About Versions, Traits, Tags and Suggestions

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#1 by weter
2019-04-19 at 20:05
Please admins / moderators read this, as this is important information and nobody can fix it with extensions!

### About Versions-Releases ###

I want to say right away about the "wrong" tags in VN. Sometimes it turns out that in some VN Releases versions are too different, and the tags are not correct relative to both releases, but still they are on the same page. For example Koihime † Musou ~Doki ☆ Otome Darake no Sangokushi Engi~ : I started reading this VN ( r4188 ) because I was searching for VN with tags - More Than Seven Endings + More Than Seven Heroines + English translation. And as it turned out, after I finished it on 100%, there are only 4 endings (I was somehow in shock, as it was written in the tags that 7<endings, this is not the tag where you can make a little mistake). As I searched through the release descriptions and on the Internet, it turns out that in PS2 version r2399 there are much more endings, part of the story is rewritten, and the Harem ending is completely different (I read it on the forums, I did not personally read this releases, and also made a conclusion on the new CG art link ). Therefore, it is impossible for a person who searches for VN by tags to determine which release to play, the description says that "Features PS2-specific additional ending", so how do you know how much it was before? mb in the main game 10 ends? and in PS2 version 11-12? it is impossible to determine without playing. And I also want to say about the tags: Branching Plot , Map Movement , Unlockable Event to this VN, because I don’t have any idea how they relate to this VN, I didn’t notice anything like that, VN is almost Linear Plot , but maybe users have played other releases that are different from the main one (I am sure that 80-90% of users who voted on this site played exactly in r4188 Release), put such tags and minus those that are not in their version... In truth, I have to put these tags -3 because I did not see anything like this at all in my release? And who is right then?

And this problem is not only this VN, this is just an example, there are a lot of VNs with similar or much more complicated situations (for example, in the classic release 7 endings and you can not put the tag More Than Seven Endings , in one of the new PSP releases (which will play a couple of percent of those who find this VN here on the site) a new character is added or routes to the side characters, and it turns out that already 8 endings and you can put the tag More Than Seven Endings , and also ather absolutely new tags may appear that are not in another release). I am generally not too dissatisfied, but still there are expectations, but they are not justified.

My suggestion: Make tags for each release separately and the ability to sort tags by specific or all releases. (I do not think that it will be too difficult to do (although I know it depends on how database written and the code itself) or will take up more space on the servers, because users will complete only 1 time the release that they have chosen and put only tags to it. And old tags leave as All/undefined) + Make it possible to show that releases are different and that users take this into account, some description or warning in a prominent place which shows that releases are different from each other. (Because there are some VNs that have more than 20 releases and in general there is almost absolutely no difference, and there are VNs so there are 2-3 releases and they are very different).

An example of how I see it:
VN page - How is it now. My suggestion: Img #1, #2.
Modify tags page - How is it now. My suggestion: Img #1, #2.
Releases and description - How is it now or no difference. My suggestion: Img #1, #2 (Or make such points for each release).
All together imgs

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### About Traits-Characters ###

If with releases it is not always a big problem (rather, more rare), then with characters it’s just a disaster. Immediately go to the example: Kojima Umeko , if for example I would find out about this character through the 'Traits' tab according to my tastes or in one of the VNs in which she participates but has no route, but I see from the tags that she had Virgin Sex , then she definitely (or almost exactly) has her own route, but how should I know in which part exactly she has route? She has the 'Side Character' mark everywhere. She is at 7 VNs and it will take about 100+ hours to complete them, I don’t have that much time (maybe I’m lucky and I’ll get right to the right one and maybe not, or search hard in interent, but not always everything can be found) (After I complete 3 parts in which she participates she had a route only in the 1st).

