A few days ago I ran a post asking for your feedback on what to improve and add to EQD. I replied to a bunch of people on the first few pages if you wanted to dig around in there, but this will hopefully cover some of the major points. Buried in the usual EQD comment silliness were quite a few awesome ideas and recommendations that I'm glad you all brought up!
Head on down past the break for a semi-FAQ / synopsis of what we want to work on based on your feedback!
Polls / Discussions
Many of you wanted more of these, and we have already started doing more. I totally agree! Be sure to leave your ideas for future polls when we post results.
Episode Reviews / More Reviews in General
Toys and Merch:
I actually have fun when reviewing toys. There aren't a whole lot to pick up that aren't just recolors of others, but I and the others will gladly do more of this when cool stuff shows up! Expect more merchandise reviews in the future!
One thing we were a bit leery on back during the last two seasons was reviewing episodes. For one, the actual show creators follow EQD, and they have shown time and time again that their storytelling, structuring, and animation style is not only amazing, but growing. There are a huge amount of factors that go into building an episode for kids. Many things we as bronies dig into just aren't possible with their limited time frames and strict requirements. It seems a bit pointless to nitpick.
We are trying to figure out a good way to review episodes while still maintaining the fun (hopefully) and positive atmosphere EQD is built on though, so stay tuned for season 3!
A ton of you want forums, and we have been exploring different services for this. EQD has a massive fanbase, and new things tend to get completely bombarded. When we release forums, we want to do it right! Currently we are exploring different types of software available (leaning heavily toward v-bulletin right now). Hopefully news on this will be released soon!
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down / First Posts / Story Ratings
Intense Debate has a plethora of features that blogger's comment system didn't have, and early on we had pretty much all of them enabled. One issue we ran into with ratings and thumbs was the amount of discussion relating to ratings and thumbs instead of the actual posted content! People were genuinely saddened when they saw their essay on Applejack's good side get -10.
As for first posts, we might be rolling out temporary bans for those in the future, but outside of a single thread at the top that quickly collapses, it hasn't ever been too big of an issue. I'd recommend just not responding to them and closing the reply chain if you aren't fond of it.
And finally, story ratings were dropped for a multitude of reasons. For one, 5 star systems are pretty useless in a site that already pre-checks everything. It also turned into a content battle. People would star low if they didn't like what the story was about, not due to quality. The best thing you can do for a story is praise it in the comments if you loved it, or offer constructive criticism if you didn't.
More News / Split Everything Else Off
We really don't have much control over show news. If it comes in, it's posted immediately. Pony has very little official stuff to go off of though. If you want a "news only mode", bookmark this. It is primarily official stuff, and moves slowly enough that the couple of sneaky topics that slip in don't do too much damage.
Features That are Already In
A lot of you requested sortable comments, splitting up media into different categories to search for, and various other things we already have. If you scroll up to the top of the comment list, you will find the ability to sort by time/rating/last activity. I personally use last activity as my default, but it's really up to you how you want to do it! As for media categories, everything is already split up. We don't have it on the main navigation bar, but if you head on over to the side bar under the community buttons, you can find a full list of categories on EQD.
More Artist Training Grounds/ Lower standards on Drawfriend
I gave it a shot this year and had a blast! I'm definitely considering a weekly one. We have the submitter, now we need to use it! I know I personally have slacked off since the month long marathon (and even slacked off mid way!), so something with a bit more breathing room could be good for us until the next major event.
As for music and the others, we do already have remix wars and toastbeard competitions in the fandom. We could do something for fanfiction or video making in the future though! Toss some recommendations in the comments.
As for Drawfriend posts, we really want to keep those in the higher end of the spectrum for quality. We tend to get a couple hundred art submissions a day. The training grounds is the best place to get your practice in.
Reminders for Episodes
We will hopefully have more of this in season 3! When synopsis come in and I sticky it at the top, I'll include an air date and possibly a countdown (though I am pretty bad at remembering to change numbers as you probably noticed from the training grounds :p)
Humans in Drawfriend
We are testing it out! I actually used to get a ton of angry emails whenever we slipped them in.
Spotlights for Artists
I like the idea! There are a ton of great artists I follow on Deviant Art who aren't getting the spotlight they should. We could definitely roll with this.
A couple of you recommended posting roundups/drawfriends at specific times. We tried this in the past, but in the end it really is based on how much stuff we get. A drawfriend with 20 images usually does better if I wait an hour for five more. Nightly Roundups on the other hand vary pretty heavily in length. Sometimes we will be nearly done with one, open the inbox, and see five more things to add to it. We try to aim for a rough time frame, but something usually pops up!
Music Post Quality/Frequency
The music community has grown pretty large in the last year, and the majority of them are producing instrumental tracks. We do have a group for music review, though unlike fanfiction it's much more difficult to judge a song.
One thing we have struggled with ever since the review system started was how "pony" something is. Obviously for remixes and vocal posts it is simple, but trying to determine if an artist genuinely feels Fluttershy deserves a dubstep instrumental track vs an artist who wants to create dubstep and put Fluttershy on top for a free post is difficult.
The music reviewers are constantly raising the quality bar, so hopefully we can get you guys some good stuff as we continue to fine tune it!
EQD Mobile App
We have wanted to do this for a while, but aren't too sure on the legal requirements. There was an unofficial one floating around a while back that I lost contact with the creator of (and had some disagreements with, though I was paranoid), but we need to play it safe when it comes to publishing pony things to the android/apple markets.
We are hosted and built with Blogger, so there are some limits on what we can accomplish in this area. Blogger is actually pretty powerful if someone experienced takes a crack at it, so we do tweak it pretty constantly as we discover new edits under the hood, but Cereal is the only one with any kind of coding expertise, and not specifically in websites. We will keep improving things and hopefully avoid making the site explode as we experiment!
It seems like a 50/50 split on people that enjoy these. We like EQD to be fun and casual, so we will probably keep the silly going at the same rate it is now - not too often.
Less Trixie More Applejack
As for Trixie, I was going to do a "toss a dollar in a jar every time I post Trixie" thing and donate it all to charity, but then I realized I'd probably go broke! I'll find another solution, promise!
Woah, that was a lot of writing!
I know this didn't cover every single thing in the discussion, but hopefully it gives you all a pretty good overview of what we want to improve on! The majority of EQD is run by students, so things tend to go a bit slower when it comes to new features. I love pretty much all of these ideas though, and hopefully we can get them going soon!