Do you want to help us? Here’s how.

Draw3Cards is a community website. Its content is posted by you, it is edited and moderated by you, and some of you even help in meta discussions, custom javascript changes, and other help maintaining and building Draw3Cards.

The major challenge that Draw3Cards still faces is migration to OSQA. We made a lot of progress towards that goal in the last few months:

  • Most importantly, thanks to the generous guys at Stack Exchange, we were given an extension of our free hosting by Stack Exchange. We have until 1/1/2012 to complete the migration. SE folk didn’t have to do this by any means, and we’re grateful for their continued support. As a token of gratitude, you might want to repay them by visiting some Stack Exchange sites (you might find the Gaming and Board Games sites particularly interesting).
  • We finally have a stable Meta site powered by OSQA, hosted at Amazon EC2, with automatic backups (the most important feature!)
  • I began to learn python and django, and even made one bugfix to OSQA’s code. To have a good site, we should have the ability to control its source code, make changes and fix bugs.

I was happy to see Shushoto ask how to help migrate Draw3Cards to OSQA. I have a limited amount of time, and won’t be able to do all the work in the near future – but with your help it is possible. If you’re interested in helping, check out the answers to that question, and/or ask me directly. Your help is most appreciated!

If, at first, a part of my motivation for starting Draw3Cards was financial gain (have my own “startup”), by now it’s clear to me that the time that me and others have invested, and will continue to invest, is not “worth it” on a purely economical basis. If this was a financial decision, I would have sold or given Draw3Cards and “cut my losses”. Luckily, financial gains were not the only, and not the major reason for starting Draw3Cards. I really wanted to create a thriving community and contribute something that I think the Magic community just didn’t have – a place to get quality answers, even if this means investing countless hours to make it happen. I am glad to continue this effort, and welcome anyone who wishes to join me.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

One year running Draw3Cards

Hello dear Magic enthusiasts.

I want to talk a bit about our situation at Draw3Cards, what we’ve been doing for the last year, and where we’re headed. It’s been one heck of a year!

First, D3C launched little over a year ago. I enlisted the aid of every Magic player I knew, posted lots of questions & answers myself, and even opened an alias in order to make the site look a bit more lively. Bootstrapping is hard – but it worked!

The site now is self-sufficient. Its traffic has been steadily rising over the last year, and I believe it is now a great place to find answers to all kinds of Magic questions, from cool albeit obscure rules questions, through drafting strategy, to our famous new set spoiler discussions (which I admit aren’t really questions).

We (mostly Avish, Shushoto and myself) did some improvements to the infrastructure of Draw3Cards. Starting from the important ability to include images in questions, mana symbols, adding and maintaining set tags, a “random posts” link (top right), and generally making sure Draw3Cards is running smoothly. The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is the fact our hosting provider, Stack Exchange, will stop hosting the site as it stands today in three months. We have a few major options to respond to this:

Option #1 – we migrate to OSQA, an open source alternative to Stack Exchange. The plan is to purchase hosting from Amazon EC2, and setup our instance of Draw3Cards (with a meta site).

Option #2 – we migrate to Stack Exchange 2.0. The implications is that we lose control of the site, and the move is permanent (D3C will be owned by Stack Exchange). It will get the new & improvement software that’s running the impressive Stack Exchange 2.0 network, and that’s a big plus. On the other hand, we won’t be able to do any further customization to the code ourselves, and will play by SE rules (I’m still not entirely sure what this entails, I’m in discussions with Stack Exchange to find out if there are any implications).

While option #2 is possible, because of its irreversibly I would like to pursue Option # 1 to the fullest before going that route. However, I find that I don’t currently have the necessary time needed to setup a good, stable, fast instance of OSQA that will be a good replacement for D3C. I have started to experiment with setting up a meta site, and the experiment wasn’t that bad, but it has shown me that to complete it fully and migrate the main Draw3Card, I’ll need to invest more hours than I currently have to spend.

