So you have a suggestion for BBT

Maybe you got a second or third or fourth chance to try the idea again, Higurashi-style, and this time you really want it to work. Maybe you really liked that idea. How do you get there? Sometimes, once in awhile, that happens. We come across such ideas every so often; the very mention of them must naturally, automatically result in perfect, working solutions without any undue effort. And the world moves on, another idea trampled into the dust before it even has the chance to grow. Disappointed, we write people off as myopic, narrow-minded fools who simply are unable to see our Visionary Ideals. The Idea So Good No One Could Possibly Resist Implementing It. But more often than not, surprising resistance encounters our efforts to Make the World A Better Place. The Best Idea in the World. How do you give your idea the best chance it has at succeeding?

Consider 4 sets of questions for any idea that comes to mind:

What does this idea require? Would it need more bandwidth? Storage? Maintenance? Are the increased requirements worth it?

What about storage? Ask around, figure out a ballpark estimate. Count the number of torrent descriptions on the site, multiply it by an estimate of each torrent description’s size (based on image and screenshot filesizes). Make an effort to find out these things, but leave enough of an error margin; things tend to cost much more than they seem. Say you thought about having BakaBT do image-hosting. If the idea is seen to be feasible, you’ll have an easier sell ahead of you. Do you have any idea how much bandwidth an imagehost requires?

The last thing you want to do while trying to get an idea accepted is pick a fight with site staff. Ultimately, the admins and mods are the ones who’ll have to do the backend work to maintain it. If they say they can’t do it, it means they can’t do it—or perhaps it means they don’t want to do it, which basically means they can’t do it. Or start your own imagehost, whatever. Grumble about laziness and incompetence, move on with life.

Whose effort will this require? On a daily basis? Monthly? One-off? Why would they be willing to do so?

Here on BakaBT, nobody is paid to do what they do, so you have to find other means to motivate people. Yet others enjoy the sense of community that comes from joining in on ideas. Others perceive that their efforts help improve the site, in content, quality and efficacy. Some truly enjoy what they do. Here’s an open secret: people do not like doing things if there is nothing in it for them.

Most importantly, convince them that you care about this feature. Convince people that they should and would love to care about this feature. Convince them that people should and do care about this feature. Maybe you want uploaders to include short biographies of directors/authors on each torrent page; well, why should they?

Why should uploaders be forced to write these biographies? Why should moderators enforce this rule, were it implemented? Where should they take these biographies from? That’s not the end of your struggle. Who is going to write these biographies? Are you willing to start writing the first biography, and keep trying to pull people into the bio-writing effort?

Is there an existing alternative already? Why shouldn’t I use that instead?

Maybe you want a metadata management system on BBT. How would this be better than what AniDB, a community centred around fansub metadata management, has already come up with? Is it worth duplicating effort that another community has already refined?

If there’s one thing people dislike more than effort without self-interest, it’s duplicated effort without self-interest. If you’re not willing to build on what other communities have done, you will have to try that much harder to convince people of your idea’s soundness.

How can I help make it easier to put the idea in place?

Ideas are transient, and the efforts inspired by ideas are even more transient. since when did I get pulled into—” and just who were you waiting for to sell your idea for you? “Whoa, hold it right there. ‘I’? Keep waiting for someone to take that first step for you, and you will wait until the idea fizzles out.

There is much to be done. Try passing that on to an admin. If they like the idea, they’ll suggest it to other uploaders, and back you up in the forums when you suggest it. Think up a sensible format for the file, post in in the Wiki and ask for help in refining it. What about those biographies? Do you know a good VPS that can be used for image-hosting? It is easier for people to gauge the usefulness of an idea if they have a working example to try out. Start a forum thread discussing writing styles, submitting writeups to willing uploaders for inclusion in their descriptions, and selling your idea to effort-makers. And if the uploaders like the idea, your idea is almost as good as sold. And metadata? Suggest the idea to willing uploaders for inclusion in their torrent offers. Make your own torrent offers (once you’re Power User) and attach these metadata files yourself.

Only call in an admin if it requires changes to server setup or site code. Only bother moderators if it will require access privileges that they have. If your support system is established, most people are already writing bios and metadata files and including them in torrents, there are wiki guides to writing these bios and for formatting metadata, people have written parsing tools for these metadata files and entire management systems have been built around them, and the community resounds with songs of your brilliance, it probably will not need much convincing to get those ideas included in the rules, for consistency across torrents. Many of these things do not even need moderator or admin intervention. An insider tip: the less effort it takes on their part, the more likely the idea will be accepted.

Now, guess what kind of response you’re likely to get if you try to do it the other way and get it enforced as yet another site rule before drumming up support for it.

And one last thing.

