Old topic title: Time for Change
Continuing the discussion from The forum is dead and we know it:
We all love Hopscotch, right? Even if we have a hard time coding, even if we can’t stay on all the time, we still love it. When something happens that we don’t like, what do we do? Or what if you have a suggestion to make this awesome app even better?
Ok. So I love Hopscotch, but was concerned. The forum needs to be monitored. Challenges need to be brought back so people have inspiration. The Hopscotch Team should be more involved with the community.
I finally emailed the Hopscotch team about some of my concerns. A few days later, they announced in the topic Share your ideas with THT! that they want to hear from us. I talked with them over FaceTime about some of my ideas and concerns.
So, what if you want to help bring about change? Maybe you are tired of the Role-Plays and Dating Games that dominate newest. Or maybe you want trending to work in a different way. Whatever change you want, I hope this can help you bring your ideas for change into reality.
If you ask for change, you should be willing to participate in it. For example, if you want to make sure the Hopscotch Forum stays more on-topic, that means you might need to make a few new posts that are on-topic. But if you really care about Hopscotch, this is what I would suggest you do:
- Write down the change that needs to occur. For example: There should be challenges for Hopscotchers each week so they have something to do.
- Write why this change is important to you. Challenges are really fun and encourage people to keep coding and come up with new ideas.
- Write ideas on how to make the change. You could have a person be in charge of running monthly challenges. You could have a third place winner, a second place winner, a first place winner, and a grand winner. Maybe the winners could get a little icon on the corner of their projects to show that they won a contest, and the grand winner could win a free subscription for a month.
- Send an email to the Hopscotch team about the change you want.
Copy/paste the message into your email and send to email@example.com:
Hello Hopscotch Team!
I’ve been coding since [change this to your month and year]. I really enjoy the Hopscotch App and Forum and I had a few ideas on how to make it better.
I think that [write change that needs to happen]. This is important to me because [reason]. My idea to make this happen is [idea].
I really hope you can make something like this happen because it is important to me. Thank you for reading!
- Call the Hopscotch team. If you can work it out with your parents, you could call or FaceTime the Hopscotch team about your concerns, questions, and ideas.
- If the change can’t happen immediately, take matters into your own hands. Write how you can make the change. I could host a contest once a month. I won’t be able to give large prizes, but I could still have fun with other coders. If there are contests already out there, I could join one and compete in it.
- Do what you wrote. This could be one of the most important steps. I will join the Emoji of the Week contest and participate in the Summer contest. When these are finished, and if Hopscotch doesn’t have any official contests yet, I can make my own contest.
Feel free to comment below with your email templates if you would like others to review it before you send it in!
I can’t put everything from the email in here, since there was some notes about my personal projects and how Hopscotch influenced that. Also, I wrote this before I made the email template, so it won’t follow that exactly, but here is the email:
First of all, thank you for everything you do. Because of Hopscotch, I have developed my interest for code, and this past year I have worked on many engineering-related projects.
Because of my many projects, I have been on Hopscotch on and off. Recently I have had some concerns and constructive criticism for the app and forum. I understand you guys are very busy, but I would like to work love to introduce more people to code, and it would be great if these issues could be addressed before summer ends.
My first and major concern is the forum. I don’t know what your current plans are for the forum, but it has not been well monitored. When I first joined, the forum was clean and related to Hopscotch. A group of teenage leaders helped moderate the forum with the administrators. Now the forum is rarely related to Hopscotch, emails and private information have been shared, and some dirty words mentioned. I don’t know why the leadership changed, but now it seems that moderating has been left up to Liza, which is a large job. The way the forum is currently, I would not want to suggest it to others, even though there is still a kind community of users.
I would suggest bringing back teen moderators. Perhaps you could have five leaders at a time. The leaders fill out an application to be selected, and commit to a term of three months. During each term they dedicate at least 5 hours a week to moderating, and follow guidelines set out by the Hopscotch team. After their term is finished, they could apply again if they want to and their parents allow. This can count as volunteer work, and if it is tracked, high schoolers can use it towards scholarships and applying to colleges in the future.
My second concern is also with Hopscotch App moderation. Dirty words and rude projects are also spotted (although the community is good at reporting it) so perhaps if you bring back moderators, they can moderate that as well.
My final suggestion is a large one, and I don’t think is entirely necessary. But if you have any way to make a programming version of Hopscotch for Google browsers, that would be awesome. This could make Hopscotch more available to everyone. But you guys probably have a lot of your plate already.
Anyway, I hope this email was useful to some degree. Thanks for your time!
My mom emailed Liza and said I could talk with them. Then they figured out a time for the call.
I FaceTimed with Liza and Sam. They were very nice and open. I could have talked with them for hours about Hopscotch but we didn’t have time for that.
First they asked me a handful of questions, such as my age, how long I’ve been Hopscotching, things I do in my free time, etc. Then they asked what suggestions and questions I had for them.
Since I usually have a hard time talking on the phone, I made a list of notes of the changes I wanted to see in Hopscotch:
Notes: Ideas for THT
Call with The Hopscotch Team
- “General Topics” help Hopscotchers get to know one another, but they dominate the forum instead of topics related to Hopscotch
- Duplicate General topics or irrelevant topics have been created, users need to be reminded to keep similar topics together and which categories to put them in
- Discords and Emails are being shared
- Some instances (although rare) of accounts being created and spreading dirty words or spam and taking a few hours to ban them
- Moderating is a large job for Liza
- Have the “Random Stuff” category (for General Topics and non-Hopscotch posts related to getting to know one another) be hidden from “latest” so it doesn’t fill up the latest with random topics
- I’ve been trying to help with this, but if we bring back more moderators these topics can be handled. Regulars can also help with putting things in the right category.
