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Projects, site, community

Posted by evilcrap [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 01:29:11 AM


i just found this site and became a member some hours ago. I must say, there is much to be desired: read on.
(all of my suggestions are of a freindly, constructive critisizm.)

first off, this sites intention is to introduce programmers to each other. Forums do accomplish this task in some ways. however, it is not enough.
each member should have a piece in their profile called "Current Group Project."
, or something like that. Basically, you will have another forum called "Member Projects", inwhich each member's current project will be listed, its details, level of completion/status/site, and if they want others to collaberate with them. all people currently working on the project will also be listed.

secondly, this site needs to get alot of stuff organized, in several fashions: first, by category, and second, by alphebet or age.

and third, i am amazed at the low level of functionality of this place, given the duration of its life.

also, i had difficulty with the main page's interface, it is not organized well.
because this site is so old, maybe people have lost interest because you have also lost it. Think up some new stuff, impliment it, and maybe that pulse will pick up.

this site needs to be more proactive with its community; most teen-programmers are near desperate to share their stuff, and to collaberate... you need to build support, reward, and encouragement for this.

lastly, i want someone to reply to me so i know this was actually read -> mailto: evilcrapx@hotmail.com

Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 01:32:14 AM

Too much work... I like it just the way it is

Posted by lann [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 01:33:57 AM

Plus, there have been an average of 1900 hits per day. (Yea, unreferenced factoids)

Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 01:34:26 AM

Oh, also, most of the more experience people here are not interested in working on learning projects, we're here to answer questions (and bicker ceaslessly (: )

Posted by lann [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 01:36:00 AM

Reference for unreferenced factoid:

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 10:27:24 AM

Organization around the mythical "project" has proven to not be the most useful thing in the past. Not everyone wants to take the route of group projects, and those that do can rustle up interest in the General forum or somesuch. There is the Member Sites/Creations link section, as well. Formalization of "projects" in the past has gone nowhere. There seems to be an inverse relationship between zeal in advertising and actual accomplishment. General conversation and help with specific problems seem more reasonable as main focuses.

I'm not sure what you mean by organization. I think you are assuming that everyone shares an understanding of what features should be here, but I don't know which things you say should be so organized.

On the same note, explaining which functionality you want would be a plus. I find the system as it is suits me to a T, which is not surprising, as I've implemented it all. This particular site software is only a bit more than a year old, so what we have here hasn't been under constant revision over 5 years like you seem to have surmised. That said, what I've constructed here is a very flexible system that allows the site to be changed such that
1) Trusted people may be granted the ability to change the site by editing templates via a web interface
2) All changes may be made on the fly, without any downtime or recompilation of binaries

So adding features or doing whatever else is VERY easy to do, it just requires that people say what they want, or possibly even volunteer to implement their wishes! The whole interface can be changed in a flash.

That's right, Uncle TPU wants YOU!

Posted by taubz [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 10:38:18 AM

(I wrote this before I read Psion's reply.)

> Forums do accomplish this task in some ways. however, it is not enough.

I think we'd all agree that the forums are around for communication and help, not to bring people together. Initially, maybe. But many people have tried to start projects from message board postings and I don't know of any that suceeded. So, in practice, I agree.

The Current Coding Group label, tho, wouldn't help any, IMO. Most people here are probably not members of any coding group, if they're coding at all.

> this site needs to get alot of stuff organized

A while back we (Psion I guess) shifted directions. Rather than being another gamedev.net type -- we couldn't compete with that -- we'd much rather not focus on maintaining a list of links, comprehensive articles, etc. Our focus is on what you can't find elsewhere: teen message forums, info on how to get started with programming, and hosting learning projects (which has yet to succeed).

> i am amazed at the low level of functionality of this place

What does that mean?

> i had difficulty with the main page's interface

I see some room for improvement myself. What do you suggest?

> because this site is so old, maybe people have lost interest because you have also lost it [interest, not sanity I hope]

Not precicely. I think it is actually that since the site is so old, we're all much older and have much less time to put into the site. Of all of the admins, I think it's safe to say that TPU is not any of our top priorities. We all have to accept that, and understand that this site depends on the support of its members, not its admins.

> you need to build support, reward, and encouragement for this

I agree. Finding the means to do that is not at all simple. We've tried learning projects, but it comes down to none of us having the time (or perhaps philanthropic interest in something that is banal to us) in leading one. This assumes there is even enough TPU members interested.

The two things that I would most like to see done are group learning projects lead by experienced members, and free shell accounts for members with tutorials/guides to go along with it. I don't have time for the first, and I'm working on finding the technical means to make the second. (Actually I just need a place to put the server. The server is already set up.)

- taubz

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 10:42:31 AM

To make sure taubz's message is not seen as too negative, a slight addendum.

He and I are both in university now and getting farther and farther from TPU's ostensible age range. TPU was a huge and beneficial influence in my life when I first found it near the beginning of its existence. I would like to find able and interested people who will put the time into making TPU worthwhile, the way I and others did back then. Please don't hesitate to post here, contact me, whatever, if the idea of doing this interests you. That said, I'm certainly quite into making sure that TPU gets onto the right track, so I do have the time and motivation to do what it takes to get it there.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 04:17:41 PM

I will not pass comment here , because the previous comments have summed it up nicely...

