New look to Locally Grown, now in process

If things look like they’ve gone to hell in a handbasket, they have.

It’s late Sunday night (10:50 pm) and we’re whacking away at some big changes.

Give us till 7 am Monday before you start asking questions. Thx!

107 Comments

  1. Griff Wigley said:

    It’s after midnight… heading to bed. More to come in the morning.

    January 12, 2009
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m a bit late…. working on more changes now. Give me another hour for some big stuff.

    January 12, 2009
  3. Tracy Davis said:

    It’s taking shape!

    January 12, 2009
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Yep, Tracy, we’re getting there. The blank banner ads are now up.

    January 12, 2009
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ll announce this later but this redesign of the look of LoGroNo is a Griff/Tracy thing, not a Sean thing. I purchased the theme, called WP-Vybe and Tracy’s customizing it.

    January 12, 2009
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m done tweaking the visual stuff and gizmos for now. Next task is to get the ad banner auctions lit.

    January 12, 2009
  7. Holly Cairns said:

    I stumbled on new.locallygrownnorthfield.org and wondered… this is great!

    January 12, 2009
  8. Griff, can the default font size be increased? I’m finding this tiny Verdana a little hard to read.

    January 12, 2009
  9. Holly Cairns said:

    Hey Sean, If you used Explorer you could zoom to 125% (bottom right hand of browser)!

    Ha ha, I know that’s pushing your button 🙂

    Text looks fine according to my settings… but I do have my glasses on

    January 12, 2009
  10. Holly, I’m aware the browser can enlarge the font, but I think 8pt is uncomfortably small for most uses.

    January 12, 2009
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    I think it’s too small too, Sean. Tracy, can you tweak it?

    January 12, 2009
  12. Bright Spencer said:

    I don’t like the several comments after the right hand headers. It’s makes it hard to peruse the topics du jour. The little font I can deal with though, but is unnecessary, imho. Thanks!

    January 12, 2009
  13. Griff,

    Are you guys really going to be having ads on the site?

    January 12, 2009
  14. Tracy Davis said:

    I increased the font size of the main posts and left the sidebars at 8 pts (for comparison, and because increasing those will take up a helluva lot of room). Thoughts?

    January 12, 2009
  15. Griff Wigley said:

    Hayes, yep, we’re going to have ads. No spoof! I’ll blog about it as soon as I get the auctions listed. For now, you can see that the left sidebar has an ad for non-profits, whereas the right sidebar has two spaces (two sizes) for businesses. See the new LG Advertising Page for more.

    January 12, 2009
  16. Griff Wigley said:

    As an experiment, I’ve added the SezWho plugin for rating blog posts and rating comments.

    January 12, 2009
  17. Tracy Davis said:

    I’m experimenting with SezWho, but it makes me log in EACH TIME I want to rate something. I’ll try it in IE (currently using Firefox) and see if it’s different.

    January 12, 2009
  18. Tracy Davis said:

    I also noticed that something seems to have really slowed the site down since a couple of hours ago.

    January 12, 2009
  19. Tracy Davis said:

    Okay, I tried it again in IE and it worked fine. I need to practice getting the thumbs-down button all warmed up for Griff’s next Faux News piece….

    January 12, 2009
  20. The purple print on the right does not show up very well for me on my computer. Is this an homage to Maggie Lee?

    January 12, 2009
  21. Tracy Davis said:

    I brightened up the text color on the sidebar, Susan…. is it better now?

    January 12, 2009
  22. John S. Thomas said:

    Just a heads up guys… its loading painfully slow here. Well over sixty second page loads and transitions, and not completely loading the sidebar at times…

    I am using a brand new HP laptop Dual Core with 4 GB ram, on the corporate connection, with Firefox 3.0.4.

    I have rebooted, and cleared everything out.

    Main text is loading promptly, but the sidebars are clocking or not loading at all on the homepage.

    I will check it at home in a few hours.

    I LOVE the new design though. Do NOT change the fonts, but allow them to be manipulated by the browser.

    -J

    January 12, 2009
  23. John S. Thomas said:

    I am also VERY MUCH opposed to the utilization of a third party, SEZWHO.com to aggregate and track every one of my comments on Locally Grown. (see the who am I link next to your name.)

    It is my decision, not yours, when it comes to what I want to share online.

    I did not sign up for this, and it is an invasion of my privacy.

