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The Newgrounds Portal is completely broken

2013-05-20 00:48:12 by Gerkinman

Ill just get this out of the way, this is in no way a "i hate newgrounds" post or a complaint on the direction the site has been heading, but lately I have started to notice some really negative trends taking place on the site.

There are a lot of these issues, but this blog is mainly to do with how the portal currently works. As many as you have most likely noticed the portal is constantly under judgement which is leading to some huge issues. I have had some animations of mine take up to 48 hours to get out of judgement, which means that I am ineligible for a daily place. While getting a daily place used to be quite exciting and meant a bit of exposure, it is now the only means of getting people to even see your work. It used to be once your animation got out of judgement that people could see wether your work was in the blue or in the green in the portal and regardless of score you would get at least a couple of thousand hits. NOW with it taking so long to get through judgement, by the time its cleared most people tend to be lucky to have broken 500 hits and then the viewing stops as the work just disappears into the portal never to be seen again. I understand that this was what the latest and greatest pages were designed for but it doesn't seem like anybody is willing to venture further then the front page. I've been observing this trend not only on my own submissions but the submissions of others and the average number of views something tends to get once it gets out of judgement IF it doesn't get a daily place is lucky to break the 50 - 100 view mark. Of course those who already have an established fan base get their work through judgement in a matter of hours (an example would be Harry Patridge's latest cartoon which was submitted hours after my own and came through judgement almost a day before mine) but for those who dont have a large established fan base, or those who are trying to build a fan base it creates a handy cap that is almost impossible to be broken. And honestly, its frustrating and disheartening enough for me to stop recommending animators who are just starting out to post their content here.

At first I thought the issue stemmed from a lack of people visiting the site, but then I saw the numbers people like Spazkids animations brought in while on the front page and realised the REAL problem is the lack of incentive for people to go through to the portal and vote on new submissions.

I dont have any solutions for this problem, although I wish I did, and I know you people on the staff at Newgrounds are more aware of these issues then anyone. BUT by that same token, the fact this has gone on so long without being corrected makes me wonder what the point of this site is and who they want submitting things, because at the moment, its clear that the site isn't interested in catering to upcoming and new talent to the levels it needs to in order to keep new blood joining into the future.

Thoughts anyone?

Also I released a new cartoon last week, here it is if you didn't see it when it was released.


Comments

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LeafLockLeafLock

2013-05-20 01:06:48

I think the staff are already doing as much as they can to improve the situation without implementing some sort of portal mod system. They already lay out an incentive of $100 a month to a random voter (though i think this number could be increased to one a week), and if they automated the system, or had mods approve flash, it wouldn't be newgrounds anymore. I feel your pain though, and all I can say is just keep posting to promote awareness of the problem. Get people interested.

Gerkinman responds:

Most days only one submission ends up getting blammed, it almost really negates the need for the blaming system.


Twisted4000Twisted4000

2013-05-20 01:16:37

I feel your pain. I remember those days back when I got excited for getting a daily award, but now it's pretty much a necessity to getting any exposure at all, not a bonus things. But regardless of what's going down with this one website, keep moving forward is all I can really say.

(Updated ) Gerkinman responds:

Oh nothing is going to stop me creating content, its just finding a reason to keep posting my animations here thats becoming harder.


freakworld10freakworld10

2013-05-20 01:20:56

I think thats actually the purpose of the under submission folder on the front page (but i doesnt seem to work). I guess nowadays most people are too fed up by such sites as youtube that instantly give you videos you like on your front page, and Newgrounds is one of the last sites to have a more traditional portal (also more complicated to prevent spam). Oh well but (like LeafLock) I also want the site to stay the way it is. As long as you check out the new submissions page every few days (as a viewer) it isnt really a problem. But I agree with it being stupid for animators though. Now you can just hope that there are enough hardcore voters who watch every submission in the portal and (if it is good enough) makes the 1-5th place or something.

Wow thats a lot of text.

Gerkinman responds:

Yeah, the issue isnt with the idea of a portal itself, I still think the portal is a great idea. It just doesn't seem to be getting enough traffic into it to sustain it properly. They need to either lower the number of votes something needs by half or more and make it 100 submissions long as opposed to 50 before it will function anything like it used to.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-05-20 01:36:05

1) reduce the judgement limit to half, NG doesnt get spammed anymore, so we dont need long judgment times.
2) stretch that incoming table on the classic portal down. bring up the number of incomimg submissions to a 100
3) have a tab option in featured picks for games and movies to be swapable to incomimg.
4) get rid of Pbots top picks, stretch incoming to cover that new space, and highlight pbots picks a different color.
5) add more incentives for voters, besides that 100, like credits or specific medals, etc.

K im done. let me know when youve coded all that.

Gerkinman responds:

I will forward this to god so he can code it in.


TropicanaTropicana

2013-05-20 04:11:28

Sadly I cant quit my day job to create cartoons.

Gerkinman responds:

Amen to that brother.


AeronMusicAeronMusic

2013-05-20 04:56:32

I really agree with your post. Its clearly the same for the audioportal. But yeah, you have so many retards there voting 0 and there goes your work. I dont know whats wrong with people these days.... I hoped on a feature in the audioportal for some more song on the frontpage, like 10 random songs of the week or something. So more people will listen to your songs.
+1 for your post.

Gerkinman responds:

The site just seems to lack direction in general anymore, I dont know what the deal is.


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 06:45:47

I assumed the lack of voting on new cartoons was less people coming to the site aswel, but actually now I do wonder if it's down to the re-design.

That's super interesting. Makes ya wonder if the solution is to drive people toward unseen cartoons, or to revamp to a new system that suits the new direction of traffic... Is the way it worked before the RIGHT way, and is it still relevant?

I think I don't know enough about why people use this stuff to actually make a smart decision about it, but boy I sure hope someone out there does, and puts a serious design hat one.

Gerkinman responds:

Yeah I really wonder how much tracking has been built into the redesign so they can see where traffic is going exactly. Would be interesting to see.


