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  ScoreBoard Forum

  Feedback & ideas requested for upcoming changes to Filmtracks  
 
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Christian Clemmensen
(chevrolet.filmtracks.com)


  Responses to this Message:
Brendan Anderson
Cap Stewart
Christian Kühn
Larry C
Admiral Hull
Christian Clemmensen
  Feedback & ideas requested for upcoming changes to Filmtracks   Monday, June 19, 2006 (2:57 p.m.) 

As promised last week, I'm going to raise some in-process changes to Filmtracks and solicit feedback from you. I don't think any of these changes will get anyone really riled up, but it's hard to predict. Given that most of them should have been done years ago, I'm trying to get caught up in as many areas of the site as possible... at least in the locations requiring software re-writes. Please let me know in this thread or by e-mail if you have any further suggestions or concerns about the proposed items. Also, if you have all-new ideas involving the sections mentioned below, now's the time to raise your voice.


The Scoreboard:

Total software re-write, abandoning the underlying structure of the old Webbbs platform. By default, there won't be any major changes in how the board looks. The default setting will be the reversed threaded listing format we've used since 1998, with messages and replies on individual pages. However, the first post in each thread will have a small link after it on the index page with which you can expand the thread (and all of its posts) onto one page. Thus, you can choose between the collapsed format that the Scoreboard will offer by default, or the expanded format that you see at all the other boards. This may be a feature you could include in your cookie to make your choice permanent, but I'm not sure on that yet. The toggling between view formats is very easy in my test version.

A fundamental re-write of the script was required because I'm changing the default way that the software decides what messages to show you. Instead of an index of messages from the last "X number of days," the index format will switch to showing you "X number of messages" instead. So the index page, as well as lengthy threads, will be paginated in much the same way as in other boards. The system will also help place "orphaned" posts in the index; for instance, if you wait a month to post in a thread, the index shows that one lone entry in the thread without any reference. In the new format, that orphaned post will give you a few ways to identify what it is and what thread it belongs to. Also, the "bullets" in front of each post in the index will be a different color to distinguish where the post falls in the thread. The first post in a thread would always have a green bullet. The "current post" in the threaded list at the bottom of a post will be highlighted so you can figure out where you are in the discussion.

You will have more capabilities in both your posts and your profiles. In the profiles, the software will have avatar and other picture capabilities, though I'm not sure how many of those features I'll actually allow. With the avatars especially, the expanded view option on threads will make the Scoreboard look very similar to other common board styles. You choose upon entry. The script can tell us who's currently viewing the board, though that's another modification I might drop. There's no harm to lurkers either way on that feature because registration still won't be required to post. I might enable picture posting, though I'm skeptical about that given that so people use it to steal bandwidth from other sites, not to mention bizarre episodes like this: https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/main.cgi?read=112747

...and, of course, the favorite picture of John Williams: https://www.filmtracks.com/comments/titles/revenge_sith/index.cgi?read=2

Profile listings pages are getting a significant upgrade, as are stats pages. Messages will no longer display your e-mail address. I'm trying to decide if I'll allow the usual "send e-mail to poster" capability that you have at eBay and everywhere else, though that puts more strain on my server's mail program as a result. E-mail notification of responses to specific posts of yours will continue (you can pick and choose which ones). You can reset your cookie so that all the messages are "marked read," thus putting only the "NEW!" symbol next to items you haven't read yet. I am leaning heavily against a spell-checker for the posting page, though it could be done.

User deletion of posts will be allowed, I think. The old script did literally orphan posts for which the parent was deleted. This new version will delete the post, but retain its basic existence in the thread for continuity purposes.

One idea that Todd Wong had (bless the man for ceasing his pornographic activities long enough to actually give a substantive idea about this site) was to include a distinct field in the post (like Subject, E-Mail, URL) for "Now Playing," a concept which started long ago at Peter Kelly's site and I believe is still widely used.

Otherwise, things stay pretty much the same. The colors will remain, and your cookies and profiles will stay intact from the previous version. You'll be able to quote specific messages in responses, as per usual. There will be view counts and IP addresses.

One thing that will not happen: separate boards for separate topics. If you have something off-topic to say, like the irony of the currently controversial North Korean missile being named "No Dong," then post it right where everyone can enjoy it. That ambience of the Scoreboard will remain by my choice. Sorry...

