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Old 1st Dec 2013, 12:28 PM DefaultMajor Changes for Creators - Queue Bypass, Guidelines, Rubrics, and More! #1
HystericalParoxysm
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Introduction

We have some pretty big changes to share with you today! These changes are to the Creator Guidelines (our standards and what we expect at minimum when people share content here), the rubrics that MTS Staff use for evaluating things shared here, and also the general way we handle moderation of uploads in general. The focus of these changes is to make it easier and more enjoyable to share your work here at MTS, while still maintaining the basic standards of quality and presentation that set MTS apart from most sites that allow user submissions.


Queue Bypass

Creators with a good track record of uploading here will be able to share content instantly, bypassing the moderation queue. In order to bypass the queue, a creator must meet the following criteria:

1. Must have at least 10 approved uploads since we started tracking uploads (June 2008).
2. Out of the last 10 upload attempts (counting both approves and removed), at least 9 of those must have been approved (no more than 1 removed).
3. Out of the last 5 upload attempts, we have not had to ask for changes more than one time per upload more than once (so at least 4 out of 5 have had 1 or less Changes Required PMs sent)

The reasoning here is to ensure that a creator's recent uploads are basically fine - if we need to ask for small changes and they understand what we're asking for and change it in one go, it doesn't count against them. There's a bit of a "cushion" for creators to branch out to new sections they may not have created for previously, without instantly losing their bypass if they, for example, suddenly start creating meshes and are having some initial difficulties. There are no "categories" (for several reasons, mostly the complexity of trying to divide creation types by skills), so bypassing based on one type of creation means bypassing for them all.

This does not mean that items that bypass the queue are completely un-moderated. Items with minor issues will be left "live" and a moderator will simply ask, via a comment on the thread, that the creator to fix the issues when they get a chance. Items with more major issues will be moved back to the queue with a PM from the moderator, and then either marked Changes Required or removed. This will count the same as if it had been in the queue in the first place - that is, a creator who had been bypassing who gets two things moved back and removed (2 removed in the last 10 uploads) will no longer bypass until those removals have fallen off the end of the list, pushed out by newer uploads.

You can view whether or not you can bypass personally by looking at your Creator Statistics. You can find this normally under the User Tools menu at the top right. Whether or not other creators can bypass is not public, nor is it marked on a particular upload whether or not it bypassed.

If you don't want to bypass... That's okay too - if you want us to look at your upload and make sure it's okay, we're happy to do so. Just click the "Send to the queue to be reviewed by a moderator" button on the last step in the Upload Wizard, and your creation will go to the queue instead of going live instantly.

If you believe your stats are in error due to something removed or marked Changes Required in error, then you can talk to us about it and we can change your stats. Please post up a new thread in the Creator Issues Forum and choose the category "Admin Required." Please note that until very recently, we did not keep a record of what a CR was for, only that it was sent, so if you have an issue with a CR you want removed, you will need to have kept the CR PM (as that is the only place that info might be) for us to be able to consider removing it.

Please note however, there is no creator-specific override to the bypass. We cannot force you to use the queue if your stats say otherwise - you can choose to use the queue yourself, but we only can put individual uploads into the queue. We also cannot allow creators to bypass if their stats say they are not eligible - and only an administrator can change stats, on a case-by-case basis, and only for number of removals/CRs.


Reports System:

The reports system has been altered, making it easier to report a post without having to read a novel first. Now you can choose a report type from a dropdown, enter a comment (if desired), and send your report to the moderators. You should receive a response to your report when it's been dealt with by staff.

The reason for doing this now is so we could have a specific "Does not meet Creator Guidelines" report type, so if you see something that may have bypassed the queue that has major issues that really shouldn't be "live" in the Downloads section, you can report it so we can take a look. Then, if necessary, we can move it into the queue and ask the creator to fix it. Thus, anything truly problematic that happens to bypass the queue shouldn't be on the site very long.


Moderation Methods

One of the biggest changes is our approach in handling creations shared here. In the past, we have sometimes been overly nitpicky, subjective, and moderated based on personal preference rather than things that were strictly covered in the guidelines. We have taken steps to move away from this, and to make moderation much gentler. While we still want to have a focus on quality, we're changing our methods so that sharing here is a lot easier and more fun.

We have a new "handbook" for moderators to use as a guide: Captain Picard's School of Upload Moderation, which is publicly viewable. We encourage you to read it so you can see how our focus and attitude have changed.

