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Final Kingdom

An Observation about OCR

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... remember that there are fifteen mixes that are hosted on the front page. The day that rationing mixes is a requirement because they're getting knocked off too quickly (I would be guessing that each mix should be on the front page for a week, at least) would be one hell of a day for OCR. It would be a concern if things were going too fast, but I don't think that's an issue, at the moment.

Yeah, but unfortunately this is unsustainable in the long run, there's some backlog of mixes tbp, and it certainly wouldn't work if ocr keeps growing. Dunno the numbers on submissions, but I reckon they've increased as the site has gotten more attention, as I assume the amount of ocr-level regulars have.

The only suggestion I have for this would be to release the tracks in batches, as themed releases. Mixflood from album x, a couple of Pendulum-style mixes, some 80s synth rock/electronic stuff, vocals, orchestral, jazz, collabs, competition mixes, n00bfl00d, oldtimers' new mixes, Zelda, Kikuta, DoD, Finnish-made games, whatever. That way each batch can hold one (or more) miniblog post(s) and the rest have a writeup about just the music.

The bloggable writeups could be tagged so they're easier to find if you wanna read about the site. The batches could probably be collected somewhere, with links to each track per batch so ppl who've been gone for a while can find the tracks they don't have and not have to wait for a torrent. Having a list of the batches somewhere would make it easier for ppl to pick up where they left last time they were here getting mixes.

Dunno how big the actual backlog of mixes tbp is and how much is the usual overhead, but that's my idea, at least a thought for when it's needed.

I would also suggest to get our regular submitters first accepted mix posted asap, as that's the time when their growth is the most obvious. During the months the mix was in the queue and the panel, the remixer's skills developed, and that same mix could already sound bad to them; it doesn't reflect their skill level as closely as for a more developed remixer. it also feels great to see your mix posted and to read the reviews on it, and all of this is a great motivator for more remixing.

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I share in the problem as well. I have several ideas in the works and even more in my head, but the idea of not only waiting for it to pass through the judges panel but also potentially wait 1-2 years for it to actually show up on the front page makes me quite apathetic to submitting more often.

I've always thought that having more posters would help alleviate the TBP queue.

Basically, djpretzel is the only one who actually posts mixes, so no matter how streamlined the process becomes there will always be that funneling point.

So maybe having one or two more people who actually post the mixes to the site would help out?

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So maybe having one or two more people who actually post the mixes to the site would help out?

I've been saying this for a while now.

To me, it seems like it comes down to numbers. We grow OCR's fanbase more everyday, and more stuff comes in as a result, but as the staff list does not grow proportionately to the amount of content that comes in, this is the problem we face. It also doesn't help that so many staff members are also key members of other major facets of the website. Too much responsibility drains energy.

Solution? Take in more volunteer staff members. I myself would volunteer to help out on staff if I thought you would have me (it would also cut down the amount of bullshit I post too ^^).

We just have too much to do with not enough people to do it and there are plenty of competent, dedicated members in this community to help out. OCR is lucky to have a community that, at its worst, is STILL miles ahead of every other community in terms of competence and maturity - we just need to open more positions and spread it out more effectively.

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So maybe having one or two more people who actually post the mixes to the site would help out?

Especially if it was a temporary thing - give one or two people the power to post mixes while this Kickstarter issue is still ongoing, to help get the list cut down to size, then, once the list is significantly reduced and/or things have settled down, djp could take back over as sole poster. He would, of course, retain final say over which mixes get posted when, but he could make a list quickly and give it to the person/people he delegates the responsibility to.

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Meteo Xavier;877420 Solution? Take in more volunteer staff members.

I agree with that but I feel as though the bottleneck is judging and OCR is not going to trust just anyone with that responsiblity. Now if these pieces from 2 and 3 year ago have already been judged and approved, then yes I see the issue.

-Derek-

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And newer stuff does get posted sometimes even though there are songs from 2010 waiting. :-o

And 2 mixes shouldn't be posted at the same time, one always gets hidden by the other. Should be 1 mix per day.

I disagree with this SLIGHTLY. I think there should be 2 mixes posted when one is an album track and another one is a non-album ReMix, just because the album has been highlighted in the past and continuing to highlight albums just gets redundant; however, it looks like djp has been doing that more recently, so I think that's a good trend.

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The way I understand it, the action of posting isn't the problem - it's the conventions of writing the writeup, specifically that djp is the one that writes it and leaving tracks on the front page for long enough to be seen that can cause delays.