What do you think we should do with Draw3Cards? The main motivation for starting Draw3Cards was always about building a successful site, make that the number one site for questions & answers about Magic. Both options are viable directions, but to continue with OSQA at this point, it seems I would need help. If you have an opinion, please share it on this post and/or email me at ron.gross@gmail.com – if you want to become a Draw3Cards admin and help us migrate the site to OSQA, doubly so!

I hope you all have a great year, and that we’ll all play many enjoyable games of Magic, and always have the answers we need at our fingertips.

Ron

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Meta is back up

Edit – No, Meta isn’t up at all ūüė¶ We’ve ran into some problems again, and looking for someone with some free time to help us bring it back up and reimport the previous content of Meta. If you’d like to help, let me know at ron.gross@gmail.com

After an unfortunate week of downtime, Meta Draw3Cards is back up!

The downtime was caused by … something, that caused Apache to take up all the machines available memory. To resolve, and get a better overall performance:

  1. We moved from our previous host to Amazon EC2, which offers one year free hosting
  2. The memory of our virtual server was increased from the tiny 256mb we had to 613mb offered by Amazon Micro instance.
  3. We moved from SQLite to mysql

Thanks a lot to claycarpenter from OSQA that took the time to build an Amazon EC2 image with OSQA pre-installed and configured.

Please take the time to play around on Meta and continue the discussions on what policies should Draw3Cards run by.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Forging a policy on subjective questions

Since its inception, Draw3Cards didn’t have a strict policy about subjective questions. Any question that was about Magic was allowed, even totally subjective questions like What Colors do you Play?

jms, one of our users, recently showed concern that Draw3Cards might be losing focus. In particular, he asked an important question that wasn’t asked before – what should be the policy on subjective questions?

Your participation and feedback are essential to deciding this. Tell us how you want Draw3Cards to behave. How much policy do you want? Are there examples of questions that are related to Magic, but you still think should not be on Draw3Cards?

Come to Meta Draw3Cards and help us shape it to be the best Q&A site for Magic!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Someone takes home a fatpack, and we have a new meta site

I’m happy to announce the winner of our Draw3Cards-Delver contest, Alextfish!

The contest didn’t generate that much attention, but nevertheless I hope everyone had a good time.

Alextfish gets a Scars of Mirrodin fatpack and a Magic book “The Search for Karn” (which I just found out will only be released in four months … let’s hope it’s worth the wait).

On other news – we are trying to decide the future of Draw3Cards. We tentatively setup an OSQA based solution, and are testing it right now. I also contacted Stack Exchange to see if migrating to SE 2.0 is an option … no response yet. Let’s see how this develops.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New blog, new administrator

Hello fellow Draw3Cards users!

I would like to take this chance to announce two new events:

Firstly, after over a year of activity, we’ve decided to add another administrator to Draw3Card’s staff (so far it included only Avish and myself). The reason we wanted another administrator is to help us clear the small backlog of tasks that we¬†accumulated – Avish and myself simply didn’t find enough free time to implement it fast enough, and we could use the help. Shushoto, being an early member of this site and one of its biggest contributers (especially in terms of reputation), was the obvious choice. Luckily, he agreed!

So, please all congratulate Shushoto on his new role. Any work he does is purely¬†voluntarily, so don’t expect the backlog to suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke – but we’ll be happy for any help he can provide.

Secondly, I’m using this chance to clear at least one specific backlog item – opening a blog! This is something that I wanted to do for Draw3Cards for quite some time, but haven’t found a compelling need yet. I feel that the above message didn’t really fit anywhere on the site, and that a blog might be a useful tool for other similar notifications in the future (e.g. the Delver Contest)

This is it for this installement. I still don’t know what frequency we will post, it may be once a month or once a year … but stay tuned (and make sure to subscribe). We will also synch this blog with our Twitter account and Facebook page, to make sure you don’t miss out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment