My short bio: I'm Mau, the furiously programming nerd that created the OC (Original Character) reference website Refsheet.net. The website is programmed in Ruby/Rails and ReactJS, hosted across multiple clouds, and currently serving 22k users, 89k characters with 367k images uploaded over a two-year lifespan.

If your question is "why should I care?" I'm just going to respond nonsensically. I could explain the website more but then I'll get more "Is this an ad?" questions.

Since it's getting busy over on the website, and since I'm answering a lot of questions on the forums and Twitter, I figured I'd spend today answering queries that may or may not be related to the website.

My Proof: https://twitter.com/refsheet/status/1145062115109232643

Comments: 244 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

GenericBacon152 karma

Why is there furry porn on the front page? What is your goal?

MauAbata96 karma

It's time to change the screenshots. The first users were furries, so there wasn't a lot to go on. Now there's a huge selection of elves and dwarves and ponies and superheroes and Star Wars OCs and...

Though, I wouldn't necessarily call the cat in the screenshots porn. Unless by front page you mean you were signed in and saw your news feed full of furry boobs, but that's on you.

aequitas324 karma

Are there naked Twi'leks?

MauAbata27 karma

Shockingly, no. I don't have any Twi'leks on the site.

aequitas318 karma

This is an outrage. Have you seen what those lekku can do? Boy howdy

MauAbata16 karma

Oh Twitter showed me plenty.

Now you made me sad, there's not many Star Wars OCs here. One Togruta. Then again, I have a Togruta and Zabrak OC from SWTOR that I haven't uploaded yet.

And no. I'm not about to do the Togruta dirty.

aequitas36 karma

They're basically just BDSM Twi'leks. They'd get off on it

MauAbata20 karma

HAH. Okay but Zabrak... the whole lot of em' are horny.

(ba-dum. tssh.)

poop-machine37 karma

That's how you know you've come to a fine establishment.

aequitas321 karma

Especially when the maitre d starts debating you in a reply on the finer points of what constitutes furry porn and if the cat in reference is pornographic or not. That's how you know they care for their craft

MauAbata16 karma

I should rotate fandoms on the home page. What shall be on the menu next month? You seem to have a Twi'lek thing, but I'm not about to do Hera dirty. Maybe some Hutt porn?

aequitas36 karma

You could tick multiple boxes with wookiees

MauAbata5 karma

Brilliant! But what about the MLP fandom?

aequitas36 karma

Oh god you can find mlp porn just by googling innocuous shit. That market is pretty saturated

MauAbata9 karma

Hm. I'll stick to wookiees and uh, maybe that guy that runs the junk store Anakin was enslaved to... what's his name...

His voice haunts me. Ever since the N64 pod racer game.

aequitas310 karma

Watto. That'd appeal to the stereotypical bad pizza restaurant owner kink subset

MauAbata9 karma

That's... A THING??

Fuquar7148 karma

What is the main goal of Refsheet.net?

MauAbata182 karma

It's a place to provide references for people's original characters. The idea is to make it easy to share around any characters you've made, which turns out to be super helpful when commissioning artists! Or, as Google reports, the vast number of roleplaying subreddits here...

magicwuff70 karma

Did you know you have a bad cert on your website?

MauAbata70 karma

I just enabled a domain routing experiment, and the failover server didn't have a proper cert installed. The experiment rate is at 1% right now while I work out errors like this.

EDIT: I've disabled the routing experiment, apparently it's a bit more configuration on Google's end to add another certificate to the other servers. Blech.

coltstrgj9 karma

Since this reply is already tech like, how do you extract the color palette from the image? I've always wondered what that code looks like.

Edit, I misread the text on that part of your page. You let people.define their own colors. That makes more sense for this use case but I'm still curious how things like Photoshop do it.

MauAbata16 karma

So I actually wrote software to do this for my day job. You create a histogram, which is essentially a count of how many pixels are assigned to each color value, round the color values until you have a palette of however many buckets you're trying to fill, and select the highest N color counts.

