Site Rebuild

What are your preliminary thoughts? I want numbered comments, to move the author name of posts, and the formatting buttons in the comments.

Other than that, I like it, and it seems to be loading very, very quickly.

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254 replies
  1. 1
    Michael G says:

    Biggest problem is there’s not nearly enough stuff to complain about. We like to complain.

  2. 2
    Bev Cubbage says:

    Only request is that you move the author’s name back to top of post. Other than that, I really like it. Again, thanks for maintaining the blogroll – I use it a lot.

  3. 3
    Redleg says:

    Looks nice! I hope it works out.

  4. 4
    Lojasmo says:

    I miss randomly being tossed into mobile mode.

    In fact, I WOULD like to see the author of posts from inside the post, and not only on the FP.

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    I like it. It’s certainly different. Bring in the changes you want and that would be great.
    I did once in a while look at recent comments and that was nice but not necessary, as with the volume of comments nothing stayed up there for long.

  6. 6
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    It seems to work well, but the middle (2nd) column seems to take up a lot of space that could be better used for text (once you scroll down the page). I think I liked having the comments/posts in the middle column better.

    Not a big deal though.



  7. 7
    wvng says:

    When I click on share, the popup picks the wrong story. For example, trying to sahre “Breitbrat Dan Riehl: Blacks are Being ‘Lead Down a Path Through a Cotton Field of Ignorance’” and I see this in the text box: “First, my opinion as a certified cranky Old Person: Anyone willing to get a tattoo so they’ll never miss an incoming phone message… is not mature enough to consent to body modification.”

  8. 8
    mrami says:

    I second having the author’s names up top.

  9. 9

    I like the new design and all of the white space. That said, the headline seem seems a bit blurry or jammed together. At least to these aging eyes.

  10. 10
    Justin says:

    It’s seriously disconcerting not to see the author’s name at the top.

  11. 11
    Jon Rockoford says:

    I concur with above: Move the author’s name back to top of post.

  12. 12
    piratedan says:

    unsure if there’s a way to make it pie filter friendly, I’d certainly prefer not bothering with our known troll collection.

  13. 13
    WJS says:

    1. Each poster should have an icon that identifies them. That icon could be worked into the post in some way. I wouldn’t make it very large, and I would try to get them all uniform in some way–someone with design experience could whip up a bunch or each poster could do them for you if they were so inclined.

    2. The font doesn’t work for me. Times New Roman or Georgia or pretty much anything else would be better.

    3. White background? Excellent. Good choice.

  14. 14
    the fugitive uterus says:

    i miss the clown pants

  15. 15
    gnomedad says:


    It seems to work well, but the middle (2nd) column seems to take up a lot of space that could be better used for text (once you scroll down the page).

    Then again, it makes possible that nice wide tabbed thingy at the top, which is pretty cool.

  16. 16
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @piratedan: Cleek updated the filter. I’ve installed it; I haven’t noticed any issues.


  17. 17
    gnomedad says:

    Just a reminder that CTRL+ and CTRL- zoom in and out for most browsers.

  18. 18
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @gnomedad: Indeed. Good point.

    There are tradeoffs…


  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @ John Cole
    Boy, you’re really a glutton for punishment. Didn’t you take – and give – enough abuse last night?

  20. 20

    Maybe it’s just this particular ad, the red-block-of-Disney that I’m seeing, but I’m not a big fan of the big ad across the top. I mean, obviously you need ads, because we’re all moochers, etc. But the big, nearly as tall as the header ad is kind of…hideous and distracting? It feels less professional somehow. Maybe you could integrate it into the header, a la the nytimes front page?

    (Yes, I understand you need ads. Still hate the barrier style one on the top.)

  21. 21
    Roger Moore says:

    The “reply” button still overlaps the text sometimes, which is annoying. I also don’t like the main column being a fixed width. The old layout reflowed it to accomodate whatever width you chose, so those of us with big screens could have more text. Now we just get wider margins, which is a total waste.

  22. 22
    RD says:

    I like.

    Sekimori Design Bureau is strong like bull.

  23. 23
    greylocks says:

    (1) The author’s name is lost from the tag line when you go to the comments page.

    (2) The tag line is in such a small font that even when I zoom to 200% on my browser, which I have to because of my bad eyes, I can barely read it. Making it even a point larger would be a big help to those of use with moderate visual impairment.

    (3) I will join the chorus of those who prefer to have the author’s name below the title and not buried in the tag line at the bottom.

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    Also, too, a spam filter that doesn’t flip out when we use “socialism” might be nice.

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    I like it, although I’m not a fan of Arial, and I’d prefer it if the text were a bit darker. The worst thing is the fixed size main area and a resizable left column with nothing in it.

    And to be nitpicky, I’d prefer the per post rss text to go away or move over into one of the right columns, but it doesn’t matter that much to me.

  26. 26
    John says:

    I’m not a normal commentator, but I lurk the blog daily. I like everything about the change except one small thing: it’d be nice to have the author listed at the top of a post so I know who I’m reading before I reach the end. I mean, it’s usually 100% obvious based on the vastly different writing styles, but it would still be nice.

  27. 27
    Mino says:

    Test post: I miss the old dude in the header.

  28. 28
    Arm The Homeless says:

    Second the Reply arrow, its stopped me dead in my tracks more than once. The rotating tag looks half-assed, on an island out there, with no care taken to make it pop. I demand correction for the good of all god-fearin’ vicious jackals

  29. 29
    Svensker says:

    @Doc Sportello:

    I’m having the same problem with the headline. For some reason I can’t read it very well and it sort of blurs into the previous post.

  30. 30
    kwallio says:

    On my default browser setting (chrome for mac) the site too wide and the right side is cut off. If I zoom out to see the whole thing the font is too small. I don’t think I would mind so much if the ads were on the far right instead of the middle.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    The font doesn’t work for me. Times New Roman or Georgia or pretty much anything else would be better.

    As a sociaIism speciaIist, I actually prefer a sans-serif font for Balloon Juice.

  32. 32
    sacrablue says:

    @Doc Sportello: I, too thought the title kerning was too tight. I first looked at the changes last night and couldn’t decide if the post titles were blurry or just me getting older. I have that problem with street maps too.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    I also liked it when the rotating tag line went into the main page title. Now we just have a boring “Balloon Juice” at the top.

  34. 34
    Spiffy McBang says:

    One thing I liked about the old setup was that you had the stuff on the left and right, and posts took up all the rest of the space. I suppose it’s probably still like that if you don’t have widescreen or if you zoom in, but looking at it normal-sized on a wide screen, there’s a lot of wasted real estate. Most people probably don’t care; for me, that’s one thing I really like in a blog, when all the space is used.

    But we all get used to the new in time.

    Edit: I do like the fact you don’t have to click the tagline to go back to the front page, just the banner. Banner’s kind of small, but, whatever.

  35. 35
    Tom says:

    I like the redesign but I prefer the bloggers name at the top of the post.

  36. 36
    dmsilev says:

    A couple of things which are probably glitches: Strikethrough doesn’t work. Editing a comment should return you to the post after the edit is saved.

    Suggestions: I think the rotating tag lines would be better underneath the main title rather than over on the right the way they are now. If you could move the comment timestamp to be on the same line as the commenter name, that might be a bit less jarring then the current arrangement. Have it right-justified or something so it’s a bit out of the way but still accessible.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    I figure things aren’t completed yet, so besides the opinions I gave I’ll sit back and ride the rest out.

  38. 38
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    I’ll echo everything you noted, John, the complains about the rotating tag (it should be under the header again), and I would like to see the return of the Recent Comments list too, just as a sense of who’s commenting on what, as well as seeing when an older post is actually getting some activity.

  39. 39
    West of the Cascades says:

    It is great, and the three changes you want will make it better. Also, more Tunch.

  40. 40
    c u n d gulag says:

    It looks clean.
    It still had the “Reply” button.

    Ironically, this post took the longest to post.

    Me likey!