When the upgrade happens, I'm inclined to separate the old board's content from the new. That means that the current Scoreboard would become an archive of posts from 2000-2006 and the new Scoreboard would start from scratch. Your post totals would reset, and there would be no more proliferation of threads from the old board. Given that we're upwards of 150,000 posts on the old Scoreboard, it would speed up everything quite a bit to start from scratch. Your profiles, as mentioned before, would transfer over, as would your password.


Comment Areas:

The same rewritten software for the Scoreboard would be adapted once again into the comment areas. Many of the differences will be the same, including the lack of profiles in the comment areas. The cookie situation gets really complicated, as it was before, so that problem might not be solved (i.e. you'll have to type your name in to the comment areas every time you post)... I'm going to work on that. There will still be open posting in those areas, but posters will have to check a box and prove that they are a living human being so that robotic spam posting is blocked. Each area will be searchable, but not from the main Filmtracks engine... that would require all 200,000 comments be included in the main search index, and that would be a disaster in the making. Google's equipment can handle that, but not mine.

How the comments are displayed on the review will also drastically change. Just like there's a "printer friendly version" of each review, there will be a "comment version" as well. The default review page will preview three to five of the most recent posts/threads and give you the opportunity to expand out the comment section in place of the review. In terms of layout, the ratings and comment sections will be combined, with a smaller graphical ratings representation on the left (basically where it is now) and the preview of the comment section on the right. The overall review page would be significantly condensed, especially with the sections that have thousands of posts. As such, the loading time on reviews will decrease.

I can't think of anything else in the comment areas, but I sense that I'm forgetting to mention something... I've resisted the splitting of review content onto different pages for years, because that's the kind of thing that really irritated me about MovieTunes back when I started Filmtracks. The tracks, notes, reviews, etc, were all on separate pages, which was a logical (and smart) method of increasing impression counts for advertising purposes. But at the same time, the new comment areas won't be as segregated as the pop-up style areas you see in some places, like Soundtrack.net.


News Page:

Reps that want to post news at Filmtracks will be allowed to do so at the Scoreboard once again. Except, maybe, for Thaxton. The news page will cease to exist, funneling people looking for news to sites that specialize in that. In its place, there will be a mini-Scoreboard style updates page on which I'll give regular updates about the site itself. After the discontent over the site's operations over the past two years, I figure it might be wise to do. I might also give previews of upcoming reviews and other various stuff. If you remember back to 1997-1998, the site had such a page, and it was frequented often. That board would be admin-only.


Reviews:

I'm going to create an explanation page, likely attached somehow to the overall titles index page, to elaborate on the ratings process. There will be little link next to the star ratings that will lead to these explanations, with additional links for the expanded, split ratings that sometimes accompany reviews. In the same explanation, there will be a clarification of the concept behind those controversial split ratings, though I expect some detractors will choose to ignore that explanation. Either way, whether you agree with it or not, the reasons for the system will hopefully be transparent.


Home Page:

The vertical size of the page will decrease. The On Cue entries will no longer consist of the beginning of the reviews, but will rather contain the "Buy it" and "Avoid it" recommends statements instead. There will also be previews of both the updates section and Scoreboard, with maybe the most recent Update previewed and the 5-10 most recent Scoreboard posts previewed as well. The home page will be able to tell you how many, if any, new posts were made to the Scoreboard since your last visit.


Other stuff:

I don't currently have any other structural changes on my schedule... but please feel free to suggest anything in general. It could be incorporated if it's easy enough to do so. Asking for a resumption of Themes of the Month or other time-consuming requests unfortunately can't be honored. My next project after this is to rewrite or revise 493 post-legacy reviews (from 1997-2000). It shouldn't take as long as the 276 legacy reviews did, because not all of them are hopeless, and because they're already in the database format and have audio clips. The next project after that is to transfer the audio clips out of Real Audio format.

And, of course, an update to the Faux Pas Page is in the works. The problem with that is the change that has resulted in faux pas activity since the comment areas were invented. Since the comment areas became popular, most of the great faux pas remarks have been made in public (where all can view), at the expense of the frequency of ones to my personal e-mail address. So I figure I'll incorporate links to 100 or so great comments or Scoreboard posts as part of the next Faux Pas Page update. I'll take nominations from you guys on those... some day.