How many would care about a suggestion made by a user who just joined a week ago, hasn’t made Power User, hardly contributes to goings-on about the site, in the torrent offers, uploader discussions, error reports, Wiki articles, and tech support, and suddenly decides his idea can only be for the good of the community? Complain all you like about people being biased in their perceptions, but if you’re pushing for an idea, a good reputation can only help you. Reputation.

Offer qualified help to people seeking it in the help boards. Report torrent errors, or perhaps mis-categorised torrents, wherever you spot them. Edit Wiki articles that are outdated or need touching up, or a complete rewrite; add newly licensed anime to the blacklist when you spot them. Participate in community activities; the mahjong tournament maybe, or holiday banner submissions, or Mystery Blogger posts. Help out new uploaders with descriptions and information, or provide screenshots for upload comparisons. Hang around the site and forum more often.

The effect this produces is twofold; the regulars know you as a regular, one who knows his way around the site, who is familiar enough with the oft-enforced rules, and who knows who’s who in the various parts of the site; they also see you as one who contributes, who understands the effort of contribution, and who will not seek that same effort from others without good cause.

Be careful not to overdo this though; you might find yourself being recruited as staff …  😉

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12 Responses to So you have a suggestion for BBT

  1. Xtras says:

    Long post is long …. laziness …

    Sincerely though, there are several valid points here. A good read.

  2. surdumil says:

    Nice job, Kureshii!

    Your article certainly helps understanding most of the threads in the Site Feedback & Rules forum.

  3. Hellfire says:

    I’ve got one serious suggestion:

    Either appoint a new mod for the blog or get Chyia to work. (I’d volunteer, but that’d defeat the purpose of someone else checking what I’m writing Oo)

    Then I have an Idea of linking the reviews to the corresponding torrents, but that takes the effort of the uploader^^.

  4. surdumil says:

    The first series of blog posts were superb, but I suspect they were a ton of work and that getting help/material from users was like having to pull teeth, organs, and various critical soft tissues from bystanders.

    The results were awesome, but the effort probably took its toll pretty quickly. I suggest that a regular blog posting needs a fairly large group of dedicated volunteers so that the work involved is not concentrated on one or two individuals, and so that real life events can be compensated for.

    If this doesn’t happen, there might be some great initial results, but the group/organization/effort won’t be… yes… its that over-used word again… “sustainable”. People will get burned out or torn away by real life, experiences will be negative, and there won’t be willing replacements.

  5. Hellfire says:

    Well, I’m still there, but I won’t write unless the current pending reviews get approved (they’ve been pending for quite some time now…).

    I doubt that they are high quality, considering that I never was very good at creative writing.

  6. We130 says:

    for instance, the person that told me about downloading wasn’t very descriptive about what to do. Hi, this post was incredibly observant and wisely insightful, however an overwhelming majority of people who use the internet in any way(including myself) don’t know enough about it not to ask ignorant questions and suggest ideas that seem to belittle the efforts of those who put everything together. If it wasn’t for my obsessively observant nature I wouldn’t have even found BakaBT, but anyway my point is that a monkey could download torrents, but as far as putting a web-service together and keeping it successful and functioning, it takes many devoted, intelligent individuals working together(which is why there are so many people that come up with ideas without considering all the variables that could make them useless; bandwidth, storage, motivation, etc.). Maybe it would be worth the time and effort of those who have knowledge to make even the most common technological street smarts available, if only for the satisfaction of not seeing so many posts from people who are to ignorant to even ask themselves how much time and effort goes into the site or service they take for granted everyday.

    • kureshii says:

      They begin to claim that their suggestions are “for the good of the community”, and that as a “premier content site” it is our responsibility to “provide such services”—the sense of entitlement begins to rear its ugly head. I don’t think forumers hold this ignorance against people who give suggestions without being aware of these issues. That was what prompted this post. What irks most people is when these suggestion-submitters, given a reply on why the idea won’t be implemented, proceed to lay the blame on the community.

      Nobody’s bites the head off someone who asks “what are the difficulties of hosting images on our own server, and how can we work around them?” instead of “this is 2012, why are you still asking people to use external imagehosts when such services are available on every other web service?”

      Take a chill pill, everyone! A little benefit of the doubt never hurts, and and we sometimes pick the wrong words to carry our intentions and tone. That said, I do think we need to lay back on some of the knee-jerk reactions we give to such questions, even if they’ve been asked before.

  7. sakuchibira says:

    there is something wrong with natsume yuujinchou torrent,can you plz check it!

  8. dragonfx says:

    Hey guy and girls,

    I really love 80’s vintage stuff, tho it take a lot of hassle trying to find it.

    Could you add a search or sort options for any kind of material by era such as 60’s. 70’s, 80’s, etc…

    Sincerely,

    Chen Cohen.

  9. Ani-me says:

    Very well written, also has some meaning to it.

  10. brunoais says:

    YAY! We have the image hosting!

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