  41. 41
    the fugitive uterus says:

    here’s my preliminary thought: with all the recent complaints, another Tunch pic is in order

  42. 42
    jwb says:

    1. The list of recent posts does not include the first post—whether you are looking at the first post or any other post.
    2. I miss not having the list of recent comments.
    3. I miss not having the next post and previous post at the bottom of the page (as well as the top).
    4. Reloading the page takes you back to the top of the page (or the most recent link you used to follow a comment) rather than the place you were on the page.
    5. Will you be installing the troll upgrade package?

    Otherwise, looks good and it does load much faster.

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    Also, more Tunch.


  44. 44
    Birthmarker says:

    @gnomedad: Thanks for this little factoid! I didn’t know!

  45. 45
    pebble says:

    I would prefer the author’s name be posted at the top as well. Also, I find the font a bit hard on the eyes, but I won’t lie, I’ll be coming to visit regardless.

  46. 46
    gogol's wife says:

    Maybe somebody could explain to me what was wrong with the old, legible look, with print in dark type rather than gray on gray?

  47. 47
    CynDee says:

    1. Ditto everyone who wants to see the posters’ names right under the title.

    2. I greatly miss having the tag line right near the BalloonJuice logo/heading.

    3. The typeface for the title of the post is very tight/uptight/closed off, like radical conservatives would use, not free and open and inviting. Whatever the old one was, I liked so much better. It truly was inviting and made you feel like opening your mind up. This one repels and makes you want to put your coat on and button it up.

    The BalloonJuice logo is jazzy and with-it and its typeface is beautiful. Seems like the titles of the posts should be made compatible with that.

    4. Sorry to say it, but must be honest. The new site looks more like what you see when you go online to make hotel reservations. The beloved BalloonJuice atmosphere is gone. I thought the soft blue horizontal bars made it look friendly — an easy place to be.

  48. 48
    draftmama says:

    Yeah – keep the name at the top. We old farts aren’t used to change and anyway its nice to know who’s posting before reading. I think the font is a little small but that’s because I’m an old fart. Arial is fine – serif is more confusing to the eyes, what left we have.

    Sorry you have to be beaten up by such a crowd of whiners – lets just see THEM hosting a blog and dealing with the abuse. This is why you have animals, I know – that’s why I have lots of them and only one human and he’s almost as good as an animal.

  49. 49
    WJS says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Comic Sans! It would be a hoot.

  50. 50
    Comrade Mary says:

    I agree with what you want, plus:

    1. Move the timestamp in comments closer to the commenter name than the comment text.

    2. Black text, please.

    3. Reply and arrow need to be moved down slightly from comment text area to avoid overlap.

    Nice to have but can live without:

    1. Rotating tagline integrated nicely in between header and ad space, starting inline with the end of the BJ logo.

    2. Larger bolder, sans-serif version of Home etc. links at top right.

    Bug report:

    1. When I choose to the set of tabbed choices at the top of the right sidebar, filtering by author causes the entire right sidebar content to disappear: there’s just empty space. Archives and Categories keep the sidebar.

    ==> Checking again: the sidebar disappears for ABL and Anne Laurie. Sidebar stays for other authors.

  51. 51
    rageahol says:

    too much sidebar. not enough cowbell.

  52. 52
    Birthmarker says:

    @John:I second this. Also, could the date and time be placed at the bottom of the comment? Or place it under the writer’s name, single space, then a double space between the date/time and the comment?

  53. 53
    PIGL says:

    maybe a smart moderation script so that for example if all instances of “cial” + “is” occur in words such as “soci” + “ali” + “sm” then the comment would be released from whatever childish c1988 spam filter is being applied here.

  54. 54
    Arclite says:

    You probably already know, but there’s no author name at all on the mobile site on my android phone.

    That being said, the new mobile site is really easy to use, and is super fast, much more than previously. Very cool. I already commented on the main site in a previous thread.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    eco2geek says:

    What are your preliminary thoughts? I want numbered comments, to move the author name of posts, and the formatting buttons in the comments.

    Other than that, black text (rather than the gray-colored text you’ve got) would be really, really nice.

  57. 57
    Peter J says:

    I like to have the author’s name at the top.
    Because of preconceived notions, I really don’t want to have to read to the end before deciding whether I find the ideas expressed good or not. And I really don’t want to have my views challenged.
    (Just joking. But I really would like the author’s name at the top.)

  58. 58
    John Weiss says:

    @Bev Cubbage: I like the author’s name at the top as well.

  59. 59
    mark says:

    the logo… where is the rotating tagline? (TAGline, not Paypal Donate line or Recent-Archive-line) where it the guy spouting Balloon Juice??? just a hot air balloon looks like a balloonist site, the guy spouting off Balloon Juice made the pun work right.

    Authors names were better at the top, under the post title, not at the bottom.

    The ‘read more’ link is antiquated and should really be changed.

    The right columns, the ‘recent, categories, archives, authors’ box should be UNDER the google search and contact links. There should also only be 1 search box on the front page, most certainly not 2.

    The two column onthe-right layout is a bit too much realestate used. Is there no way to get it down to just 1 column, maybe at 133% the width of each of the 2 columns?

    I have tried to list just ‘fixes’ and not ‘desire/wish list’ things in this post, but so please take these things into consideration.

    I have left out the most common stuff, like BLACKEN THE TEXT —This is IMPORTANT for Visually Impaired folks who use certain Screen Readers, the way they handle auto formatting, but yes, this is hella important.

    —Now cole, i know you will poo poo all over this last suggestion, and I can tell your site designer is designing on a PC, but I IMPLORE you, do some site testing and design for TABLETS, find someone with an IPad, t. Prime, and Xoom or something obscure, and see how the site works with it. The 2 columns on the right are wasted, too-much realestate, and the way the flow works needs to be changed slightly. Comments are still very unpleasant on tablets, and they don’t need to be.

    And yes, I DO mean the regular site should work beautifully with tablets, NOT a ‘mobile’ version for tablets, and worst is to auto-sniff iPad version different than a ‘mobile’ version different than regular version. There are too many different types of tablets, windows8 tablets will be out before the year is over, this fall in the run-up to xmas, half the US will get tablets as gifts, you really really really need to be NOW making the changes for a tablet-friendly site, MAIN site, not a ‘mobile version’ people on tablets hate.

    Also, if you can’t get all youtube versions of videos, you should really start to consider a h.64 custom video player to convert ALL posted videos to, like TalkingPointsMemo does, so that all your videos work on tablets/mobile computers, (Again, NOT mobile phone site) – some tabs won’t do playback of certain videos, and a few just wreak havoc on the device performance.


  60. 60
    MattF says:

    It’s basically a nice, airy look but needs some refinement. Too much empty space at the top, somewhat unbalanced left/right. But I guess a lack of left/right balance comes with the territory. Joke.

  61. 61
    wrb says:

    A way of knowing where new comments are happening, and if an old thread has taken new life while you were away.

    The old “recent comments” section was fine for the first.

    Just putting the total #of comments next to the name of the topic on the topic list would work for the second.

  62. 62
    JWL says:

    Well, I dig it. Good job.

  63. 63
    piratedan says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: tyvm! and yes, my beloved button is back below the response box again.

  64. 64
    dedc79 says:

    Looks good, is there something you could do to make the divide between posts a bit clearer? When you’re on the main page it’s not always so clear where one post ends and another one begins…

  65. 65
    John Carter says:

    With others, author name at the top.

    Also, could the authors spell out, at least once in their articles, any acronyms they use? While they may be obvious to many, I’m sure there are others who don’t know what those letters stand for.

  66. 66
    bumper says:

    I like having a time stamp on the posts. That and comment numbers are the main things I miss. Otherwise, I think it looks great.

  67. 67
    Comrade Mary says:

    If anyone wants to take a look at the old version, the Wayback Machine is your friend. This snapshot from last year shows the center content area that resizes as you maximize your browser.

    Those of you wanting that back: it might be difficult because we have the new tabbed selection box at the top of they right sidebar, which I really, really like. If this site is designed to work in say, 1024 x 768 without creating horizontal scrollbars at the bottom [1], then that fixed size element restricts the width of the content area to more or less what we have now. If you want a wider area for content by default, or if you want it to be fluid as it was before, then that element will have to be removed or re-designed, or else people on coarser resolutions have to use horizontals scrollbars to see right sidebar content.

