At the time Mapraider was developed most map catalog sites only asked
for a couple of details, such as the map name and description along with
a file upload. For the most part, this hasn't changed much.
Mapraider, on the other hand, demands a lot from people submitting maps.
The site asks for a myriad of informational bits about the map: basic
and extended information, screenshots, alternate download locations,
links to other pages about the map... It can be daunting (trust me, I
know because I've submitted thousands of maps to the system myself), but
collecting this information makes Mapraider's database unique and allows
for some powerful searching and filtering.
I originally thought that splitting the submission process into three
steps: info, screenshots and review would alleviate the dreaded "form
overload." Although this makes it a bit slow and clunky, to some degree
it does help and the system seems to work okay.
That was at least until I realized that map packs don't fit neatly into
the submission process, or even the site itself (which I previously
talked about in my post "Re-evaluating
the Database: Map Packs"). Obviously the map submission system
needed an overhaul, and I would discover that it wasnt going to come
In analyzing the current submission system, there were a number of
things that I felt needed attention, but a few were the most obvious:
Too much text and information displayed at once, throughout the entire
The 3-step, 3-page, 4+ server round trip process is way too slow
Uploading one screenshot at a time sucks
The non-integrated file upload causes administrators a lot of
headaches (file never uploaded by user, requires java, no archive
Map pack submission simply doesn't make sense and is incomplete
Not to sound cliché, but Mapraider 2.0 addresses all of these issues and
more. Thanks to a little inspiration from StoneViper,
the submission process has been significantly streamlined.
Some of the information originally requiring manual entry will now be
automatically retrieved. For example, the filesize of the archive, the
file hash for P2P sharing, and testing of the archive to make sure it
isn't corrupt are all derived from the required file upload.
And because a majority of the submissions today don't include the
optional data such as external links, additional mirrors or private beta
testers, prompts for these items are now only displayed when the user
indicates that they want to provide them.
The entire process has been streamlined into almost a single submission
page with a few, well-utilized dialogs where it makes sense. In its
default state (with just the basic, required information presented), the
prototype for the submission page is less than half the height of the
original Mapraider submission page, making it feel much less
It is a very cool change and I hope that it works well. Testing and time
With the submission process itself out of the way, there's really only
one thing on my map submissions wish list open to debate:
Should map submissions be completely open, or should you be required
to be logged into your Mapraider account?
As with all of the changes to Mapraider, my quest has been to make the
site easier to use and more condusive to participation from the
thousands of people who just come to the site and download. I've toyed
around with the idea of opening up map submissions for a long time now,
but my gut tells me that it'd be better to keep it closed to members
only or the site's approval system will become inundated with spammers
trying to submit advertisements into the database.
For now, I'm going with my gut, but feel free to let me know what you
Comments ported from original blog:
At 8:29 PM, Doug said…
My first reaction on opening up the
submissions was the same - you're begging for a spamming script.
Signing up for a Mapraider account really isn't that arduous, and you
want to keep some kind of accountability built into the process.
you're *looking* for new sources of zipped porn.
At 11:05 AM, John said…
lol - indeed.
signing up isn't difficult, but there are definitely authors out there
not doing so -- which is why one of my few remaining tasks in the
redesign is to make sure the site does a better job of attracting
At 11:41 AM, Doug said…
Maybe you need to offer zipped