Posted by evilcrap [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 09:45:36 PM

well, you yourselves have said that interest is waning, someone even said they were starting to outgrow the site (?!?!).
i came to this site because i saw a link with a special, even remarkable, theme: "tpu"; when i got here, i found an attempt at the remarkable implemented in a not so special way. i think this idea can go really far, but, i think there needs to be some rethinking.

i did not like the main page because it read like a newspaper; you are bombarded with far to much information, and, to go anywhere, you must scan everwhere.

everyone here is open to suggestions, wants new members, and to grow. yet, also has a sturdy response and conformity (against change?). as a newcommer, i dont mean to battle tradition in a crude way. But, why lose interest, or conform to old ideas that may not suit your needs, or the needs of your members? its completely unnecessary. I think you need to rethink what this site should be, or aim/grow towards, by querying the members activly.

obviously, for a site to be sucessful, it needs to have a market, more importantly, a growing market. this site is designed as a resource for amature programmers, right? you need to ask some questions: what sort of resource? where is our audiance? and, How can they be contacted, or included?

the second two questions are simple: the largest base of amature programmers are in school...and they can probably be contacted through it.
you could contact teachers to see what sort of audiance exists for an active online amature programming resource. If you organize to this effect, you could activly direct research, development, and competition of many people, possibly already organized into groups.

i admit, many new programmers want to do much more than they actually can. this great interest and lacking skills can make the internet-group project idea somewhat poor or even inapplicable for amatures.

however, often, amatures can not make proper contacts to information or peers.
TPU could introduce programers of given levels, forming groups. (passionate) research by people of similar skill levels is much more effiencent than research amoung combinations of skill levels, given proper resources.
These groups would be able to gather information and develop realistic projects relative to their level of study.

advertising groups and projects in general forums doesnt seem appropriate imo.

interest may be lacking amoung current members... but, first appearences are powerful. new commers may embrace new ideas if you can pull them off properly.

And lastly, many of you talk like your ran down - - go out and see if you can recruit experienced people. Im sure that GameDev.net, planet-source-code.com, and other sites would produce knowledgeble people willing to help you out.

I think that the tutorial and artical ideas are great.

the bottom line is that if you set up something good and needed, the hordes will find it, and participate. You need to do this. set up goals, figure out how to accomplish them, and then implement them. in some cases, this is actually much more effective than reading a suggestions forum.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 29, 2001, 10:41:49 PM

Targeting schools is a good idea....

Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at December 30, 2001, 12:58:39 AM

evilcrap... you're obvously a very thoughtfull and intelligent person. However, I think the only thing you have overlooked is that the owner of this page and the others that run it have lost interest. New leadership is needed to carry TPU into the 21st century and beyond. I elect you, yes you, to be that leader.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 30, 2001, 10:02:30 AM

Again I'd like to stress that layout complaints are useless without suggested (concrete) alternatives. We do NOT have skilled web designers working on this site as is. Hey, I'm even color blind, and I still end up having to do everything, despite repeated requests for others to come up with something better! The idea of advertising through academic channels is an old one, and no one seems to know how to do it precisely. I tried advertising on the AP CS teachers' mailing list, and I don't know how successful it's been. (I don't even know if it's been posted, since I just asked the moderator to please post a message about TPU.)

The repeated message here is that there is no staff, no base of extremely dedicated members (it would seem) here to take in your feedback and go implement it. What would need to be done to get TPU back to its old usefulness would require efforts by many people. So, if you have these great ideas, I would ask you to forget about what defects you see now here and imagine what TPU could be, as if it were 1996 and everything were being pieced together for the first time. If you think the potential of TPU is great, and if you think it could even be crucial in preserving the wonderful atmosphere some of us may remember from a while back, before "the demo scene" and others began to wane, then PLEASE volunteer and remake this organization to reach that potential!

Posted by DakeDesuDx [send private reply] at December 30, 2001, 04:49:33 PM

I offer to be the webmaster, but I cannot offer server space. Also I have little knowledge of Servlets, cause I have spent too much time learning PHP and Perl (Without having a Perl webapp yet to work ;_; ).

Say, whoever's personal computer is this on, can they make me an ftp account so that I can look at the current source code? I've noticed a lot of dislike for php in preference to Java's various forms, so even if I get read only access to the java source, perhaps I can learn something of how it works, then perhaps start on something better? I can also make a static layout, but with no current staff that is going to be useful ;).

Oh and psion: do not worry, I have a Red-Green colour deficency, which means I cannot see green, purple, or brown, so if I am webmaster, I will need somebody to give me a good smack over my colour choices :D.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 30, 2001, 05:29:49 PM

I already put a snapshot of it up in response to earlier inquiries.

If you are offering to make a better layout, that's great! Please post URL's to anything you come up with. You wouldn't need to supply any other resources besides your ability and time.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 30, 2001, 11:14:24 PM

We really don't need a "webmaster" as such, for one Sune does a good job as a sysadmin, and the code is running. What we really need is programmers, who are willing to code the new features suggested into Tea Templates:
There is more documentation about Tea templates at:
and TPU specific info at: www.devlocus.org

And Psion, what do you mean "No committed user base"? I'm sure that 3 and a half years qualifies as "committed"...

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 31, 2001, 09:13:01 AM

You haven't done terribly much besides post/edit/delete messages. ;-)

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 31, 2001, 03:40:16 PM

And a damned fine job of it I do :-)

I also changed back from taubz's using [1 Unread] thing... that was just ugly...

Posted by taubz [send private reply] at December 31, 2001, 06:01:47 PM

I changed it because it was shorter and fit better on the resolution/font size that I was using at the time, which was very low-resolution/big-font.

- taubz

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