Site Rebuild Open Thread

As I mentioned last night, we are planning a site rebuild for the second week of February. Last night we raised about a third of what is needed, so if you can, please pitch in here:

I personally am interested in going back to the old three column format, which I really liked a lot more. Plus, I think we need to buy the pro version of WP Touch for the mobile site so we can have more latitude with the appearance.

As always, thanks in advance.

*** Update ***

We’re all good. Stop giving!

84 replies
  1. 1
    Raven says:

    I got a look at my first pay stub for the new year. Even when you know it’s coming it’s a drag to see it in black and white. I gave any-damn-way.

  2. 2

    Yeah? Well, whatever the hell the new look is, I hate it. It’s too slow and it gives me seizures. Or, well, it will give me seizures when I see it. I just bet it will. But even though I haven’t seen it yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t hate it already. It sucks. I feel personally aggrieved by this outrage.

    I just thought I’d get that out of the way now so nobody will need to bug you when it’s done.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    I personally am interested in going back to the old three column format,

    Something we can agree on. I think that format makes it harder for the drones to draw a bead on. Amirity?

  4. 4
    jeffreyw says:

    Navigation icons at bottom of page, please.

  5. 5
    taylormattd says:

    Please, please, please. Whatever you do, do not have a mobile site that features that horrifying “on swipe” shit. It is fucking awful beyond belief and is impossible to get rid of.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    Do we have to do paypal? Cafe Press has an option for Amazon but I’m not sure that’s something you can do.

  7. 7
    piratedan says:

    ty for the reminder, squeezed some blood from a stone for you.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: You catch that bird dog?

  10. 10
    ChrisNYC says:

    Donated. Not a lot. More like a token, really. My heart’s in the right place tho.

  11. 11
    BGinCHI says:

    Show me on the site where WP Touched you.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    Off Pat Lang!

  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    How about responsive design template instead of WPTouch? It’s a thing now. And 3-column, but remember those of us on small monitors.

  16. 16
    cathyx says:

    I don’t care too much. I just hate it when it changes, though. Then I have to get used to it all over again.

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    I would like to see a “back to top” button on the mobile site. I like the current mobile site over the last one in that the comments already load and I can just scroll down, but once we get to a certain number of comments it would be nice to not have to scroll back up.

    I know. First world problems. I’m just tired of being angry at conservatives and gun fetishists today and feel like being lazy and selfish.

  18. 18
    Roger Moore says:

    Blog needs pet pictures on every thread. Moar Tunch!

  19. 19
    MazeDancer says:

    Consider dumping blog roll, freeing up room for more ad space. Besides links not working, blog roll is a relic of early days, when blogs were as new as the readers.

    An occasional thread of “read anything good or new lately” for folks to suggest blogs or writers, a la, Netflix recs would better expand readership. And any pennies gathered in more ads would help maintain site.

    Recent comments doesn’t really need such prime real estate. Personally, I’d delete it, more top space for ads, but others might like it somewhere. IMHO, people are either interested in a post or they’re not. People either like to click through and read comments or they don’t. Recent comments doesn’t really add to or change people’s practices. It’s a nice length front page so it’s easy to scroll the day, or the few hours since a visit. And the comment count number shows what’s popular.

    Also, perhaps there is a way to add ability to search blog for specific commenters by name. I’ve used Google to try and find commenters who may have been in specific situations, or looking for help, or might update about a pet situation. Think it might be more up to date if was on the site.

    And, please, preview comments. Make posting easier.

  20. 20
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @jeffreyw: Awww, damn. If you can get her to eat while your out there, sitting quietly without looking at her, it will help if treats kind of magically appear around you.

    Something high value but lowish fat and salt – like half inch pieces of turkey hot dogs. If they just appear around your periphery, that can make her (ideally) more amenable to capture persuasion. I’ve had quite good results with skittish dogs with the technique.

  21. 21
    Baud says:


    Lots of people, including myself, use recent comments. Last time Cole got rid of it, there was an outcry.

