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Ask HN: Thoughts on side-project?
5 points by seanalex on Dec 22, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments
My wife and I have been working on it for a few months in our spare time and have ironed out a lot of the last-minute changes/bug-fixes recently. The website is www.realityblock.com and we actually have not shown this to anyone just yet.

We both are huge reality TV fans, but we noticed there truly wasn't one major community or site that drives social discussion and news content for reality shows. We figured we could try and create one and give a unique experience. After looking at Wordpress and test-driving Drupal for a while, we decided to start from scratch and build our own custom system. The idea was to apply it to a niche subject that caters to both of our interests for a testing ground. The whole idea behind it was to try and create something new and original, learn a full technology stack, and just get to work and create it.

The major thing that sets apart our site from any other random social-news site is probably our live-commenting system. It's engineered to be single-threaded in order to handle incoming new comments properly. This allows a reader to not have to refresh the page in order to get the latest comments. The other goal of this also is to have seamless episode discussions as its being aired on TV. Also, at the moment we prefer to not have any ads.

There are a lot of features that are left to be developed down the road, but we wanted to get the basics complete. I'm not a professional web developer or freelancer, so this is truly my first website. If you have any questions about the technology stack or anything at all, let me know. Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.


we actually have not shown this to anyone just yet

Did you at least iterate this with people before going out to build it?


The site design could use improvements. I'm at a lost on what the site is about if I didn't actually read what you wrote here. That said, not only is the messaging not clear, it doesn't indicate to me why I would register an account (no visible discussion forums, etc) or what I can even do on the site.

And launching with potentially tacking multiple shows (assumption base on what is written above) is very scattered and unfocused. I would recommend focusing with a handful (maybe even one) show, and capturing the community with that and then expanding. There are fan sites (not exactly your angle) that do this and do extremely well.

EDIT: I noticed the dropdown only covers two shows for now but I strongly recommend starting with one.

Thanks for the feedback. No, we havent taken this yet to any particular fansite or community yet. The building it was primarily driven from noticing scattered communities all still on traditional style forums.

I do agree it would play best if we go with one or a few shows initially and try and attract some of its currently existing communities. I definitely agree also that the site needs a better indication as to what its all about and why someone should register/login.

The dropdown on the main page is driven off of what topics exist for shows currently.

Thanks again for the feedback and gives a general direction on where to focus my efforts this next week. Cheers!

Nice work on your first website. What kind of feedback are you looking for? There's a ton to discuss :)

Thanks! Feedback of any kind is great to hear honestly. Overall, the concept of a news/live-comment system is what we were focusing on. I believe content-driven sites are a great way to get into web development, but also wanted to introduce something new that wasnt just another blog built on a free template. The subject matter is merely a product of being within our interest and we can drive content enough until the site gains traction.

Overall, I realize its tough to gauge with no activity and a wealth of articles/comments to review. I plan to spend some time trying to gain interest in this from active communities as well as make the sites message, intent, and value clearer on the front page.

I'm interested in the technology stack. What are you using?

You're not a developer at all or you're not a web developer?

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