Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

      17 Comments on Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of a site redesign. I don't fiddle with this Tohu Bohu very often, but my Gracious Host is redoing his whole site, and it seems that perhaps it has been ten years since the layout has changed at all? Is that right? No, I must have done something in the meantime, at least something minor. No? Maybe not. It does have something of the look of an abandoned blog, doesn’t it?

Anyway, there are changes afoot. And it occurs to me to ask y’all what you think. One of the advantages of having a readership that could fit into a beach house is that y’all can reasonably expect to influence what this place is like. So, if there’s something that has been bugging you about the layout of the blog, now’s your opportunity to shout. Or if there’s something that you think works as it is and should be kept, staving off those new-fangled whatsits, now is also an opportunity to shout it out.

My inclination is (of course) to keep things much the same in many ways. The home page would have the ridiculous and affected In Which Your Humble Blogger bits with links to the actual entries; I write far too many words to put ’em all on the home page together. I’m planning to keep the stuff on the right column (the ‘widgets’ with the search bar and recent posts and comments and the archive and category links) on the home page—Do y’all ever use any of those? Is there something else that would be useful there? I’ll probably leave off the librarything widget, which doesn’t serve any useful purpose.

When I say right column, I mean that it shows up in the right column on a monitor with a wide screen. It will show up at the bottom of the page on a phone, I think. Do y’all read entries on your phone? Do you read them in feedly or some aggregator that takes the text out anyway? Is the first thing you do to click the reader view in your browser? I use the reader view a lot, myself, with sites that have longer pieces, so I would scarcely blame you. It would be good to know, though.

Connected with the Reader View issue—I like serif fonts and will always use them unless there’s a reason not to (as there sometimes is). Do y’all hate them? What do you look for in a font for an on-line site that has long stretches of text? I’ve been looking at Droid Serif, which looks really readable to me in big paragraphs and has nice distinct italics, but I’m totally not an expert on typefaces.

I’m also planning to switch to threaded comments. There was some deprecation of threaded comments here at one point, but that was long ago and I think norms have shifted. Maybe I’m wrong about that! Let me know!

I’m also thinking about putting together some small visuals. I know, I know, it’s not really me, but what would y’all think about icons for the categories, such that there would be a visual indication on the main page for book reports, political rants, theater talk, Scripture study and so forth? It would certainly be a change. Not necessarily a good change, but a change.

Anyway, this is a heads-up to all y’all that there are changes coming, and a chance to convince me to do one thing over another, particularly in areas that I don’t have strong feelings about myself. I mean, nobody is going to convince me to go with a background image.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

17 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Jacob

    I like the “in which” intros, but I almost never see them, because I almost always read in Feedly. So I’d favor a change to the RSS output that would make those more visible, but the actual page layout presumably won’t affect me much.

    Reply
  2. Frederic Bush

    Rss here too, and it looks like some of your dashes are now broken on rss (have they always been?) –‘ shows up as a nonsense string.

    Reply
    1. Vardibidian Post author

      Hm. It looks like I typed the — with an apostrophe instead of a semicolon, which meant that I actually wound up with the text being ﹠#8212﹠#8217;, which seems to have made your odd string, although when I loaded it it looked to me like an em dash and an apostrophe, and I didn’t notice the spare apostrophe when I (quickly) proofread. Harrumph.

      Thanks,
      -V.

      Reply
      1. Jed

        Btw, dunno if you already know this, but in case not: you no longer need to do the “&#whatever;” thing. You can just type the non-ASCII characters directly from your keyboard, like “—” and so on, and as long as the page’s charset is UTF-8 and the place where you typed the characters is using UTF-8, it should all work out fine.

        Reply
        1. Vardibidian Post author

          Good to know! I wonder how long it will take me to revert to typing the non-ASCII characters directly. It has been a long time, and it will seem odd to see actual characters on the edit screen. And—hm, I’ll have to figure out how to tell my word processors that it’s OK to convert ' to ’ automatically again.

          Thanks,
          -V.

          Reply
  3. Chaos

    I use a pretty old RSS reader, and one thing i’ve noticed (and not yet debugged) is that some feeds simply don’t work with my reader — new posts come in, they don’t show up in the feed. No idea what’s up with that (quick googling didn’t give me anything useful and i haven’t yet had time for less-quick googling), but my two cents is the more you can keep the feed as it is, the happier i am, because i can continue seeing when you have new posts and comments.