Additionally, as part of these major changes, all previous upload moderators have had their powers in the Downloads forum removed. The only moderators whose powers have been subsequently restored (allowing them to moderate the queue) are those who have actively participated in these changes (working on guidelines, rubrics, etc.) and who have demonstrated an understanding not only of the letter of the new methods but also the spirit of them. This is not intended as a punishment to our staff, who work tirelessly as unpaid volunteers at an often thankless task... But to make sure that going forward, the only people handling uploads are those that truly "get it" and are up to date on our current guidelines, rubrics, and other methods. Others may still regain powers in that area by being retrained on the new system, or may move on to other duties as we have no shortage of things to do around here!

Moderation of uploads is also now no longer anonymous - while the PMs still come from UploadManager for technical reasons, the name of the moderator who handled your upload will be contained in the PM. If you have a question about how your upload was handled, you can simply send a PM to that moderator and ask them.


Creator Feedback Changes:

The Creator Feedback Forum has had its rules modified to expand its focus - it's not just for "help me make this sim look more like the celeb" type things now, but also to help you improve on your presentation, work on your upload text, etc... And you can ask for testers for your content, help in double-checking your custom content credit links, etc... Think of it as an upload "sandbox" where you can prepare your creation for sharing, and get comments on it to help you improve. We will also be increasing exposure for this forum, so that more folks will be helping with things posted there.


Guidelines Changes

Every one of the Creator Guidelines has been redone: shortened, reworded and cut back to basics as much as possible. They still focus on quality, but should be a lot easier to understand and to achieve. You should definitely read the guidelines for whatever type of content you're sharing, but the biggest changes are detailed here:

  • Picture quality: We do still suggest a minimum size, that your pics be clear, well-lit, etc., but as long as the quality of your creation is obvious from the pictures, that's good enough - if they're a bit undersized, a bit dark, a bit blurry but still good enough, we may suggest better ones but won't -require- better ones.
  • Increased picture size limit: JPEG/JPG images can be up to 2560x1440 pixels, and 800 kb in size. Max sizes for other types can be found here.
  • Increased picture quantity limit: You may now upload up to 100 pics! Of course, please keep it to a reasonable quantity... only things like huge sets, full worlds, etc. should have that many pics!
  • File sizes: You may now upload files up to 50 mb (old limit was 10 mb). This should mean that you don't have to split files for all but the biggest uploads.
  • No more CI Preparation: If you've uploaded a big set, you may have had to use Creator Issues to prepare your thread, so you had enough room for pics and so forth, and then asked a moderator to move it. Because the pic limit is greatly raised and you can now use Creator Feedback to help gather your info, this is no longer necessary and you can just upload normally.
  • Sims3packs (TS3): For those areas that items can be done as sims3packs without issue (CAS content, objects, and non-CAP patterns), you may upload a sims3pack version of your content instead of/in addition to a package file.
  • Policies and Remixes: If a creator has no policies listed disallowing the type of edit you want to do, then we assume that it's okay with them. You must still, of course, give a link and credit, but they don't have to be gone 6 months before you can edit their stuff. If they have policies disallowing the type of edit you want, then you'll still have to obtain their special permission.
  • Nitpicky Stuff Removed: Pretty much all the guidelines (and associated rubrics) have been reworded so things that are optional or "nice to have" are listed as recommended but not absolutely required. Items related to personal taste are removed, and we've tried to reword everything to make it clear that there's plenty of leeway for crazy, creative, and unrealistic, as long as you make it work.
  • Upload Advertising: This hasn't actually been in the guidelines even though we had a rubric for it (um, oops) but now it's been removed from the rubrics too - if you want to put a little, "Hey, visit my Tumblr for more stuff I've made," line in your upload, go for it,. Just make sure the focus is on the thing you're actually uploading here.


For specific sections:
  • Lots: Removed requirement for back picture. TS3 lots no longer have to be furnished. Made sure requirement for flat lots is clear.
  • TS3 Worlds/TS2 Neighborhoods: Removed requirement for back and floor plan pictures for the 5 example lots, and for the full-body picture for sims. Also removed the requirement for the descriptions and lot prices for the example lots, and descriptions for the example sims. This should -greatly- simplify sharing worlds/neighborhoods!
  • Sims: Removed requirement for full-body picture. Also removed requirement for "show how they look as an adult" picture if sharing a toddler/child/teen.
  • Objects: Removed the "pictures must be your own artwork/game screenshots" requirement.
  • Patterns: You may now share patterns made with Create-a-Pattern as long as they otherwise meet the pattern guidelines.
  • CAS: Softened up guidelines about stencils/channels - dead simple designs (like a tee shirt with a Nike logo which is one colour on a solid background, or simple blocks of colour like a Mondrian painting) should be done as channels. For more complex stuff where it wouldn't be ridiculously easy to make it CASTable, use of stencils (non-recolourable/non-CASTable designs) is okay.
  • CAS/Body Shop: Added requirement that you show the morphs, and made it clear that morphs are necessary unless there's a good reason why not (for example, a robot body or wasp-waisted corset). Morphs can be shown in CAS.
  • CAS/Objects/Patterns: Sets of CAST presets may now be shared here, if they are a decently sized and cohesive set (i.e. a full range of hair or eye colours, a nice set of basic wood presets, etc.)
  • Mods: Removed the requirement for an in-game picture as it can be real hard to illustrate a mod with a pic (though you do have to have -some- kind of picture or it won't show in Downloads). For TS3 mods, listing the exact resource name is now optional, not required, as long as it's obvious what you've modified enough that people can avoid conflicts.


