Archive for the ‘weekly updates’ Category

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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10
Feb

The Problem of Change

   Posted by: Nicolas

Change in life is inevitable. This is true of any life form, as adaption/reactions to environment are one of the key factors in determining if something is living, or not. How can an organism react or adapt to a stagnant environment? It cannot. It is obvious, therefore, that environments and circumstances change and that living things must change with them.

This is true, also, in the life of a forum and a forum community. Change on a forum, and in a community, is not possible to avoid. In fact, avoiding change often will become the death of a forum and its community. As circumstances change on the board and for the people who make up the site – HNZ must change as well.

Now for the most part change has been, and will always be, extremely welcomed on HNZ. On InvisionFree we changed from the InvisionFree default theme to a theme custom designed by Athene. This, a major change, was accepted for the most part quite easily. (There are always those who complain, but they were fairly quiet in their protest) Next, we had a series of new forums open (Character Development, Plotline Development, Guide to roleplaying). These too, for the most part, were welcomed with enthusiasm and are now an integral part of the forum today. Soon enough a domain was purchased for HNZ by Athene and after much frustration with trying to set it up, the domain simply forwarded and masked to HNZ. While this instance of change was not a complete success, the point of my mentioning it is that the members were entirely supportive and patient while things were fiddled about to get everything operational.

In fall of 2008 HNZ converted to ZetaBoards, with the support of most of the community. Then followed easily six months of transition in to the brand new forum software – trying out the codes that would best suit the board, removing them, about as much as you can imagine. Still, members were patient and supportive. Also in fall of 2008, HNZ was set up to its present domain of http://hogwartsnewzealand.com . This, too, took some time to set up properly but guess what? The site was still supportive and patient – this time it paid off and the board is still using its custom domain name.

The list goes on and on. Of large changes which were worked in to the board and generally accepted with ease. New lessons policies. New forums. Seasons being corrected to match those of New Zealand. Board codes being added. Different styles of updates, competitions, and events being tried over time. Still the board allowed it all.

There have been times when change was considered, opened to site vote, and then shot down. One instance of this that comes to mind, for instance, is the possible use of the ZetaBoards AIO (All in One) code which could have been the money system on the forum, because of its incompatibility with Internet Explorer. That had been my uneasiness with the code at the time, so I understood and respected the site’s decision. (Note, too, that that code has since been made Internet Explorer compatible but has not been re-propositioned to HNZ because I do respect the first decision made by the board and there are still other negatives to trying to install it.)

With all this in mind, at how exceedingly open the community of HNZ has always been to change, even if that change didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped, one might imagine that changing smaller things on the board would be welcomed evenly more openly/widely, or even just not noticed/commented on at all. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

As some of you have read in my blog “That Which We Call a Rose“, the recent change in name from “General Discussions” back to “Spam” in our random chatter-type topics was met with not insignificant opposition. I fear that opposition to such seemingly insignificant change has come up once more.

This evening a goal I have had for several months came in to effect: HNZ is now using only one set of emoticons. For quite a while, HNZ had been using three sets. I managed to reduce this to two. Then, Tony (out of the awesomeness of his heart) made a custom set for HNZ. This were all added to the board, but some of the other sets remained behind. We had three sets again. So, slowly but surely, I phased out emoticons of the other sets. Asking Tony to create replacements for the emotion being represented each time to ensure that nobody would be unable to express a meaning in their post with the selection of emoticons. This afternoon the final two emoticons were replaced: Console and Frantics.

The new emoticons for console (:console:) and frantics (:frantics:) are extremelyawesome and (dare I say it? yes.) cute, I think. However, they are:

    1. No longer animated

and

  • No longer the exact same yellow emoticons

 

So this is obviously cause for uproar. My opinion is that the site looks more cohesive and professional on one set of emoticons – and these emoticons are special, made by Tony, and therefore unique to HNZ – unlike the generic IPB emoticons found on most forums based off of that system. I knew the change would be noticed, and disapproved of by many. But I also felt the change needed to happen, and that it would be small enough that people would just get over it – no matter how attached they may have been to the old emoticons. I loved the purple glomp. I also loved a few of the Yahoo! emoticons – but they’re all gone now, right? It’s not like I’m just doing whatever I like – I’m doing what I think best for the site, and when it comes to such small changes as this, I should hope that can be understood.

Here’s to hoping people understand and we’re able to enjoy Tony’s awesome creations together,

~Nick
(Also: Tony gave us an extra emote this time! :voldy: )
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23
Nov

My Life Today (with a side of HNZ)

   Posted by: Nicolas

So after missing two days of school, and being off of school for five days – I think it’s safe to say that I was out of practise in various subjects and very ill prepared for the day that awaited me today.
I knew I’d missed two tests last week, and was prepared to write them today. Biology went by quickly (we never do much there) and soon enough I was on my way to literature – when I learned that I had another test! I was entirely unaware of a third test for the day. Fortunately my teacher was kind enough and allowed me the period to study before I came back to class and wrote the test, which was fill-in-the-blank on the most minute details of Heart of Darkness. Any questions I didn’t know the answer to I simply put the stupidest answer I could think of for (that’s always the best way to go – humour).
Then I had law, where we learned (via a group’s presentation) about Socrates and the Socratic method. In a few days I’ll have to present on Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Then Chemistry came, where I was supposed to have my first test – and the teacher was away, so it looks like that test will be pushed back to tomorrow.
At lunch I had to sign up for grad photos (this year is going by so0o0o0o quickly =( ) then after lunch I had a math test – which was death. Given the last week for me, I was more than ill-prepared for that test and I simply hope I passed it. That would be nice. At this point my goal for math is to get the credit, then be done with the whole damned thing. >_<;
Following math comes English, where we watched some Hamlet, and Business Leadership where I didn’t do much.


Now for where HNZ comes in to the picture.
All of our site staff have been quite busy over the past week or two, we’ve been keeping things running on HNZ but the nice little things we try to do (like the weekly updates, for instance) haven’t been working out so well, and so easily.
The weekly update is actually quite time consuming. First we must compile a list of updates, changes, upcoming events. Next we try to write a paragraph (or thereabouts) for each topic and finally we need to code the whole thing to not just be a giant block of text. The most time consuming part of the coding always turns out to be the highlighted roleplays, which very few people like to contribute to, anyway. (By the way -> Shoot Livvy a PM to have your plot highlighted!)
With all that, doing it once a week has become near impossible, it seems. Even a bi-weekly update seems more amiable (with perhaps special updates in between) then the regular once a week. It’s less pressure on site staff, and gives us more time between updates.
Now, that’s just my thoughts, and I haven’t even discussed them with Livvy, or Linda, or Abby – because I’m not even sure we’ll all stay this busy forever. If doing it once a week is possible again in the near future I don’t want to change the system too many times, but at this point the future looks bleak for “Weekly” updates, I fear.

Aside from that Livvy and I have been inundated with applications for tonnes of things, so please bear with us. With my ever-more busy schedule and Livvy’s present sickness we’re sorting things as best we can. We try to reply to all applications within a week, if not much much sooner.

Anyhow, I think that another “Weekly Update” will be posted today, and that may well be where this blog is first linked to. Exciting? A little bit. =) So I better go work on that.

‘Til next blawg,

~Nick

P.S: What are your thoughts on the weekly updates? Comment on the blog post and share your input! ^_^
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