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 07:06:19

Maybe there's just so much generated content on the internet now that people don't wanna dive into unranked movies any more. I mean what does everyone do on porn sites? fuckin straight to Top Rated; and no person on earth is checking out youtube videos by Most Recent. It's 2013 and I have a billion other things to do on the internet, so checkin out some guy's first game is a really niche hobby.

Maybe Newgrounds should accept that there isn't the same culture of people playing everything that comes in any more, and remove the "Unrated" label. So instead of having a Stage-1 to progress through, games and movies are just uploaded, and exist forever in a complete state.
You could argue that new, unseen content wouldn't get any exposure, but we're already there, right? At least removing the Under Judgement label would make it stop looking like it's broken.

I dunno, I'm just throwin an idea out there. It does seem to rub against one of the good things about Newrounds, which is that brand new ametuers can get seen and get reviews, but how useful is that feedback, and is that culture still here, and can Newgrounds survive focusing on that side of the site instead of focusing on delivering entertainment to content consumers?
It's fucking big questions, someone needs to take a straight week to just figure out Newgrounds.

Also on porn sites: the "Videos Being Watched" tab is a cool and useful feature, I'm just sayin.

Gerkinman responds:

You bring up some brilliant points, I really hope some of the staff read your comment and take some of these ideas on board. Really clever. Sorry I dont have anything smarter to say, I just think you hit the nail on the head as they say.


AsandirAsandir

2013-05-20 07:06:39

There are indeed not enough votes. I even started to recast my votes on flashes, the highest I counted was voting on something 5 times before it finally passed. Right now, decreasing the needed amount of votes could help to make the judgement process faster.
I saw your flash and I liked it - I can also understand that it becomes frustrating when stuff takes several days to pass and doesn't get many views - that flashes from almost a whole week compete for daily awards is a huge problem, since it puts down new animators with great stuff.
To be honest, there are so many broken things about the flash portal (icons don't work either, and that's the case since 2 months I think) and there doesn't seem to be a fix around the corner - and sometimes I fear that it would be too less, too late :/

(Updated ) Gerkinman responds:

Yeah, I kind of felt like Newgrounds was finally starting to pick up steam again after the redesign but then everything just sort of broke and stopped working. Incredibly frustrating.

Im glad you liked my flash, I try to keep them varied.


LabraxadoresLabraxadores

2013-05-20 07:42:07

A niche little idea I had was throwing in the front page a little selection of recent submissions which gets updated as they are submitted. There, it would all be a game of attractiveness and looks bringing people into viewing your movie. It definitely wouldn't solve the problem, but would help in mitigating it.

Also, grats on the super interesting post. It definitely made me think.

Now, about The Strongest Square, it was a good movie, but I'd say that the pacing was definitely too fast. Even throwing in some moments of stop motion or repeating a certain frame would work.

Gerkinman responds:

Thanks for the feedback. There is a feed for animation on the front page but its all the way down the bottom and you have have to do quite a bit of scrolling. Not entirely convenient or showing that the site cares much about the content.

Also thanks for the feedback on strongest square, it was supposed to be fast paced, I consider each of my shorts to be an experiment to learn from. I just uploaded another short to Newgrounds today, you can check it out here.
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/
view/618015


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 07:49:14

@Labraxadores There IS a feed of latest submission on the front page.

Gerkinman responds:

Just allllllllllllllll the way at the bottom where nobody will see it.


GerkinmanGerkinman

2013-05-20 08:00:45

Currently 44 movies under judgement and 21 games. Pretty obvious where the traffic is going.


VicariousEVicariousE

2013-05-20 08:11:17

Damn, the way you put it, the 'Classic" Portal, should BE the Front Page, maybe about halfway down?
After last years redesign, I couldn't believe the wasted space, especially along the bottom. Maybe if the movie/audio/game/art pods turned into bars, that would expand upon hovering (like the 7 top menu buttons, we could clear out the bottom half for classic portal type stuff... or even the classic portal itself!

A few of the old timers who are still here, say sidelining the Portal, which really did make NG, is killing this place. If anything (a simple fix): the new UJ pod on the left, should be right under the newspost :|

I'm very glad you wrote this post Mr. Gerkinman, I had no idea the problem was this severe.

Gerkinman responds:

Its been here since the redesign but its the fact that its getting worse instead of being fixed that caused me to write this blog post.


VicariousEVicariousE

2013-05-20 08:29:22

Having a constantly updated Favorites list (through Fanning people) doesn't help the UJ stuff either :|

Gerkinman responds:

I dont follow enough people for it to be a problem but I can definitely see how it would be.


LeafLockLeafLock

2013-05-20 09:22:41

Well a lot of that boils down to people only voting 5 and 0. Mostly 5. How do you fix this? No idea. Just strive to vote based on content. :\

Gerkinman responds:

Yeah, its a tough one. I see a lot of low scoring stuff that I find more entertaining than the high scoring stuff at times. Its all so open to taste.


TheMAMTheMAM

2013-05-20 09:34:04

I have noticed some pretty good animations getting only 700 views, which isn't really fair at all. However, I can't really be the one to talk. I'm basically a person of the inconsiderate audience your talking about. Few years ago, I'd look up submissions in the flash portal for some hidden gems and just Vote 5 on all of em (those were the days :P), but now ever since the redesign it doesn't really feel the same anymore. With the evolution of DeviantArt and Youtube, I find less reason to help this site out, and only seem to come here just to view a video or play a game I see on the front page. While perceiving the issue here, maybe the general audience does the same?

What really sucks though is people limiting their selves to people with NG history, such as Spazkid, RicePirate, HappyHarry, etc. For that, I'm an open person and do actually scout for artist with good talent and potential, but without their chance of exposure, it becomes quite the challenge. (Also, what the fuck? You've been here for how many years and only a few hundred views on your work? Seriously? Come on people!)