Please do give feedback on anything in this post. It'll be too late in a week or two.

Thanks as always,

Christian




Threaded display

Brendan Anderson
(ip70-176-213-149.ph.ph.cox.net)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen
  Examples please?   Monday, June 19, 2006 (10:36 p.m.) 

> The Scoreboard:
> Total software re-write, abandoning the underlying structure of the old
> Webbbs platform. By default, there won't be any major changes in how the
> board looks. The default setting will be the reversed threaded listing
> format we've used since 1998, with messages and replies on individual
> pages. However, the first post in each thread will have a small link after
> it on the index page with which you can expand the thread (and all of its
> posts) onto one page. Thus, you can choose between the collapsed format
> that the Scoreboard will offer by default, or the expanded format that you
> see at all the other boards. This may be a feature you could include in
> your cookie to make your choice permanent, but I'm not sure on that yet.
> The toggling between view formats is very easy in my test version.

I think this would be a great interaction and also help those less familiar with how the thread system works around here. I think I understand what this will ultimately look like, but could you post (or e-mail me) a screenshot of both the condensed and expanded versions of the board?

> the index format will switch to showing you "X number of messages"
> instead. So the index page, as well as lengthy threads, will be paginated
> in much the same way as in other boards.

And the "X" default will be paginated by the number of posts or number of threads? Not that it matters much I guess...and it will depend on how you're viewing the ScoreBoard (expanded vs. condensed) to really say how cluttered the page might look once it reaches a certain number of posts...

> The script can tell us who's currently viewing the
> board, though that's another modification I might drop. There's no harm to
> lurkers either way on that feature because registration still won't be
> required to post.

So if we don't have to register or log in to post, how will the board know we're online? Does it merely detect our IP and compare it to all posters who have profiles created? Or is it that if we post using our name and password, we're then technicly "logged in"?

> I might enable picture posting, though I'm skeptical
> about that given that so people use it to steal bandwidth from other
> sites, not to mention bizarre episodes like this:
> https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/main.cgi?read=112747

Hahaha! I had forgotten about that one...

While picture posting certainly isn't necessary and ends up being abused 90% of the time and used for good only 10% of the time, it can come in handy in some situations. What would be even cooler (since this is a music discussion site) is if somehow we could easily post sound clips to some central place to use as references in our posts ...I know this would cause numerous legal issues and would end up being abused as well, but a boy can dream can't he? Maybe such a posting area would only allow for :30 second files or have a very strict max file size limit to make sure they could only be 96kbps mp3s or lower and under a minute long...

> E-mail notification
> of responses to specific posts of yours will continue (you can pick and
> choose which ones).

Will this still function as it always has where I am notified only if someone replies to my specific post, or is it going to e-mail me every single time someone puts a new post anywhere within in the parent thread? I hope it will work the way it has been as opposed to the latter. My biggest complaint about more modern boards like the one Jon uses at MMUK is that if I turn e-mail responses on, it sends me notifications for every single post in a thread whether someone is replying to me specificly or not.

> I am leaning heavily against a
> spell-checker for the posting page, though it could be done.

No spell-checker is necessary...if people want to ensure correct spelling, they will be more careful when typing. Put the responsibility on the poster, don't cater to laziness.

> User deletion of posts will be allowed, I think.

How about post editing? That would be very useful...much more useful and necessary than the user deletion. If I post something and it has a glaring error, I don't necessarily want to delete it all-together, but if I can't somehow correct the mistake within the post, I would have no other option.

> One idea that Todd Wong had
> was to include a distinct field in the post for "Now Playing,"

Sounds great. Bless the Wong.

> One thing that will not happen: separate boards for separate topics. If
> you have something off-topic to say...then
> post it right where everyone can enjoy it.
> That ambience of the Scoreboard will remain by my choice. Sorry...

Nice.

> When the upgrade happens, I'm inclined to separate the old board's content
> from the new. That means that the current Scoreboard would become an
> archive of posts from 2000-2006 and the new Scoreboard would start from
> scratch.