- That djp needs to personally post a writeup isn't entirely unlike how this site worked before the judges' panel, when djp would evaluate the submissions himself. It's not necessary. Other staff members may well have site-related things they could put in a writeup. A "mixpost manager" can screen writeups for things that don't belong in writeups/should be kept under wraps/blatant lies/whatever, and this mixpost manager could have the tools to do the actual posting, leaving the opportunity for djp to just write a writeup and hand it to the mixpost manager if he's short on time, or for the mixpost manager to post whatever, whenever.

- It can be worked around even without other staff's writeups. If djp can put less time-critical site/life/blog stuff in a writeups tbp document shared with the mixpost manager, those could be posted at any time.

- The site growing and the number of mixes tbp growing would eventually destroy the front page ideal, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. The aforementioned batch idea can replace individual mixes posted on the front page, instead listing batches (or a random selection of mixes from the batches, or whatever).

- I don't really discover mixes from the front page anyway. I download them in unsorted batches, sometimes ten, sometimes thirty tracks at a time. I discover new cool tunes through just listening to this year's mixes, or the last 25 additions to my library, or other smart playlists in itunes. While the front page thing is cool, I don't know how big a deal it really is. The front page thing does suggest to ppl to review the track while it's fresh, but with comments available on facebook and youtube as well as our reviews forum, I don't think that's as big a deal as it used to be.

Some thoughts of mine.

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I agree with that but I feel as though the bottleneck is judging and OCR is not going to trust just anyone with that responsiblity. Now if these pieces from 2 and 3 year ago have already been judged and approved, then yes I see the issue.

I'm not really talking about adding more judges, just more people to help out elsewhere that's needed so time and energy can be freed up there.

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Meteo Xavier;877420 Solution? Take in more volunteer staff members.

I agree with that but I feel as though the bottleneck is judging and OCR is not going to trust just anyone with that responsiblity. Now if these pieces from 2 and 3 year ago have already been judged and approved, then yes I see the issue.

As I understand it, the bottleneck is the actual posting. OCR already has had several ppl on the inbox, and the panel seems to have new blood every few months. Trusting with the actual posting is another thing, but I don't think djp has any problem trusting ocr's veteran staff. It's more about breaking the conventions.

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A few points...

1. The writeup is not the only effort involved in posting a remix. There's getting it tagged, uploading it to multiple servers, and getting the associated YouTube video uploaded, not to mention Facebook/Twitter promotion of the mix.

2. We have, on numerous occasions, discussed an automated submission form of some kind, plus a backend for people working on the inbox. There's no question that it would be helpful, however, every time someone volunteers they never pull through. We just don't have the manpower to oversee the development of this project. If you REALLY want to help, and are serious about investing dozens of hours of work on it for $0 in compensation, shoot me an email... I have a requirements doc 90% complete.

3. We are always looking for more volunteer staff (workshop mods, judges, etc.) but the rate of turnover is pretty high. People join and then get busy and fall off the map. We're constantly adding and evaluating new folks but while we're doing that, existing staff are decreasing in activity level. It's not their/our fault of course, we all have responsibilities and careers, and volunteering for no money or glory doesn't really help one's motivation. Turnover is simply inevitable. So, even when things ARE delegated, they sometimes need to be re-delegated. Honestly, djp is the one CONSTANT in OCR's staff history from beginning to end. Even the mighty Liontamer has had brief periods of inactivity, but Dave has been handling everything like a boss for 12 years.

4. The rest of the stuff Dave does for the site is primarily work that simply cannot be delegated without a massive time investment. In some cases, it can't be delegated at all, such as with the Kickstarter/Square Enix issues recently. I was involved in that, but ultimately the responsibility falls on Dave as the owner of the site.

We always appreciate feedback and suggestions, just keep these things in mind. It's VERY EASY to say "why not just make an app?" "why not just get more staff?" "why not delegate?" but we've been doing this for a LONG time. We've tried delegating, we've tried bringing on more staff, we've had volunteers for apps/backend things, etc., but at the end of the day they're not permanent solutions and they don't always work out.

Edit: Regarding the importance of the frontpage, even if you (Rozo) don't discover mixes that way it's still far and away the part of the site that gets the most visits and views. People tend to spend a good amount of time there.

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2. We have, on numerous occasions, discussed an automated submission form of some kind, plus a backend for people working on the inbox. There's no question that it would be helpful, however, every time someone volunteers they never pull through. We just don't have the manpower to oversee the development of this project. If you REALLY want to help, and are serious about investing dozens of hours of work on it for $0 in compensation, shoot me an email... I have a requirements doc 90% complete.