    Reply
  4. Michael

    I’d like a much smaller header, since I’m on a small screen which is continuing to shrink. (Eyes get older, fonts get larger.)

    I’d like the recent comments sidebar text to entirely link to the comment mentioned, rather than separating out the name into its own link (sometimes).

    I’d like to not add my email address. But I understand if that’s helpful in reducing spam, since blech.

    I’d like old posts to be open to comments. I just re-read https://www.kith.org/vardibidian/2013/08/05/yhb-threat-or-menace/ with entirely fresh eyes, and loved the post and the conversation, and could not contribute. (Though I have little to add that I have thought through, noting that I had no opportunity to add a thought stopped me from thinking a thought through, which I do try to do before typing.)

    Reply
    1. Vardibidian Post author

      I’ve opened that particular post to comments now. I’m hoping to re-open most of the older posts to comments, but am not devoting effort to doing a lot of them right away. This new version appears to have a superior spam filter, and if having a couple of hundred old comments doesn’t result in my being cranky dealing with spam, I’ll bend my thoughts to opening the rest. Not sure I can mess with the comments widget.

      The header currently in place is a placeholder, but I wasn’t planning on a much smaller one. Are you reading on a tablet, or a phone, or just a smallish screen?

      Thanks,
      -V.

      Reply
      1. Jed

        If you want to try an experiment, you could turn off the automatically-close-to-comments-after-some-amount-of-time feature for a day or two, and see if you get much spam. In theory, Akismet should block the vast majority of spam, but we’ll see.

        Reply
    2. Vardibidian Post author

      I believe I have re-opened comments on all the old notes. If you find one that is still closed to comments, let me know and I will probably re-open it—unless the spam takes over again.

      Thanks,
      -V.

      Reply
  5. Michael

    I’d like some sort of feedback when I post a comment that it has been received. The one I just posted simply put me back onto the post page with an empty comment box.

    Reply
  6. Michael

    The site is much faster, which is lovely. Search is working, which is fantastic. But why is Rant not a category?

    As someone who worked for a time on a semantic network years before it was cool and then hot and now too frequently irrelevant, I hate categories/tags/multiple access paths to the same item be it lexical or literary. Like democracy, the only thing worse is all the other ways of losing all sense of both place and direction, in some degradation of Heisenberg’s already depressing fatalism about such matter(s). Without it, all we have is the relentlessly unidirectional passing of time, which just reinforces the inevitability of change. I hate change. I want to live in the past. And the best way to do that, even for a few breaths, is to revisit old heightened emotions, mine or someone else’s, in the huge external memory bank that is my hard drive and my bookshelves and this blog and a few too widely distributed friends. Hence my disappointment.

    Reply
    1. Vardibidian Post author

      I can certainly add ‘Rant’ as a category, although I am probably not going to go back through the old posts and add tags or categories, so that won’t help you live in the past, at least until the future becomes the past, which may be too late.

      I think I was using ‘hatchet job’ as a category now and then, back a bunch of years ago, though.

      Thanks,
      -V.

      Reply
        1. Jed

          V: If all of the rants (and only the rants) show up when you do a search for [rant], then there’s an easy way to do a mass edit in the posts interface to apply a category to a set of posts all at once. Not saying you should do this, but you could if you want.

          Reply
          1. Vardibidian Post author

            Alas, a search for [rant] brings up posts with (to mention only the recent ones) immigrant and warrant. A search for [ rant ] will get rid of those, but will miss any posts in which rant is only the first or last word of a sentence (or heading). And of course any search will turn up posts in which the word is used in passing, as a description of dialogue in a play or in a book report or such.

            Also, I am having some difficulty with edge cases. Is Eight-track tapes in your stocking a rant? What about Loving Day? Not that I don’t have that difficulty in the categories I do use, but I think perhaps rant is a different matter… I suspect there is a widget that would allow Gentle Readers to tag posts and given who my Gentle Readers are, perhaps they could be trusted to do so, at least within an authority set of possible tags.

            Thanks,
            -V.

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