Frankly, you could take all the text from the 2000-2006 board and turn it into some twisted film music coffee-table book. Would it be possible for you to archive it and then make it fully downloadable somehow? That way, if there are those of us (wierdos like me) who like to reference the archives often, we could do it without using your site's bandwidth.

> Your post totals would reset, and there would be no more
> proliferation of threads from the old board.

...and the Marxist Oboe thread would be dead forever.

> Home Page:
> The vertical size of the page will decrease. The On Cue entries will no
> longer consist of the beginning of the reviews, but will rather contain
> the "Buy it" and "Avoid it" recommends statements
> instead. There will also be previews of both the updates section and
> Scoreboard, with maybe the most recent Update previewed and the 5-10 most
> recent Scoreboard posts previewed as well. The home page will be able to
> tell you how many, if any, new posts were made to the Scoreboard since
> your last visit.

This sounds great! Again, seeing a screen shot of what this might look like would be neat...

So when is D-day for all of this to happen?

-Brendan


BrendanAnderson.com - no updates here
Threaded display

Cap Stewart
(adsl-150-225-251.tys.bellsouth.net)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen
  Re: Feedback & ideas requested for upcoming changes to Filmtracks   Tuesday, June 20, 2006 (6:09 a.m.) 

> When the upgrade happens, I'm inclined to separate the old board's content
> from the new. That means that the current Scoreboard would become an
> archive of posts from 2000-2006 and the new Scoreboard would start from
> scratch. Your post totals would reset, and there would be no more
> proliferation of threads from the old board. Given that we're upwards of
> 150,000 posts on the old Scoreboard, it would speed up everything quite a
> bit to start from scratch. Your profiles, as mentioned before, would
> transfer over, as would your password.

My only concern/question: would it be at all possible to turn the posts from 2000-2006 into an archive without resetting the totals?

Actually, there’s one more thing: I really don’t care for poster/profile pictures. They don’t really add anything to the discussion and just take up space.

Everything else sounds great!

Cap

Threaded display

Christian Kühn
(p85.212.163.137.tisdip.tiscali.de)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen
  Re: Feedback & ideas requested for upcoming changes to Filmtracks   Tuesday, June 20, 2006 (7:19 a.m.) 

> The Scoreboard:

Sounds all good to me.

> I might enable picture posting, though I'm skeptical about that given that so > people use it to steal bandwidth from other sites, not to mention bizarre
> episodes like this: https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/main.cgi?read=112747 > ...and, of course, the favorite picture of John Williams:
> https://www.filmtracks.com/comments/titles/revenge_sith/index.cgi?read=2

for those two pictures. As for general pictures posting, I guess I'm in the minority when "voting" against it. My personal experience from other Boards is that pictures don't really add a lot to a discussion and that they take up too much space in a thread (although with the ScoreBoard's style, that should be no problem). And "so be it" is my reply to those guys who prefer those other boards simply because they can put up fancy pictures there. I'd also let the avatar stay outside the door; the pictures in one's profile are OK.

> I am leaning heavily against a spell-checker for the posting page, though it
> could be done.

Not many people would really require one, I think, the occasional guy with warped English is quite entertaining, as long as it's not our favorite Spanglish accident, Zimmerito.

> User deletion of posts will be allowed, I think. The old script did
> literally orphan posts for which the parent was deleted. This new version
> will delete the post, but retain its basic existence in the thread for
> continuity purposes.

As already suggested, an editing tool would be helpful.

> One idea that Todd Wong had (bless the man for ceasing his pornographic
> activities long enough to actually give a substantive idea about this
> site)

> was to include a distinct field in the post (like Subject, E-Mail,
> URL) for "Now Playing," a concept which started long ago at
> Peter Kelly's site and I believe is still widely used.

Is it? Anyways that's a good idea; I finally can throw my in "NP: xxx by yyy, *****" witout the need to expalin anything!

> Otherwise, things stay pretty much the same. The colors will remain, and
> your cookies and profiles will stay intact from the previous version.
> You'll be able to quote specific messages in responses, as per usual.
> There will be view counts and IP addresses.

Good.

> One thing that will not happen: separate boards for separate topics. If
> you have something off-topic to say, like the irony of the currently
> controversial North Korean missile being named "No Dong," then
> post it right where everyone can enjoy it. That ambience of the Scoreboard
> will remain by my choice. Sorry...

