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Unread postAuthor: Jimmy K » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:28 pm

--Please forgive me if I seem too critical--

I have been a member of SpudFiles for a relatively short time. During this short stay (that will hopefully continue) I have noticed a few things that I think really hamper the scope of the website.

First, a while back when I made my very first potato gun, a spray n' pray, I was so excited with its performance and reliability. I wanted to know more about why it worked, how I could make it better, etc., so naturally, I went to the internet and found this place. I read the rules and everything and saw that spray n' pray cannons were not looked upon in the best light and that those types of topics were not allowed because they would clog up the forum. Now I understand why this rule is in place and it makes perfect sense to me. However, I think it is crucial, and almost imperative, that these beginners have an avenue to direct their enthusiasm and eagerness for their new hobby. I'm not saying that everyone why makes such a cannon should post a thread showing all of their primer stains and DWV fittings and everything, but maybe another forum dedicated to those just starting. Maybe the site could have regular contests to see who's spray n' pray can shoot the furthest within a specific set of parameters, or to see who's is the most accurate from a certain distance, etc. Physical prizes or site-wide recognition may help for motivation and growth in this area. Also, I think it would be good to have direct links to resources for beginners, like to Bass Pro for camp stove lighters, or to Lowes or PVCFittings for PVC, etc. I feel that by getting beginners more engaged with what they already have (and seeing others doing the same) that SpudFiles will sprout a new foundation for which guests will register and eventually make their way up to making quality cannons and quality posts that add to the advancement of SpudFiles.

If one looks at the traffic stats for SpudFiles, they can see that the site is getting a good amount of traffic and that the amount of traffic is actually growing. This is good. However, there is not a proportionate rise in members who post or in posts themselves. There seems to be around 50-100 people who regularly post to SpudFiles out of the roughly 9000 members. To where are these other people going? Do they not feel a need to contribute maybe? Are they intimidated by all of the amazing cannons and guns on here? I know I was at first. I don't know the answer to this question, but I think the issue needs to be addressed.

Now, about the actual website, I really do think it needs some revamping. I noticed that the site is running PhpBB from what seems like a looooong time ago... I suggest upgrading or even switching forum software. These new versions have amazing capability and also look amazing. You can get mods/apps/addons for ad placement, get custom themes, do in-line posting, increase the functionality of the board, the list goes on and on. They are also very search engine friendly, not to mention a lot cleaner looking and easier to access information.


Just a few of my thoughts.

EDIT:
I forgot to add this.
It would be nice to see some more updates on the homepage.. maybe with more articles or focusing on user's creations or theories... just stuff to keep it fresh and to keep people coming back.
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Re: Wbsite Suggestions

Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:59 pm

Some valid observations and it's good to hear some input from a relatively recent member.

One thing I could not spot is where it specifically says that spray'n'pray cannons are "not allowed". It's true that they are bound to be seen as basic by more experienced members, but that is no reason not to post them in the showcase. I believe all projects, successful or otherwise, should be posted in a well documented fashion. There might be a lesson to learn for someone else, or another member might point out a solution to a problem that was not immediately obvious to you.

If this is not the impression that spudfiles gives, steps should be taken to rectify the issue.

As to the limited numbers of posting members, the idea that seems to explain it best is the fact that for many, spudding is either a transient hobby (affected by age, relationships, educational and living arrangements) or one of many interests - people who make spudguns usually have an interest in making other things.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:05 pm

Jimmy K wrote:I read the rules and everything and saw that spray n' pray cannons were not looked upon in the best light and that those types of topics were not allowed because they would clog up the forum. Now I understand why this rule is in place and it makes perfect sense to me.


Where did you read all this? It's simply not true. There are a bunch of spray-n-pray cannons here. SOME members complain about them but most start out with them as you did.

Links and information page.

As for members well, we aren't going to brief them but all are welcome to join in on the fun at the time of their choosing, as you do.

The owner/administration (PCGUY) is a busy person and the site upgrades and updates come only after testing for functionality as to keep a smooth running enjoyable place to share our hobby, (thanks PCGUY!).

Hope this helps to answer your questions, enjoy. :D
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Re: Wbsite Suggestions

Unread postAuthor: Jimmy K » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:33 pm

I reread the rules about spray n' pray and you guys are right. I apologize. What I posted must have been the connotation of the forum regarding such cannons that I felt at the time.

I seem to remember reading some threads where beginners' cannons were mocked because they used DWV, were not very powerful, lacked originality, etc.. I think that was where I got that. I'm trying to find specific examples to back this up, but again, this is only a memory/feeling I had.

jackssmirkingrevenge wrote:One thing I could not spot is where it specifically says that spray'n'pray cannons are "not allowed". It's true that they are bound to be seen as basic by more experienced members, but that is no reason not to post them in the showcase. I believe all projects, successful or otherwise, should be posted in a well documented fashion. There might be a lesson to learn for someone else, or another member might point out a solution to a problem that was not immediately obvious to you.

If this is not the impression that spudfiles gives, steps should be taken to rectify the issue.


