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On Minecraft skins here and elsewhere

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Terzaerian's Avatar Terzaerian
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
147
Update 4/13/2012: Improved skin viewer was implemented! Excellent work, PMC staff and admins! I'll be revisiting this blog soon once I've completed the 32x edition of my texture pack.




Update: As I predicted, we cruised to 100,000 and then past it, now up to 102,000 and counting.

That's a hundred thousand skins by a hundred thousand users that will get a handful of views, while a handful of skins by a handful of users get hundreds of thousands of views.

Getting rid of downvoting will never, ever change that. Discussing real solutions, like I propose at the end of this blog, might.





During the recent vigorous discussions on Upvoting and Downvoting started by Cyprezz, I got into a lengthy debate with Halucid about the merits of the downvote on a site like Planet Minecraft. While neither of us walked away changing the other's mind, we both did agree on one thing: how PMC handles skins (and to a lesser extent, projects) is simply not working anymore. Halucid was frustrated because his popularity is making him a target of trolls who strive to knock his work out of the popularity scroller; I am frustrated because the sheer size and design of our skins section has virtually condemned my skins to obscurity.

I decided that I would do a tour of other Minecraft skinning hubs across the internet, both to see how they do things, judge their merits relative to our august website, and perhaps somewhat selfishly increase the exposure of my skins as well as self-CYA in regards to skin theft by blasting them into all the public galleries I could find.

The Adventure

halloween-skinsjpg

Rating: diamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My first stop was of course Skindex, which should be familiar to just about anyone who has ever changed a skin. I've been familiar with it since starting playing Minecraft in January, and its only advantage to me is its size. The glaring white background (though this is now plastered with ads) and spartan aesthetics are not so much Googlesque as they are lazy, as is the approach and design of their uploading. One can only enter a tweet's worth of information on a skin, and you also have to do it backwards; the Skin Name and Description fields are displayed reversed on the uploaded skin, which led to me borking my upload of Amelyssan. There is also no way to tell, before uploading, if you picked the right file or not. The only reason this site is large as it is and well-known as it is has to be because it was the first. A dismal one star out of five.

minershoespng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My next stop was Miners Need Cool Shoes, which was the subject of some negative press lately. The site design is trim, clean, and well-formatted, as well as aesthetically pixelly and minecrafty, which is always a good thing. Like PMC, it also requires registration to upload content, and allows you to control the content afterwards, which is a big plus for me, and easily puts it nearest to PMC. The preview-mode when uploading and viewing skins is also seamlessly integrated and very well polished.

Its Armory, which is a system that randomly mixes together "parts" people have uploaded of skins, is a novel idea but ultimately I wasn't too impressed. It also has the negative side effect of abetting skin theft by allowing for easy alteration of a stolen skin by adding bits to it and claiming it as unique work.

The downsides are that it has no native upvote or downvote system; only links to share skins on Twitter, Facebook etc., which PMC already has in spades. The online skin editor was also unimpressive to me, as the community has already created tools that accomplish the same functionality and more on its own. Having a color picker is not anything new or particularly helpful, in comparison to a lighten/darken function like is built into Paint Shop Pro and other professional image software. Finally, the site appears to be unmoderated, as a number of explicit skins showed up in the "Most Discussed" section a couple days in a row. While obviously it's no skin off my nose, the fact is that websites that allow explicit content have a responsibility to a) police it or b) warn the user about it before they see it, especially on a site that is otherwise so functionally and aesthetically minor-friendly. Overall I give MinerShoes a 3 out of 5 (though it definitely would have rated a 4 if the downsides weren't so glaring).

EDIT: I just now realized that Miner Shoes has the "love" system of rating, but this option is not available on the skin's actual page, just the preview. So while it is not bereft of a native rating system, that system still stands to be improved somewhat.

mcskinsinfopng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My next sites I found out about through Minecraftwiki's Skins entry. MinecraftSkins.info is a skin index which seems purpose built to address some of the shortcomings of the Skindex. Its design is polished and attractive, and Iespecially liked how it categorized skins - Movies, Games, TV, etc. Its upload form allows for a full description, and while it doesn't have the rich formatting which PMC does, the fact that it allows for blurbs bigger than a tweet is a nice touch.

