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Friday, July 1, 2016

So why did the popular South Texas Hot Wheels Database move to HobbyDB? Robert Graves explains...

South Texas Diecast Founder Robert Graves

I have been collecting awhile now, and for as long as I can remember, I have used STDC, or South Texas Diecast Catalog as my main catalog and checklist for my Hot Wheels Collection.  It was of course bookmarked, and whenever I was researching what I had and still needed, STDC was always the first place I went.  And I was not alone.  Most of you did the same thing.  STDC was as integral to Hot Wheels collecting as HWC was in its heyday.

And then one day it seemed to just vanish.  In place of the database we all knew was the news that it had moved entirely to a website called hobbyDB.  Frustration abounded.  hobbyDB took some getting used to, and the transition wasn't easy.  Frustration continued.

For me, I had just met the guys at hobbyDB at a convention, and became very interested in what they were doing.  I love the idea of a go-to database for all diecast.  But even with that excitement, I too was frustrated about the integration of the STDC site.  I couldn't find things like I was used to, and the listings didn't seem to be as organized.

But I plugged along, talked to the hobbyDB guys, and now use it just as much as I used STDC.  But man it needed some getting used to.

Since then I have partnered up with hobbyDB, because I really believe in what they are doing.  And since I have done a few feature articles on them, my confidence grows even more.  From the first article I did, the daggers have come to hobbyDB, but those daggers have been valuable.  Many of you have commented and criticized, but only because you are as passionate about the hobby and the value of STDC and important databases as anyone.  It has been very positive to see how we collectors used STDC.  And I have watched the gang take those comments seriously and work the suggestions in on their end.

But the question remains, why?  Why did STDC move?  What prompted it?  Why can't the data from STDC move to hobbyDB but a separate STDC catalog remain for those that are used to it?

Those are all great questions, so I went to the source.  I asked Robert Graves, the founder and owner of South Texas, why did what he did and what prompted it.

Robert gives a great perspective.  From time, to space, to even mortality.  Hopefully this gives everyone a clear idea of why it happened, and if anything, how valuable Robert Graves has been to our hobby.  A guy we probably have taken for granted.

Thanks Robert for answering these questions.

Enjoy...


- Give us a brief history of South Texas Diecast.


The STDC website was started in 2001 as a portal for our newly started Hot Wheels and Diecast Collectors club in San Antonio, Texas.


When the Diecast Illustrated website was abruptly shut down, all the collectors who had relied on these sites lost out. Our club then published the database that I had built to track what items I had and my wish list.  I then updated the information on the website continuously and it grew to half a million page views every month!


That site lead to all sorts of other fun stuff. From 2005 to 2009, I did the weekly “Sneak Peek” for the HWC site, photographing new models. And in 2008 I provided the images and text for the then-new Beckett Price Guide.

- How much time a day/week did you spend on it?


Between researching, acquiring items, documenting them and actually uploading information, I estimate about 10 hours a week, so almost 8,000 hours total. It was a lot of work, but a real labor of love for me, so I never really gave much thought to how long it took me. I was just focused on providing the best possible data for all the collectors out there.

- What prompted you to combine your database with hobbyDB and what was the deciding factor?


hobbyDB approached me about the database they were building of every collectible ever produced.  I thought
how is this possible?  They introduced me to the concept of crowd-sourced data similar to Wikipedia. Of
course, I was familiar with Wikipedia but I hadn’t previously considered using the same model for STDC –
which is just what hobbyDB was proposing.


There were several factors that I considered for moving STDC over to hobbyDB.


As I said, I loved doing STDC, but as I am getting older, I started to realize that I couldn’t do this forever. All the work on STDC was down to me alone. I've seen so many great websites come and go. Either the owner loses interest, has health issues, or dies. And in so many of those cases, the site would fall into neglect and then just vanish when the hosting runs out. I thought of all I’d put into the STDC data and how disappointed all the collectors who visited the site would be if one day it just wasn’t there anymore. But being able to move all the information over to hobbyDB ensured that all the time I invested in gathering all this data would never be wasted and the data never lost. I also love the fact that the data would continue to be free forever.


