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The Quality of Our Archives
Posted by Michael on 4 March 2004, 22:29 GMT

You may have noticed the low numbers of new files added to our archives. We're having a debate about what to do with a growing problem: Programs that simply aren't very useful to anyone. There are more quadratic solvers in our archives than should ever exist, notwithstanding the fact that most models have this as a built-in feature. Our possible solutions are:

Currently, all files that meet the site policies are processed and uploaded to our archives. Since this doesn't seem to be working well, here are the ideas under consideration:

  • The file archivers could manually screen programs for those deemed "junk", in the sense that they lower the signal-to-noise ratio of our archives rather than increase it. Authors would have to e-mail an appeal for rejected programs. This would cause a longer waiting time for processing files.
  • We could implement a rating system and organize programs by rating. This allows all programs to remain on the site, but the most useless could be filtered out. A method of dealing with new programs and low/high numbers of votes would have to be developed.
  • Our current folder system stops at games, programs, math, et cetera. For ease of browsing, this could be expanded to sub-categories like games/board, games/shooter, and games/guessthenumber. This doesn't limit the number of files added, it only categorizes them so folders are more concise and relevant.
  • Lastly, we could just leave everything as it is now.

We're asking for your input on what to do. There is a survey posted in conjunction with this article where you can vote on this issue. Thank you.

Update (Archiver): We will not be deleting files (at least not this time around), that was never one of the options. If you do want some of your programs deleted e-mail filearchive@ticalc.org.

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The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.

Rating system
Ed Fry  Account Info
(Web Page)

Probably the best way to handle the noise would be a rating system. Something along the lines of how Cnet handles download.com would be nice. You give it either a thumbs up or down, and have a place where a comment can be added to the vote. From there whatever the percentage of thumbs up to thumbs down after so many entries (5 votes or more for example) would be the rating.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 18:39 GMT

Re: Rating system
Greg M Account Info

Exactly. The Archivers(or a committee) could then go through the programs which got a poor rating

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 19:10 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
tifreak8x  Account Info
(Web Page)

2 and 3 sound like good ideas. I do believe that the repetitivness of certain programs (BlackJack sound familiar??) should be screened and the bad ones should be gotten rid of. On my site, I upload programs that I play and deem worthy to be on the site, or that I do not have currently and might replace at a later date with a better program. The rating system should include not just the files, but the authors themselves, as others have said. Hopefully somethings gets resolved...

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 19:25 GMT

Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
cpprograms  Account Info
(Web Page)

I like the categorizing idea best. It would organize things better, and make programs easier to find.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 19:38 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Professor Account Info

And I would like to know who we have to pay to see some of the game ideas mentioned on this site developed.

We are missing many card and board games that would be fun to have. (Rook, Upwords, Tournament gamestyles)

We are missing many other side-scroller games.

We have yet to see much in the way of unique.

When will there be more quality in these archives?

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 19:48 GMT

Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

Whoa, there are a lot of authors working on a lot of programs, but you cant just expect it all to be made for you. The authors here work from home and arent paid a dime for their work, so you'll just have to wait. I think the best solution for your problem is to learn to program yourself and make some of those games. Seriously, it is a lot of fun and very rewarding. And board games are hard to do, because they often have words or symbols that require a fine resolution and not many people want to play a common board game on the tiny screen of their calculator.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 06:20 GMT

burntfuse  Account Info

I agree-you aren't entitled to always find the program you want, or have someone make it for you. The programmers, like me, do it for fun. If you want a program that doesn't exist already, write it yourself.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:20 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Sang Nguyen  Account Info

Rating system would be great, but some people, like me, don't bother to give people a rating. And if people don't rate, then the popularity of the program wouldn't be accurate. For example, if one gave your program a 3/10 just because they don't like you, and other people don't bother rating, then the popularity won't be accurate. :\

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 19:59 GMT

Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
KermMartian Account Info
(Web Page)

I definitely agree.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 20:57 GMT

Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
hat118  Account Info
(Web Page)

What if the ratings were hidden until it has been rated 5 or so times? this would then be accurate as people are also not just putting a rating based on other previous ratings.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 00:57 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

I like that idea.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 06:21 GMT

burntfuse  Account Info

It does improve the accuracy, but some good programs still might never get any recognition just because no one finds them.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:21 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
synotic  Account Info

I read through the first couple pages and skimmed through the last couple, so I apologize if something similar was already suggested.