    Show me in your signup agreement terms where you stated you were going to do that, and share my information with third parties.

    This is unacceptable in my opinion, and I do not wish to participate.

    It appears that they suddenly have well over a year of LGN content postings on thier site.

    I need to hear from you on how I can opt out.

    LocallyGrown needs to have a posted privacy policy. You made this change without informing your user base. If you did inform us, it was not via e-mail, or readily apparent.

    Please advise. This greatly concerns me, and I want the option to opt out, as well as having these posts removed.

    January 12, 2009
  24. Tracy Davis said:

    John, I’ll check into this. My understanding is that SezWho requires you to actually register in order to work. What you see next to your name is probably the equivalent of a google search. I need more info. I agree with your concerns.

    January 12, 2009
  25. John S. Thomas said:

    I found the opt-out on their site:

    http://sezwho.com/opt_out.php

    I have no idea how it got my posts, as I did not register, and it did not recognize any of my e-mail addresses as valid.

    I will see if it removed the “Who Am I” link.

    Please let me know. I don’t mind my comments in the community, but I would prefer them not to be held by a third party.

    I know – Don’t post, if you do not want it public, and I can live with that… but I chose to post to LGN, not SezWho.

    Thanks for looking into this.

    -J

    January 12, 2009
  26. John S. Thomas said:

    I get the following now, when I click on the “Who Am I” link:

    “This user profile is no longer available to the community. The user has chosen to opt-out of SezWho.”

    This will work for me, but I am still concerned to see if others have automatically been opted in.

    January 12, 2009
  27. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve deactivated SezWho until I understand more completely what it does/doesn’t do. I thought it was just a simple plugin!

    January 12, 2009
  28. john george said:

    What!!!??!! Is nothing sacred in this town?! Oh, yes, I forgot. This is a secular web site, not a religious one, though some do post here religiously! I liken this rearrangement to rearranging the grocery store. Just when I figure out where to find the pickles, they move them over next to the peanut butter. Oh, to be young and flexible again!

    January 12, 2009
  29. Yes, Tracy, the formerly purple is now a brighter blue. But it still will take some getting used to. Could it be a brighter color than blue instead?
    I am glad Griff deactivated SezWho. Like John T., I do not want to be part of it. And I don’t like the idea of “grading” or “rating” other people’s postings. Why add a popularity contest?

    January 12, 2009
  30. I don’t find the SezWho all that useful, but I think you’re being unreasonable, John.

    You wrote:

    It is my decision, not yours, when it comes to what I want to share online.

    That’s absolutely true. It was your choice to post on LG. After you submit your content to a site, though, it’s their content to do with what their want. The only promise they made you was to not publish your e-mail address — I think that’s been abided by. If you didn’t want your name connected to what you said, don’t say it.

    (I speak all this as just another commenter — as may have been apparent from this new theme, I am no longer involved with the tech work of LoGroNo.)

    January 12, 2009
  31. John S. Thomas said:

    Well, I don’t think knew the full extent of what SezWho does.

    It has never been about standing behind what I post, or a decision about having my name associated with what I post.

    I just don’t like to believe that the scope of my comments are on LoGroNo, then suddenly they are out on a third party site.

    I am not stupid in the ways of the internet. I have been in the industry for quite a long time and understand that as soon as you hit send, it is public, and lasts forever. I just would like to lessen the spread so to speak. There is no real reason for all of the posts on LGN to go viral and everywhere. The audience outside of Northfield could probably care less.

    My only fault is much of the time, I am far too vocal. 😎

    January 12, 2009
  32. John S. Thomas said:

    I am also a bit concerned about this advertising model that is coming here, and wonder if a subscription model is next.

    If you move from a non-profit.org to a site that takes in revenue from advertising, the model and content then have a bias based on cash flow. I wonder how that is going to change the content here.

    Do we see the site becoming more “news-y”?
    Do we start to see premium content services for a fee?
    Do we start to have to start to pay to see streaming content?

    I just wonder what is in store for us in 2009. It would be interesting to see as someone who posts here frequently what Griff’s master plan is. 😎

    January 12, 2009
  33. Holly Cairns said:

    What? No more Sean at LoGroNo?

    I like the ad space. It feels “real” now. It felt suspicious before. No ads = strange.

    January 12, 2009
  34. Tracy Davis said:

    We really are making this up as we go along. There’s no master plan of increasing charges or whatever.