If you want a more natural feel, you can analyze the top, say 255 colors, and find the colors that have the highest pixel count and align with each other to form a known color scheme, so for complimentary color extraction you find the highest color count in the image, filter out blacks and whites and dim values, then look 180deg off in the hue and find the other highest color count over there.

Edgardhb33 karma

Is it just you working on this? How much money do you make from this?

MauAbata64 karma

It's just me working on it, and if you tally up what is pledged on Patreon, I still end up spending about $150-$200 / month out of pocket to cover all the costs. So, I don't make anything from this.

JanMuesli18 karma

How do you stay motivated :D that’s gotta be hella work and you’re still paying for it. Genuinely interested in the coding ? Service to the community ? Not trying to offend you, honestly impressed.

MauAbata33 karma

Motivation is hard, but the Patrons and good feedback are pretty motivating. I mean, making websites is my day job also, so it's pretty easy work sometimes.

wilkor25 karma

Hey, thanks for the ama, it's good to see something different.

So this website seems to be about sharing characters. Is there something similar for settings? Worlds, cities, dungeons, etc?I could see a lot of benefit in having stuff like that "off the shelf" for DMs...

MauAbata25 karma

Yes! Well, not yet, but I'm adding in a worlds and AU (alternate universe) feature, which I'm excited to use because I can plan out a little RPG I've been noodling on.

There's a large amount of people using this for their D&D characters, so letting the DM create a world would be perfect. There was also a "Guilds" feature that I have programmed but never made a UI for, that allows you to join characters together in guilds or families or some other organization unit.

CoSonfused23 karma

Anything you would have done differently when you started if you knew what you know now? I'm thinking scripting languages, infrastructure, features etc.

MauAbata19 karma

Uf. So I would've started with Docker instead of doing the conversion after the website was already running and live. I also wish I paid more attention to the best practices guides for the tech I was using. I finally caught up in that department but it wasn't ideal doing that while things are already running.

For the ReactJS part, I would have not started coding things in Coffeescript and just used ES6. I'm doing that now, but there's old Coffee hanging around and it's gross. I also would have started with the webpacker or made a split front-end so I can properly use Javascript imports. If you're doing fancy Javascript-based single-page apps, split front-ends in their own code base are super rad, but right now our app server still serves up the JS bundle(s).

So many migrations to do.

theaback2 karma

Yeah, a api only backend is the way to go. then serve the vue or react app via fileserver.

MauAbata1 karma

Yup! So our Javascript bundle comes off a static fileserver (S3 + CloudFront) which was a huge help in both load times and keeping load on my app servers low. The artist app is purely deployed as a static bundle via S3 (extension.refsheet.net), which uses the main site as the API backend.

The ONLY thing preventing me from fully splitting out the front-end of the main site is meta tags. I like my link previews, and I don't know if I can get those to render if the site loads up statically. So, for now all requests hit the app server first and serve up the basic index.html-ish page but with appropriate meta tags included for link previews.

strudelkopf2 karma

I never used coffee before but isnt it's purpose to simplify things? I know adding another layer like this comes with its own weight, but I wonder what makes you migrate away from it again. (maybe I don't see all the caveats clearly enough, sorry for this somewhat naive question)

MauAbata5 karma

Coffee is kinda nice but React does some things that look so much better in ES6. Also, every code example or other person coming to the site will be in ES6 because it's a lot more rugged and standardized.

My issue with Coffee was how many JS literals (the backtick operator) I had to use. Every JSX (the HTML-In-Javascript lookin thing React provides) had to be escaped to the JS parser, and the Coffee was just a mess :|

rinsa2 karma

Don't forget to remove your console.log in your code running on production ^^

MauAbata1 karma

I've been using that to track down sync issues between the two javascript packages I'm running, sometimes the sync issues only show up in prod.

I've got a flag that keeps the console messages quiet for the user and only streams them to my instrumentation, but that's tedious to follow, and my logging instrumentation only samples JS logs periodically, unless I trigger an error.

darksparkone1 karma

Coffee was es6 ahead of time. Coffee of today is TypeScript, but es6 is a common tool and has almost everything you may want for a generic project.

