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How Profiles Get Posted

Hi there! This page details the procedure I go through to get all the wonderful profile submissions posted on the website. The profile submissions come from dedicated fans like you, who have absolutely nothing better to do with their free time than to write about your favorite anime series and characters. It's like you have no life or something... but hey, that works out great for me!

Anyways, this page will hopefully give you a better idea of precisely what's involved after you hit the "Submit" button on your profile submission . I go through this procedure for each and every profile you send me, so I've gotten pretty quick at the whole thing. Still, the better the submission, the less corrections and edits I have to make, and the quicker I can get it posted. So hopefully this page won't confuse you too much, and perhaps it will even help a few of you to improve your profile submission!

Step 1: Receiving the Form Submission

First, someone fills out an Anime Profile Submission Form or a Character Profile Submission Form. Then, when they submit the form, the PHP script formats the data and sends it to me via e-mail, which arrives looking something like:

A Character Profile Submission

Before we do anything, we need to jump down to the description section and copy a short phrase, then head over to Google and search for that exact phrase. This helps to find if the description was taken from another website. I usually try two or three short phrases, as sometimes people will intentionally misspell words or rearrange sentences slightly in an attempt to hide their plagiarism.

Now, the [j] and [uj] codes that you see help to identify which information belongs to the English version of the show and which belongs to the Japanese version. Anything without a code belongs to the English version, anything following a [j] (until the end of the current line) belongs to the Japanese version, and anything following a [uj] belongs to both versions. Pretty simple.

Step 2: Creating the File

After receiving the e-mail, it's then time to save it as a file. If the submission is for a character, then the name of the file is based on the character's first name (the exception to this is when the character is almost always referred to by their last name, such as a teacher). If the submission is for a new anime, then we have to create a new directory based on the title of the anime, and the actual file is just named "index.txt".

Now, notice I said "based on". This is because I use all lower case in my file names, remove all non-alphanumeric characters except for hyphens, and replace all spaces with underscores. So, for our example, the character Serena Tsukino from the anime series Sailor Moon would have a file called serena.txt in a directory named sailor_moon. Make sense?

Step 3: Formatting the Data

As I mentioned in Step 1, the PHP script does most of the formatting before it sends the profile off as an e-mail. This is the basic format that the file needs to be in so that my script can convert it into an HTML webpage file, but there is still some additional formatting that needs to be done by hand. In our example file, the following changes would need to be made (I'll highlight the changes so they're more obvious):

[ALIAS]   [uj]Sailor Moon  
[ALIAS]   [uj]<a href='neo_queen_serenity.htm'>Neo-queen Serenity</a>  
[ANIME]   [uj]<a href='index.htm'>Sailor Moon</a>  
[AGE]     [uj]14 years old  
[STATUS]  Leader of the Sailor Scouts  [j]Leader of the Sailor Senshi

Now we need to look at the [NAME] and [ALIAS] fields, which sometimes need additional codes to split up the names into their separate parts, such as first name and last name. The reason for doing this is so that the names can be indexed in various ways, thus making it easier for visitors to find the character they're looking for. As an example, lets format my name:

[NAME]     [t]Mr. [f]Ken [m]F. [l]Innes [s]IV

The [t] stands for title, [f] for first name, [m] for middle name, [l] for last name, and [s] for suffix. Most characters only have first and last names, if that. Some names, like "Sailor Moon" or "Zatch Bell", don't need to be broken apart. So for our example file, we would need to change the name field to this:

[NAME]     [f]Serena [l]Tsukino  [j][f]Usagi [l]Tsukino

That's just about it for this section, but there are two more things I should mention. First, notice how only the Japanese height is listed even though the character also obviously has the same height in the English version. This is because my script will automatically convert the Japanese height, listed in centimeters, to an English height, listed in feet and inches. This also works the other way around. If the English height is listed as 4'11", then my script will convert it and mark the Japanese height as 150 cm. The weight works the same way, except the English units are pounds, written as lbs., and the Japanese units are kilograms, written as kg.