I also had problems with the fact that when I was looking for a long VN, and I found this Eiyuu*Senki . I liked the characters especially the girls knights and the fact that there is a sex scene with them, and they all had a Main Character mark - Bors Galahad Kay Ishikawa Goemon and others, but as it turned out, they did not have any sex scenes, but have only in the Eiyuu*Senki GOLD VN. And how should I know about it? This game as a whole is Linear Plot , they don't have any particular route or walkthrough for each girls, rather, it's just a linear VN strategy with the ability to choose girls when part of the story opens with them. I do not want to spoil the plot myself looking at scenes in CG galleries on different sites in order to understand whether they have sex in these VNs or not ("It was literally a disappointment and wasted 70 hours of reading, thanks to a misunderstanding with VNDB" I could say so, but in fact I am not dissatisfied, but I am sure that someone could ever say something like that). This was just an examples, but this is a very big problem for characters who participate in more than 1 VN and have the same Main or Side character mark.

Parameters such as Name, Aliases, Measurements, Birthday, Hair, Eyes, Body, Personality and Visual novels (if no copy is made), in general, never change regardless of VN, but parameters such as Clothes and Items can vary greatly, although this does not affect much the plot, but the MOST important thing is Role, Engages in, Subject of, Engages in (Sexual), Subject of (Sexual) which vary greatly from one part of VN to another. For example, character could be kidnapped in one of the parts but released in another or even have sex in all parts but have a 'true' route and become the wife of Protagonist only in one, etc. This is very important for the plot, but we don’t know where this is happening.

My suggestion: In order not to create a bunch of individual copies of the characters, it would be nice to add a tab with the choice of VNs, in which you could select a specific VN. Make 3 types of parameters for the character: indefinite (i.e. old or not sure about the other 2), suitable only for certain VN, and those that appear in all parts in which the character participates. The 'All' tab could display undefined parameters along with all other parameters, and selecting certain VNs will show certain parameters along with those that should appear on all VNs. (I understand that it will be difficult to do, but something like that is extremely necessary to dispel this confusion)

An example of how I see it:
Character page - How is it now. My suggestion: Img #1, #2.
Character traits edit page - How is it now. My suggestion: Img #1.
All together imgs

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### About Tags ###

Now what can be done with extensions (I don’t know if they already exist): make personalized tags in which when you open any VN page, you can immediately see tags that may be interesting (because now there are a lot of tags in VNDB and each month they are more and more, and long VNs can have 100+ tags, read every tag to see if it suits your tastes it's extremely long especially when you choose from a dozen variants in the search, and sometimes you can skip something important), sometimes there are tags that we are not looking for, but a group of them may change the desire to start reading or pass. For example, if I search for VN with More Than Seven Heroines and Alternate Dimensions and go to look at the page Eiyuu*Senki , then there are a lot of tags, but with a filter I could immediately see what would give an additional desire to start playing this VN or not, and for example if I really like (but it is not necessary that they be in VN) Turn Based Strategy Game , Odyssey , Heroine with Armor , Pirate Heroine then I would see it immediately and it would be an incentive to start playing it, and if there were only tags that I would not like to see Airhead Heroine , Protagonist with a Face , Food Discussions then I could close the page and start checking another VN.

My suggestion: So that the user could personally make filter-colors for himself, make 4 types of filter/display colors for each tag: standard (those that are now), dark (those that do not affect my opinion at all), green (those that I like and would be good additions to the plot), red (which will spoil my perception of the plot). It really saves a lot of time for users.

An example of how I see it:
VN tags - How is it now. My suggestion: Img #1.
All together imgs (I use my Photoshop and HTML skill by 200% xD)

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### Here are my secondary wishes that would be very helpful in general ###

Make a more advanced search: something like - (((tag1 and tag2) or tag3) and tag4, in other words, combining a group of filter tags, make more operations type - and / or / count / sum tags, as well as the ability to set a range/weight of tags - War min 1.5 - max 2.5

Add language search to characters (this is quite important!) because now it is almost useless for non-Japanese-speaking users, because in the search 80-90% of characters from VN are shown that are only translated into Japanese. When I personally tried to find a character according to my tastes, it gave me about ~100 results (2 pages), and I found about 10-14 characters who were from VN with an English translation, and it took me time to go to find characters that at least from VNs with English translation. Adding at least a language to the search would speed it up in several times. (Everything is connected: Character -> Array of VNs -> Array of Releases -> Languages. I think it's quite easy to do)

Make a joint search for VN tags and Character traits. (There is a combined search on VN and Releases, why not add characters there?)