The next main issue was the expenses of running the STDC website. The site was generating over 4 million
hits a month and being on a 'shared hosting' plan, that traffic was causing performance issues with the
other websites on the server. I was going to have to move to a dedicated server which would have cost far more than the STDC website revenue could cover.


The third factor was that I loved the idea that everyone could add items which currently weren’t documented on STDC, which was basically Mattel-issued, 1/64th cars only). Everything from prototypes, Code 3/Customs, card variations, and other Hot Wheels related products can be added to the database for everyone to see.  I also liked the fact that others can add images; you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get images of everything, especially items I didn’t want to have in my collection.  A lot of your users will have seen me running around at conventions over the last 17 years taking photos of stuff they or others had for sale for that very reason!


Lastly, I liked the fact that folks who collect Ford Mustangs or Batman collectibles or whatever could also benefit from the Hot Wheels data I had assembled. Obviously, there are thousands of Hot Wheels collectors out there, but there are so many other collectors whose areas of interest cross-over somehow. I also collect LP’s and Anna is into Supernatural, so we’re adding to the site in those areas too.



- From your perspective, what are the major advantages of moving to hobbyDB?


Since moving STDC to hobbyDB and starting to work more collaboratively, the pressure has been taken off me immensely. I’m no longer worried about the longevity of the data, I have help with curating it and I don’t have to spend hours and hours adding it to the site. Adding data to STDC was a laborious manual process that often kept me up until the small hours, but on hobbyDB, it’s quick and easy. Plus there are so many features that I’d wanted to add to STDC but hadn’t been able to because of the time and cost involved, like allowing members to keep track of their collections, generating their own wish lists, a great search function and being able to add items to the database.

- What has frustrated you most about the move?


Before the 'big upload', there was already a lot of Hot Wheels information on the site, but most of
it was lacking in details and wasn't organized very well.  When the data from STDC was uploaded to the
hobbyDB database, there were a lot of duplicate entries that had to be manually combined which took a lot
longer than I expected.  Because of this issue, the initial user opinion of the site was poor at best.  Many of those initial critics came around, though, especially after they saw all the changes that we’ve made in the last few months when we showed off the site at the last Hot Wheels Convention in Indy!


Our current issue is that we’re evolving standards and conventions for cataloging stuff in the database. We’ve got lots of curators to help us and give us input, but obviously there are a lot of different ways to document things, many of which are correct in themselves. We just need to decide on which ones we’re going with. It leads to some lively discussions in the new team forum.


It’s the same process Wikipedia had to go through and we learned from them. In a way it is easier that as hobbyDB’s Head of Data I can make a decision after having heard all the different options - something that is not really possible on Wikipedia.

- How do you suggest collectors go about using hobbyDB?


Collectors can use hobbyDB in pretty much any way they like. They can research, track their collection and/or their wishlist, share knowledge and information by updating the database or becoming a curator and, if they want to, buy and sell easily.


Researching is as easy as typing in a subject in the search bar.  Tracking what’s in your collection and wishlist
keeps you up to date on what you have and what you are looking for.  Sharing your expertise helps everyone
learn more, and curating subjects allows members to insure that the data is accurate and comprehensive.


Collectors can also use it to fill gaps in your collection. I am missing a few items, and I have them on my Wishlist - ready in case somebody is offering one for sale!

- There has been a fair amount of frustration expressed by collectors about the move to HobbyDB.  What would you say to them?


Most of the negative feedback we received was mainly about three issues. The casting pages, list views and values.  


When moving over the casting pages we first had to merge all those duplicates. And then lots of people added more variants that I had not covered, smaller decal changes, card variations etc! While that was great it made it really hard to see what was different. We’ve just created a totally new casting page solution which we just launched that should take care of that issue. Check it out here -



Also, the layout on STDC was geared towards the Hot Wheels completist (I'll admit, I'm one of them).  Over
the years, collectors just got accustomed to that very basic and simple layout.  For the more casual
collector, it wasn’t user friendly and it was difficult for them to search for information on their cars. We did have some people who thought that information which was on STDC is missing on hobbyDB, but all the cars that were on STDC are now on hobbyDB, no information was lost.  