The second thing only affects anime profiles, not characters, as it deals with links for buying the DVD or VHS tape. By searching Amazon.com for the title, we can see if it is actually sold there or not. If it is, we put the following:

[BUY-DVD]  AMAZON:Sailor Moon
[BUY-VHS]  AMAZON:Sailor Moon

Typically I place this tag underneath the last [CREDIT] tag, separated by a blank line for easier readability. Also, it doesn't have to be only Amazon links. You will find that The Right Stuf links are common around my site as well, although for those you actually have to browse RightStuf.com to find the product ID, and it would look something like this:

[BUY-DVD]  RIGHTSTUF:782009243632

Step 4: Getting the Image

Now it's time to find an image for the profile. Sometimes the profile submission will contain a suggested link to a picture. Sometimes these suggestions are good. Most of the time they are not. At any rate, once an image is found, it needs to be saved in the same directory as our file, with the same file name (except for the extension of course). Then it just needs to be listed, along with the website that it came from. So, for example:

[IMAGE]  <img src='serena.jpg'>
[CREDIT] <a href='http://www.SailorMoon.com/sailor_moon.html'>A Sailor Moon Website</a> (the pic)

Notice the (the pic) at the end of the [CREDIT] field. Without this, the website would get credit for contributing information, and not the image.

If you're a frequent visitor to this site, you might recognize that normally the images displayed are no wider than about 200 pixels. This is no problem, however, for if the image is too big my script will automatically create a thumbnail image that is the correct size. Still, there is one issue that needs to be looked out for, and that is if the image is wider than it is tall, because there is always more vertical space available than horizontal space for where the image is supposed to fit. In this case, a copy of the image needs to be made, keeping the same filename except adding a hyphen on to the front. This copy then needs to be cropped so that it is taller than it is wide. For example:

And don't forget to change the image name here too:

[IMAGE]  <img src='-serena.jpg'>

There are many programs out there that can crop images, but the one I usually use is a freeware program called IrfanView. With this, you just use your mouse to select the rectangular area of the picture that you want to keep, and then hit Ctrl-Y (or go to the Edit menu and pick Crop Selection).

Step 5: Proofreading and Re-Writing

Well, we're almost done. Now it's time to proofread and make corrections to the description. The first thing I do is run the text through a simple spell-check. Then it's time to start reading, while correcting any obvious grammar errors along the way, as well as re-wording any portions that don't sound right and linking any character names that show up (if my site already has profiles for those characters). I will mark all the changes to make them stand out, though doing so will cause it look a bit messy:

Usagi Tsukino (aka Sailor Moon) is a girl who has super natural powers.
She's really the Moon Princess's reincarnation reincarnation of the Moon
Princess, though she doesn't know this at first. She goes to Cross Roads
Jr. High and saves the world on a regular basis. She also has a talking
cat named <a href='luna.htm'>Luna</a> and a whole team of super powered
teens called the Sailor Senshi (or Sailor Scouts in the US version).

She Usagi is the leader of the Sailor Senshi, and being the leader thus she's also the keeper of the Imperial Silver Crystal. She Usagi may be a ditzy clutz klutz at times, but she'll grow out of it someday and be to eventually become <a href='neo_queen_serenity.htm'>Neo-Queen Serenity</a> and <a href='rini.htm'>Chibi-usa</a>'s mother. I guess 900 years is a long time to mature....

So that's about it. Now we have a profile that's ready for posting. Here's the final version:

A Fixed-up Character Profile Ready For Posting

At this point, if you had been doing all this, you would now email it to me and I would begin the next step.

Step 6: Build it, Link to it, and Upload it

Now that our profile is ready for posting, I right-click on the file and select the "Build HTML file" option. This will execute my script on the file and thus create the HTML file, which is then ready for uploading. Now, because I only want that "Build HTML file" option to show when I right click a profile file, and not every time I right-click on a text file, I choose to stop using the ".txt" file extension and start using a ".aa" file extension. To get this set up, I went to the Windows' Folder Options, selected the "File Types" tab, and clicked the "New" button. That let me register my ".aa" file extension with Windows and it let me set up whatever options I want to see when right-clicking the file.

For the final piece of this whole procedure, I now need to go to the updates file and specify that I added this new profile. If the profile was for a character, then I also need to add a link to the character in the main anime profile, as well as search for the character's name in all the other profiles in the directory so that I can link to the file whereever the name shows up. After all that's done, I just need to run my Build & Upload script, which will insert the profile into either the Anime Index or Character Index, and then upload everything to the server, where everyone else can see it.

Conclusion

And that's everything! You can all run away screaming now. Go ahead, it's okay. For those of you that are still with me, you can probably see that the whole procedure is not too difficult. The two main potential sources for time consumption are searching for the image and editing the description. Sometimes these are easy and go quick. Sometimes they're not and take a while. At any rate, if you've understood the procedure, then you're in good shape and most likely have what it takes to help out, so go ahead and send me a message. However, if you're sitting here still wondering what in the world a "file" is, then thanks for reading but you should probably just be on your merry little way.

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