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Author Topic: Fanime Con 2014 Website  (Read 46295 times)

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ewu

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Fanime Con 2014 Website
« on: March 25, 2014, 12:11:47 AM »

Hello all,

Your friendly familiar Fanime forum mod here. I wanted to address all the frustrations you have all expressed in the website thread:
http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,19020.0.html

I first off want to apologize for our perceived silence on this issue. We do hear your concerns and see your posts, but do not really have answers for you other than those posted. I want to apologize for not keeping you updated on this issue. We should have posted periodic updates, but did not. We were under the impression that the website would be up in a matter of days, but issues have repeatedly popped up that delayed the launch. In fact, MPLe was intending to post a reply tonight, but his other duties were so overwhelming that he was unable to reply. As we speak, MPLe is checking on the progress of our web developers to resolve the issues that prevent us from launching.

Now to the meat of your concerns: Con is still happening. Guests are being booked, events planned, and the wheels of the convention are turning. As I stated, the website launch has been delayed due to technical issues, but we do have much content to post on there when it comes up. There has been lots of planning that has been happening despite the delay of the website launch. We look forward to bringing the website up so that you all can see the fruits of our hard work up till this point. We also look forward to expanding on what we post beyond what we post when the website launches, as we are working hard to bring more and more content to you.

In the mean time, please keep on checking the splash page, the forums, facebook and twitter for more updates. You will find that many things are up and running despite the webpage not being up. These have rolled out this year much in line with when they came up last year. Please keep an eye out for those things.

I will do my best to answer any questions you have.

Thanks,
Your friendly familiar Fanime forum mod,
Eric Wu
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Valcust

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 12:58:27 AM »

Not really a question, but thanks for being so straightforward, Eric. Really looking forward to the web launch :D
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 01:47:49 AM »

Here's a question: Has anyone determined the root of the problem? Is it that staff aren't getting started early enough? Is it that there are not enough staff? Is it that the departments aren't communicating with each other, causing delays?

There has to be some determinable cause that can be solved in order to avoid these unacceptable delays. And if it's not enough staff, let us know! I'm seriously considering joining the Web Team myself next year, but only if I know it'll make a difference.
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 01:53:28 AM »

Thank you for posting and giving us an update. I've already mentioned this in the other thread, but I think an important suggestion to reiterate is that if there isn't an answer to a question that attendee's are asking, you do not continue to ignore them. That is absolutely the best way to cause unnecessary anxiety. It also caused the frustration and anger that you saw in the thread, which in turn cemented many people's decision (including mine) to stop attending Fanime completely. Such a thing could have been avoided with simple communication. When there is no direct answer, you at least acknowledge a person's worries and let them know you have heard their concerns. Again, this lead people to believing that Fanime doesn't care about us, doesn't care that they don't care, and there was nothing we could do about it.

I'm going to be blunt, and say that despite "technical issues," being this late with the website is still absolutely unacceptable. I hope the problem is taken care of swiftly, and the launch is soon, but my plans for next year have already been decided by the lack of professionalism so far this year.



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Angelx624

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 05:50:42 AM »

Well, glad we finally got a response.

Good to know that just because the full site isn't up doesn't mean Fanime staff isn't planning and working on things. Though it would've been nice to have known all this earlier, instead of leaving us all panicking.

Hope all the technical stuff gets solved soon, and that the site will be appearing within a matter of days! Then again that's just my wishful thinking.
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 11:16:19 AM »

I could be completely wrong, but I think that some of the issues might be caused by coding the site from scratch. The web team does a fantastic job with the design of the website when it's up, but if I remember right...it's all done without some existing platform...(again, I could be misremembering it, but I usually like to admire the design and look through the code because I'm weird like that).

Other large conventions circumvent issues by using pre-existing publishing platforms to develop their site, so most of the busy work (and room for coding error) is removed from the process. Anime Expo uses Wordpress, for example. Maybe we could consider doing the same if we are not already doing so?
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ewu

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 11:18:23 AM »

So we were ready to launch at the end of February and found some compatibility issue. I am not totally certain what the issue was, but all the substance and design was and still is ready to launch. It was our belief that it was an easy fix. That it was not worth a post if it was only a few hours or a day delay. But as you can see, that is not the case. At the risk of repeating history, I have been informed that it should be coming up soon, but we have said that before. Feel free to ignore me. (unless it actually comes up "soon"....)

Thanks,
Eric
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ewu

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 11:19:43 AM »

Maybe we could consider doing the same if we are not already doing so?