Lastly, I didn't realize how much the values were utilized on the STDC site.  They were more for me to make sure I didn't overpay for something I'd find at a show or convention.  These prices weren't updated in a timely fashion, and most were outdated.  However, hobbyDB has added value fields to the database and curators are now starting to fill out this information.  I also love working with the team on better ways to present the data, check out for example where we want to take the price guide!  

And here is all the other good stuff we are working on - http://help.hobbydb.com/new-features-to-come/.  A lot of this will take some time, but after cataloging an almost 50-year old brand for 17 years, I’m happy to take a long-term view on this.

- What can collectors do to help grow hobbyDB and make it the go-to Hot Wheels database?
The best assets for the site are the members themselves. Members can add missing items, correct wrong entries, update information/images, and flag items that need removal.  Sharing their knowledge benefits everyone. Now we also have a small but growing army of Curators who keep an eye on certain pages to help protect the quality of the database. If you’re interested in curating your favorite page, visit http://help.hobbydb.com/getting-involved/curators/ to find out more.

- How do you envision hobbyDB developing over time?

Wikipedia documents the history of mankind. hobbyDB documents the history of mankind's collectibles.
It is a great way to store this history for many generations to come.




-

49 comments:

  1. I have been to the site a few times when i 1st started collecting no need for the site unboxing videos show and tell you all the info you need and want

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    1. How do unboxing videos help you with older cars?

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    3. Not sure I understand, we do not have unboxing videos on hobbyDB. There are others who do an excellent job on those already.

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  2. Aaall right, I'll give it another shot...
    The fact that we are still talking about this, should tell us something

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    1. Thanks, Ivan. If you have comments post them here or get in touch. We try to take all feedback into account.

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  3. .....I've been on it but they dont have pictures of all variations, even commons. It seems like they just want to sell their stuff from their inventory. I now go on ebay to see the varations of a car or truck I'm collecting.

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    1. Hi Jonathan, we have images for over 30,000 variations and if we do not have an image you can add it. We also do not sell anything ourselves. It is other users of the site that offer items for sale which in turn finances the site. Which casting pages did you look at?

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  4. I've tried, I really have...While there are some ok things about it, it just doesn't live up to the simplicity of Rob's work at STDC. I can understand completely why he made the move, there's lots that goes into curating that much info and am grateful for all he provided to so many of us collectors. (I do a multi-pack only chart over at the HWC, so I get it)

    I guess the biggest thing for me is the way the info is presented and having to navigate through so much unnecessary info through too many pages. I'm a graphic designer, so I'm picky that way :) I used to be able to select Robs text only descriptions in bulk, and paste them into my own spread sheet for my own use/lists. That's not possible now. (I still use the original STDC site for that on older series)

    Somewhere in the middle lies an answer, just not to my liking right now. But the effort is appreciated. I'll continue to check in... "musicvox"

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    1. Hi musicvox, sorry, supporting spreadsheets was not part of what we are trying to build. We planned to build a website that can also be used off-line and maybe as an app. Here is a list of features that we plan to build - http://help.hobbydb.com/new-features-to-come/.

      Re how the info is presented you can get to everything you want with one search and 2, maybe 3 clicks. You just have to use the site differently. Let me know per reply if you have a query where that does not work that way.

      We would welcome your design perspective and are very open for suggestions. Feel free to get in touch either via hobbyDB (chat box bottom right) or FB.

