Archive for May, 2010

24
May

HNZ: My hopes, plans & ideas

   Posted by: Nicolas    in Admin Stuff, Aurors, Blog, Future, HNZ, OOC, Plans, Positivity

So, normally I use HNZ to blog rant about whatever has been annoying me, on or off of the site. I’ve even considered writing a “how to blawg rant” sort of blog rant where I would analyze my own blog rantings to see what made them so humorous to some and offensive to others. This post, however, will be more blog and less rant. Surprising, I know.
So, without further ado, the blog itself:

Contrary to what it seems like, I do have a lot of ideas, hopes, and plans for HNZ. Some of them are a lot larger than others, and some of them are quite unrealistic, but nevertheless I have them and strive toward implementing them.

Some of the ideas you’ve already seen thrown in to action with little to no consultation with the site, some of the ideas I’ve heard as suggestions and am just waiting for the right form to execute them in, others are ongoing as I type and many, many, others are just little inklings of thought in the back of my mind.

So, where does Nick see HNZ going? What big plans and hopes do I have for the site? I’ll share a few with you now. ^_^

Right, so first I’ll start with some of my more minor ideas – easy to implement, but I mostly want feedback on or need the help of members to do.

  • Twitter Profile Field
    The Twitter profile field was added to HNZ, but I’ve been thinking about updating its coding just a little such that if the user has inserted a link to their twitter account it becomes clickable. It’s a small thing, and easy to do, but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra three lines of code on the site.
  • Constant Feedback (Through the proper channels)
    Recently the giant suggestions topic disappeared and in its place came the Suggestions & Feedback forum. This was in an effort to invite users to openly post their own suggestions or feedback about the site, then facilitate discussion on the topic instead of just having one response and things moving on. You’ll notice, however, that the forum is no longer just ‘Suggestions’. It is ‘Feedback’ as well. This means we want to hear what you think, not just grumblings over MSN and whatever spam topic is open. An excellent example of this is Interactive Lessons. Recently a discussion has been opened about them where users were invited to share their ideas and opinions. Now, interactive lessons began several months ago and I’ve heard grumblings about it on and off since then. What stopped those users from posting feedback, constructive criticism, and their own ideas? Nothing on my end, I should hope – but I don’t know.
  • A better understanding that Livvy & I work as a team
    This has become difficult as of late, because often it is only one of us that warns any given user, or one of us that replies stating an application has been denied. Often, when it is the same admin and the same user over time, the user develops animosity toward the one admin and favours the other, somehow thinking that our opinions differ, when this is very seldom true. Hopefully I’ve taken a step toward mending that, where one of us takes all the heat, in the most recent update to the applications system – but we’ll have to wait to see.
  • All (or most all) Applications on Webpages
    Right now we seem to be caught between two systems. The older, ‘copy/paste this form to apply’ system (still used for Hogwarts Staff, Professors, Shopkeepers, and Ministry Officials) and the newer webpage/mostly automated application system (as seen with Purebloods, Plot Requests, Special Abilities etc.).
    The trouble with updating is many-fold. First, making the webpages is time consuming. This is not a large concern of mine, but it is one to consider in conjunction with the others.
    Next, for Professors – applications are only open when we are specifically hiring for a post. Otherwise, the form is moot. How, then, are we to indicate when/if we’re hiring – and would we have to update the form every time we need a new professor?
    The final trouble is the shopkeeper application. Shopkeepers can open their own shop (note: that is currently on hold) or fill a vacant shop. If they are trying to fill a vacant shop, the same trouble as professors pops up.

Of course, I also have some much larger plans than those – many of which are just pipe dreams, but thoughts I’ve had nonetheless.