Bottom line is this site has become less of an art exposure site that it was intended to be and had become a place of recycling artists with history. Not that there is anything wrong with those artists, that is. We do enjoy their talent with what they do, but a little advertisement towards oncoming talent wouldn't do much harm. :/

Gerkinman responds:

That has always semi been the case I think. There are so many could do scenarios, its hard to know what would work and what wouldn't work.


S-KS-K

2013-05-20 09:48:50

Welcome to the mainstream internet I'm afraid and I guess the newgrounds portal systems haven't caught up yet to deal with it. To slightly misquote Yahtzee Croshaw "we're throwing messages in a bottle into an ocean already full of them"

(Updated ) Gerkinman responds:

I met him once, great guy.


TomFulpTomFulp

2013-05-20 09:49:12

I-smel sums up a big thing that has been on my mind - whether the judgment process really is relevant anymore. The system was originally important because we were the only site on the web that allowed people to instantly upload movies and games, and there was gonna be a ton of abuse and storage limitations that required the help of the community to filter it.

Nowadays though, you can upload anywhere. People who don't create content can also get a lot more personal satisfaction by sharing things they like socially, by liking on Facebook or posting something on their Tumblr. People aren't getting that much satisfaction from anonymously helping a random game or movie through the judgment process of a website that doesn't have nearly the eyeballs of sites like YouTube.

And do artists really enjoy having the users decide whether their content stays or goes? You can upload your movie to YouTube and you have a guaranteed home, it's there on your page and if it sucks that's on you. Why spend extra time uploading your movie to a less popular site, where some people you don't know might decide it isn't good enough to exist? Why is that even anyone else's call anymore in this day and age of unlimited storage?

And would moving the Classic Portal to the front page of NG solve this? Nope! Of our top 10 submissions yesterday, only 2 were actually items featured on the front page. Our problem isn't just where we need to promote stuff, it's the reality that the majority of NG fans aren't constantly checking up on NG nowadays, they are doing a million other things on the Internet.

And to get to another root of the problem - look at every single one of your front page posts from this past year. They are all about your YouTube videos. How about you make a front page post on YouTube and promote all your activity on Newgrounds? Oh wait, YouTube doesn't let you do that?

Where is the link to Newgrounds alongside the Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook links on your YouTube page? You chose not to link to NG but you did choose to use our front page to promote your YouTube videos and you aren't the only guy who does that, everyone is so excited about having Facebook / Twitter / YouTube followers but they never stop to think that MAYBE someday their NG followers could be more important than all that, and maybe they should send some people over to NG once in a while.

Gerkinman responds:

Hi Tom, always nice to see you take the time to post here, not because you run the site, but because in the end you are the one who knows what direction you want to take it.

I, like you agree with I-smel on this first point. The portal system was exactly what it needed to be when it was introduced, and it did exactly what it had to up until recently in my opinion. It was a relatively fair, if not flawed system, but it allowed a lot of great talent to be exposed and for quality work to be discovered even if it wasn't going to win a daily place.

What you say about how social media has affected the landscape is just as true. Once upon a time you decided what was on front page and thats where the views went. Now all it takes is one tweet of a youtube link from someone like Chris or Arin and that video is flooded with views. Then one of their friends retweets it and on it goes. Its also worth noting that thanks to the youtube app almost 50% of my youtube traffic is coming from mobile devices. Until Newgrounds becomes social media compliant in the same way its going to struggle to remotely compete.

Do artists really enjoy having users decide whether their content stays or go? No, I don't think they do, nor do I think there ever was a time when they did. Ironically, the sort of spam that was once blammed through the portal is now flourishing on youtube, I guess showing that content is key as opposed to quality, or maybe its just that tastes have changed.

Im also not suggesting moving the classic portal to the front page, I think its a silly idea. BUT the classic portal as it stands, with 44 animations in judgement and 21 games in judgement when it can only display 50 projects at once isn't a great solution either. I understand thats what the latest and greatest pages were for, and conceptually they were a great idea, but as you said, people are coming here every couple of days and just looking at the front page, rendering them rather useless.

As for my front page posts, your right, they do link to my youtube BUT thats not to say that if I could embed my Newgrounds video posts into my journal I wouldn't, in fact I would love to be able to embed my Newgrounds videos into my Newgrounds blog. I think it makes more sense to promote new content that way then it does for me to embed my youtube vids. BUT Newgrounds only allows me to embed a youtube/vimeo video OR paste in a link to my Newgrounds project, and if analytics have taught me anything its that people are too lazy to click links, so embedding videos from a site that allows it ends up becoming the smarter option. Im not interested in getting people to move from Newgrounds to Youtube to follow me, they can if they want but its not why I post the videos here. Its purely out of convenience. When you include the functionality to embed my Newgrounds content into my blog, you have my guarantee thats what ill do.

As for the last point, let me get this out of the way, I have been coming here for over 10 years now. Newgrounds has always felt like home to me. Even during the two years when I was hardly animating I was coming here on a daily basis. This is where I learnt to animate, this is where I made a large deal of the friends I have had over these years. You yourself frontpaged a number of my works over the years, and although I never gathered much of a fanbase out of that... I still appreciated you trying to put my work infront of people.

That said, im also on my way to 30 and I work as a professional animator and motion designer/film editor. Unlike a lot of animators who have found financial success making parodies and yelling into the mic, I have had to make myself come across as professional as possible over the last few years, which means keeping things relatively clean. I get to work a 40 hour week in an office and then come home to work another 40 hours on my own content that a handful of people will look at if im lucky. I have come to terms with this.

