I'd like to get a discussion going on the direction of TSC; that is, the issues currently facing us, and what we can do about them to ultimately improve and expand the site. There are a few places we could stand to make some improvements, so I'm going to bring up a few points and I'd appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on the matter.
I'm going to start by addressing what I feel is the biggest issue we have at the moment and the main reason I'm starting this topic: proof. TSC has always run on the honor system. You submit whatever you want, and we typically catch out cheaters by noting suspicious stats and patterns. In my opinion, we should seriously consider changing this policy. Times have changed since TSC started, and almost everyone has access to a camera of some form, especially since most smartphones have a camera built in, on top of the fact that a lot of competitors have access to direct capture methods.
This comes with pros and cons. The biggest con is inconveniencing competitors, because we have a -lot- of charts, and this is a valid concern. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons, because the pros are HUGE: this essentially eliminates BSing. When you're required to show proof for every record, it would be extremely hard to get away with making up times. This would also vastly simplify the process of correcting typoed stats.
Along with that, this gives anyone outside TSC a lot more confidence with our charts. Imagine browsing the site for the first time, and learning how the charts work. It is not hard to figure out how easy it is to submit stats you didn't get. Having more strict proof requirements and plainly displaying proof alongside stats will make it much easier for people to trust in the legitimacy of our charts and become competitors themselves.
We also have methods of catching out BSers, but it typically takes time to determine for sure one way or the other whether someone's cheating, and in that time we have illegitimate stats on the charts. This isn't really acceptable.
My proposal is that we require proof for all red and platinum stats. This would only apply to stats submitted after the system is put into place, but I think it'd be cool to also have a method to allow people to retroactively go back and attach proof to their old stats, if they'd like to. Proof can be in the form of either a video of the run or a picture of the results screen or stat screen. Requiring it for only top stats is a compromise between requiring proof for everything and not requiring proof at all, but if anyone has any other ideas that would put less of a burden on competitors I'm open to hearing it. I really think we should change -something- though.
Other areas of potential improvement:
1. Overhauling the charts. We currently don't have any system in place to deal with version differences, DLC, etc. The current approach to version differences of "just use whatever version is best" works ok, but it's basically ignoring what is a fairly significant problem. Competitors shouldn't be penalized for not having the console with the best version of the game. Also, the way DLC is handled on the site is hacky and inconsistent.
I think ideally the system the charts run on needs to be updated to fix these things, but given how much of the burden of actually doing this would fall on Gerbil (ie: pretty much all of it), it's up to him how far we go with updating the charts, if we do it at all. I recall him telling me there were some technical reasons that adding support for handling version differences would be extremely difficult. It's a big enough issue that I still think we should explore fixing it if there's any way it could be done, but if we can't, it would be a shame, but oh well. This old post
lines out how I think a system accounting for version differences could be implemented.
2. It would be really cool to integrate some form of livestream support on the site. Something akin to SRL's stream page would be neat to integrate into TSC.
3. I'm wondering if it would be worth having an official TSC Twitter account, as most decently big sites seem to have one. We could use it to promote TSC and the marathons, announce charts/rule changes, plug TSC Twitch streams, or highlight new achievements on the charts.
Thoughts? If you've got anything else in mind we can improve on that I didn't bring up, feel free to mention it.