    Griff regularly puts in anywhere between 20 and 35 hours a week on LoGro. Ross and I don’t do nearly that much in an average week, but the time invested is still considerable. In addition, there are some out-of-pocket costs involved in what we’re doing, and that seems to be increasing. So the short answer is, if LoGro is going to continue we need to do things differently, find a way to fund it, or both.

    I would *hope* that the independence of our content wouldn’t change as a result; advertisers should know what we’re about before they purchase space, and if they get offended, they just won’t renew.

    January 12, 2009
  35. John S. Thomas said:

    You know… I always thought that if Griff was to be played in a movie, it would be by Mike Meyers, and it would be somewhat like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers…

    Always have a master plan… and ask for one Meeeeeeelllioooon dollars… 😎

    Griff always has a plan, or at least as most IT guys, LOOKS like he has a plan. He likes to futz with things and see how they work, much like I do.

    Frankly, I am really surprised that LGN has gone this long without a methodology to bring in some self sustaining revenue to pay the hosting costs, etc. Something needs to be done to feed the technology habit.

    It will be interesting now to see what businesses jump on board. Several businesses will have to create simple sites just to have a place for the banner ads to land. Interesting utilization of the E-Bay auction model for the ads. Innovative thinking.

    If one is a non-profit, how do they bid to garner space? I thought the goal of a non-profit was not to spend money, just as they should not make a profit.

    The new design looks great. Just be careful about having too many bells and whistles on the page that impact load time. Not all of the plug-ins necessarily need to be on the homepage. Load time is better at home, so I wonder if the websense blocking software at work is wreaking havoc on the page load. I will check again tomorrow.

    January 12, 2009
  36. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: Lookin’ better; I like the “work in progress” theme. Thanks for explaining about the needs for ads, but I’d like it better if you could function off grant money rather than ads because people(innovative people) keep coming up with more e-ways to get your attention.
    Look at Talking Points Memo website; as you’re reading the headlines, the banner ad explodes and delivers ‘things’ all over the headline text! often great animation but bothersome as can be to the reader after a while. Please keep your ads confined within their boxes!

    3 comments about comments: 1. comment box hue often not very different from background….2. green for comment names help #1, but why are some comment names black and some green?…. 3. numbers on the comments were sometimes useful for going back to see what was said; are they coming back?

    January 13, 2009
  37. Bill Ostrem said:

    After a quick scan, I like the new look! Much cleaner.

    Regarding ads: as someone who has put a lot of time into generating content for his own blog, I understand the desire to be remunerated for the work. Without some income, it is much harder to keep it going. That said, my own site produces VERY little income, and I do it for other reasons.

    January 13, 2009
  38. Holly Cairns said:

    Hey, just an idea. I’m not reading the articles anymore! Maybe a different color and a half a point bigger, and a tiny more space between the article and title? There’s no draw and I see it all the same (hence scan and find nothing…)

    January 13, 2009
  39. Holly Cairns said:

    Different color and half point bigger = titles

    January 13, 2009
  40. Julie Bixby said:

    Changes always take me time to process! I do like the look. What is the “Current score: 0” about?

    January 13, 2009
  41. Tracy Davis said:

    Julie, we’re experimenting with features that allow the LoGro community to rate comments as well as posts.

    It’s far from scientific, but it gives us all a way to provide feedback to each other on how interesting/useful/relevant/wonderful a particular comment may have been.

    It’s not a popularity contest; it is to be hoped that it may be a way to boost our discussions’ signal-to-noise ratio. It’ll take awhile to accumulate enough ratings for the feature to be at all useful; this may not be the right tool. (We already had one strike with SezWho.)

    Anyway, that’s the thought behind it.

    January 13, 2009
  42. kiffi summa said:

    But Tracy, you didn’t tell Julie How to ‘do it’ !

    Julie: If you think it’s a really good or useful comment, just click on the little blue/orange icon and you’ll see that the current score will go up one number.

    P.S. I think this is pretty lame because couldn’t someone just keep clicking on one they like , or favors their POV, and make the concept useless?

    January 13, 2009
  43. John S. Thomas said:

    That brings up an interesting point.

    I tried to “happy click” on a few of them. Firefox pops an error message saying you already clicked on it.

    If I then go right over to IE7, the score shows, but no clickable button.