      Christian

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  5. I have honestly tried to use hobby DB just like most of you and at this point I still have no use for it which is such a shame. I do understand why STDC moved but there are still some things about hobby DB that just come out usefulness.I think what the posts before mine have summed it up but Im still going to make some fast points. First I don't expect every diecast list to have "all" variations but at least have the basic variations. I just tested this site by looking for the Hot Wheels Dodge Viper SRT. Even though there is 3 basic variations only two showed. Second what made STDC so special (other than the value guide) was the way it was design, you could find yourself looking for diecast cars that you never knew of. It expanded the knowledge of Hot Wheels cars. Since it feels like a job on hobby DB to just find one car, there is no point in looking out and expanding your knowledge on Hot Wheels. You just feel proud that you actually found the car that you where looking for and move on.
    And most importantly, the lack of a price guide! I feel like this site has promised at least that but for a long time only to not even have some basic setup. This is probably the most important thing and I feel like hobby DB just dosent get it or understand how important this is. In all honesty, if the other two things I named where fixed but there was still no price guide, then this site would still be pointless to use!!! There is a nice site out there name HotWheelsWika and it gives me the list of diecast/ variations easily. There is no point in using hobby DB if HW Wika does the job so much better. I get values off of eBay, but I could have used STDC to get those values much faster. The only thing hobby DB does is give me one value per car from KMJ diecast. Not that there is anything wrong with KMJ diecast, but im sorry, there is no way a basic mainline car is worth $3.33! (not to mention KMJ charges an odd shipping charge) So to be honest, and I forgot who in the comments mentioned this, but all hobbby DB seems to be is a selling catalog for KMJ. Nothing more, nothing less. Hobby DB is for people who dont want to use Hot Wheels wika to see all the Hot Wheels cars and variation, ebay to get an idea of value, and Kmj to see Kmj prices :P
    Hobby DB always seems to post promises that thier site will get beeter now that STDC has evolved with them, but the longer it takes to accomplish these promises, the less hope I have for this site and whatever it may have in the future.

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    1. Hi Mega Gun,

      A few comments:

      Re the Viper, I found 3 variations and another card variations, so am not sure what is missing? Also, if one was to miss, why not just add it? Rob had explained that he could not do it all (here also a quick note why I am replying, Rob did not want to deal with all the negativity that he got from this move, so I said I reply to all of them).

      Re browsing on hobbyDB there are many more ways you can do that, you just have to do it in different ways.

      Re price guide, we have build the functionality and it is up to curators to add pricing estimates and they are getting to it - check out castings like the Dairy Delivery where you can find prices for more than 100 variations. Again, why not help out and curate a casting? It would help us to get there faster.

      Re KMJ Diecast, he is one of around 80 users who sell items on the site. His prices are not a price guide, they are his price. The same way not every price on eBay is a guide price.

      I would be super happy to give either you or Musicvox a tour of the site as I think you are trying to use it the way that STDC worked; approach it a new way and you get what you want and more. Why don't you try it and then report back here in the Comments section?


      Christian

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    2. As for the vipers, I didnt see the grey variation last night. But now I do so it must have showed up last night. It must've been a bad first cause i tried to test the site with some other cars and was able to find them. But to search for these cars where more difficult then using either Hot Wheels Wiki or ebay for the same purpose. Thats why I dont want to bother creating an account to a site that I have no purpose in and thus add the cars that are missing.
      As for the price guide I did check on the Dairy Delivery and it is a decent set up with value I wouldnt argue against with. But the Dairy Delivery is like one car out of many. Is there a list of cars that have their values, cause that could be some help? Also, how does one become a curator/ help a curator make values? Because if I had some control over deciding values, that would definitely be worth making an account and help a site become useful.
      And lastly with KMJ, since he is able to sell his items on the site, how does one sell their items? Could it be linked up to an ebay site? If it did I am sure the site would become better but with only 80 user who sell.. eh.
      And yeah I figured the KMJ price isnt the actual value but Im just stating it for the people who wouldnt know any better.
      And I would totally have to disagree with you;eBay is in a way a price guide. If you look up the lowest Buy It Now price (minus shipping) for a certain car it gives you a value. Thus a price guide that is always updated by every listing.

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    3. Would love to see how you like to search for these models, we are more than happy to make changes to make the site easier.

