Demonic Tutor

Magic: the Gathering in the UK

I've spent the last month or so working on a new web site to allow users to submit Magic Online drafts for review and approval by the magic community. It's all very Web 2 point wank, with a focus on community, ajax etc. Think draftbetter.com crossed with twitter! I've come up with, what I hope is an interesting set of features, but I'm looking to see what you guys think and if you any suggestions for additional features.

Submitting Drafts

- Users can copy and paste the draft file created by Magic Online into the web site.

- They are presented with a screen to give their draft a title and description, and write a comment on each of their picks (the comment is optional).

- There is an area to write a short recap on each of the games.

- Submitting the draft presents a summary on the home page in a blog post like fashion, along with a link to the full draft.

Reviewing Drafts

- Other users can view a submitted draft without logging in.

- Pick by pick, they can decide if they agree or disgaree. A user needs to log in to do this.

- Disagreeing with a pick offers the user a drop down box where they can select the card from the pack that they would have chosen, alongside a short comment.

- This results in each pick getting an "Approval Rating" as a percentage of all of the users who agree with the pick.

- This results in the draft as a whole getting an Approval Rating, which is the average approval rating of all the picks.

- This results in the person who posted the draft getting an approval rating. This will be available in two forms, a percentage and a rating which also takes into account contribution over time, so that it wouldn't be possible for a person to just post one draft rated at 90% and go straight to the top of the table.

- Top Drafters will be shown in a table on the right hand side of all pages

My Profile

This need a bit more fleshing out, but users will be able to see all of their drafts, along with approval rating. They can also modify personal details etc.

Other Stuff

RSS Feed

The first two sections are 90% done with the remaining work being mostly UI focussed.

As I said at the beginning, I'm really looking for your opinions on this feature set and any suggestions you have for additional features.

If all goes to plan, I expect it to launch some time in January.

EDIT: Additional requirements from ideas/suggestions

- User comments on the draft as a whole, as well as individual picks.

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I think this is super sweet. Very nice.

I don't know if this would be a barrier to people uploading drafts but you might want to ask them (optionally?) what "kind" of draft it was - 8-4/4-3-2-2/Swiss - and possibly what date/time it started at or even the Event ID. Of course if the file contains that info that's even better.

Also does MTGO store these files automatically or can it be made to? If so I would offer some kind of "point at a directory and upload all my past drafts" functionality if you can.

And then the most important feature that you haven't mentioned, once you have a reasonable amount of data, would be a "what do I pick?" where you can enter one or more cards and find out whether people take Marsh Casualties or Vampire Nighthawk and how well they do after they make that choice. (Yes, yes, all very imprecise as they didn't have the same cards as you when they made the choice but interesting nonetheless especially for P1P1 ... "players picking Nighthawk P1P1 win the draft 21% of the time ..." ... "players with 3 or more Plated Geopede win the draft 23$ of the time" ... etc.)

Cool stuff. And remember ... release early, release often! Let's have an alpha release to play with over Christmas!
That sounds awesome.

You probably want an additional feature that lets people form subgroups of people who's opinion they actually value.
That way for instance, if I uploaded a draft, there would be the global rating and the demonic tutor rating that only memeber of that list can see. This also allows people to skip to people's comments who they want to read easily.
Thanks for the suggestions Tom. Marking each draft as 8-4/4-3-2-2/swiss is a good idea. I might even consider auto-generating the draft titles to something like TYPE FORMAT NAME, e.g. "4-3-2-2 ALA/CON/REB by Lebenski" to stop people putting stupid titles like "OMG I fuxkin OwzD up da 8-4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!" etc. I'm looking at you, Rob!

Bulk upload of drafts is appealing, but could result in some tricky UI flow as the user would need to still step through each draft to write comments and descriptions. Maybe I could put in "Bulk Upload and Edit later" functionality. MTGO doesn't create these files by default unfortunately, you need to dig into the options and tick a box, they eventually get written to somewhere in your My Docs folder.

Once I have a critical mass of data, i'll definitely look at other ways to process it, and I like your suggestions here too.

I'd love to get it out before Christmas, but it's not looking likely right now. Most of the barriers are environmental & clean up bullishit, I need to swap out my nice quick development Hypersonic DB for MySQL, get some sort of web based DB admin interface in place, validate all of my input fields etc. Will try my hardest though!

Thomas David Baker said:
I think this is super sweet. Very nice.

I don't know if this would be a barrier to people uploading drafts but you might want to ask them (optionally?) what "kind" of draft it was - 8-4/4-3-2-2/Swiss - and possibly what date/time it started at or even the Event ID. Of course if the file contains that info that's even better.

Also does MTGO store these files automatically or can it be made to? If so I would offer some kind of "point at a directory and upload all my past drafts" functionality if you can.