    It must be tracking it on your side somehow. 😎

    January 13, 2009
  44. Leonard Witt said:

    Hi Griff and Tracy:

    A guy brought up on linear design finds the site busy. It’s hard for me to focus on one thing and I have trouble knowing what’s most important. I know you have the rating system, but still there is so much I am having trouble connecting. But like the others I might have to give it time. I liked the simplicity of the older format. You blog on the left, commenters were on the right.

    January 13, 2009
  45. Oh, great. One more thing to worry about in life: Will I get a thumbs up or not. Tracy, what does “signal to noise” ratio mean? Is it a way to drive away those who don’t get anyone to click thumbs up on their comments?
    Here, John T., I am going to click on your latest. Want to reciprocate?

    January 13, 2009
  46. kiffi summa said:

    Leonard: I agree with you on all that you said , but I also know that one can familiarize oneself with the site if one wishes to continue to participate.

    My general issues are with what I would call the ‘cleanness’ of the design; maybe crispness is a better descriptor? An early commenter, Bill Ostrem… Hi, Bill! .. said he found it cleaner than the old site design, so maybe clean is in the eye of the beholder.

    From a designer’s POV (general , not specifically website) I would say your eye is not easily drawn to one area or another because of lack of meaningful contrast and I say that even with the right sidebar being so dark. There’s too much evenness of hue/shade to differentiate areas. It’s ‘pretty’, but is that graphically helpful?
    The old site design was ‘pretty’ also, but in a bolder, more attention getting way.
    This design doesn’t say: Look here, or look here!
    The various areas compete with each other for importance.

    Overall, I think many of the elements of successful poster design are applicable: What do you first want people to see? What is OK for them to have to look to find?

    All that evaluation , not criticism, said … keep fussing with it, Tracy and Griff.

    January 14, 2009
  47. Randy Jennings said:

    Tracy and Griff,

    Please say more about what value the scoring gizmo adds to civic engagement. It seems to me rating creates a false sense that the discussion is representative of community opinion when it is no such thing. (If you, dear reader, agree, please give this post a thumbs-up.)

    If it serves some important purpose, why does the rating system capture only agreement? Is that just Minnesota Nice? While there are many comments with which I will happily indicate agreement, there are just as many that I think are completely wrong. If there’s value in gauging assent, there must also be value in gauging dissent. (If you, dear reader, agree, give this post a thumbs-up, unless, of course, you’ve already used your thumb above.)

    January 14, 2009
  48. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    I accidently hit a thumbs up twice..and was warned…cheating huh??
    How cute is that?

    Your continued work on this site, amazes me!
    Great job! LOve the colors.

    January 14, 2009
  49. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks for the information Tracy and Kiffi.
    I agree (and gave a thumbs-up) to Randy Jennings comment. I too think that if there is a way to agree then, perhaps, there should be a way to disagree, and yet, isn’t that what we all do by commenting?

    January 14, 2009
  50. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    Just an FYI…
    Randy’s was the one I was hovering over (to see what it would do) and it jumped from 1 to 4 so there is a cliche there or perhaps 4 people were voting all at the same time???
    Not sure.

    January 14, 2009
  51. Tracy Davis said:

    Randy et al, the idea behind rating both comments and posts is to see what type of content “we” (LoGro readers and commenters) value.

    The platform is egalitarian – anyone can comment – but as we all know in real life as well as online, not all comments are equally valuable. Some have real content; others are just static. That’s what I meant by boosting our signal-to-noise ratio. (Please ignore all my mixed metaphors, I’m trying to communicate in the vernacular, not write a thesis.)

    The way I’d envision it working, ideally, is that each post and comment would include the means to give it a 0-5 numerical ranking. An unranked item would by default have a neutral or average rating. We all have the opportunity to rate and item; considering human nature we’ll probably only do so if we really like/agree with the item or strongly dislike/disagree.

    Over time, we could develop the personality of the LoGroNo community by seeing what kind of contributions get the most favorable ratings from the rest of us. Of course it’s subjective, but after a certain point of critical mass it can have real value – like the consumer ratings of products, services, or reviews on sites like Amazon or TripAdvisor.

    On the other hand, maybe all this rigmarole is just a thinly disguised way for me to try to convince Griff to discontinue his faux news pieces. 🙂

    The thumbs-up-only model isn’t just Minnesota Nice. There may be better WordPress plugins we could use but this is what we’ve found so far.