      Re price guide you will find our strategy fully explained here - http://blog.hobbydb.com/2016/03/26/vision-for-the-hobbydb-value-guide/. Like other parts of the site hobbyDB relies on curators. STDC had one curator, his name was Rob and because of that many prices did not get changed for many years as is only so much that one person can do (even if they are called the Robinator!). We now have 174 curators with some of them managing many castings. Curators can group and sort their casting, add price estimates, flag items that are duplicates and more. Please let me know if you like to try being a curator - I curate a few pages and enjoy it. We also have a forum for curators where we discuss site developments and do like your input (John here from the site is on our Advisory Board - http://info.hobbydb.com/advisory-board/, and constantly comes up with good ideas.

      Re selling, anybody can sell on the site, see http://info.hobbydb.com/how-can-we-help-you/ for more info. The idea is that as you buy more models and get duplicates you can offer those up for sale. Or stuff you bought with other stuff. Or unwanted presents. Or whatever reason - it all helps to maintain the database.

      eBay is the best we currently have in terms of pricing but I think it has some serious issues, please read the Value Guide Vision linked above for why.

      Mega Gun, we would love to you on board!

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    4. ok then what does it take to become a curator?

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    5. Join the site and let either one of us know what your username is and what casting you like to curate (ideally one that is not curated yet, but there can also be two or more curators). We then set you up and send you an email that explains your new "powers". Thanks for trying!

      You can also let me know your username and casting here as that might be faster this w/e.

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  6. Hey guys! I feel your pain too when I first approached hobbyDB. It was hard to tell variants apart and it took some time getting adjusted to a newer format with more options. I have been working closely with hobbyDB in resolving some of the issues. I have since did a small in-depth review, or walk thru, I should say of the site. Yes it's a long video but I'm hoping it will get people on board and involved and you can see how easy it is to move around the site now then it was just a few months ago. Here's is the link to the video. I also do many other die-cast reviews and unboxing. So have a look and don't forget to subscribe. We are all in this hobby together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUiY_eO3wRk

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    1. Thanks, really appreciate your comment, your help and your work!

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  7. Bring back the easy to read and much easier to use and way way better stdc.Enough said,thank you.

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    1. Sorry Heath, that is not going to happen and your comment is not really helpful. You are free to build your own site and do it the way you want to. Of course that would mean spending a few thousand hours doing so.

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    2. Hey Christian, as I never once used stdc, I find hobby db just fine. I like what you are trying to do and I hope you keep working onit. Chris Huntley

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    3. Hey Christian, as I never once used stdc, I find hobby db just fine. I like what you are trying to do and I hope you keep working onit. Chris Huntley

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  8. I'm not against the change, my only real problem is that HobbyDB is a Wikia-like site. I have an old computer and Wikia-like sites often have so many scripts running in the background that they have an unfortunate tendency to freeze/crash my browser.

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    1. Hi Steve, we share some philosophy with Wikipedia but our software is inhouse and very different to what they use (Wikia is using Wikipedia's main stack that by now is quite old). Do you experience crashing when using hobbyDB and if so would you allow us to investigate so that we can solve any problems?

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  9. I first discovered HobbyDB when looking up info on some older Majorette releases. While what I found on there was great and helpful, it was definitely a bit of a cluster you-know-what. STDC's list view definitely made navigating the site easier than how HobbyDB is laid out. Having it be an open site like Wikipedia/wikia sites will make things chaotic, especially with the addition of Code 3s and prototypes and such. Unless there are a few people monitoring new content, it is going to get out of hand as more and more people use it.

    I reply need to sit down and really navigate the site. Problem is finding the time to do so..

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    1. I would agree that without our Curator, Champions and Admins the site will become a mess. That is why we work very hard to expand the team.

      Also, remember the site is really only 18 months old and we are constantly improving it. Check out the way we now show information (not all pages are done yet) here: https://www.hobbydb.com/variant_definitions/33092.

      Would you like to help curating one or a few castings? I bet you that you will have fun doing it!

      Christian

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  10. The user interface is horrible I like the Old scroll of the data base. The new hobby dB is not user friendly and not easy to see all the variennts

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    1. Sorry, Unknown, I just quote Chris from above "as I never once used STDC, I find hobbyDB just fine". Cannot really comment much as you did not explain what you did not like and assume you don't like that it is different.

