It's been a long week at Swapfig headquarters, but I'm proud to announce the implementation of our first ever winning suggestion: item image uploads. I've also made a few other improvements and important changes.
Item image uploads.
Thanks to the winning suggestion back in September, users now have the ability to upload missing images for any item in the Swapfig database, by visiting the brand new Item Images page (under the Trading menu).
Once an image upload is received, the procedure is essentially "king of the hill". If the uploaded image is of better quality than the image we currently have (or if there's no image at all!), it will be accepted. You'll be able to see the image submission guidelines on the page, once you're in the process of uploading.
There's also the option to send your uploaded image to Brick Owl (in the experimental phase!), to help them out with their database. If you'd prefer not to do this, make sure you uncheck the respective checkbox.
Most important of all, everybody will receive credit for their image uploads - because they uploaded the image!
This new feature came with its own set of headaches, which is why it took so long to update the site this week.
In light of people complaining about the site's images being "slow", I made the decision to move our images elsewhere. Our current solution is Cloudinary, which is a "cloud" service specifically for hosting and converting images and other media.
This was my first experience with using such a service, and indeed there was a steep and costly learning curve.
As with the other services we've used that have spotty documentation, I ran into problems with moving images to Cloudinary. I was essentially forced to subscribe to their basic plan (even though we were way below the storage and bandwidth restrictions). The alternative would have been yet more complaining from users about missing images.
Right now there are plenty of items that don't have images, and that's where you come in! I'm challenging you - daring you even - to be one of the first few people to upload an item image. You voted for it, so use it!
Last night was the first time I was able to resolve a number of reported issues, and it was a very sobering experience. Even though it's been a very busy few months, I have the responsibility to deal with these issues promptly - and I can only apologise for the delays.
As the only admin at the moment, I have to make decisions based on the information provided, and sometimes those decisions are difficult and/or tricky. Unlike some other people I don't set out to upset or humiliate anyone, and I'm actually not ban-happy - but when it comes to resolving issues, I'm not (and won't be) anyone's friend.
As a reminder, the very last part of Swapfig's House Rules states that the staff's decisions are final. That also makes it our responsibility to be responsible for decisions we make.
I've hopefully proven that I actually listen to users' suggestions, so now it's time to vote for some more!
I've recently accepted a small handful of other users' suggestions, but I've also added a whole bunch of my own under The Big Redesign. I'd like to know which section(s) of the site I should prioritise for giving a face lift, because I'm very eager to focus on redesigning than bug fixing.
If there isn't anything on the Suggestions page you like, why not add your own?
This year's Secret Santa Swap.
There's just one month to go before the deadline for this year's proposed Secret Santa Swap, exclusive (as far as I know) to Swapfig. If you're interested in taking part, just head over to the page and leave your details.
Bear in mind that I haven't yet implemented the Secret Santa Swap functionality, so you have the option of signing up just to make my life a living hell :) I'm looking to see what the numbers are like before committing myself.
The deadline for putting your name down is the very beginning of the 21st November. It's been mentioned on social media, there's a carousel item on the home page, and I've even added a link to the page in the menu. There's no excuse.
I'd also challenge you to take a good look at the comments complaining about some aspect of Swapfig, whether in news comments, on social media or elsewhere. Compare the authors of those comments to the lists of suggestions on the Suggestions page. Also keep your eye out for the statistics on our brand new Item Images page.
The TL;DR version of the point being made is that I'm no longer making any time for those people. My focus should always be on those people who want Swapfig to exist.
That's all for this post: I'm looking at taking a significant break from coding!