The new N4G site is finally live, but before you all start testing out the new features, I’d like to go through some of the changes we have made to the site.
We were very lucky to get hold of the name N4G.com from the previous owner. Most of you are already referring to the site as N4G and being a news site that many of you visit several times a day, a shorter domain name like N4G.com is a big plus.
Presentation and organization of the news
With the amount of news being posted on the site each day, we needed to come up with a system that made it easier for people to find the stories that interested them. You can now not only browse stories by consoles, but also by games, media and story type. Another thing we did was to increase the number of stories on the front page from 30 to 50, but with so many stories on the front page we also needed a system that would make it easier to spot the interesting stories from the less interesting stories. After trying many different things, we ended up with the temperature system you see today. When a story reaches over 100 degrees it turns red making it easy to spot. Now the cool thing about this system is that it is not just a counter that counts how many hits a story gets. The temperature is decided by an algorithm which looks at the combined attention a story gets and the nature of this attention over different time periods. This way the system can predict if a story is hot or not, just a few minutes after it has been posted on the site. It also makes it much more fun to track your submitted stories. The sticky news is now automatically controlled by the temperature system.
We have added a tech channel for all the HD TV, Blu-Ray, HD DVD, Zune and other gadget news. N4G will still focus mainly on game news, but since a lot of you also like to read tech news, having an own tech channel seemed like a good idea. Also if there is too much tech news being submitted some stories will bypass the front page and only be visible in the tech channel. This goes for all the news channels, less interesting stories will sometimes only be featured on the specific channel homepages and not the front page.
We have also added a channel called My Game Channel, which is a customizable news channel that lets you track news from specific games.
The biggest problem with the old site was that all members were allowed to post news. This lead to a lot of low quality news posts. Today all members who want to post news on the site must pass a N4G Contributor test to ensure that they have read and understood the sites new posting guidelines. Members who abuse the system, or who do not post their news according to the guidelines will lose their Contributor status and will no longer be able to post news.
We have also made a news tips system, so members who do not want to become contributors still can submit news links. These links will be visible in an own tips section. The tips section is a great place for the N4G contributors to find stories for their news posts. If a news tips is made into a news post the member who submitted the tips will also get credit for the post.
On the old site only administrators could approve news in the pending area so the flow of news to the front page was not as continuous as many would have liked. Now all members who reach contributor status or higher can approve news stories. This will make N4G a fully dynamic and user driven website and the flow of news to the front page will be much more constant. It will take the votes from several contributors to approve a news post.
You will now collect points for all your actions on N4G. There are several bonuses that can be achieved, like if your news posts reach certain temperatures.
New Site Features
We have added tons of new site features; here are a few that are worth mentioning.
- A PM system so you can communicate with other members privately.
- News Search
- A Site Monitor which lets you monitor all site activity
- User Blogs where you can share your views on games and the industry
- Video Comments: the comment system now supports video and images. So if you have a webcam you can comment on news through video. You can also attach related game videos to your comments.
The speech bubble system is now fully automatic which will make it much more dynamic than it is today. You can however not lose all your bubbles through the automatic system. No matter how many negative votes you get you can not go lower than one bubble. This is so you will have chance work your way up again. So if you end up with one bubble, that is a pretty good indication that people are not interested in reading your comments, so by starting to post more useful info you should quite easily be able to work your way up to 5 or more.
Note: Do not give people negative votes only because you disagree with them if their post is well written. Instead use the disagree button. You should only give people negative votes if they break the site rules or keep posting immature posts of low quality. (Also everybody has been reset to 5 bubbles).
Members can now also be automatically banned from posting comments in specific news channels. Some members do contribute with good comments on news about the console they like but can be real pain in the arse on other sections. So if you see any members who on purpose tries to ruin discussions in certain sections of the site only because they are a fan of the competing console you can now vote them off this section of the site by clicking on the report link. If enough members report them they will no longer be able to post comments in that specific section. The ban only lasts a week the first time but will get longer for each time. You should not report people only because you do not agree with them if they follow the site rules and stay on topic. This should only be used for members who keep turning every discussion into a console war even though the news post has nothing to do with the console war.
We have also added a track and Ignore feature. The ignore function will hide all comments by the members you have added to your ignore list. The track function lets you track other N4G users. This can be handy if there are users you especially enjoy discussing news with or maybe you just find their comments interesting. Either way adding them to your Track List will let you keep an eye on their site activities.
A forum is in development but it can take a few months since there is a lot of other stuff that we need to do first.
These are just some of the changes and features that we have added , and we are also working on more stuff that will go live later. Keep in mind that the site is in beta, so please report any problems you experience using this feedback form.
That is all for now, enjoy the new site!