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  11. I prefer how, in HotWheels Wikia, Matchbox Wikia, and MBXForum, it is possible to see each casting, as sorted by chronological order of release. One notable benefit is that this makes it more fun to casually browse how a casting changes throughout the years.
    All three of them also have a function to see the entire lineup of a company in a particular year (i.e. it is easy to see all the 2004 MBX releases).
    These kinds of features, unfortunatey, keep me, as a Matchbox collector, from using HobbyDB.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. If you look at this overview, what do you think we should do differently on this page? https://www.hobbydb.com/variant_definitions/33415

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    2. How to get to variant definition page ?

      There is too many Clicks. In hot wheels wiki i write in search J3258 - i get 3 entry's one is right Qombee and i click on it and get all i need. In hobbydb i write in search then on Qombee and then i dont know on what to click :( a start to try all :( Only if lucky i will get in right place with first click and still i need to click to get to car.

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    4. No!

      You have to try at least the same search. Why not also type J3258 into the hobbyDB search? You then see 3 items with large photos and click on the one you want. Also all 3 of them show a link to the Variant Overview page with 12 variants.

      As I said it is different to STDC, you can search by toy number and you can use other search functions such as using a minus or quotation marks to qualify your search, very often getting your result with the first search.

      Please try the search at least! Or try our filters. I believe you can find any of our item with the first search, you just need to know how (as it is with any new software).

      (deleted earlier comment and added to this about qualifiers in search)

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    5. i write J3258 in hobbyDB search to. And what do i add to J3258 if it is only thing on car ? It is first time i see this car and don't know nothing else. And it is not in first 3 items then i push variants page and still there i still need to click on two pictures.

      I newer used STDC. Don't even know what it is. I started collecting only this year. At first i addend all to excel then try to and hobbyDB and added some 6 cars. Then i went beck to search wiki. and do photos of cars to remember what is in my collection.

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    6. Sorry, I do not quite understand your point and therefore cannot really reply.

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  13. I tried my best with a recent haul of flea market acquisitions, but searching for specific cars is an absolutely horrendous and frustrating experience.

    It seems like the new system is incredibly powerful, but finding things is so cumbersome that it doesn't seem like the info is even there. You're stuck navigating subset after subset.

    All I want is to punch in a name and simply have a LIST of every single variation of this car, in chronological order, with a text description. How hard is it? it's supposed to be a database...

    I don't know which series is it, so why do I have to browse through all these subsets?

    Some cars don't even have a name on them, just a casting year, so I want a LIST of every casting of that year with pictures, so I can find the one I want, click on it and then have a LIST of every variation, in chronological order.

    I get that it was a lot of work, but Rob should've simply handed over the site AS IT WAS and move on to his other projects.

    IDing the cars you find was a huge part of the fun, now it's turned into a chore.

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    1. LOL

      So I punched in a year from the casting of an unknown car I have and I was presented with minichamps, tamya cars and get this : completely unrelated Budweiser GLASSWARE.

      I'M LOOKING FOR HOT WHEELS CARS, WHY AM I PRESENTED WITH GLASSWARE?

      Good work guys, the fun of IDing the loose cars we spend so much energy finding is absolutely gone.

      After HWC shut down the trade boards and now this complete nonsense, the HW hobby took some nasty hits in the last couple years, whew!

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    3. We document every type of collectible (including for example Hot Wheels Paperweights).

      That being said you can add the words Hot Wheels to your search and you will not have the problem or you define your search query to only model cars (you can choose the type on the left hand side after doing a search) or use some of the many other search tools that are part of hobbyDB. The site is working differently than STDC but should give you the same results (in fact more as we added 000s of HWs since the move). I would be very happy to give you a tour, just reach out via the contact button on hobbyDB!

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    5. Honestly, I can appreciate the effort, but frankly, if the Hot wheels wikia page had an “add to collection” link, Hobby DB would be completely useless. Look how the search results by casting are presented on Hot Wheels Wiki, IT’S BEAUTIFULLY SIMPLE.