We will consider that, however, those are substantially limited by the templates offered. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2014, 11:38:20 AM »

We will consider that, however, those are substantially limited by the templates offered. Thanks for the suggestion!

Yeah, they can be boring-looking (though they can also be modified to suit different needs). Maybe for next year, we could have a Wordpress theme up as the temporary page until the website gets completely designed, then swap it once the website's ready to be shown. That way, content can still be delivered without delay due to the coding of the website. It won't be as pretty, but it'll certainly keep the attendees happy.

Thanks for keeping us updated on the progress, ewu!
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SquishyK

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2014, 01:01:35 PM »

We will consider that, however, those are substantially limited by the templates offered. Thanks for the suggestion!

Yeah, they can be boring-looking (though they can also be modified to suit different needs). Maybe for next year, we could have a Wordpress theme up as the temporary page until the website gets completely designed, then swap it once the website's ready to be shown. That way, content can still be delivered without delay due to the coding of the website. It won't be as pretty, but it'll certainly keep the attendees happy.

Thanks for keeping us updated on the progress, ewu!

Well, Wordpress is one CMS but there is also Joomla and Drupal. I haven't worked with Wordpress but I have worked with both Joomla and Drupal and would personally recommend Drupal. I find it is easier to transition from traditional website themeing to Drupal's system of themeing. Although I haven't looked at Joomla in years so they may have changed things. Of course this is really all academic because it depends greatly on Fanime's current ability to support any of those systems. You wouldn't want to implement one system today and then have no-one who is qualified to maintain it tomorrow. There are many, many, many variables to consider. Not to mention I'm sure the web team is already well aware of these options and have good reason for supporting the website with whatever system they do use. Also, if I were to hazard a guess (and this is truly just taking a shot in the dark here) I would say that the "compatibility" issues mentioned are probably a result of optimizing for portable devices. Which considering today's technological posture would be a very prudent thing to do. Of course you have to take such things as a one time issue (even if it has nothing to do with portable devices). Perhaps technology will change in the future but once you get a system that works then ideally upkeep of that system will be minimal especially compared to the work involved in implementing an entirely new system. But like I said, many many variables.
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ewu

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2014, 01:21:49 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions! I will let the webteam know, but as pitin pointed out, they are professionals in that field IRL, so they probably know about it.

And of course, we are always looking for staff:) so please apply if your IRL job or IRLL has some practical aspect you think we can find helpful!
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2014, 02:10:04 PM »

I wouldn't mind so much about the webteam making sure the website had a unique theme-based design every year if all the important info wasn't made available through the forums with BBCode or on Facebook anyways.

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2014, 02:18:09 PM »

Hi Ewu,
I just want to start out by saying that I appreciate you communicating with us but I'm still frustrated. Any frustration vented from this point forward is not pointed at YOU, just so you know.
What's annoying to me here is that they've sent Ewu to talk to us and not the folks who are actually responsible for the website building. I'm hearing that the site was supposed to be ready in February, some kind of error happened, and now we're almost in APRIL and don't have a site yet? That's unacceptable, I'm sorry. And once the web development team realized that more than a week had elapsed with a fix in sight for the site (heh) they should've contacted us directly in the form of a message on FB, the forum, or some other method. They sure as hell shouldn't have been saying the site would be here "really soon" if they didn't actually have it 100% completed and ready to go, because look at us now.
While I appreciate having SOMEONE talk to us, the fact that not a single member of the web team (better yet, the head) can't take 2 minutes to type out a brief message of explanation and apology to us is infuriating. 2. Minutes. Instead you send out someone that we can't really get angry at, because he's not part of the problem, and can only offer second-hand explanations that he gets from you people.
I agree with those who have offered expertise in web development; if the team needs help, they need to advertise that early on so these people can offer help. And I'm also in agreement with Kuudere; the neato layouts on Fanime's site are pretty and all, but if using a template would speed up the process and fix any "compatibility errors", it should be done. I don't care if it's a blank white page with nothing but information on it! I want content and information, not a schmancy design that will be getting pulled in less than 2 months now anyway! It's ridiculous!
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2014, 03:37:48 PM »

Though an actual reply from a staff member is better then nothing, pretty much nothing is explained. The incredible delay was caused by "technical issues" and ewu is "not totally certain what the issue was". After this much time with a splash page, I find it hard to believe that we cant find someone who knows what actual issues were to let us know whats going on.

I doubt that fanime staff spent all this time doing nothing since that would be retarded. What worries me is that they spent all this time trying to get things working and this is what we are left with! I dont mean just the website, but all aspects of Fanime. The website is easy to point to as evidence of major problems since we can all see it.