    At the current font size, I can see losing maybe 30 pixels off that box, but that may have to go to making the site fit into 1024 x 768 resolution (see below).

    [1] It needs a little tweaking to meet that standard, as I definitely get a scroll bar when I reduce to 1024 pixels width.

  68. 68
    uptown says:

    1) There is no author name on the comment page.

    2) Darker font please.

    3) I preferred the main column being in the center.

    4) Edit function doesn’t take you back to the refreshed comments after you’re done. Just leaves you on the edit page, at least with Opera it does.

    Otherwise, great job. It loads very fast.

  69. 69
    billiecat says:

    Put author’s names at top. Maybe a bigger font, but that’s just a quibble. Other than that, great. Especially like the “see more” click to expand without having to reload to get back to the blog, even though you stole it from Sully.

  70. 70
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Overall, I like it, but wish the fixed-width left (content) column would collapse like it did after the last rebuild. We don’t all have wide-screen monitors.

  71. 71
    Matt says:

    I like it. I would like to see the author name up at the top of the post, rather than the bottom.

  72. 72
    Halcyan says:


    Hear, hear on this request. I like the author at the top. Also, I would move the date/time stamp on replies to the top right of the field. It seems out of sorts where it is currently.

    Regarding the big banner ad at the top – some places put it above the site banner/header. That way it is there, it has the prominence that was paid for, but it keeps the site content together as opposed to being split up.

    Nice clean lines though. As someone else said, though, the Lexicon text seems serif-y out of place?

    And my new fav font is calibri. Arial with a better personality :D

  73. 73
    BrendanL79 says:

    There still seems to be a problem with the RSS feed that has persisted for over a year:

    when a blockquoted section has multiple paragraphs, only the first paragraph gets blockquoted in the RSS version of the post. This can make it difficult to tell where the quote ends and the post author’s commentary resumes.

    No comments on the rest of the site since I usually just read via RSS. :)

  74. 74
    scav says:

    minor note, in Chrome whatever version I’ve got, the twitter/paypal icons result in a massive white area at the top of the post that takes up more space than the BJ header icon, so maybe it would make sense to swap them to the side column for the rotating tag line. They’d still be visible on ever page and not waste so much screen. The Errant / AWOL author names, numbered comments would clear up the major issues that I’ve seen so far — oh, and a next/previous post thing at the bottom of the thread is right handy. Haven’t edited much personally. Enjoying speed. Ta.

  75. 75
    ally says:

    Bylines at top would be nice, but otherwise this seems great to me. Clean looking (I like the san serif font) and it loads very fast.

  76. 76
    MrSnrub says:

    @Bev Cubbage: Seconded

  77. 77
    Silver says:

    I’m just glad the entire Balloon Juice logo is clickable, and not just the tag line. That used to drive me nuts, but it seemed like a stupid thing to bitch about, y’know?

  78. 78
    dmsilev says:

    Another nitpick: Some of the blogroll links are outdated. Greg Sargent is now at
    Yglesias moved to Slate:

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @Comrade Mary:
    It shouldn’t be necessary to have the content column be fixed width. CSS is supposed to be able to use a mix of units, so the sidebars can be a fixed width and the comment section can use whatever is left over. That may be a problem for people with very small windows, who will have a problem with the fixed width sidebars taking too much space, though. I don’t know enough CSS to know if you can specify a minimum size but let it get bigger beyond that, which would be the best possible solution.

  80. 80
    Will says:

    @Bev Cubbage:

    Like John and many others have already suggested, I would like the author’s byline to be moved back to the top.

  81. 81
    Comrade Mary says:

    After playing with the old site: yeah, you could make the content area fluid and keep the right sidebar fixed width. This won’t make things perfect for everyone on varying resolutions, and we are going to have to play with browser re-sizing and text re-sizing to get a workable combo, but it should satisfy most of us.

  82. 82
    CynDee says:

    Looks like a grenade hit. Came in and blasted what was whole into pieces.
    Took the person out of the logo and gave us half a balloon which is now static and truncated for no good reason — like docking the tail of a wonderful dog.

    The date for the page is hard to find. It should have better proximity to the heading.

    The balloon was active before, and the little person was present, and a thought — the rotating tag line — was there. All that was a complete concept. What the top does have going for it is the nice typeface for BalloonJuice, and Home, etc. Why can’t the design continue below?

    Talk to an art teacher. He or she will tell you to keep things that go together connected.

    The crabbed space for comments is just creepy.

  83. 83
    Halcyan says:



    The font doesn’t work for me. Times New Roman or Georgia or pretty much anything else would be better.

    As a sociaIism speciaIist, I actually prefer a sans-serif font for Balloon Juice.

    I like sans-serif for reading text as well. If we are taking votes.

    On edit: The blockquote appears to just shut itself off after a (cr). Harumph.

  84. 84
    opie jeanne says:

    Aside from the missing numbers on the posts and the location of the author’s name, I really like it. It does load faster than before and I tried posting from my iPhone and that worked too.

    Thank you for going to this trouble for us.

  85. 85
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, I’ve adjusted my position while you were writing (which makes me melty? fluid? elastic? stubborn?). See above.

    Image elements within the content area will implicitly set a minimum width, as you’ll see if you play with this archived BJ page. There is a min-width CSS property, but it can be a little wonky across browsers. There are a few hacks for older IE browsers.

  86. 86
    LTL-FTC says:

    Please bring back the taglines like @Roger Moore and others have suggested.

  87. 87
    bago says:

    I actually prefer the mobile site on my iPad. Uses less bandwidth.

  88. 88
    Loneoak says:

    The loading speed is impressive.

  89. 89
    middlewest says:

    This might help some people:

    In Firefox, go into Tools then Options, then under Content choose Colors. Uncheck the box that says “Allow pages to choose their own colors”, and you will then see the page in black text. It looks much better.

  90. 90
    Amir Khalid says:

    You’re almost there, I’d say. I second all the other commenters who want to see the post byline; I think it should go either right under the post headline or at the top of the main text of the post. similarly, the rotating tagline is off to the right; since it’s a sort of comment on the site itself, I reckon it should be as close as possible to the site name in the logo.

    I also suggest that you pick your favorite trolls and have all their comments appear in Comic Sans.

  91. 91
    RL says:

    I’d like to see the authors’ names on the posts, please

  92. 92
    Martin says:

    Thanks for the jump to top, can we have a similar jump to bottom?

  93. 93
    Nemo_N says:

    I still have some difficulty “noticing” the titles. Perhaps a darker tone of blue? I dunno.

  94. 94
    tofubo says:

    1. name of poster on top (under post title)
    2. perm link also @ bottom (hyper the date ??)
    3. get rid of the pansy dem blue and get repub blood red as major color
    4. joking on #3
    5. get the litte ditties @ the top (we survived breitcolips?, this blog goes to 11, etc.)
    6. more cowbell

  95. 95
    RareSanity says:

    Been a bit busy, so I haven’t been able to comment in any of the various site rebuild discussions…which I’m sure Mr. Cole sees as a positive.

    However, after actually seeing it during its preliminary roll-out, I would say that overall…meh. But, not a negative meh, a positive meh.

    I see what the plan is, but honestly, there were a lot of things that the previous site did right, and I think some of that may have been lost.

    1. I, like others, would like to see the post author’s name, directly under the title.

    2. I liked the frame layout of the old theme better. Having ads/links-content-ads/links, makes the focus of the page the content. The current frame layout, makes the “off-center” nature of the content, the focus.

    This also would allow the content column to be widened some, which I think needs to happen. Having your ads/links in the first column, almost guarantees that people will see at least that column (more possible ad clicks).

    With the current configuration, I could basically pull my browser window, in from the left, and It’d be like I was using AdBlock. I’d never see an ad.

    3. I’d like to see comment numbering return. I like knowing, that if I’m in a 100+ comment post, and I’m only at comment 33, I probably need to scroll to the bottom and start there. By the time I read from 33 to 100, the thread could have exploded to 200, and I’m no more up-to-date on the discussion then when I started.

    When I submit a comment, it lets me know how far the thread has progressed, while I was typing, and I know what comment to scroll back to, after I submit.