That said, it still doesn't address all of Skindex's weaknesses. It is another non-regging site. The upload form has a checkbox which you can use if you are the skin's creator, but how this enforces any accountability in reality I do not know.

The last off note is both a strength and a weakness. MinecraftSkins.info's moderators clear every skin that gets uploaded to the site before they appear. While this does allow for the sophisticated categorization the site uses, and also insures a reasonably high level of quality, I am skeptical such a model is sustainable in the long run. As well, I found the message that you received on upload that "your skin will be added if it is judged worthy" or something to that effect rather pompous, especially considering that some of their entries would be raked over the coals on PMC. Overall I rate them 3 out of 5.

skincachepng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpng

Next I checked out SkinCache. While their assertion that they are the "#1 Minecraft Skin Source" is very cheeky, the fact is that they do offer a solid, high-quality service. The site is cleanly and simply designed, and displays skins in a manner akin to PMC's but even cleaner. It is a registration-required site, and allows for sophisticated account control and embedding options on par with PMC. It also features its own XP rewards system. The upload process is also very well-done, going beyond PMC by allowing for multiple skin uploads at once (though these skins are displayed individually). If it were me, though, I would have put the Description field before the Tag field, though this is a minor issue. Display of skins is well-done, and I especially like that the site *features* skins. This is a happy medium between skin-dumps like Skindex, blind and bitter popularity contests like we have here, and draconian control measures like MinecraftSkins.info has.

The only downside is the site's seemingly small user base. In the time since I uploaded and til now writing this blog, nobody has uploaded a new skin. That said, this is a defect that SkinCache does not deserve and, as word spreads, will be remedied. I give them a perfect 5 out of 5.

mcskinnerpng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

Minecraft Skinner came next. Its design seems to largely mirror Skindex's while only remedying one of its shortcomings (the flipped description/name) while offering even less features. It may look nicer and not feature garish ads overall, but it's a rather low-effort entry in a highly competitive field. It would merit more than a 2 out of 5 if it had something novel to offer.

mcskinsharepng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

I tried Minecraft Skin Share next. Their design, while a little Skindexish, is still unique, and an example of what MC Skinner could have done better. It is the only other site, save for PMC (at least for now), that allows for upvotes as well as downvotes, which I applaud. It also categorizes, as well as offers a view by 'rating' and 'download' option. While the latter are easily outclassed by PMC's various viewing rubrics, the system of categorization by theme (i.e., games, movies etc.) it uses also highlights the weaknesses of our tagging-only system, which I have always felt was inadequate.

The downsides to MC Skin Share are that the design and upload seem a bit antiquated and Web 1.0; the side bars seem very cluttered and busy, and the upload form is minimalist to a fault. It is also a no-reg site. As well, though this is partly my fault, it appears large descriptions can break the site's formatting, as my uploads wreaked havoc on the appearance of pages they appear on. Were it not for the last shortcoming, I would have given them a 4, but sadly this downgraded them to a 3 out of 5.

Dishonorable Mention

Two of the websites I checked out were simply broken and unusable.

Best Minecraft Skins seemed to choke on my first registration. I put in a successful second registration, but upon trying to log in the system did not recognize my password, and these problems are the hallmark of either lazy coding or shenanigans.

Minecraft-Blueprint was also a bit of a mess. I could not figure out where I was able to add a skin or if I could do anything besides tweak the color of a Steve? skin. It flashed "his website make use of WebGL. Please upgrade your navigator" in both Opera and Chrome; the former I can understand because most devs don't seem to give a flip about Opera, but not having proper support for Chrome borders on laughable incompetence. The site also requires a Facebook login, apparently, to contribute content, which is an automatic failure in my gradebook. Another note declares "Please note that this is currently a work in progress !" but that doesn't give carte blanche for lazy coding.

Conclusion

So what does this mean for Planet Minecraft? There are plenty of lessons for us.

1) Allow for more powerful categorization in addition to tagging. This will help split up the skins section (which has grown to nearly 100,000, or half the size of the Skindex) considerably, and aid casual browsing of skins.

2) Do more along the lines of having staff handpick featured skins. The fact is, the popularity scroller by itselfis a flawed system. It's the single most effective point of advertising, and it makes a climate where only the most well-known skinners have a chance to hop on in the first place, and are the only ones who stand to benefit from it as it makes them even more well-known. In other words, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Having picked featured skins would allow authors who work hard but don't have a train of followers behind them to have a fighting chance. Obviously, this won't be a replacement for the scroller, but having it in addition would make things much more fair.