Regarding pay content:

As part of these guidelines changes, we have also reworked our rules on pay content. This may have been the most difficult part, trying to balance the interests of:
  • The person downloading from MTS, who expects to get the content as it looks in the pictures without having to pay anything.
  • Someone sharing content on MTS, who would like to share (for example) a sim they've made, without spending ages tracking down if the hair they've used is pay, even though they don't pay for content or download from pirate sites.
  • The creator of the pay content, whose permissions and policies we don't want to see violated even if we don't agree with them making pay content.
  • The MTS staff, who would generally like to just check if an item is good, well-presented, and technically okay when moderating the queue - not spending ages tracking down whether an item is pay, or being the CC Police.

With all those things in mind, the rules for pay content (which usually may be found here) are as follows:

Everything required or recommended for an upload must be freely available, without having to pay.
  • No uploads requiring pay content: We do not host content (for example, recolours of a pay hair or object mesh) that absolutely require pay content to function in-game.
  • No optional pay, pirated, or stolen content: Even for optional or recommended content not absolutely required for the creation to work (for example, hair on a sim or a couch on a lot), this means:
    • No content you must pay for. This means you cannot use items that are pay, donation, subscriber only, "special gift", etc. type content, anything accessible only when you pay money or subscribe.
    • No content from sites that are repositories of unmodified content when it is still available from the original creator, whether these items are pay or free (no Booty or Simscave, torrents, sites full of stolen content or similar, but the Graveyard and sites that offer recolours or modifications with the mesh are okay).
    • No EA content simply converted to base game use with no other changes.
    • No pirated EA Store content. EA Store content, linked to the legitimate EA Store, is okay though - we consider this like EP or SP content, since EA already requires we pay for those.


Rubrics Changes

Because all of the guidelines have changed, the rubrics that we use to evaluate creations have also changed as well, with staff going through each and every thing and matching it carefully to the guidelines, and adjusting the wording so that it is as helpful and gentle as possible. The rubrics attempt to balance these factors:
  • Giving a fair evaluation of the item for pictures, information, quality, and technical "correctness".
  • Guiding a creator so that they can see which areas they're doing well at, and which could use some improvement, while being considerate of their feelings and work they've put into their creation.
  • Removing as much of the subjective part of moderation as possible, to make it easier for moderators to evaluate the upload with confidence and consistency.

You may view the full list of the actual rubrics used in evaluating uploads here: Upload Moderation rubrics Forum. Information on how the rubrics work can be found at the top of each rubric thread. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the rubrics, please let us know - that's why they're public!


Ongoing changes:

While the main parts of the guidelines and rubrics are pretty much done, as we begin moderating with the new stuff, there will likely be a couple of small things that need changing/adding because of something we forgot. Any modifications made will be in the overall spirit of these changes (we're not likely to go, "Well actually we don't want to accept sims3packs after all," or anything like that). We'll be sure to let you know if there's anything significant changed, but do make sure to check the Creator Guidelines so you know what's expected.


What's next?

Gosh, not enough changes? Well, the next couple things we want to get done are:
  • Revamping the upload wizard, so that the required information for each section is done as input boxes (so you can't forget anything), allow re-ordering of pictures, and some prompts for what the required pictures are for each section.
  • Reworking the tutorials area on the wiki, to remove dead tutorials or those that have lost all their pictures, and to make it a lot easier to find what you're looking for.

Of course, those aren't the ONLY things we have planned - just the next ones.

Thanks!

A huge, resounding, massive thanks to everyone who has participated in this project... Both to the creators who have offered suggestions, ideas, concerns, proofreading, and assistance in the Creator Suggestions thread, and to the moderation staff who have done an immense amount of work to make this happen! This was a BIG JOB but I am amazed and honoured to work with such fantastic people. You guys are incredible, and I wish we had an actual office or something so I could see you all in person and give every one of you a big hug and a pinch on the bum.


