a topic I pick up on from time to time on is that many people feel it's hard to get attention for their hacks on RHDN. You work on something for many months and then you release it and somehow the only thing that happens is that 3 weeks after release it appears in a "New hacks added to the database" posts as a single bullet point alongside 15 Sonic hacks that each change Dr. Robotnik's dialogue to a different dialect of Hebrew (situation slightly overexaggerated for comedic effect). I can totally understand how that can feel frustrating.
On the recent poll with feature requests there were also several features that aimed in the direction of getting better hacks noticed easier - up and downvotes, sharing hacks on social media directly from RHDN, favouriting hacks,etc. It's obvious we have work to do in this department. If you have more suggestions on how to improve hack visibility, don't hesitate to bring them up for discussion any time.
For this post however, I want to tell you how to improve the visibility of your hack right now, with what the site currently already offers. It is really simple actually, but for some reason so few people make use of it.
Submit a news post for your release.
A lot of people don't seem to know this, but RHDN news are crowdsourced just like anything else in the database. There is no one on staff going through all the romhacking forums, blogs, personal websites or even the local submissions here to pick out specific hacks to write news for. No, all news except the automatically generated ones by the submission bot are coming from users. Don't assume that some superfan will be so excited about your release he'll write a news post for you - just do it yourself. If you already spent months on your hack - why not spend 10 more minutes picking two screenshots and writing a short description to improve the visibility of your hack a hundred fold? You have no one but yourself to blame if you don't!
- Aren't you afraid the site will be spammed with news if everybody submits some?
If there are 10 new releases every day then we are happy to show that kind of community activity on the RHDN frontpage too. More news is good news. It means people have more reason to visit the site more regularly, which means even more visibility by having a news posted. You see, it's a win win situation.
- How do I know if my hack is worth a news post?
The guidelines don't specify a bar that is any more special or higher than that of a general hack submission. We can't tell you how to feel about the merit of your own hack, but in general I'd say if it's worth submitting to the site, it's probably worth submitting news about it. If your releases are smaller stuff like a bunch of docs or improvement hacks, why not bundle them up for one slightly bigger news post? Just use common sense and when in doubt ask, we don't bite.
- Writing about my own project in third person is so silly!
This topic came up once or twice before, so I thought I'd address it. If everyone started writing in first person and in their own style the frontpage would quickly read very messy. A lot of people mistake RHDN as a site for some translation group already and think it's a single entity that is responsible for all the hacks on the site. If you started reading "I just released Super Ultra Mario DX today" in every news post people think RHDN is some individual or group that did that even more. By having all news written in a neutral third person fashion we keep the news style somewhat unified and the confusion for visitors as low as possible.
- My English is not very good, I can't write a good news post!
This I can totally understand. Try it, if there are only a few mistakes we'll most likely fix them up for you before approving the news. You can also start by typing up the news on the forum and then using the forum's spell check to get at least word spelling right. If you still feel uncomfortable with the result, maybe ask a friend or on the forum for help with that. Or try the IRC or Discord server, maybe someone there can help. I'm sure we can find a way.
Does that help? Is there anything we can do to make the process easier? Better suggestions? Let us know.