3) Offer more options for skin previewing. While the walking animation viewer we have now gets the job done, it's not exactly the cleanest or most feature rich design we can have. One that allows for different poses, actions, backgrounds, and view angles would put PMC miles ahead of anyone else in the game.

4) Allow for multiple skin uploads/displays per submission. What all the skin sites, including PMC, seem to do is offer a bland one-submission / one-skin formula. This is dumbly restrictive format especially when other areas of the site already have the capability to do more. Imagine if, when making a skin page, you had the option to upload one skin, but then add another skin, in much the same fashion you can add multiple pictures to a project page. Then imagine that the page UI would display each skin preview as a button that, when clicked, would bring that skin up in the Java preview window, and toggle that particular skin for downloading.

This would allow people to consolidate their skins into packs and do some self-categorization. It would also encourage people to do continuing work on a single skin page, while rewarding people who revisit said page as they add more skins, in much the same way that texture pack makers are able to continually update their pages. This would also help reduce the overhwhelming number of submissions we're currently experiencing without implementing draconian quality measures.

Here is what it doesn't mean for us:

1) Get rid of downvoting. PMC is unique in offering the ability to vote up or vote down; only MC Skin Share does the same thing. While downvoting can be abused, so can upvoting, and getting rid of it is frankly a form of censorship. YouTube seems to do just fine offering the option to like and dislike; why can't we?

Some aspects of downvoting do need to be reviewed, that is certain, particularly its highly poisonous effect on popularity metrics. But a system that has a flaw is not necessarily a flawed system.

2) Clean up / simplify the site's design. While there is a certain appeal to having a "clean" UI, I think that PMC strikes a perfect balance between clutter and cleanliness, offering a happy medium which is both professional-looking and powerful for the user.

3) Add a skin maker / flashy gimmick. These tools strike me as repetitive wastes of time and manpower, especially when they only duplicate the functions of perfectly workable offline applications.




Disclaimer

I realize that in the course of trialing and writing this review I will have missed something, not known about some great thing this site does or some awful thing another site does. I am not claiming to be the objective Lord High God whose judgement are final and terrible. I am just a dude, who makes skins, who wanted to compare and contrast the various services available to him and what we can learn from their strengths and weaknesses. I rate because people inevitably want the TL; DR summary no matter how good the analysis is. If you're a fan or one of the people who run the sites reviewed, I ask you to not get in a big huff about me slandering its good name. I take special pains to be insightful, critical, but fair for these things. A bad review should not be taken as a personal attack, but carefully considered. If you felt you have been treated unfairly, do one of two things:

1) Dismiss me gracefully, without flagging the post, downvoting just because of it, or engaging in a flame war/troll in the discussion.
2) Take my criticism to heart, improve your site, and then write me and ask for another review. I'll be happy to oblige you, especially if you try to implement some of my suggestions.

It might seem presumptuous for me to request this when I'm a relative unknown, but then, I like to self-CYA.Update: As I predicted, we cruised to 100,000 and then past it, now up to 102,000 and counting.

That's a hundred thousand skins by a hundred thousand users that will get a handful of views, while a handful of skins by a handful of users get hundreds of thousands of views.

Getting rid of downvoting will never, ever change that. Discussing real solutions, like I propose at the end of this blog, might.





During the recent vigorous discussions on Upvoting and Downvoting started by Cyprezz, I got into a lengthy debate with Halucid about the merits of the downvote on a site like Planet Minecraft. While neither of us walked away changing the other's mind, we both did agree on one thing: how PMC handles skins (and to a lesser extent, projects) is simply not working anymore. Halucid was frustrated because his popularity is making him a target of trolls who strive to knock his work out of the popularity scroller; I am frustrated because the sheer size and design of our skins section has virtually condemned my skins to obscurity.

I decided that I would do a tour of other Minecraft skinning hubs across the internet, both to see how they do things, judge their merits relative to our august website, and perhaps somewhat selfishly increase the exposure of my skins as well as self-CYA in regards to skin theft by blasting them into all the public galleries I could find.

