About two months ago, I asked you if MeetFighters should move away from the Flash video format. The question was largely directed at those of you who have uploaded videos already, but I got a lot of good responses from everyone. I thank all who took the time to respond!
I am happy to announce that web streaming is now here! In fact, if you are eligible to watching videos, you can try it right now! For the most part, I am quite happy with how well it is working. Streaming seems fast enough and seeking in streams is working a lot better than it did with Flash.
I also took the opportunity to make some major changes to the site's video encoder. (Video encoding is still more an art than science. There are too many weird formats out there.) The encoder should be much better now at handling some formats that were problematic before, including but not limited to Windows Media Video files and certain files with variable frame rates. If you had trouble before uploading your video, now might be a good time to try again.
If you do not want your video to be made available through web streaming, you can turn it off. Go to your video editing page, edit your video, and uncheck the box next to "Make this video avaiable on mobile devices". That should do it. In fact, and went ahead and checked this for everyone who voted no to web streaming. I'm very accommodating at times.
– Admin out.
Yes, it was an April's Fool prank. I've never played a prank on so many people at the same time. It was a unique and lovely experience.
Big BIG thanks to everyone who posted a comment, you guys made my day!! Enjoy what remains of the fool's day and your weekends.
In unrelated news, you can now organize your profile galleries into folders. Just go to your photo editing page and rearrange your photos into folders to your liking. I have some more cool features coming up soon.
– Admin out.
This news post is primarily for members who have uploaded their videos to MeetFighters, or planning to do so in the near future.
I am considering switching the streaming technology on MeetFighters from Adobe Flash-based streaming to Web-based video. This has a number of implications, and I want to get your feedback before I make this decision. Here's a breakdown of the differences between each technology:
Adobe Flash is going to die. It is installed on a lot of computers for sure, but the technology is slowly made obsolete by new Web technologies and even Adobe no longer sees it as future-safe. Notably Flash is not available on iPhones and iPads because Apple hates you.
On the other hand, Flash has better rights management. It takes a lot more to steal a video that is flash-based than a video that uses web-based streaming. In fact I know of no instance of a video being taken from MeetFighters and posted on another site. This is good news for you if you don't want that sort of thing to happen with your videos.
Web-based video is a new-ish technology but is already available on >90% of devices. It is now the default playback method on major sites like YouTube. Unfortunately the technology does nothing to prevent the downloading of video files from the site; this is part of how it operates and cannot be fixed or worked around. There are tools out there that will download such videos for you from just about any site.
So now the question is this:
Voting on this poll is limited to members who have uploaded videos, but everyone is invited to comment on the topic.
On a related note, I plan some enhancements to the video service, such as offering related videos, list of top videos for each category and similar goodies.
– Admin out.
Update 2016-02-28: I would like to thank everyone who commented on the issue. I just realized, and I feel a bit stupid about it now, that I might have presented a false dichotomy (flash or HTML5). There IS a third option: it should be entirely feasible to support both technologies simultaneously, and let the video owner choose to allow HTML5 or not.
Some commented that the level of protection afforded by our technology is somehow moot. I disagree. While "if it displays on your screen than it is technically possible to steal it" is true, the difficulty of doing so matters. The present technology on MeetFighters renders most of the regular tools ineffective and the other tools would be out of reach for regular users. Sure, power users can still take our shit, but 90% protection is better than none.
On a related topic, there is a new page now showing the top videos for each category. Enjoy it! Another experiment I'm running now is showing links to "related videos" after one finishes playing. Let me know if you find that useful at all.
MeetFighters has passed 11000 members this week, which is a pretty number.
What will follow now will be some shameless "webmaster cock measuring and comparison", so if you are not into that sort of thing, you can just skip this post. I will be comparing membership numbers between us and our friendly rivals: GlobalFight and Bearhugger.net. Comparing the sizes of sites is not as straightforward as one might think because sometimes it isn't easy to distinguish between "active" members (in whatever sense of the word) from the rest. One could argue that a profile is only useful if there are past opponents associated, or has a good photo, or has been "verified" (as Grunts'n'Groans used to). These are not bad metrics, but they are difficult to check and verify.
More importantly, a user account that has gone unused for a long time is not so useful. For example, BearHugger.net will cheerfully list profiles that haven't logged in since 2010. These inactive profiles clutter search lists, members might waste time writing them messages and never hear back, in fact, these profiles are just dead weight. (This is why MeetFighters marks profiles that haven't logged in in two weeks with an hourglass icon.)