My youtube has some nasty content to be sure, and some unprofessional stuff at that, but most outlets view youtube pages as dumping ground, with Vimeo being my bread and butter for getting work. If I was to say I hadn't lost potential clients after saying I made stuff for Newgrounds id be lying. Newgrounds has a stigma as a home for little more then extreme violence and pornography, and while thats not the case anymore for the most part, that stigma from many years ago still hangs over the sites head. I spend a lot of time talking to people at festivals and in the industry of animation and gaming and the ones that do know of Newgrounds know of it as "that porn site" and unprofessional to the point of being a handicap. Do I think its true or accurate? Not at all, there is some great talent on this site in all areas, loads of great talent BUT thats not what my employers see. And when I do suggest Newgrounds to other animators (which I was doing for a while when the video player launched), wether they be 3d, stop motion or otherwise, they scoffed for the very same reason. If something like Newgrounds has the chance of stopping me getting a meal on my plate (fairly or otherwise), then I wont promote it.

I guess the final reason Youtube/Facebook/Twitter are so exciting is because it is so easy to interact with fans, friends or colleagues. I can stream myself animating on youtube and answer questions, I can talk directly into my audience in my vlogs and show them what I have coming up. I can answer questions instantly and at any time. Im not limited to waiting until my 7 day waiting period is up so I can make an update about something I released 5 days earlier. People have short attention spans and they want things now. I find it more exciting then annoying in a lot of ways because its a lot to keep track of, but we live in the age of social media and fan interaction which these other platforms allow but Newgrounds makes difficult. Im not saying its because you dont want to do these things or cant do these things, im sure theres a tonne of features you want to implement but cant because its a logistical nightmare.

Once again, im not saying any of this out of hate, if anything its concern and frustration. Newgrounds has made me who I am today, BUT the way things are currently are as depressing as they are frustrating. I see people hitting it big here and taking off never to post here again once they have a decent following elsewhere.

Im saying these things because im a content creator, I have been pouring my heart and soul into making things for this website for 10 years, I havent left when others have. Im saying these things because I have young kids coming to me asking for solutions to the fact nobody is seeing their work, which is fair enough when your young and starting out, but then Im looking at my own work and realising that I have the same problem and that makes me wonder, whats the incentive for posting here at all. The joy of animating for me and a lot of other people isn't success , high scores or a big fan base, its the simple pleasure of knowing people are seeing your work, and right now, thats not how it feels. Lastly im saying these things because I dont want to see this site and its legacy disappear in the future.


S-KS-K

2013-05-20 10:10:57

I think reputation counts for a lot more on the web then it used to, case in point the whole youtube thing Tom mentioned, or the way that for some reason so many people are ok with sharing intimate details about themselves on websites like facebook. Even though time and time again facebook proves it doesn't care about user privacy, yet for some reason people are ok with it still?

It's not right but there's an excessive amount of trust going on by users now as if these systems are flawless, beyond corruption or other mallicious intent.

also inbefore some kind of lawsuit happens about youtube having a monopoly over web video content

Gerkinman responds:

Every single key stroke you put into facebook gets sold to marketing companies. $$$


S-KS-K

2013-05-20 10:11:32

and I... have no idea why that just happened... sorry everybody D: delete plz

Gerkinman responds:

FIXD


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 10:41:12

The new split between "My facebook friends" and "a bunch of users" is actually a huge point that I didn't think about.
Deviantart basically doesn't have voting or ratings or anything, even though they do sort by popularity and let users write comments. The scary lack of discoverability might totally be negated by everyone already being a part of a dozen social circles anyway... So switching to the "submit and done" style might end up working out.

Obviously there's a million more things to think about before actually deciding on that, or making a move on it, so fuck.

Gerkinman responds:

There are so many ways things could go, and I think that if the redesign proves anything its that while you might intent for something to happen it could also go the complete opposite direction.


TomFulpTomFulp

2013-05-20 11:05:35

@I-smel - The fear of switching to a "submit and done" model is that it would majorly alienate the remaining people in the community who keep the judgment system working. And a lot of those guys also give submissions initial feedback that they may not have gotten. It's a shrinking population of people but they are awesome people who love the site and have kept it moving for the 13 years since the automated Portal launched. There could be plenty more roles to fill, though - we could still have a discovery engine that rewards early voting and reviews, it just can do it without being part of an official "live or die while waiting in the shadows" process.

Of course part of the intent of making under judgment content wait in the shadows is that too many peoples' opinions of NG have been shaped by viewing the "Latest Submissions" in previous layouts... They click on a bunch of shitty movies, and walk away with the opinion that NG is a site full of shitty movies. In an attempt to put a bigger spotlight on the better content, the potentially shitty new content has gotten further out of reach.

Watching shitty content can be fun though. There's stuff we talk about to make it a more social experience, although a lot of that comes in the form of streaming video feeds in chat situations, so you need to get those people to be able to watch a streaming feed but also vote and comment on the submissions indirectly because they are just hanging out in a chat room watching one long stream. All stuff we can potentially tackle with some of the social stuff we're building, but maybe it's all completely wrong.


PsychopathPsychopath

2013-05-20 11:28:07

The problem with the utterly excessive amount of submissions in the Flash Portal can easily be attributed to one thing and one thing only; the video player. Fuck that piece of garbage, it allows for the absolute minimum amount of effort on the authors part which leads to idiots uploading SONGS to the Flash Portal instead of the Audio Portal. Even Let's Plays are starting to get submitted.

Not only that but there's also the issue of HTML5 games being submitted, in an attempt to make the site more relevant all the staff ended up doing was creating a massive excess of different file formats. However, the HTML5 games aren't nearly as much of a problem as all the MP4 files people prefer over Flash because the mere act of copying and pasting the Newgrounds preloader is "too hard".

Seriously, count the number of movie submissions that don't use that video player as opposed to the one's that are SWF files. The problem isn't that this place isn't popular enough, it's that it's trying to copy Youtube and the people of that ilk are migrating over with the same expectations. It's being saturated by morons because it's catering to morons.

Even if killing the video player with a rusty knife wasn't enough to fully fix the issue, I'm willing to bet it would get rid of a large chunk of the problem as people would be forced to going back to learning how to use Flash and formatting FLV files before they uploaded their shit, something of which almost none of them will do.