MauAbata1 karma

I loved Coffee back when I didn't have an ES6 preprocessor in my pipeline. The object manipulation, splats, iteration, etc... it was wonderful! And now, ES6 just does that. So that's neat.

MauAbata2 karma

^ There are some good points in this thread, though a debate of "is X better than Y" is not for the faint of heart to read on Reddit. So many opinions... So many...

sclereatica1 karma

yuck, old coffee :(

MauAbata1 karma

Yeah I just found a coffee mug that I forgot about on the counter from yesterday. Sad day.

SillhouetteBlurr20 karma

You said you are still spending 150-200$ out of your own pocket. How much is it costing in total?

MauAbata27 karma

A sufficient amount. I'm working to reduce costs, but there's a lot of small fees that add up to make a website. Hosting and cloud services runs a bill of ~$350/mo which Patreon covers, and on top of that I have a suite of monitoring and testing tools, error reporting, etc. that makes up the out of pocket cost.

donteatyourvegs1 karma

seems pretty pricy. I run a website with 20000 page views a day + database and it costs me $100 a month on google cloud for like ~30% cpu usage

MauAbata2 karma

This is why I'm migrating to GKE, friend. The expensive bits on this website are the image processing and global distribution. The website has mirrors in several continents to ensure some of my users down in Australia don't get horribly long load times.

smardalek20 karma

So kinda like toyhou.se but without the need for an invite code?

MauAbata26 karma

From what I hear, yeah. I can't really tell for myself because I haven't gotten an invite code to TH to check it out. Actually, I didn't know about TH until several months after releasing this.

This question is better answered by a user of my site.

Because_Skyrim1 karma

If you'd ever like a code to TH to check it out, I have extras that I've never used!

MauAbata2 karma

Thank you! I have had several offers, and might check it out in the future when I have time.

Because_Skyrim1 karma

Of course! I hadn't heard of your website before the AMA but I'll definitely give it a try! Just looking at the front page your website looks beautiful! I have a lot of grievances with Toyhou.se and how clunky it is to navigate and edit things, and Charahub has an awful layout I could never get into.

MauAbata1 karma

Thaaank you! I'm primarily a back-end developer, but I feel like I'm doing an okay job making a UI that isn't ugly and clunky. Some things aren't intuitive, but I take the user feedback and improve it.

MauAbata18 karma

I was informed that there are more topic-specific AMAs on Reddit that might get more relevant responses. I'm new to Reddit so I'm not sure how this works, I just wanted to engage people and talk about stuff. It's pretty harsh here, but I can manage. I think I can hold my own.

My question to all of you is: Is there a better subreddit that I can talk about this to? Is anyone willing to provide constructive advice for a new Reddit user?

rinsa2 karma

My question to all of you is: Is there a better subreddit that I can talk about this to?

On subreddits directly related to what your website is about ?

If it's tech related then usually you can still discuss about it on /r/programming or /r/js

MauAbata2 karma

I might follow those subreddits just to participate in the community, but I'll leave this website out of it for a while. I think I've gotten enough to handle here.

vinnymcapplesauce1 karma

It's pretty harsh here

Hehe - Is there a place on the internet that's not harsh? #scaredtoask

Is there a better subreddit that I can talk about this to? Is anyone willing to provide constructive advice for a new Reddit user?

There are tons of subreddits, just do a quick search for keywords. But, most of them have rules about posting things that resemble self-promotion.

MauAbata1 karma

Aye, I think I've found a couple subreddits that look interesting, but you're right about self-promotion. It's hard to talk about anything you've made without it sounding like an advertisement. See, all the asks here with "why does this sound like an ad?"

Gr33ntumb15 karma

should I add water/methanol injection to my car (2012 Subaru STI, built block and gt35 turbo)? 91 octane is really limiting power output feels like I could make more

MauAbata15 karma

Try not to throw a rod on an Oklahoma freeway and set the median on fire.

riccardo_0010 karma

It's the first time i hear of refsheet and i might actually recommend it to someone. Generally, how do you use it?

