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9/24/2004 8:41:26 AM
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The New Seventh Column "Group" Review *UPDATED*

I have been around the 7th column for quite some time now. I officially joined as "mrsmiley" over 2 years ago, but was a semi-active member as "thesmileguy" for about a year before that. All that to say, I am no newcomer to the Seventh Column. Also, and I think many would agree, I know how to run a chapter pretty well. [url=http://www.bungie.net/fanclub/418/Group/GroupHome.aspx]MSXL[/url] came from nothing to one of the most influencial and prominant chapters out there, and I am proud of this! I do not say these things to build myself up at all, but rather to lay the groundwork that my critique of this new Column has some history to back it up! The new Seventh Column is very different in many ways, and similar in some. Some things are great, some things aren't so great. Here is my feedback, in simple format, as a "veteran" of this magnificant online community. [u][b]The Founder[/u][/b] [*] ++ Security roles are bad ass! You can group your members to have different privledges, thereby removing the hassle of changing the same privs for 10 different people when you want to make a change. Now all you have to do is add someone to the appropriate security role group, and BAM! They can only do exaclty what you allow them to! (MWUAHAhahaha) You can make up to 15 of these groups. Rock on. [*] + You can now edit a person's security settings straight from the memberlist. Thank god! (You can also remove, or blacklist them from the same list. Very handy.) [*] + Themes are back! Right now the groups may all look like polished drones, but soon Bungie (and fans!) will be hooking us up with new themes to set our group apart from each other. [*] + All of the new and old founder tools are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. (Explained well.) [*] +/- The ability to choose a unique "quick" link is kinda cool, but not really that quick. Basically, for my chapter the link is "/Fanclub/msxl/GroupHome.aspx" instead of "/Fanclub/418/GroupHome.aspx". Not all that effective, but a nice touch, I suppose. [b][u]The Forum[/u][/b] [*] + It is nice to be able to lock/pin topics now. [*] +/- As with it's integration to the new Bungie.net, the new forums have same pros and cons. (No search?) [*] - No more creative (custom) forum names. Damn. [b][u]The Resources[/u][/b] [*] ++ Aside from still being able to choose whether members or non-members can view your resources (databases), you can now limit it to moderators, and administrators as well. Sweet! [*] + 25 Custom databases is much more than I expected. Way to go! [*] +/- The custom resource tool is pretty much the same, without giving the option to form rows vertically. Oh well, no biggie. [*] - - You're telling me that I can't delete or customize the Guestbook, Contact Info, FAQ, Links, or Articles resources? Why? What if I don't want to worry about modding a Guest book, or hassling with an FAQ! Maybe a later version will allow us to choose what we put on the "quick acces" bar. Now THAT would be cool! [b][u]The Main Page[/b][/u] [*] + You can now go to any forum on B.net from the forum box. Cool. [*] + News posting has been improved, with the ability to post multiple announcements in the same "Top Story" format as Bungie.net. Nice touch. [*] + There is also an option when posting news, to have a copy automatically posted to your forum, with a link connecting the two. I used to have to manually do this. Awesome! [*] +/- Everything you need is right there at the top of the page in the main nav bar and the pop-up ones. Cool... wait a minute, where is the "goto chapter" scroll menu? Awe man, I have to go to my profile to find a different chapter to check out. 56K users will love this little added step. [*] +/- The "most popular thread" box is pretty cool, although I think the previous "last 5 posts" box was a little more helpful. [*] +/- No more front page polls... but you can still make them in the forums. Meh. [*] - The group description kinda blends right in with the news. Gives the page kind of a sloppy look. I'm sure there will be themes that fix this, but so far, with both themes provided, I believe it gives that effect. [*] - Why are we required to fill out both the "summary text" and the "full news story" text? What if we just want to post a short new blurp that everyone can read without clicking. I know this can still be done, but why should we be forced to write something pointless for when people click "continues". It would be nice to make that text optional, and have the "continues" button only if there is added text. [b][u]Final Words[/b][/u] It seems to me that the "new hotness" was definitly created by admins, with admins in mind. This is why the whole new system is so 50/50 in it's efforts to outperform the previous version. Sure, the new founder features are great, and there a few new tools that have been badly needed, but where it's strength in administration excells, it's appeal to regular members wanes. There really just isn't the versatility of the old chapter set-up. There is a good reason for this: Halo 2 means tons of traffic, and all around wear and tear on the new server. But in the end, was it really better for Bungie to sacrifice the versatile appeal of chapters for the more uniform and founder friendly rules of the groups? Only time will tell. [b][u]A Personal Opinion[/b][/u] [i]>In order to keep this review as unbaised as possible, I have removed my personal opinion. I'm sure this will be posted on my chapter when I get a better feel for this new system.<[/i] *If you think I have forgotten something, or have something to add, please send me a [url=http://www.bungie.net/Account/Profile.aspx?memberID=782]personal message[/url], and I will gladly post it up. Comments welcome! [Edited on 9/24/2004 3:57:49 PM]

