Archive for the ‘Plans’ Category

20
Oct

The Great Move

   Posted by: Kaitlyn

I am starting to get more and more nervous now. Why is that? Well, most of the people that have known me has the girl from Georgia (Oh yeah, from the same place our Kait aka Kiera Potter, small world?) Though after I started working at Wal-Mart, I quickly learned that it is a physical job, but love it none the less, and people actually talked to me. It was nice, yes. I originally got the job to start saving up for Michigan, and helping out mom because she is being garnished for a surgery I went through three years ago. While helping her out and earning so little money, saving up was just not going to be happening within the next two years. However I figured, hey, get the garnishment stopped, I’d be able to save easier, right? But, then something came along to where I may not have to worry about it.

Mom got laid off, thus being offered a job in another state. Where? New York, one hour away from Canada, in a big city named Rochester. At first, I thought that it wasn’t going to happen, and whatnot, but now I am sitting in the living room, looking at boxes and I have been told to pack my room. It was like a smack to the face. The worst part, I am scared. Utterly scared that we will end up losing everything again, and then ending up in a worse mess than before, though things seemed legit with the forms and mom’s drug test. There was another option, where I could find rides to Walmart, on crazy hours, and fight like hell to maintain a living on my own. However that is almost impossible too. I don’t have a car of my own, thus I would end up losing the job with winter coming. So, I have to go to New York before I can go to Michigan. I would end up losing my job, yes, but in a big city, mom’s work is wanting to hire me too in something. It would be cool working like 12 dollars an hour where she is making almost double than what she was making here, before the garnishment.

On an added note, I talked mom into helping me save up, because she helped Christian and Sarah get a place of their own, why not me too? So, after we get settled, I start college and have a job, with mom’s extra funds, she is going to help me find my goal. Though first, get a car of my own. Once my credit is up a bit, maybe a lease for one but I don’t want to wait a year. So, Used is my best option. I am New York Bound soon, and then later, who knows how much later but it will happen, I will be in Michigan.

This is being posted mainly to let everyone know, I am going to be in the process of moving across the freaking country, and might not have internet for a while. I have a feeling, this would be a great trip, and a better life for mom and me both. Just some thoughts running through my head right now.


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24
May

HNZ: My hopes, plans & ideas

   Posted by: Nicolas

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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Disclaimer: This is Nick venting. If you have no interest in reading Nick venting or you get upset/take offence easily then I advise you stop reading at this point. If you enjoy sarcasm, humour, and Nick at his wit’s end: read on, brave knight!


This is a three part blog rant. Each part will build off of the last mentioned part. We’ll start off slow, with the obvious, then work our way up to my deepest frustration. Then I might cool things down a bit with a few funny remarks, positive comments, or hints about the direction which I hope to see HNZ heading near the end. But be warned: this road is rocky before it is smooth (narrow before wide, uphill before downhill, take your pick).

So, as promised, the most obvious point:

I post updates/information on HNZ for my own good health.
It’s true and don’t let anybody tell you it isn’t! Myself and the rest of the site staff really don’t want to keep members in the loop at all. In fact, we hate not having to answer a thousand redundant questions because people have read the Weekly Update and global announcements, or read tweets or clicked rule topics. It annoys us and shakes us to the very core of our being when our hard work is actually used. It’s quite absurd, really. We simply post endless announcements (in the simplest and shortest terms possible) for our own health. It’s to benefit us and solely us. So I encourage ignoring all updates made by myself or others because really – it’s irrelevant to you and you should know that by now. ;)
Note: The above was sarcasm.

Next up to bat:
The Halloween Feast
Part of this may be Déjà vu for many of you, especially if you read my first ever blog post on HNZ – but it continues to persist despite my begging, pleasing, and obvious hatred of this: Members are still using the actual image of something to be their character in costume.
Sure, they’re witches and wizards and therefore some leeway is allowed with regard to how amazing their costumes should look. However, let’s be reasonable.

Banana
Nicolas King as a Banana

That is not Nicolas King as a banana! It’s a banana! Sheesh! >_<;

My next point of contention with the Halloween Feast is it has largely been left unroleplayed in.
There have been 30 some-odd entries to the costume contest – and at the time of my typing this, nowhere near to even 30 some-odd posts for roleplaying in the feast. That doesn’t seem very right to you, does it? HNZ is still and RPG first and foremost, correct? I’m tempted to not consider any costume contest entrants that are not roleplayed in the feast. Something for me to consider, I suppose, as right now it’s not really fair to those who are taking the time to have their characters be there. =/

Finally, the grandest rant of them all:
Site Wide Plots
Since the Dawn of HNZ (or very nearly thereabouts) people have requested, nay, demanded site wide plots. For what reasons, I am still unsure. They take a large amount of planning and dedication and often they do not allow for as great individual development of character as everybody doing, for the most part, their own thing and mid-sized plots involving handfuls of people popping up now and then.