The Adventure

halloween-skinsjpg

Rating: diamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My first stop was of course Skindex, which should be familiar to just about anyone who has ever changed a skin. I've been familiar with it since starting playing Minecraft in January, and its only advantage to me is its size. The glaring white background (though this is now plastered with ads) and spartan aesthetics are not so much Googlesque as they are lazy, as is the approach and design of their uploading. One can only enter a tweet's worth of information on a skin, and you also have to do it backwards; the Skin Name and Description fields are displayed reversed on the uploaded skin, which led to me borking my upload of Amelyssan. There is also no way to tell, before uploading, if you picked the right file or not. The only reason this site is large as it is and well-known as it is has to be because it was the first. A dismal one star out of five.

minershoespng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My next stop was Miners Need Cool Shoes, which was the subject of some negative press lately. The site design is trim, clean, and well-formatted, as well as aesthetically pixelly and minecrafty, which is always a good thing. Like PMC, it also requires registration to upload content, and allows you to control the content afterwards, which is a big plus for me, and easily puts it nearest to PMC. The preview-mode when uploading and viewing skins is also seamlessly integrated and very well polished.

Its Armory, which is a system that randomly mixes together "parts" people have uploaded of skins, is a novel idea but ultimately I wasn't too impressed. It also has the negative side effect of abetting skin theft by allowing for easy alteration of a stolen skin by adding bits to it and claiming it as unique work.

The downsides are that it has no native upvote or downvote system; only links to share skins on Twitter, Facebook etc., which PMC already has in spades. The online skin editor was also unimpressive to me, as the community has already created tools that accomplish the same functionality and more on its own. Having a color picker is not anything new or particularly helpful, in comparison to a lighten/darken function like is built into Paint Shop Pro and other professional image software. Finally, the site appears to be unmoderated, as a number of explicit skins showed up in the "Most Discussed" section a couple days in a row. While obviously it's no skin off my nose, the fact is that websites that allow explicit content have a responsibility to a) police it or b) warn the user about it before they see it, especially on a site that is otherwise so functionally and aesthetically minor-friendly. Overall I give MinerShoes a 3 out of 5 (though it definitely would have rated a 4 if the downsides weren't so glaring).

EDIT: I just now realized that Miner Shoes has the "love" system of rating, but this option is not available on the skin's actual page, just the preview. So while it is not bereft of a native rating system, that system still stands to be improved somewhat.

mcskinsinfopng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

My next sites I found out about through Minecraftwiki's Skins entry. MinecraftSkins.info is a skin index which seems purpose built to address some of the shortcomings of the Skindex. Its design is polished and attractive, and Iespecially liked how it categorized skins - Movies, Games, TV, etc. Its upload form allows for a full description, and while it doesn't have the rich formatting which PMC does, the fact that it allows for blurbs bigger than a tweet is a nice touch.

That said, it still doesn't address all of Skindex's weaknesses. It is another non-regging site. The upload form has a checkbox which you can use if you are the skin's creator, but how this enforces any accountability in reality I do not know.

The last off note is both a strength and a weakness. MinecraftSkins.info's moderators clear every skin that gets uploaded to the site before they appear. While this does allow for the sophisticated categorization the site uses, and also insures a reasonably high level of quality, I am skeptical such a model is sustainable in the long run. As well, I found the message that you received on upload that "your skin will be added if it is judged worthy" or something to that effect rather pompous, especially considering that some of their entries would be raked over the coals on PMC. Overall I rate them 3 out of 5.

skincachepng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpng

Next I checked out SkinCache. While their assertion that they are the "#1 Minecraft Skin Source" is very cheeky, the fact is that they do offer a solid, high-quality service. The site is cleanly and simply designed, and displays skins in a manner akin to PMC's but even cleaner. It is a registration-required site, and allows for sophisticated account control and embedding options on par with PMC. It also features its own XP rewards system. The upload process is also very well-done, going beyond PMC by allowing for multiple skin uploads at once (though these skins are displayed individually). If it were me, though, I would have put the Description field before the Tag field, though this is a minor issue. Display of skins is well-done, and I especially like that the site *features* skins. This is a happy medium between skin-dumps like Skindex, blind and bitter popularity contests like we have here, and draconian control measures like MinecraftSkins.info has.

