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myOtaku.com: Nikorasu

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Initial thoughts of Version Vibrant...
I'm still figuring Version Vibrant out, so I don't really have a layout for this place yet. My initial thoughts are that the new theOtaku doesn't seem conducive to just flat out blogging, even less so than myOtaku did.

The actual blogging feature of myOtaku was fairly simple. Here, not so much. It seems like there are a few more steps to actually post blog posts, such as actually making a world for me to post in. I see the use in not giving everyone a world to post in right off the bat, and not everyone used their myOtaku accounts and instead posted fan works, but I think the opposite can be said as well: people who didn't really contribute many fan works but posted in their myOtaku blogs. Given a choice, I would personally rather have the blogging feature, and I think that would be a good choice. If people don't want their portfilio active, if they never intend to really give a lot of fan works and are such leaving a whole lot of blank space on their portfolios, I think a feature to turn off sections of the portfilio that are at least not in use would be a good idea and to have world posts show up there as well.

I've also noticed that it's not easy finding people here. I don't even know how to find people aside from using http://www.theotaku.com/portfolio/*blank* and going back to myOtaku's backroom to get people's names to fill in the blank. I tried searching my username, Nikorasu, and nothing related to me came up. This tells me that the search feature needs some work.

The Worlds is an interesting feature. I do have a problem that you can't subscribe to separate worlds like you can with individuals. I would like to subscribe to timechaser's Watercooler world so I can get the updates from it, but it seems the only way to get all the updates from it is to subscribe to each individual poster's portfolio, adding in those people's posts in other worlds that I didn't want. It seems like a lot of unnecessary work. If there is a way to subscribe to just specific worlds, I'm not seeing it, which to me would seem to be a problem with the website not being very intuitive.

I also miss the bio area on the left side of the myOtaku page. You know, the one with name, birthday, contact info, interests, favorite anime, ect. Doing away with that would be find if there was some sort of profile page where you could put the same information. However, there isn't even that. I've yet to find where you are to input such information. Doing away with a useful tool to be acquainted with others is, I think, a bad idea. Either a central World page or a hypothetical profile page would be a good default page that people would first stop and learn more about you when they click on your name, then branching out to your other worlds and portfolio, but it seems the portfolio is this default page. It fails to provide that information though.

Navigation is another issue I find here. Navigation between myOtaku and all the sections of theOtaku had always been somewhat off before with myOtaku being so separate from the rest of the site. However, I would think that the integration of the whole thing would make it simple to, for example, go from your blog to post fan art. However, for some reason, there is a requirement to have two separate backrooms, the actual backroom for all of your worlds and subscriptions and the portfolio for the fan works. For some reason, when in your backroom, you have to actually leave your backroom to navigate your way to post a fan work. However, if you can publish essays or fictional works, arguably examples of fan works, from your backroom, why not all the other stuff?

I like the member subscription list in the backroom. I think it's a much better way of keeping track of who has updated recently, as opposed to the old way in myOtaku where you had to look at your entire list of friends for highlighted names and you were out of luck if the update was more than two days ago. The problem I find here is that there is that you can't look past the bumped off. An example of what I'm talking about would be LiveJournal's Friends' Entries page. Once you reach the end of the page, you can simply choose to look as the previous 25 entries, and you can continue to do so, allowing you to see all of your friends' posts in a chronological order. This is particularly useful for people who have been away for longer than the list has updates for, such as me during my vacation I just got back from. The current way here still forces you to have to look as individual profiles to see if they have updated, even more so because myOtaku at least still had the last updated dates next to them.

For a while now, I've been using myOtaku less and less for blogging, instead using LiveJournal (and consequently Facebook with its import feeds feature for its notes). It makes sense though since LJ is more geared towards blogging. TheOtaku is more geared torwards publishing fan-generated content, which is fine. There need to be these kinds of sites as well. However, the old myOtaku did serve as a decent blogging add-on to the whole theOtaku experience, and it seems that Version Vibrant has weakened that aspect. It still seems good for publishing content, perhaps even better so than before (barring my stated issues with navigation in paragraph 6). Being able for anyone to publish essays and articles straight to the front page like the other works is an improvement I like, as those tend to be more interesting to me personally. It just seems that it is almost so much that it's overcomplicated and not streamlined well enough yet. Well, I guess that's for version 1.1.

Wow, this was way longer than I thought it would be. My thanks to those who actually managed to finish this.

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