Redesign Launch and Issues Post

Welcome to the new Balloon Juice!
This post is an area for you to report issues, ask questions, or give feedback. Please keep to the topic—use a different thread for Open Thread and new subjects!

Tommy (yeah I posted this, didn’t feel comfortable logging in as John to do it) and possibly Alain will keep an eye on this thread (and any of its successors), commenting and answering questions when possible. You can always send an email to as well.

BTW: Be gentle folks …..

267 replies
  1. 1
    Tom says:

    This is going to be a while before I take this all in.

    First impressions:
    Nice, light, clean design (haven’t checked the mobile site yet.)
    I like the Random Quotes of Wisdom. Was that on the old site?
    I like the dropdown for Archives, Contact and Blogroll. Definitely makes the site seem less crowded.

    And finally the obligatory:
    Needs more kitteh. (Especially Tunch.)

  2. 2

    Seems nice and clean, and more open, with just the one sidebar. Thanks for the “share” buttons also.

    Is “Random Quotes of Wisdom” the new tagline?

  3. 3
    Jane2 says:

    Clean design, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for not doing that huge point font that requires scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

  4. 4

    Oh, we have “reply” buttons to an individual post! Wonderful!

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    Do you have a brother named Dennis D.? Sings about robots and blue collar men?

  6. 6
    Suzanne says:

    This looks really bad on the iPad, both in portrait and landscape.

    Want me to send in screenshots?

  7. 7
    Satby says:

    Looks exactly the same on mobile as it did before. So whoopie?

  8. 8
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    OMFG, everything got changed!

  9. 9

    @Suzanne: That would be very, very helpful. Until I could get it live I didn’t have the chance to go through the plugin we use to optimize for mobile.

  10. 10

    @redheadedfemme: Nope it was at the very top right of the site

  11. 11
    Suzanne says:

    Allow me to amend my earlier statement. The part that looks really bad is the top menu. Totes not formatting correctly and links are overlapping. However, the two-column format is working well, and that was what got so badly FUBARed in the last update, so his is def a step up.

  12. 12
    Gvg says:

    Post below is having some odd issues. People’s posts are appearing multiple times. I can’t tell if anyone else is seeing that because no one mentioned it, only a couple of comments about having trouble posting at all.

    This post tried to auto correct excessively. In the middle of the word posts, second sentence, it tried to put in “political systems” for me.

  13. 13
    Jay C says:

    A little strange, after so many years of the Good Old Site, but yeah, it may do…

    I’ve logged on on Safari (Mac), and the formatting buttons on the comment box are kind of hard to read: they’re OK when moused-over, but (just a suggestion) should be easier to see.
    Also: no spellcheck in comments?
    And comment numbers?

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    No comment numbering?

  16. 16
    Chopper says:

    what the shit is this?

  17. 17
    AnneW says:

    I miss the links at the bottom of each post for the previous & next posts. Will they be coming back?

  18. 18
    Gvg says:

    @Suzanne: I am on an iPad 3 and am not having any layout issues, just to confuse things.

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    You took the numbers off the comments. And the balloon guy is not back. Das mag ich nicht. Otherwise, shrug.

  20. 20

    Two issues:
    Where are the comment numbers
    The buttons in the comment box bold, italics etc are in white and extremely difficult to read.

  21. 21
    Oatler. says:

    I’m glad the mighty name of Oatler survived the change.

  22. 22

    @@schrodinger’s catJay C: Yeah the commenting box is a problem and I will be the first to admit. Subpar and I did it. That is where my focus will be for the next few days. I wanted to totally change the commenting engine, but alas something you think where there would be tons of options (I sure did), there in fact are not. And many are way, way worse than this. But your point is taken and correct.

  23. 23

    @Omnes Omnibus: But plenty of white space

    ETA: I do like the two column format.

  24. 24
    joel hanes says:


    And this is what a reply looks like.

  25. 25

    Everything else has shrunk but Paypal button is huge!

  26. 26

    @AnneW: Look to left of this comment (would be one to the right if this wasn’t the first post) there is a light gray box with an <. Click on that :).Oh and to the right at the bottom, the black box with an arrow, click on that.

  27. 27
    replicnt6 says:

    Two things:

    * Can we get a time in addition to the date in the front-page posts?

    * At least in my Chrome, the comment box bold/italic/link/quote buttons are unreadable. Looks like white on light gray. Maybe we don’t give a shit because we don’t want to waste time on the old commenting system when we’re putting in a new commenting system.

  28. 28
    Suzanne says:

    @Gvg: Weird. I am on an iPad Air. My iPhone 6 Giant (whatever it’s called) also looks the same.

    This is, however, a big step up from the last update, which was nigh unusable on the iPad and iPhone for me.

  29. 29
    satby says:

    @Satby: And in my Chrome browser it reverts to posts from September with the new formatting. I’m in IE now (EWWWW) and nah, do not want. Sorry.
    WAY too much white space for geezer eyes, BTW. I’ll have to wear shades.

  30. 30
    Suzanne says:

    I would love photo comments, if possible. Want to see more pet pics.

  31. 31
    Suzanne says:

    Is it possible to densify the comments section? Each line is relatively short, and there’s lots of white space before and after each comment. This is going to make for a lot of scrolling on the Friedman unit threads……

  32. 32
    redshirt says:

    I don’t see unicorn sparkles with my post and I expressly requested unicorn sparkles.

  33. 33
    redshirt says:

    @Suzanne: Quoting you as a test. Hope you’re feeling better.

  34. 34
    redshirt says:


    Is it possible to densify the comments section? Each line is relatively short, and there’s lots of white space before and after each comment. This is going to make for a lot of scrolling on the Friedman unit threads……

    So, same as before….

  35. 35
    Jane2 says:

    @Suzanne: I second this.

  36. 36
    Amir Khalid says:

    This is a test:

    quoted text

  37. 37
    Poopyman says:

    @replicnt6: Although at least (again on Chrome) they’re readable once you hover over them.

    Generally agree with most of the above comments: Moar comment numbers, less white space if possible. Otherwise, neat and clean!

  38. 38
    redshirt says:

    Where is the “recent comments” function?

  39. 39
    Jane2 says:

    @redshirt: Not for you, redshirt, but for Tommy. The block quotes are in a large, dark font (iMac/Firefox) – hard to read the rest of the post.

  40. 40

    @replicnt6: The first comment about time, maybe but something you would think that is easy but not so much.

    The second point, I personally find the comments people have made about the buttons are correct. I WILL fix them because honestly the new commenting system isn’t going to be here in a day or so. Maybe too much inside baseball but I tested about 15 different ones. Each did something really well and something else not so much. So no matter which I/we went with 50% would not be happy.

    The ones that work (and they flipping rock), and I kid you not, they take “ownership” of your comments and they are on their servers and not John’s. I didn’t even suggest this to John because if I found it unacceptable I knew he would as well (a lot more).

  41. 41
    Poopyman says:

    @Amir Khalid: This is nested quoted text:

    This is a test:

    quoted text

  42. 42
    replicnt6 says:


    WAY too much white space for geezer eyes, BTW. I’ll have to wear shades.

    That’s what they meant when they said “the future’s so bright”. This is the future. Welcome.

  43. 43
    Yatsuno says:

    Oh wow…my info got retained! I wonder if I can go back to my old nym now.

  44. 44

    It’s readable on my iPad! Kinda like the additional white space.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @Jane2: Hey, us older folks liked that bigger font. Between this tiny stuff and all the glaring white my eyes are already aching. [Yes, I know I can fix the font for myself.]

  46. 46
    redshirt says:

    @Yatsuno: Yeah, your old name became a killing word.

  47. 47
    replicnt6 says:


    I would love photo comments, if possible. Want to see more pet pics.

    Yeah, more stupid meme photos. That’s what really makes a comments section.

  48. 48
    Suzanne says:

    @redshirt: These lines of text are six words wide. This is waaaaay too short.

  49. 49
    John Cole says:

    Folks, give it some time. Also, I think we need to tone down the color of the background. It’s retina burning white on my end here.