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  • [quote]Would you have preferred us to let the old system continue, suddenly die (on November 9th), and be offline for 6 months? [/quote] Nope. I just want everything handed to me instantly. But I understand where you are coming from. I know the 7th column was broken, considering an ad for the chapter I am part of was displayed on the column front page for 6 monthes. So i'll just be waiting for the new stuff to be added on. We got the impression it was finished when the new format was called "the new hotness" and we didn't find it that hot. I only hope that the changes that are made will make the new format more like the old, with sidebars and activo meter a front page poll with strips of bacon to match.

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  • Honestly, I'm glad you guys are giving feedback and I was an old member of the 7th column, but I find the new column is pretty badass. Not only do we get to see and USE the actually B.net forums!! (Just remember the older forums, they weren't as nice) But we get to use a lot of their Ninja tools as well ;) Not to mention as Archronos said, it's expandable. Everything goes through updates, even Halo 2 and Halo did ;)

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  • You can get your database content back in XML format by e-mailing to bnetbugs(AT)microsoft.com. I got all of MSXL's content within a week after e-mailng. It will be some work to re-post it, but it is worth it!

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  • Hopefully we will be able to put the look of the old chapters in the future. I'm also not happy over the fact all my databases are gone or that I can find them anymore. I think they really dropped the ball if you ask me. [Edited on 9/30/2004 1:12:54 PM]

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  • Achronos, I posted this at CF and I may as well repost it here. You may be able to condense it even more, but given the way that each resource is standardized, it may be a good idea to just divide the resource creation options up like this: - Create Contact info entry - Create FAQ entry - Create Links entry - Create Articles entry - Create custom resource - Edit any resource entry visible to them (if unchecked they will only be able to edit entries they created) As for custom resources, during creation perhaps there should be an option to choose what security roles are permitted to create entries therein. [Edited on 9/30/2004 12:02:09 AM]

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  • It is very true. I know that Achronos, Sketch, Chloe, and the gang have been working their asses off for at least the past year trying to pump this out!

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  • yeah i know i did a bit of complaining in the first breaths of life to the new column....but now im starting to get used to it and im finding it much more user friendly and im just starting to really like it...and i cant wait to see what you guys have in store for us... much love ~Real Name~ __IAN__ aka Billgateshsc1 aka Elicoxsniperhsc1

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  • I have to say that the new 7th column is pretty good. Considering about 2000 different chapters all run smoothly on the servers right now with only a few slight bugs that have been pointed out to the proper people and shall be fixed for us. Remember people, this is all free, they don't charge us anything at all to use this great community resource. Thank you for the dedication you guys at Bungie show for your fans. It will be 2 years I've been a member here as of 12/26/04 and the great community and friendly staff from Bungie are why I've stayed.

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  • Very good points, Achronos. I can't wait to see what you guys have in store as far as updates are concerned! =D

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  • Ahh...I see... So basically...all the [forbidden word] would have broken it.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] MichaelFrank All and all, I think it is worse then the old version. I know they had to change servors and stuff because of the expected traffic, but couldn't they have kept things the way they were? Change is good and all but not when the old ways were better.[/quote] Ah, you see there's the point - the old system was broken. You probably couldn't see it, but it was. There was a reason we turned off chapter creation. Also, about a month ago, the system was up and down for 2 days, and we were literally about 1 minute away from permanently shutting it down before we found a temporary fix. As for the layout, again - this release was mostly a functional release - the idea was to get it working, and then add the bells and whistles. So, things like configurable sidebars, and other such things, aren't here yet. But you do get titles and security roles, a stable forum, and the theme system is more flexible (you just can't tell yet). Let me put it this way - with the old system, it would only have gotten worse. We just killed it off before you really started noticing the problems. With this new system, it will only get better. Would you have preferred us to let the old system continue, suddenly die (on November 9th), and be offline for 6 months?