      Look at the top tabs on that page “Castings/HOT WHEELS BY YEAR”, click a year, HAVE A LIST. Granted, the formatting is often problematic and I have to log out to browse it because otherwise it's plain text pages (no idea why), but the browsing of results is FAST AND EFFICIENT.

      I use the wikia to find the cars I'm looking for on Hobby DB because it's more efficient.There are no useless subsets, everything is a sortable list, it's great!

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    6. I believe you have not yet fully understood the search capabilities of hobbyDB (and yes, that is our fault, we have to make the site more easy to explore and are working on it - it is actually quite hard to make a site powerful and easy at the same time). Once you know there is no looking back (that is partly why I offer the tours, they help us to better understand where we do not explain the site well enough).

      Re lists, I agree that Wikia does a good job, there are a few features that we are working on for lists (here a list http://help.hobbydb.com/new-features-to-come/).

      Re baseplate year, we could create what we call Lists of Interests for those, they would then show all castings with a particular baseplate year. Let me know if you like to help with that.

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    7. It's entirely possible that I haven't got the hang of it 100% and I read your link and I'm looking forward to most of what's on there.

      I think getting rid of the series subset when clicking the "X variations" would be a good start, but if some people like it for other types of collectibles then it screws them up.

      Once you've found a casting name, you can just copy and paste it in the search and then you bypass the annoying branching out of series subsets but it takes more clicks.

      I don't know how much versatility you guys have on HobbyDB when dealing with different types of collectibles that require different types of searches, but for hot wheels, baseplate year would be a very efficient way to narrow down possible castings with little to no other clues about the car.

      I don't mind lending a hand, really. I'm a classification freak so yeah. I relate to most complaints about the move to HobbyDB, since most of these complaints were about ease of searching and the ease of interpreting search results.

      If Rob's entire database is now on HobbyDB then I have little choice but to adapt but it lacks efficiency at the moment.

      Again, I'm thinking strictly from a Hot Wheels centric point of view, because maybe HobbyDB is absolutely amazing for other types of collections.

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    8. Thanks! We do struggle with the complexities of Hot Wheels and have to get it right. Different types of collectibles and brands will use the tools in their own way, here a good example https://www.hobbydb.com/variant_definitions/22516, we are working hard on various other ideas to increase that flexibility. You sound like a great "sparring partner" in this endeavour, maybe we can continue the conversation per email? You can reach me via christian AT hobbydb DOT com.

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    9. That works for me!

      I'll note it down and send you some stuff, I'm in the process of building my collection on the site so I'll definitely have some ideas.

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    10. We had a good phone chat me and Christian Braun, and some small changes will be made to make big improvements as far as hot wheels are concerned.

      When searching for a casting, clicking the "X variations" button will lead to the same series subdivisions, except there will be a subdivision called "all" where every variation will be displayed in one list.

      For example, searching for "Hot Wheels Dairy Delivery" will lead to the search results as usual, and clicking the "138 variation" button will allow you to scroll down and click on "ALL (138)" and have a full list of every variation of Dairy Delivery. You will then be able to narrow down the variations by selecting criteria on the left hand side of the window if you do not wish to scroll all 138 of them. Color, wheel type, made in, etc.

      If you have a loose car to identify and don't know the series it came from, you will no longer have to browse back and forth between series anymore, you'll have them all in one spot.

      There will also be improvements made so it's possible to search for cars using the baseplate year, to make it easier to ID loose cars when the casting name or model is not written on the base, such as the Peugeot 405.

      I'm looking forward for these changes, and you should too.

      These two changes alone will make Hot Wheels collecting far more efficient, and there will be more stuff.

      HobbyDB is a good site, because the people who run it will reach out to you (color me surprised, you don't see that every day), and I suggest you talk to Christian over the phone as well, if only to learn a thing or two about browsing the site.

      They understand the intricacies of collecting, but they cannot know everything about all types of collecting, that's why we're here.

      Cheers.

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    11. Thanks for taking the time, it was a good call and yes, for others please reach out. The calls help us to better understand need and there is always at least one good idea (here there were 2 or 3). Just to avoid disappointment I want to stress that these changes take time as we are a small team.

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