    January 14, 2009
  52. Yea! I am tied with Kiffi and John T. with 3 thumbs up. Randy has 4 (but he has a poll going on). Watch out, Leonard Witt, with 5. We’re gaining!
    But I still do not like this rating idea at all. And adding a thumbs down would just add a new level of discouragement for people who contribute opinions and get no thumbs up.
    In today’s economy, who needs that kind of negative assessment? Julie is right that one can disagree by commenting, not anonymous thumbing.

    January 14, 2009
  53. Tracy Davis said:

    I forgot to add the obvious – one significant advantage to ranking posts and comments is to provide an easy way to give voice to LoGro’s very own silent majority. People who comment online here represent only a fraction of the people who read in a given week.

    January 14, 2009
  54. Update: Randy has now surpassed Leonard Witt with his clever polling idea. Will Leonard try the same ploy? Stay tuned.

    January 14, 2009
  55. Randy Jennings said:

    Can we take the scoreboard down now? Even though I shamelessly pandered for votes, I’ve picked up 11 thumbs and I’d really like to close out as the all-time thumb leader. As far as I know, none were from members of my immediate family.

    On a more serious note, is it possible to restore the numbering scheme and the time stamp feature? The post numbers were useful in referring to others’ comments, and I actually found it interesting to see who the insomniacs are.

    January 14, 2009
  56. Sarah Hale said:

    I know I’m jumping into this conversation a little bit late, but I’m so confused by this new design that it took me a while to find the thread regarding the design change. (Are the “featured articles” the most recent? The most read? Griff’s favorite?)

    I think my biggest complaint is that the site is just so busy that my eye doesn’t know where to go or what to look at. I enjoy reading LocallyGrown, but am disappointed to see the site take a step backwards in design. The old design looked professional and unique; this looks generic.

    January 15, 2009
  57. Tracy Davis said:

    Sarah, thanks for the feedback and the specifics. You’re right, the look is “generic” (it’s a WordPress template) and we’re working on customizing it to provide both the look and functionality we need.

    January 16, 2009
  58. john george said:

    Tracy- Thanks for the inside info on the template. The site is much like many other sites I have visited, so they are probably using the same template. I have to agree with Sarah’s evaluation. Also, I don’t particulaly care for the white letters on the dark blue field. My personal preference is dark lettering on a light background, and I think someone else mentioned this, also. Perhaps this is just familiarity with newspapres and periodicals. I suppose that just because everyone else is doing something some way, it doesn’t make it more correct. I do believe there must be some logic in the consistent way print media is presented, though.

    January 16, 2009
  59. Tracy Davis said:

    John, I don’t like the dark background sidebar either – it’s just buried too deep in the code for me to easily find it. As soon as I can spend time poking around to find out where it is, I’ll change it!

    January 16, 2009
  60. Bright Spencer said:

    I just discovered I can thumb score my own posts.
    Neat.

    January 18, 2009
  61. David Henson said:

    Griff – you might be interested in this show on Ted TV http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/scott_mccloud_on_comics.html The speaker talks about the concept of bringing old forms to new media. My take on the site redesign is that the look and feel is more like a newspaper than the previous design.

    January 20, 2009
  62. Griff Wigley said:

    David, yes, we were seeking a bit of a newspaper/magazine look to the new look… most obviously the advantages of a ‘front page’ in which the editors select what’s most important. That’s the purpose of the ‘featured articles’ section at the top so my fluff posts don’t force them off the front page.

    January 22, 2009
  63. Griff Wigley said:

    By Jan. 31, there should be an upgrade to our Vybe theme that fixes the paged-comments feature and adds numbers to comments to make it easier to reference other comments in a thread.

    January 22, 2009
  64. Tracy Davis said:

    Yay.

    I don’t like the Possibly Related Posts. The plugin doesn’t seem quite ready for prime time, the posts it references are much more ‘possibly’ and much less ‘related’.

    January 22, 2009
  65. Griff Wigley said:

    Yeah, I think you’re right, Tracy. I’ve deactivated it.

    January 22, 2009
  66. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve deactivated the Top Comments plugin (rating system) and I’ve removed the Top Commenters widget from the right sidebar (a listing of all the commenters during the current month).

