A few thoughts on interfaces and completeness.
My archives are by no means growing smaller – thanks to the efforts of people and my own collecting tendencies, tons of stuff ends up joining the textfiles.com site every month, mostly in the CD Shareware, Artscene and Audio collections. I am still sent BBS Lists going back 20 years and those end up where they should, but that’s a small amount of the pure mass of stuff that’s being added, and the stuff that’s yet to be added.
As this happens, I’m faced with the problem of getting the stuff up there or working to “integrate” it into the site. So let’s bring up my little priority set in order:
- Make it available.
- Make it comprehensive within its context.
- Make it easy to browse.
Somehow I never get to the last one.
Experimentation is always underway. For example, the BBS Software Directory has gone through a bunch of revisions, and most recently I tried an experiment with adding shareware under a specific BBS Software directory. The thinking is that if you want to look at, say, Waffle BBS Software, you might also have an urge to check out the myriad shareware programs that were released over the years. Maybe. I guess.
To me, however, it’s more important just to get this rapidly fading software up for browsing. Experiments are fun, but it’s a much more pressing issue to get this data off these disks before it’s gone, and maybe then I can consider how to make it easier to deal with.
Most of the stuff I put up ends up in massive file directories. I have experimented with improving the interface to these directories, but to tell the truth it’s not a huge priority. There are extensions and add-ons for various browsers that do this work for most people, if they need it all laid out and nice. What’s important, to me, is that it’s up.
What’s missing from my efforts is a monetary gain aspect. While I like improving the interface, I do not have any goals to make things “sticky” or to force ads down people’s throats. Because of that, I try to make it get to you as quickly as possible so you can get out of there. It doesn’t matter why you’re here, or that you stick around.
The only price I’ve paid for this is that textfiles.com has none of what people might call a “community”. Attempts to bring “the gang” together have failed miserably and I don’t do it anymore. But I do function as a reference point for other groups of people, or to settle arguments, or maybe just comedic relief.
Speaking of which, this is fucking evil. Cry into your tea-cosy all you want, Mister Chester, but you’re making things worse in a misguided attempt to make things pretty. If you continue with that project, people will curse your name five years from now. Go work on something more honorable with your talents.
Hey, just because I’m a generous person doesn’t mean I’m not a jerk.
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