MauAbata16 karma

Right now, create character, upload art, share character.

stlthmedic-4 karma

apparently step 1 is to make furry porn?

at least thats what i took away from this ama

MauAbata5 karma

My takeaway from the moderation queue on the website is that MLP porn is apparently also acceptable, and that people really want that one pony with the music notes to do ungodly things to them.

Fun fact: Reddit referrals to my website most commonly land on MLP OCs, with furaffinity and chatzy referrals landing on furry OCs, and a huge community of FFXIV roleplayers coming from some banana forum thinger.

Slyphur10 karma

As an artist myself, I question the need for a website like this.

I've never had an issue with obtaining my clients reference sheets. It's pretty standard fare to have that information ready before you ask for a commission, and if it's not readily available, it usually can be found within a few minutes from either their hard drive, associated art hosting accounts, or social media accounts.

Why would anyone want to host their reference sheets on another platform when they already have plenty of platforms to host their reference sheets.

Just because it's named Refsheet.net?

MauAbata24 karma

I didn't think people would need it either when I started it, but 89k characters seem to be okay living here. There are a couple other websites that do similar things, and I've found people think it's pretty handy to scribble down one of the ref.st/ short links from memory.

But yeah sta.sh and dropbox and a thousand other file hosts exist, so what's so special about one specifically for character references when you can send a *.docx?

Slyphur7 karma

The idea of a client giving me a handy link to access their reference sheet when time is pressing does sound good on the surface.

They use one of my business cards to write down their Ref.st link, or simply say their character name followed by Ref.st

However, I also need their contact information to finalize and give them their commissioned piece, rendering this handy link obsulete.

Telegram, Discord, Twitter make up around 90% of my clients preferred method of contact, and they can give me that information just as easily as a Ref.st link.

MauAbata18 karma

This is actually pretty good feedback. One of the eventual projects here on refsheet is also artwork delivery, so when you're done with the commission you can upload it back to the character and the user doesn't lose it in a sea of sta.sh or dropbox or email or telegram links.

But, variety is the spice of life, and if this doesn't fit your flow then don't use it!

peachy_kween6 karma

You could add a messaging option that has an option to send images. That way if someone sees artwork they like they can message the person.

MauAbata2 karma

Toootally a neat idea. I mean, I have a chat feature almost ready, attachments might be handy to add too.

BlueStylus5 karma

I feel this way too. When people commission me they usually send a link to deviantart, social media, or just an image of their character. I don't see the selling point of this website. (sorry if this is kind of blunt)

MauAbata19 karma

-shruuug-

I'm not selling anything. Don't use it if you don't need it. Sorry if that's blunt.

acinonyxjubatusrex4 karma

User of refsheet.net here, if I may add my 2 cents!

What appealed to me about Refsheet over Toyhouse and similar websites is that Refsheet combines text, reference image, and supplemental images all on one single page. A direct image link, e.g. imgur, doesn't afford the opportunity to include supplemental text. A standard gallery website (e.g. linking to a DeviantArt submission) encourages artists to just look at the image itself and ignore the description box entirely (in my experience, at least - when confronting artists who missed details, I have been told they simply saved the ref image to their hard drive and referred to it out of context, ignoring the text entirely.) Toyhouse provides all 3, but you are served the text first and need to click to a separate tab to see the images, which are all jumbled together. Refsheet presents everything neatly in one location, the text is the first thing the viewer sees and they have to manually scroll down to get to the images, and auxiliary pictures can be provided in the same place without aggravating the artist. The site's also free to use, easy to customize, and the ability to create a shortlink for your character is quite hands.

In short: it may not be for everyone, but for those of us who are particular about their characters being depicted accurately, it's a godsend.

MauAbata1 karma

<3. Thanks for the contribution to this thread!

xhantus404-2 karma

Most people I know that have a use for ref sheets (=furries) have them either in their FA gallery or on onedrive or things like that.

