The Respected Madman
021 - For quite some time I have been trying to draw attention to the problems I have been having with the fantasy curling page at CurlingZone. I have been making hundreds of picks each week, and large portions of them were not being counted. My calls for assistance ranged from the sincere, to the annoying, to the ridiculous. No matter what I did, I could not get any response from site administrators at CZ (that is what the cool people call CurlingZone … no, really). I was not so much bothered by the fact that there was some glitch in the system, but that it only seemed to be affecting me. Looking at weekly scoreboards, trying to elicit feedback in the site’s forums, and communicating with other users on the site, I could not find anybody that was having the same experiences I was enduring.
The obvious assumption to make is that there was something fouled up with my account. Somehow during the registration process this summer, it appeared something did not get stored correctly in the databases. Without getting any feedback from the powers-that-be, I initiated my own tech support. This past week, I created a second account at CurlingZone. I gave the account its own email address and ran it from a New York IP address, so that there would be no overlap with my BlankEnd account already in the system.
Allow me to introduce my alter ego. I am the RespectedMadman.
Keeping with the New York theme for this new account, I used my Wu-Tang name as the user name. (I tried to run this account from a Staten Island IP address, but could not figure out how to make that happen. That would have been pretty dope, though.)
Starting last Wednesday and going through last night, I made every Week 10 pick I could with each account. Every time I made a pick with my BlankEnd account, I duplicated the pick with the RespectedMadman account. If all went as it should, both accounts would end up with identical scores at the end of the week because they made identical picks. I expected, however, that the troubles with the BlankEnd account would emerge once again and the RespectedMadman would surge ahead. Something completely different happened, however.
For the first time in months, all of the BlankEnd picks appear to have been counted. It was this new account that was experiencing all-too-familiar issues. More than sixty picks that were credited to the BlankEnd do not appear in the RespectedMadman’s scores.
It appears that the glitch in the system did not target my account specifically, it just affected the newest account in the system. When a new account was registered, the glitch then went to work on that one and allowed my original account to run as expected. Unfortunately, this has not restored the hundreds and hundreds of picks I made earlier in the season that are still not being counted. The good news, however, is that I expect things to work well moving forward.
Not that Gerry and the folks at CurlingZone need any advice from me, but here goes anyway. From my experiment, it does not appear that you are getting a lot of new users signing up to your site. In fact, I may be the last two users that have enrolled and that happened in a ten-week period of time. I cannot imagine how busy you are managing all of the dynamic content on the number of sites you run. However, you may look into improving user interactions. The fantasy section of your site may be the least important and most frivolous, but must certainly generate the most clicks per visit … by far. A few dozen people have made tens of thousands of picks already this season, each a series of clicks on your webpage. Given how you monetize the site with the huge number of click-baity adds, you may want to take care of the small number of users that generate the most impressions. The easiest solution would be to add another moderator to your forums. People would gladly volunteer to help you out. If problems do emerge, particularly for newer users whom you may want to encourage to participate, there will be a friendly voice in the forums that can lend a helping hand. If the problem seems legitimate, then the moderator can get on the Batphone to you. This would be so much better than the radio silence I have received. I know this seems like small potatoes right now, but next year is an olympiad. Yes, the once-in-four-years that other people in the world takes an interest in curling. I think being ready to take on some new users would benefit us all.
If you are interested in getting your own Wu-Tang Name, I strongly recommend listening this old TLDR (now titled On the Media) podcast on the topic. It’s a short one, but worth the listen.