  50. 50

    @redshirt: The “powers that be” vetoed it (long story). But server related. It is something we are going to turn on late one night (maybe) and see if it taxes the servers.

  51. 51
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @redheadedfemme: We always did. Or at least in myworld we always did.

  52. 52

    @John Cole: Yeah it is, ask and you shall receive. Of course this won’t work, but I am going to work in real time unless you have a problem with that.

  53. 53
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yup, these are problems. @schrodinger’s cat: And this also. But I’ll just let everyone else point out the issues. I’m sure I won’t catch anything everyone else missed.

  54. 54
    redshirt says:



    A lame edit for edit’s sake

  55. 55
  56. 56
    taylormattd says:

    Looks fantastic!

  57. 57

    The formatting is giving me a headache. Goodnight guys. So long and enjoy the white space.

    ETA: Now everything is grey.

  58. 58
    PaulW says:

    1. doesn’t open immediately to most current article, have to scroll down to find it.
    2. grey page is too grey.
    3. not enough cowbell.

  59. 59
    sharl says:

    Is Adam Silverman going to stick around as a front-pager on at least an occasional basis? (I hope so; I like his posts, and learn from them.)

    If Adam will still be putting in occasional visits, could his name be included in the drop-down list of authors?

    That’s all I got for now, though I agree with the request upthread for numbered comments.

    By the way, will there still be a 3-link limit (including Reply link to another comment)? I could go nuts with links sometimes, but maybe that would put some kind of burden on FYWP(?).

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole: People are just doing as Tommy asked. Reporting issues and giving feedback.

  61. 61
    eemom says:

    The boxes. What happened to the boxes??


  62. 62
    satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: yeah, I’ll check back later too. Good luck. It went a bit grey for a bit and now blinding white is back.

  63. 63
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Tommy Young: Oh, yeah, the grey is much better. I’m glad it’s not gray.

  64. 64
    rikyrah says:

    Well, I can read it. You didn’t change the colors to something awful.

    Um, where’s the link to the previous post down here at the bottom – one of the best things about the site.

  65. 65
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @John Cole:

    think we need to tone down the color of the background. It’s retina burning white on my end here.

    Looks like it’s a light grey here(MS Edge browser).

    Oh, saw Tommy’s comment, NM. Now it’s white.

  66. 66

    @sharl: Yes on the three links.

  67. 67
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Still blindingly white for me, and so much space between comments makes it truly glaring. Have fun folks.

  68. 68
    sharl says:

    @sharl: D’Oh! I just looked more carefully, and that drop-down author list is for contact information, not an index for individual authors’ posts.
    Neeeever mind…

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m so confused.

  70. 70
    Boudica says:

    Like it. One thing I miss on my galaxy s3 is I could do the finger/thumb swipe thing and make the text bigger. Now I can’t.

  71. 71
    Amir Khalid says:

    I second all the complaints about waaay too much white space.

  72. 72
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Corner Stone: Par for the course.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: Racist.

  74. 74
    HinTN says:

    Bug (feature?) – on mobile I could previously follow the link to the previous comment to get context and then use the phone’s back function to return shd keep reading. Tried that and it went to the previous front page where I was at.

  75. 75
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Corner Stone: You must keep up, really. Amir is a slaver.

  76. 76
    Zinsky says:

    Looks very clean. The formatting boxes are blank on my tablet. Any linking shortcuts?

  77. 77
    Suezboo says:

    Thank you, Tommy, you have obviously put a lot of dedication and understanding into this. Good Luck with the continuing issues. <Saying this kinda thing is why I can never make it as a BJ Regular. Sigh.

    A quibble. Really small. Run spellcheck on your template. You spell balloon wrongly on the title of this thread and in the righthand panel. “Follow Ballon Juice” .Those are the two that shouted out at me, a pedant. There may be more. Thanks.

  78. 78

    @Tommy Young: Previously when you followed a comment back to the referenced comment, you could hit the back button and return to the original comment – helpful when you’re 110 comments in and the referenced comment is number 5.

    The rest is going to take some getting used to, so for now I’ll just test out various things and report back on those. Thanks for all your hard work.

    ETA: Or what @HinTN said.

  79. 79
    sharl says:

    @Tommy Young: Thanks Tommy; 3-link limit it is/continues to be.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Comments are really narrow on the iPhone. A long thread will require scrolling forever.

  81. 81

    @sharl: Just click on Adam Silverman name/handle under the title of the post and you’ll get anything he has written.

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    This is awful. Did you have a flat out drunk in charge of this redesign?

  83. 83
    SG says:

    Too much white space, font size is too small and there are inconsistencies in font size between plain text and quoted text. Having the main column on the left feels awkward.

    But the worst thing, the thing I hate with the heat of a thousand suns, is that your page is no longer resizable on my iPad. I am sick and tired of the designer tyranny that insists I not be allowed to use a key feature of my hardware and expand the text column to the full width of my tablet if I choose to do so.

  84. 84
    redshirt says:

    @Corner Stone: Are all of your pie filters still in place?

  85. 85
    joel hanes says:

    Tommy : for background, take a look at the traditional colors for expensive accounting ledgers: muted olives and tans and khakis.

    I’ve been setting my xterm backgrounds thus for over twenty years.
    I’ll try to reply tomorrow from work with the actual hex RBG values.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: That’s a very thoughtful comment by you. Today I have learned my Father’s house has many rooms.

  87. 87
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TaMara (BHF):
    That still works fine on my Windows laptop. Maybe you hit the back button twice?

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    Going to put my aviators on to read this site now.

  89. 89
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Seems that Tab will get you there the way backspace did before (at least in Firefox), which will take some getting used to. And be next to worthless on a phone.

  90. 90
    joel hanes says:

    Clicking on the back-reference in a reply does this swooshing scroll animation.
    Very hip and up-to-date and iPhone and everything, but I’d rather jump.

  91. 91
    JGabriel says:

    The new design looks very nice. It feels more spacious and easier to read, although I’d recommend increasing the default font size by 1 or 2 points.

    Two minor quibbles with the new design:

    1) The labels on the comment editing buttons are white text on a very light grey background, which makes them very hard to read.

    2) In the Categories menu, Chelsea Manning’s first name is misspelled as Bradley. Yes, yes, I know that used to be her name, but it’s my understanding that transgendered people prefer being referred to under the names they choose to match their gender identity, and consider it a little insensitive when people continue using their birth names instead.

  92. 92
    Seanly says:

    I’m an evil libtard Demoncrat so I likes change! Looks good so far. No issues so far on Chrome.

  93. 93
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Srsly. On my iPad and iPhone, I fit three relatively short comments on the screen at any one time. Unacceptable, especially since there is soooooo much white space.

  94. 94

    @SG: I turned off the plugin we use for mobile. The person I did this with said in the top navigation he could see pages that were not published and we don’t want people seeing. I can’t fix that on the “fly.” I can assure you I am not a “designer tyranny.” It must be functional and useful across all devices. Period.

  95. 95
    Suzanne says:

    The reply button also overlaps the last line of text.

  96. 96
    Origuy says:

    Redesign comments: On my laptop (Windows 10, Chrome), I agree that the background is too white, there’s too much white space between comments, and I miss the comment numbers. On my iPhone 4s, the comments are in a very narrow column in portrait; better in landscape, but still too much space on the sides as well as between.

    I have a long-standing issue with the search box. It seems to only search the initial post in a thread and none of the subsequent comments. I sometimes forget which thread I made a comment on. I try to search for my nym, but it only shows the ones where a front-pager mentioned me.

  97. 97
    joel hanes says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    you could hit the back button and return to the original comment

    I noticed this one too, but he seems to have already fixed it.

  98. 98
    PlanetPundit (used to be Sir Laffs-a-Lot) says:

    We need a picture of Steve or it ain’t legal.

  99. 99
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sharl: I’m flattered. Actually I’m here until I’m told to hit the bricks. A little inside Ballon Juice ball: after I did a couple of guest posts John asked if I’d become a regular. I asked to hold off for two reasons: 1) I was going through a demobilization. My civilian orders were ending and I had expected to move almost immediately to a new assignment and would need to clear it with the Public Affairs Officer where I was going. This didn’t, thanks to the sequester, work out like I thought it would… So I’ve been consulting and doing contract assignments, so no worries for now. And 2) I was a full timer at the previous site I was at and wanted to work that out with the owner of that site.