As it should be. There is more unique board than the ScoreBoard, and it's great to it will retain its atmosphere!

>

> Comment Areas:

> I can't think of anything else in the comment areas, but I sense that I'm
> forgetting to mention something... I've resisted the splitting of review
> content onto different pages for years, because that's the kind of thing
> that really irritated me about MovieTunes back when I started Filmtracks.
> The tracks, notes, reviews, etc, were all on separate pages, which was a
> logical (and smart) method of increasing impression counts for advertising
> purposes. But at the same time, the new comment areas won't be as
> segregated as the pop-up style areas you see in some places, like
> Soundtrack.net.

No pages, no pop-ups, no complaints.

>

> News Page:

> Reps that want to post news at Filmtracks will be allowed to do so at the
> Scoreboard once again. Except, maybe, for Thaxton. The news page will
> cease to exist, funneling people looking for news to sites that specialize
> in that. In its place, there will be a mini-Scoreboard style updates page
> on which I'll give regular updates about the site itself. After the
> discontent over the site's operations over the past two years, I figure it
> might be wise to do. I might also give previews of upcoming reviews and
> other various stuff. If you remember back to 1997-1998, the site had such
> a page, and it was frequented often. That board would be admin-only.

Sounds good as well. Make it noticeable, though, you know how many ninnys run around here who opt to not noting when you put a general notice or explanation out.

>

> Reviews:

> I'm going to create an explanation page, likely attached somehow to the
> overall titles index page, to elaborate on the ratings process. There will
> be little link next to the star ratings that will lead to these
> explanations, with additional links for the expanded, split ratings that
> sometimes accompany reviews. In the same explanation, there will be a
> clarification of the concept behind those controversial split ratings,
> though I expect some detractors will choose to ignore that explanation.
> Either way, whether you agree with it or not, the reasons for the system
> will hopefully be transparent.

See above.

>

> Home Page:

> The vertical size of the page will decrease. The On Cue entries will no
> longer consist of the beginning of the reviews, but will rather contain
> the "Buy it" and "Avoid it" recommends statements
> instead. There will also be previews of both the updates section and
> Scoreboard, with maybe the most recent Update previewed and the 5-10 most
> recent Scoreboard posts previewed as well. The home page will be able to
> tell you how many, if any, new posts were made to the Scoreboard since
> your last visit.

No problems here.

>

> Other stuff:

> And, of course, an update to the Faux Pas Page is in the works. The
> problem with that is the change that has resulted in faux pas activity
> since the comment areas were invented. Since the comment areas became
> popular, most of the great faux pas remarks have been made in public
> (where all can view), at the expense of the frequency of ones to my
> personal e-mail address. So I figure I'll incorporate links to 100 or so
> great comments or Scoreboard posts as part of the next Faux Pas Page
> update. I'll take nominations from you guys on those... some day.

And your personal page, yes?

> Please do give feedback on anything in this post. It'll be too late in a
> week or two.

My apologies if I didn't contribute anything noteworthy; I'm pretty OK with the changes you're suggesting. I hope everything works out fine in the end.

Christian



Threaded display

Larry C
(toronto-hse-ppp3735859.sympatico.ca)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen

  Responses to this Message:
Christian Clemmensen
  Did you say you were going to Seattle?   Wednesday, June 21, 2006 (7:05 p.m.) 

Bet you went to see the Giants vs. Mariners series.

Right now, we are just talking and not doing anything.

Implement new settings, and THEN, ask for our feedback.

Threaded display

Christian Clemmensen
(bushisacriminal.filmtracks.com)

  In Response to:
Larry C
  Re: Did you say you were going to Seattle?   Tuesday, June 27, 2006 (11:52 a.m.) 

> Bet you went to see the Giants vs. Mariners series.

Indeed. The Giants visit Seattle once every four years or so nowadays. The trip was a disaster, though, given that I got a severe case of "airplane ear" on the decent to sea level and couldn't hear anything for my first two days out there. It became so problematic that it gave me nausea and dizziness. And then the Giants lost all three games, which is not what Stella and I paid to see. At least Bonds homered... It was funny how actively Seattle is trying to woo Bonds for next year. The crowd actually cheered him when he rounded the bases.

