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. ^_^