The only downside is the site's seemingly small user base. In the time since I uploaded and til now writing this blog, nobody has uploaded a new skin. That said, this is a defect that SkinCache does not deserve and, as word spreads, will be remedied. I give them a perfect 5 out of 5.

mcskinnerpng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

Minecraft Skinner came next. Its design seems to largely mirror Skindex's while only remedying one of its shortcomings (the flipped description/name) while offering even less features. It may look nicer and not feature garish ads overall, but it's a rather low-effort entry in a highly competitive field. It would merit more than a 2 out of 5 if it had something novel to offer.

mcskinsharepng

Rating: diamondpngdiamondpngdiamondpngnodiamondpngnodiamondpng

I tried Minecraft Skin Share next. Their design, while a little Skindexish, is still unique, and an example of what MC Skinner could have done better. It is the only other site, save for PMC (at least for now), that allows for upvotes as well as downvotes, which I applaud. It also categorizes, as well as offers a view by 'rating' and 'download' option. While the latter are easily outclassed by PMC's various viewing rubrics, the system of categorization by theme (i.e., games, movies etc.) it uses also highlights the weaknesses of our tagging-only system, which I have always felt was inadequate.

The downsides to MC Skin Share are that the design and upload seem a bit antiquated and Web 1.0; the side bars seem very cluttered and busy, and the upload form is minimalist to a fault. It is also a no-reg site. As well, though this is partly my fault, it appears large descriptions can break the site's formatting, as my uploads wreaked havoc on the appearance of pages they appear on. Were it not for the last shortcoming, I would have given them a 4, but sadly this downgraded them to a 3 out of 5.

Dishonorable Mention

Two of the websites I checked out were simply broken and unusable.

Best Minecraft Skins seemed to choke on my first registration. I put in a successful second registration, but upon trying to log in the system did not recognize my password, and these problems are the hallmark of either lazy coding or shenanigans.

Minecraft-Blueprint was also a bit of a mess. I could not figure out where I was able to add a skin or if I could do anything besides tweak the color of a Steve? skin. It flashed "his website make use of WebGL. Please upgrade your navigator" in both Opera and Chrome; the former I can understand because most devs don't seem to give a flip about Opera, but not having proper support for Chrome borders on laughable incompetence. The site also requires a Facebook login, apparently, to contribute content, which is an automatic failure in my gradebook. Another note declares "Please note that this is currently a work in progress !" but that doesn't give carte blanche for lazy coding.

Conclusion

So what does this mean for Planet Minecraft? There are plenty of lessons for us.

1) Allow for more powerful categorization in addition to tagging. This will help split up the skins section (which has grown to nearly 100,000, or half the size of the Skindex) considerably, and aid casual browsing of skins.

2) Do more along the lines of having staff handpick featured skins. The fact is, the popularity scroller by itselfis a flawed system. It's the single most effective point of advertising, and it makes a climate where only the most well-known skinners have a chance to hop on in the first place, and are the only ones who stand to benefit from it as it makes them even more well-known. In other words, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Having picked featured skins would allow authors who work hard but don't have a train of followers behind them to have a fighting chance. Obviously, this won't be a replacement for the scroller, but having it in addition would make things much more fair.

3) Offer more options for skin previewing. While the walking animation viewer we have now gets the job done, it's not exactly the cleanest or most feature rich design we can have. One that allows for different poses, actions, backgrounds, and view angles would put PMC miles ahead of anyone else in the game.

4) Allow for multiple skin uploads/displays per submission. What all the skin sites, including PMC, seem to do is offer a bland one-submission / one-skin formula. This is dumbly restrictive format especially when other areas of the site already have the capability to do more. Imagine if, when making a skin page, you had the option to upload one skin, but then add another skin, in much the same fashion you can add multiple pictures to a project page. Then imagine that the page UI would display each skin preview as a button that, when clicked, would bring that skin up in the Java preview window, and toggle that particular skin for downloading.

This would allow people to consolidate their skins into packs and do some self-categorization. It would also encourage people to do continuing work on a single skin page, while rewarding people who revisit said page as they add more skins, in much the same way that texture pack makers are able to continually update their pages. This would also help reduce the overhwhelming number of submissions we're currently experiencing without implementing draconian quality measures.