And I still haven't gotten over the illness the trip caused... Not a good experience. Seattle was beautiful as always, though. I love that city. I even like the mist storms. Stella and I might buy a winter residence out there someday.


> Implement new settings, and THEN, ask for our feedback.

It would be too difficult to implement some changes at that point... I like hearing ideas, because I often get tunnel-vision through the everyday operation of the site and I sometimes miss obvious stuff.

Christian



Threaded display

Admiral Hull
(ca1462-ch01-bl07.ma-cambridg0.sa.earthlink.net)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen
  Re: Feedback & ideas requested for upcoming changes to Filmtracks   Sunday, June 25, 2006 (2:16 p.m.) 

For reviews, I'd love to see a more "track by track" format or at least make a little section or paragraph of its own that highlights the good tracks and other noteworthy portions of the score.

Threaded display

Christian Clemmensen
(bushisacriminal.filmtracks.com)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen

  Responses to this Message:
Mike the Rookie
  Updates and Response to Feedback & Ideas   Tuesday, June 27, 2006 (11:35 a.m.) 

Update time...

I've taken some of the feedback from the board and through e-mail and will attempt to answer each concern. If there's anything unclear, or if you have follow-up comments or concerns, please feel free to respond. There's still time to make some significant changes to the direction of this place, given that a prolonged illness has slowed me down thus far. I think there have been some final decisions made about a couple of things based on feedback.


Scoreboard:


Q: "Wouldn't it be less shocking if it showed the expanded format, and people choose the collapsed one according to their likings?"

A: All of the boards will feature the current threaded, collapsed format by default. There will be opportunities all over the place to "view all" or "expand this thread" to put all the posts in a single thread into one "box-like" page like all the other boards out there. And vice versa. The threaded look will remain the default format to retain Filmtracks' distinctiveness in the market.


Q: "Are you keeping the option of showing the messages depending on how many days one chooses? Or now it must be set "how many posts" do you want to see?"

A: You can manually choose nearly any format, just like now. If you create a profile and retain the cookies on your browser, you can set your preferences to show the board however you choose. That ability is part of why re-writing the software takes so much time. The search function will be identical to the current one, and that also allows for "by day" searching.


Q: "An editing tool would be the best change."

A: This has been the biggest issue I've been toiling with. Technically, it can be done; there's an editing tool in the admin version (I haven't even started that yet, but I know how I'll do it) that could be altered for public use. Here's the problem, though: I'd want to make three things happen in order to be satisfied with such a modification: 1. only allow editing for a post without responses (what's the point if the quotation in the response still has the original non-edited version of the first post?), 2. restrict the time period in which the edit could be made (1 day, perhaps?), and 3. differentiate the edited portion with a different color of text. The first two aren't particularly hard to employ on a technical level, but the third part is a nightmare. In fact, I honestly think that to make the editing tool function as I would want it to is beyond my technical expertise in perl scripting. It would force JavaScript, I think, and I don't want to do that. But I'm going to keep tinkering with ideas on how to make this work. I'm not against allowing editing... I just want to do it right.


Q: "What if the news posts get too numerous on Scoreboard?"

A: Then they'll be deleted and IPs of abusers will be banned. If we can physically find them, we'll cut off their head, place it on top of a tall spike, and plant it in the ground outside the front door. That tactic doesn't seem to stop the Christian missionaries in Africa, but I bet it would discourage music industry promoters.


Q: "Ford Thaxton is an ass and should not be allowed under any circumstances."

A: No argument here.


Q: "Spam robots are taking over some comment sections."

A: Yes, they are pounding five of the comment sections. This is actually the primary reason for the software rewrite... to stop the damn spam robots. The Scoreboard is largely immune from these problems because robots aren't allowed into it (thus, you can't go to Google and type in 'Marxist Oboe' and find the infamous thread here). There's no incentive for spammers to blast the Scoreboard because they can't increase their search engine rank by doing so. The comment sections are obviously a different story. I have to allow the robots in there because the resulting profit is sustaining the site at the moment. But there will be some kind of special check box or other extra field that will be mandatory in order to post. I might even use the tactic you see at other sites of forcing users to reproduce the letters they see in an image in a field on the posting page. I hope not to go that far, though.