I myself don't make any programs right now so I'm not biased in that way. First of all I disagree with any deleting of programs unless they're specifically the "disp 'hello!'" type and whatnot, but I'm sure those types of programs are already deleted. What I do think would be beneficial would be a section of featured programs in each category. Featured programs are programs that have specifically been used by staff members and are made featured. As an example... unless there are two really good Tetris programs then only one should be featured... but all the other apps are still listed. Hopefully over time more and more good hidden gems can get featured that most people would otherwise never have seen.

As for user reviews and ratings... I think that would be great, but I don't think any programs should be weighted because of their rating and that they should just be there to provide someone browsing the archives the ability to learn about a program from an unbiased source. Somewhat like Amazon; there are product ratings, but they don't adversely affect search results or listings.

Anyways that's my idea... I think a featured section would be nice because you know at least that if you just want to look through it, you're not going to get complete crap.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 20:06 GMT

Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

typically, programs are featured when they are released, not later on. And they are featured because either the author emailed the news department requesting a feature or the archiver noticed a cool looking game and tried it out.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 06:24 GMT

Bad programs
miscellaneousprogrammer  Account Info

I think that there should be a program/committee that reads(program) and runs(committee) all of the programs and decides which should go where. While we're at it, the committee/program should go ahead and group it into whichever folder it should go in. Finally, we should have, instead of the customary asm/basic/flash menu at the beggining, asm/basic/flash/rejected asm/rejected basic/rejected flash. This would make certain that your favorite program which the committee 'accidently' placed in the 'wrong' place could still be found. If you are unhappy with their choice, you can always contact somebody else to check your program again.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 20:16 GMT

Re: Bad programs
miscellaneousprogrammer  Account Info

and also, there should be a user-specied level of badness for programs. For instance, choose one of these:

quadratic solvers...
guessing games...
stuff included on the calc...
best asm

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 20:26 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
tippmansrule  Account Info

I believe that the programs should just be rated and put in order from best to worst. I love going to the toplists and finding what the most people have downloaded.

The only problem is that it is only 50 programs long and the individual calcs only have about 10 and I've downloaded all of them.

Doing it this way enables everyone can keep their own programs in the archive, just won't be seen as often if there no good. (farther down the list) Knowing that many people have downloaded something tells you that the program has few flaws and probably won't crash your calculator.

A sub-division of this could be a newly added folder. This would be great because if a decent game just arrived, it wouldn't be at the bottom of the main list with only 5 downloads.

There wouldn't need to be any raters, just keep the same engine you have now. (the one that counts the # of downloads) All you need to do is extend the top downloads list down to every last program and down the new program folder to every last one.

In conclusion, just make your 'top downloads' page much, much longer.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 21:51 GMT

burntfuse  Account Info

Ummm...just because a few people have downloaded a program doesn't mean that it doesn't crash your calc. You can't test it before downloading.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:23 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
W Hibdon  Account Info

I actually have not used the archives in some time. I just look at the new files for my particular calc(s) and then decide to get the file if it interests me. Not to mention, that there are not so many games that are repeated; I do say that is the only think program wise that I have gotten for this site. The reason being, in all your classes you have to show your work anyway, so these programs for doing physics equations and what not do not serve me that well. Hell, I can barely use my 89 to it's fullest because of this.

-Could you not just make a rule "No Quad Solvers!"? I am W-

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 22:37 GMT

Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
rich_ambassador  Account Info

Unlikely but that would be nice. I tried counting all of the ones for ti83plus I gave up around 45 (no joke! check for yourself!)

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 01:30 GMT

Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Morgan Davies  Account Info
(Web Page)

Searching for the word "quad" and countinf all the individual programs around 3 months ago I came up with these results:

Calc Quad solvers

73 = 2
80 = 4
81 = 9
82 = 28
83 = 80
83+ = 162
85 = 27
86 = 58
89 = 47
92 = 6
92+ = 17
v200 = 11

Total = 450

I know I have been saying 500, but it's not quite there...quess I remembered wrong...ooops!

oh and check the link for the all time quadratice solver uploading leader :-)

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 06:52 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

my god, that's just not right. I didnt know there were so many different ways to label a useless quad form! He even has one in french! But this brings up an earlier point of mine. He has a lot of betas and versions 1 and 2 and 2 and 4 and 5 and the master pack. Shouldnt the old ones all be deleted and only the final versions kept?

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 20:27 GMT

Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Nick_S  Account Info

OMG!! How can someone do that, not only to the archives, but to themselves

Reply to this comment    12 March 2004, 23:27 GMT

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