    Since I no longer write there and am no longer affiliated with that site, it became a moot point. So I reached out to John and I’ve been here full time ever since. The only potential change will be if I go onto a permanent assignment – whether civil service line or contract. And that will involve getting Public Affairs permission and depending on what I’m working on it may limit some of what I could write about so as not to have an issue with disclosure issues. I don’t expect too many issues. Of course if anyone ever takes me up on my offer to go back to Iraq, then it’ll be more like the occasional post card…

    So I’ll be around. I’ve gone ahead and notified, I’m assuming Tommy Young, via the link that was provided to the front pagers for reporting issues about the contact stuff for me. I’m just waiting on a response.

  100. 100
    redshirt says:

    Tommy, there are no bottom links – either in each thread or on the blog itself.

  101. 101
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @joel hanes: I see your point; that quick swoop will give me a headache I suspect. A clean jump is easier for us old folks (by “us” I mean “me”).

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    Same question. Last build could just hit the back button and go right back to where you were. So it was easy to click the link to a comment, read, hit the back button and bingo, didn’t lose your place. Like to see that instead of going back to the main page.

  103. 103

    @JGabriel: Yeah your first point is clearly a problem and I’ll fix it.

    Change the Category to Chelsea Manning. Not an excuse but those are Categories are pulled in automatically and I didn’t even notice it. But fixed.

  104. 104
    HinTN says:

    @HinTN: Also, the thing actually set me up an edit screen and then didn’t post the added text. Previously could not edit on mobile – tantalizing

    ETA – maybe it was a timeout thing

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tommy Young: I think she’s also referring to me not being on the author’s contact drop down list. Did you get the email I sent to the address that John sent to the front pagers about what I needed to do to get added? Thanks.

  106. 106

    @redshirt: “Tommy, there are no bottom links – either in each thread or on the blog itself.”

    Sorry I don’t understand, could you explain in more detail please?

  107. 107
    mtmofo says:

    Sooooo ummm, where’s the Lexicon at?

    Still wish you had nested convos. Oh, well.

    Like the look of the new set-up nonetheless.

  108. 108

    @Adam L Silverman: Nope, but that goes to my partner and he is in bed. I am sure I will get it tomorrow.

  109. 109
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @joel hanes: Back takes you to the bottom of the thread, not to your own comment. So still NQR, in my opinion. Now you can’t do back, or tab. It’s in progress, I know.

  110. 110
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Initial impression: I like the general look, I think. But I, too, miss numbered comments. The only other thing I would note right now is that I used to be able to expand the text on my iPad by using the two-fingered zoom gesture. Now it no longer responds to zoom, and the text is REALLY tiny for these old eyes. Is there any way to bring that feature back?

  111. 111
    Comrade Luke says:

    Wow, John and gang….

    This is a great update. It’s clear that a ton of thought went into it, and I just want to say I really appreciate it, and thanks for working so hard on it.

    Great job all around.

    (the mobile view is particularly awesome. So nice on my iPhone)

  112. 112

    @Adam L Silverman: I replied to your comment on Mahabharata on the late night thread yesterday.

  113. 113

    Yeah, very white, lots of empty space. Unpleasant to read.

    Also too, it appears that when quoting text in a comment, the quoted text is significantly larger than the rest of the comment text. Also also too, the comment text is too small.

    Otherwise, it could just be that I’m not used to it. Looks like it’ll come together nicely once the kinks are worked out.

    ETA: Last item — at the top, the header that says “Front Page Posts” led me to think you’d added diaries or something, ala GOS. I thought, “WTF?” Could just be me, but it seemed kind of strange, if those are the only posts, to say they’re specifically “Front Page Posts.” Like I said, though, it could just be me.

  114. 114
    Anne Laurie says:

    Tommy, I put up a test post above this, just to see what would or wouldn’t work for me. If you’d rather keep your post here “pinned” as the newest, feel free to move mine down (which should be simple, go in & edit my ‘published’ time so that it’s five minutes earlier than yours).

    I had the old site janked to enbiggen the text for my aging eyes, so now I’ve got YUUUGE letters on a very, very white screen. If that’s the worst I have to put up with, I’ll manage.

    I also vote to return to numbered comments, if at all possible.

    ETA: Noticed, on the new post, that “bolded” text shows up in the same dark blue as linked text. This is going to be frustrating for future readers — it would really be better if the bolding were a different color, or at least a different weight –but isn’t a high-urgency problem.

  115. 115
    JGabriel says:

    @Tommy Young: Wow, that was quick. Good job overall, by the way.

  116. 116
    HinTN says:

    Ok, I get into the edit window and make the edit and save, and the thing tells me it’s saved but there’s no way out and when I use the back button to get out the edit is gone. Refresh don’t help neither.

  117. 117
    redshirt says:

    @Tommy Young: Every page of the old site had a link at the very bottom of every page that would take you Home. It’s no longer there. Some kind of bottom of the page navigation would be great.

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tommy Young: No worries, its not a really big deal. In fact its probably the least/last thing needing to be fixed. So when you all get through the important things, just let me know what you need me to do.

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    I see a number of issues that need to be addressed but all that jump out at me have already been mentioned. I’m going to give Tommy a while to fix things that can be fixed and see how it looks then.

  120. 120
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: And I just a little while ago, because the site had been down for maintenance, replied to your reply in that thread, as well as Redshirt’s. The circle of commenting life is complete. For now…

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    (the mobile view is particularly awesome. So nice on my iPhone)

    I find it the opposite. I am getting lines of text in the comments that only hold four or five words. Five word lines and lots of white space equals too much scrolling to be usable.

  122. 122

    How about tags at the end of the post, instead of immediately after the title of the post. I would like to take one look and figure out who the author is. Right now the tags and the author’s name all look the same and are right after the title.

  123. 123
    pat says:

    so do I have to scroll through all the replies to find the Leave a Reply bit??

    I hate new things. It used to be that you could read a post and immediately leave a reply. Am I missing something?


  124. 124
    Jane2 says:

    The post looks great on my iPhone. The comments – looks like 2 columns, one white space and the right-hand one the comments….lots of scrolling. I saw what you said about comments formatting…good luck!

  125. 125

    @Amir Khalid:
    @joel hanes:

    Still not working on Chrome. Back does not move me anywhere on the page. No matter how many times I beat on it.;-)

  126. 126

    @mtmofo: We have not forgotten about the Lexicon, thought it would just be a cut and paste. When we looked at the code, well let me say they must have used a WISIWYG editor from 1995 (and I am NOT joking). Has to be redone from scratch.

  127. 127
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pat: There should be a reply button below and to the right of the comment – just like before. I just used it to reply to you.

  128. 128
    Amir Khalid says:

    That’s no good.

  129. 129

    Broncos are killing it. Site looks okay on Kindle Fire.

    Blogroll? Balloon guy? Is this thing on?

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    Nope, but that goes to my partner and he is in bed. I am sure I will get it tomorrow.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  131. 131

    @BruceFromOhio: Blogroll is to the right in the sidebar, just a dropdown to save space.

  132. 132
    pat says:

    please number the replies. thanks.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    @Corner Stone: Test.

  134. 134
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Tommy, would it be possible to put a link to comments at the end of the front page post?

    So if I read the post on the front page, I don’t have to go to the top of the post to enter the post’s page and then scroll down to the comments.

  135. 135
    Sphex says:

    Love the clean look, although I agree with the “too much white space” comments, especially on my iPhone.

    Also, there used to be a light grey bar on the right that indicated where I was in the comments- that has disappeared, which is sad. It was super useful in long comment threads, letting me know how far I had to go, and also helping me find where I’d left off, if I revisited a thread later.

    Still, nice job, Tommy! Thank you.

  136. 136
    Irony Abounds says:

    I still miss the little guy blowing into the megaphone or doing whatever he was doing, but I’m just old school.

  137. 137
    pat says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’m not talking about reply buttons, they are just like before. I’m talking about not having the LEAVE A REPLY thingie at the bottom of the POST. Did I miss something?