Q: "And the "X" default will be paginated by the number of posts or number of threads?"

A: Number of posts. I had originally wanted to do this by thread, which would have cut down on orphaned posts in the indeces. But if the two or three most recent threads each have 50 messages a piece, and the index shows all that accordingly, then the purpose of saving space is nullified. With posts, an exact vertical size can be maintained. The orphaned posts have a little link after them in the index allowing you to view the whole thread in expanded form.


Q: "So if we don't have to register or log in to post, how will the board know we're online? Does it merely detect our IP and compare it to all posters who have profiles created? Or is it that if we post using our name and password, we're then technicly 'logged in'?"

A: I've decided against doing the "members currently online" thing. It bothers lurkers too much. It would have been able to track you via cookie, whether you had a profile or not. Any cookie that had recently been seen by the script (like within 30 minutes ago) would have reproduced the name in the "currently online" list.


Q: "While picture posting certainly isn't necessary and ends up being abused 90% of the time and used for good only 10% of the time, it can come in handy in some situations."

A: It was never technically disallowed on the old boards, so anyone who knew the proper code from another similar board could use it to post a picture here. I'm inclined to disallow it completely and force people to link to the image at another site when they want to reference something. The embedding of images simply makes Filmtracks look like a bandwidth thief. But then again, they have produced some of the funniest posts I've ever seen here. Oh, well.


Q: "What would be even cooler (since this is a music discussion site) is if somehow we could easily post sound clips to some central place to use as references in our posts ...I know this would cause numerous legal issues and would end up being abused as well, but a boy can dream can't he? Maybe such a posting area would only allow for :30 second files or have a very strict max file size limit to make sure they could only be 96kbps mp3s or lower and under a minute long..."

A: Intriguing idea. I could use the current profile picture upload script, which limits file size, and manipulate it for the purpose of sound clips. So technically, it could be done. Legally, that's a whole other issue. I haven't been targeted by the royalty agencies or studios in a couple of years, so I might consider it.


Q: "Will this still function as it always has where I am notified only if someone replies to my specific post, or is it going to e-mail me every single time someone puts a new post anywhere within in the parent thread?"

A: E-mail notification will continue to be post-bound, as it is currently. Thread notifications are popular for some people, but I don't care much for them.


Q: "Frankly, you could take all the text from the 2000-2006 board and turn it into some twisted film music coffee-table book. Would it be possible for you to archive it and then make it fully downloadable somehow?"

A: I do think I'll translate its data files into the new format, so even if it is only an archive, it'll look like the new format. As for a downloadable version... perhaps the expanded viewing format would help with that. I could try to do a static archive someday, at least with the top 30 threads or so.


Q: "My only concern/question: would it be at all possible to turn the posts from 2000-2006 into an archive without resetting the totals?"

A: Nope. The only way to maintain the old stats is to make the 150,000 previous threads active in the new software. That was my original preference, but with data files that large, the performance of the board becomes too demanding on the server to be viable. The comment areas will continue to use the old active data, of course. On the Scoreboard, everyone will start at 0 posts again. We might have to do that every 5 years or so, unless I can get some seriously kick-ass equipment.


Q: "I really don't care for poster/profile pictures. They don't really add anything to the discussion and just take up space."

A: They'll remain, and they'll be included in the posts like you see at other boards. However --and this is the important part-- the script will automatically resize any image larger than 90 pixels wide or tall, preserving aspect ratio, and store a thumbnail version of that image for future use. There will continue to be a size limit on even the larger version. There's something about ST Flood's profile picture that begs to be included in each of his posts.


Q: "I'd also let the avatar stay outside the door; the pictures in one's profile are OK."

A: I've decided to agree on this. The profile pics will be it. No cutesy avatars here. The emoticons won't change, either. I will, however, be allowing more liberal text formatting in posts.


Q: "So when is D-day for all of this to happen?"

A: August, hopefully. It depends on when I can recover from this illness. Work on the software for both Filmtracks and Chevy is going very slowly at the moment. I'm home sick today and Stella is fussing.


Q: "I think I understand what this will ultimately look like, but could you post (or e-mail me) a screenshot of both the condensed and expanded versions of the board?"

