Archive for the ‘Admin’ Category

No duplicated messages

August 11, 2009

I have restricted the number of messages each user may send to others in a given time. This is to avoid mass spammers sending hundreds of messages before I can stop them. I have set up to a maximum of 5 messages in any given 5 minutes time span. I’ve noticed some users may send legitimate messages more often than that sometimes, but I’ll wait to see if they complain about the new limitation.
I have also blocked messages from being sent multiple times, as when you click twice on the ‘send’ button. It was quite annoying to see the same message repeated twice or three times in your list of messages.

Automatic deletion of bad users’ votes

August 8, 2009

I have set it up so that when a user gets removed because of Bad Trader Reports, or other violations of the Terms of Use, all votes they submitted with that account with an extreme value (minimum or maximum) get removed. This way we cancel one of the goals these user try to achieve (especially those with multiple accounts): to cheat the voting system. Hopefully this will increase fairness on the site and it also takes a tiresome task away from me! 🙂

A few restrictions on user names and passwords

July 30, 2009

In order to increase the security on the sites, I have added a few more restrictions to user names: they can not contain more than two digits, and passwords: they have to be at least four characters long, can not be identical to the user name, and can not have too many identical characters (‘0000’) or sequential numbers (‘12345’).

Automatic tweets!

July 22, 2009

Each time a new set is added to the site an update is posted now to my Twitter

Duplicating cards

May 9, 2009

I have added the option to the admins of the site when editing a card to duplicate it instead and insert it as a new card. This way we can create new cards that are very similar to previous ones in the same set, we just edit the similar card, change its number, which needs to be unique, and any other differences, and the card is created with the data provided.
I have just used it to add the Ultimate Rare and Ghost Rare versions of existing cards in the YuGiOh Crimson Crisis set.

Also, when uploading card images, I have added an appropriate error message when the zip file is too large (or corrupted).

Hotmail blocking all my messages!

May 7, 2009

One of the problems I encountered when moving to a new hosting company is that the IP addresses had to change, so I had to set up DNSs and stuff, but also, I found out that all my messages to hotmail addresses were been bounced! I had to set up special DNS records (SPF TXT records) but that was not enough. I had to answer a lot of questions from the guys at Microsoft and finally the lifted the block on my new IPs. It meant a lot of emails were lost (not redirected to spam folders, simply and directly deleted forever) and in the process I discovered that I’m sending around 3,000 email messages every day! Wow, that’s a lot of inter-user conversations, automatic reports on possible trades, and admin reports…! 🙂

I also need to implement a system that intercepts bouncing messages and cancels the responsible accounts.

Moved to new hosting company

May 7, 2009

I have been forced to move away from my hosting company, as they tried to charge me for services I did not receive and they were not willing to explain. It’s taking a lot of time and work but finally managed to do it with very little down time and without loosing any data.
And the servers now are more powerful and have all the latest software, so I’m running the whole site with just two machines (one of them for the online gaming), and it seems to go quite smoothly.

News admin

January 14, 2009

I have developed an admin system to manage the site’s news, so they are now stored in the database and inserted in the home page dinamically. So now I don’t have to manually edit the HTML in the four home pages every time I want to publish a new message about the site.

The first news I have published using this system is a call for help, asking users of the site to contribute to maintain the site and help it grow.

Improved performance

December 22, 2008

I’ll be trying to update this blog more often so that you are aware of all the work I put on the sites.

I have recently rented yet another server (and that makes it six of them!) and this one is much more powerful. It is allowing the site run much more smoothly and is also helping out the gaming server which was also overloaded.

I have also published our Official Trading Guidelines so as to make sure nobody gets cheated when trading through the site.

Earlier this year I have also improved the trade search engine that lets you now filter the matches with other people’s collections by multiple parameters, like a specific game or a single country or a minimum number of matches. This makes a Premium membership even more valuable and hopefully will encourage more people to buy one so that I can afford the new servers and continue serving this community.

We also generated the binder views for collections and for ‘haves’, which let you virtually have your trade binders online so that others can browse them, and also your collection binders for you to explore and organize any time you want.

