Anke (ankewehner) wrote,

I happened to have the Al Jazeera live feed running when Omar Suleiman announced that Hosni Mubarak resigned.

Pretty amazing, all that, including modern communication in general.
Ehwell. Other people do the politics thing bettern'n me.

I tidied up a bit today, shoved data from the harddisk from my broken computer to the new laptop, and worked on the Bachelor writeup.

What is the purpose of the Art Trade Community?

The community is aimed at creative people who have made up their own characters, including drawing them, and who would like to have other people draw those characters in theri own style, in exchange for doing the same for other people. The exchange runs repeatedly in monthly rounds organised in a "secret santa" fashion, meaning no participant knows for whom they will draw, or who will draw for them.

One round comprises:
- Prior to the round, people sign up to it, providing contact information, as well as sources (information about their own characters, which will be used by the person who draws for them as basis for their image)
- At the start of the round, the admin assigns partners. Each participant in the round as an artist is assigned a different participant as a recipient, and receives a notification for whom they draw. Repeats should be avoided as much as possible; there should be as much time as possible between one artist drawing for the same participant.
- During the round, each artist uses the sources provided by their participant to draw an image for them, and uploads the finished image. Current system
Currently the exchange is run in a Livejournal community. Livejournal is a blogging platform; a Livejournal community is a blog with several authors.

The organisation there takes the following shape:
The Administrator makes one post prior to a round, announcing when it will start and end, asking who will participate. Members of the community can then leave a comment on that entry with their contact information, and a link to a website where they keep information about their characters. They can also chose to leave a comment on another post instead, the "Autosignup list", if they want to be included in any future round.

Assigning recipients at the start of the round involves consolidating information from those two lists and separate records of previous rounds. Once the assignments are finished, the notifications are sent from an email client, which requires copying and pasting of participants' information.

Finished images are submitted by the artist posting a link to the image they uploaded on their own website, or a gallery website, to the community.

This system holds several problems.
Consolidating information between several files by hand is error prone, as is copying and pasting members' signup information.

Finding older images is not easy. While members should tag their images to show for which round, by whom, and for whom they were drawn, some forget this. Even when all entries are tagged, it can be cumbersome to find an image due to the blog entry format, which requires a lot of scrolling when compared to a gallery employing thumbnails.

The aims of this project in short are thus providing a website that supports the basic functions of the exchange, while providing a better solution than the mis-used blog.
- Maintaining a list of sources for each member
- Signing up to an upcoming round
- Support for the admin during assignment of recipients while avoiding frequent repetition
- Sending notification mails
- submission of images, and clear presentation of those images in galleries Requirements in detail
  • Visitors must be able to create user accounts, providing an email address
  • The system must confirm that the email address is valid
  • Registered users must be able to log in.
  • Logged in users must be able to provide sources for other people to work from
  • There should be several options for providing sources
  • Provide only one link to a list with character maintained on their own website (current system; most practical for people who already have such a website)
  • Maintain character profiles on-site (practical for people who do not have their own website at all, also for people who would like to provide character profiles optimised for art trades)
  • Provide links to individual character profiles (useful for example if those profiles are a few images with longer descriptions in a big gallery; also useful if the characters are found on a site where several people besides the participant list character profiles)

  • The admin must be able to add Rounds to the system, including a name, a start date, and an end date.
  • Logged-in users must be able to sign up to any round that has not started yet.
  • Logged in users should be able to add themselves to an autosignup list, and alto to remove themselves from that list. While a user is on that list, they must be added to all future rounds automatically.

  • The system must provide a way for the admin to assign recipients.
  • The admin must be able to remove people from a round before assigning partners (A user who has not completed an assignment from a previous round should not take part in another round until they have completed their prior assignment.)
  • The system must provide information to the admin regarding who drew for whom in previous rounds, to assist with assignments in this round, to minimise repeatedly assigning the same people to each other.
  • The system must keep track of assignments, both those that have not been fulfilled yet, and those that have been completed.
  • The system must provide functionality to send notification emails to the participants of a round, informing them for whom they draw.

  • The system should show a logged in user if they have an open assignment, and if they have, provide them with a link to the sources they need to work from.
  • A logged in user must be able to edit their profile information.
  • If a user has changed their email address, the system should confirm if that email address is valid.
  • A logged in user must be able to add, remove and edit the sources they provided
  • It is desirable for them be able to convert between diferent types of sources (e.g. turn a link to an external profile to one maintained inside the system.
  • It is desirable for them to be able to temporarily hide a source from public view (for example if they have received several images of the same character, and would like the next artist to chose another character to draw)
  • The system must display a list of all sources a given user provided, with links to further information about each character.
  • It is desirable that it is possible to sort the list, in case the sources/characters belong to different groups (for example, a user might have some characters from a science fiction setting, and others from a medieval fantasy setting)
  • A logged in member must be able to upload images, and add a title and description to them.
  • The system must keep track of which user drew which image, which image was submitted for which user, and for which round an image was drawn.
  • If a logged in user has an open assignment, the system should present them with an upload form that automatically attaches the information of for which user and for which round the image was uploaded.
  • If a user has a locally hosted character profile, they should be able to upload a reference image of that character. The user must be able to delete these images again.
  • It is desirable that a user can upload more than one image for one assignment.
  • A logged in user must be able to edit the title and description of an image they uploaded.
  • It is desirable that a user can attach information about which character is shown in an image on any image they either uploaded or that was uploaded for them.
  • For this purpose, the system should offer a list of sources that the recipient of the image has in the system. In addition, there should be a way to enter a name, in case that character has no individual record (e.g. the recipient provided only a link to a list of characters)
  • The possibility of labelling an image to have more than one recipient is desirable.
  • Submitted images must be displayed in galleries consisting of thumbnails, which link to one page per image.
  • The individual page for an image must show the image, its title, description, artist, and, if the information applies, recipient and round. It is desirable that the image also shows which character(s) are shown, if this information has been added to the image.
  • It must be possible to limit the gallery to show only images from a given round, by a given artist, or for a given recipient.
  • It is desirable that it is also possible to limit the gallery to all images a given artist has drawn for given participant (since the exchange has been running since 2007 already, repeated assignments happen), or all images that show a given character.
  • The website should be interlinked, so that it is easy to find the user profile of an artist or recipient, a character profile, a certain themed gallery, etc.
  • Logged in users should be able to leave comments on images.
  • It is desirable that the system notifies artists of comments left on images they drew, and users of replies to comments they wrote.
  • It is desirable that a user can opt to receive a reminder email a certain, individually chosen number of days before the end of a round if they are taking part in that round, but have not uploaded an image yet.
  • It is desirable that a user can opt to receive a reminder email an individually chosen number of days before the start of a round, telling them if they are signed up to that upcoming round or not.
  • It is desirable that the system displays members who have not received art from people who are tardy, and that other users can volunteer to „adopt“ that assignment, that is, draw an image for the recipient without reciproration.
  • It is desirable that the system provides a way for members to contact each other.
  • It is desirable that the system includes a forum.

Needs more detail, probably, and I can't get the list formatted neatly here, but draft, there it is.

I'll post stuff about implementation, too; maybe it'll be useful for someone out there.
Tags: characterartexchange, programming

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