.....  Was a bit confusing.  smile.png

 

I thought the default publish date was set to be on January 2038, date rollover (also known as: in 35 years). Or does that change as soon as the article is approved by the mods?

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Ah I see what you are talking about.   Drew has been pushing the system a little bit to publish into the future.. so they're not technically public until the publish date.

Yeah, being subject to this a time or two, it is a little unclear when things will be available.  Or, as our conversation went: wtf they hate me???  You looked at it and said, nope, he set it to publish this Thursday.....  Was a bit confusing.  smile.png

 

I thought the default publish date was set to be on January 2038, date rollover (also known as: in 35 years). Or does that change as soon as the article is approved by the mods?

I can't answer for Michael but I learned a bit about it.  The 2038 date is basically used when in draft form to keep it private while you work on it.  What threw me off was being approved and then no comments, views etc.  I didn't notice it but the publish date had been set to be 3 days from the point it was approved.  So it only showed up that Thursday.  It wasn't obvious though until you looked specifically at the day on the publish date so I thought everyone must be ignoring the Part 2 of the article.  :)

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I didn't notice it but the publish date had been set to be 3 days from the point it was approved. So it only showed up that Thursday. It wasn't obvious though until you looked specifically at the day on the publish date so I thought everyone must be ignoring the Part 2 of the article.

 

I looked back through my emails and in your particular case I mentioned to you I had scheduled the first one ahead but I did not do that with the second article because I (incorrectly) thought I explained the week lead time to you in the previous email when I scheduled your first article. So to fill you in on what I've been telling others when I publish them the first time, the article queue has a one-week lead time. When you get the publishing notice from the site, make note of the date/time shown on your articles to know when they will be publicly available - until that time anyone but you, staff and mods will get a 404 when trying to view the article link. This date/time is liable to change without any notice - for example if I get a submission that fits the theme for the current month's article contest, I will bump one or a few articles back a day or few (like if they were meant to go out on a Fri they won't now until Mon) to get the themed article out sooner if the end of the month is approaching.

Edited by Gaiiden
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