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] stosh Sorry I guess this might be off-topic, but I need some help.. Hey achronos and others I'm really confused about something...Is there a way I create one custom database where my members can edit and add entries and then have another where they can't do those things? I can't figure out how to do that...seems like it's either you let them edit or add for all or none. [/quote] I think there is a problem with the custom columns resource in terms of permissions. I'm looking into it. Right now, you can only setup view privs, and the global privs handle creation/editing. I'm looking into options to get more granularity.

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  • To me I think his point is well meant. I mean, many people complained when Halo PC was released, because in many ways, it did not feel lik a finished product. Now with the understanding that they had to release the Seventh Column early, I think it isn't that bad. But from most people's standpoint, it has been released to early. I think that is where he coming from on that. I don't personally come from that standpoint, but it is an opinion that the majority of people on here hold to.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] MichaelFrank [quote] We can be whiny b******s from time to time. But why is it wrong for us to make our voices heard when we think Bungie did something wrong? I'm sure Bungie isn't all offended that easily if people start complaining about things here are there. So I'm sorry is not all of us don't immediatly accept change, especially when it is not a change for the good.[/quote] Have you really given Bungie a chance to show the new 7th column? They haven't added anything to it yet. As Achronos said it's going to get polished. Just wait and see before you start whining about how you don't like it. If it's in its last phase and you still don't like, feel free to start complaining. Just don't ever spam on the forum.

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  • [quote] It's funny when Bungie comes out with something new and great. There is always some that have to whine about something. Hold on, I saved a message of mine to Word about complaining. Ah, here it is, I call it "Complaining Reform": Aren't you all happy because you are complaining? What did you gain from it? Are you happy that Bungie now knows that you are disappointed in them? Well Bungie gets all this kind of stupidity, all the time. I see it happen on other websites. If you want to become a better member, stop complaining, and try and help Bungie out. You aren't helping them by complaining. It doesn't really mean anything to anyone by complaining about something everyone could complain about.[/quote] We can be whiny b******s from time to time. But why is it wrong for us to make our voices heard when we think Bungie did something wrong? I'm sure Bungie isn't all offended that easily if people start complaining about things here are there. So I'm sorry is not all of us don't immediatly accept change, especially when it is not a change for the good.

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  • Wow...I wasn't expecting a report on this. Good job anyway. I've been around on the 7th column for some time two. I'm staff on the chapter (CHAPTER!!!) DarkHalo and I'd say we're very well off. I'll give my opinion of the situation. I'd say some of those new options help out quite a bit. The 5 most popular threads is cool, but the 5 latest posts was a lot more helpfull. The layout is just uninviting. With no activo meter or poll on the front page, it just seems like a bunch of text bunched together. All and all, I think it is worse then the old version. I know they had to change servors and stuff because of the expected traffic, but couldn't they have kept things the way they were? Change is good and all but not when the old ways were better. So I'm sorry to just discredit all of your work Bungie.

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  • Honestly, though. Bungie has one of the most mature and constructive fanbases out there, and for good reason. If you want to see a fanbase that's [i]really[/i] immature and spoiled, look at Valve.

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  • Ok, heh sorry bout that, man. =) Just wanted to make sure my words weren't taken wrong.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] mrsmiley I hope you're not saying that in reference to my post! I am simply outlining different pros and cons of the new system, with full realization that it is the first version. =)[/quote] Smiley you know I'm smarter than that. I was saying that in reference to the employee's posts about people that were complaining about the "7th New Hotness". I need to check out Halobabies, I've forgotten about it since the update has been finished. [Edited on 9/24/2004 5:46:31 PM]

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Josher 35 It's funny when Bungie comes out with something new and great. There is always some that have to whine about something. Hold on, I saved a message of mine to Word about complaining. Ah, here it is, I call it "Complaing Reform": Aren't you all happy because you are complaining? What did you gain from it? Are you happy that Bungie now knows that you are disappointed in them? Well Bungie gets all this kind of stupidity, all the time. I see it happen on other websites. If you want to become a better member, stop complaining, and try and help Bungie out. You aren't helping them by complaining. It doesn't really mean anything to anyone by complaining about something everyone [i]could[/i] complain about. [/quote] I hope you're not saying that in reference to my post! I am simply outlining different pros and cons of the new system, with full realization that it is the first version. =)