So, Livvy and I and the site staff at the time (so not Kaitlyn), after New Years, made a resolution for HNZ: Larger plots. More focus on roleplays. More awesomeness.
Simple enough, right? Well, I thought so too.
The fact of the matter is, however, that it is now nearly the end of February and we’ve held up our end of the deal. Despite Livvy’s absence, despite Abby’s computer problems, despite all the usual busy-ness (and extra busy-ness) of the rest of our site staff… yes, despite all those things we have held up our end of the deal. We have provided, so far, the makings of an excellent TriWizard Tournament which every member of HNZ can take part in in some way, or some form. We have expanded Ministry/Auror and Death Eater plots. It’s currently only one large one, with a few key players, but there are more in the works. Sure, you might not be the one pulling the strings of the plot (Members never are in site wide plots) but it’s your job to play it up with your characters! Have them react to the plot! Have it effect their lives somehow! What has it done for the most part? Nothing. What have members of HNZ done with it, for the most part? Nothing.

Even regular things that effect only most of the site don’t get the attention they should. Case and point? The Halloween Feast.
Why is this? Maybe people aren’t reading announcements that are posted? Maybe people are lazy? Maybe people just don’t want site-wide plots as much as they think they do? I don’t know. Maybe you should tell me.

With all this extra effort on the part of myself and the site staff, I find it amazing that some members still have the absolute audacity to request/suggest “site wide plots”. Applications for various things with the field(s) about site improvement often get a classic line about site wide plots. Alright. OK. We got it! We acted on it! We’ve started to implement it. Small things at first (though, by my calculations, the TriWizard Tournament is not small) and large things later. But what is to be our motivations for those larger things when these things that we have now are completely ignored and/or used very minimally? I don’t see any reason to keep on trying with it. People that are still suggesting site wide plots need to open their eyes and try to take part in the ones that are sitting right in front of them. They only work if everybody is in them, and right now – everybody is not in them. Heck, it’s the people who I very rarely hear wanting these types of plots taking the most part in them. Does that seem wrong to you?


Otherwise, I think HNZ is doing quite well. :) It’s active almost all the time. (Yes, during the day it’s slow because of school, but it’s never really dead. It’s not like many boards where a day goes by with only two posts or a week goes by with no member log ins.) It’s exciting, and a lot is happening. I enjoy getting the positive feedback I receive, and I also enjoy taking constructive criticism, talking to people about it, and molding HNZ to become better as a result. I really do love HNZ and I think all you members are awesome. I think, however, that a lot of members do need to pay more attention to what does go on – and not complain unless they know what they’re talking about. Ignorance is my chief grief with regards to the site right now.

I caught up on a lot of HNZ things today, and will have more to catch up on tomorrow. I think I’m doing fairly well as short handed as I am – but I’m quite anxious for Livvy’s return and the site staff being in full force once more (once Abby gets her internet back up and if/when Linda’s busy-ness decreases). I thank every member who has offered to help me over the past several weeks, and especially those who have. I also thank all of you who have listened to me vent and just dealt with it (I know I can be super annoying sometimes ;) ).

~Nick
P.S: I hope you find the title to this blog post as poetic as I think it is, given all I’ve mentioned.

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7
Feb

Admin..ing Solo

   Posted by: Nicolas

So, as most of you should know, Livvy (Cecily Zdablooptybloop) has been absent since about the 20th of January. That means that I have been administrating HNZ on my own for over two weeks at this point, and Livvy intends to be gone likely until things resettle for her at the end of February or beginning of March.

I knew, when she told me how long she’d likely be gone, that this would be tough and her being away would be uber suckage – but I don’t think I truly realized how different things would be. I knew, for instance, that I would have to process all sales receipts on my own, and fill in for everything else Livvy does on HNZ so frequently. Those things in themselves make it quite difficult for me to play both our roles on HNZ – but I hadn’t realized (although I did within the first week of her absence) just how much I relied on Livvy for things other than handling her sections of the site. For instance, I loved running ideas by her, discussing things I had just thought up and would likely mull over on my own for another month before putting them in to action (yes, that’s something we do fairly often), or bouncing random ideas off her, commenting on certain member’s behaviour and discussing how best to deal with certain situations. She was also normally the one to keep me up to date on what was happening in character on the board (as, generally, I’m so involved with running the actual board, and the technical side of things, that I am quite clueless). We really do have quite the partner dynamic to running the board and that simply disappeared as soon as she left.