- Hops could be reminded of the rules about communication outside the forum. If they are given permission to share communication outside of the forum, they should have proof of an email from THT.
- More moderation of the forum or remind Hopscotchers to send reports immediately when they see spam accounts
- Possibly add teen moderators again or figure out a way to encourage and reward regulars to use their power to help manage the forum
Note: Building coding skill is like a relationship with a best friend. At first it can seem easy and fun. But to keep building your relationship, you need to go deeper with your discussions. To keep building coding skill, you need to keep challenging yourself. With a best friend, you’ll get into fights and rough times, and with code, you’ll get frustrated and encounter issues. But if you work through the problems with both a best friend and with code, you come out with a more established relationship and more knowledge.
- Challenges should be brought back to encourage Hopscotchers to build their skill and come up with new ideas.
- More tools and tutorials should be given to the subscribers. Subscribers are those who make the leap to help support Hopscotch and unlock new features, and for their commitment, they need resources to keep building up their experience.
- There could be a person or group of people (like the Hopscotch curators) be in charge of running monthly challenges. You could have a third place winner, a second place winner, a first place winner, and a grand winner. Maybe the winners could get a little icon on the corner of their projects to show that they won a contest, and the grand winner could win a free subscription for two weeks or a month.
- Maybe a new video tutorials for the subscribers every week or two (if that isn’t happening already). They could get a new-and-improved levels section where they can go through simple levels to ones where they could practice more advanced concepts.
In the “Share your ideas with THT!” topic, DECODECO had some excellent ideas for music blocks. It would be cool if the ideas he suggested would be used.
- More notes in ranging octaves could be added. That way larger pianos and more complex songs could be created. Hopscotchers have also suggested having different instruments, such as a piano and guitar.
- More sound effects could be added as well. For example: more drum sound effects, crashing/exploding sound effects, and maybe a sound effect to go with each character (Star Girl, Bear, Octo, etc.)
- Having an adjustable volume for the sounds would be useful. That way more depth could be added to projects. Values could also change the volume of something depending on how close you get to it, so it could result in games like flashlight tag or something similar to MagmaPOP’s Minecraft Sneakup.
It would be cool if a subscriber could make their own “community” channel. For example, there is a Featured channel, #games channel, etc. Subscribers could have their own channel (e.g. Jedi4Jesus’ Channel). This channel could also be viewed on your profile by others, not in the main “channels” section when you go to search. What you publish to that channel stays in that channel (it can still be seen by the public, but it isn’t in your main Published feed) unless you republish it to your profile. You could invite up to 10 Hopscotchers to collaborate in your channel, and this could open up new opportunities for collabs, RPs, etc. If your subscription runs out, your channel would still be there, but you and your friends couldn’t publish to it anymore.
I had seen a few suggestions for this before, but recently Sophia71205 suggested having an option for Hopscotch text to align to the right, center, and left instead of having the text in the middle all the time. I think this would be a useful feature.
The Hopscotcher SugarIsYummy had a cool idea about project tags. Similar to the remix tag, there could be a tag indicating if something was put on featured, game changers, or if they won a contest. I had a similar idea when I first thought about bringing back challenges, and this could be a cool way to show how people got recognized for their project.
Things I talked about that may happen:
- Forum: The “Random Stuff” category with General Topics still existing but not showing up in the “Latest” section (like the “Deprecated: Help with Code” category)
- Forum: Users being reminded that there can be no communication outside the forum at all
- Forum: I don’t know if there would be an announcement about this, but Liza said that if we see a spam account or if someone is trying to bypass the filter to email her
- In-App: More challenges
- In-App: More music abilities added in a future update @DECODECO
- In-App: Text having the option to be aligned to the right, center, or left @sophia71205
Things that I mentioned but didn’t get an affirmative answer on:
- Forum: Possibility of bringing moderators back or reminding regulars via. announcement that they can help organize the forum
- Note with bringing back moderators: I didn’t get an affirmative answer but it doesn’t seem like something THT wants to attempt again. I could have misinterpreted them but it seemed like they didn’t want to talk about it. Since they’ve had trouble with it in the past, I don’t want to push them. I suggested that the regulars have the power to help out in the forum so maybe we’ll get an announcement/reminder thing about that.
- In-App: Having tags for featured, Game changers, and Contest winners (@sugarisyummy)
Things that I didn’t have time to talk about:
- Forum: Finding a way to reward regulars if they help keep the forum clean and organized
- Forum: Proving that THT said you had permission to communicate outside the forum (sounds like that might not even be a possibility though)
- In-App: Prizes for possible monthly contest winners
- In-App: Giving more tools and tutorials to subscribers
- In-App: I didn’t have time to talk about any of my subscriber “Community” ideas, but it sounds like THT has a roadmap for several of the new updates and are working on those new features (like music) first before they add on more.
Overall, I enjoyed the call. I wish I had more time but then I’d probably take hours.
Let me know if you guys have any suggestions. ;)
Thanks for reading. I’ll edit this topic as I get more ideas to add on. Do you have any ideas on how we can help make a change?