    I’m going to explore using the Intense Debate system because it has a Reply-By-Email feature and ‘Reputation Points & Comment Voting’ among other features. It’s now an Automattic project (the WordPress creators) so I’m relatively confident it won’t break anything.

    January 24, 2009
  67. John S Thomas said:

    Griff,

    Again, I am not going to sign up to a third party website to comment.

    Please review that model.

    -J

    January 24, 2009
  68. Griff Wigley said:

    John, with IntenseDebate you don’t need an account to comment. It’s optional.

    January 25, 2009
  69. John S. Thomas said:

    Thanks Griff. I opt out. 😎

    January 25, 2009
  70. John S. Thomas said:

    Griff,

    Your Twitter states that as of 15 hours ago, you are uploading 20,000 locallygrownnorthfield.org comments to the IntenseDebate website.

    I have a problem with that, just as I did with the other plugin you were attempting to utilize, as I brought to your attention earlier.

    I like participating on Locally Grown, but some of the directions you are moving it concern me, and I am wondering if I need to rethink my participation.

    Please advise.

    January 25, 2009
  71. Griff Wigley said:

    The upload didn’t work, John, so I’ve uninstalled it. I’m mainly looking for a reputation management tool and ID looked like it would work while at the same taking into consideration your concerns.

    January 25, 2009
  72. Griff Wigley said:

    As per popular request for a preview to comments, I’ve installed a comment editing tool here called WMD using a WMD plugin.

    As you type and format your comment, there’s a Live Preview window below that shows you what your comment will look like.

    Hopefully, it’s make commenting and linking easier for everyone. It also allows you to include images as long as the image exists on the internet.

    Let me know what questions you have about it.

    January 25, 2009
  73. John S. Thomas said:

    Griff,

    I appreciate your efforts, and I don’t want to be a nagging nelly. I am just concerned about privacy issues.

    I know that as soon as you hit “Submit Comment” a comment is in the public domain. However, it is nice to not spread it around.

    Can you explain what a “reputation management tool” is, and why it needs to be on Locally Grown? What is the value add for having it? Is the intent to give folks that do not want to post a mechanism to agree or disagree with a poster anonymously?

    I think it would be easier for me, and possibly others, to embrace the changes if we know a bit about the direction and intent of the new technology?

    How about a posting with the “Locally Grown goals of 2009” and within that, a discussion of the new technologies you would like to bring in.

    Just curious.

    January 25, 2009
  74. John S. Thomas said:

    I like the wmd comment plug-in, and the ability for folks to call out to image files. I think this one, or something similar is a keeper.

    January 25, 2009
  75. Griff Wigley said:

    John, I’m interested in a more sophisticated reputation mgmt tool so that ‘quality of participation’ is encouraged (both content and tone/manner). Participants’ reputation ranking would be displayed (sidebar? with a comment?) along with the ranking on an individual. I don’t know that we can ever deploy the sophistication of Slashdot’s Karma or similar reputation management tools (wikipedia link) but I’d like to head that direction.

    January 26, 2009
  76. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve added the Gravatar plugin which allows for more features with Gravatars. For example, your photos are now linked to your websites. If you don’t specific a link, it defaults to LG. I found a setting that allows the photo to NOT be linked to anything if a commenter doesn’t add their own website to their comment.

    January 26, 2009
  77. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve tried to make the 20 blog posts currently showing on the home page consistent:

    • every post has a break/More Tag
    • single thumbnail image above the break, aligned right, 5 pixels horizontal space/margin, 75 pixels high
    • text at a line or two below the image and then a break/More Tag
    • categorized and tagged

    I’ve also turned on the automated rotation for the Featured blog posts at the top.

    January 26, 2009
  78. Griff Wigley said:

    There’s a new version of the WordPress Vybe theme we’ve been using and I’m installing it now. There’s likely to be some temporary glitches.

    February 16, 2009
  79. Griff Wigley said:

    The revised theme, Vbye 1.1, is now turned on and we’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.7.1. We’re going to try to live with the ‘timber’ color with some minor changes that Tracy will alert you to.

    Paged comments are now working. Yay! And the background color of each comment alternates to make it easier to distinguish from one commenter to the next. Now I need to figure out how to number the comments.

    Let us know if you notice any weird things happening.

    February 17, 2009
  80. Tracy Davis said:

    And look, everyone, the sidebar isn’t dark anymore!

