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GPF News Archive

First Post Previous Post Next Post Latest Post January 9, 2006

 

Greetings, Faulties! I hope every one of you thoroughly enjoyed your holiday season, and I hope the new year will bring lots of exciting things for each of you. There's a lot going on here behind the scenes at GPF, some of which I can't share with you yet, but this year looks to have a lot of great changes in store. I'm excited about each one, and I'm about to bust that I can't share them all yet. ;)

Before I share some of those changes, let's get an update on last week's news:

The Hard Drive Crash Update: As of this writing, Apollo (my IBM ThinkPad and primary GPF workhorse) is still dead. I've pretty much confirmed that it was just the hard drive that died, and a replacement is on its way. Once that gets here, I'll be doing my best to recover the data as best I can. Meanwhile, after much wrangling with Thunderbird, I finally have my mail back in working order, so I should be back in business. For further updates, you can keep tabs on the Hard Drive Crash Thread on the forum; I won't clutter the News with updates unless it's something major (like being incommunicado).

Now for hopefully lighter things:

GPF Joins Oh No Robot: As a number of you have already noticed, GPF last month signed up with the Oh No Robot comic search engine. What this means is that you should now be able to search the dialog and in some cases sound effects, scene descriptions, and other textual information about each comic. It also means that we'll be able to better our reachability through traditional Internet search engines like Google, making GPF more accessible to everyone.

Oh No Robot relies on reader participation to help transcribe comics into text form. They've made this relatively easy for everyone: As you browse through the archives, you may notice a white and orange "Transcribe this Comic" button. If you see this, that means the comic has not been transcribed yet. Just click that link and a new window will open, giving you a place to type in the text of the comic. It then goes into a queue for me to approve. If you see a link that says "Improve Transcription," that means someone has already transcribed the comic (and it's already searchable by the search engine), but there's something about the transcription that I think could be improved upon. If you think you can improve that transcription, click that link and edit the text. Simple as that.

The great thing about this system is that it's easy to use and gives you a chance to help us out in improving how people can access this strip. However, one of the drawbacks is that there isn't a set standard for transcribing the strips. Thus I've been forced to mark some very good transcriptions as needing improvement. To help ease things, here's a set of rough guidelines that I'd like to propose for transcriptions:

  • Capitalization: Although the text in the comics are in all caps, please use mixed case when transcribing the dialog. This of course introduces an interesting corollary: please be careful with capitalization. Proper names (people, places, etc.) should be capitalized, as should certain company and product names (Microsoft, Java). If you're really in doubt about how something should be capitalized, a quick Google search should probably answer it.
  • Follow the directions on the Oh No Robot transcription help page for adding scene descriptions, sound effects, and other non-dialog text. While transcribing just the dialog is more help than none, there's a lot of visual information that gets missed without this extra data. Make sure to include who says what, and be concise but thorough with your scene descriptions. Corollary: Don't speculate too much when writing this extra text. Keep in mind that some aspects of the strip are intentionally left open to interpretation, so while you should be thorough while describing scenes, don't add more to it than what's there.
  • Please check your spelling. While I can edit transcriptions before they go "live," I've had to spend a lot of extra time fixing typos and spelling mistakes. Make sure to proofread your transcription before you submit it. Corollary: Note that throughout the archive there are a number of intentional "typos," so when in doubt, you can always ask.
  • Speaking of asking, to keep from repeating a lot of answers, post questions to the Oh No Robot! thread on the forum. That way, someone who has a similar question to yours may get an answer quickly. (It will also keep me from cluttering up the News with constant updates to the rules.)

As for searching the archives, there is currently a link to the GPF Oh No Robot page on our Archive index page. (Yep, that page still exists.) On this page you'll also notice a status message that shows how much of the archive has been successfully transcribed (37% at the time of this writing). This message updates nightly. Of course, our goal is to have the entire archive transcribed, so any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I'll try and put a link to the search page somewhere on the main index page of the site as soon as I can find a good place to put it. :

Some of you may ask, "What about the old GPF search engine?" (Yes, there once was one, but it's been broken for years now.) We are working with the Oh No Robot folks to import all those old transcriptions into this new system, so all that work won't go to waste. Those transcriptions will probably need improvement anyway, but at least that will get them into the database.

That's all I really have for now, guys. If you find yourself scratching your head over the current events in the comic itself, make sure to check out the News post from November 6th, which includes a bunch of notes and back references that should help clear up some of the confusion.

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