I am not opposed to the idea, I just don't think it's helping to solve a problem anyone really has.

MauAbata16 karma

There's a couple people who appreciate the idea, at least. I suppose I should ask my users if they see some value in it. I mean, the Patreon feedback and some of the positive mentions I see are all pretty convinced there's some problem somewhere I'm solving.

There's a few posts I've seen around on Deviantart that sing praises for this site and how useful it is, so that's something I guess?

Most people like the short links. ref.st/<character> is pretty easy to type in a live art stream versus leaving the tab to find your ref, but tbh you can do the same by making a bit.ly account.

DillBagner10 karma

Why did you think anybody would be interested in an AMA with some guy who just started up some furry website?

PatchSalts30 karma

Can't hurt to try, I suppose. I can't really speak for Mr./Ms. Abata, but it's not like this shouldn't be on this sub. It also appears to be trying to be not strictly furry... However the sheer quantity and demand for refsheets for furries speaks for itself, I suppose.

MauAbata30 karma

Saved the "not furry" reply here. So the home page looks pretty furry because that was the concept screenshot from two years ago and I haven't updated the home page since. Yeah the initial users were furries because they have a huge art community. Like, hats-off to them.

Since then several folks are using it for video game OCs, D&D characters, soooo much MLP apparently. I'm actually working on trying to section it up so when you land on it you see an overview of fandoms instead of folks going straight to attacking the furries because they're uncomfortable with other fandoms.

MauAbata22 karma

You didn't have to ask anything here. Like, generally if nobody is interested in a thing they just ignore it? But, huh, there's questions here... So that's neat. I guess some people were interested, after all.

It's for science. I didn't think anybody would be interested, but "oh hey you know I should probably use this Reddit thing people are talking about they can't possibly be that--- oh."

Enalon8 karma

How would you say your site differs say in comparison to TH?

MauAbata15 karma

TH has a lot more features, that's for sure. I'd say the open registration is nice, other than that it's kinda a style alternative? I don't know, I haven't actually used Toyhouse. Haven't gotten an invite code.

SeaHawk628 karma

What prompted you to create something like this? And how long have you been working on it?

MauAbata13 karma

It's 2 years old, and the idea came from an artist friend looking for a more normalized way to find character references. She received everything from questionable file links to word documents, which is fine, but wanted something a bit more uniform.

My personal reasons were, I needed a platform to try out some of the modern front-end development techniques. It started as a sandbox project to play with React and learn some best-practices, and then people started using it, which is when it became a serious project.

darknep7 karma

I want to make my own startup as well. How'd you make everything work so smoothly?

MauAbata16 karma

Oh friend, things are far from smooth. I just programmed relentlessly until I had something that worked, threw a Patreon out to see if anyone would bite, and eventually people came.

It's still a constant effort to keep the site moving and handling all the traffic / uploads, and is quite costly. I wouldn't call it a startup, since that implies actually making money from the thing. I'm happy to just break even on donations.

darknep7 karma

I mean... As long as you've got an idea that fixes a problem, you're going somewhere. I could see this being big eventually.

MauAbata9 karma

Truth! It's picking up speed, and already solving problems, so here's to making it solve even more problems.

CleverHacker6 karma

why ruby on rails?

MauAbata9 karma

It was one of the website platforms I was proficient in at the time. My day job is a Sr. RoR dev, but before that I used PHP and, during some particularly awkward phases of my life, Perl CGI.

RoR has an active community and is pretty fun to develop in, and I can make it play very nicely with the ReactJS front end!

DroppingChance6 karma

Have you tried acquiring the "refsheet.com" domain?

MauAbata11 karma

I've been keeping an eye on it, but it's been parked at 1&1 domains since this project started, and isn't moving anywhere. At some point I reached out to the domain administrator but they don't seem interested in selling. I acquired ref.st/ though, which is fun.

evenios6 karma

wut?

MauAbata11 karma

Wat wat?

