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Can leaguerunner be any harder for new members?

"Rant on your Soapbox" Revived!

Can leaguerunner be any harder for new members?

Postby laffer » Fri May 04, 2007 6:04 pm

I found signing up easy, because I am a TUC member, I remembered my password and was captaining a team.

But could leaguerunner make it any harder for new members?!?

People on my team have been reporting...

1) First they have to sign up to the TUC site (some people are new and some people could not recall or retrieve their old password)

2) Then they go to leaguerunner and because they are new to tuc it tells them they have to wait for league administration to approve them. No clue how long approval takes, but most people gave up and came back the next day.

3) So the next day they return...
sign in
go to leaguerunner
describe their ultimate history
fill out the survey

4) Then they have to e-mail me to say they are registered

5) Then I (the captain) have to go to the site
sign in
invite them to our team

6) Now they have to return to the TUC site and sign in for the third time and join the team.

So all in all it takes 4 visits to the site (3 for the player and one for the captain) with undefined delays between stages to sign-up a new player.

I am I missing something? Is there an easier way to do this?

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Postby Crunchy » Fri May 04, 2007 9:28 pm

Same experience...

Was really smooth for a couple of us (even though we still had to go through all those steps)

Was inconvinent for most others. Several had to contact TUC for help. Players in this category took 3-10 days to get rostered... which is a major stress for the captains...
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Postby GregS » Sat May 05, 2007 1:03 pm

Since I'm the webmaster, I guess I'm in the best position to respond. First of all, I hope that everyone who had problems will accept our apologies. With any new software, there are bound to be growing pains, but we expect that the worst of it is over, things will become easier as people grow accustomed to the system, and it will all be worthwhile in the long run. Now, I'd like to address some your points in order.

1. We were unable to retrieve user names and passwords from the old system (thanks, ITSportsnet!), so we had to assign new ones to the majority of users (we did have this info available for people who used the BBS). We knew since last fall that there would be a lot of people with password issues, so we sent an email to everyone in this group in November, two more in February and another in March, telling them what their user name is, what their password should be, and how to reset their password if they had any problems. (Many of these emails presumably ended up in junk folders, or bounced because people had changed email addresses without informing us, or were simply ignored.) We included information about this in Layouts. We wrote an extensive FAQ section answering all of the questions that we expected, and added or expanded answers when we noticed the same questions again and again. We made modifications to both Leaguerunner and Post-Nuke (the software that runs the rest of the site) to be as helpful as possible, with suggestions about what to try for user names and passwords, links to the FAQ and more. In short, we did everything we could to make this one-time transition to the new software as painless as possible.

2. Approval of the basic account information is required, so that we can ensure that the database is clean. We have had people signing up with invalid names, addresses and/or phone numbers, which must be corrected so that we can ensure that we can communicate with our membership. We have also had many people signing up for new accounts when they already had an existing account, which causes administrative problems. For these reasons, we have an administrator do a visual check (aided by the software) to make sure that the data looks good. Ian (our member services coordinator) handles the bulk of these, and I know for a fact that he has been checking for new accounts several times a day, most evenings, and usually even a couple of times on the weekend. I think that the wait times for account approval have been very good, considering that we do require this manual processing.

4. Some teams have chosen to make their roster "open" instead of the default "closed", which means that people can request to join the team, and you (as captain) will get an automatic notification when this happens. We considered making the open/closed choice a registration-time option, but decided against it as an unnecessary complexity.

6. In previous years, the captain could add anyone they wanted to their roster without this approval from the player. Many of our members voiced concerns about privacy, since a captain has access to their players' phone numbers; if you wanted to find someone's number, all you had to do as captain was add them to your team. Also, there were numerous cases where players who were not actually on a team were fraudulently added to the roster, simply to fill out the 12 player requirement. Some players were listed on three teams on the same night! To address these issues, the extra step was added, requiring both the captain and the player to agree before a player is officially on the roster.

As for the number of visits required, if you make your team roster open, then step 6 is eliminated, and step 4 is replaced with making a "request to join" (in the same visit as step 3), so it can all be done with two visits from the player and one from the captain (who can handle multiple requests in a single visit). That's as simple as it can get, without compromising our members' privacy or allowing the database to become choked with invalid data (which increases the costs of running the league, therefore either increasing membership costs or decreasing the level of service we provide). Also, it's worth noting that steps 1 and 2 are one-time-only and will not be required when registering in the fall or winter or next year (assuming that people remember their user names and passwords, or check the "remember me" box when logging on, and if they don't I can't see how that is the fault of the software).

This is not to say that the process is all streamlined and perfect. As I already mentioned, we are using two main pieces of software to run the site: Post-Nuke and Leaguerunner. A lot of work has gone into making these work together (otherwise you would have had to create a user name on the site, and then another one in Leaguerunner, and log in not once but twice every time you visit the site!), but there is more that can, and will, be done in this area. Secondly, Leaguerunner has not historically handled registration, let alone on-line payments, so all of that code is brand new, and this is the first big test it's had. (We did handle winter registration with this new code as well, knowing that we didn't want the massive summer season to be the first test.) It has performed reasonably well, but we have identified a number of areas for improvement, and will be addressing these before the next round of registrations.

I don't know if you remember last year's registration process, but it was so cryptic that Ian had to put together a "slide show" of screen shots to walk people through it. That wasn't necessary this year, so I think we've taken at least a small step in the right direction. The big benefit of using Leaguerunner going forward is that we have the ability to make the changes we feel necessary; it's simply a matter of finding the time to do it. As an unpaid volunteer, I've put about $15,000 of my time into this system, and my only regret is that I don't have more time to spend on it, but I do have to pay the bills with "real" work.

In conclusion, thanks for reading this far, and thanks to everyone who has sent their feedback, both positive and negative. It is only by hearing what you like and what you dislike that we can direct the evolution of the site into a resource which is more and more useful and useable for our membership.
Did you get that thing I sent you?
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Postby Happy Camper » Thu May 10, 2007 1:05 pm

We love you Greg. Thanks for all the hard work.

ps - I found it really easy. :P
Winners never quit and quitters never win. Cheaters, however, go on to win home run titles.
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Postby HotSauce » Thu May 10, 2007 3:43 pm

ditto. Greg's the best.
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