  • Member Run: Aurors & Death Eaters
    This is something I, personally, would like to see in the future some time. A few trusted members taking on Aurors and Death Eaters, keeping Admin in the loop, and ensuring things stay active and exciting. Livvy and I have tonnes on our plates, we’re trying to organize and encourage DE/Auror activity while still monitoring it/tempering it so it doesn’t get out of hand. In the past, Death Eaters have been self-run, and I think both groups could do so with OOC leaders from the member base. Maybe just not yet.
  • Ministry of Magic: Election(s)?
    This is something that is likely happening, and soon. Possibly starting in Y10, if I can get some things together for it.
    Gellert Coote has been Minister for Magic for at least eight years. That’s a fair length of office term, and it’s time he retired. So who is next to lead the Magical Community of New Zealand and its Ministry in to the future? Well, I’d like that to be up to the residents of New Zealand themselves. I think it’d be a grand way for members to get involved in the site. Create characters to run in the campaign (or, better yet, use existing ones) have speeches, slogans, buttons and banners, make election promises nobody can keep, expose skeletons in each other’s closets… and then… voting day! New Zealand elects its newest leader.
    Of course, some OOC strings would need to be attached too – as having such an important character for the whole site makes things a bit complicated. The roleplayer of that account would need to talk to Admin frequently and keep us in the loop on things – but I think that’s something fun to look forward to that could add so juice to the Ministry-aspect of HNZ. ^_^
  • A New Custom Theme?
    HNZ has been using the same amazing theme made by Athene Perthro for nearly two years now. It’s excellent, I love it, it means “HNZ” to me – but sometimes change is nice. Something fresher and newer could likely entice visitors to join the board and I’m always one to see what new things might work.
    This is something I’ve pursued to some degree previously, but unfortunately it hasn’t come through, so it’s something I keep in my mind. If we were to have a new theme designed for HNZ – or even coded for it (though I could do that myself, really) – it would be a nice way to liven up some aspects of the board (though I always intend to keep Athene’s skin in the theme chooser).
  • Web Hosting for HNZ
    This is one of the larger dreams really that I have for the site. I say dream because of how unlikely it is to happen, but it could be quite awesome if it ever did.
    What would web hosting mean? Well, it would mean that we would be able to integrate some PHP to the forum and host many things ourselves – such as the galleons script which, currently, is being graciously provided and hosted by my friend Scott (Slayer766) on his web host. This would also mean that HNZ could be given a front page of sorts before accessing the forums, which would contain quick links, information, announcements, a login system of sorts etc. which could all be tied directly back to the board with ZetaBoard’s upcoming API.
    Now, why is this unlikely to happen? The simple fact of web hosting costing money. The most basic plan with the company I buy HNZ’s domain from is $72.24(CAD) for a year of hosting. I already pay ~$25(CAD) a year for the domain and my privacy protection on the domain – so that would be nearly $100 a year spent on the site. Not too terribly much, when given that it’s a whole year – but it’s a fair amount when I don’t have a credit card to pay through (so I buy stupid prepaid ones) and my job isn’t that great. Plus, I’m going in to University and will therefore be in debt the rest of my life, the way it’s looking. I also never want to put up a paypal link asking members to donate to HNZ, nor do I want to start a project that costs money without personally having the means to back that project for an extended period of time. It would suck if I paid for a year, then couldn’t pay for the next year and somehow no members came through with donations, and we lost whatever we’d become so used to/dependant on.

That’s about all the plans/hopes/ideas/dreams I think I want to share right now.
I would like to comment that in the past week, maybe two weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed the air about the community on HNZ. A lot of negativity and animosity seems to have been taken away somehow, and I’m very optimistic for the future. ^_^

Thank you all for making HNZ so awesome, and I welcome you to share any feedback on these hopes/plans/ideas of mine. ^_^

~Nick


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24
May

My Greatest Disappearing Act Evar!

   Posted by: Liv    in Admin Stuff, Life, Livvy

Okay, so maybe not. xD If I were a magician, I would have been fired already. Or my pet rabbits and doves would’ve revolted and become meat eaters. All that’d be left of me would be my silk handkerchief and my spiffy black and white shoes. No repeat performances. haha!

The truth in a nutshell is that life has gotten out of hand for me as of late. I’m a newly single parent to a wonderful boy, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Which basically just means he has a harder time socializing with his peers and conducting strong communication. He’s very smart, always ahead of his class academically. lol. He just has to have speech and occupational therapy. As it’s approaching summertime, I’ve had to take a lot of time getting him into not only a summer school style program (through my new job thank the Lord!) but also securing him a spot in a new therapy place not far from home. So that he won’t regress. He’s made a lot of progress just in a year’s time, which means that everyday I have to put my time/energy forward too, to make sure I’m setting him up for success and not for failure. Our goal is that by the time he’s 10 years old, no one will ever know that he has Asperger’s. 🙂 Which means that he will be able to function in society appropriately and live an awesome life full of adventures. 🙂

Another thing that’s taken my time from HNZ is my new job. I love my new job. The hours are great, I love what I do and it’s a lot of fun. Not only that, my little boy gets to come with me and be in a wonderful woman’s class this summer. So I’ll know exactly how he’s doing every single day. ^^

We moved back in February and our new place was closed up for quite a while. It’s beside family, which is wonderful. But it needs a lot, and I do mean a lot, of TLC. I’ve thus far got to paint my living room and the bathroom. The other 3 rooms that need painted have to have the wall paper taken down, walls sanded, some fixed, then primed and painted. No way am I doing all that! So thus begins my search for reliable, affordable painters in my area. haha.