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  • It's funny when Bungie comes out with something new and great. There is always some that have to whine about something. Hold on, I saved a message of mine to Word about complaining. Ah, here it is, I call it "Complaining Reform": Aren't you all happy because you are complaining? What did you gain from it? Are you happy that Bungie now knows that you are disappointed in them? Well Bungie gets all this kind of stupidity, all the time. I see it happen on other websites. If you want to become a better member, stop complaining, and try and help Bungie out. You aren't helping them by complaining. It doesn't really mean anything to anyone by complaining about something everyone [i]could[/i] complain about. [Edited on 9/24/2004 10:53:51 PM]

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Halo53 I have a 'real' complaint The FAQ at my chapter has the question repeated twice in every entry and I checked to see if I could just edit the question in all of the entries and have it ask the Q once but it was shown it was only typed once so I can't fix that.[/quote] Yea mine does that too!

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Achronos The problem is that we don't have 3 to 4 weeks. Check your calendar. See how close November 9th is? We have to get the stat stuff up and working, and we don't have time to polish up everything. The purpose of this release was to make sure it can handle a million new people from Halo 2 coming in. There will be hotfixes and one more major release before Halo 2 is released. You have to understand, though, the choice was either leave the 7th column off or release it now.[/quote] I completely understand. Like I said, I can see that this build was made more for functionality than for a rich fan environment. I am sure there will be many updates on the way [i]after[/i] you are all done perfecting Halo 2! [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Achronos For the most part, it is doing well, aside from a lack of themes, a few bugs, and a lack of people willing to read simple instructions. 6 custom databases? Come on! It says on the page that you have 25 of them. You have 6 columns per custom resource, which is EXACTLY what you had before. The only difference is that you can only have 25 of them.[/quote] Hehe, I actually forgot to take that out yesterday. I wrote this review pretty late at night. There were a couple things I accidently left in after reading the FAQ, and as sketch pointed out, I forgot a couple! =/ [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Achronos In addition, a lot of our frustration has to do with people whining about simple stuff. Do you know what the number one complaint is so far? People -blam!-ing about the name "Groups"! Good lord, people! The groups name is a generic term used to describe any subsite, be it a chapter or a clans (a feature coming with Halo 2 that will have bungie.net integration). A chapter isn't a clan, so we went with groups. Then there is the issue of the themes. Part of the confusion is about how one broken theme got released. But we didn't launch with a theme system, or forum system. It takes time to polish all this stuff, and we would appreciate a little patience. If you're going to complain, complain about things that are actually problems, not stupid stuff like the name "Groups" or how there aren't any user created themes.[/quote] I couldn't agree more. I am trying my best to refer to everything in the new terms to help spread them. Doesn't really bother me at all, it is just a change we have to get used to. Thanks a lot for your response, Achronos. I hope you guys are pissed at the negative feedback people are giving. As I have said several times, there is much left to be desired, but I completely understand that you guys wanted to get this out so people could start using it in light of Halo 2. I can't wait to see the new stuff you guys will have in the future!

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  • [quote]Acronos said: If you're going to complain, complain about things that are actually problems, not stupid stuff like the name "Groups" or how there aren't any user created themes[/quote] I don't have a problem with the word group, but the ONLY thing there is to gripe about is the look, and we little trolls simply must have SOMTHING to gripe about! I appriciate B.net's dedication to the fanbase, and thank you for it, Bungie! But please, we're locked in our houses playing FABLE to kill the time until Halo 2! How many Balvarines do you think we can slay before we go mad and rave around your forums griping about stupid things to hide our nervous anticipation? Not many, achronos, not many.

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  • Sorry I guess this might be off-topic, but I need some help.. Hey achronos and others I'm really confused about something...Is there a way I create one custom database where my members can edit and add entries and then have another where they can't do those things? I can't figure out how to do that...seems like it's either you let them edit or add for all or none.

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  • I have a 'real' complaint The FAQ at my chapter has the question repeated twice in every entry and I checked to see if I could just edit the question in all of the entries and have it ask the Q once but it was shown it was only typed once so I can't fix that.

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