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pat: Got it.

  139. 139
    pat says:

    Also, where are the links to other blogs?

  140. 140
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Off-topic, but I’m very glad to hear you’ll be around!

  141. 141
    Amir Khalid says:

    Fix the back button function, damn it.

  142. 142
    Genine says:

    Wow! Everything’s been changed. Exciting!

  143. 143
    Tommy says:

    @pat: To the right/sidebar in a dropdown menu.

  144. 144
    HinTN says:

    Happy coding, Tommy. The thing seems to be headed in the right direction under your care. Thanks and guten nacht.

  145. 145
    FlyingToaster says:

    Mac OSX 10.9.5, Firefox 41.02, on a 13″ laptop.

    Even with the small font, entirely readable. Increasing by 1 point would be nice if it doesn’t mess every damn thing else up.

    The “previous post” arrow is correctly floating on left for me; rollovers give me the icon for the previous post as well as its title. Nice. You might want to darken the gray on that arrow a little bit or otherwise better contrast it with the background.

    The formatting boxes probably should have non-white text, highly contrasted with the gray background. I’d suggest the same dark blue that is on background when you rollover the boxes, so it’s a dramatic “flip”. If that is not feasible, then making them more like the “post comment” button would probably work better than the invisible button phenomenon I’m seeing here.

    Quoted text is ‘way bigger than the comment text. I have no idea what Tufte would think about that :)

    I really, really, really like the Cole tweet box. Is it blogfather only or are other front pagers going to get glommed into there too?

    The white isn’t bothering me yet, but I tend to need the brightness ‘way up so that my nearsightedness and age can compensate.

    I just checked in Chrome, and it seems to look exactly the same as on Firefox — now there’s a fucking accomplishment. My hat’s off to you, dude.

  146. 146
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Why are the formatting buttons white on white?

  147. 147
    Mary G says:

    No big complaints – you did a good job, Tommy! It works fine on my PC screen and I’ll check my tablets tomorrow.

    A few quibbles, of course – I agree about missing the comment numbers, the buttons on the post comment box being impossible to see without mousing over, and maybe there is a bit too much white space, although personally I like a huge amount of white shape a lot and would keep it the way it is. I hope the Lexicon can return.

    I’d like to see the “home” button at the top moved a little way over from the logo, it seems a bit crowded to me.

  148. 148
    SG says:

    Also: I think there should be a link to comments at the bottom of each post. Normally, I read a post to the end and then decide if I want to read the comments or write one myself. As it’s now formatted, I have to scroll back up to the top of the post to find the link.

    I also would like the author’s name in boldface type. In fact, it’s the first thing I look for and in one immediate example, Anne Laurie’s name gets lost amid the list of tags, etc. in the Open Thread post above.

    In fact, the subhead material has both too much and not enough information stuffed under the headline, with no typographical clues to differentiate the hierarchy. In one space you have the date (but not the time, which I would like to know on an active blog), the comments link, the tags and, finally, the author byline. All in the same weak font, all the same weight, no spaces. White space everywhere except where it’s needed.

  149. 149
    Anne Laurie says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yeah, I liked it better with the categories at the bottom of the post, too. (It allowed for occasional in-jokes, for one.)

    Of course, they were ‘invisible’ to a lot of people… but I don’t think those people will notice the new top-loaded listings, either!

  150. 150
    pat says:

    Previous comments had a number and a time to show when they were posted. Without that, well…. not so sure this is better……

    And I really have to wonder WHY this was necessary. Hummph.

  151. 151
    Tommy says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I am not sure because I’ve never thought to do that. Any chance you have an example/URL of a site that does?

  152. 152
    pat says:

    oops, just noticed the time on my latest comment. So where is the number, huh?

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tommy: The old site had it.

  154. 154
    Ruckus says:

    Folks, try hitting the entry at the top of the page, Balloon Juice Blog. This takes you to the actual blog, the home page button is to explain the changes. It does look better in the real format.

  155. 155
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @SG: That’s pretty much my suggestions as well.

    Tommy, I really like the previous post/next post buttons on the side with pop outs. Nice touch there.

  156. 156
    J R in WV says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Me too on this. The “back” button should work if you click to move elsewhere in the thread.

  157. 157
    NotMax says:

    Haven’t read this thread yet, so apologies for any repetition, but since you asked…

    Positives: 2-column layout.

    Negatives: Stark but functional, however looks very utilitarian and, frankly, unattractive (in an industrial sort of way).

    No numbers on individual comments.

    Bold on blockquoted text is okay, but having that font be so much larger than the non-blockquoted part of a post or comment makes that portion of the text look puny and insignificant.

    Glaring white background is tough on older eyes as there is so much open space (and there are a lot of us elders here). Taking the white down a notch or two (say, Ghost white F8F8FF or Whitesmoke F5F5F5) would be much appreciated.

    In the Categories, Immigration and Photo Blogging are missing capital letters. Also question why Bernie gets two categories and Hillary one.

    The Welcome Message up top looks like English, but is actually semi-ungrammatical Tommy-speak. Regular thread readers are likely used to that, but it is an unprofessional and jarring touch to the main page.

  158. 158
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yup, may be the reason why I missed it.

  159. 159
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    I see lots of promise in the new layout. It’s very fast too. Thanks TY.

    – Consistently sized fonts in posts, replies, quotes, etc., so that we can do ctrl+ and ctrl- to get sizes we like. As others have mentioned, right now the font in quotes is huge compared to the reply text.
    – A bit less white space, as others have mentioned.
    – Post numbers, as others have mentioned.
    – Pretty please on more than 3 links per post (I see above that it’s still 3 – please allow a few more)
    – I recall seeing indications that we would have our choice of flat/nested/threaded/etc. views. Is that still in the cards?
    – A preview function?



  160. 160
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Anne Laurie: Thank you. I’m very fond of this place. Balloon Juice/John helped my team and I protect one of our Brigade’s Soldiers in Iraq. He didn’t know that’s what he was doing at the time, but had I not been back in hootch puttering around here before turning in, a bad situation could’ve gotten a lot worse and very quickly.

  161. 161
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Your continued presence here is good news (at least to me).

    If this is serious:

    if anyone ever takes me up on my offer to go back to Iraq,..,

    I’d be real interested in an elaboration on that in a future post, if you take requests and are able to talk about this. On the possible downside, I assume you know this place well enough to expect some heated responses, depending on what motivates your wish to return.

    So, your call and all that.

  162. 162

    @NotMax: Lets give those colors a try ……

  163. 163

    @JGabriel: Font size up one point.

  164. 164
    wmd says:

    Overall new look is fine.

    Front page should have tags at the bottom of the post – they show up in the right place when you click on comments, but are no where to be seen on the front page.

    a button to go to comments at the bottom would also be useful; some posters don’t use a “below the fold” posting methodology, and for a long post it’s kind of a pain to scroll back up before you can comment.

  165. 165
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tommy Young: Maybe one or two more?

  166. 166
    Mary G says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: @Tommy: I just noticed this too, when I went to AL’s post. The WaMo format is nice – see at the end of the post, it says “click here to read and post comments and gives the number of comments, or something like that. Scrolling back up to the top of the post to get into the comments is going to get old fast.

  167. 167
    replicnt6 says:

    @joel hanes:

    Clicking on the back-reference in a reply does this swooshing scroll animation.
    Very hip and up-to-date and iPhone and everything, but I’d rather jump.

    Personally, I like the swooshy scrolly. However, now, once you’ve gone back to the back-reference, hitting the back button doesn’t get you back to where you were, which is disappointing.

  168. 168
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Agreed.

    @Mary G: It got old for me real fast.

  169. 169
    NotMax says:

    Oh, one more thing – putting the front page poster’s name first (as would normally be done in any reputable newspaper, as a byline) and also bolded and/or in a different color would be very nice.

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:

    Nested quotes need to look nested.

  171. 171
    J R in WV says:

    Just another not important suggestion.

