Introducing: HELP SQUAD!


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Help SquadIntroducing the HELP SQUAD! You'll find a new menu option on every page titled "Help Squad" that when clicked will slide open a portion of the page where the 20 most recent comments posted to the site will be displayed. My hope is that people will enlist themselves and offer to help those strugging with a game by checking the comments posted to the Help Squad frequently.

There is a lot of community activity that happens here, and you may be surprised to find that a large number of comments are posted for games that have long since scrolled off the main page. Now, you can rest assured that your recent comment posted to that game from back in 2004 is receiving much greater exposure.

At the very least, it's a quick and easy way to keep up with what's happening here at a glance. Feedback is welcome and encouraged. Cheers! =)

Update: Now with LIVE update!

Screenshot is from Nintendo's Japanese release of Ouendan for the DS, which was released here in the US as Elite Beat Agents. Great game! Highly recommended. \o/

30 Comments

Not working for me, I see nothing slide out Jay. Just goes to a page with HTML crap on it.

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Since I've just uploaded the new files to the server, you may need to reload the page before it will work.

Also, Javascript is required to view the comments as it uses Ajax to fetch the latest comments each time.

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Great idea, Jay. The site keeps getting better and better.

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Cloudego111 December 16, 2006 1:49 AM

Those people in the picture look shady... and angry

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all I see is an XML document

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If all you see is an XML document, then you may need to empty your browser cache and/or reload the page.

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Excellent idea. Definitely a good way to make sure that posts to past pages are not lost.
A suggestion - if it is designed for mainly ensuring that ancient posts aren't lost completely, perhaps exclude comments to the top, say, five most recent entries from appearing there? The most recent posts are always the most active, and such would probably flood out comments to older stories pretty quickly.

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Works fine for me, and great idea, ive always thought you should have one of these - now posts on old games are more likely to be commented/answered

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SOrry to post again, but how often is the help squad updated? my previous post didn't appear (although i only waited 10 seconds...)

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Actually, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and EBA are different games by the same company. EBA is essentially the sequesl to Ouendan, only released in English, whereas Ouendan is Japanese-only. They feature completely different songs and plotlines.

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Oh, awesome idea, jay! this should be very useful...

By the way, had a teeny little site suggestion - the tags aren't clickable on the comment pages, only the main page. Could you fix that?

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I was in Target recently, and tried to play it...with no sound. Needless to say, I lost.

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Parse - excellent idea. I'll have to think of ways to incorporate functionality like that. I believe keeping up with all recent comments at a glance is just as important as spotlighing older entries, so perhaps I can figure out an easy way to allow both, via a selector for example.

theprogram00 - anytime a game review page is updated with a new comment, the comments.xml file is also updated. But you will have to close the comment listing and reopen it to see any new additions (I'll work on a polling feature for it soon if people think that would be useful.) So, if you have a TypeKey identity, the comment should show up as soon as the page is rebuilt. Otherwise, it may not show up for a while, depending on how available we are for comment moderation (for example, there are many, many comments usually waiting for me when I wake up in the morning, since I have not yet figured out a way to approve comments in my sleep.)

Valarauka - I had to turn off tags on the hundreds of comment pages due to a performance issue with them. The scripts that compile the page listing consume a little too much CPU at present. Moreover, the more games that fit a tag, the longer the page takes to compile, with very long pages taking several minutes to compile. This is unacceptable to me, and therefore I've turned most tags off while I work on alternative methods for implementation. In the meantime, you can always access any tag listing you want by typing the URL directly in the address bar of your browser: jayisgames.com/tag/tagname (replace tagname with the tag you want to search for.)

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dannthemann Author Profile Page December 16, 2006 4:47 PM

I really have to say Jay your site has really grown.
especially with ad's
I shudder to think of teagames...

Keep up the good work!

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And I'm assuming the one with red hair is you, Jay? :D
[/teasing]

This sounds like a really good idea. Whoever thought up of it gets a cookie from Meta.

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Oh, okay. No problem; it's a very minor inconvenience. I just thought you might've overlooked it.

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Possible bug on 'Help Squad':
I'm using Firefox 2 and for some reason the scroll down arrow does not work. The handle on a scroll bar works all right and I can also use mouse wheal. So it is a not big problem. And the scroll up arrow works too.

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Oh, I forgot to mention that this Help Squad is an amazing idea. Thank you Jay =)

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On Firefox 1.5.0.8, I was getting the message "Please allow the page to finish loading before viewing HELP SQUAD" when I clicked the Help Squad link (even though the page does appeared to be loaded). I figured out that it's because of my advertisment-blocking plug-in (AdBlock Plus, in my case). Would it be possible to reprogram the Help Squad, or should I just disable AdBlock for JiG?

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lgmb-0t1 - While I am not familiar with the functionality of ad blocking software—I don't use them because ad revenue is sometimes the only source of income keeping sites like this in business—the situation you describe does not sound logical to me.

The alert you received occurs because the functionality of Help Squad gets turned on only after the page loads in its entirety. Once the functionality gets turned on, the alert gets turned off. It's really just that simple.

If something on your computer is preventing this "onPageLoad" handler from getting triggered, then the alert never gets turned off and the Help Squad never gets turned on. Moreover, it's quite likely that the user experience you receive from the websites you visit as a result of your ad blocking software is perhaps worse than just letting the ads display. That is certainly true here at JIG since the ads I've chosen to include (so far) are made as unobtrusive as possible.

So, to answer your question, I do not have any plans to support ad blocking software any time soon, since without ad revenue I'd pack up and close down this site in a New York minute (that's pretty darn fast for anyone not familiar with that expression).

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Also, if anyone uses Firefox 3 (Gran Paridiso) Alpha, I don't believe it works unless you open up a new tab/window with that page in it.

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Mordecai - would you please explain a bit more about what you mean by that?

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Nope, it's fixed now :)

Before it'd always give me a "wait for the page to load" error, even though it was loaded, but it works fine now.

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That's good to hear. That actually sounds like the same issue that lgmb_0t1 was having as well.

In any event, I'm pleased to report that I've just rolled out a polling feature that will check every 30 seconds for new comments and post them directly to the page if Help Squad is left open.

I'm not sure if this will be of use to anyone, but since the underlying code is using Ajax to fetch the comments anyways, it seemed only fitting to add a live update as well.

Thanks to Thomas for helping with the development and debugging! =)

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HA! And i will prove usefull... More usefull then a rock disguising itself as santa clause... I mean- As long as that was. being usefull... for...- I'LL HELP PEOPLE WITH THE GAMES, OKAY!!! Good idea, Jay. -MANAX

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Awesome feature, it's great to have a way to check if threads have been commented on without having to go find each thread!

Minor issue with the comments, though. I don't know if this is a browser issue, but when I look at the help squad, only one spoiler tag shows up in each comment. If the comment itself has more than one tag, all spoilers after the first one are just out in the open.

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Thanks, Elaine!

Thomas and I had a look at the code and discovered the problem, so it should be fixed now.

For the Javascript geeks out there: apparently String.replace() only replaces the FIRST occurrence of a matched string pattern. Switching to regular expressions did the trick (cheers, Thomas for the regexp magic!) =)

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Works great in Opera 9.10 :) Nice work!

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I hope to contribute, not just play.

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So they're, like, the GIJs of JIG?

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