NearbyGamers To-Do List

NearbyGamers has been growing steadily without a lot of direct action on my part. I’ve been bugfixing and moderating, but aside from some performance improvements in November, it’s been quite a while since its had any user-visible improvements. Mostly this has been because I keep distracting myself with side projects: they’re deceptively simple to start but always have some area(s) of significant non-obvious complexity and a need for time-consuming polishing and refinement. I’m going to finish them off and then give attention to NearbyGamers.

What I plan:

Performance Improvements
Despite what I did in November, some parts are still laggy; on the Internet if it isn’t instant, it’s slow. I’m aware of FireRuns Manage and NewRelic’s RPM for production performance monitoring. I’ll almost certainly end up with Manage (30-day trial) because RPM’s trial (30 minutes of data, useless for a small/young/low-traffic site) is so weak, but I’d really appreciate comments if anyone knows of other good tools.
News Aggregation
There are a lot of tabletop gaming/board game/RPG blogs and hand-edited news sites, and I think NearbyGamers would do well to aggregate those similar to Reddit/Digg. It’d bring gamers back to the site more regularly (rather than the common ‘signup, leave for a few months until someone new messages you’) and drive discussion, which is the best way to meet folks.
One of the biggest uses of the discussion forum is folks trying to organize gaming groups. Now that I’ve seen this happen a few times, I can build proper support for groups: a marker on the map, a dedicated forum per group, and advertising open slots for gamers, to start. Then there’s the next obvious feature for them:
With or without a group, it should be possible to display upcoming events on the maps. List date and time, attendance information, link to a homepage if one exists, maybe have a dedicated forum.
It would also be good to list gaming stores on the map, which are oddly often difficult to find. This especially relates to the previous; I’d love to see what events my local stores have on their calendars. I also think gaming stores are nicer for browsing than websites, I’ve found so many interesting random games at stores that I wouldn’t have glanced at online. I’d like NearbyGamers to help stores stay in business and grow because they incubate local gaming communities.

After I finish with the small projects, I think these features will probably take me a solid month to implement. NearbyGamers is developing a regular community, and I have a responsibility to help it thrive. What I’ll do afterwards is its own couple hundred words for tomorrow.

Next: The Startup Project That Lacks Even a Working Title