Gerkinman responds:

I have to disagree with you, the video player is the one thing I love most about this site now. I no longer use flash exclusively, nor do a lot of other animators. Video allows us to create anything we want without having to worry about the limitations, and I cant see any reason why without a little moderation that could be anything but a good. I dont pay much attention to the games side so I have nothing to add on that front.


TomFulpTomFulp

2013-05-20 11:47:57

@Psychopath - less and less people have finished cartoons in SWF format nowadays and no one will ever be able to convince me that it's a mistake to allow animations to be submitted in video format. Too many great animators have requested it over the years and submissions such as Lucky Day Forever, Starbarians and The Reward wouldn't exist on NG without it.

Also I will counter-argue that the SWF format hurt NG over the past few years more than the video format. Have you ever noticed how big the "Watch it on YouTube!" button is on most SWF submissions nowadays? It's waaaay bigger than the PLAY button and usually bigger than any NG logos people include. When a casual visitor opens an SWF movie on NG, they are more likely to click the big YouTube button than the PLAY button because YouTube is what they know, it's obvious that is what you click to watch a movie on the web.

Gerkinman responds:

Thats a really interesting point about the watch it on youtube buttons found on the .swf submissions and something I really hadn't thought about.


AndyOfTheArcticDucksAndyOfTheArcticDucks

2013-05-20 11:50:20

Regardless of if the content on the front page submissions feed which is now the Classic Portal was shitty, it did really give everyone a lot more exposure, and I think it helped a lot of not so recognized artists become fairly big. The thing is more about having it at your fingertips and it being the first thing to greet you instantly like it was before. The redesign isn't shit, it's great but that one little thing I think should have stayed, the new users will become too casual otherwise and only check the frontpage and not look beyond that. "Classic Portal" is like saying "Old Portal", nobody will venture there. Also, maybe it's just me but "Social Experience" has become an absolutely horrifying buzzword to me equal to getting a lot of irrelevant noise about everyone you don't even like and also that everyone can see everything you do. I don't think that's what you mean, but when sites aim to implement "social experiences", it usually ends up in a troublesome direction. You're so naked on the internet nowadays and I'd prefer if NG would be a haven from all that.

Gerkinman responds:

A large majority of my fanbase back in the day came exclusively from my time sitting in the classic portal after passing judgement I think. That lack of long term exposure I believe is really hurting people.


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 12:06:45

Having all the new stuff rotate into a constantly live channel is probably what would most get me to watch it. Especially if there were a mute thumbnail on the front that was always on, like a live stream of "NOW PLAYING"- cos I totally did watch everything on NG Bytesize.
That could be a really interesting new concept.

The part I'm not totally excited about is where it's a chat room- cos I've used the existing chatroom and it's usually the same xXsmokedogg420Xx talkin about garbage with some anime guy for 2 hours. You'd have to think about other ways you could help make it a more social experience, like having everyone's votes be visible, and surfacing what's trending in the chat and highlighting when the author's in the room etc. You'd have to design a bunch of small ideas that'll whip up activity and conversation out of people.

One thing that might help is if it wasn't constantly on. I get that that's the whole idea- but you might get a more concentrated, active crowd if it was presented as a live show on weekends, and the rest of the week was a countdown. Cos then instead of having a bunch of sparse "Is anyone here" messages every day, you'd definately know when people are on. And having it be the same URL as the existing chat would mean there'd always be at least a dozen people there.
Having a limited time-slot is a better way to get everyone to meet in one place at once.

Anyway this idea COULD all be completely wrong, but I think doing it right could feel like something brand new. Then again I thought the giant slideshow-box up top was gonna be a hot new banger, so I might just be a giant idiot.


TomFulpTomFulp

2013-05-20 12:12:57

@Gerkinman - I was asking for it when I mentioned the YouTube videos in the blog post, it even crossed my mind as I was saying it. And we have been planning embeds for ages now and it's kinda crazy that we still haven't gotten them going. And that sucks about the professional liabilities associated with NG, I always have to wonder how much we've been stunted because of certain types of content that have been popular on the site over the years.

Artist news should probably show up in the Follow Feed on the front page. The reason it doesn't right now is a matter of prioritizing that space with content vs news - if someone clicks the full feed it includes news, but that is a smaller number than people who view the latest on the front page.

One longterm question will be whether the Artist News box should even exist on the front page if we extend the feed box and include news from artists you follow. Maybe the remaining space would be better served by exposing people to more content, if that leads to people discovering new artists and following them, vs seeing news headlines from people they might not care about. Or maybe some artists are actually being discovered by their news posts vs their content, hard to say on that one, now I feel like I'm rambling... But one thing that has come up is that the Incoming list could go higher up, which would push the Artist News further down, so it brings up the question of the priority of the Artist News space.

We could also have better publicized FOLLOW buttons on people. The multi-author system has always made that a big more tricky; on YouTube it's easy to attribute a submission to a single person and push all the follow promotion to them, but on NG we have a lot of stuff with a list of people you might want to follow and it becomes less focused as a result. We could still put a laser on the primary owner of the project, though.

Gerkinman responds:

Ha ha, oh Tom. Its something I think that needed to be addressed, and I had the feeling it was something that was in the works. I honestly thought it would be part of the launch of the player on the site, if not on external sites then at least some way of embedding them into front page posts. Obviously the main benefit is the fact this site will host content that other sites wont (which is also an issue as well as you mentioned). I think the site has done a great job of nurturing its own breed of animators with its openness with adult content, but I too often wonder how many shorts like The Reward have bypassed the site for the same reason.

I think, as far as the issue goes with content populating updates, I know I have heard complaints from other artists, especially ones that follow a lot of illustrators is that the feed can update too fast and its easy to miss things. This is of course just my opinion, but I think DeviantArts way of managing updates, that being a small counter when you log into the site that takes you to said updates on there own page (similar to Youtube subscriptions as well in a lot of ways) is the best solution, as far as uncluttering the front page goes at least. Visiting Newgrounds after a couple of days and seeing a little icon that tells you how many things you have missed from artists you follow isn't a bad idea, as is the idea of them not disappearing until you have either checked the content out or closed it manually.

