5712 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

October, 2016 writeups.org donations drive


Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

State of the Worg and call for donations

(There are three writeups.org donation drives a year – February, June, October.)

With my nose to the grindstone every day, it often feels that progress on Worg is glacial. But given the resources at hand, it’s sailing onward fairly well.

Thus, dear people who are undoubtedly about to donate great riches from far-off lands, here’s what’s been up since the last donations drive four months ago.

Server

The 2016 version of the site seems about stable and is getting high ratings on the web site optimization benchmark sites.

Well, actually it was already stable back during the late Summer. But during parts of September we ran into load issues that seem tied to Jetpack security scans. Those seem OK for now… but I’ve believed that the issue had been licked once before.

We probably will have to move the server back to Europe for 2017 (currently it’s in Baltimore) then move back to the US when feasible. I don’t think the impact will be observable in most conditions, though.

2016-2018 sweep, part 1

That’s the big project/workload eating up much of the resources and time, and there’s about two more years of it. This sweep makes sure that all entries have improvements such as:

  • Context section
  • Cleft sentences and paragraphs and sections to ensure that none are overlong
  • Internal and external hyperlinks, glossary links
  • Video sequence if applicable
  • Various semantic/SEO aspects to be more referenceable
  • Typos fixes, clarifications, layout improvements, hand-placed adverts, etc.

More than a thousand entries (so, about a fifth of the site) have been processed so far, with a systematic focus on the ones attracting the largest readership.

It makes the site more approachable and easier to read. That’s part of our general work to be more welcoming to the broader public.

2016-2018 sweep, part 2

A side effect of these improvements is an increased number of video-game-based entries. It’s not a change of direction for the site. It just reflects the video game breaks I take to stay sane despite the interminable grind these improvements represent. And the interminable grinds in previous years.

We’re also continuing to redo profiles that didn’t age well, especially for popular characters. Recent-ish examples have been very early Iron Man and very early Spider-Woman. However, each of these is a major endeavour with lots of research. They also come with an armada of ancillary writeups (such as villains and supporting cast). So it moves slowly.

And lastly the FAQ is being recreated as more modern articles, bit by bit.

2017 roadmap

For now the goal is to keep these improvements rolling, and to keep the current 15+ new/revised entries per month pace. The combination of the two is quite sufficient to eat up the available resources.

Hopefully, but without any guarantee, it’ll be possible to cram in 2017 the rest of the planned search engine functionalities. Images in the results, fixing an elusive bug that makes specific search strings come up empty, adding auto-completion… these things.

Adding tags will also be a big improvement to the explorability of the site, but I don’t think those can pop up before 2018. We’ll be able to work on these when the 2016-2018 sweep is done or almost done, basically. And clickable affiliations might have to come first for technical reasons.

Manpower

Still horribly low with too few contributors having an ever-dwindling amount of free time to handle profiles, and the complexity of those continuing to rise.

So we still need more volunteers.

In the vague hope to facilitate this there’ll soon be a FAQ article about ways to contribute.

Writeups.org traffic

It has been strongly rising in recent weeks, but a longer window of observation is necessary.

I was expecting a dip during the Summer after the site was entirely reorganized (which impacts Google ranks), but that didn’t occur.

Warchest

It was spent on the 2016 version of writeups.org. Less than $300 remain (so, maybe a single day of contract work) since a planned expense wasn’t realised – the contractor vanished into the aether (and thus never got paid, obvs).

As donations refill the warchest over the years we’ll look into :

  • Adjustments to the “skin” of the site. I think the design is excellent, but some tweaks are doable. For instance the categories, subcategories and other attributes at the beginning of entries seem too easily ignorable. The site may also not display quite right on some atypical devices/resolutions.
  • Having an actual developer look at how the site is built, since the stark budget constraints mean that a lot of it run based on my thoroughly unqualified code and administration.

Donations

We now offer both Patreon and Paypal. So that’s big-brand, standard online payment solutions that support both one-off and recurring donations in a few clicks.

The donation pages also include a bit more material about donations themselves. You totally should check it out, aye.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.