I did not post my first two cannons on this site because it just didn't seem right.. It's kinda hard to explain. The atmosphere was (and still is to an extent) that if I had nothing new and exciting then I should not post it.
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Unread postAuthor: irisher » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:44 pm

If the site you linked to is correct, a great deal of our traffic is from China. I never would have guessed this. Does this seem odd to anyone else?
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Unread postAuthor: clemsonguy1125 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:02 pm

Typically the members who mock new members dont stick around. Most of the jerks who post stuff like that have less than 200 posts, there are a few exceptions though. As for updates, PCGUY has a few few planned, a new chat room is one of them.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:05 pm

irisher wrote:If the site you linked to is correct, a great deal of our traffic is from China. I never would have guessed this.


Given the size of their population (albeit with low internet access), why not?

Also, it seems that this post is responsible for 1.01% of all traffic :D

Jimmy K wrote:I did not post my first two cannons on this site because it just didn't seem right.. It's kinda hard to explain. The atmosphere was (and still is to an extent) that if I had nothing new and exciting then I should not post it.


I disagree, only relatively small percentage of cannons are actually "new" and even a basic spray and pray can be "exciting" - of course the onus is on the poster to present the cannon - however basic - in a detailed and well documented manner, which can garner favour even if the launcher itself is nothing to write home about.

Many times it's all about presentation, I've seen negative reactions to revolutionary but badly presented launchers and vice versa.
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Unread postAuthor: clemsonguy1125 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:51 pm

I agree, presantation make the gun. If you cant see how it work due to bad pictures, the post is pretty worthless. Especially if its poorly written.
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Re: Wbsite Suggestions

Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:54 pm

Jimmy K wrote:I seem to remember reading some threads where beginners' cannons were mocked because they used DWV, were not very powerful, lacked originality, etc.. I think that was where I got that. I'm trying to find specific examples to back this up, but again, this is only a memory/feeling I had.


I think you were dreaming. You posted a beautiful piston hybrid, but for some reason every time you looked at your screen it began to look more and more like a coke bottle combustion. You woke up in a cold sweat but then fell back asleep, and forgot about it. :roll:

I think it's great to give suggestions for improvement on showcase topics, but ridicule is unacceptable. If somebody takes time out of their day to build something with their own hands instead of eating at Taco Bell and discussing politics loudly in public spaces, they're already ahead of 90% of the population.
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Re: Wbsite Suggestions

Unread postAuthor: Jimmy K » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:02 pm

mark.f wrote:I think you were dreaming. You posted a beautiful piston hybrid, but for some reason every time you looked at your screen it began to look more and more like a coke bottle combustion. You woke up in a cold sweat but then fell back asleep, and forgot about it. :roll:


Haha I would not doubt that at all. Seems to fit me.


And thank you everyone for responding to my ramblings. It is much appreciated.
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Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:25 am

The famous "spray-n-pray" is generally considered as the basic. But it is, by no means, considered obsolete. Most everyone one who came here came for nearly the same reason as you. Some came for different reasons but most came for the same. These cannons, while basic, are essential. These are the 'fundamentals' of the launcher world.

But something you said did catch my eye, and that is a "noob" section of the website. That may be something to consider, as it would keep the other sections clutter free. You see, when someone posts a good idea or something, time passes and it seems to be forgotten about. It tends to get buried under the other stuff. With a "noob" section, there would be less of this.

As far as the homepage goes, well that's for PCGUY to handle. It does tend to go out of date from time to time but I could only assume it's because PCGUY is busy with other things.
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Unread postAuthor: Crna Legija » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:46 am

i was thinking it would be cool to update the pics that link you to the pneumatic, combustion, bb airsoft and hybrid Cannon Showcase. we could have a vote. its useless but would be something to do.
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Unread postAuthor: Jimmy K » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:09 am

Hubb wrote:As far as the homepage goes, well that's for PCGUY to handle. It does tend to go out of date from time to time but I could only assume it's because PCGUY is busy with other things.


If you look at the homepage, there are three entries. One from 2011, one from 2010, and one from 2009. To someone new to the site, this can turn them off. I think that if the number of new, fresh announcements or even just acknowledgments of users' builds increased to maybe once or twice a week the appeal of the site would increase proportionately.

And PCGUY no doubt has a lot to do. I'm sure that this site is not the most important thing in his life and that is completely understandable. I think in the admin control panel of phpBB he could alter the permissions of the moderators to make such announcements that appear on the homepage. That would spread the burden of keeping the site fresh.

EDIT: I just noticed I spelled "website" in the title wrong... Oh gosh.. embarrassing...
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:11 am

-_- wrote:i was thinking it would be cool to update the pics that link you to the pneumatic, combustion, bb airsoft and hybrid Cannon Showcase. we could have a vote. its useless but would be something to do.


I concur, the current projects are seriously out of date, most don't even look like launchers and there isn't a link to the mini-section!
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:47 am

Jimmy K wrote:I think in the admin control panel of phpBB he could alter the permissions of the moderators to make such announcements that appear on the homepage. That would spread the burden of keeping the site fresh.


For what it's worth, the homepage is integrated with the forum, and phpBB can't alter the homepage. Or at least that's what's most likely based on my experiences with phpBB2.

I think PCGUY could use a Co-admin, with access to FTP, shell, etc. Maybe one of your co-workers or friends?
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