For the sixth year in a row, I’m the webmaster for the Shore Leave Science Fiction convention. Clearly this proves I’m insane, but insanity can be a good thing.
A couple weeks ago I got the word from Kett (the person responsible for booking the actors) that there would be a bunch of actors to announce this past weekend and could I possibly put up a message saying that a guest announcement was pending. So I put a message on the home page, along with a set of photos of a plush bunny labeled “Guest to be Announced Soon!” The guest names, photos and biographies came in over the next several days.
Kett called me on Sunday so we could doublecheck that everything was ready to go with the announcement. During the conversation, she mentioned that the people who participate on the GateWorld message board (a Star Gate fan site) loved the bunny photos and had been digging into the web site, trying to find clues about who the guests might be and checking for updates on a very regular basis (I’d noticed a spike in traffic as soon as the announcement went up).
At that point, all I needed was the official “Go Ahead” from the convention chairs. In the meantime, I couldn’t help myself. I added a message on the home page saying, “Hello GateWorlders! The update is nearly here, just making sure we chase off all the wraiths first.” (Wraiths being the villains, or in this case, an analog for last minute glitches – nothing like having problems come up during a high-profile update.)
I took a look at GateWorld site and found the thread where they were chatting about Shore Leave. Kett wasn’t fooling about their level of activity.
6:28 PM EST: I posted the first “Hello GateWorld” message on the home page.
6:31 PM: The first GateWorlder reported that a new message had appeared.
8:08 PM: I updated the message to say “The update is nearly here, we’re dialing the chevrons now.” (“Dialing the chevrons” being something analogous to dialing a phone number people on the show do when they’re programming the stargate with a destination.)
8:11 PM: The update was noticed!
8:15 PM: A final message, “Chevrons locked. Update in progress.” (The “phone call” was connected, the exploration team can now walk through to another planet.)
8:17 PM: The message was noticed almost immediately and people started hitting the web site in earnest, trying to be the first to see the update.
The home page is always the last thing I update. That way nobody sees a guest announcement, until all the details are visible. (Even with my high speed connection, updates still take a few moments.)
8:22 PM: They even read The News Page! Nobody ever reads the news page! It doesn’t contain nearly as many details as the other pages.
8:24 PM: And the fans go wild….
Judging by the comments on the GateWorld site, some of those folks probably think I’m a bit cruel.