    Comment numbers on the mobile site would be cool, as would a back to top button.

  22. 22
    Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo) says:

    I am going to reorder my previous request list.

    1) ban Ted and Hellen’s IP, permanently.
    2) reply with quote button
    3) Next post/last post button at bottom of thread
    4) Choice to preview.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    As long as you don’t screw up the comments too much (obligatory FYWP here) I’ll not complain a lot. The main reason I left PBS’ place was that the commenting system changed, and I just couldn’t take it. This place, for all its flaws, is much better, and there is no Fristing here.

    I do miss the ponies, however.

  24. 24
    Arclite says:

    Hey JC, did you ever pick up a new PC? Just wondering what you got.

  25. 25
    srv says:

    @MazeDancer: tabbed pane. One for ads, one for emails, one for blog roll.


  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The Blogs We Monitor and Mock as Needed list should remain, and perhaps be changed to “sites” as opposed to “Blogs”.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    Built-in pie filter, rather than Cleek’s add-on. I figure more people will pie the trolls- and stop responding to them- if they don’t need to hunt for the filter themselves.

  28. 28
    Josie says:

    @jeffreyw: Cute kitteh. I have a tortie named Patches with a face very much the same. It makes them look mischievous.

  29. 29
    MikeJ says:

    @Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo):

    2) reply with quote button

    I just downloaded the plugin used for reply-to here. I’ll add that feature.

  30. 30
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I like cleek’s pie filter! Did you know that you can contribute pie filter suggestions ? Well, at least you could a couple years ago.

    I added a few and it always gives me a tiny little thrill when I see them in the pie filter. Like, haha! pie’d YOU mofo! Get outa Dodge!

  31. 31
    Bobby Thomson says:


  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Moar Tunch!

    I’m thinking 24 Hour Tunch Cam; we only need cameras by the food dish and a couple sofas. Where else is he during the day (that we would want to watch)?

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:


    Aww, poor girl. It doesn’t sound like the other dogs are being very helpful. :-(

  34. 34
    Commenting at Balloon Juice Since 1937 says:

    up fists!

  35. 35

    George Zimmerman is running out of money, and has launched a fund raising drive. Check this out of the $314,000 raised thus far

    Household/living expenses – $61,747.54

    So the wingnuts are paying Zimmerman 60K a year for sitting on his arse and doing nothing while awaiting trial. Wouldn’t we all love to get on that deal?

  36. 36
    Roger Moore says:


    So the wingnuts are paying Zimmerman 60K a year for sitting on his arse and doing nothing while awaiting trial. Wouldn’t we all love to get on that deal?

    If one of the possible outcomes is going to the big house for a long time, I think I’d rather work for my bread.

  37. 37
    dance around in your bones says:

    I don’t know – I just liked the way the site looked back in the day – here is a link to the wayback machine so y’all can reminisce and shed tiny tears for the way it used to be.

    Please bring back our lovely retro (almost in a way Steampunk!)site.

    Also, thank you John Cole, for creating this site. I just love you for that. Unfortunately, I have zero dinero. I tried to donate with a gift card I was given for Christmas, but they asked too many gawdamned questions.

    Paranoia, it strikes deep.

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Hang in there Jeffrey. If she’s that skittish, you guys are probably just what she needs in the long run. I suppose you’ll be watching Dances With Wolves tonight for inspiration?

    P.S. Katie is SO cute!

    P.P.S. Love that gorgeous yellow-ish kitty in the bottom photo.

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, I get paid on the 1st, which is Friday. I’m down to pasta, veggies in the fridge, and my last roll of toilet paper, so I can’t give until Friday. :-)

    So don’t lose heart, there may be a lot of people who can’t donate until the 1st. Especially since we are all getting used to smaller paychecks now that the payroll tax holiday is over.

  40. 40
    MazeDancer says:


    If people like Recent Comments it should be there, of course.

    Knowing that blogs make zero dough and that this one likes to also support pet causes, always looking for the little extra ad space.


