I wrote a post a few months ago about how I would be taking an "official" temporary hiatus from Neoseeker and that I'd be back in August. Well, even though I'm working 40 hours/week right now, I have way more time than I thought I would, so I'm back and excited! :D

Graduation was excellent and it's really weird being finished with high school for good. The prospect of college is really exciting to me... even my freshman courses are right up the path of my interests!

Anyway, without writing too much, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm back and will be on the site daily, and you can PM me if you have any questions or need anything!

Kjg

neoseeker related

Hello Neoseekers,

I just wanted to write a "formal" post about my whereabouts over the first half of this year. :P As you may have seen, I have handed control of the Neo Raffle over to Bobbonew for this year.

I will be almost entirely inactive on Neoseeker from now until August. I realize that I wasn't the most active up until now, but when I come back in August, I intend to be fully active and engaged in things like I once was. :) I have many things going on in my life right now... in May, I graduate from high school, and over the summer I will have a full-time internship that will keep me quite occupied.

Thanks everyone for your understanding and support. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone later this year!

Kjg

neoseeker related

The 2010 Neoseeker Raffle is a little over four months away and I wanted to let you all know some of the changes that are coming, what is happening between now and then, and ask if anyone has any cool ideas! :D

At the end of the 2009 Neoseeker Raffle, I made a post detailing what went on behind the scenes and asking for suggestions. Here are the things that were mentioned that I plan to change from last year, and maybe a few things I need feedback on:

+ No More Waiting! A huge change from last year that will really bring the Raffle up to par with some of the other events I've done... no more waiting for updates! That's right, one way or another, you will no longer have to wait for me to get online and update the system with new items/bids/tickets, everything will be done automatically. It will be much like the Neo Awards where you interface with a standalone webpage that has the ability to interact with Neoseeker to confirm your identity.

+ Automated Points Tracking Last year, tracking how many points you had spent was easy with the Raffle Lookup system, but this year it will be even easier. I plan to send out "hourly point reports" to anyone who buys anything. For example, if you buy something at 9:24pm, you will receive a report at 10pm but not at 11pm (unless you buy something in between 10 and 11). Of course, lookups will still be available on demand as well.

+ Points System Changes As you can see in the Behind the Scenes blog post, there is a bit of controversy surrounding the way points are calculated. I want to make sure those who contribute to the site are recognized appropriately and respectfully, but I also want to make sure that the majority of Neoseeker (i.e., posters) stands a fair chance against those with 4 million NeoPoints. :P So how do I balance it out and make it fair? Suggestions would be great... one idea is to cap individual NeoPoints at the person's post count. That is, if someone has 15,000 posts and 20,000 NeoPoints, they can redeem 15,000 NeoPoints for a grand total of 30,000 Raffle Points.

+ Item Posting Incentives Each time someone posts an item, they will receive additional Raffle points as a reward! Each item will be reviewed by some sort of committee and receive appropriate points for putting the item up. For example, someone who offers their sig space might receive 5 points, while someone who offers a used Xbox 360 game might receive 300 points. The rewards will be very appropriate.

+ "Reward Tracking" I know there were a few cases last year of people not receiving the things they won, but only because I've seen various complaints throughout the forums. No one has raised any concerns with me via NeoPM to address any issues... therefore, a few months after the event, I will contact all winners (somehow...) and ask if everything went smoothly. :)

If anyone has any more suggestions, please let me know! It is my goal to improve the Raffle as much as possible. You can see that even though this is going to be its third year, it is still changing a lot, so I am certainly open to all suggestions!

Also, as for September - December... expect at least two events with opportunities to win big Raffle points. More details later...

neoseeker related neoseeker raffle community events

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I have received a lot of questions regarding the Neo Raffle and what goes into running it. This post will detail the system that is used to coordinate Neo Raffle, and a bit of history behind it as an event.

