anyway, in terms of moving TSC forward, now that hopefully this issue with the staff is more or less settled for the time being, I think we should look at what else we can improve?
Two things jump to mind to me. Apologies, this is going to be a long post.
1. Our approach to rules
This is a bit of a tricky one. Typically our approach to rules is "if it can be done without modifications to the game, and it still allows room for competition, then it's allowed". The intent of this approach is to reduce the amount of arbitrariness in the rules and keep everything to a standard. What's great about this is if you find a new glitch, for example, you don't have to wonder whether or not it'd be allowed.
It's not perfect, however:
1. It's not applied consistently. This somewhat ruins the point. The Team Blast Glitch in Heroes, for example, really has absolutely no reason to be banned under this rule (at least, for non-Dark teams; I'll get to that later), yet... it is. There's also tons of instances where we remove charts for having infinite point sources or infinite rings, and other times where we leave them because there's a time over (even when we scrap other charts that also have a time over).
2. This approach focuses more on the actual rules than on how they affect competition. My personal feeling is that there are some glitches that, while they're perfectly fair and legitimate, hurt competition. I know a fair few people here disagree with me on this, but as an example, unbanning the Team Blast Glitch was recently a discussion that didn't go anywhere, and a few people were in favor of unbanning it for all teams, including Dark. While I understand their thinking, I can't see how allowing it for Dark could possibly be good for competition.
Likewise, we have things like the lap skips in ASR and Sonic R. Perfectly fair and legit, but they kinda dumb down the competition a bit. Similarly when scalping infinite rings/score is actually allowed: yes, perfectly legit, but does anyone honestly want to scalp score off the same point source for 8 minutes on every attempt? Does anyone really prefer this to doing a run without the scalp?
However, as a speedrunner with the "anything goes" mindset myself, I don't like the idea of banning things just for being too severe. A solution I have in mind is that we can make more use of the Freestyle charts. Now I'm not actually suggesting we put the glitches in Freestyle; what if we have the glitches on the main charts and have Freestyle for no-glitch competition? It's not a perfect solution, but at least anyone who would rather compete without them have a place to go.
Anyway I'm expecting a lot of people here to disagree with me on that second point, but the first one (consistency) is definitely an issue that has been brought up a number of times and it still hasn't been completely fixed. We can definitely at least look at the current rules and figure out which ones should be changed.
2. The site is outdated
TSC's worked very well for a while, but it's lacking a number of key features that could make it even better:
1. Sub-games. It'd be neat if, say, when you pull up a certain game, you have the option to switch to an alternate set of charts for that game. For example, say you click on Sonic CD, and then you can switch between charts for CD and 2011.
The #1 use for this type of thing would be for DLC. We could have a sub-game so Sonic Unleashed DLC could have its own charts separate from the main ones with its own rankings and championship, but technically still a part of Sonic Unleashed 360-PS3 instead of its own game. Similarly, Sonic 4: Episode Metal could be a sub-game of Sonic 4: Episode 2.
Aside from that, we could use it for organizational purposes, like for example making Sonic CD 2011 a sub-game of Sonic CD. Sega's had a policy of releasing multiple games under the same name, which makes our rankings look like kind of a mess, and there's no indication they're planning to stop. However, I'm not sure on this one because it doesn't seem like it would effectively actually do anything except add an extra click and make it harder to find the right charts.
2. Version difference tracking and customizable rankings. Version differences have always been a kind of prickly subject. Let's say you're trying to compete in Sonic Adventure DX, and you've just done an amazing run of Final Egg and got 0:57. But the record is 7 seconds!
There's a version difference here. In the Dreamcast version, there's an extra capsule out of bounds right at the beginning of the level. But on the Gamecube version, that capsule has been removed, so your only choice is to actually play through the entire level. Right now, this just means you're screwed. TSC has no system in place to distinguish between different versions of the same game, which means if you don't have the Dreamcast version, you just plain can't compete.
So here's my idea: tracking which version of the game a stat was played on, and being able to customize the rankings to suit your own competitive needs.
So you go to submit a stat. On the submit page, you can select a checkbox or drop-down menu or something and select which version of the game you played on. After you submit, the charts will show an extra column, "Version", with (still using SADX as an example) either DC or GC listed. After that, you can go a step further and toggle it to -only- display times from one version or the other. Hell, you can even toggle the overall rankings to only account for stats from one version of the game. This would naturally necessitate allowing players to submit more than one stat for the same chart, using different versions, but I actually think that's a fantastic idea.
We would still have a main rankings with all versions combined into one set of charts, and that would be the "main" charts that would appear by default and count towards Sitewide. (If a stat doesn't have a version assigned to it, it wouldn't appear under either system and would only display under the main, combined rankings.) However, the individual version rankings could still have things like new record/champion/leader announcements, even if they don't count toward sitewide. I really think this would help boost competition in games like Adventure that have significant differences between different versions of the same game.
The only question I can think of is whether we would apply this to games that have some relatively minor version advantages, but are otherwise more or less the same, like Sonic Unleashed 360/PS3. Also, another issue with this is it would probably take a significant amount of effort for Gerbil to implement into the site. I really think it would be worth it though.
Anyway, that's all I have for now. Let's hope everyone doesn't think that entire post was awful. :P