I have got the feeling that a lot of the elements of the update of the site have been rather trial and error. Its not hard to see why because I cant think of any other site that trues to cater to the vast number of different interests that this site does so its hard to really reference anything existing. Its very much a try it and see how it goes approach, and in the end theres always a chance that some of these issues will have no solution.

I think your right about the follow button, multi authoring could make that harder with the current design of the pages when dealing with that content in a lot of ways, I think that particular element is something that will have to take some real thought.

Focus I think is Newgrounds biggest issue right now, its jack of all trades and the master of none, it leads to a splintered audience and makes it impossible to make everyone happy. Make the animation guys happy and the game creators will complain, make the games work and artists will complain. I really wish I had some decent solutions, but I dont. Its just a shame that the sheer variety of content on the site is both its greatest attribute AND its greatest weakness.


FightingSeraphFightingSeraph

2013-05-20 12:16:26

While I don't like how this site has been going in the past few years, I see where Tom is coming from. On the other hand, I'm not convinced of Mpeg's superiority and think that when artists become more free of restraints; they become hobbled rather than liberated.

Gerkinman responds:

I dont think the video is liberating in a negative sense, I think it opens the site to animations of any style or genre. I think the idea of a "flash movie" is long dead, its just one animation tool out of countless and to try to rely on it exclusively is never going to allow people to really create what they want.


AndyOfTheArcticDucksAndyOfTheArcticDucks

2013-05-20 12:41:15

If stuff that was shit and usually went in blammed or barely in orange, but was seen anyway, had a negative impact being on the front page, but the stuff that went in or just under blue or green had a good impact on the site, why not just draw a line somewhere at strong orange score and have a feed with everything above that in a visible spot on the front page?

Gerkinman responds:

I think there is something for that content sort of on the front page at the moment down the bottom.


SickDeathFiendSickDeathFiend

2013-05-20 13:29:00

Doom Project part 2 would solve all newgrounds problemoz ;D :D :O

Gerkinman responds:

Oh man, wouldn't that be something ha ha.


VidGameDudeVidGameDude

2013-05-20 15:04:01

yes---v


PsychopathPsychopath

2013-05-20 17:19:14

@ Tom Fulp

Those submissions could have existed if the file size for SWF files were bigger or if the authors knew how to use parent filing.

Also, several of those people who feature the Youtube buttons also tend to link to their Newgrounds accounts; example: http://www.youtube.com/user/PsychopathUltimate

I hate it when anyone tries to justify the player by cherry picking; only a handful of decent authors have used the video player so far, everyone else mostly abuses it by misplacing a song, uploading let's plays and hilariously enough, still photos of artwork without any musical accompaniment.

@ gerkinman

Tell me, what possible kind of restraints could an MP4 file possibly free you from as opposed to a SWF file? Can you program your own video player in an MP4 file? No. Can you add subtitles into an MP4 file? None that anyone else can see. Newgrounds has a bigger file size available for that file format than a SWF file? Well that's a fault of the website and not the format, also, parent filing.

Don't tell me you think there's no other way to submit live action videos to Newgrounds, Numa Numa, AlmightyHans and myself could readily prove you wrong.

Gerkinman responds:

Why would anyone who has spent months working on a short film want to spend more time programming their own video player? If people want to add subtitles they can do it easily during the creation process or in post through either after effects or premier, in fact those two programs have tools built into them specifically for making subtitles... As for what people are using it for, how is that any different to people embedding songs into a swf or making a slide show in a swf?

If you want to use badly compressed ugly low res videos embedded into flash files then thats your choice, but people like me who want to be able to see content in full HD on their ipad or on their television dont much care for the .swf. Hell adobe has stopped caring about the .swf format. Maybe its time you did as well.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-05-20 17:37:21

who's uploading letsplays?


I-smelI-smel

2013-05-20 18:08:27

Alright guys look- having the video format is a none-conversation cos it plays on iPads and it's better at streaming content than a big fat loading bar. It doesn't give a shit about framerate, it doesn't crash everything over 4 minutes on export, you can submit something made in basically any software you like, it scales much better and plays much more easily at fullscreen on a high resolution, blah blah blah.

Although it's hilarious that people are just now uploading their Lets Plays and image slideshows.

Gerkinman responds:

People have been submitting hentai slideshows to this website since 1999, its nothing to do with the video player.


VertVert

2013-05-20 18:35:52

@Tom: I couldn't agree more, it the new site format has left the whole blam/save system pretty broken, in the sense that the list is perpetually grey in the 'classic portal'. And, what's worst, it makes it a lot harder for really good content creators to be highlighted and shine through, which has always been a part of the appeal of NG.

Essentially, apart from a very hardcore like myself, no one cares about voting power any more, so the incentive to save and blam (particularly when so few movies are blammed), has been reduced to close to zero, with a subsequent accumulation.

So, and I'm just throwing out ideas here, why not create new incentives to have people discover great movies/games? Why not make it so that every day, people can bet on what they'll think will be the top 5 movies/games for that day and whoever picks the most right ones gets front page exposure? Or perhaps make it so that they get access to some type of reward? Or that they get recognized somehow? Or why not create a new group of mods who are dedicated towards this single task, again with some sort of reward scheme? Such as having <this movie/game> made by <this creator> found by <this user> appear on the front page? Or even have some small, monetary reward in place?

Of course, <I> still care about the points system and I judiciously deposit (almost) every single day and too drastic a departure, without some sort of compensation (after so many movies and games, I think I developed at least a modicum of a critics skill), would upset quite a few people like me, who you allude to your post. But if it's for the good of the site, I'd understand and accept it, albeit, and I'm being completely honest here, it might make me stop coming as frequently.

Gerkinman responds:

You have some interesting and fresh ideas. I like the cut of your jib good sir.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-05-20 18:53:08

@I-smel I'd to laugh too, can either one of you link me to one lets play on here?