Here is what it doesn't mean for us:

1) Get rid of downvoting. PMC is unique in offering the ability to vote up or vote down; only MC Skin Share does the same thing. While downvoting can be abused, so can upvoting, and getting rid of it is frankly a form of censorship. YouTube seems to do just fine offering the option to like and dislike; why can't we?

Some aspects of downvoting do need to be reviewed, that is certain, particularly its highly poisonous effect on popularity metrics. But a system that has a flaw is not necessarily a flawed system.

2) Clean up / simplify the site's design. While there is a certain appeal to having a "clean" UI, I think that PMC strikes a perfect balance between clutter and cleanliness, offering a happy medium which is both professional-looking and powerful for the user.

3) Add a skin maker / flashy gimmick. These tools strike me as repetitive wastes of time and manpower, especially when they only duplicate the functions of perfectly workable offline applications.




Disclaimer

I realize that in the course of trialing and writing this review I will have missed something, not known about some great thing this site does or some awful thing another site does. I am not claiming to be the objective Lord High God whose judgement are final and terrible. I am just a dude, who makes skins, who wanted to compare and contrast the various services available to him and what we can learn from their strengths and weaknesses. I rate because people inevitably want the TL; DR summary no matter how good the analysis is. If you're a fan or one of the people who run the sites reviewed, I ask you to not get in a big huff about me slandering its good name. I take special pains to be insightful, critical, but fair for these things. A bad review should not be taken as a personal attack, but carefully considered. If you felt you have been treated unfairly, do one of two things:

1) Dismiss me gracefully, without flagging the post, downvoting just because of it, or engaging in a flame war/troll in the discussion.
2) Take my criticism to heart, improve your site, and then write me and ask for another review. I'll be happy to oblige you, especially if you try to implement some of my suggestions.

It might seem presumptuous for me to request this when I'm a relative unknown, but then, I like to self-CYA.
Tags

1 Update Logs

Update #1 : by Terzaerian 10/20/2011 9:53:33 pmOct 20th, 2011

As I predicted, we have passed 100,000 skins; blown past because it's over 102,00 now.

That's a hundred thousand skins by a hundred thousand users that will get a handful of views, while a handful of skins by a handful of users get hundreds of thousands of views.

Getting rid of downvoting will never, ever change that.

Create an account or sign in to comment.

the_soup
04/23/2012 11:39 pm
Level 72 : Legendary Button Pusher
the_soup's Avatar
Your description of SkinCache interested me very much, unfortunately upon actually going to their site a few minutes ago I discovered that one of their featured skins on the front page was a very recognizable Halucid skin uploaded by someone who was very much not Halucid. There doesn't appear to be any obvious way to 'flag' a stolen skin as well (at least for a guest). Perhaps the site's quality has gone down-hill since this review was written.
1
Terzaerian
04/24/2012 12:39 am
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Terzaerian's Avatar
That is highly unfortunate. They've also migrated over their userbase to another system, and I can't log in anymore either. I'll be dealing with this and other issues in my next edition of this blog, which I now finally have time to do with the 32x of my texture pack released.
1
plyr
01/11/2012 10:02 pm
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Pyro
plyr's Avatar
lmao i love the pic! but ya you do pose some good points though!

also as for the skin categorization...... really you are able to use the tags section as it.... but ya i can see where you're going with it. more default categorization and not just the tags
1
7grims
10/21/2011 7:59 am
Level 47 : Master Architect
7grims's Avatar
"While downvoting can be abused, so can upvoting," for me the abuse is submitting anything at all skins.

Careless, random, and poor quality works are posted everyday, that's the true abuse. People should downvote more, but sometimes that is confused with trolling.

Nice conclusions on the conclusion :)
1
Terzaerian
10/21/2011 4:40 pm
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Terzaerian's Avatar
Thanks!

While there are a lot of no-effort skins floating around, I wouldn't call them an abuse of the system. Some may be people who are doing it on purpose just to get the attention, others because they're sincerely new at this and just aren't as practiced. Regardless, their right to upload the skin is just as valid as all of our rights to downvote it and post criticisms of it. Restricting either of those seems to me to not be the way forward.