Make the tag weight for characters. Because it happens that, for example, you really like Anal Sex, but with this character there can be only 1 scene even for several parts, or almost all the scenes with it. Having made for example 1-5 points (1 - very few scenes / time, 5 - almost all scenes / time) or at least 1-3 without voting for all users, only at least so that 1 time could be put and it was clear how much this Trait affects the plot.

To make a spoiler for a character’s gender, because sometimes when you go to look at characters, for example, in such a beautiful VN as Dracu-Riot! , the whole story is told as if Nicola Cepheus is a guy, but in the secret ending it turns out that "he" is actually she, and she has her own route, but I knew about it initially because I wanted to go to see (of course, with 'Hide spoilers') what are the characters personalitys in this VN and for me it did not become a surprise in the story itself :\ , and in general it is a VERY big spoiler and there are such big spoilers in many VN, how to deal with it? make a copy of the character with another gender but hide the character as a spoiler?

I think a lot of people wrote this, but it would be very useful if there were notifications about the mentioning of a nick on the forum - @weter , u148939 , otherwise now it is constantly necessary manually to go and see if someone wrote it, and if someone mentioned you in another topic you may never know.

Make an opportunity to take notes for myself for each VN on site, but now I write my opinion or notes for each completed/played VN in a text file on my PC.

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I wrote a lot of superfluous adding examples, but I wrote it in order for you to understand that these are not triviality but real problems that many users face.

Thank you for reading! It was my thoughts. I apologize for my English, this is not my first language, maybe I wrote something wrong, but I have no bad intentions, if something is not clear you can always ask again and I will answer more clearly. If I hurt your feelings by writing something I see that it is easy to do and it is not, then I'm sorry I'm not an expert in this (but I have been studying php, js, c++, sql for a couple of years, everything of course depends on how the db and code were originally written). I hope this all information was at least a little useful to you.

Please admins write down whether you have plans to do something similar from my suggestions and whether anything I said was helpful. ("The greatest pain is ignoring")

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Some useless information about me:

I wrote (+making pictures)(+competent picking up thoughts) all this for 4 days (~10-12 hours). I have been sitting on VNDB for less than a year. But VNDB has already become like a native for me. Thanks to VNDB, I found a lot of very interesting VNs that brightened my boredom. Even if nothing changes, I will still be sitting here for years. I don’t think that will ever appear better VN site than VNDB so I spent so much time on my reasoning, maybe this will help my favorite site in the future and it will be even better.
Thank you for everything VNDB!
#2 by surferdude
2019-04-19 at 22:43
I actually read this wall of text, and I have to say, the guy is right. The tags, traits, and search features are a mess, and it makes VNDB less useful as a database because of that.
#3 by eacil
2019-04-19 at 23:18
It's not new and has already been discussed, though, apart maybe for the tag flagging. Nonetheless, nice job, @weter, especially the pics.
#4 by yorhel
2019-04-20 at 10:14
Some good points in there, pretty well-thought out too. Though most of this is indeed not new.

Versions-Releases & Traits-Characters
This is a long standing and known issue with the current model. In a more abstract sense, there are two ways to deal with it:

- Multiple entries for different versions.
- Fields (tags/traits) with VN/release-specific data.

The current database already has a mix here and there: VN screenshots are also linked to releases, characters can have a separate role per release. Characters also support instances to handle such differences, but these are not always used to differentiate between their activities in VNs. My main objection to VN/release-specific tags/traits is that these heavily complicate both the UI and moderation. Your UI suggestions are quite nice, but I'm not confident that editing and moderation is going to be very intuitive (Not to mention that writing and maintaining so many UI options is a huge pain). I'm not saying it's a bad idea per se, but we need to see if it's worth the effort, or if the alternative (and much simpler) solution of multiple entries or perhaps just good use of notes isn't a better approach.