    When I edit a comment, I think the timer for editing should reset to 5 minutes, so I can fix it if I mess it up too bad. Which I can… ;-)

  172. 172
    Bison Burgher says:

    – the layout does not work well on tablet, especially in portrait orientation
    – navigation menu overlaps the logo, doesn’t collapse to a button
    – the Categories submenu is some kind of grid, not readable
    – overall legibility is poor, due to inconsistent font sizes, lack of scaling on small viewports, and no baseline control
    – the gray next/previous buttons appear at the bottom of the page, and don’t follow the viewport (not sure if they’re supposed to); sometimes they don’t do anything

  173. 173
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Bottom line: I think I could help based on my experience from being deployed there in 2008 and subsequent experiences working at the strategic level since then.

    Longer/Full answer: I’m one of the subject matter experts on Iraqi tribes, their behavior, Iraqi societal/socio-cultural dynamics, several other things Iraqi/Levantine; and the electoral system. The last is a story unto itself. To shorten this part a bit: I’m the author of an in depth tribal study and social history of one portion of central Iraq* (done during my deployment); the Cultural Preparation of the Operational Environment for the Levant plus Iran, as well as in depth, strategic cultural operations reports on the Syrian Civil War; Iran and Hezbollah; and the Politicization of Iraqi Identity and the Rise of ISIS. The Syria report was praised by OSD-Policy’s director as being the best report on the Syrian Civil War that she’d seen. There’s no way for us to win, as in a surrender document/traditional interstate war outcome, in Iraq or Syria. But the situation can either be managed to a better outcome or a worse one. Because of my understanding of Iraqi tribal, religious, social, political, and economic dynamics, and significant interaction with the Awakenings and Sons of Iraq while deployed there, my expertise would be of help.

    I made a proposal last year when I was preparing to demobilize to be put on new orders and sent to either the Army Service Component Command or the Geographic Combatant Command or the Combined Joint Task Force that have responsibility for what is going on in Iraq and Syria. It was endorsed by the three star general it was sent to and pushed it across to the Senior Exective director of the section that had previously handled these things. The latter liked the idea and my initiative, however, with the sequester there was no ability to do something like this. I was then recommended to the officer in charge of the Commander’s Initiative’s Group at the Geographic Combatant Command responsible for the area (who I happen to have known previously, really sharp guy), to have them bring me aboard his shop to help out. He and another officer worked on this on and off for a month but weren’t able to make it happen as they had no discretionary funding, because of the sequester, to bring in someone and no open billets. Moreover, they, like everyone else, are constantly fighting not to lose the civilian or uniformed billets they already have.

    Back in February I was again approached by someone about willingness to go, I said yes, but he could never get traction with his leadership. I’ve had other general officers I’ve done work for over the years try to bring me onto/into their commands, most recently last August for a different operating area than the Middle East, but because of the sequester no one can make it happen. It is what it is. There is no Authorization to Use Military Force and there’s no real dedicated funding for the Conventional Force to do a lot other than bomb stuff. So it doesn’t matter how much of a contribution I could make, its unlikely to happen.

    * I published an article on this at the Cambridge Review of International Affairs in 2010. If you look it up, I apologize in advance for the terrible copy editing. They asked for a reformatted draft after it came back from peer review. I sent it in figuring I’d get copy edited galleys back. I never did. So there’s some rough grammar in that thing…

  174. 174
    JGabriel says:

    @Tommy Young:

    @JGabriel: Font size up one point.

    I just realized I should have been more specific. I was referring to the default font for the comments, which don’t look any different to me. I’m using the Chrome browser and the font for embedded quotes in comments is significantly larger than the default font for comments, which looks a little odd. I’m thinking both style types should have the same size font, at a point size somewhere in between where they are now – does that make any sense? I can send you a screenshot if you like.

    Edited to Add: Oy vey. The default font in this comment, after the embedded quote, does look to me like it might be a point larger than in the surrounding comments. I’m not sure what’s going on there.

  175. 175
    NotMax says:


    If people still find it too stark and glaring what with all the open space, might go a little into the beiges. For example, Snow FFFAFA.

  176. 176
    dr. luba says:

    I miss the numbers, and can barely see the text on the formatting buttons.

    Also, too, when I clicked on the button that was to take me back to the old format, I got a post from September 15. I assume you’re still working on that?

    It does look clean and modern, a lot like my very own site in terms of font and white space, so I like that.

    And I love the arrows on either side to go from post to post.

  177. 177

    Again, thanks for the work. Trying to play with things before whining at you. Here’s what I’m finding after playing around on the last three posts:

    Ugh. Now the back button takes me back PAGES instead of to the comment I was reading.

    Hyperlinks need to be darker, I can’t tell when someone has linked to anything in a comment unless I hover over it.

    Numbered comments are a must.

    After spending an hour, I’m going to have to agree with those complaining about the white space/colors. My eyes are killing me. And I think the font is just a tad too small. But that may be because there is so much white space I’m beginning to get weird psychedelic effects the longer I stay on the site. (and again I’m on Chrome/Win7 if that matters).

    I haven’t tried posting. There is a note that says read Admin Notes, but I couldn’t fine Admin Notes on the dashboard. I’ll look again tomorrow.

    ETA: Oh NICE, just noticed the sliding box on the right that takes you to the next post. That’s fun.

    ETA2: Just tried the mobile site and it’s unusable on my phone at the moment because I cannot adjust the size of the page. TOO small to read, even with my glasses. I’m assuming since that’s a standard feature on all mobile websites, you’ll adjust that.

  178. 178
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks for that detailed response! You’ve had an interesting career.

  179. 179
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Any reason for this:

    Want to join the discussion?
    Feel free to contribute!

    It’s implicit (at least, and arguably explicit) in “Leave a reply” and as a result redundant.

    @BillinGlendaleCA: The swoop up to comment you want to check for context is already old for me, along with the oft-noted blindingly white background and abundance of white space.

  180. 180
    Tommy says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Thanks for taking the time. Your stuff has been mentioned and in my text document.

  181. 181
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Marry me?

  182. 182
    Tommy says:

    @TaMara (BHF): @TaMara (BHF): You can see my direct, business email (if you are an Admin) in the backend. Email me directly if you need to and I’ll give you my phone number.

  183. 183
    Tommy says:

    @dr. luba: “Also, too, when I clicked on the button that was to take me back to the old format, I got a post from September 15. I assume you’re still working on that?”

    Oh my gosh thanks for noticing that, flat out mistake. Linked to my test server. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  184. 184
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sharl: I was very lucky. I was miserable as a professor at a university for a number of reasons. I was looking to do something else (better?) with my knowledge and skills, but couldn’t figure out how to break into it. Three possibilities presented at once and going to do this work for the Army was the one that fully materialized. I basically backed into it and its been a good fit and I’ve found it professionally and personally rewarding. This past year has been a bit of bleh with the sequester making hiring, even for contract work, difficult, but overall I’ve been very fortunate. I’m actually someone who came back from a deployment in a war zone better than when I left – not that I was really screwed up or anything.

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tommy: All personal issues aside, I think you have done a really good job so far and I have confidence that you will fix the issues that commenters have raised. I get the impression that you are not bad at your day job. Now fix this shit, damn it.

  186. 186
    J R in WV says:

    After you post a comment, the comment-posting edit box should be flushed, so if you want you can do another comment without having to erase the old comment.

    Tommy, again, good job with the recoding of the site…thanks.

  187. 187
    Tommy says:

    OK, close to a universal comment is the white background (changed) and all the white space. About to change that somewhat so let me know what you think.

  188. 188
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I’m not really sure how to respond to this other than: thank you.

  189. 189
    NotMax says:

    Just noticed that you changed the Category to Chelsea Manning, but now it is out of alphabetical order (should precede Cooking).

  190. 190
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The perfect response.

  191. 191
    Earl says:


    I like the new site, particularly from my laptop. From an ipad, it doesn’t look ideal though: here’s screenshots of the top, and a bit scrolled down:

    Thanks for your work.

  192. 192
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sharl: I should also say that some of the cultural ops reports are posted on the USAWC website. If you do a search with my name, using the middle initial, and USAWC you should get links to them. These reports were all unclassified so they could be distributed outside of the military/government as necessary.