NoLanLabsNoLanLabs

2013-05-20 20:29:56

When I started uploading games here back in mid-2011, the portal system still seemed to be working pretty well. Games would pass in maybe four or five hours, max. I remember a game i uploaded in early 2012, just after the redesign, taking like 9 hours to get through, which seemed really long at the time, and things have only gotten worse since then. I don't know how much of that is the redesign and how much is just changing trends in the Web, but it doesn't seem like the Web has changed that much in just 2 years.

That's about all I have to add. I really liked the green-blue system, because having a game turn green was always a thing to shoot for, but that might just not work anymore.

Gerkinman responds:

Green blue worked fantastically I found.


TurkeyOnAStickTurkeyOnAStick

2013-05-20 22:23:02

Since this is still on frontpage I may as well lump in my thought.

The community that view content are predictable.
Currently if you leave them on their own, the most popular stuff in the art portal is a) stuff on frontpage, b) stuff with a huge fanbase already, and c) shitty anime boobs. There is some other cracking stuff, but the vast majority of users aren't adventurous and won't explore the portals. That's a shame.

There needs to be more incentive for Mr/Miss Casual User to explore, and get them to notice the hidden gems. Such as an option to "Recommend for Frontpage" - people can still vote, but they can also vouch for whether a video or game should be showcased. If it gets picked for showcase, their opinion matters and they can level up something similar to a flagging whistle.

Gerkinman responds:

Thats the biggest problem now, not just here but on other sites. People want the content now and they dont want to have to look for it. The incentive is another issue. Aside from the handful of people who go through the portal voting on everything there is no real reason or benefit to the individuals doing thing voting anymore and thus little incentive.


LuisLuis

2013-05-21 00:08:29

read my comment to this on youtube by clicking here


LuisLuis

2013-05-21 00:11:37

On a SERIOUS note, the under judgement stuff is a weird BIG issue... its tough because internet mannerisms have changed over the years ( as they should, it is the internet after all) and the way people have come to interact with websites have changed. For the better or worse is up to interpretation of course, but they have.

Its a slippery slope though, cause part of the personality of NG is in the blam/save system, but maybe it needs tweaking, not a total overhaul, but a haul of some sort. That doesnt mean much for a guy who never got past the first tier of experience points leveling up i know but i cant be crazy in thinking that. What exactly should happen i dont know :(

Gerkinman responds:

The biggest issues with the blam and save system at the moment is that nothing seems to be getting blammed, I usually see maybe 1 project get blammed a day. I dont know if its because less content is being submitted or because quality is improving but either way it sort of renders that part of the websites functionality irrelevant.

Keeping Newgrounds personality is obviously an important thing to try to do, but I dont think it should take priority over keeping it functional not just for the people visiting the site but for the people submitting content to it.


mandogmandog

2013-05-21 01:58:44

Its down to the fact that movies aren't good anymore
I only use NG for the old movies, like souped up civic for example, without the old movies I don't know what I would do with my life.

(Updated ) Gerkinman responds:

Your the man now dog.


ExedorExedor

2013-05-21 02:01:48

@TomFulp and Gerkinman. Yes, the incentive to vote has been lost or compromised. B/P points have been compromised and the FUN has been lost.

Many people don't vote. I'll see 280-350 views on the UJ page, but it's still UJ, so that's less than 200 votes. Why?

-The FUN: What I used to love about NG when I first found it was the animations that played when a submission was either blammed or protected. It was an incentive to vote, cuz you may see the animation, which was fun. It made it feel like you actually did something. Without those, how people vote has changed. A higher % of people voting will get thing out of UJ faster.

-B/P points: I like the idea of being rewarded for voting correctly, but the quality of stuff that passes has really dropped. People vote just about everything thru for 2 reasons:
1. The want to get their Protection point, and they don't care if it's a good or bad submission.
2. They're new, and don't know what's supposed to be they vote everything thru to get their point as in #1 above. And:

With the spam groups voting their low quality content thru, it really has lowered the standard that NG used to hold dear. As seasoned users have left and new users have arrived, they get used to ho hum submissions and everthing gets thru. Just cuz it's a first flash doesn't mean it needs to get thru. What's the incentive to improve if everything you do gets thru? Blams have been 0 per day. Check a date in the Obituaries, and then check the same date 5 years ago. More blams then than submissions today.

I love my B/P rank, but I'd give it up if it'd help stop people from passing everything just to get B/P... /P points. Experience points could be the main rank around here.

It would also help to have the ability to flag more. We can flag reviews and submissions, but BBS posts and comments to news posts are often rude, but we can't flag them. GOOD artists have left with assholes hurling insults as they head out the door! Like:
rtil: http://rtil.newgrounds.com/news/post/557284#co mments
MikeandTreyVideo: http://mikeandtreyvideo.newgrounds.com/news/po st/801746#comments

Rude people have forced great artists away, and no one wins. Adult content scares people off too. How can I bring up NG at work with A's all over, y'know?

Hey Tom, can we get more characters in posts, titles, reviews, and such? Sux runnin out of room.

Gerkinman responds:

I for one actually really enjoy a lot of spam work, im not someone that thinks that quality can be judged by something like animation quality or story, i find things to be quality if they make me feel good which lots of goofy spam animations did.


jecjokerjecjoker

2013-05-21 04:09:01

Theres been quite a few award winners that get all negative votes yet still get top 5 when theres better..... Wonder what thats about

Gerkinman responds:

Maths :/


AndyOfTheArcticDucksAndyOfTheArcticDucks

2013-05-21 04:27:19

I think the bottom line is that internet people are the fattest fucks of all time, more now than ever, and won't go beyond what you stick in their face from the git go. If they see things they'll do things, but never look for it. The effects have to be visible and their goals and targets have to be out in the open.