I was supposed to start school the 18th, but am unable to until the fall now. It’s just one of those things, a lot was happening with my son so I chose to hold it off until his routine was more stable and he and I could cope with everything that’s happening.

I’ve been playing catch up on HNZ. If I’ve not responded to your PM, please be patient as I will get to you this week. 🙂 Also with applications. I apologize for the length of time it’s taken me to respond to them. Please do not get snarky with Nick or blame him, as he has had to wait on me too. Sales receipts will be caught up by this week as well. Any RPs I am participating will be replied to asap too. ^_^

I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know what was going on and to ask for your patience, prayers and understanding. There’s a lot I didn’t/couldn’t type out as it’s too personal that’s going on as well.

Thank you again,
Your friendly neighborhood Admin,
~Livvy


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20
May

Summertime is here!!!

   Posted by: pattycakes    in Uncategorized

Hi there, and welcome to my very first blog as a GM on HNZ 😀 Something that I still can’t believe happened. I was so shocked when I was first asked about joining the Site Staff, I really couldn’t believe it. But that’s in the past now and I’ve stopped staring at my pretty name….much :r

And now on to the blawg. I’m not exactly what to write here, there is a reason I don’t blog much because when I do it’s basically an update about what I’ve been upto since my last blog and that’s pretty boring for people to read I suppose lol. So this will probably just be a ramble about some of the random things that have been happening in my life recently and what I have to look forward too.

Even though this is the first blog on here I have my own personal one on HNZ and the last one on there was on St. Paddy’s Day, so I suppose I can pick up from what happened since then. Well firstly I turned 19 (the next day actually lol). That’s not really a big thing to some but it’s so weird thinking I’m 19 now and I joined HNZ when I was 17 and I don’t feel like I’ve changed at all. After that the biggest thing that happened me was during Easter. I had a few weeks break from Uni during Easter so I took a wee break. Even though I had it planned since January/Febuary time I was sooo excited about. This was the first time I went away by myself, I’ve only ever been out of NI twice when I went to London for my 8th birthday with mum and dad and a few years ago when I went to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to visit Chris when he went to Uni there, with mum and dad – again. So this was a big deal for me and mum was more nervous that I was, silly woman but I suppose it was understandable – but when she rang me 15 times a day, then I got annoyed <_<

But anyway yes, back to my trip. Well this trip wasn’t just any ordinary trip, no it had a purpose. So I left from Belfast and went to Edinburgh, and when I was in Edinburgh I met my very first HNZ member 😮 Yep, I met Emmi (Lemina Troque). She nearly choked me after a literal running glomp xD Yes I met Emmi and it was epic, we had been talking about it for so long and I have to say I had the best time EVAR! I enjoyed myself so much, especially singing Christmas songs at the top of our voices in a park whilst recording ourselves lol. So many random things but I wouldn’t have changed any of it, so much fun. Then after our (near tearful ;( ) farewell I headed off to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Oh yeah, this trip had a few stops and I only stayed a day wherever I went. Newcastle was good, I didn’t meet anyone there but I really love that city. After that came my next HNZ member (yes I met more than one :D) Anywho I took a wee train ride to see Toneh! Again, another epic day, even if we did just say in his flat on HNZ and watch a movie 😛 Then after Toneh, came Stephy ^_^ OMG I had so much fun there aswell, again we jsut stayed in but had many laughs ^_^ After that I took my last trip to London. Now here was just a stop over because I was flying out of there and unfortunately I couldn’t do anything there because I had to drag a suitcase around with me <_< But the best part of London was stepping out of the train station and seeing the Apollo Victoria Theater and seeing nothing else but WICKED!!! I was nearly in tears, it was so close and yet so far 🙁 But I promised myself that I will not see Wicked until I go to America and see it with our very own Elphaba and Glinda 😀 Anywho that was my trip of epic proportions, I had such a great time and it was something I needed.

