No, not track 3 from The Streets' brilliant, touched with genius, groundbreaking album "Original Pirate Material", but rather a few ideas from an unhappy insomniac on how to build on RHP's successes, and address some of the weaknesses:-
SMALLER, SPECIFIC SITE IMPROVEMENTS:-
1. Make the 'Skip' button work properly!!!! I don't use it but there are many who do.
2. Ability to send a message without making a move.
3. Make a bigger play of there being no need to download any software, nor any of this connect to server business (like on yahoo chess for example). Scream this somewhere in simple terms (don't say browser interface as it does at the moment, say no software to download, do it all through your browser!!) on the homepage at the top in big letters!! A year and a half ago when I typed in online chess looking for a place to play I was put off hugely by all the ones that needed software downloading, and, being on a university network, I had a firewall to contend with (as have many people who are at work) so not needing to do the connect to server thingy was brilliant.
4. On the game page, for those tricky positions, an opportunity to bring up a pop up page on which you can move the pieces around freely.
1. Reduction in non-pawnstar game limit to 6 concurrent games. 10 is loads, if people are enjoying RHP so much as to want to play more than 6 concurrent games, then they should be able to afford the paltry subscription fee.
2. Make it far, far clearer and more obvious how to pay for a star if you haven't got a credit card. One such way would be to make a new improved FAQ list, to include what I just mentioned, as well as how to put a picture in your profile and getting an avatar. These questions come up time and time again.
3. A life membership scheme. $60 for lifetime membership, special colour/special type of star (a shooting one?!?!).
4. Increase in subscription fee for second (and third and so on) time yearly subscribers. Call this new fee of, say, $24 the "normal fee", and then make the current price of $15 a "special offer" to first time subscribers. Let's face it, the VAST majority of people who have been a member for over a year are likely to want to subscribe again, and would be willing to resubscribe at a cost of $2 a month. Plus first timers will feel more like they're getting a cheapo bargain.
5. A non-pawnstar friend of mine told me about the guilt trip advertisements, something to do with $15 being the price of cinema admission or a couple of pizzas. Excellent! Let's have more!
1. Move the 'General' forum lower down the list, rename it the Off Topic forum. Move the 'Only Chess' forum to the top of the list and rename it The RHP Forum: for general RHP related discussion and chess theory discussion. I've posted the reasons for this many times before so won't do so again.
2. Display the number of times each thread has been viewed (for every *distinct* user that views a thread, the thread view for that thread goes up by one).
3. The removal of those cool RHP related banner advertisements means that the forums aren't advertised. Advertise them! It's the easiest way of getting to know lots of people without having to play them all, and subsequently feeling part of the community.
4. This one's a personal hobby horse, as I genuinely believe it would have a very tangible effect on increasing the number of subscribers, especially the lurkers in the forums (of which I believe there are many): Some kind of limitation of access for non-pawnstars, eg can only read 50% of the threads in the General and Chess Only forums. Alternatively, can no longer read more than 6 replies in a particular thread in these two forums. What you can't see makes you all the more intrigued, and makes you feel that you are missing out on something.
LARGER, POTENTIALLY TRICKY, DEFINITELY WORTH IT, INTERESTING IDEAS:-
1. RHP League set up. Different divisions according to signing up rating, promotion and relegation, chance for new people to enter leagues at end of each cycle, pawnstar only feature. RHP doesn't lend itself very well to speedy, exciting tournament play. Play to RHP's strengths, a league over a period of time would be doing so.
2. More interesting tournaments, as opposed to slight variations on timeout length or group size let's have an Odds tournament, or a Fischer Random tournament, or, as Bbarr suggests a themed opening tournament.
Okay, this following one is one that I think would benefit the site HUGELY.
3. TEAMS!!! I just think it would be great, a chance for competition, of team rivalry, of banter, of enjoyment, and so on. This could work in one of two ways:-
A) The boring but easier way: All the players' results in that team from their usual normal games count towards how the team gets on. At the end of the month have some sort of team league table.
B) The potentially more fun way: Direct team challenges. For example, there could be a team Vaknso called "Vaknso's Knights", and a team Rhymester called "Rhymester's Rebels". They would play directly against each other, say the highest rated playes matching off, then the next highest, and so on. This team rivalry thing could be very beneficial for the community, as it would create a healthy rivalry similar to that of the MAP war (one of the most successful and good things to ever happen to RHP) but not just between Rhymester and vaknso, there would be new team rivalries etc. I suspect this idea would lead to a lot of good natured, humourous, fun banter between teams.
So, who wants to join me and play for The Squirrel Lovers?