Gerkinman responds:

Pretty well, people dont want to have to look for content, they will just sit and watch whatever is put in front of them.


amplefiedamplefied

2013-05-21 05:53:27

It is disheartening that even legit authors have to resort to cheap youtube grade tricks like having a borderline porn preview icon to gain views, even Spazkid.

To be honest, when you're pandering to lowest common denominators like children, you can't really expect a quality audience. A lot of the older users here act like they just finished prescool.

Gerkinman responds:

Spazkids work is becoming mostly just porn, when you censor it one could say the nudity is a joke, on the other hand uncensored it becomes pure gratuitous tittilation for little boys to jerk off over.


Mr-SharkMr-Shark

2013-05-21 10:57:34

suck a dick and try harder.

Gerkinman responds:

Thanks for the good advice <3


SinclairStrangeSinclairStrange

2013-05-21 12:35:39

I think some of the fault (and this relating to people like me) lies in being extremely busy outside the internet. When I was younger and had all the time in the world, I used to come to the portal and vote all the time, watch the crappy and good submission.

However now, having work, social life outside the internet and making video games, I've been too busy to watch and vote fairly on the submissions. I think some people are like me in respect and just don't have the time anymore. Not saying all the users are like this but I'm sure there is some.

I really should get more involved...It's a pretty awesome community, it has it's bad sides but what site doesn't. :)

Gerkinman responds:

I think the key to that statement is "when you were younger" because I feel the same way. What that makes me wonder is why arent younger people coming here anymore? I mean they get introduced to youtube at a young age through facebook or whatever else, how is anyone even supposed to know Newgrounds exists?


FATSHARKFATSHARK

2013-05-21 13:10:41

I don't recall seeing an option that allows you to instantly share a submission via a quick-link forum post.

Say you are in the games/art/movies sections and you click on something you want to watch, under the viewing window you can find social media outlet links to share the content, why isn't there one that auto links you to the NG forums related to the content (Art leads to Art Forum and so on) and it will also give you a default title to start you off?

Something like

Visit page (Let's say EXAMPLE ART PAGE)
click NG Share button
Links to the NG Forum's related section (Art section)
Auto creates a thread with title relating to the page you where on (Check out EXAMPLE ART PAGE or Discuss EXAMPLE ART PAGE) the title could be changed if needed.

This could spread the word about potentially unknown submissions a bit faster i people are concerned we are traversing into a 'Like-Facebook' era.

Gerkinman responds:

Sounds like a simple idea that could help a little, and thats whats important here, every little bit helps.


dylandylan

2013-05-21 13:41:57

As a quick point before the rest of my post, you mentioned spazkid's vid, but that's not the best indicator of traffic on the site. The YouTube version of his vid contained links to NG promising the uncensored version. After 2 million hits on YouTube, I'm sure a HUGE portion of the NG hits are simply people that followed the YouTube link. More traffic to NG is always great, it's just not a good measurement of active people on the site. I mean, Spaz only has like 5,000 followers here? not enough to make up the discrepancy between his work and the average 10-50k hits something else on the FP will get.

That's another thing: fans. The fan button is the only thing people have to show their support with, and they protect it with a passion. In the real world, a person votes with his or her dollar, and on the internet that dollar is the "fan" button.

On YouTube, if you don't subscribe immediately, you will probably never see content from that creator again; there's an incentive to be a subscriber. On NG, if the content is good, the artist will be on the FP again at some point, so there's no need to be hasty with your subscription. What ends up happening is that there are people who are regularly on the FP here (Pahgawk, emrox, hikarian, etc.) with under 1,000 fans.

I see the appeal of moving UJ to the FP, but I also see a lot of problems with it; like @TomFulp mentioned, shitty pieces on the FP can equate to new visitors not returning. Seems like there could be a happy medium, though. Maybe a system closer to what sites like reddit do; keep a section on the FP for works that have a good score after a certain number of votes. An amount not too high or too low that cycles through new content as it meets the criteria. That's why people love reddit; people voting on the new section get satisfaction from hugely influencing how a post will do, while people on the FP get to see nothing but good (constant) content.

There's also the whole karma thing, which let's commenters gain a form of points by commenting. If NG implemented something like that for reviewers, it could result in more activity on that front, but that might lead to people making comments that plead for points instead of leaving helpful critiques. Maybe a one section for comments and one for actual reviews?

I don't know what I'm talking about though, maybe that system just wouldn't be feasible on NG.

Gerkinman responds:

Spazkids work isn't the best indicator of work on the site by any means, BUT its the sort of thing that when other animators see it, particularly professional animators who could recommend the site to other pros, turns them right off from submitting here. (The same could be said of Zone). Its a chicken and an egg situation, does the site want to attract more creatives that could pull in more traffic OR does it want to pull in more traffic that could attract creatives back again.

The fan button could definitely use some work, its really small and took a while before I noticed it was there. It also doesn't notify you when someone has become a fan, which I dont like because I like to personally message everyone who subscribes to me, wether it be through youtube, twitter or deviant art.


MortalPoetMortalPoet

2013-05-21 15:51:57

I agree Gerkin. I haven't submitted content here in a couple years, and when I did just recently, I was surprised and rather bummed that my submission stayed under judgement for a few days. It didn't used to take that long. And it is discouraging to feel unnoticed when people with a larger fan base like you said seem to get privileged treatment. I used to like Newgrounds because it allowed lesser known artists to get recognized, but now it feels like they don't care.

I still love the site, and I think it's done amazing things for animators, musicians, and programmers and has a great sense of community. It's just too easy to get lost in all the submissions in the portal.

Gerkinman responds:

I think its important to recognise that the problem isn't with the staff of Newgrounds or the people here, its simply to do with the way content is coming through the portal without getting the amount of exposure that they once would have. I think the feeling of Newgrounds not caring comes more from the fact its been a problem for a while and is getting worse without any posts about fixes or for suggestions more than anything.

I also think Timmy's Tumour is one of the most under appreciated animations I've seen this year. Great little short. Dont let it stop you making content.