  193. 193
    NotMax says:

    Any chance of putting a Refresh Comments button or link after the last comment and above the reply box area?

  194. 194
    Tommy says:

    @Earl: Yeah I had to turn off the app we use to optimize for mobile because for some reason it was showing links in the top navigation that we don’t want people to see or be able to access. I SWEAR it will get better, much better in a day or so.

  195. 195
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): glad I’m not in trouble…

  196. 196
    Earl says:

    @Tommy: no worries, I can suffer through mild difficulty reading a politics website on my ipad. This may be the definition of first world problem.

  197. 197
    NotMax says:

    Not be be a total noodge (although that’s what this particular thread is for) but also would help the layout to have the bars separating the comments be darker (or perhaps the same blue as used elsewhere).

    Speaking of that shade of blue, it is kind of lifeless and washed out.

    Always been partial to the look of either Teal 008080 or Dark cyan 008B8B against a very light background, myself. Might want to experiment and see what others (primarily Mr. Cole, of course) think about those.

  198. 198
    Suzanne says:

    The pale gray is better, but there is still far far far too much space between and around the comments.

  199. 199
    JGabriel says:

    Tommy, there seems to be something a little wonky going on with the way font sizes are transitioning between different classes / style types. So I’m going to refrain from making any more comments on the fonts for the time being, because I suspect you might need to take a closer look at that code for a typo or minor formatting bug – which is something you probably don’t have time for right now, what with all the other suggestions and corrections coming in.

  200. 200
    JGabriel says:


    The pale gray is better, but there is still far far far too much space between and around the comments.

    Seconded on the pale grey, but I rather like the extra space around the comments.

  201. 201
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: Agreed. I would prefer a larger font, less “white” space, and a different background color. OTOH, I assume Tommy is noting all of this and will be working on it.

  202. 202
    Tommy says:

    @JGabriel: Clearly there is. There are some things I can do easily in WordPress. Others I have to get into the code. I am pretty darn exhausted and I don’t want to get in the CSS or PHP files and make a mistake that will “blow” up the site. Tomorrow L).

  203. 203
    Bison Burgher says:

    On a desktop browser:

    – responsive font scaling is poorly implemented. Compare the nav menu on this site with the Enfold theme sample
    – *please* do not override/remove the formatting on :focus pseudo class for anchor and input elements — you’re making life unnecessarily difficult for folks with disabilities.
    – The link-text color scheme is inconsistent and non-traditional. There’s only a (nearly imperceptible) difference in blue hue between a linked header and a non-linked header. Some links are gray, even when there’s blue (static) text adjacent. There’s no way to visually distinguish between what’s clickable and what isn’t.
    – the formatting buttons above the comment input box have white text labels on a pale gray gradient background = illegible.

    Not sure why/how the typography and responsive behavior is so much worse than the out-of-the-box Enfold theme. Maybe look for CSS collisions, if these modifications weren’t deliberate.

  204. 204
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks; I bookmarked your comment for future exploration and reading.

  205. 205
    CaseyL says:

    Tommy, what a fun re-design! Just a few issues:

    The new design is so bright I need shades…no, really; I need sunglasses. I’m here via a MacBook Pro, and there’s way too much bright white space.

    The “Welcome” message at the top appears to be in a very narrow frame: maybe four words wide and so long I needed to scroll to read it all. Also, it overlaps with the buttons.

    A lot of button overlap, in fact; particularly at the very top banner. Not only has the Balloon Guy vanished over the blue horizon (taking what looks like the bottom quarter of the balloon with him), the “Home | About Balloon Juice” overlaps the balloon’s top quadrant.

    Ditto everyone else on the editing buttons, that you can’t see what they are until you put the cursor over the button. Also – I can’t remember if the old comment box had a [Cancel] button, or one could simply use the Back Arrow if one decided not to comment after all. Now there’s no [Cancel], and using the Back Arrow takes one out of the post back to the front page.

    Just now, somehow, without meaning to, I did something that opened a new window to FiveThirtyEight. I had taken a look at the Blogroll drop-down, but did not select anything and thought I had left the drop-down. Apparently not…? Maybe the Blogroll drop-down is too sensitive; apparently just brushing it with the cursor opens the new window.

    Also, what is the “Last Referers” thing in the right-hand margin? Is that the new “Recent Comments”? Can we go back to calling it that? Last Referers is an awkward phrasing.

    …OK, longer list than I thought it would be. Let me say again that you’ve done a great job, and the site will be fabulous after a few tweaks.


  206. 206
    Suzanne says:

    @JGabriel: On my mobile devices, there’s so much white space that only three comments fit on the screen at a time. Long threads will be ridiculous in terms of scrolling.

  207. 207
    JGabriel says:


    Clearly there is. There are some things I can do easily in WordPress. Others I have to get into the code. I am pretty darn exhausted and I don’t want to get in the CSS or PHP files and make a mistake that will “blow” up the site.

    I’ve been there, man. If it’s the type of bug I think it might be, then it’s one of those errors where you might have to read through the code a half-dozen times before you “see” it. And definitely better done with fresh eyes.

    Anyway, the overall design is really nice. I join the rest in thanking you for all the work you’ve put into it.

  208. 208
    SG says:

    This is more of an editorial criticism than design or functionality: I much preferred the “random quotes” when they appeared at the top with no explanation or description. The quotes themselves are much funnier and enigmatic without framing them as “Random Quotes of Wisdom.”

  209. 209
    Tommy says:

    @SG: Two points, can’t really go in the header of this template and the title, well I guess my bad attempt at snark (clearly not meant to be taken seriously).

  210. 210


    How do I fix the font size on the iPad? Double-tapping isn’t working and my eyes are old.

  211. 211
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne (tablet): I’d wait on the mobile stuff until the main site issues have been resolved.

  212. 212
    Stella B says:

    Mnemosyne was ahead of me. I’m old and I need to be able to resize on my iPad. Tiny fonts make my eyes hurt.

  213. 213
    Sam Dobermann says:

    @Boudica: I. Can’t make it bigger either, at least to make it stay bigger? It just reverts and dump as me into a bunch f other tabs.

    This is on my iPad. Everything’s seems ok on my Samsung tiny phone.

  214. 214
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Why is the font of a commenter’s name larger than the font of the comment?

  215. 215
    Mike E says:

    Fired up the hotspot to post on the pc…the b i link quote buttons are white on grey, not visible on my chrome and the same on my droid.

    Mobile site is much, much worse…I would have been satisfied if the post navigation buttons were at the top and the bottom of the thread, but now they are gone completely. Also, you cannot pinch zoom the text to give us olds a fighting chance to make it just a little bit more readable. I’ll 2nd Suzanne @12:12am. Oh well, guess I’ll be at Chez Atrios on the celly since this hurts to read/navigate.

  216. 216
    Tommy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Think of it as a head, subhead.

  217. 217
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tommy: There are aspects of the previous site that worked for people. That was one of them. Are you sure you want to change everything all at once, no matter how much better it will be? People like what they are used to….

  218. 218
    Bruce Reynolds says:

    It is very sparse looking and somewhat like a MOMA exhibit. It lacks gravitas.

  219. 219
    RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac) says:

    I like it.

  220. 220
    ok says:

    Re: design, Can’t BJ format the comments to show replies to a specific comment directly below it, and indented? See C&L comments. It’s a much clearer way to understand who’s responding to a previous comment. Lack of clarity over who’s replying to who in the comments has been an annoyance about this site for a long time. Now would be the time to fix it.

  221. 221
    Plantsmantx says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: @Mike E:
    I can pinch zoom the text.

  222. 222
    sara says:

    Looks great!

  223. 223
    low-tech cyclist says:

    With any change like this, it sometimes takes awhile to see how well it really works. But my first take on it is, I like the overall look.

    One weird thing (Chrome browser, fwiw) is that the buttons for bold, italics, link, and quote are blank boxes until I move the cursor over them, at which point what they are becomes visible. It’s not a problem from my POV since I know what they are, but just thought I’d mention it.

  224. 224
    AdamK says:

    I do not like green eggs and ham.

