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Encouraging the Authors to Do Better

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Categories: New site features, Gamification

The site just launched a new feature that hopefully will encourage the authors that contribute to the site to do better and eventually get more feedback and recognition from the users that take advantage of their work.

It is basically a personalized report message that is sent by e-mail regularly with information about how each author is doing, as well insights that give them ideas on how they can do better.

Read this article to learn more about this initiative as well others there were implemented this year to make this a better site for authors and users that participate in it.

Loaded Article


2011 - The Year of the Contributing Author

Contributing Author Reports

More Contributor Report Improvements

Other Improvements to Benefit Authors

Other Improvements Suggested by the Users

2011 - The Year of the Contributing Author

The PHP Classes site was created specifically with the intention to promote the work of PHP developers that have created useful components and are willing to share them with other developers that need those PHP components.

The site is not perfect. There is plenty of room for improvements. As a matter of fact, the to do list is so large that it will take years to implement everything that is planned. Therefore it was always necessary to sort the priorities to deal with more urgent matters.

The plans for the site in 2011 were described briefly in an article posted here about one year ago. Unfortunately not all that was planned was possible to implement yet.

Over the years I realized that sometimes what works best is to focus on one specific area of the site. For instance, in 2006 the premium subscriptions were implemented to provide an additional source of revenue.In 2007 the directory of PHP professionals was developed In 2008 the dedicated PHP jobs board was launched. In 2009 the site design system was implemented. In 2010 it was implemented in the single-sign on system that allowed to launch the brother site JS Classes in a way that PHPClasses site users did not need to create new accounts.

In 2011 I decided it would be the time to focus on implementing features that address better the needs of the PHP developers that submit their work to the site. Other features outside of this scope were postponed.

It started with the support to give greater exposure to articles written on the blog of each package, so the articles can get promoted as if they were part of the site main blog. The support to import package files from CVS repositories was announced on site 12th birthday. SubVersion repository import support was added when a better way to browse package files was implemented to deal with viewing large packages. Git repository support was added more recently.

Later it was launched an improvement to the author ranking system that lets authors see how they are doing among other authors of the same country. After that the site started giving more exposure to innovative authors that were nominated at least once to the PHP Programming Innovation Award initiative.

Contributing Author Reports

Now it is just being announced another initiative to improve the participation of the authors that contribute their work in this site.

One thing that I noticed it happens with some authors is that they submit their packages to the site but they end up forgetting to update them when they implement more improvements. Some authors are too busy and forget to do it. So I thought it would be useful to remind them once in a while.

Starting this week, the site is sending a personalized message by e-mail with information on how each author is doing in several types of rankings that the site builds, like for instance the authors and packages rankings based on the number of users that have downloaded the packages.

Other than that the report message may also contain insights on what the author can do to improve his participation, like for instance updating his packages or sending more packages to raise in the rankings.

For now this is mostly an experimental effort to encourage authors to participate more. Over time this report message will be improved to give more sophisticated tips based on the analysis of the performance of each author on different aspects, not just on the number of users of his packages, but also user package ratings for instance.

The frequency of this report message is weekly. The message is sent on the same day of the week that the author has set to receive the main content newsletter day. That day may be changed in the options page.

Obviously, authors that no longer have time or interest to receive this report message, may unsubscribe by following the instructions that are shown at the bottom of the report message.

More Contributor Report Improvements

The idea of this report message is to encourage authors to improve their participation. So the report message contents will evolve also based on their feedback.

If you are an author and you have already received this report message, please send your feedback to the site by e-mail with your suggestions to make the report better, like what other types of information you would like it to contain, or eventually notices of glitches that you may have spotted in the message, so it can be fixed.

You can also post a comment to this article here to provide your feedback.

Other Improvements to Benefit Authors

As you may have read, regarding improvements that benefit authors that contribute to the site, this year was quite intense. Still there are a couple of planned things that were left out for the lack of time to implement.

One of the things is the ability to let authors add their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, so the site automatically posts updates on those accounts when a package of the author is published, updated or some other event related with the author participation.

Another thing that could not yet be implemented is to have an overall ranking for all site users that aggregates all types of participation, not just about the submitted packages, but also for instance about participation in forums with good posts.

Other Improvements Suggested by the Users

As I mentioned above, the to do list for the site developments continues to be full of great features, but there are always features that were not planned but can be implemented probably sooner, based on ideas proposed by the site users.

So, if you have other ideas about improvements that you would like to see on the site sooner rather than later, please post a comment to this article and tell what you have in mind. Sometimes good ideas suggested by the users end up getting priority in the implementation queue.

Other than that, if I do not talk to you sooner, have a Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year of 2012.

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2. Specify requirements - Arturs Sosins (2012-01-22 02:54)
A lot of error reports are because requirements aren't met... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies

1. i agree - Pedro De León (2011-12-22 18:56)
thanks... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

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