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#1 redbullmarky

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:24 PM

Hi all,
Had a bit of an idea. Apologies if its ever been discussed here before in the past...

When I was doing music full time, I was a member of a music forum that offered all sorts of tips/tricks for recording/mixing/mastering/songwriting, etc. Every now and again, the mods of the forum launched a 'Mixing' contests, which involved everyone being given the same set of tracks (drum/bass/guitar/vocals, etc) and with minimal extra music, had to create a unique mix that were judged.

Its probably fair to say that PHP Freaks is split into a similar two areas - 1) give me some help and 2) please tell me what you think. In the latter area, some people have struggled and gotten frustrated, no names mentioned (although I'm sure we've all struggled at some point and got frustrated that noone seems to ALWAYS commend our work)

So what i'm putting forward is an idea for a competition, although I don't know how it would be organised/work, and it would be for fun and not prizes. How about a 'Website Reworked' competition where every now and again, a site is selected, and the idea is to totally transform the homepage using the original content? We have a magazine over here that do exactly that - 'Practical Web Design' - they pick a site every month thats a little on the dodgy side, and give it a whole new lick of paint.

Obviously there needs to be some rules+guidelines, so thats where an admin or a mod would come in to hold it together, but i think it'd be fun.

Just a thought...

Cheers
Mark
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#2 .josh

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:33 PM

i totally dig the idea. kind of like an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for websites.

Extreme Makeover: Website Addition


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#3 ober

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:39 PM

I like the idea :)  We could pin the design thread in website critique and give designers 2 weeks to submit their entries.

Not sure about prizes or whatnot... or if people just want to do it for fun.

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#4 .josh

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:47 PM

i see 2 ways of going about this:

a) pick a crappy site and everybody has a go at making their own new and improved version of it, submit your entry, vote on the best one.

b) pick a crappy site and we have a "team" of people all work on it together, kind of like on the linkie I had in my previous post, where a "team" of people go and re-do a home and make it better.


Did I help you? Feeling generous? Buy me lunch! 
Please, take the time and do some research and find out how much it would have cost you to get your help from a decent paid-for source. A "roll-of-the-dice" freelancer will charge you $5-$15/hr. A decent entry level freelancer will charge you around $15-30/hr. A professional will charge you anywhere from $50-$100/hr. An agency will charge anywhere from $100-$250/hr. Think about all this when soliciting for help here. Think about how much money you are making from the work you are asking for help on. No, we do not expect you to pay for the help given here, but donating a few bucks is a fraction of the cost of what you would have paid, shows your appreciation, helps motivate people to keep offering help without the pricetag, and helps make this a higher quality free-help community :)

#5 redbullmarky

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:52 PM

i'd prob say the first one - every (wo)man for theirself. all it really needs is (perhaps on a weekly/fortnightly/monthly basis) for someone to pick a site and give a closing date for critique. it'd be good if the sites were actually maybe phpfreaks member sites too, as i think it'd be a nice addition to helping people out that either suck at design or may have hit a brick wall in terms of ideas+inspiration.

ober, as for prizes - yeah it'd be for fun (easier that way). but of course, what bigger prize is there than a boost to the pride/ego? :)
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#6 ober

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:52 PM

Hmm... I didn't think of it that way.  Might be kind of tricky... there would also have to be ftp space involved... and I don't think your random schmo is going to hand over his server.  I'd be willing to consider offering up the space/dbs/etc on my server.

Could be interesting... interesting indeed.  We could even setup a little website for it ;)

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#7 redbullmarky

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:56 PM

if enough people like the idea, and the plus points are good enough in terms of boosting this site, then maybe eric would be prepared to offer a little space?

otherwise, most people who use this site have their own server space - be it hosted or their own, so its not really out of reach for anyone to have a crack at.
"you have to keep pissing in the wind to learn how to keep your shoes dry..."

I say old chap, that is rather amusing!

#8 redbullmarky

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:42 PM

anyone else have any ideas on how we could kick this off? anyone else interested in getting involved?
"you have to keep pissing in the wind to learn how to keep your shoes dry..."

I say old chap, that is rather amusing!