All of a sudden not only were all the routine tasks on my shoulders, but all the special plans we had for the coming months fell solely on me as well, and I was suddenly no longer able to bounce ideas off of somebody constantly. It was likely this last bit that has been the toughest for me. I can do sales receipts, I can even figure out how we would deal with most applications on my own – but I can’t bounce ideas off of myself. I can’t get Livvy’s perspective on things just from my own mind (of course, she and I agree ninety nine and a quarter percent of the time (yes, a fraction with a percent. Love me, math people. 😉 ) ) and I certainly hate implementing things that I’m not sure she’ll support upon her return.

Assuming I ignore the relationship in running the board that I cannot have when Livvy is gone, the tasks themselves simply pile up and make it impossible for me to do very much of what I’d like to do on HNZ. There are the normal tasks that have always and will always exist:

  • Member group changes (Normally split between us)
  • Applications for everything (about ten a week) Discussed by both of us
  • Warnings/Member Disputes (Discussed between us and sometimes Global Moderators – member is contacted by either Livvy or myself, we split this)
  • Answering FAQs(Normally split between us)
  • Posting announcements (Normally split between us)
  • Sales Receipts (Normally Livvy)
  • Updating Site Documentation as things change (Normally me, sometimes pawned off on Livvy)
  • Replying to suggestions. (Normally me, sometimes pawned off on Livvy)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, what I can think of right now, with regard to standard site operation.

Then, there’s the awesome timing of Livvy’s hiatus (through no fault of her own, obviously). She left and sorting was still happening. No big deal, I normally handle most of sorting. I took it on myself to even deal with every transfer application on my own to not pester her as she prepared to leave – despite that being something we traditionally do together. The real kicker is that this is to be a TriWizard Tournament year on HNZ. A lot of the planning was still only rough outlines, no formal posts had been written yet, and it had been Livvy and my intentions to run it together. That, obviously, has not panned out. I have been running it largely on my own and I hope it should go well.


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The TriWizard tournament is a substantial amount of extra work: from planning, to posting, to organizing, to prodding champions to get off their bum-bums to telling the SUPER HELPFUL ( ^_^ ) volunteers how they’re supposed to do what they need to do. =D

I also believe HNZ’s TWT is cursed. The last time we did this Alicia had to leave and we sort of strategically killed the plot line at task two. Now this time, Livvy has had to leave us for a month and we have no intention of it dying… unless the champions don’t start posting (Can you tell I’m bitter about TWT activity? No? Not obvious yet? Hmmm. I’ll work on that.)

Needless to say, I have been getting tonnes of help and support from our awesome Global Moderators. They’re all super busy right now, too, but they’ve stepped it up quite a bit for me, and for Livvy. We’re working on keeping things as active as we can and up to date as we can. I think, without the global moderating team, I would have collapsed by now. I wub dem guys. ^_^ (They’re even letting me bounce ideas off them once in a while! They’re not as good as Livvy … (no offence, guys) but still – it’s nice enough =D )

With Livvy gone, though, I have noticed some other things about the site:

  • Some members are mean no matter what. Ignore them. Don’t let them get to you. If you do, you’ll hate HNZ and not want to do anything at all.
    I was very close to just going on my own break at one point because of member comments and gossip in the past week
  • No matter how much you do, people don’t have to thank you for it if they don’t want to.
    True story.
  • No matter how fast you work, people want you to work faster.
    Also a true story. I’ve been clearing out applications about once a week. It’s the most I can do, seeings how I’m running most aspects of the site for now. However this is still not quick enough for some members. I still get PMs ‘reminding’ me to process things that I know about, and I still get very frustrated by that. 😉
  • Nice people should be glomped. All. The. Time. If you don’t, they’ll forget you wubbles them. They forget soo0o0o quickly. =(
    Unfortunately, I have learned this in the past week. I fear I have hurt somebody’s feelings, not by my words (though they passed it off as by my words, I think… my words were simply the unrefined truth about something on the site), but by my lack of words. Words which I had assumed to be understood.

I am, obviously, quite anxious for Livvy’s return and have quite a bit of February left to go before that will be a reality.
Any support from the members of HNZ in this time would be greatly appreciated. I’ve kept it up for over two weeks now, and I’m wearing down a bit. I can keep it up, but I need to know that

  1. The site is behind me
  2. and

  3. The site is patient with me
  4. and

  5. I’m not going to hear mean things about me through the grape vine when everything I’m doing on HNZ is for the members. I get very little out of being an admin, and I think it’s the site that truly profits. I guess that’s just one man’s opinion, though.

Thanks for reading this, guys, and be sure to keep Livvy in your thoughts/prayers over the coming weeks – she needs it. As much as it sucks that she’s gone, her absence is necessary for her and the easier this time is, the quicker she comes back. ^_^ So ya – keep her in your thoughts. =)

~Nick

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