Tagging Added to the Spawning Tool

It’s funny when StarCraft personalities mention their league promotions since they inevitably are lower than you would expect them to be. I believe the TotalBiscuit recently made Platinum, and Husky made Master, though for all I have heard them talk about StarCraft in the past, I always thought they were at least Masters. Well, you all should know by this point that I’m happily in Diamond, and between content for this blog, following Proleague and Fantasy StarCraft, and the Spawning Tool, I’m beginning to see why these personalities don’t play much. There just isn’t that much time.

The most recent task (and first major feature added to the Spawning Tool since launch) was adding tags to replays, which I completed Monday night. If you look at a replay, you can see a few gray boxes with red text, and those give context and metadata for the replay. Moreover, you can now browse replays by filtering by tags, so if you’re interested in finding all PvT games, you can easily narrow in on those replays.

Moving forward, I hope that tags become to primary method of organizing replays on the site. There is a lot of metadata present in the replays, which I could have (and still may) spit out into specific fields in the database, but I think tags encompass that feature and allow for more flexibility. Note that tags are filed under various categories, which I think should also improve organization. It’s easy to label a replay based on the map it was on, the event it was from, the players in the game, the build orders used, and so forth. I’m not exactly sure what tags are most useful for searching, but it should hopefully be self-organizing.

The strengths of flexibility and community input are also its biggest weaknesses. Because tags can be anything, we could see a lot of strange, esoteric, and unnormalized tags out there. For example, “My Favorites” isn’t helpful because it’s specific to a user, “1 Barracks Expand into Medivac Drops into Early 4th into Late Game Reaper” isn’t helpful because it’s just too specific, and “having both “1 Rax Expand” and “1 rax expand” leads to fragmentation*. Currently, the best solution I have is to include auto-complete in inputting tags so that you are guided to the right result.

Because I’m counting on community input, tags are also open to all users, registered and anonymous. I would like users to be able to upload replays anonymously, and they should be able to tag them as well. This does lead to an odd asymmetry in that I haven’t yet built deletion or editing of tags since that could lead to massive vandalism. I’m toying around with ways to split up permissions based on whether you’re registered or not, but I’m open to ideas.

Anyways, please take a look at the site, play around with tags, and let me know what you think. After the big hit on reddit, traffic has died down a lot, and I’m okay with that. The proof of concept came quickly, but I imagine it’ll be about a month of development before I make another big push for people to start using the site.

In the meantime, I was wondering whether I should put the word “Beta” on the site somewhere. Notice that the front page has a big disclaimer on it for basically the same purpose, but I think “Beta” has been overused and overextended heavily, and I kind of want to fight my little fight. On the other hand, it’s exactly the right description for the Spawning Tool while it’s still in heavy development. Vote below if you have an opinion.

Should I slap "Beta" on Spawning Tool?

  • Yes (75%, 3 Votes)
  • No (25%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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* I considered normalizing all input by removing punctuation and reducing it to lowercase, but 2 counter-examples came up. First, “Roach/Hydra” is much easier to read than “roachhydra”, and second, “HerO” and “herO” are 2 different players

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