#9 Zane

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:35 AM

I like the second idea...

b) pick a crappy site and we have a "team" of people all work on it together, kind of like on the linkie I had in my previous post, where a "team" of people go and re-do a home and make it better.


It seems like an awfully big responsibility to take on a whole website, just for kicks
I know everyone here is really good at one particular thing unique from the rest, and if it were combined into like a joint application development team...I think it'd make for a much nicer website.

probably 70% of the people on here knows all the chores of a website creation...but surely there's that one person that is rediculously good at SQL, and the other guy who can CSS up a .... building?

Like for instance
I prefer making classes and making them work with what's available on the site.

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#10 neylitalo

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:21 AM

I think it would be more fun to just focus on the layout, colors, design, etc., of the website - just have them build a page or a few pages that demonstrate their design skills. Granted, functionality is huge in a website, but it would be a lot more fun creating and judging the aesthetically pleasing aspects of the website.

So it would indeed be the visually/graphically "gifted" who are likely to win, but unfortunately, that's the way it goes sometimes. The point of contests is to see who's the best, they're not supposed to be an effort to make everybody happy.
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#11 Zane

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:30 AM

You know what, I wrote that whole thing and completely forgot I was supposed to be discussing a Contest.

the word "Extreme Makeover: Website Addition" utterly through me off

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#12 Daniel0

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 05:40 AM

I think that since this is a PHP forum/website we should make a competition in PHP and not webdesign, then the application should be judged on the coding and not the design.

#13 .josh

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:02 AM

So I've been thinking about this whole "website-makeover" contest for a while now, and I don't think it's very feasable to do a "makeover" of some site, because too much politics might come into play. 

For instance, I have already seen people hinting at the idea of putting businessman's website on the list of makeover sites.  While I will not disagree that it certainly needs a makeover, I don't think it's entirely fair to go re-doing people's site.  If we do that, then next thing you know, everybody is gonna want to jump on the "get my site (re)done for free by a bunch of people" bandwagon, and various people might want to try and exert some kind of influence on getting their name next on the list.  This is not so much a 'trust' issue; more of a 'peace of mind' issue.  Best way to rule out any kind of possibility of foul play is to eliminate ways of doing it, right?

And what if we start to get people out there trying to scam the contest?  I mean seriously, if someone needed a nice site built for their business/hobby/whatever, and they heard about a community that is doing this "makeover" contest thing, how many people out there might think to themselves, "hey, I can throw together a piece of crap temp site and then go join this community and try to submit my site to the list of makeover candidates and try to coerce people into picking mine for a 'makeover.'" 

In addition, I don't think it's entirely fair to go and re-do other peoples' sites, because of the fact that many of the people here are freelancers.  This is what many of you guys and gals do for a living.  Why should you go re-working someone else's site for free (or even bragging rights), when you can be using that time to re-work a site that you could be getting paid for? Not much incentive...  and honestly, what kind of incentive can we possibly offer to the winners? Who foots that bill? Why should Eric foot it?  What does he get out of it?

In short, I believe there's too much abuse potential and not enough incentive for this "makeover" contest.  So I've been thinking about this for a while, and I have come up with an alternate idea to this whole "website makeover" contest. 

First, each "round" we make a list of everybody who wants to participate.  Then, depending on how many people sign up, randomly divide everybody up into 2 or 3 teams (or more, if we get an assload of people).  I say randomly because I think this is the only way to be truly fair and impartial.  That is not to say that a team of gurus vs. a team of noobs won't happen, but at least this way, it won't be anybody's fault, and nobody's feelings will get hurt, and people(s) can't somehow worm their way onto/form some kind of dream-team. 

Someone(s) decides on a theme for the contest (seasonal/holiday, fan-site, some kind of game, whatever).  Who? I dunno.  How about everybody make a list of fictional sites or something and we can make a random theme generator or something.  Any suggestions? 

Anyways, each team has to compete to make this website, both graphically and functionally, based on the theme. We will have a time limit of like a month or something.  Then we will have a panel of judges decide the winner, based on a scoring system, divided into different categories, like coding, design, intuitiveness/user-friendliness, originality, etc...

