Do Charts In Diskmags Have A Sense At All?
Written by Adok
Charts have been existing since the foundation of the scene. They are very important in so far as they mirror the current opinions in the scene best. Diskmags, which were one of the most important communication platforms in the scene for a long time, were an ideal place for holding charts, of course. With the time charts sections became so common that diskmags had to have an own charts section, if they wanted to be taken seriously. Pure chartsmags were founded as well, such as Splash or Shine, which, however, usually did not survive long or could not be used for fresh charts because of the large delays between the issues. But what does the situation look like today, with diskmags having not a so important role in the scene anymore? Do charts sections in diskmags have any sense? And what alternatives are available?
What is clear for me: Charts, or, to be more precise, scene charts are important - charts where the people can find themselves, not "best cities" or "best movies" charts like in former Hugi issues that you can also find in the mass-media. We are no consumers, at least not in the scene; we are artists, and we want to express our respect to other artists, and we want to earn some respect as well.
Charts in diskmags, however, have some disadvantages, namely: Since the diskmags do not have a central role in the scene anymore, a charts section in one single diskmag is no central charts section. It can only express the opinion of a small part of the scene, for example the Russian scene, if it is a local Russian diskmag, or the swapper scene, if it is a diskmag that is read mainly by swappers. The second disadvantage of charts in diskmags is the release basis of diskmags. Most diskmags are released at an irregular, large basis. So the charts are usually either outdated or newer votesheets are mixed with older ones, producing a strange picture with newer and older stars in the charts. On top of all that, you have to consider the great additional work for the anyhow over-worked diskmag editors. Even if you have a program that evaluates the votesheets automatically, you have to check and correct the charts manually, because of mistypings and the many different ways how you can spell names.
A solution for the first problem would be if several diskmags did one charts section together. But then the trouble with the second disadvantage would be even bigger. Which mag should publish the charts first? No, that's impossible.
Another solution: give up the diskmag charts and start really central charts, probably Web-based, that can be updated at any time. People could vote online while surfing or chatting. Using CGI the votes could be evaluated quickly. Of course manual processing would still be required, but that is one thing that you simply cannot avoid, unless you want to have messy charts nobody is pleased with.
Charts like that have already been existing since the beginning of 1998. They are called the Hornet Charts, maintained by Phoenix/Hornet. You can find them at http://www.hornet.org/ha/pages/hc/index.html. So far, slightly more than 300 people have voted. That's a number no PC diskmag has seen before, though it's still rather small. The charts are updated almost weekly. You can vote online at any time; your previous vote will be replaced by your new one. And if you haven't voted for four months, your vote will expire. A nice concept. Certainly a lot of work for Phoenix, but unfortunately currently way less voters than it would deserve. Quite strange if you consider that Hornet is the best known source for PC demoscene stuff. Again it's the people's laziness that spoils everything, but here is not the place to complain.
On the other hand, what are the advantages of charts in diskmags? - None. Well, there might be a small advantage, depending on the supposed character of the charts. Diskmags with a local character that are widely spread in a certain area could supply accurate local charts. I personally am not really interested in local charts, but maybe there are people who love them. Who knows.
To come to a point: In my opinion charts in diskmags are unnecessary nowadays. It would be better if there was a really central place for charts. There have been several attempts to centralize charts in the past, such as the mailswapper charts or now Hornet. These projects have to be supported in my opinion.
Eh, why am I doing charts in Hugi then? That has other reasons I won't explain here, because they do not fit into this article. If you are a diskmag main editor yourself, you will probably understand.