    Tabs always good. But don’t think ads can be tabbed, since people unlikely to click on such a tab. But everything else could easily be a click to see it if you want it.

    But only two things, really, really, really desire are – boringly repeating – comment preview so we could at least attempt to outwit WP before posting. And time stamp back on the front page posts so we know when the post was made. Otherwise, eventually, even while grumbling, one gets used to everything else. Even the current too tiny type size.

  41. 41
    Raven says:


    And I’m down to seeds and stems again. . . too.

  42. 42
    Fluke bucket says:

    So was a rifle used at the Newtown massacre or not? Gun nuts frothing on Facebook.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    WaterGirl says:

    @Raven: That’s a great way of putting it!

    I gave way more than I could afford to Obama and Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown etc last year, so I am having to dig out of debt again. And here I had been completely debt-free until this past year. (And I worked damn hard to get there!)

    Definitely worth it, though.

  45. 45

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah but you are not Zimmerman who would appear to prefer to suck on the wingnut teat. The entire wingnut thing appears to be a huge ponzi scheme.

    Oh and in the “both sides do it” thing it pisses me off that the Obama campaign worked hard to pay off Mark fucking Penn for running the most incompetent campaign in the history of campaigns. Why should anyone reward a fucking incompetent for losing?

  46. 46
    Maude says:

    We have to have recent comments. I was one of the screamers. Also the most recent post needs to be on the list when we are in comments instead of the main page.
    Bring back Balloon Man.

  47. 47
    Maude says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I’m so glad you’re here.

  48. 48
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Hey John and all,

    I contributed a couple of days before you started this bleg, but will kick in some more after posting this.

    Thanks for this site and all the regulars. It’s a great community.

    A few suggestions (that may have been made earlier by others):

    1. Please fix the quoting HTML stuff so that quotes with paragraph breaks are quoted properly.

    2. Please don’t throw posts in the moderation dungeon so easily. There have been time when I’ve tried to fix quoting in a post 3x and it ended up being moderated. That’s stupid.

    3. Please increase the number of permissible links in a post above 3. I’m used to providing evidence when I get in arguments/discussions and 3 links is too limiting.

    4. Please update the Lexicon, and (if possible) include the list of FYWP terms that lead to moderation and ways around them (if we’re going to continue to have to live with them).

    That’s all I have now. Thanks again.


  49. 49
    General Stuck says:


    Do you think anyone really has control over WP? when all is said and done. There is the format, then there is the possessed soul of Balloon J. Possessed by W P devil that will moderate as is its wont.

  50. 50
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jeffreyw: Looks a bit like my old girl who passed at the beginning of the month. Aw.

  51. 51
    dance around in your bones says:


    FYWP Spam Words is in the Lexicon.

    Some words are no longer banned, like shoes and socialism.

    At least I think not, let’s see if I go into moderation, haha!

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    That would ruin this site. What on earth would we have to complain about? We need the glitches. /snark.

  53. 53
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @General Stuck: Dunno. If WP continues to be broken after all this time, maybe it’s time to kick WP to the curb and use something else. (I realize that’s not the choice at the moment.)

    (Don’t get me started on my rant about how many of the problems of Internet discussion groups were solved decades ago on Usenet, but we have to continue to wait for the wheel to be reinvented…)


  54. 54
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @dance around in your bones: Thanks muchly!


  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I dig “Recent Comments.” For me the thing that takes up more space than necessary is “Recent Post.”

    Can the “Contact” box be combined with the “Authors” tab? Or be pushed up into the banner alongside the “Lexicon”?

  56. 56
    dance around in your bones says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: You haz welcome :)

  57. 57
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Maude: :-)

  58. 58
    General Stuck says:


    Dunno. If WP continues to be broken after all this time, maybe it’s time to kick WP to the curb and use something else. (I realize that’s not the choice at the moment.)

    Even thinking such a thing is fraught with risk. You can check out, but never leave. Best to humbly serve and sacrifice a virgin now and then, if you can find one.