  225. 225
    henqiguai says:

    @joel hanes:

    you could hit the back button and return to the original comment

    I noticed this one too, but he seems to have already fixed it.

    Nope, it’s still broke. Just broke in a different way (the return arrow is now functional, but it doesn’t return to the correct locations).

  226. 226
    Antonius says:

    Larger default font, please. Also, quoted text should be smaller than the poster’s text, in honor or our ancestors who did it that way. Overall, crank up the the largest font to 12-point, with 11-point text for quoted text, one man’s tired eyes opine.

  227. 227
    msdc says:

    I like the new design overall, but I agree that the default font should be larger – at least as large as the quoted text, and much easier to read.

  228. 228
    dr. luba says:

    The formatting buttons are still vey hard to make out–perhaps make the lettering dark rather than white?

  229. 229
    Keith G says:

    Good job!!

    I image that some of the comments above have been addressed and changes made. I actually like all the “white” space as it is this morning. It is very clean and from my perspective, slows down inadvertent scanning. I hope the space between comments stays where it is at or very close to it.

    Numbering is missed, but I know it is on it’s way.

    Thanks to Tommy and team.

  230. 230
    different-church-lady says:

    Like the overall look. The fact that is is not completely broken on my 7 year old computer is a major victory! Can’t speak to performance because I’m currently at a friend’s house, and the internet here already painfully slow. I agree we’re going to need comment numbers if we’re going to use our previous frames-of-reference (“Idiot at #39 said…”)

  231. 231
    different-church-lady says:


    I rather like the extra space around the comments.


    This is actually just a blockquote test for me…

  232. 232
    MazeDancer says:

    Clean is lovely.

    White space is always good for readability. Though as some have mentioned, slightly clearer line between comments would help – darker, solid not dashed, whatever you choose. Maybe just adding numbers would help.

    But find front page difficult to read now. The giant, honking blue rule as the indication of quoted text is not going to work for a site that uses quoted copy all the time. It’s confusing. Long quotes make for an almost constant stream of big blue. And makes everything hard to read because one’s attention is drawn to the blue line in all the nice clean.

    Please make another choice on how to show quoted text on the front page. And to make clear what’s a tweet and what’s quoted from an article. Anne Laurie going to the trouble of choosing interesting tweets about a topic is one of the most fun aspects of BJ.

    And iPad doesn’t work. Screen won’t pinch and resize. It’s a jumble.

  233. 233
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    @Bison Burgher: Is the new Balloon-Juice build on the Enfold them? I just found it on Google, offered commercially. Or was it built on some other WordPress theme?

  234. 234
    gogol's wife says:

    I liked the previous look. I like having the text in the middle of the page, not over to the side. I liked having white background, not black. This look is cluttered and confusing and I don’t understand how to use it. When I read a comment and then hit the “back” button to go back to the one I was reading before, it sends me to the main page. In general, I feel the whole thing is oriented to young people with smartphones. Is that really the BJ main commentariat? And having made this comment on the most recent post, I got dumped on by another commenter for complaining. Guess I’m sorry I sent in a contribution for this.

  235. 235
    Lee says:

    I prefer to have the post tags at the bottom, not at the top.

    But that is nothing but personal taste.

    I do like the overall look and feel of the redesign.

  236. 236
    Glidwrith says:

    I don’t have time to read if my problem has been reported, so apologies if already mentioned. On my Safari-driven iPad, anything quoted from articles is standard sized font, but the front pager has itty bitty text and I can’t expand the text to make it easier to read. Thanks!

  237. 237
    gogol's wife says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I’m not sorry I contributed, I shouldn’t have said that. I hope you all enjoy the new site.

  238. 238
    Dolly Llama says:

    Number and time-stamp the comments. Please and thank you. Otherwise:




    ETA: The italics thing is fixed. Thank you. Haven’t tested the link function just because I can’t think of a cool link to test with.

  239. 239
    Ivan X says:

    In general, I’d say main text is smaller than I’d like, but I could get used to it. However, having quoted text appear substantially larger appears to assign more importance to the text being quoted, with the poster comments appearing as something of a footnote, or less significance anyway. I don’t like the “feel” that creates.

  240. 240
    SIA says:

    On my iPad Air. Text is so tiny I can’t read at all, especially comments. I use iPad so I can increase the size of text etc but now can’t do that. For me, it’s not readable. Can’t even read this to proof so please excuse any errors.

  241. 241
    Scout211 says:


    Ditto on iPad. Why can’t we enlarge text? It is too tiny for many of us. If this platform doesn’t allow tablet users to enlarge text on their screens, please enlarge the text on the site. Thx.

    Buttons on the comment text box are so light that the function label is unreadable.

    Still could use a bit darker background contrast.

    But larger and bolder text would really help. Thx.

  242. 242
    delosgatos says:


    the worst thing, the thing I hate with the heat of a thousand suns, is that your page is no longer resizable on my iPad.

    +1, err +20. I find this infuriating. You do not know what size font I prefer. This alone will keep me on the old site design forever.

  243. 243
    Alexander says:

    I quite like the new design—good work! I haven’t read through all of the above, but that what stop me from giving my comments/opinions:

    1. There should be a link to comments at the bottom of posts, so after reading one through on the main page you can click through to the comments without having to scroll back up.

    2. At least on smartphones, the tags shouldn’t appear directly below the title, as if there are a lot it takes up way too much space. (See for example.) Perhaps on smartphones they shouldn’t appear at all, until one clicks through…

    3. For related reasons, the tags/link to comments that appear under the post title should be reformatted so that they are easily distinguishable from the text of the post (i.e. either size-wise or colour-wise.) At the moment, especially when there are a lot of tags, it this material looks kind of like it’s the first paragraph of the post.

    4. The recent posts section should be in the sidebar, or should be gotten rid off. It will get annoying having to scroll past it every time one comes to the site. (Especially on a phone, but really at all.) At the moment, though this is partly due to the temporary 3.0 announcement, one has to scroll down to get to any actual content. The ideal is to have the most recent post already on screen and readable from the moment one has navigated to the main page. (You might point out that the ‘blog’ section does more or less what I’m asking here… But then the question is: why that isn’t that just the landing page?)

    5. As others might have said: the comments have way too much space on the sides when viewing on a phone (when it’s oriented vertically, anyway.) It’s fine on a desktop for the comments section to be less wide than the main content, but on mobile they should be the same, if possible.

    6. This is super pernickety, but I think the sidebar should be a little less prominent!

    7. Minor technical issue I just discovered: when editing a comment (as I am now), if I try to highlight some of my text in the textbox by clicking and dragging the mouse, I get *immediately* booted up the the top of the page, and have to scroll all the way down to find the comment editor window again.

  244. 244
    max says:

    The text is tiny on Chrome on a Windows boxen. Not so tiny as to be impossible to read, just so tiny as to be more like the fine print on the warranty clause. Proportionally it’s smaller than every other site I’ve got open in tabs.

    Any particular reason to get rid of the highlight box on blockquotes? It’s semi-unclear what is the unquoted material is and what the posters writing is.

    Also the ‘Our Recent Posts’ box forces lots of scrolling being inside the blog column, but doesn’t seem to do anything useful. I can’t tell anything about the posts being referred to.

    [‘Doesn’t it really belong in the right hand column?’]

  245. 245
    max says:

    @max: The text is tiny on Chrome on a Windows boxen.

    Yep. Too tiny on IE and Firefox as well.


  246. 246
    delosgatos says:

    if I hit reply to post 63 out of 280, it would be nice if there was a way to go back to post 63 without manually scrolling around to find it.

  247. 247
    Original Lee says:

    Tommy – Very nice! I think you did a great job. I haven’t looked at the mobile version yet. I would like to be able to hit the comment box between the post and all of the comments, but otherwise no quibbles.

  248. 248
    benw says:

    The site looks great in Chrome on my MacBook Pro and mobile on my iPhone. The formatting issues I’ve been having with the old site are fixed on my phone! My only minor comment is that the comments are very narrow on the mobile site.

    Well done, redesigners!