Fuquar75 karma

in the butt

MauAbata7 karma

I feel you watching me

I_GIVE_ICE_CREAMPIES5 karma

Website looks really clean, is it open source ? I dont see a git repo anywhere.

MauAbata4 karma

The website is not open source but the mobile app and photoshop plugin are: https://github.com/refsheet

jcgurango1 karma

Is there other branches you have locally for the Android project or is it just master? Nothing wrong with it just wondering how you're handling it as a one man development team.

MauAbata1 karma

So for the main site (private repo) and the smaller projects I use feature branches and merge appropriately. For the android project and extension code, I have been working on master right now because it's all v0 code and I haven't made changes since the last release.

Generally, once code goes "live", which in the case of Android and the like is a 0.1 or 1.0 version, I start using feature branches actually go through the process of submitting a PR to myself, just so I can see a full overview of what I'm about to deploy.

All the code, except Android ofc, uses CI for deployment, so every merge to master will go live as soon as the build process is complete.

That and, my day job is coding for a big company, so the PR / feature branch flow is something I'm used to.

mcshadypants4 karma

Why does this feel like an ad?

MauAbata24 karma

Why does anybody make an AMA? I was responding to a bunch of feedback elsewhere and figured I'd spend some time fielding open questions here to see what sort of thing people are curious about.

aequitas310 karma

Props for honesty

MauAbata16 karma

So far I have learned that people care about:

  • Ensuring this is a relevant website, and making sure it solves a problem,
  • Making sure I provide good descriptions for why they should care about this AMA,
  • Twi'lek porn.

Yeah sounds like what I expected from Reddit.

KoboldCoterie1 karma

For what it's worth, props for sticking with it and even responding to the 'negative' questions. I read through this entire AMA because even though it's not particularly relevant to me, the responses are amusing and you're not dodging questions you don't feel like answering, which is more than I can say about the majority of AMAs.

MauAbata1 karma

Thaaaaanks! I like to think I'm holding my own here, it's a good experience. A horrible, trial-by-fire experience, but an experience nonetheless.

Lord_Edmure-14 karma

Because he reports he's losing money on it and hopes this will make him more visible.

MauAbata14 karma

I'm not here to advertise, I'm just here for science. I was demotivated for the project and getting hounded about some things on the site, so figured I'd post an AMA so people can try and meet the person making the website they use or maybe ask constructive questions.

If it was about the money I'd just quit while I'm ahead.

Garen_the_Slayer3 karma

Do you like waffles?

MauAbata9 karma

I loooove the way they smell, but tbh...

Oh Reddit is gonna give me shit for this...

I'm just not a huge fan of waffles. Bacon quesadillas for breakfast!

jrmehle3 karma

Hey, not sure if you're still answering questions. I've been a Rails Dev for about a dozen years now. I'm curious about your choice to use Rails. Had you used it before? Rails API or full.blown Rails? And I'm wondering if you have anything to say about Rails reputation for not scaling well given it seems you're handling quite a bit of traffic.

MauAbata2 karma

I'm still here! Was out getting sunburn yesterday, but I'm back.

So I've been a web dev for about a decade, I started in PHP and had a dark era of Perl::CGI before I finally picked up Rails. I've been working with it for a few years before I started Refsheet, so it was my go-to language for this sort of thing.

Currently it's using full Rails 5, but after I can settle the front-end split I'm going to reduce it to Rails API with Websockets to make it more modular. The rails app itself is now mostly an API, and the new revisions of the website are just using the Rails app as a GraphQL endpoint.

Rails holds its own on scaling. This website isn't my day job, I'm a Sr RoR dev outside this world, and our apps work pretty well and handle huge loads just fine. It's all about following best practices. Some of the issues with Rails not scaling well I find come down to the server config, and what you're actually doing during a request cycle.

Offloading long-running tasks to background workers and other pods in your cluster is important to not plug up your request cycles, but often overlooked. Usually, when I've seen a rails app that isn't scaling well, it's because there's long running processes during the request cycle, and even with Puma set to 10/5 workers/threads you still have only 50 concurrent requests to handle, and if you're processing 50 uploads, you just crashed.