    Also, it keeps the ability to reference a comment, even if you don’t actually link to it…”In response to Some Commenter @ #46“.

    4. Comment reply “button” needs to move down another line. If the comment goes to the last columns of the text area, the button overlaps the text.

    Not a big deal…more of a distraction.

    I think it’s moving in the right direction though. This iteration of rebuild, is a bit more wide ranging than the previous ones, so I think that it was bound to draw the larger reaction.

  96. 96

    John, you’re going to love this! And by love, I mean hate. Anyway, here is a quick-and-dirty more integrated concept:

    Although I echo everyone’s sentiments about author name & post title kerning. Also, now everyone knows I was shopping for chocolate online.

  97. 97
    dr. bloor says:

    Put me down for:

    Banner ads crowd out masthead

    Miss the tag lines on the masthead.

    Authors name to top of posts.

    Moar Tunch (pix, that is, there’s already plenty of him to be photographed)

    Otherwise, veddy nice.

  98. 98
    middlewest says:

    Having non-link text for the date and “Click to support us” in the upper right in light blue is bad web design, and it looks visually unappealing with all the other blue around it. It looks much better in black.

  99. 99
    jnfr says:

    I am seeing the Share/Save widget now. I don’t know why, but thanks!

    Since I come to each post via the RSS feed, it’s a real inconvenience not to have author’s names with the full post.

    Other than that, looks great.

  100. 100
    RareSanity says:

    @duck-billed placelot:

    I like that!

    Although, call me an internet old-timer but, my mind still wants to see a column to the left of the content as well.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Roger Moore says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Yeah, I’ve adjusted my position while you were writing (which makes me melty? fluid? elastic? stubborn? part of the reality based community).


    ETA: And strikethrough needs to be fixed.

  103. 103
    BGinCHI says:

    I’m late to this, cuz I was riding my bike and getting vomited on by a very pudgy baby, but the left column where the posts are is too small relative to the right-hand column, which is mostly filler. That’s with Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

    Not sure that’s the same for everyone.

    The overall font is pretty pedestrian, but at least it’s not annoying.

    Was weird to be away a couple days and then come back to a whole new-looking site.

  104. 104
    MariedeGournay says:

    Very blue and white. Weirdly enough matches my Firefox theme. Just needs anime girls with plasma cannons.

  105. 105
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I like it, but move the rotating tag line back into the title.

  106. 106
    kay says:

    It looks better on this phone than it used to, and thanks for doing all the work.

    Those are my preliminary and final thoughts on this matter :)

  107. 107
    Anne Laurie says:

    I would still prefer a less spindly font, but as long as we get numbers on our comments again, I’ll stop complaining… about the new blog layout.

  108. 108
    tofubo says:

    can you edit comments for tiepoes ??

    aah, yes you can, kuul [Ed, me]

    but when you edit, it don’t go back to the thread, it stays in the edit frame…

  109. 109
    Bill in Portland Maine says:

    Love it.

    The balloon logo is purty. But I don’t see any juice. Add some juice. Maybe make it a juice box that has the balloon on it. Then it would be like Balloon-brand juice. (I also do marketing seminars like this at weddings and birthday parties. I’m in the book…)

  110. 110
    RareSanity says:

    @Bill in Portland Maine:

    What do you think the ballon was inflated with?

  111. 111
    Roger Moore says:

    Comment editing needs to be fixed. I’m assuming that the bit where the edit window replaces the screen and doesn’t return you to the comments when you’re done is a glitch and not the intended behavior. If it’s the intended behavior, somebody needs some basic UI design lessons.

  112. 112
    Maeve says:

    More iPad friendly, the old blog would constant scroll back up to the top of the comments and I’d have scroll back down to my pace.

    Also (too) having content on th left most column makes it easier to zoom on the main content.

    I liked numbered comments, for when I returned to a previously read thread, plus more obvious author.

    Miss the author signature for sure.

    I liked the rotating tag line, whatever it is, Han ahot first, because that is what I clicked onto return to blog and refresh. Still there but I don’t feel as intimate connected to it., if that makes sense.

  113. 113
    JPL says:

    grumble grumble grumble grumble
    i want the little balloon man

    also, too I think John’s name needs to be at the top of the contact list so we can easily e-mail him to grumble, grumble grumble.

    Besides that, the site looks pretty darn good and thanks for all the hard work.

  114. 114
    G.Freeman says:

    I miss the “old guy with his hot air” illo. It said something the current balloon doesn’t. This balloon doesn’t seem over inflated enough. The previous illo had a smart alecky element that set the tone for the site. The current pretty balloon has no attitude. BTW who drew the original? Did you just “find” it?

  115. 115
    barkleyg says:

    @Bev Cubbage:


    time stamp

    the entry!

  116. 116
    Comrade Mary says:

    @duck-billed placelot: I like that layout a lot! I think I like the new footer too, although maybe in blue instead of grey.

    The only change I’d recommend would be moving the tagline below and offset to the right below the header image. It could be aligned with the date, with both elements using a little more white space at the bottom, so that they would “cling” a little more to the header versus content.

  117. 117
    MazeDancer says:

    If the big tabbed box on the upper right is why the main content bloc area has to be the size that requires the font to be so teeny, would respectfully hope the big box would go.

    Compare this font to other political blog and news sites BJ readers are likely to visit while they are online and you will see how this is so much smaller and less readable.

    The small font makes the site a misery to read. Surfing the net on the iPad, makes coming back to BJ now not a joy. Sizing up the screen on the iPad just for BJ is a nuisance. Having a favorite site now be an unplesant reading is a sadness. Realize can’t please everyone. But besides personal hopes, actually think the continued comparison of itty bitty type at BJ to other blogs will not help increase readership. Though guess we will all adapt.

    No matter what, no reason thenfine writing on this site shouldn’t bring in a little more coin. The big tabbed box upper right also seems like a prime loss of real estate. Sell it as ad space. Or make it “Today’s Tunch Picture”. Move the info in tabs some place else. None of it is prime space crucial.

  118. 118
    tofubo says:

    whilst we be on the comments, not sure if someone done did already make comment, the “reply to” arrow with the “reply” text next to it, drop it a line, i can overlap onto the text of the comment we be trying to reply to


  119. 119
    Bill in Portland Maine says:

    @RareSanity: But whose juice was it inflated with, Spock? Whose…JUICE…WAS IT…inflated WITH???

  120. 120
    Birthmarker says:

    @dmsilev: Also, could we have a brief explanation of linking in the Lexicon? Someone was nice enough to post this for me, which I have promptly forgotten. Or maybe things link easier now?

    Also, whoever posts the yummy cucumber dish from time to time–I made it today as well as I could remember it, and–yummy!!

  121. 121
    the Conster (f/k/a Cat Lady) says:

    Numbered comments and the rotating tagline back in the header plz, because “a dingo ate my baby” can’t be highlighted too many times.

    I’m conflicted about having the FPer’s name at the top because I like knowing who it is without having the poster named, and maybe certain poster’s trolls won’t automatically show up (I’m looking at you Knockabout, you creepy fuck).

    ETA: when an edit is saved, it would be nice to see it on the site right away like before, instead of having to go back a page and then refresh. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

  122. 122
    Cain says:

    The grey space could extend a little above the commenter’s name I feel. Otherwise it seems pretty good. So some changes to the grey box might need some tweaking.

    By the way, I love the edit comment function now, much better than that ajax thing they had earlier.

  123. 123
    central texas says:

    Nit: I prefer to see the name of the post’s author at the top rather than one or more screens down the page.

    I’m glad we are rid of the intermediate mess with the unformatted text that one had to click to get to the formatted blog.

  124. 124
    tofubo says:

    @Bill in Portland Maine:

    if “it” is a “rigid light-alloy skeleton, made of rings, and longitudinal girders”, then it was hydrogen, but one little spark from a flame war, then the whole site goes…

  125. 125
    Digital Amish says:

    preliminary thoughts-

    I’m old
    You changed it
    I don’t like it
    I suppose I’ll have to get used to it
    I’ve gotta go chase someone off my lawn

    pretty much the same thoughts I have when my wife cuts her hair.