Questions, comments, concerns, bugs?

Please also bear in mind that this is SUCH a big change, there are bound to be some bits that need a little bit of tweaking, or some small bugs in the system, so please bear with us as we get past the initial hiccups! If you're confused, notice a bug with something, or just want to let us know how you feel about all this, please comment on this thread! We want to hear from you!

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Old 1st Dec 2013, 1:45 PM #2
Karen Lorraine
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I just wanna say a HUMUNGOUS THANK YOU to all who have worked on this project! Well done!

I have been following and commenting on the various threads and can see some of the work you have had to do from the public side, can't imagine how much stuff has been done behind the scenes for it to happen. I'm looking forward to trying out the new processes :D

So... to all of you and especially Delphy, HP and Leefish.....


Want a specific style of house or community building? Why not take a look at my profile and see what I build and then come ask me to make it!
Old 1st Dec 2013, 3:29 PM #3
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Thank you all, as always, for the hard work and time you put into this site! I would be heartbroken if it ever shut down! I really appreciate the effort you guys make to constantly improve the site, and make it the best experience possible for members. Thanks!!

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Old 1st Dec 2013, 4:43 PM #4
maybesomethingdunno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HystericalParoxysm
You guys are incredible, and I wish we had an actual office or something so I could see you all in person and give every one of you a big hug and a pinch on the bum.


Well, we do have the Scranton branch that hasn't closed yet.


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Old 1st Dec 2013, 4:53 PM #5
missyhissy
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You guys have done an incredible job getting this live. Huge congratulations to you all!!
Old 1st Dec 2013, 5:13 PM #6
ohthatsimschick
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Just wanted to pop in and say a HUGE congrats for getting this done, and SO fast! I mean, those changes were a MAJOR overhaul! Kudos to you guys for getting it all live!

My favourite features are the increased picture file size (YAY, no more resizing and losing quality!) and the ONE HUNDRED PICTURES allowed! Of course I won't ever upload near that many, but I have built big houses in the past, where I've had to edit them to get 2 pics in 1 file; definitely looking forward to this feature with my next big upload!
Old 1st Dec 2013, 5:46 PM #7
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This sounds really interesting; great changes to the site!
Old 1st Dec 2013, 6:01 PM #8
leefish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohthatsimschick
Just wanted to pop in and say a HUGE congrats for getting this done, and SO fast! I mean, those changes were a MAJOR overhaul! Kudos to you guys for getting it all live!


And congrats to you too I think you hold the honour of being the first creator to have an upload bypass the queue.

/me holds microphone to ohthatsimschick : So how did you feel hitting that bypass button?

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Last edited by leefish : 1st Dec 2013 at 6:20 PM.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 6:19 PM #9
ohthatsimschick
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Hahah! Yeah, I whipped up a starter house days ago, just for this! :D
It felt pretty awesome, if I'm honest! Almost felt like ripping the training wheels off my first bike! ^_~
Old 1st Dec 2013, 7:43 PM #10
iCad
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Hahahah...Uploaded something. I noticed that the wording in the wizard about file sizes and such hasn't changed, but I imagine you'll get to that when you get to it. Other than that, everything went smoothly. I got the acknowledgement PM for the upload, there's a thread for it on my control panel, it's on my profile page. It's not yet on the actual Downloads page, but I imagine that might take a little longer until it updates? Or should it have been instantaneous? I did refresh the page a few times, and it wasn't showing. Not a complaint, of course, just letting y'all know in case it's not supposed to be that way.

I want to say a hearty thanks to you all for all your hard work in getting this new system up and running in such a short amount of time. Like I said before, I've never had any major issues with how everything was before...but I have to admit it is kind of nice to upload something and...there it is. Instant gratification.

ETA: And now the thing's up there so...Yup, guess it just takes a few minutes.

So I'm taking another stab at documenting a neighborhood. This one stars Benjamin Long. Pathetic attempts at humor can be found here.
I caved and made myself a Simblr. Woe is me. There are downloads available there that aren't here on MTS because I'm lazy that way.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 8:17 PM #11
HystericalParoxysm
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iCad - I saw that with yours too, it just didn't show up immediately. I think the Download pages are actually cached? There's some pages that only update every X minutes for performance databasey technical type reasons.

Thanks for the note about the wizard, I did a test upload and I am so used to just putting stuff in the boxes and ignoring the text, I just skipped merrily past looking at the wording! D'oh - will fix that up asap.

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Old 1st Dec 2013, 8:21 PM #12
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Yes, the download pages are cached, it takes a few minutes for them to show new stuff (or you can add &regen=1 onto the end of the url if you're impatient).

