New Site- BlueHampshire Meta Open Thread

Sunday Update: 

Have updated a number of things that have been brought up in the comment thread. That should make the user experience a bit better here. Also as promised here are a couple of screencast explaining things narrated by your’s truly. These are also available on the Getting Started Page.

Improvements to comments (ratings etc.) is going to take some time so I hope folks can hold on a bit on that.

Thanks, ^MH

What do you think of the new site? What still needs to be done IYHO?

I’ll probably have some time to do some site work this weekend what should I work on? One of the things I plan to do is to record a little screencast of the diary writing process.

If you can’t comment feel free to use the contact form to submit your input.

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  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    To answer your question, the site seems decent, but the “conservative” in me longs for the relative simplicity and clearness of the older site. But that’s probably because I became so familiar with the old site. I’ve been on the Internet since the early 90s before most even had computers — my first computer was in 1982 — and I’ve created thousands of pages of DeskTop Publishing and websites, and of course word processing and blogging. And I still prefer some of the features of my old WordPerfect and Page Maker software to Microsoft and Windows 8. But, the world goes on and while I’ll still on top of the soil I’d adapt, I guess.

    A couple of questions: The “comments” and “ratings” allow for “up thumbs,” and “down thumbs.” Can we identify who is making which? Seems like a lot of “down thumbs,’ and would like to know what’s a-happening. Also, can anyone make an “up” or “down” rating without having to sign in, so that our visitors and trolls can do so too? — not that it’s bad, but inquisitive minds would like to know.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      Any day on the right side of the grass is a good day!

      the comments and ratings are a bit disconnected from any real functionality and yes, unfortunately you can rate/thumb without being logged in.

      http://intensedebate.com/ is a comment system we could try out. I was worried it might be a bit complex but I’m open to it folks would like to try it out.

    • http://livablemht.org FrankLloydMike

      I just gave your comment a thumbs up, then realized I wasn’t logged in. I agree it would be good to track who is giving thumbs up and down, or at least restrict ratings to logged in users.

      If there’s a way to do it, it would be great to identify unread comments like on the old site. Similarly, having a quick list of the latest diaries on the side, with up-rated ones on the front page, was very helpful.

      It’s probably just that it’s taking time to get used to the new site, but I don’t read it or comment on it nearly as much as on the old site. But from what I understand, bringing it up to speed was important, and I don’t envy the task. Thanks for all the work you’ve put in.

      Also, the new masthead looks great.

  • http://www.timothyhorrigan.com Timothy Horrigan

    I think the old layout with the dairies and comments on the right and the “Meta” and “About” stuff on the left was preferable. At least it was for me: I usually log in with a desktop with a smallish screen or with a laptop. I do understand that cellphone users may feel differently.

    I am a big fan of Google ad placements, but the one in the middle column should be narrower.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      I wanted diaries 1st and formost on the layout but I have thought about getting rid of the third column though….

      Its one of the better performing ad sizes “Medium Rectangle”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_banner

      • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

        The issue may be that that column is set as a %width and if you have a narrow window the right side sort of colides with the 3rd column.

  • hannah

    Glad you asked. I noticed this morning that the blue of the links in a post isn’t sufficiently distinctive. Of course, there’s an underline, when the cursor passes over, but a different color or even a brighter blue, as in the twitter links would be better for old eyes.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      You right, the hue is nearly the same as the body text. Will adjust this weekend.

  • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

    One of the things under consideration is aggregation of content from other sources. With the author’s permission we would “pull” posts from other sites into BH.

    As a for instance all posts that Tuck makes over http://miscellanyblue.com/ and taged with “BH” would get posted here automatically. We would give the author the option of having comments available here or only on the source site.

    It would help make sure BH has some of the best political posts available and make it easier on folks that are often posting /cross posting on multiple sites.

    Any comments or concerns about this?

  • Kathy Sullivan 2

    Maybe it is my own ineptenss, but I don’t find it user friendly, had a wicked hard time trying to cut and paste something, so I gave up. Are user visits down? Seems very quiet, whether that is because out of election season, new format, the twitterverse or to paraphrase Scott Brown, bhqatver.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      It’s quiet cause you have not been around!

      I think its a combination of all those things. When BH started up there was no facebook/Twiiter/Tumblr/Intstragram. I think those user friendly, short format services have had a big impact and let us all stay on top of things without posting at BH.

      I’m not ready to give up and hope beween some continued improvements here, aggregation we will find a new place as part of the digital ecosystem.

      I will get a blog screencast up about posting diaries… it should be easier than the oldsite… there is even a “Magic” past from word button Im sure many people will love.