And then the most important feature that you haven't mentioned, once you have a reasonable amount of data, would be a "what do I pick?" where you can enter one or more cards and find out whether people take Marsh Casualties or Vampire Nighthawk and how well they do after they make that choice. (Yes, yes, all very imprecise as they didn't have the same cards as you when they made the choice but interesting nonetheless especially for P1P1 ... "players picking Nighthawk P1P1 win the draft 21% of the time ..." ... "players with 3 or more Plated Geopede win the draft 23$ of the time" ... etc.)

Cool stuff. And remember ... release early, release often! Let's have an alpha release to play with over Christmas!
Yeah I've thought about this too, how do you stop people going through and blanket disgareeing to sabotage someone elses rating. I think i'll look at handling this through user behaviour metrics, report on people who take the piss and ban them.

From a UI perspective I think it could be a little tricky to maintain multiple lists of users and display multiple approval ratings per draft on a per user basis. That said, I could definitely introduce some sort of global user grouping where everyone could see "The Demonic Tutor Rating" etc. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add this idea to my backlog.

Thom Richardson said:
That sounds awesome.

You probably want an additional feature that lets people form subgroups of people who's opinion they actually value.
That way for instance, if I uploaded a draft, there would be the global rating and the demonic tutor rating that only memeber of that list can see. This also allows people to skip to people's comments who they want to read easily.
Just use SQLite! If it gets to the point where it's breaking then great - you have a hit!
One potential problem - after pick 8/9 in pack 1, the rest of the draft is a bit hard to judge if you went in a different direction (mono-b vs r/g, or allies as opposed to a pair of colours) to the person who posted it?
Me and the tech team are CONSTANTLY working together on new and more effective ways to combat various forms of fraudulent/biased voting on bragster, if you want to talk about it sometime i'd be happy to share some suggestions.

Ben Titmarsh said:
Yeah I've thought about this too, how do you stop people going through and blanket disgareeing to sabotage someone elses rating. I think i'll look at handling this through user behaviour metrics, report on people who take the piss and ban them.
This is true Dan. I guess I'll have to monitor how people use their pick opinions. It would be much more accurate if each pick opinion assumes that all the other picks were made as per the original draft (despite whether you agreed or disagreed). Therfore if there is a choice between Geyser Glider, Magma Rift or Nimana Sellsword, the original drafter was mono-red, but you wouldve gon B/R 4 picks ago, for this particular pick you should assume you made all the picks that the drafter did, and not let the fact that you wouldve gone B/R influence your decision towards the black card. I'm not sure how easy it would be to enforce this but it's a very valid point.

Dan Barrett said:
One potential problem - after pick 8/9 in pack 1, the rest of the draft is a bit hard to judge if you went in a different direction (mono-b vs r/g, or allies as opposed to a pair of colours) to the person who posted it?
Perhaps also weight the (dis)agreement on picks more heavily towards the start of the draft, start of each pack?
The problem with this approach is that it assumes a certain type of behaviour with regard to posting opinions, that we don't wish to encourage. i.e. posting an opinion on a 9th pick that assumes all of your previous pick opinions were adhered to.

If people pick cards assuming all other picks were made as per the original draft, then an opinion on a 9th pick Grazing Gladehart vs Harrow is just a valid as a first pick Hideous End vs Burst Lightning.

Dan Barrett said:
Perhaps also weight the (dis)agreement on picks more heavily towards the start of the draft, start of each pack?
Ahh, i was more meaning that irrespective of whether you would have gone in a different direction, your second pick is much more important than the last few picks where it's cutting a card of your colour just for the sake of it, or choosing between 2 equally crap cards or a land.

Ben Titmarsh said:
The problem with this approach is that it assumes a certain type of behaviour with regard to posting opinions, that we don't wish to encourage. i.e. posting an opinion on a 9th pick that assumes all of your previous pick opinions were adhered to.

If people pick cards assuming all other picks were made as per the original draft, then an opinion on a 9th pick Grazing Gladehart vs Harrow is just a valid as a first pick Hideous End vs Burst Lightning.

Dan Barrett said:
Perhaps also weight the (dis)agreement on picks more heavily towards the start of the draft, start of each pack?
Trying to figure out an algorithm for the leaderboard. I'm thinking something like this:

individualMemberDraftApprovalRating = sumofAllDraftApprovals/numberOfDrafts;
individualMemberContributionRating = sumofAllDraftApprovals;

This next bit would be cached:

averageMemberDraftApprovalRating = totalDraftApprovalRatingForAllMembers/numberOfMembers;
averageMemberContributionRating = totalContributionRatingForAllMembers/numberOfMembers;

memberDeltaDraftApprovalRating = ((individualMemberDraftApprovalRating-averageMemberDraftApprovalRating)/averageMemberDraftApprovalRating)*100

memberDeltaContributionRating = ((individualMemberContributionRating - averageMemberContributionRating Rating)/averageMemberContributionRating)*100

leaderBoardRating = (memberDeltaDraftApprovalRating+memberDeltaContributionRating )/2

This results in each member getting an approval rating which is equal to how much better they are performing that the average (mean) member, and is equally weighted on draft approval rating and contribution rating.

For extra drama I might just multiply the final value by some arbitrary value like 47!

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