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 8:38 PM #13
iCad
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Caching makes all kinds of sense; figured that was what it was since the upload showed everywhere else.

Something else I've noticed with the wizard: It used to be that if you uploaded 50 pieces in a zip, then when you got the page where you add descriptions of the item and check off whether it's you who created it or someone else, there was a line that had to be filled in for every file in the zip. Now I see that it only asks for one file per zip, and it was like that before the new system. I've been meaning to ask but keep forgetting: Is it supposed to do that? I mean, it's great for me because I'll upload sets with 1001 pieces if you let me, and I'm all for less mind-numbing and repetitive typing. That's the main reason why I stopped uploading the big plaster wall sets here, frankly, and put them on my LJ instead. But I'm wondering about when, say, someone else subsequently uses a piece of that set in an uploaded lot. Doesn't the description that the creator enters when they upload the set auto-fill on the "Custom Content Included" for the subsequent uploader's lot? If there's no such description entered...Does that mean more typing for the lot uploader? That seems rather unfair. Or does it all work differently than I think?

So I'm taking another stab at documenting a neighborhood. This one stars Benjamin Long. Pathetic attempts at humor can be found here.
I caved and made myself a Simblr. Woe is me. There are downloads available there that aren't here on MTS because I'm lazy that way.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 8:43 PM #14
Nysha
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No, it's not meant to do that, and D can't work out why it does .

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 9:08 PM #15
iCad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nysha
No, it's not meant to do that, and D can't work out why it does .


Ah, OK. Well, at least you all know about it! And in the meantime, I'll take full advantage of it.

So I'm taking another stab at documenting a neighborhood. This one stars Benjamin Long. Pathetic attempts at humor can be found here.
I caved and made myself a Simblr. Woe is me. There are downloads available there that aren't here on MTS because I'm lazy that way.
Old 1st Dec 2013, 9:18 PM #16
joandsarah77
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Thank you to Delphy, HP, Leefish, and anyone else who has been working on this. Great changes guys and I can't wait to try using that bypass button instead of checking the page and worrying did I tick each box and dot every i.

Congrtaulation ohthatsimschick on being the first to use it! I'm going to pop over and see what you uploaded.

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 2:31 AM #17
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Thanks to everyone involved with these improvements!! They will allow the site to expand for the better. I build smaller sites myself and I can't even imagine the efforts that have been put in to allow these changes to become a reality.
Fantastic work!!! :

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 6:26 AM #18
hellmonja
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I'd like a pinch on the bum.

Wow, thanks for the changes, their great! And all that in such short amount of time. I'm most excited on the picture sizes and-- 100 PICTURES!!! Now I can show my houses more completely. Now if only i had a lot ready to upload...
Old 2nd Dec 2013, 8:44 AM #19
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nysha
No, it's not meant to do that, and D can't work out why it does .


Thing is, I haven't changed that part of the code in years. Certainly nothing would have changed with the "new" system, since the new bypass only affects steps 12 and 13 (ie the review and submission parts), and not step 6 or 7, I forget which one it is, which is the filling in of CC information.

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 9:20 AM #20
mustluvcatz
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Actually- what iCad is talking about started a long time ago. Back in February or March I think. Before then, yes- you'd have to fill in the boxes for each and every file. So it's not a recent thing having to do with the recent changes.
Old 2nd Dec 2013, 10:08 AM #21
Klaartje
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I am seriously impressed by the speed at which you guys have managed to roll out these changes A big thank you and well done for everyone who has been involved.
/me runs off to create something to test the shiny new system
Old 2nd Dec 2013, 10:22 AM #22
leefish
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Regarding the speed - there was a huge amount of work done last year setting up rubrics and generally tidying up. I see this work as a sort of "continuous improvement" action of the then existing process - the work done last year was NOT wasted - it basically paved the way for this change to be done as fast as it was. The BIG change was the coding of the bypass calculations, and a LOT of checking and copying of rubrics and making sure that rubric = guideline and that the canned texts were a shade more friendly.

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 3:57 PM #23
Nysha
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D, I think it may be to do with something you did when updating the detection system for TS3, or when adding detection for included files in sims3packs.

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 11:55 PM #24
CatherineTCJD
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COOL!!! I just tried it out and BAM! my new lot is up. Thank you sooooo much for all the work ya'll've done on this. YAY!!!


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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 10:40 AM #25
billielith
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That will be a nice set of changes, thank you! Particularly happy about having more pictures allowed for an upload. That has always been the chinese puzzle part to me, showing everything in 8-or-so pictures. Love the new visual theme. You guys make great work, keep it up! :D

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