      Scott Brown used “bh” in a tweet? -Swoon-

  • hannah

    When one logs in, one gets the admin page and then has to select “visit site” from the drop down or click home page. Since most people don’t post, that seems a useless step. Why not have login go to the front page? Also, the quick-post on the admin page is useless. Much better to go to “new diary” and get the page with all the formatting options at the top, including blockquote and insert image. How one embeds a video is a mystery. LiketheDew no longer allows them. Also, LiketheDew reviews all post before publishing. That provides the editor an opportunity to add images and edit the break to suit the site. It does mean that submissions are posted in batches.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      Have put a “Redirect to Homepage” Plugin in place.

      • hannah

        Either you’ve got an automatic downrate or somebody’s messing with us and putting thumbs down on the most inoccuous comments.
        Not that it matters, but I never checked who recommended or didn’t. On Blog for America it became a vehicle for quasi mob action to drive away “trolls.” A waste of time, IMHO, because it just makes them feel more important.

  • BurtCohen

    There’s no place I can see to post Upcoming Events, other than in a new diary.

    • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

      Would like to eventually add an event calendar back in but low priority right now.

      Please feel free use diaries for publishing events.

  • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

    Agreed there are somethings around the admin screens that are not user friendly… will look into what can be done there.

    Embedding a you tube video in a post is a simple matter of entering the short code in your diary

    http://youtu.be/GGhExssWyE0

    Other embeds may be more problematic :-(

    • hannah

      I tend not to use the new short code because it doesn’t let one eliminate the reference to other videos at the end. Nor does it let one cut off ads. Since Google has acquire Youtube, it is almost impossible to exclude ads. Even when I upload original material, the program suggests the material might have problems with stability and offers a fix. Just as soon as the program contributes anything, that’s de facto permission for them to add ads.
      Hannah Blog, in case anyone cares, has no ads, no links, no tracks. Anyone can sign up and get approved to comment, but nobody has. So, I generally don’t leave comments open.

  • JonnyBBad

    the first few times I saw thumbs, one down , I clicked to see who had rated thusly and added a thumbs down to my own post

    • Rep. Jim Splaine

      Yes JohnnyBBad — and I’d like to know who says “up” and “down,” just for my own perspective. If it’s trolls, I put that aside; but if it’s someone with whom I usually agree, I re-evaluate my mindset. The old site gave us input that way.

      I also liked the “threading” of the older site, where a “reply” to a particular comment would be indented, and a further reply would be further indented, so that one would know to whom or what a response is addressed. Or, you had the option of responding to “parent,” i.e. the original post. I’m missing that, and getting confused.

      “Old” is always better in some ways, and “new” can always be made better. I’m finding that my “old” method of taking little cards and a pen when I meet up with someone and want to take a note is better than trying to type something into a PDA or phone, and then have to find that later. And I still enjoy my old VHS tapes of TV shows because I can rewind, move forward, make a new recording SO easily! And my old records have a wonderful scratchy-tone to music, compared with the electronics of CDs and digital!

      • Chris Blodgett

        Yep, there is something going on with the “up” and “down” voting. Some serious trolling IMO and the old method put a ‘face’ to who’s doing it. Every comment has at least one down rating and for no apparent reason. I’d like to know who is doing it, and have voting tracked and limited to logged in members only.

  • RealNRH

    Another vote for ‘who gave the rating’ here. I did prefer the old 1-5 system with tracking of which logged-in user gave each rating.

  • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

    Vis-a-Vis commenting… how would people fell about using facebook for commenting?

    • hannah

      Facebook is a commercial enterprise, geared toward collecting data to make marketing more effective. It’s precursors are direct mail and customer survey/registration cards, whose object was to determine how sales could be driven and regularized.
      The Republicans thought they could use a similar methodology by setting up sites like World Net Daily, which would collect info from the Republican base to target during elections. I suspect it hasn’t worked because citizens are, for the most part, too mobile. They relocate their residences too often (on average Americans move every two years and, since some stay put all their lives, that means some do it more often than that). The propensity to relocate is a great nuisance to bureaucrats. They do not like transients and they do not like planning services for transients, simply because they are unpredictable.
      Some of the demand for voter IDs is, I suspect, driven by the desire to eliminate as many of the people who keep moving around from the voter pool. A smaller voting population is not only easier to manage/manipulate, but less difficult to deliver services to. A general antagonism towards humanity may just be evidence of laziness. Indeed, some people go into government service because they expect it to be easy.
      Commercial enterprise is flocking to Facebook for cheap advertising and consumer data collection. The internet has made it possible not to care where people live. No more captive markets.

      • http://bluehampshire.com/author/mike-hoefer/ Mike Hoefer

        So I guess that is a no? :-)

        • susaninrindge

          That’s a “no” from me, as well re:Facebook commenting.

          Also, like JBB, inadvertently added a “thumbs down” when trying to find out who assigned it.

    • RealNRH

      I would dislike that. I try to keep Facebook from being connected to anything else; they’ve proven too unreliable and grasping in the past, and have a terrible track record on privacy.

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