    I can remember when you could submit a comment, brush your teeth and take a shit, and still not have the comment post. It is the basic format that makes it all work out for the best. Within reasonable limits.

  59. 59
    JPL says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Although Zimmerman uses paypal, there are other alternatives….just sayin.

  60. 60
    Aji says:

    Okay, this will sound like a whiny nothing issue, probably, but: Would it be too much to ask for a date/time stamp on each FP post? I actually do find them useful at other sites.

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:


    Don’t get me started on my rant about how many of the problems of Internet discussion groups were solved decades ago on Usenet, but we have to continue to wait for the wheel to be reinvented…

    Color me unconvinced. I never dealt with a USENET group that had anything like the posting volume of Balloon-Juice, and some of the solutions used by USENET would have a ton of trouble scaling to this kind of volume. Also, too, toward the end USENET was collapsing pretty badly under the weight of spam and trolls, despite the heroic efforts of kill file authors and anti-spam vigilantes. I think that’s a big part of the reason that so many people abandoned it so fast when blogs became more practical; it didn’t actually work under a modern load.

  62. 62
    Maude says:

    Already was asked last site rebuild thread. I want that.

  63. 63
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Roger Moore: It’s ancient history and was built on a different model. Usenet groups were distributed across any server that wanted to carry it. B-J is on a single server (or potentially a server farm) – it’s not distributed.

    Lots and lots of groups got lots of traffic. c.o.*.advocacy,, alt.binaries.* are a few I was at least nominally familiar with many moons ago.

    Quoting wasn’t broken on Usenet. It was trivial to reply to the group or to just the poster or to move a reply to another (more appropriate) group/room/topic. It’s usually not trivial with “modern” web-based discussion group.

    It was trivial for readers to kill-file people, or thread, or posts, of people they didn’t want to read on Usenet. Now, you need someone like Cleek to make a custom add-on for you.

    It was trivial to read Usenet off-line with things like Souper and Yarn and queue-up replies to post when you were back on-line. You can’t easily do that with most web-based forums.

    Yes, Usenet died because spammers killed it. There are ways that that problem could be solved, but it wouldn’t be trivial in a general case.

    I’m not advocating bringing back Usenet.

    But what gets me is that so many “modern” discussion-board-type web packages seem to have no idea how well Usenet worked for readers and posters and seemingly never considered those usability aspects when writing their code.

    But maybe that’s just me. :-)


  64. 64
    Aji says:

    @Maude: What, it was too hard to do? Isn’t it, like, part of virtually every template these days?

  65. 65
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    the problem with the comments is it’s a built in WP comment system from back in the day. Disqus, ReasonedDebate(or whatever) and other systems have solved that shit several times over. Damned Wonkette has 10 times the volume as here, and doesn’t have a problem.

  66. 66
    TooManyJens says:

    wp-admin/options-discussions.php could simply be cleared out. We didn’t get overrun with boner pill spam when the word “socialism” was removed from it. Let Akismet take care of the spam instead of relying on anti-spam techniques from 2003.

  67. 67
    poptartacus says:

    Its a great site(even though you have a misguided affection for cats). Glad to donate.

  68. 68
    dance around in your bones says:

    I hate Disqus. Too much information required.

    Still trying to finish Wylie Cash’s book. Darn grandkids.

    Oh fer crissakes, yes! I love them.

  69. 69
    johnny aquitard says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I have noticed certain computer programmy-type people like to use the word ‘trivial’ a lot. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

  70. 70
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @johnny aquitard: Some of us took lots of math courses where the meaning is a bit different than the one you seem to have in mind. ;-)


  71. 71
    TS says:


    So the wingnuts are paying Zimmerman 60K a year for sitting on his arse and doing nothing while awaiting trial. Wouldn’t we all love to get on that deal?

    but but … entitlements are bad – people are lazy

  72. 72
    Rome Again says:

    John, my car got in a wreck this week and I’m saving up to put a down payment on a new vehicle on Friday, but I will make sure to donate next week.