How many VN entries are affected by major mistagging like this? Does it make sense to split those up? (I may be opening a can of worms here, such discussions are always painful...)

For character traits, I suppose the complexity of such a system may be worth it. Or we can fix the interface so that it's more clear what the difference is between multiple instances and make more use of that feature.

One general note on this: Don't expect a database like this to be able to accurately represent every situation. There are definitely ways in which we can improve, but at some point the required effort is not proportional to the increased accuracy.

Make a more advanced search: something like - (((tag1 and tag2) or tag3) and tag4
The API can do these things, to some extent. Not the weights though. The biggest problem here is fixing a UI for it. That, and by its very nature of being a feature for "advanced users", it's not going to be used much.

Make a joint search for VN tags and Character traits.
Has been on my TODO list for ages. Simply hadn't gotten around to doing this yet.

Make an opportunity to take notes for myself for each VN on site.
This is already possible, but the UI for it is absolutely terrible. In your VN list -> the selection menu at the bottom has a "set note" option. Improving the UI has been long on my TODO list as well, because I agree that this feature needs more love.

Color-coded tag display
Now this is a feature suggestion I hadn't seen before. Again one for advanced users, but doesn't seem too complex. The "saves time" argument only applies if you factor out the effort it takes for users to create such preference lists in the first place - for most people that would be a bigger time sink than what they'd save. But I suppose that's for everyone to decide on their own.

extensions
In case you weren't aware: VNDB is open source, so strictly speaking anyone can implement whatever feature they want, I'd review it and everyone (even those without extensions) can benefit from it. The biggest practical problem here is that I have very strong opinions on web development and those tend to not align with a good part of the web development community...

And a general issue with adding new features to the database itself is that we need to think strongly about how to migrate old data and how the data is going to entered, verified and moderated.

(I skipped over a few other of your suggestions - not that I think those are a bad idea, but they'd need a lot more discussion than "it would be nice if...". I mean, we're not running out of ideas on how to improve VNDB, it's that not much is actually happening. Which is of course largely my fault)
#5 by kiru
2019-04-20 at 13:10
One of the biggest issue of VNDB isn't actually the system, but the few users. And this is nothing we can change.
Some things, like certain tags only applying to certain releases, are very known problems existing and having been discussed countless of times already, meaning that there's no real clear and easy solution. A look at EGS also shows, what just making a different entry for each release results into. The vote and tag splitting hurt.

Most VNs here have their tags set by ONE person. ONE. That's not the idea of vndb, yet it's commonly done because few play JP only novels. And if that ONE user misunderstands a tag, it's wrong. And will probably stay wrong. The Brief Branches Only tag is a good example of having been used wrongly so often, it basically became useless. It was renamed by now, to make it more clear what it means, but the damage is obviously done. Plenty of other tags have similar issues. Too few people tag, mistakes remain undetected, people don't always click on a tag for its description.. awkward.


And that all is why I think, that the current system is fine, for the most part. Should vndb grow enough to make it more worthwhile, thinking about more splits of VN entries could be good. Until then, maybe adding some more search options to the GUI (i.e. the aforementioned combination of tag+trait) is a "nice to have" thing, that's not in a hurry though. What we need the most is actually correct usage of traits and tags. Try look at Twin Tails as an example for traits. Half of the results aren't that (i.e. Agatsu Nayu or Ahri Remono ), because some people misunderstand that and think, it simply means having two "tails" in SOME kinda way, even though it directly refers to a very specific way of having two tails. (i.e. Achilles or Aika Landic ) A part of the issue are the child traits as well, which are completely wrong, showing further how the trait was even created with a misunderstanding by someone. Mind you, its trait description seems quite correct, so I don't know how completely different looking hairstyles managed to end up being child traits.
We basically need to fix all of the issues of this kind. And there are a LOT.Last modified on 2019-04-20 at 13:13

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