  126. 126
    marv says:

    Every time I came on the site and saw the ballon guy I thought of the ee cummings poem and the old balloonman whistling far and wee, which made me sort of happy, and which I wouldn’t mention except I see a few others lament his passing also.

  127. 127
    dance around in your bones says:

    I just really miss the friendly, old-fashioned look of the old header – from the way Balloon Juice was slightly offset to the left, the little curlicue thing in front of the rotating sub-header, the shouting guy with the megaphone and cane spouting his ‘juice’ at the balloon drifting away in the sky….there was something so inviting and unique about it. Check out the look of the old site at Wayback Machine as Comrade Mary suggested and see what you think.

    The half-a-colored-balloon just doesn’t feel the same to me. It ain’t funky enough! I always loved the sort of funky Zen serenity of the old site, this feels too modern to me.

    Other than that: numbered comments, date/time stamp in same line as commenter’s name, Recent Comments, Previous/Next Post links at bottom of page, move reply arrow down a line so it doesn’t get all covered over, post author’s name up top and more prominent, and fix the soc.ialism bug!

    You know I will read this site faithfully anyway, even if ya go zebra stripes and polka dots.

  128. 128
    PaminBB says:

    Needs moar pet pix. Always.

  129. 129
    Cain says:

    BTW, I’d like to put back “John Cole’s” Balloon Juice, not just Balloon Juice. :P

  130. 130
    Chasm says:

    The Balloon picture in the header is too abstract now. I may conjure the old hot-air balloon logo for those who are regulars, but for a new person it’s just a weird blue and white round thingy. Add the basket back.

    And I agree with others that authors names should be at the top of the posts.

    Does load fast, though. Nice.

  131. 131
    zach says:

    Looks good on a Touchpad.

  132. 132
    Constance says:

    Author under title, numbered comments and I’m good. I already can’t remember what the old site looked like. I like it.

  133. 133
    gnomedad says:

    Have to agree … the abstract logo looks great, but it should have a basket.

  134. 134
    Linkmeister says:

    I’ve left two comments on the “local blogs” post and neither has shown up. My name is filled in in the box, my mail is filled in its box, and my website data is filled in. Whassup wi’ dat?

    ETA: Yet this one shows up just fine.

  135. 135
    Jay C says:

    My gripes bitches kvetches suggestions?:

    In addition to the ones John has mentioned:

    – “Recent Comments” list: can be reinstated plz?

    – Main (text/post/comment) column is relatively too narrow – the ads and sidebar columns on the right are OK: but the main column should be maximized for reading clarity (and yes, stronger type would help, too)

    ETA: “Edit” function is here: crappy as the old version, but functional nonetheless. Cool.

    ETA again: “gripes bitches kvetches” in this comment should have struck through: text shows <del and </del , but the strikeout doesn't show in the edited comment.

  136. 136
    Elizabelle says:

    It looked great on my iPhone. Clean and easy to read.

    Well done.

    PS: definitely want “recent comments” back.

  137. 137

    I miss the guy with the megaphone and the top hat.

    Other than that, nothing to report.

    ETA: ETA function is much, much better. Running Chrome over XPSP3.

    ETA, II: … except it doesn’t navigate me back here… ETA, Comment Successfully Saved … now find your own way back, Mr Edit All My Comments Whether They Need It Or Not.

  138. 138
    Roger Moore says:


    ETA function is much, much better.

    Hmm, I’m going to have to test that again. When I tried it on FF a few minutes ago, it sucked blue whale.

    ETA: No, still sucks. It’s the exact same edit widget, but navigates you away from the page rather than appearing on top of it.

  139. 139
    MikeInSewickley says:


    I teach HCI design at PSU.

    I like your design very much.

    1. Moving to a 3 column with ads and misc. selection items to the right increases usability if their is no idea of a site map/menu on the left. This works for a reading and comment site like blogs IMHO.

    2. No color fill is excellent for reading, especially for older farts like me who need the high contrast.

    3. The recent post box first thing with tabbing is a nice touch.

    4. Little concerned that your front-pagers are a little below the “fold” but if they don’t mine,it works.

    5. The comment and comment entry design is simple and clear. The old one was a bit harder to view.

    6. Along with Item 5, your choice of font is excellent (tired of finding nothing but good points). Sans Serif is shown to be better for web page reading. Of course, research on this continues.

    7. Adding the 3D Light Color effect on the Banner is very clean and visually pleasing.

    8. I haven’t read very many of the comments above so I’m probably repeating what has been said. But sites that are very hot to trot to incorporate a lot of Flash (figuratively and literally) – well I find them tiring. Leave that to the multimedia heavy sites like Crooks&Liars or HuffingtonPost. I come to a number of blogs to read, think, and comment and too much of these things draw from the basic purpose of blog sites IMHO.

    A real hat tip to your designer – very nice work.

  140. 140
    Jay C says:

    @Jay C:

    OK: My edited comment at 4:29 had the “del” and “/del” (with carets) in the text, yet the strikethough apparently didn’t happen.

  141. 141
    eco2geek says:

    Also, too: If you made your rotating tagline the same blue as the post headlines, then it would be much more noticeable. As it is now, it sort of disappears into the background.

  142. 142
    Ando_Chronic says:

    I miss the old timey gentleman holding the megaphone.

  143. 143
    RSA says:

    @Elizabelle: Huh. I’m not seeing the mobile site on my iPhone. Any mobile techies want to offer basic advice?

  144. 144
    Angela says:

    I like the new design, it works great on my iphone, and on my mac. Mostly though, watching this process, the comments, the extra pics of Tunch, has been quite fun. I like the changes John Cole still wants to make, and I miss the rotating tag line being more prominent, and the guy with the hot air megaphone.


  145. 145
    J.W. Hamner says:

    I know it pays the bills, but the advertisement directly under the header is bothersome. Functionally haven’t had any issues.

    Also, Huger Games = Good Movie.

  146. 146

    @Ando_Chronic: Ok, so he *is* missing. I can haz back again, pleaz now? kthxbai

    @MikeInSewickley: This too also.

  147. 147
    tofubo says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Also, Huger Games = Good Movie.

    Also, Huger Games = Great Movie
    Too, Hunger Games = Good Movie

  148. 148
    RD says:

    @Digital Amish:

    I miss the old days, when an Amish rake fight meant something.

  149. 149
    tofubo says:


    that’s why i have this as my avatar

    steam punk rulez

  150. 150
    Steeplejack says:


    Cleek said in an earlier thread that he had fixed the pie filter.

    . . . Ah, found it. And, damn it, just realized I have no link-fu. Here goes:

  151. 151
    Baud says:

    I occasionally get a different format when I click on a post.

    I still don’t see a way to view/make comments on the mobile (ipod) version of the site.

  152. 152
    Lee says:


    I miss the fellow with the top hat and the phrase “Hot air and ill-formed banter.

    The icons on left next to the authors, articles, etc looks too much like a toggle to expand.

    The icons at the bottomn of article that take you to the top of the page are nice. It would also be nice to be able to collapse the articles (so 2 icons).

    Is that supposed to be Tunch’s tail on the left side of the Search box?

    There is a large white space in the left column. Before it was not a problem because the articles had more presence on the page. Now your blog looks like a cliche’. Warning against the hazards of ads. Expand the articles to take up the space. If ads appear, I’ll ad block the entire site.


    Page loads fast and consistently in Chrome, Opera, Firefox, IE x32 & x64. Lots of kudos to your web programmer. I am very impressed. All of the same basic functionality works in all the above browsers as well (I just checked the basics).

    (not sure the following is your problem)
    The feedburner images above ‘224 readers’ are broken in IE & Chrome. They work in Firefox and Opera.

  153. 153
    MazeDancer says:

    On a free advice note, with only two colors – blue and gray – please consider having all front pagers use pictures as often as possible. Otherwise, it’s a little hard to see instantly what’s a new post. It all looks the same. Because the eye gets drawn to color, but there is so much blue beckoning for attention, the separate post titles do not stand out.

    If the posts have pictures, or something to make it easier to separate each one, it’s easier to tell there is fresh material. Though if you find some way to move the author line up top – which may not be easy – maybe that will make a difference.