  249. 249
    Make7 says:

    As a quick fix for the white text on the comment formatting buttons, couldn’t you add something like the following to the internal style sheet on the comments page (or all pages if that’s easier, or added to one of the external style sheets):

    input#qt_comment_quote {
        color: #000000 !important;

    I realize there is probably some more permanent solution that should be implemented, but that at least should make the button text readable.

    So far my only gripe was the font sizing of the quotes being much larger than the normal text – looks like you fixed that already.

    The site looks good – the two column layout and the other enhancements make the site much more modern looking (which it badly needed).

  250. 250
    justvisiting says:

    Browsing on:
    13″ Retina Macbook Pro

    • Article / quote font size is too small
    • Not enough vertical white space in articles – particularly before the first text paragraph, and between text & blockquotes
    • It was nice having blockquotes separated with their own background color + indent. Given how much blockquoting there is in BJ posts, greater visual distinction is helpful.
    • Date stamp / tags / author difficult to differentiate at a glance. Could it be as simple as placing the author’s name on a separate line?
    • Background has just turned light gray – thumbs up to that!

    Thanks for your hard work.

  251. 251
    MazeDancer says:

    Taking away from the lovely clean design is putting a menu bar in the header.

    No one cares about “About Us” or “Categories” in the menu bar. And “blog” is why we’re here. Please move that clutter to the sidebar on a drop down or something. It’s not important here.

    As many have said, the tags under the post title just add to the confusion of so many type sizes and trying to figure out what’s post and what’s quote. Seems like most folks would like just time and poster name right under title. And put tags and a way to click to comment at bottom of post.

    Apparently, the white space in comments is different for various mobile and desktop browsers. Some of us get lovely, some of us not. (But then, I am always pro white space.)

    But reiterating how very difficult it is to read on the front page

    a long quote – which happens all the time at BJ.

    with the large blue bar as the indication “this is a quote”.

    Especially with the also confusing use of larger – and thus easier to read – type in the quoted section. It’s hard to tell at a glance what’s a tweet, what’s a quote, what’s original post. And what’s FYWP messing with the typography.

    And please forgive my making this semi-obnoxious demo of how long quotes with a giant blue bar down the side is not a great choice for a blog that quotes long and often. It makes for a constant stripe on the left. And lack of clarity. But wasn’t sure if earlier comment explained as well as a demo.

    Though the blue stripe works in a clearer way in comments – mainly because comment quotes are usually shorter – than on the long quote full front page.

    Please consider something else. A diff gray or not cheesy blue box. A deep indent with a thin rule, with the main type bumped in size so the quote can be slightly smaller size. Or different leading. Something as elegant as you like, but clear and easy to read.

  252. 252
  253. 253
    feebog says:

    Didn’t read all the comments. but in general, I like the new design. There are those of us getting up in age who need to use the magnifier to read comfortably. I’m at 150% right now, and there is still room at the margins. Some folks may need 200%, so don’t fiddle with that, OK?

  254. 254
    p.a. says:

    Still can’t edit comment; mobile site, android phone thru Vz 4G LTE or Vz DSL. Clicking on ‘edit’ brings me back to front page. Same as pre-redesign.

  255. 255
    Scout211 says:


    Oooooh, you fixed the iPad enlargement issue! I now can tap to enlarge.

    Thank you!!!!!!

  256. 256
    NotMax says:

    Now getting a “Cop fights student at Spring Valley High School” video on front page instead of the intro video.

    That can’t be intentional.

  257. 257
    RoonieRoo says:

    So far I am liking it. It’s going to take a few days of my normal reading pattern to fully decide. I need to check it on my phone and tablet next. But so far so good.

  258. 258
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Two things I’ll actually bitch about:

    1) The text is too small, in both the posts and the comments. The only part that’s large enough to easily read is the Date/Post Count/Tags/Post Author part at the top.

    2) The inclusion of the post tags in that line with the date, post count, and author turns that line into a visual jumble.

    I’d be curious as to whether these opinions are shared by others, or whether I’m an outlier.

  259. 259
    p.a. says:

    New desktop version, thru android phone via Vz 4G LTE: no blogroll, no link to front pagers’ emails. Dropdown provides ‘Contact Us’ but just links to bj@etc, not front pagers.

    Edit test-seems I can edit on desktop version.

  260. 260
    p.a. says:

    Mobile site seems the same; edit issue a minor thing, desktop (on smartphone); all that white doesn’t bother me. Maybe more differentiation between comments. Dull gray dotted line virtually invisible. Other issues posted previously.

  261. 261
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @low-tech cyclist: You’re not an outlier at all. For many of us the text is too tiny and the abundance of white space (with a very subtle grayscale) makes it (usually close to, sometimes fully) painful to read. The entire new theme seems like a visual jumble with high point bolded post titles on the front page, and I’ll shut up now. To paraphrase a valued commenter:

    The problem is that the new system adds some features but also loses some other ones. It can be perceived as different, but not an improvement.

  262. 262
    Renie says:

    Want to help with my comments: on Mac using Safari.

    First – thanks for all this work. Site looks more streamlined and clean. I like the arrows to go forward and back thru post.

    Here are my concerns:
    Can’t see the reply box html ‘b’ ‘i’ ‘link’ ‘quote’ functions unless you scroll over them, the font color against the background is the problem.
    Please add numbers to comments.
    The headers on home page for Our Most Recent Post, Front Page should be a font smaller than Welcome and then bring down a font size on the Post headers.
    The PayPal words on top right are too large and elongated and look sloppy; same with the PayPal logo words at bottom on the black have ragged edges.

    Haven’t seen anyone ask but who is talking on the info video?

  263. 263
    wayne says:

    I’ve only read some of the comments so I know I am repeating.
    Font sizes are wacko. Too many differences and ratio of size of article headline to body text size is too much. If I scroll wheel adjust the body text height then headline is way too big.
    Either reduce title height or increase body text height. Then using scroll wheel will allow user to adjust.
    Also, if you increase the body text height then leave the line to line dimension. There is too much space between lines.
    I don’t mind the layout change but for me the readability of the previous site was just right as far as font heights and ratios.
    And I agree that white on light gray makes all the formatting buttons at top of this reply box unreadable. I had to quit using updated Adobe Elements versions because they forced black text on dark gray background. Looked nice but that was all.

  264. 264
    J R in WV says:

    I put this post in the “/2015/11/02/many-bothans-died-to-bring-us-these-tax-cuts/” thread but thought I should put it here also because it is a bug report. Because it is copied and pasted I think the blockquote tags I used will be borked. They didn’t work quite as expected on the original post. Here ’tis:

    The post

    jeffreyw says:
    November 2, 2015 at 9:12 am

    @danielx: moar kittehs!

    Has no “reply” button, and the link to the kitteh, which is:

    doesn’t resolve to the correct address for the kitteh pictures. If you trim the link to be:

    It works. When I pasted this trimmed adjusted link into my comment, it picked up an http:// somewhere, not where I copied it from. So this may be some kind of linkage handling error.

    I can’t tell if Jeffreyw borked the link when he put it in his comment or not, but he has provided Kitteh links a thousand million times before, so he does know how.

    I know you guys will have a continuous load of tiny things to fix, but a missing reply link seems both odd, and important to fix, as does embedded linkage.

    Also, the back arrow behavior, which used to relocate a user within a thread, no longer works like that, which makes it harder to look at comments you want to comment about while you comment on them.

    Keep up the good work folks!!


    ETA: There is only one “blockquote” tag in my comment, so I don’t know where the double quote stuff came from???


    ETA: I was right, all the blockquotes tags went away. To see that problem you will need to go to the original thread.

  265. 265
    Bill Arnold says:

    Too much gratuitous vertical whitespace between comments. I have to ctrl – – several times to see as much as previously.

  266. 266
    elmo says:

    Having the “comments” link at the top, instead of the bottom of the front-page posts, means you scroll down to finish reading the post and then have to scroll up again to see the comments. DO NOT LIKE.

  267. 267
    SIA says:

    @Scout211: Glad to hear text is resizable on ipad now – I haven’t checked it out. Must be the “getting older rage” when i can’t read sites (ie TPM comments) because of tiny text and i can’t blow it up on my ipad. waaah!! :) First world problems!!

Comments are closed.