    Wish I could do it now, but I’d be out of a job if I do. Apologies. Good luck with the rebuild.

    ***Also*** –

    Update on OnlyMike: We have his two cats in a really nice facility (the shelter he wanted to use wouldn’t accept them but had other housing which turned out to be a pet resort and they are giving us a discounted rate of $4.00 per day, per cat). I am paying for the upkeep of the cats at the shelter at the moment. We’re having trouble getting Mike approved for a bank account (he has one which I arranged through my online bank, but, since he doesn’t have an address, they are questioning his use of my address – we plan on fixing this soon and then we can work on taking up a collection). The cats have been vaccinated (again, I paid for that) and I showed him where he can get good cheap housing recently and he seems very interested. We’ll work on getting him into an apartment after he’s finished with his program he’s going through. He is safe and well and sends his best to all BJers.

  73. 73
    Calming Influence says:

    we are planning a site rebuild

    I’m suffering from allergies, so I’m afraid my obligatory outrage to this will have to be a simple “This is BULLSHIT!” for now.

    I promise to flesh this out more in future open threads.

  74. 74
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Rome Again:

    I don’t even believe in Gawd, but I want to say to you Gawd bless you for helping OnlyMike and thank you for the update.

  75. 75
    thedean says:

    thx for the update on onlymike, rome again. hope you both are well. dean

  76. 76
    Nola78 says:

    Okay, $390,090.00 to go.

  77. 77
    Comrade Luke says:

    Disqus might help reduce the load on the site. Failing that, fixing the quoting and some kind of blocking or pie filter built-in would be teh awesome.

  78. 78
    Violet says:

    @Comrade Luke: I detest Disqus and have quit commenting on sites that use it. Maybe that’s a good thing?

    @Rome Again: Thank you for the update on OnlyMike. You are an angel for helping like you have. Glad his kitties have a safe place and glad he is doing okay.

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    No input one way or another on the mobile site layout, as I have no mobile devices.

    However, again will ask to please repair it so that the mobile site shows up only on mobile devices (or if otherwise specifically called to display). Currently, that is not the case (and a particularly eye straining annoyance).

    Repairing what is glitched along with the rebuild is strongly requested.

  80. 80
    MikeJ says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Usenet worked well because it was an open standard that anybody could (and did[1]) write their own clients for. No, you didn’t need cleek to write a kill file program, but you needed cleek to write slrn or an emacs mode to do the same thing.

    The other side of usenet was that there was a minimal skill set to use it. You had to be able to install a newsreader and configure it to point at the right server and you had to know your own email address. All stuff that’s beyond the ability of most netizens today.

    [1] I did! One for my own use that was pretty featureful and one godawful one that I was only partially responsible for and had many, many more constraints that sane newsreaders had.

  81. 81
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Rome Again: Sent you an email. Bless you for doing this!

  82. 82
    MikeJ says:

    @Closeted epistemic (formerly Lojasmo):

    2) reply with quote button

    I rewrote the quote plugin and emailed it to the upgrade address. Works fine on my server.

  83. 83
    Ecks says:

    Live updating of new comments without having to refresh the page.

    Then also a button which lets me untag which comments I’ve already read, and jump to unread ones.

  84. 84
    J R in W Va says:

    I’m wishing for the edit timer to reset when a new edit is completed, and for the time limit to be better, like 10 or 15 minutes. On a long post that you hose at the last second because you touched the pad with your thumb, it can take longer than 5 minutes to get it fixed.

    And why should I have to beg a moderator/front pager to delete my piece of garbage, which I don’t recognize until 20 minutes after I write it in a rage ???

    And also too, I’m not here for a radio show, or TV. I’m here for the snark about dumass Repugnant politics! I never use the Innertubes Baloon-Juice to listen to commentary, I’m here to READ commentary. I use Youtube for music and video. Escept for WWOZ from NOLA!!

    But if most folks like the radio, that’s OK too. but the edit rules need changed just to be more useful to the fumble-fingered commmentariat.

Comments are closed.