Go into more detail here if you don't mind.

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I don't really have time to read the entire thread here, but have you guys ever considered a community-based acceptance process? If, at the very least, as a preliminary submission requirement, then if it passes that, the judges will give it a "YES" or "NO". It might help with weeding out the large amount of submissions that just don't make the cut.

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One more thing I wanted to point out is that inevitably, if this community wants to survive, it will need a way to survive without any single particular person at the helm. Similarly to founding a nonprofit organization or other business, the owner may find that he or she wants the organization's work and community to continue on even if the owner can no longer dedicate time to it for some reason (e.g. family, illness, etc.). I've seen many sites and projects completely fall apart because there was no long-term plan for sustainability and growth. Just a thought.

Additionally...

We always appreciate feedback and suggestions, just keep these things in mind. It's VERY EASY to say "why not just make an app?" "why not just get more staff?" "why not delegate?" but we've been doing this for a LONG time. We've tried delegating, we've tried bringing on more staff, we've had volunteers for apps/backend things, etc., but at the end of the day they're not permanent solutions and they don't always work out.

It happens. There is no such thing as a permanent solution for a community that grows. The only thing you can do is work on scaling temporary solutions more efficiently.

One final point: these feedback threads don't ever seem to be productive. It normally boils down to a few ideas getting tossed around, someone saying, "we thought about that and it didn't work," or "we're working on it." Maybe a more fruitful discussion could be had if someone "in the know" could lay out in specific detail what the constraints are and what has been tried before. Otherwise, this will go nowhere.

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I don't really have time to read the entire thread here, but have you guys ever considered a community-based acceptance process? If, at the very least, as a preliminary submission requirement, then if it passes that, the judges will give it a "YES" or "NO". It might help with weeding out the large amount of submissions that just don't make the cut.

That's basically what the Workshop forum is for. Not everybody uses it though.

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Go into more detail here if you don't mind.

There isn't much more to be said. We have, over the years, had people volunteer to do coding work for the site. We've had people on staff offer to try their hand at specific projects, such as the aforementioned remix submission form. However, they tend to quickly lose interest because coding backend things for an existing website isn't exactly exciting for most, especially when they're not being paid. Most people capable of skilled programming/web coding (whatever) have a full-time job and their own projects to work on.

So again, if someone (Avaris) feels they are interested and can dedicated a good chunk of time to such a project, while still following our requirements for how the application/addition needs to function, then we can talk. Email me at aaversa@gmail.com. It's not like we have a lack of ideas to implement!

One final point: these "feedback" threads don't ever seem to be productive. It normally boils down to a few ideas getting tossed around, someone saying, "we thought about that and it didn't work." Maybe a more fruitful discussion could be had if someone "in the know" could lay out in specific detail what the constraints are and what has been tried before. Otherwise, this will go nowhere.

Most of the suggestions have either been done or aren't feasible. I can share specifics on anything people are interested in hearing more about. I've already talked about why we don't have an automated submission form yet, and why simply adding more staff or delegating isn't a permanent solution (we DO constantly bring on new people, but there is a lot of turnover as well).

I don't really have time to read the entire thread here, but have you guys ever considered a community-based acceptance process? If, at the very least, as a preliminary submission requirement, then if it passes that, the judges will give it a "YES" or "NO". It might help with weeding out the large amount of submissions that just don't make the cut.

We've talked about this at length and the decision is always the same - we don't want to open up front page remix posts to the community. The problem is that, as we saw with VGmix, people ALWAYS.. and I mean ALWAYS... gravitate toward popular ReMixers and popular games. A stellar remix from an obscure game might get no attention or love, while a mediocre guitar remix of a Final Fantasy boss theme will get massive attention and bias. There is simply no way around this bias. We could try to tell people to just not be biased in what they vote on, but without vetting each individual person, there's no way to know if they are in fact capable of that.

This is also to say nothing of the other remix evaluation issues. Non-musical listeners may have a hard time discerning a complex source in a remix, they may have limited production knowledge, they may miss key issues about the validity of a source tune or game, and so on and so forth.

I will say that I've thought about whether we could 'crowdsource' ONLY the inbox somehow. Select random swaths of active community members to just vote 'Yes' or 'No' on mixes in the inbox. 'Yes' sends to judges panel, 'No' gets direct reject. But again, the problem would be those complex/obscure sources, bias for ReMixers, games or sources, all that sort of stuff. I don't see a solution to that problem.