GermanBaconTV3 karma

How tall are you?

MauAbata5 karma

6' 1"

bunnylou3 karma

As an avid toyhouse user I had considered refsheet at one point to store my characters, but I ended up sticking to toyhouse (partially because I have tons of characters), I never looked into your site much so what would you say is a selling point for refsheet over toyhouse? Community wise toyhouse is such a mixed bag and a mess, toxic at times (but what place isn't toxic I suppose), I've never used refsheet so would you say the community is active and engaging?

MauAbata11 karma

I can't make a solid comparison between Ref.st and TH, since I haven't used TH.

You're right that every community is toxic. This AMA has some gems of sadness too. Refsheet doesn't have many community features right now because I've been dreading releasing that until there's some strong moderation in place.

The main perks right now seem to be a pretty simple interface and a site built on modern web dev ideas, but that's all a matter of opinion. I can't sell you on planned features, and I'm not going to bring them up here because there's going to be backlash from the people commenting in this AMA.

One of the big things I want for Refsheet is the idea that you don't have to have an account to enjoy things people share. Making accounts sucks to access content, especially as an artist that has to deal with 100 other platforms. I also pride myself on the idea that the website should be open to everyone.

The big complaint with TH seems to be actually getting an account on the site. TH does have more customization options for character profiles, however.

I'd love to finish the forums. That's part of why I decided to use Reddit and why this AMA exists. I wanted examples of how some forums exist, how users interact, and how I can facilitate that. Everything in Refsheet that's currently in development can identify a user by character, so one day the forums and chat can be all used in-character.

bunnylou3 karma

Thank you for answering!

Forums would be a great addition. TH has them im categories like seeking roleplays, art sharing/advertising commission work, character discussion, "forum games", tons of categories and whatnot there's an active community there but sometimes I kind of avoid them because there's a lack of modding going on and threads can get nasty pretty quickly. But I'm not used to forums regardless so I wouldn't know how they go in terms of modding. Active chat rooms (like how Reddit has, or Amino if you're familiar) would be interesting as well, but again i know nothing about running sites and all that so I'd imagine it's probably a lot of work.

I might check refsheet out sometime regardless, though! Thanks for taking the time to make this AMA! It's a niche thing for sure but as a person that loves to create characters and write profiles for them and draw and collect art this was nice to see. Hope your site continues to be successful.

MauAbata6 karma

yes! I have forums right now, but they're only in the first iteration. I was actually working on revising them before I got derailed by the Reddit thing here.

I also have chat rooms partially coded, but i haven't released it yet because there's one big server change that I'm wanting to complete first.

Thank you for your comments!

dvizard1 karma

Do you have a perspective on the overall future of forums?

In many of my fields of interest, 5 or 10 years ago we had forums bustling with life and active communities, but many of my former pitstops on the internet have vanished into inactivity or near-inactivity, or even closed down completely, since many communities, even supposedly "nerdy" places, have moved to Facebook or Reddit, or StackOverflow for many tech things. I know some forums work great, though. How are you planning to incentivize the use of this medium?

MauAbata1 karma

The big incentive of the forums I'm planning is the ability to post in character, some roleplay-specific UI features, and user-created communities.

Each forum I plan to have a "type" assigned, or you can assign it to a given topic within a forum. For example, a paragraph RP type post will allow out of character and aside comments that are less prevalent, and feature a "story mode" where it'll filter out the forum UI and present it more like an E-Reader. The same E-Reader I plan to use for writing mediums on the character pages!

rubermnkey3 karma

Do you friends call you demon lord abata or just maou abata for short?

MauAbata10 karma

I mean friends just call me Mau but I'm going to start demanding they call me Demon Lord Abata and offer sacrifices of coffee beans and cute bats.

ZetteSanz2 karma

Do you know arty.oo? Because its an artwork delivery thing!

MauAbata1 karma

I do not, but I'll check it out!

pineapple_3xpress2 karma

Can we say that this is an IAmAu?