One of my suggestions as well for the short-term was to automatically require users to make an upvote for every downvote they make. This doesn't restrict your abilities so much as just force you to be more active, which is what the site's administrators would like anyway.
1
7grims
10/21/2011 6:03 pm
Level 47 : Master Architect
7grims's Avatar
Yes, it wouldn't be fair to restrict them, but something must be done to bright up the quality of this community, I remember the site of prezi, an presentation tool, they posted amazing videos on front page, that would get immediate message that quality, and refined work was evolved. Thus here, it's more like "it's a poor quality site, so my poopy works will pass also". And that sets the bar of this community really low.

That idea "an upvote for an downvote", is a no no... sorry, but your are assuming that 50% of stuff here is either good or bad, witch is way off. It's hard to find someone to upvote, when I do find, it's like a party, I even give them lots of comments.

I've talked last week to the main admin, and I pitched him the idea, of changing the front page from "latest" to "what's hot", provoking ppl to make decent work to be noticed, so ppl wouldn't get undeserved front-page privilege, so it would discourage unrefined stuff.

Sorry for the length of talk...
1
Terzaerian
10/21/2011 6:47 pm
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Terzaerian's Avatar
I sincerely doubt you or anyone could ever find enough time to look at 50% of the content and judge it bad, even if in reality 75% is bad. And even if 90% of the skins are bad, this is upvote-for-downvote; you could just as easily go through the projects page and upvote the good stuff (and there is a *lot* of good stuff) to dispense your criticism elsewhere.

I don't like the idea of replacing the latest with "what's hot." We already have a popularity scroller, and it only helps a small handful of users. The only recent exception to that rule that I've noticed is Blender's Blenderbot, the one happy case of an outlier breaking into the scroller. As well, the only material that tends to get popular is generally themed - robots, tropes, while superlative work that's targeted at a niche audience often gets ignored. That brief appearance on the skins front page is often the one chance anyone making a skin has of it getting any view whatsoever.

Popularity on its own is a heavily flawed metric, which is why I support having the staff of the site pick and feature their favorite work that isn't necessarily popular in addition to it. This will be much more fair overall, especially as we otherwise have such an active and engaged staff. This is already common practice from the Android Marketplace to the Nexus modding sites, and we need it here.
1
7grims
10/21/2011 9:21 pm
Level 47 : Master Architect
7grims's Avatar
Ok, you make a good case, unfortunately I'm more of an skin and texture guy, so for me it's easy to find hundred of bad stuff. Maybe if this idea is about proving that we are active members in here, it can easily be turn off after we reach a specific level. Like an extra feature we win with xp in this site.

The thing about the "whats hot" is to stop massive submissions, of unrefined material and copied or stolen works, because we can post anything, all the time, and ppl abuse this system to get downloads, views and xp, thus it's reinforcing the habit of "submit whatever! that you will get rewarded!". My stuff was never popular, but because I've updated and improved my works, I got rewarded, eventually the good stuff will rise.

Yah, that I like too, if the admins choose a few features it would make it so much better, I believe that if it's showned quality in a pedestal, ppl will understand that it's a requirement for this place. It's behavior 101, you are in a fancy place you play along, you are in a dump you spit on the floor xD
1
Krova
10/15/2011 11:39 pm
Level 43 : Master Pixel Painter
Krova's Avatar
That's a really great article, and I agree that SkinCache is a wonderfully polished site, and I hope it gets more traffic. I uploaded my creations there as well, and will be stopping in once in a while to see how it grows.

The idea to compile skins into "albums" if you will is fantastic. I definitely have some skins that are meant to complement each other, and having them link to each other or appear on the same page could help people choose which one they like best, or have them all get more traffic.

However, while an online skin creator isn't a necessity, I think it's an asset if it's done right. The one on SkinCache is the first I've seen that allows the user to draw directly onto the 3D model (though that might be my own fault for now browsing through more software). I do agree that unless it can keep up with the ease of using the offline programs, it shouldn't be bothered with.
1
Terzaerian
10/16/2011 2:47 am
Level 61 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Terzaerian's Avatar
Yeah, SkinCache really surprised me. If my ideas don't catch on at PMC I might float them over there and see what happens.

I'm trying to do the album thing with what resources I have, as you might have been able to tell, by putting the "album" name in brackets after the skin name.

As for the creator, I'm still dubious, though I guess this is a general thing for me as I don't like using the cloud to make things, only to store them. I tend to see attempts to move activity off your machine and into the cloud very dimly. :P
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