Now, one compromise that we have been planning to do for years (but have been unable to, due to lack of resources) is to implement a variety of upgrades to the WIP forums. The ultimate goal would be to almost create a mini-VGmix, where people could upload and tag remixes into our primary database, and others could search by remixer, game, source tune, composer, etc. (the latter functionality we already have). We would still have a judges panel and a separate queue/spotlight for official approved mixes, but with this system, we'd be able to host a large amount of remixes (that perhaps don't fit within our normal submission guidelines) in a searchable, browsable database.

Why haven't we done that yet? Again, lack of resources. It's an enormous project, but not only is it a huge amount of effort (just look at how much trouble VGmix had), such a system would have to integrate with our existing forum and database, both of which are completely customized. So, even if we had an entire team of full-time programmers, they would still need to interface with Dave quite a bit to get anything done.

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Most of the suggestions have either been done or aren't feasible. I can share specifics on anything people are interested in hearing more about. I've already talked about why we don't have an automated submission form yet, and why simply adding more staff or delegating isn't a permanent solution (we DO constantly bring on new people, but there is a lot of turnover as well).

My point is that asking for feedback is complete pointless if no one but the people asking the question understands the intricacies of the system you are trying to improve. Most of the people who are supposed to give feedback have no idea what's been tried before or what the intricacies of this site are. I'm simply saying that in the future, this should be laid out more explicitly from the very beginning rather than several pages later, or the feedback may as well never have been asked for.

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We love volunteers, and all staff are basically long-term volunteers, and in a sense I'm a volunteer too. When it comes to software development, however, zircon correctly pointed out that flexibility and long-term commitment are VERY hard to come by. People wanna code in whatever language they want, however they want, whenever they want, especially when it's for free. While as a programmer myself, I can sympathize with such desires, they ultimately don't contribute nearly as effectively as something that colors within the lines and works with what we've already got.

Because of all that, I was hoping to draft requirements for a lot of new site functionality and then investigate actually using site funds to outsource some of it, while keeping an eye on all development myself and making sure we're getting our money's worth. In order to do that, however, the site needs more of a budget.

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I'm a semi-decent front end coder. Sounds like that's not necessarily what you're looking for, but I'd volunteer if you ever need me.

I can't 'code' at all but I always want to help the site.

I just wait and see if something easier than coding pops up.. :lol:

Just to add, I think the wait between submission and posting is the most discouraging thing about still producing music for the website. It might take 1 or 2 years (granted some may be posted sooner). My song is one of the oldest to be posted, not including Lemmings which can't be posted. I can understand why mine hasn't gotten posted I guess because it's not a particularly common style on ocr and now it's pretty old. It was one of my first mixes that pre-dates the Teen Agent album. :-o

I don't see the problem really being that there's too many submissions or the judges are too slow, I think the main thing is that, to keep up with the current load, one song posted every 2 days consistently will help whittle it down in time. This would improve the quality of the OCR posts and prevent people from getting inconsistent results by which I mean something getting posted to the front page that isn't as high quality as something being NO'd. It'd make the site be fresh rather than posting year-old music once the queue was caught up to.

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We love volunteers, and all staff are basically long-term volunteers, and in a sense I'm a volunteer too. When it comes to software development, however, zircon correctly pointed out that flexibility and long-term commitment are VERY hard to come by. People wanna code in whatever language they want, however they want, whenever they want, especially when it's for free. While as a programmer myself, I can sympathize with such desires, they ultimately don't contribute nearly as effectively as something that colors within the lines and works with what we've already got.

Have you considered making the website open source on Google Code and providing a downloadable version for people to play with? In doing so, you might be able to get some valuable development from volunteers who can get some time to learn the code before diving in. They may be able to help for at least couple years, or add at least a feature or two, even if they can't commit much beyond that. You could lay out some guidelines for how you want things to be done before changes are committed.

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What languages are used? Beyond the obvious one being PHP?

Backend-only? XSLT. Right now the backend is completely custom PHP plus XSLT for templating, but one of the first things I'm trying to do is move to CakePHP 2.2. I'd still like to keep the XSLT though, to me it's much saner than the dozens of language-specific templating solutions out there.

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Backend-only? XSLT. Right now the backend is completely custom PHP plus XSLT for templating, but one of the first things I'm trying to do is move to CakePHP 2.2. I'd still like to keep the XSLT though, to me it's much saner than the dozens of language-specific templating solutions out there.

XSLT is easy enough. Not too different from MXML, XML, HTML, or UiBinder. Use PHP at my day job as part of multiple different systems. One of of which is an Application system.

I sent an email to Andrew to take a look at the requirements.

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