So in quantifying the "effective membership" of a site, I came up with the following metric: A profile is active if it was used within the past 30 days. There could be better metrics, but this one is easy to work with and get some real numbers.
GlobalFight, at a quick glance, has 12,000 members (as reported by "Search Newest Profiles" with the search criteria set to 30 years) or 13,500 members, as reported MegaSearch without any search criteria. The discrepancy is due to how MegaSearch will return duplicates, like so:
What this means is that figures returned by MegaSearch will be off by about 9% on average.
GlobalFight will not tell you when a profile was last used if it is beyond the 30-day limit (part of the reason I chose 30 days as the limit for this post). However, you can instruct MegaSearch to give you the full list (with duplicates) sorted by last login. If you do this, and scroll down the lost long enough, you will find the first profile that hasn't logged in in 30 days will be around the 6,800 mark. Adjust this with the average duplicate rate and you arrive at the effective membership size of 6,200.
Bearhugger.net profile list contains an impressive 8400 profiles, and there are no duplicates there either. However, if you sort them by "login" and start scroll down, you will find the first "inactive" profile at around the 1900 mark.
We are very open about membership sizes and use no obfuscating techniques. (Even back when we had a hundred members, we proudly stated so.) Of our 11,000 members, 10,200 are "active". These metrics are very close because members who do not log in for a while are automatically suspended by the system so they don't clutter search results and such.
I also must point out that MeetFighters makes a very conscious effort to keep membership low. We do not advertise anywhere, preferring word-of-mouth to adwords. We also routinely delete profiles that are duplicates; in fact one person operating multiple profiles is against our Terms of Service.
|MeetFighters (gross membership)||11,000|
|MeetFighters (effective membership)||10,200||(9% inactive)|
|GlobalFight (gross membership)||12,300|
|GlobalFight (effective membership)||6,200||(50% inactive)|
|Bearhugger (gross membership)||8,400|
|Bearhugger (effective membership)||1,900||(77% inactive)|
Now it is worth mentioning that these are just numbers and they do not reflect the usefulness of each site for any particular purpose. I'm sure one could come up with a metric that would make Bearhugger or Globalfight the number one.
However, the large margin between MeetFighters and the second place is a good indication that MeetFighters is now the Biggest Wrestling Personals Site on the Net. You'll have to excuse me if I feel a certain amount of pride and sense of accomplishment at that. It's not bad for a site run by volunteers in their spare times. :)
Work is ongoing on the new Message Center. I have also added some small new features to other parts the site too, you might spot them with a keen eye.
That's it for this week! Admin out.
I am happy to announce that the new Message Center, first announced here, is now live. I would like to thank everyone who participated in testing it, reported bugs and submitted ideas for improvement. Most of the feedback accumulated over months have been incorporated into this new module, and I feel that it is a huge improvement over the old mail interface.
As with all big changes, there are bound to be some problems. If you are having trouble accessing your messages, please file a bug report here. We will try to figure out what is going wrong, and hopefully fix it quickly.
In a site this big, it is nearly impossible to make big changes so that every single member is happy with it. If you are one of those souls who dislike this particular one, please remember that the beta has been ongoing for months and you had ample time to voice your concern, and also that you can access the old mail interface here.
– Admin out
Thanks for expressing your love and hate for the Message Center. :)
I have made some improvements based on some suggestions above:
Some responses to other concerns:
Everyone else, please bear with me as I make improvements. Your ideas are welcome. I am making this site for YOU!
The 1-month limit on threads is now lifted. Loading times should be faster too. It was more effort than I had originally anticipated, so thank you all for your patience.
@rangerboots: I made the Delete /etc buttons in the conversation's speech bubbles smaller, hopefully they will fit your screen better. I am thinking about replacing the buttons entirely with a dropdown menu.
Regarding deleting multiple messages: You can either delete the entire conversation with three clicks (Top red menu -> Delete all -> Confirm), or individual messages with two (Click on speech bubble -> Delete). For now I am considering this "good enough"; cluttering the UI for the sake of supporting the deletion of select messages with one click each does not seem like a good trade-off.
I consider deleting a message without opening it to be a fringe use case and will not be supporting it. I am very much in favor of keeping the UI clean and uncluttered.
I will not be implementing a "Mark thread unread" operation. What I am considering instead is implementing a "Mark thread replied / unreplied" option; that should ideally cover the same or similar use case.
Work on the mail center is ongoing, I'll be posting updates here as they happen.