    You’ll note that GOS uses a lot of pics. And centers their headlines – using automatic breaks which often make thoughts and words broken very badly and the last line leading uneven – and makes them large and with serifs, and a great deal of space devoted to the byline. All of that to help make things not just all the same color, too, since they do have a whole lotta Orange.

    Just did a little side-by-side comparing of GOS computer vs GOS on iPad. Daily Kos type size and leading, too, shrink when one is on iPad using Safari. (Not using any particular mobile sites, just surfing regular net with Safari). But GOS is bigger type to start.

    BJ computer vs BJ iPad are much more different on Safari with new build than with old, type wise. Function wise new, of course, smoother. This font looks a bit condensed to start, each letter quite close to the next, compounding the strain when it shrinks on the iPad.

    Sorry to go on so long. The typographically obsessed always dangerous at the keyboard. Will cease. Thanks for the great writing however it gets up here.

  154. 154
    Bill in Portland Maine says:

    @Cain: Agreed. Aren’t a whole lot of people in the blogosphere whose name carries the kind of reverence as John. It’s like Mattel changing its signature toy’s name from “Barbie” to “Doll.”

    Put your name back, John.

  155. 155
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    LOL! there are some threads that should be entirely in Comic Sans!

    Or maybe someone should design a “Troll” font family, with a gentle variation for Concern Troll and a heavy bold version exclusively for VICTORY! Trolls.

  156. 156
    Thymezone says:

    I miss Rick Moran.



    Just kidding.

  157. 157
    David Koch says:


    Cole, considering you, yourself, wear glasses, you should be considerate of that this isn’t a small matter (no pun, intended).

  158. 158
    Steeplejack says:


    Yes on Calibri. I moved to it as my default font for e-mail in Outlook. Would look good on Balloon Juice.

  159. 159
    trollhattan says:

    Headline letterspacing is weird on FF while it seems okay on IE. Can’t guess why they’d be different.

    Comment edit hangs up in the edit window after being saved. Have to go back to the home page as a workaround.

    Those are my only tech nits–the makeover works quite well. Kudos!

  160. 160
    PurpleGirl says:

    (Read most but not all of the comments.)

    Yesterday I mentioned exchanging the PayPal button and the rotating tag line positions. I still think this would be good and gives focus to the tag line. (I see some people today also mentioned exchanging these positions.)

  161. 161
    lee says:

    On my Incredible 2, the site is fuxored.

    The standard browser does not redirect to the mobile version and when it loads the site is very very small.

    Opera Mobile just does not load the mobile version of the site. THe standard version looks fine and Opera seems to ignore the large empty column on the left.

  162. 162
    Steeplejack says:


    Don’t the Home and End keys do this already?

  163. 163
    jeffreyw says:

    It may just be my browser, but I am not seeing previous post nor next post links on the page bottom anywhere, I have to go to top to see if there is a new post on refresh.

  164. 164
    p.a. says:

    numbered comments, post author at top, possibly even above post title.. HOW ABOUT SOME COLOR? Lots of blue, and lots of white. Orange and yellow are good complementary colorsfor blue. Or how ’bout a touch of WVU or Steeler black & gold?

  165. 165
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve never understood why it matters who wrote the post. If the subject is one you are interested in, read it. Otherwise…
    Kind of like TV. If you don’t like it there is that switch the goes on/off, on/off, on/off…

  166. 166
    Calming Influence says:

    I’d love to see a Preview button for comments.

    & Kill the empty line between “asdf Says:” and “March 25, etc.”
    & Add an empty line between “March 25th, etc.” and the first line of the commentor’s meaningless drivel.
    & Add an empty line ABOVE the Reply line, so the last line of meaningless drivel doesn’t detract from the beauty of the Reply arrow.
    & The old font was better.

    Otherwise, looks great.

    edit: &Author’s name under Title of post.

  167. 167
    Maude says:

    Page is too wide for my monitor. Right side is off the page.
    If I do the – the font becomes too tiny. I’m using FF.

  168. 168
    max hats says:

    I like it a lot! It looks good both on my computer and on my mobile. Only thing I miss is having the author listed by the title, instead of just at the bottom of the post.

  169. 169
    wrb says:

    I’d like the naked women back

  170. 170
    Ando_Chronic says:

    @tofubo: Awesome, love it! You should show that to BruceFromOhio as well. He seems to miss megaphone man too.

  171. 171
    ZeeLizzi says:

    Not a fan of the font…Verdana or Tahoma are easier to read than Arial.

    Also, I’d like the author at the top of the post, too.

    K Thx Bye

  172. 172
    Commish says:

    Looks OK, if a little flat. It seems like it needs something to highlight the breaks between items, maybe as simple as a line across the page or a special font for the subject lines. The way many frontpagers break up their items with images and block quotes, it’s a little hard to see the breaks between items now especially when scrolling through the page.

    And I’d also like to see the bylines up near the subject headers. And numbered comments.

  173. 173
    tofubo says:

    two rules:

    NO ALL CAPS and no center align text

  174. 174
    Julia Grey says:

    I’m not getting the author name at EITHER top or bottom.

    The strikethrough function doesn’t work.

    Safari 5.4.1 Mac OSX 10.6.8

  175. 175
    tofubo says:


    Not a fan of the font…Verdana or Tahoma are easier to read than Arial.


    reminds me of a certain ms. collins from school…

  176. 176
    Wannabe Speechwriter says:

    I was wondering if you could break the archives down first by year, then month, then day-would be easier to navigate…

  177. 177
    Loneoak says:

    This might be a step too far to ask, but it would be wonderful if you could highlight text in a comment, hit reply, and have that text appear already in a blockquote. Like how most email applications do it.

    A first-world problem for sure, but nice nonetheless.

  178. 178
    johio says:

    I second those who want the rotating tag back front and center. It’s one of the site’s trademarks and now it’s hidden. Would also like prev/next post bottom an top. Other than that, I like the look.

  179. 179
    Michael says:

    Move the text alignment of the posts from center to left. Just looks weird.

  180. 180
    samara morgan says:

    could you PLEASEPLEASE PRETTY PLEASE get rid of the League of Extraordinarily Boring Glibertarians?
    given that IsQueef godwinned dougj, and ripped on Zander.

  181. 181
    greylocks says:

    @Ruckus: I’ve never understood why it matters who wrote the post.

    Because authors often talk about themselves or their subjects in a way that assumes we’re familiar with their previous posts. Which is rather typical of blogging, actually.

  182. 182
    regularlurker says:

    I like the nice, clean look. The site is loading quickly and leaving a comment is easy. Haven’t tested everything, but first impression is great!

    Thanks a lot.

    Say hi to Tunch, Lily and Rosie – I love them all!

  183. 183
    FlyingToaster says:

    The site is loading much faster.

    Need the author up on the post’s page. Seriously. I have to switch tabs to see who I’m talking to? /whine

    Numbering the comments would help a lot.

    Move the comment date/time up (I suspect there’s something about the double “br /” after “says” that is making this happen).

    When my laptop was in “save energy” mode, the grey text wasn’t a good contrast with the comment background. Brightening the screen fixed it fine, but that won’t always be an option. Black text is nearly always better in comments.

    Working from a MacBookPro/Lion/Firefox11_loaded.

    I wish that we could assign troll fonts, but that should be on the ‘way ‘way ‘way back burner.

  184. 184
  185. 185
    Summer says:

    Echoing all those who yearn for the old aesthetic: please bring back the old header with the little man! I appreciate all the technical improvements and the requests for feedback,and so hate to be negative, but this blog had such a cool, funky look and such a sense of place, and the new header just doesn’t measure up.

  186. 186
    Blinky Bill says:

    I like it! However, the centered text is a bit disconcerting when the text runs over more than 5 lines. Would prefer the text left justified.

  187. 187
    kilkee says:

    Am I the only one for whom the display shows all the text centered? I feel like I’m reading a series of strange and never-ending wedding invitations. Do I need to reset something?

  188. 188
    Mnemosyne says:

    Something that just started happening today — all of the stuff in the right-hand column has been pushed underneath the comments section, so first I have the comments all on the left with a big white space on the right, and then all of the stuff in the right-hand column appears underneath it with a big white space on the left. You fix. FF 3.6.10 on a Mac.