Well that brought me into April and boy did that month fly in. With essays to be done at Uni and being busy will all that jazz I didn’t see May arrive 0.o The last thing I remember about April was a formal for my department at Uni done by the second years, ahhh such a good night, and even better it was the last day of Uni :o. And then two days after I was away to a concert by one of my favourite boy bands who were on a break for the past year so this was their first concert in two years and OMG it was epic. I never screamed/squeeled/sang so much in my life. This is evident as I ended up getting laryngitis and tonsillitis after it >.< Oh yes, not just one but two, just my luck really lol Was put on a course of antibiotics and other tablets which I stopped taking :r But I need to finish now as my throat is starting to get really sore again.

Well since then I’ve been somewhat sparce on my RPs and I apologise for that and even though I was on HNZ as much as I usually am I felt so guilty for being on because well for the past two weeks I’ve been doing exams. Oh how I dispise those things <_< songs =”))”>.< Nose is blocked up something shocking 🙁 But it’ll be over soon…hopefully and I’m not going to let it ruin my summer 😛

It’s so hard to believe though. I’m officially finished my first year of Uni! AHhhhhhh! It’s such a scary thought, this time next year I’ll be finished second year and getting ready to go to America for a year and a lot of people knows what that means for me and other HNZers :r ^_^ This year has flown in and despite the work been as hard as hell half the time I’ve enjoyed Uni so much and I can’t wait until I go back, as a second year 😮 Even though it’s not for another 5 months. Such a long break but I will be busy-ish for some of it basically:

  • Going out on Saturday with the same bestie from yesterday in an attempt to cheer her up as she got dumped at the weekend, via text <_<
  • Moving out of the flat I’ve been living in for the past year on Sunday
  • May 28th: I’m having a Charity Line Dancng Disco to help raise money from my trip in Boston *read further*
  • June 5th: I’m going to Croke Parkto see Westlife (the same boy band as the one at the beginning of May with the same person xD
  • July 3rd & 7th: Working in the summer scheme at Youth Club
  • July 9-25th(-ish): This is going out of bullets as it’s fairly big ^_^

OK so this is something that I’ve been looking forward too for a few months now. The Youth Service that I work in does an International Leadership Project every year to America. And I got chosen this year 😮 Which is a big thing as only 7 or so get chosen out of everyone who applies and since I’ve been in the Youth Service for a year I was well chuffed I got chosen to go.So basically me and few other people around my age (along with two of our leaders) are going to a camp near Cape Cod, Boston, USA!!! to work with children who have special needs, for two weeks. I am soo excited. I’ve never been to America before and even though I’m going to be working while there I can’t wait to go, it’s going to be so much fun and an amazing experience to boot ^_^ Despite being uber excited for this I’m a bit worried as I have to raise around £500 :-/ Hence why I’m doing the Charity Line Dancing Disco, I just hope I get a good crowd and I know a good number of people who said they will come…so fingers crossed. Another thing that this trip means for me, is that I won’t be on HNZ for about 2 weeks 😮 I know, the horror ;( We’ll be in the middle of a forest so no internet access, but it’ll fly in and I’ll be back before you know it 😛

Anyway that’s not for a while yet so soak up all of me that you can get before then :r As for now I have a list of RPs that are starting to pile up >.< Hopefully I can get replied to them and start the other pile that I have to start. To everyone that that involves, be patient with me 🙁

And with that, thanks for reading the biggest pile of randomness ever xD

– Pattycakes! xx


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11
May

Sending a PM: The importance of your title.

   Posted by: Nicolas    in Admin Stuff, HNZ, OOC, PMs

A minor annoyance of mine is this:
People who send me personal messages on the board but title them whatever they’d like, or like they’d title a roleplay – perhaps with nothing to do with the contents of the PM or with very little to do with it, at any rate.

Often, I’d even prefer no subject at all ( a simple &nbsp; in the PM title field will make the title a single space ) to the subjects some people give me. When I sign on my PM inbox might look like this (as it did today, nearly):

Random PM Titles
Open Full Image in New Window

Only one of those message titles is even helpful to me. One or more of them makes me think the user is annoyed with me (which they were not) and the others… lolwut?

I do two things when I have PMs:

  1. Try to reply in order of importance
  2. Give consideration to the length of time a PM has gone without reply

I am perfectly able to do that second thing just by a glance – but the former? How am I to determine the importance of each PM with random titles? Or how am I to determine if I am in the right mood/mindset to read the PMs (I don’t want to read a PM telling me off (like ‘GRRRR’ could have been, but wasn’t) if I’m already upset)?

I think that PMs are quite different than topics on the board. PM titles should give a glimpse of what is inside of the PM before the user opens it.
That’s my opinion, anyway.

What’s yours?

~Nick


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