History

The Neoseeker Raffle started in 2008 as a way to replace the annual Neoseeker Slave Auctions. The administration of Neoseeker and a number of moderators and members thought that the Neo Slave Auctions had grown stale and meaningless. Instead of entirely scrapping the slavery concept, we sought a method to come up with something new that still incorporated slavery. The Neo Raffle was born.

The Neo Raffle System

Introduction

Upon analyzing the depth of the Neoseeker Raffle and how complicated of an event it is, I determined that it would be best to use some sort of coded system with a database instead of doing everything by hand. There is so much to keep track of... auctions, raffles, bids, tickets, alternate accounts, post offsets, eligibility to buy (more) items...

I used my knowledge in PHP to begin coding a system. The beginning functions of the system were "list items," "add an item," "add a ticket/bid," "manual post offset," "select winners," and "lookup user." This was enough to get the job done but there was still much work left to be done by hand: input the data, calculate the posts and make sure people didn't go over their limits (which happens frequently)...

Raffle Points

The first huge upgrade to the system was point calculations. The PHP system goes to your profile and grabs your post count and NeoPoints, then goes to your GameGrep profile to check for GG points. Then it sees if you have any post offsets or accounts linked with your own and adds it to that amount. The amount of points you have already spent is automatically subtracted from this "points available" number, and then it checks to see if you have enough points for what you're trying to get.

This was the scope of the raffle system's functionality in 2008. It was extremely useful and expedited the process of running the raffle significantly. Over the course of 2008, I learned a number of new techniques, and decided to incorporate them into the system for use in Neoseeker Raffle 2009.

Automatic PMs

The Neoseeker Raffle system was given NeoPM functionality. I programmed it to send you a PM from Neo Raffle if you were outbid on an item, if you tried to spend more than you had, or if an alternate account was linked with yours. Additionally, the Raffle Lookup account was started as a way for users to look up available points without allowing anyone to look up anyone's points for privacy reasons. The script ran every five minutes and checked the PMs of the Raffle Lookup account, and reacted to any PM titled "Lookup."

Automatic First Post Updating

Last year, the Neoseeker Raffle system would generate the markup for me to copy and paste into the first posts of the thread. However, this year, all I had to do was click a button and it would update for me. This made updating the first post completely painless.

Automatic Thread Prowling

The hugest update to the Neoseeker Raffle system was the implementation of automatic updating by prowling the thread. It would look at a specified page of the thread for either of the forms (raffle or auction) and do all of the input work for me. Unfortunately, this means a few bids/tickets were missed, due to the form being filled out incorrectly, or an error on the server's part. However, the script will be updated for next Raffle to ensure minimal posts are missed.

Planned Improvements

I have a number of improvements planned for the next time the raffle system is used. Aside from fixing some bugs and making sure that all forms are detected (even if you don't follow instructions and modify the form :(), I have a few other ideas, and would love to hear yours too!

Completely Automatic Updates

One problem that the Raffle had was my own personal time schedule. While all I had to do was copy and paste the URL of a page and wait for the system to do its magic, often I did not have the time to do this. Next time, the system will do it on its own every 30 minutes or so.

PM Updates

Another problem that we had this year was people not knowing if their bids or tickets were counted (even though there was the Raffle Lookup system :(), so next time the system is used it will incorporate PMs every hour or so (haven't decided exactly yet), giving you an "update" if you bought anything. I was going to make it so that whenever you bought a bid or a ticket, you would get a PM, but I concluded that would get excessive for people who bought 15-20 different items.

Your Suggestions?

I am completely open to any suggestions you may have to make the system run better. Let me know via PM if you have any ideas!

Conclusion

The Raffle is an extremely fun event to run, and the system was extremely fun and enriching to code. All in all, it comprises 2375 lines of code. If you have any more detailed questions about the system, feel free to ask in the comments or via PM and I'd be more than happy to elaborate. :)

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Kyle

  • Cincinnati, OH, USA US
  • Joined Sep 23, 2002
  • Male
  • 22 years young
  • private
  • Student
  • AIM Kjgmusic
  • Microsoft account kjgmusic@fuse.net

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