Who will be the judge(s)? I dunno yet.  Maybe Eric might want to be a judge, since he's the owner of phpfreaks.com.  Maybe some of us here also have some connections here and there, of people that would make good judges, as well.  For instance, I just so happen to know the chief editor for the online version of the New Orleans Times Picayune.  If you guys know what an editor is supposed to do for a newspaper, well, he's been an editor for newspapers for a long time, and for the past 10 years or so, has been chief editor for the online version of the New Orleans paper.  I think an editor would be a good judge for content, readability, useability, creativity, layout, etc... and I'm sure I can get him to take the time every month or so to peruse the entries.  And maybe he might know a person or two himself... etc... Anybody else got a connect somewheres?

Anyways... Now, here are some rules/incentives for this game that I feel will benefit everybody involved:

First, nobody will own the end product, per-se.  That is, by choosing to compete, you are giving up ownership rights to anything you do.  Ownership goes to...everybody: a standard open source TOU will be pasted to all entries that says it's free to use/modify/whatever, as long as credit is given where credit is due, sort of thing.  Maybe a blurb in the index source code commented out, saying made by blahblahblah, go to phpfreaks.com etc..., or something.  This will take out future hassles of ownership questions/battles which are 100% likely to surface, due to more than one person being on a team.

2nd, phpfreaks.com can start a new section on the main site, a new resource for the community along with the tutorials, etc.. a collection of these winners or even all the entries, as "templates," for users to download under said TOU.  Credit for the templates will be given to the people who made them in this new section, of course. Example, show a thumbnail of the site, made by: what the theme was, etc.. maybe even a linkie to an online demo or something.  Perhaps the online demos can be stored on Eric's hosting servers and he can put up some ads of his own somewheres for hosting packages - "great online demo, huh? Buy hosting from us, and have this theme auto-installed for you!" whatever.

The idea is that if we use the winners or even all of the entries as a new community resource, with people's names attached to it, it will be a form of free advertising for the contestants. Contestants will also have rights to add their entries to their freelancing portfolio.  This is incentive for the contestants - a prize.  And Eric and the phpfreak community are winners too, because Eric can tack on advertising for his own stuff, because he's hosting all this, and the community wins, because this whole thing will create a new community resource, which will bring more people here. 

Also, by being on teams with people, you get hands on learning/experience working with other people on projects.  This would be another resource this community would be providing.  Who knows, if this contest gets established enough, it might even be worthy of putting on your resume, as far as things you have done/are doing. Pipedream? maybe.  but maybe not.  And also, who knows, maybe by working with different people in this on-going contest, you might just find your future business partner ;)

So...what do you all think?

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#14 neylitalo

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:25 AM

CV, that's why we pay you the big bucks. :) For those of you who said "That's too much to read", read it. He brings up some excellent points.

I really like the idea, but I have a question/comment.

If we're going to have the contestants actually include functionality (where functionality implies PHP), then how are we going to put them up as templates for download? I think it should just be the visual/usability aspect of the website, and don't worry about business logic at all. If someone wants to put a bit of purely graphical PHP in, then I guess that would be ok - such as using a for loop to create a list of menus or avoid having to copy-paste lorem ipsum 10 times, or build in a little thing at the bottom saying "This page last modified on such-and-such date", and have it use filemtime to figure it out. But I don't think we should allow database interaction, file manipulation, etc. - try to keep it as portable as possible, you know? But keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion on this - I won't shun the people who disagree with me. ;)

However, I like the idea of picking a theme and saying "go to work."
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#15 .josh

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:35 AM

yes i thought about that, and to an extent, we are going to have to limit our themes to things that can be made into demos, in order for it to work.  Some db interaction is feasable.  I mean, lots of scripts are "portable." take this very board script, for example: SMF.  Maybe as part of the contest, one of the rules and/or sections of judging would be "portability".  Easy installation mostly out of the box, plugging in a few key things into fields like db name/pass/etc..(like installing SMF), multi-db/apache ver. compatable? 10/10 in that section! etc... 