    As Griff mentioned, I’ll be tweaking fonts and link colors just slightly, so please hold off for a few hours before commenting on specifics.

    February 17, 2009
  81. Griff Wigley said:

    And I’m still messing with comments, specifically threaded comments. And this comment is an example, as I’ve attached it to Tracy’s comment above.

    February 17, 2009
  82. Griff Wigley said:

    Okay, numbered comments are working.

    And I’ve turned on threaded comments, but just three levels deep for now. I’ve never been a big fan of threaded comments as it’s so easy A) to get confused (it’s not like F2F conversation); and B) to miss comments.

    But I’m willing to experiment. Feel free to attach comment to this one and then one to that one and… well, you get the idea.

    February 17, 2009
  83. norman butler said:

    Much, much better, Griff. More readable by far.

    February 17, 2009
  84. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Norman. Be thankful Tracy takes the lead on design.

    February 17, 2009
  85. david beimers said:

    This is much easier to read. I have to say I’ve been staying away over the past month because I didn’t like the layout. Thanks for the improvements.

    February 17, 2009
  86. Tracy Davis said:

    This is how the threaded comment works. I posted this on Wednesday 2/18 at just before 11a, but it doesn’t display chronologically in the entire list of comments – it displays under the specific comment I replied to. The comment numbering shows the difference also.

    February 18, 2009
  87. Randy Jennings said:

    Thanks for restoring the numbers and the time stamp. Point B seems especially likely. On a topic that draws a flurry of responses, the additions linked to the earlier posts will disappear.

    February 19, 2009
  88. Patrick Enders said:

    It’s also very confusing trying to follow the thread of comments with these nested responses. The order of comments in the body of the page is now different than that in the preview pane in the right column.

    February 19, 2009
  89. Patrick Enders said:

    And what, exactly, will this page look like if the comments go three layers deep?

    February 19, 2009
  90. Patrick Enders said:

    Aahh. Something like this, I guess.

    February 19, 2009
  91. Patrick Enders said:

    My general impression is that it looks pretty confusing when these things get nested.

    February 19, 2009
  92. Paul Zorn said:

    Much, much better. No decimal points, please.

    February 19, 2009
  93. Griff Wigley said:

    If no one really wants to have nested/threaded/decimal-pointed comments, I’m happy to turn them off.

    Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

    February 19, 2009
  94. Tracy Davis said:

    I prefer them off, too.

    February 21, 2009
  95. Patrick Enders said:

    Off.

    February 21, 2009
  96. Griff Wigley said:

    Okay, I’ve turned off threaded comments. It’s renumbered the comments above. Let me know if you notice any weirdness.

    February 22, 2009
  97. Tops of numbers are truncated, but we can pretty much guess them!

    February 22, 2009
  98. Griff Wigley said:

    Yeah, I noticed that truncation too, Susan. Doesn’t happen with Firefox or Google Chrome… just Internet Explorer. I’ll put it on my to-do list!

    February 22, 2009
  99. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve added a “search everything” plugin to the WordPress search feature in an attempt to improve it. The WP search box is still in the far upper right corner above the photo banner.

    I’ve also added a Custom Google Search widget to the right sidebar, just above the Comments. The main drawback is that it generates typical Google ads on the results page.

    Hopefully between the two of these, it’ll be easier to find what you’re looking for here. Let me know how it goes.

    February 22, 2009
  100. Patrick Enders said:

    Griff,
    On the confusing nature of nested posts: just try to follow the last few comments on the ‘atheism’ thread.

    In particular, try clicking on the comment on the sidebar that reads:

    David Ludescher: Jerry: My purpose in bringing the issue of same-sex marriage into this post was to lend some…

    I think that the feature should just be disabled.

    May 8, 2009
  101. Patrick Enders said:

    Or, click on the one:

    Jerry Friedman: David: There is no universal atheist creed, except that atheists do not believe in a god….

    May 8, 2009
  102. Jerry Friedman said:

    I think the nested replies are easy for a thread’s new readers, but for its active participants, it does get confusing.

    When I want to reply to a recent post, sometimes I have to search quite a bit to find it, if it was nested.

    I can cope either way, but I think not nesting is easier. However, if you use a split screen and have the nested subjects on the left, and the selected subject’s body on the right, the nesting works much better. Nesting the whole message is the difficult part.

    May 8, 2009