MauAbata7 karma

HAH! Yes. I like this.

airborneANDrowdy1 karma

[deleted]

MauAbata9 karma

Refsheet.net is yet another website where people can create profiles for original characters they have created. It's super helpful for roleplaying, and my vision is to create a place where people can explore and build onto their characters with others.

CushyPolity1 karma

pineapple on pizza?

MauAbata1 karma

Actually yeah, I dig that. Pineapple and ham create a perfect flavor balance, but saying this might get me banned from Reddit.

PoiisonousTea1 karma

ive never heard of this site, but as an artist with way too many ocs ill have to check it out! im wondering if coding/customizing of the character page itself will be possible? i like toyhouse and deviantarts page coding capabilities and i wanna make detailed and personalized pages for all my ocs

MauAbata1 karma

There's currently an update in progress for the character pages that let you add custom "modules" to them. One of the modules will be a blank HTML box that you can put whatever you want in, as long as it isn't Javascript or global CSS styling (sorry, but nav { display: none; } is cruel and evil on a hundred levels.

The current "About/Likes/Dislikes" boxes support both Markdown and some HTML!

mcshadypants1 karma

Why does this feel like an ad

MauAbata2 karma

Probably because the name of the website is, in itself, the URL of the website. I wasn't sure what sort of questions would come of it, but the ones I enjoy answering are related to the actual programming aspect, not so much the nature of the website.

There are a lot of topics to learn in this AMA, and a wide variety of questions to ask. Curious about reference sheets? Website programming? It seemed like a pretty good, broad-stroke topic to post an AMA about.

And hey, I made a website and people are using it, so that's something I felt proud of and wanted to share.

freebeeromg1 karma

Psst! Could you update the year in the copyright section? :)

MauAbata2 karma

OH YEAH I guess it's 2019 now.

You know I used to have this automatically render the current year but that felt like cheating.

kalesaji1 karma

What is your favorite car engine? Big block V8? 4 Rotor Wankel? Inline 6?

MauAbata2 karma

Mopar V8! I drive a Hemi and love it. Wankels are scientifically interesting in their own way though, and the weird flat 4 thing Subaru does is interesting, but not my cuppa.

Mrhere_wabeer-4 karma

Is it just me or is it the last couple ama were frauds just trying to push somthing fake they didn't even really have set up?

MauAbata5 karma

I don't know, I haven't reviewed the last few AMAs. There's a lot to keep up on here.

Oh, or were you saying this AMA is fraud or pushing something? You can bother a moderator to verify cases like this if you're concerned.

APartyInMyPants-19 karma

Huh? Who are you again and why do I care?

MauAbata13 karma

So when I created this I didn't think people would find their way into this thread who didn't care, but it seems every post in /r/IAmA gets love!

You probably don't care though, tbh. Carry on.

pubstub-6 karma

Yeah, I mean... this ama description gives zero details at all about why anyone would care.

PatchSalts8 karma

It sorta does but its phrasing is kinda tough if you don't know what some of the words are.

OC reference sheets are just images for artists to use as reference for original characters. As someone familiar with these, it's descriptive enough but to anyone else there's little to read in the description.

MauAbata10 karma

-shrug- Safe to say I have no idea what I'm doing with this thread, but AMA seemed fun enough, and a good way to see what people are curious about when it comes to this sort of website.

I probably should've removed any furry images from the main landing page before posting to Reddit.

PatchSalts5 karma

For a general audience, maybe, but Reddit certainly has its furry community.

MauAbata9 karma

Oh I know. And some of the folks in here like "ew furry" are prob furries. Or, have OCs of some variety. One could argue that the Sportsball fandom creates Sportsball OCs for their fantasy Stickpuck teams?

But yeh. I updated the description a bit but if I go into detail about the website there it'll read even more like an ad, and I already caught crap for that. Meh.

MauAbata4 karma

I figured some folks who weren't familiar with the whole OC art trade thingie would go "huh that seems irrelevant" and continue scrolling.

Oh the internet, how I underestimate you!