Im much more worried about other aspects of Fanime such as badge pickup, the cosplay spectacular (failure), guests, etc. Seeing how 2014 is coming along, I have no reason to believe that Fanime will have these issues fixed. I have been given no assurances that they will be short of non-informational one line messages like "the website will be up soon".

I dont blame ewu for anything as he has the short end of the stick of having to address our concerns with no actual way of addressing our concerns. The problem is that is another thing that we can point to as evidence of MAJOR issues with Fanime.
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2014, 06:28:05 PM »

(not your fault, ewu...I know you're just the messenger)

I hate to say it, but this is all "too little, too late" for my taste.  I've seen hot mess conventions in FL (my previous home state) run more smoothly (at least they announced their guests well in advance and had useful websites) and be better organized.

After last year's fiascos I lost faith in reg and anything to do with the masq.....and this year has pretty much cemented my loss of faith in the rest of the con.  Convincing me otherwise at this point is going to be exceedingly difficult.  If I hadn't already bought a badge, I'd be canceling my hotel room and saving the money for Dragoncon (hell, I'm actually considering eating the $55 reg fee and doing this anyways).  At this point, I'm only attending for the AA and cosplay meetups I have planned to attend.

After this year, you have lost my business.  You might even lose it this year.  We'll see how the next few weeks go.  Sorry to be a bit harsh, but please get your sh*t together and give us some info about SOMETHING.
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2014, 06:40:50 PM »

Please forgive me, Ewu, if it sounds like I'm being harsh to you.  You're a nice person in RL, and I don't blame you for the Fanime debacle and feel bad that you're being sent in like this.

Guests are being booked, events planned...

It is less than two months before the start of the con.  These things should have been largely taken care of.  Yes, I realize that guests have lives and that RL stuff pops up, but the guests and events should have been largely taken care of.  Attendees, especially those with a booth in the AA, need to make travel arrangements.  Making them wait until less than 2 months prior to the con to book flights means that they'll be stuck paying a premium, if they're fortunate to find any flights left at all.

Ok, we get it, Fanime hired the con equivalent of the Obamacare website developers, and the shell of a website was what was created.  Great.  My problem is - You have a Facebook page.  And Twitter.  Why could Fanime not announce a confirmed guest on either platform? Yeah, it would have been nice to have updated both on social media and your website at the same time, but some update on some official site would have been a lot better than what was done.
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Angelx624

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2014, 07:28:32 PM »

I agree. I believe I've seen other convention Facebook pages post guest announcements and whatnot, so why can't Fanime do the same? If you guys have ANY information that you'll be posting on the site once it's up, why not share it on the Facebook page? Unless you can't share it with us until the site's up, though I don't see why not...
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2014, 08:16:56 PM »

The postings above me all beat me to the punch.  They perfectly said what I wanted to say.  I'm only sorry that a lot of heat is aimed at you, ewu.  You seem a decent enough fella who's just been thrown into this.

This is my second year attending Fanime.  I wanted to give you guys the benefit of the doubt after last year, figuring every con has a bad year and all that jazz.  However, seeing some echoes of last year is really making me skittish.  Y'all have Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.  Why have they not been utilized to their fullest?  Why all the secrecy?  You're just ticking off your supporters and those of us willing to give you a chance.  Is that really any way to run a con?

No more excuses, no more of this rubbish.  I said it in the prior thread, and I'll repeat it.  Step.  Up.  Your.  Game.  This mamby-pamby 'We've been having problems' announcement 2 months before con is ridiculous.  It's triply ridiculous that no one on the web team had the guts to say it.
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ewu

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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2014, 08:55:41 PM »

Above posters: thank you for your comments. We understand your frustrations. I'm not too sure what I can do to appease you, but we hear you.

Before this thread becomes an venue exclusively used for venting frustrations, please let me know what questions you have that I can realistically answer and information that I can reasonably get for you.

From what I can put together from the posts, you are looking for more information through other means of dissemination. I will pass that point on. Unfortunately, they are not optimized for our current model, but we will look into posting them there.

Thanks again!
Eric
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Re: Fanime Con 2014 Website
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 09:26:11 PM »

From what I can put together from the posts, you are looking for more information through other means of dissemination. I will pass that point on. Unfortunately, they are not optimized for our current model, but we will look into posting them there.

Thanks Eric....at this point I think people would just like to know who the guests are and that events are actually happening, even if that means disseminating info via FB/Twitter/forums until the website goes live.  Anything is better than the info void we've been stuck in.
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