Currently working on…

December 11, 2006

This is the current list of changes and improvements I’m working on:

  • find out the software error that is causing the online games to occassionally abort and leave one of the players disconnected and unresponsive.
  • Organize the TCO Team: volunteers to help on the different sections of the site. [this has been indefinitely postponed]

Latest projects finished:

  1. Created a ranking of players on the Online Games and declare monthly winners. There will be a TCO Tournament for each game every month, with the following rules:
    1. Anyone can participate. You don’t need to enrol or register specially for the tournaments.
    2. Every player who plays a minimum of games (10) during the month is a participant of the tournament.
    3. Points will be granted to each participant for every game they play against another participant. 3 points for the winner of the game, 1 point for the player who loses, and 2 points for each player in case of a draw.
    4. For each opponent you play with, points will be granted to you only for the last three games you play with that person. So if you play four or more games with the same person during the month, only the three most recent games count towards the tournament.
    5. the tournament will be declared null and void if there are less than a minimum of participants (15) at the end of the month.
    6. Winners: the winners of the tournament will be decided according to the total points accumulated at the end of the month.
    7. Prizes: the three participants with the most points will be declared champions of the tournament and their names will be displayed on the site’s home page for the following month. The second winner will also receive one month of Premium membership. The first winner will receive two months of Premium membership.
    8. Valid games: Aborted games will in no case be considered for the tournament. If your opponent seems to have disconnected after you had won or when you were about to win, then you need to make sure you declare the game as abandoned; otherwise you will get no points for it.
    9. Disputes: In case of dispute about an abandoned game, a third user of the site needs to be recruited to determine if the game should be declared won by either participant. This user will have to re-play the game and then contact the webmaster with his decision. The webmaster will have the final word on whether the game result is changed or not.
  2. Show the number of times the public page of each user has been viewed.
  3. Add new BBCodes to improve the designs that can be obtained on the site (in the trader public page, in the Card/Miniature Reviews, etc). The codes added allow to center text, add background color, put a border around the text, and reduce its width. Done (Oct 22nd).
  4. Allow for decks to be private so no one but their authors can access their contents or use them to play online. Done (Sep 23rd).
  5. Give the option to hide users from the ‘your messages’ section, so that you only see those users with whom you are still interested in maintaining contact. When a new message is sent or received from hidden users they should reappear in the list.
  6. Collector binders: If there are images for all the cards on a game, you would be allowed to see your collection in a binder-view, with card images displayed as on pages of 3×3 cards each, grouped by expansion set, with empty slots for the missing cards. Done (May 28th).

A collector binder showing the cards in your collection

  • Add new game Fullmetal Alchemist TCG, together with the possibility to play online. Done (Apr. 22nd)
  • Checklists, printer-friendly listings with all the cards/miniatures in a set and three columns of check-boxes for the user to mark those cards he has in his collection, is offering for trade or is looking for. If the user is logged in, then the check-boxes are already marked based on his lists of cards on the site. The checklists are accessible from the ’search for a card’ section, and from the ‘cards you have’ and ‘cards you want’. Done (Apr. 6th)
  • Add Pokemon TCG Online playing interface. Done (Mar. 18th)
  • Allow for the management of user’s own collections: being able to record the cards we have but are not currently trading, together with those we do want to trade (the haves). Done (Mar. 17th)
  • Add simple form for users to send the name of missing sets: Above the list of sets for a game which does not have a Herald, and only some 80 days after the last set has been added, a new line should show indicating “Please enter the name of any set we may be missing:”, and a text box to enter the name. I expect to do it so that the page does not need to reload for the name to be sent (the way the reports about inappropriate contents are sent now). This should help to warn me about new sets so that I can work on adding them as soon as possible. Currently I can’t stay abreast of all the sets for all the games which do not have a dedicated Herald for them. Done (Jan. 7th)
  • Add playing interface to play Yu-Gi-Oh! online. Done (Dec. 29th)
  • Add a second server to increase performance. Includes coordinating the replication of data between the servers. Done (Dec. 28th)
  • Generate a header image with cards for each game, similar to the one on top of this page. Done (Dec. 26th)
  • Move sites to another server to try and prevent current down-times. Done
  • Notify Heralds about this blog and invite them to join. Done (Dec. 14th)
  • Add Conan Online Game. Done (Dec. 10th)

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