A: Three screenshots of a preliminary version, sized down to 500 px wide, are included below. I'm using the X-Men comment section as a test sample for the data, but the actual profiles are from the Scoreboard.

The main index: https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/scoreshot1.jpg

Individual collapsed post: https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/scoreshot2.jpg

Expanded thread view: https://www.filmtracks.com/scoreboard/scoreshot3.jpg



News section:


Q: "Make it noticeable, though, you know how many ninnys run around here who opt to not noting when you put a general notice or explanation out."

A: The most recent update post will be previewed on a place on the homepage where the ninny population can't miss it. Hopefully.


Reviews:


Q: "For reviews, I'd love to see a more "track by track" format or at least make a little section or paragraph of its own that highlights the good tracks and other noteworthy portions of the score."

A: Some of the people who are buying individual tracks online these days have mentioned this as a priority. Given that I'd have to go back and do it for all the 1,300 albums to maintain consistency, I think it's too late in the game to change the analysis format. And it would possibly be too time-consuming, too.


Q: "And wouldn't it be better to have the explanation on the same page than the review?"

A: No room in the layout, unfortunately. The explanation about review format is so dense and lengthy for the wide range of detractors and confused folks that it could easily take up a full page by itself, I reckon.


Q: "Maybe a link to other pages that have a review about that same score (if there are) would be of help to casual readers (in the same way Jonathan Broxton does)"

A: I like that feature, but the location of the reviews at other sites change often enough to make it useless after a while. I have no choice but to force my software to display the same URLs for my reviews that I originally used because it's vital to the profitability of Filmtracks. But in a situation like Moviewave.net, the formal inclusion of links to their reviews could prove problematic if the URL changes. I leave it up to those webmasters to post links in the comment areas. Even getting the star rating from the other sites is difficult, because we all review items at different times.


General:


Q: "No more black pages with white text!"

A: Reviews have the link that inverts the colors. The other pages at the site won't have that option. The site will always be black, and, as they say, once you go black you never go back!


Q: "Will all this new software get rid of religious freaks at Filmtracks?"

A: No. I enjoy their presence at Filmtracks for two reasons: 1. they make radical religion look stupid (which it is), 2. their posts actually do bring Filmtracks a small profit in and of themselves. I've actually made money off of people looking for "Harry Potter is Satan."


Q: "Were is the pornography as promised?"

A: I have no idea what this was about. Did I ever promise adult content here?


Q: "Do you froth at the crotch when listening to Horner's insipid trash?"

A: Someone e-mailed that to me after my review of New World at the start of the year. I just thought I'd include it here for all to enjoy. A faux pas preview.

Christian




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Mike the Rookie
(ip70-161-161-160.hr.hr.cox.net)

  In Response to:
Christian Clemmensen
  Re: Updates and Response to Feedback & Ideas   Tuesday, June 27, 2006 (6:52 p.m.) 

I like the screenshots, and think including the profile pic in the post is a neat improvement over the avatar.

> Q: "An editing tool would be the best change."

> A: This has been the biggest issue I've been toiling with. Technically, it
> can be done; there's an editing tool in the admin version (I haven't even
> started that yet, but I know how I'll do it) that could be altered for
> public use. Here's the problem, though: I'd want to make three things
> happen in order to be satisfied with such a modification: 1. only allow
> editing for a post without responses (what's the point if the quotation in
> the response still has the original non-edited version of the first
> post?), 2. restrict the time period in which the edit could be made (1
> day, perhaps?), and 3. differentiate the edited portion with a different
> color of text. The first two aren't particularly hard to employ on a
> technical level, but the third part is a nightmare. In fact, I honestly
> think that to make the editing tool function as I would want it to is
> beyond my technical expertise in perl scripting. It would force
> JavaScript, I think, and I don't want to do that. But I'm going to keep
> tinkering with ideas on how to make this work. I'm not against allowing
> editing... I just want to do it right.

I like the first two requirements. It can be confusing when someone updates a post that caused a very interesting conversation. I'm not sure why number 3 is necessary... especially since many edits are because someone wants to fix a silly typo or clarify a point. What's the point of fixing a typo if the correction will be highlighted anyway?

Editing is a useful feature, to me at least, and I hate to see it go away because of some headache-inducing technical requirement.

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