My name is Robin and I've taken over the day to day running of 5Mods from Rappo. You can read more about that in Rappo's announcement thread.
I just wanted to (relatively) briefly touch base with you all about some of the niggling issues there are right now on 5Mods and where my focus currently lies with getting us up to speed and up to the extremely high levels of service Rappo was providing previously.
After 24 hours on the job I can tell you right now that Rappo was an absolute machine. The responsibilities and manual and direct interaction he had with the file systems on the site is to be highly lauded. It's clear that he wanted to keep things tight and to generally do all the work himself because that's what he liked doing and what he thought was necessary. It's lead to a great personal service on 5Mods, for sure, and I know he was loved a lot in this community and for good reason.
The manual validation and approval process for uploading new files to the site is one I understand was born out of necessity after the Angry Planes scandal, but, since then, the main crux of the site and its main purpose for existing -- that of uploading and sharing modifications for GTA5 -- has had to go completely and solely through him. And that must have been a big (and time-consuming) burden for him to bear. Well, I know it was, because I'm currently doing it. Just this morning, I've woken up after 7 hours sleep to find 50 new file uploads waiting for my approval. That's a lot to wake up to every morning, especially on the weekends when you would like to relax more, but the weekends are even busier than the weekdays.
The issue I have is that I'm never going to be able to provide the same high level of service that Rappo did on my own. I honestly have no idea how Rappo ever managed to take a holiday! My main concern is that there are often times when I am without internet for many days at a time. Case-in-point I have two weddings coming up over the next two weekends where I will not have any internet at all. If I don't have internet, files uploaded to 5Mods don't get approved and mod authors, understandably, will get upset.
As such, our current focus on the sites is on reducing the reliance on myself directly as a bottleneck to you all getting the mods you want.
The way we plan to do this is by enhancing and improving on the current admin tools that Rappo was previously using so that a team of moderators can be brought in to help with moderating the file database, handling file approvals and so on and so forth. The main aim of this is to not only bring in people who understand this community well (and better than I do at this time), but also to reduce the time it takes for your files to get approved and your reports to get actioned. The end result is you're relying less on just me (or any one individual) and more on a team of users who can potentially handle things a lot faster while maintaining a high level of quality.
Right now, Rappo has coded the admin section the way you would code any part of a site that only you would use. The core functionality is there, but we'll need to do a bit of work to improve security and set it up for a team approach. Similarly, there are some parts of the site (such as the featured mods and changing of download buttons to point to an external source) that can currently only be done by directly editing rows in the database itself, i.e. there is currently no web interface or admin area for these aspects of the site. We'll need to code whole new functionality to bring that into the admin web interface as directly editing the database is not ideal in any way.
5Mods was completely coded by Rappo, so while we have programmers who know Ruby on Rails, we'll suffer from the same issues any programmer suffers who enters a large code project that is not their own. We're going to need to learn how Rappo has done things before we can properly begin to edit it, and this obviously takes time.
Irrespective, right now our focus is on getting the admin and moderation section up to scratch and getting together a moderation team who can help with the running of 5Mods moving forward. I'd obviously like to get this done as fast as possible so you're not relying on me as much as you are currently, especially in regards to new file approvals. Coming from a site like Nexus Mods where the community is able to upload files instantly without any sort of admin approval it's a bit of a culture shift for me, but I'm sure I can find the right balance for 5Mods given time.
I'm currently aware of a few issues that we will also look into once we've sorted out the admin and moderation section, these include:
- Currently it seems that 5Mods will only host files that are 100MB or less in size. Apparently, this was chosen as the cut-off point to reduce the cost of file storage for Rappo. We will definitely want to change this moving forward so mod authors with large files don't have to upload their files to external services like DropBox and MediaFire and we can maintain the same standard of service throughout the site, irrespective of file size. We've successfully implemented upload scripts that support files up to 5GB in size on Nexus Mods, and I definitely want to ensure we can support the same on 5Mods.
- The servers are running almost to their peak capacity such that, on weekends or on days when traffic is higher than normal, it can sometimes become overloaded and inaccessible. We will look into the server set up and how we can increase capacity so that this isn't a problem moving forward.
- Currently any virus scans of new uploads need to be done manually by the admin approving the file. We'll work to implement the scanning of all files uploaded to 5Mods through the VirusTotal API, where the files will be scanned by 57 different virus and malware programs. We'll try to link the reports of these scans somewhere on file pages so that all users can see the results of the virus scan before deciding on whether they want to download and install a mod or not.
- There seems to be a bug in the profile picture setup for some users that is preventing it from updating on the forums when they update it on the main site. This is a low priority issue for us in light of the issues highlighted already, but we will take a quick look at some point to ascertain whether it's worth fixing it or not.
- I'm aware that I've been missing tags on files and some files have been added to the wrong category. Thank you to the people who have reported these issues so far and I'm sorry about that. I'll be more diligent moving forward.
- Because the featured files and download linking need to be done via direct database edits I am loathe to touch this aspect of the site right now until we can integrate this functionality into the new admin area. It's too much of a risk, else. I hope that will be done this week. If you're a mod author who currently needs their download button linked to an external source then please bear with us until we can complete this task.
So that's where we currently are and what we're aiming to get done over the coming days, weeks and months. If you think I've missed something please let me know.
PS. Please be aware that I am in a GMT timezone (while Rappo was on GMT-8). As such, the usual times you expected Rappo to be on will now not be the same as the time's I am online, for obvious reasons.