Also, as far as the demos are concerned, we could simply 'turn off' some of the features of the themes, so to say, for demo purposes.  We obviously don't want to have scripts that enable people to do something malicious to things.  I see online demos for front ends and back ends all the time, that allow certain interaction with the db.  Just gotta keep security in mind, that's all.

edit:  ps.- also, for demo purposes, never under-estimate the power of "spoofing" certain functions. The idea is to give an idea of what something can do.  That doesn't necessarily mean it has to do it for real, in order to get the point across ;)
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#16 redbullmarky

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:41 AM

C_V, youre right - didnt think about how much open to abuse it could be. so yeah - having a random idea of some form may be better unless its looked at properly. i'm sure that with a few tweaks to the idea it could be very feasible and fun. as for the idea of competing against 'design experts' or people that are likely to kick ass time after time, so be it - those of us that suck at design (me included) can learn plenty from those that trounce us.

cheers
Mark
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I say old chap, that is rather amusing!

#17 .josh

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:53 AM

well the pendulum swings the other way two, Red.  Maybe someone is good at design, but sucks at coding, or at least, sucks worse.  The reason why I want to include all aspects of the website into this contest, is because in the real world, a website is not just made up of the code, nor is it strictly design.  A nice looking car is useless without an engine, and (most) people aren't gonna buy a car, no matter how powerful or reliable it is, if it looks like a bunch of rust and bolts and torn up carpet thrown together with duct tape.  The code and the design go hand-in-hand.

The goal of my idea is to promote this hand-in-hand reality.  So what if you suck at design.  Stick with what you know best.  Good idea for the teams when they first get together is to figure out who's best at doing what.  Assign people to different aspects accordingly.  The idea is to promote real-world situations, so that this contest can become a viable resource for learning, and maybe with a bit of luck, something you can put on your resume. 
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#18 ober

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 01:43 PM

Yeah, but the thing I don't like about that is that if WE pick who gets planted on x piece of the project, what if someone wants to try out their stuff but we don't think they're a good fit?

If we get enough people interested, we could have competitions for seperate parts of one site.  We judge the best from each and pull them all together.

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#19 Jocka

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:24 PM

i think it might be best to maybe do some kind of random pick from the users in the database. Assign like 3-5 on one team and 3-5 on the other.

The team idea seems better because this also gives designers and coders more people to call on for future jobs. For instance, I'm pretty bad at design. But I'm good at coding. If I was put on a team and we chose this certain guy for design and I liked it, on future projects I would find this guy and pay him / ask him for his help. More references is always better.

#20 .josh

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 04:57 PM

i think it might be best to maybe do some kind of random pick from the users in the database. Assign like 3-5 on one team and 3-5 on the other.


Problem with picking random 3-5 people from the db is that the vast majority of people in the db are people who come here looking for help on some issue and leave, never to return.  Or maybe return half a year later with some new question.  That's why we'd have a sign-up list and randomly shuffle everybody into teams from there.

Yeah, but the thing I don't like about that is that if WE pick who gets planted on x piece of the project, what if someone wants to try out their stuff but we don't think they're a good fit?


So should we randomly assign people to certain aspects of the website building, as well?  I think that it would probably be best to allow the teams to work out how they wanna go about accomplishing the task themselves, and that would include deciding amongst themselves who does what.  If everybody wants to be the coder and nobody wants to be the designer, because everybody feels that they are good at coding and suck at design.. well I personally feel that trying something new is the best way to learn something new, don't you? But not everybody thinks that way. 

My suggestion would be to let the teams work it out for themselves. If there is a disagreement, flip a coin and be done with it.  Or inside the team, majority rules.  If you have 5 people on your team and you want to do one thing and other people disagree, take a vote. Majority rules.  Or maybe a combination of majority rules and flip a coin, especially if you are on an even numbered team.  If you still can't live with that, then maybe you shouldn't be participating in this teamwork based contest in the first place. We will definately have to put something like that into the list of rules for this contest. 

If we get enough people interested, we could have competitions for seperate parts of one site.  We judge the best from each and pull them all together.


Not sure what you mean by this. Care to elaborate?
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