  189. 189
    Kiril says:

    There are little “play” buttons by all the links and when you push them they don’t do anything. I have to push them! And nothing happens! Please make them do something or use a different thing for whatever it is they are for. Thank you.

  190. 190
    jharp says:

    It’s fine.

  191. 191
    nellcote says:

    Text justified center is extremly annoying.

  192. 192
    John M. Burt says:

    @mark: You keep using that word, “poo poo”. I do not think it means what you think it does.

  193. 193
    justinb says:

    How does one get to the mobile site? When I load up on my phone, I get a microscopically unreadable decidedly non-mobile site. Since I read BJ almost exclusively on my phone, this is sort of a problem for me.

  194. 194

    What are your preliminary thoughts?

    This is probably my age talking but the fonts are too damn small. I can barely read anything.


  195. 195
    Eric S. says:

    I really like the rebuild. I liked the posters name at the beginning of the post. I also like seeing the time the post went up, not just the date.

  196. 196
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m seeing the same thing for all post pages (not the site home page) on FF 11, Windows XP. Doesn’t matter how large or small I make the browser.

    EDIT: OK, you’re obviously playing with the sidebar, because there’s a lot of extra white space above the tagline. I’ll wait this out.

  197. 197
    passerby says:


    Thank you. It bears repeating because it’s handy:

    “In Firefox, go into Tools then Options, then under Content choose Colors. Uncheck the box that says “Allow pages to choose their own colors”, and you will then see the page in black text. It looks much better.”

  198. 198
    sneezy says:

    The gray text has got to go. Black is much easier to read.

  199. 199
    Delia says:

    Well, first time I’ve been by to drop off a whinge about the new site design. Agree with everyone else about putting author’s name up where you can see it.

    Also, just noticed that the site display is too wide for my laptop screen. I can’t see the blogroll and other things on the right while I have the display centered on the discussion. I’m using Chrome.

    I like the look aesthetically.

  200. 200
    passerby says:

    @Southern Beale:

    SB, Hit the “Ctrl” and the “+” (or “-“) keys on your keyboard simultaneously and it will pump up the font size. This was a handy trick I learned on Windows 7 so I don’t have to wear my “Geppetto” glasses. O_O

  201. 201
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    You hit my main wishes.I think the rotating tag line needs to be more prominent, not buried under an ad, and the Reply button needs a little tweak so it doesn’t block the text.

    OK otherwise.

  202. 202
    punkdavid says:

    This is my first attempt to post since the rebuild, and the formatting is weird in Firefox (comments start on the right side of the main post, instead of below it).

    I logged in to say that my only criticism of teh look of the main page is that I don’t like that the author’s name is placed at the bottom of the post instead of right under the title, as it used to be. I don’t like to scroll down to the bottom before I know who is speaking to me.

    Otherwise, not bad. I’ll get used to it. Thanks.

  203. 203
    WaterGirl says:

    Formatting is really screwed up right now.

    Everything that has been in the right 2 columns since last night is now showing up at the bottom of column that holds the post and the comments.

  204. 204
    Michele says:

    I’d appreciate to either align the text on the left or column-justify it (like newspaper columns). The centered text is very difficult to read.

    Numbered comments would be great.

    Internet Explorer is not liking a lot of the font size / links at the top right corner of the page.

  205. 205
    wrb says:

    suddenly (5 minutes ago) the comment section is squished

    Please unsquish.

  206. 206
    passerby says:

    John, if you’re still reading our wish lists, can we have the ability to retain spacing between the paragraphs in our comments.

    Once we hit submit our text collapses without the spaces. For long-winded comments, it would be easier to read.

    The site looks great.

  207. 207
    Delia says:

    After I posted my comment screen came back with all the comments running off the right hand of the screen. I had to reset to make it come back left justified.

    I would also like the comments to be numbered, as they were in the old system.

  208. 208
    WaterGirl says:

    Please make the comment numbers searchable again, like they were before the previous site re-design.

    Please move the rotating tag lines so they show up underneath the Balloon Juice header. They just aren’t cool anymore in plain text in the box on the right.

    Please make the text black in stead of whatever color grey it is. It’s very hard on the eyes, as a lot of people have said.

    Paypal link should move over to the right, centered in the blank space under the lexicon links. You could have it trade spaces with the rotating tag lines.

    Could “search me” also allow you to search comments? Right now it only searches the original post.

    There’s something funky about the location of the date.

    Please change “Says” to lower case “says”.

    I like the new balloon, but it would be even better if the rest of the balloon could show up below the line, only really faded out. In color, though, just really faded.

  209. 209
    THE says:

    Bring back the Recent Comments list.

  210. 210
    Delia says:

    Okay, I just went through my first complete thread in the new format. And it’s hard to read. The boxes around each comment in the old format are a big help.

  211. 211
    Malbec says:

    Hi John, would like to add my voice to those who would prefer the text to be left-justified. The centred text for some reason is more annoying to read, and it makes it particularly difficult to distinguish quoted text now that it is no longer indented.


  212. 212
    matt says:

    Is <br> the best way to control space between the comment and the ctext?

    Edit: ampersand less than semicolon is a properly escaped entity and should be allowed in comments. That’s supposed to be a break tag up there.

  213. 213
    matt says:

    So it’s not as stupid as it looks: was wondering how
    escaped entities became the real deal after posting.
    See break above.

  214. 214
    jenn says:

    No real grumbles from me (I tend to be a little get-off-my-lawnish about change). Pretty much everything’s been covered, but in addition to John’s list, I’d like to have the recent comments box back, and I miss the rotating tagline. Maybe move the Home/Lexicon line of links to above the search box, and have the rotating tagline on the lowest line of the banner? And it would be nice to have the reply link automatically go onto a new line, so it doesn’t overlap with comment text.
    Testing paragraph break.
    I haven’t had any glitches, except once the mobile came on for this post, rather than the regular site that’s been every time since. Not sure what was going on there.

  215. 215
    jenn says:

    @Malbec: Hmm. Everything’s left-justified for me.

    Testing blockquote.

    Ha! — Sadly, no “ha!” Blockquote fail.

  216. 216
    WhyKnot241 says:


    The rebuild sucks. You suck. Everything you ever knew, thought about, dreamed about, down to the 168th person, roasted and tortured in hell (hey, why not a little Bromberg) suck. However, Tunch remains very cool, and my sister’s cats approve of their human’s ‘obey’ clock.

    Grumpy, Grafton-born

  217. 217
    TaosJohn says:

    Well, I haven’t gotten bumped to the mobile site yet. :-)

    On the other hand, the place is still somewhat graphically challenged. And a sans-serif font for the headlines AND the text is kinda lame. Why not use the same font that’s in the Balloon Juice header for the headlines?

  218. 218

    On my Android phone, I can only see the new mobile site – no option to revert to standard. And there’s still no way to post or read comments. The mobile site looks fine, otherwise.

    Also, author’s names below titles, definitely.

  219. 219
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Still wish the comments and posts weren’t squashed to the left. Everything else I like.

  220. 220
    dance around in your bones says:

    I’ve tried the new design in Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer.

    Only IE9 has the comments centered (making us all look like poets).

    The other two are left-justified.

    This new bare-bones black and white scheme in comments is worse than the soft blue comment boxes – I assume it’s transitional? Please say it is.

  221. 221
    Deb says:

    Ditto for me – the site is too wide for my old 1024 x 768 monitor.

  222. 222
    Dan says:

    A couple of items:

    1. Please put full date/time of diary, including time zone info. I.e. this comment would be: 17:43 PDT 25 March 2012. I don’t care which time zone you pick, but please tell me the exact time.

    2. I guess everyone else wants the author’s name with the title of the diary. I agree.

  223. 223
    Dan says:

    And yes, I see all comments center justified instead of left justified in IE9. No, I’m not going to ever use Chrome or Firefox, so please, please, find a fix? Pretty please?

  224. 224
    Ben K. says:

    I like it. Articulate and bright and clean and nice looking.

    Sorry, sorry. I just had that on my mind, because I just saw this from Uncle Joe and thought it was kick-ass. Seriously, the site looks great.

    God, you’re going to block me, aren’t you?

  225. 225

    Lose the “Says:”. It’s silly noise.

    The rotating tagline looks wrong where it is. Move it below the title where it belongs.

    Move the line spacing after the commenter name down one line so the commenter and timestamp are together and the leading is before the comment instead.

    The “Reply” button needs to have text flow around it; right now a few posts have text flowing into it.

    Keep WP from eating empty lines. in posts I put spaces between my paragraphs for a reason.

    The AJAX comment editor is completely broken, the window replaces the reading window instead of popping up.

    Layout-wise the redesign otherwise looks pretty good. Typographically, it’s a disaster.

  226. 226
    Daaling says:

    Looks like it was designed by a 10yo with ADD. So about what I expected. Heck of a job Brownie Cole.

  227. 227
    sb says:

    I like the numbered comments as well. Other than that, I’d say it’s an improvement.

  228. 228
    Calming Influence says:

    The “Play” buttons call out to be clicked, yet they do nothing. (H/T @Kiril:)
    It’s annoying, because you think it’s some sparkly new internets feature, and then you find out it’s only a badly misused icon. They you go get another 32oz Cabernet Slurpee, and you start to brood.
    Then things get ugly.
    The “Play” buttons must me stopped.

  229. 229
    amk says:

    @The Other Chuck: +1 except on formatting.

    The left orientation sux.

    The site loads a tad faster. That’s the only improvement I see. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time, money and effort.

    You should have just let the sleeping dogs lie.

  230. 230
    parsimon says:

    Chiming in very late here, and I see this has been mentioned repeatedly upthread:

    Reinstatement of a recent comments list.

    I can’t emphasize enough how much I referred to that in order to see which threads are active at a given time.

  231. 231
    cam says:

    Blog looks great. Just a couple of issues with comments: 1) there should be a line after each comment (looks like there usually is, but there are some inexplicable omissions), 2) comments should be formatted to start on the left, NOT centered. Makes it very hard to read.

  232. 232
    yankeedevil says:

    I really like the new look. Just one little change, can you please put the author’s name under the title? I think that would be an improvement. Having it in tiny letters at the bottom makes Steve M @NMMNB look positively forward thinking! (When I love, I kid!)

  233. 233
    honus says:

    How is this better than the old design? It’s certainly uglier. Looks more intense and mechanical, sort of like Drudge.
    Again, what was wrong with the old site that this corrects? Just as a start, the left orientation is not an improvement, IMHO.

  234. 234
    honus says:

    And editing seems to suck now, too. Also, the author is lost when you go to comments. I don’t see how that is an improvement.

  235. 235
    Luke says:

    I’d love to have the author’s name back up by the post title. I really only come here to read one person’s postings so it’s just that much easier to skip the rest if the poster’s name is front and centre.

  236. 236
    TooManyJens says:

    Just got a chance to look at it on my laptop as opposed to my phone, and the spacing of the lines in the comments really sticks out as a problem. The spacing is great in the posts, but in the comments the lines are too close together. It hurts to read them for any length of time.

  237. 237
    wmd says:

    The front page seems to have difficulties with video – kind of weird for a long time it was either Sarah McGlothlin singing Angel or Freda Payne. Now it’s Dartmouth Idol “Time of my Life”.

    When I click through to the comments it changes to the real video.

    Still no “Snarling Pack of vicious jackals” etc tags.

  238. 238
    Lyrebird says:

    @The Other Chuck: Ditto to everything Other Chuck said. Including the rotating tag line thing, it would be awesome to have it back right at the top. Makes me smile as soon as the page starts loading.

    Thanks for all the labor to keep this running!

  239. 239
    The Golux says:


    Uncheck the box that says “Allow pages to choose their own colors”

    Wow, that totally destroys the formatting for my band’s website.

  240. 240
    texasdem says:

    Just looking at the new format for the first time, and finding it really difficult to read posts and comments due to center-alignment. Please, please left justify.

  241. 241
    Chris says:

    I like it, but the formatting of the comments is kind of ugly. People should be able to put some space between their paragraphs using hard returns, but when I tried to, the space disappeared, cramming all the paragraphs together.

    Also, there should be a little space between the end of a comment and the little dotted line. Otherwise it almost looks like the comment got cut off abruptly.

    I do agree that it would be nice to know whose post you’re reading before you get to the end of it.

  242. 242
    jheartney says:

    I agree that the comment formatting is ugly. For longer comments, spacing between paragraphs is an absolute necessity. (Hey, it’s not like we’re going to run out of pixels.) Plus the dotted line at the bottom definitely needs some air above it.

    And if it were up to me, I’d put the Reply button under the dotted line, not above it.

  243. 243
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    As a lurker and semi-annual commenter at best—it’s your site, do it the way you want.

    My only functional criticism would be that the “reply” button is always visible now, and since the text in each comment goes down to the bottom of the box, if the last line is long enough, the last word disappears behind it.

    I know everybody’s complaining about text being center-justified, but that must be an artifact of the standards-violating abomination from Micro$haft—I don’t see it in Safari, Opera, or any of the Mozillas.

  244. 244
    Dave says:

    @Bev Cubbage:
    Agreed. How do I know whose “voice” to use when reading if I don’t know the author?

  245. 245

    Mobile site sucks ass. I don’t care that it’s “low bandwidth” or “looks fine” when it is a crippled content set.

    Problems with it, in rough order of importance:
    1. No comments. Can’t read ’em, can’t make ’em. Guys, I love the front page posts, but I come here for the comments. Balloon-juice without comments is bullshit.

    2. No link to the main site. If you insist on serving up a Cliff’s Notes version of your site, at least give me the option to buy the book.

    3. No author bylines. At all. I agree with everybody here that the byline needs to be at the top of the post, rather than the bottom, but at least it’s somewhere on the main site. It’s just not there on mobile.

    Those are the deal-breakers. If it’s too much work to make the mobile version stop sucking, just stop serving it altogether and give everybody the same site.

  246. 246
    dance around in your bones says:

    Please PLEASE tell me that this new black and white bare-bones comment color scheme is temporary! The soft blue color boxes were far preferable to this – it looks unfinished and raw.
    The only way to get a space between paragraphs now is to do the old MonkeyBoy double underscore Trick to make an empty line (like we did to keep the paragraphs in blockquote together).
    Change for change’s sake is goofy – if we have to have change, let it be for the better!
    And PLEASE bring back the little guy in the top hat – that logo expressed the Balloon Juice ethos perfectly, I thought – quirky, funky, shouting into the wind, invitingly friendly and off-beat.

  247. 247
    Nylund says:

    Hundreds of comments that I haven’t read, but in case it hasn’t been said, I don’t like how the author bylines are at the bottom of the post. I like them up top where I can see who wrote the post right from the get go.

    Also, I was one of those who said I wanted to read posts by specific authors only, but I’m not liking the way it’s done on the right because you have to choose an individual author. I was thinking something more like a filter so I can see posts by John, ABL, Doug, or what have you, and just skip the ones I don’t like (Levenson…too long! and the ones about futbol).

    That is, It’s either see posts by everyone, or just see posts by a single person. What I’d like is to be able to see posts by a small group of specific authors.

  248. 248
    kc says:

    OK, I saw it on my iPhone this weekend and it looked OK (except for the text stretching off the screen to the right, but now looking at it on my computer, all the text in every post is centered. It’s unreadable.

    Is it just me?

  249. 249
    kc says:


    Oh, it’s not just me.

    Yes, please fix this.

  250. 250
    Comrade Mary says:

    People on IE8/9 (maybe 7?) are having text centering issues. This showed up Sunday evening and I am sure the web goddesses have this on their to-do lists.
    But did y’all notice that bylines are the post title now? Things are getting worked on.

  251. 251
    Comrade Mary says:


  252. 252
    Comrade Mary says:

    Is the paragraph spacing fixed?

    EDIT: Oh well, not yet. Thought I saw a sign of a fix somewhere else.

  253. 253
    Sasha says:

    In the upper corner, you should have a rotating gallery of Balloon Juice pet photos.

  254. 254
    Rekster says:

    I haven’t read through all of the site rebuild comments. I like the fix that puts the author name at the top of each entry. Could you put the time the entry was posted?


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