New Website Design Live Q&A: Ask the People Advising Cole Questions (About Almost Anything)!

The members of the commentariat who are advising Cole on the new website design asked me to schedule a live question and answer post for them and you. Here it is.

Open thread.

360 replies
  1. 1

    Will you be keeping WordPress, and if not, what will you use?

  2. 2
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Keeping WordPress.

  3. 3
    jacy says:

    Is it possible to have the recent comments back on the side? That’s the thing I miss the most and used the most.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    I would love if links opened in a fresh tab. I lose my place with the original comment when I investigate a link.

    And thanks for doing this.

    No. Threaded. Comments. Although that’s gratuitous. I like the scrolling.

  5. 5
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Elizabelle: Threaded comments are A NO GO. Per Cole, so that’s finalized.

  6. 6
    Haroldo says:

    Will it be possible to take the reader to his/her most recently read comment?

    Will it be necessary to manually refresh to see new comments?

  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    @jacy: Recent comments are on the spec list.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    frosty says:

    @WaterGirl: Yay for recent comments!

  10. 10
    Immanentize says:

    No questions — just sincere gratitude.

  11. 11
    Steeplejack says:

    @Haroldo:

    Can you be more specific? Do you mean your “most recently read comment” any time you come to the site? Or do you mean going (back) to your most recently read comment when you’re navigating in a thread?

  12. 12
    PJ says:

    The site often crashes my computer, whether I’m using Firefox or Safari, and, according to Safari, uses a large amount of energy. This doesn’t happen with any other website I frequent. Is there a way to avoid this in the rebuild?

    ETA: When I say “crash”, I mean that the browser freezes and has to be force-closed.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    My browser (Safari) complains a lot about BJ. BJ works, but it uses too much memory or it uses too much energy or something. I understand that BJ is sorta broken, but will this be fixed? And also, will the pie filter eventually function correctly?

  14. 14
    Madeleine says:

    @Elizabelle: I’d like this possibility, too.

    And thanks for all your work, past and future.

  15. 15
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I would love if links opened in a fresh tab. I lose my place with the original comment when I investigate a link.

    Am I right in thinking you are most often on a mobile device?

    On my desktop, phone or tablet, I am able to choose “open link in a new tab”, and that’s what I always do when I open a link on BJ. It may be called something slightly different, but you should have that on whatever device you use. Have you tried doing that? Then you stay at your original spot in the BJ thread, and you go to the new tab to see whatever was linked.

    I suspect if we opened everything in a new tab, that some people might like that and some might hate it.

  16. 16
    Jay Noble says:

    No autoplay video ads? And stop whatever invisible stuff that keeps loading in the background. Just sitting here scrolling down a page seeing constant activity and getting the “Using energy” message.

  17. 17
    Steeplejack says:

    @Elizabelle:

    On a phone or tablet, you have to press and hold a hyperlink to get the “open in new tab” choice to appear. On a computer, you (usually) right-click on the link to get that choice.

  18. 18
    Suzanne says:

    Just want it to remember my name and email for longer than 30 minutes!

  19. 19
    Haroldo says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I think I mean navigating in a particular thread after I’ve gone away for a bit. Let’s say I am reading a thread, and I have to turn off my computer or leave my browser for awhile. I come back and would like to pick up where I last was without relying on my increasingly faulty memory. Will there be some sort of house keeping function that will find that point for me?

  20. 20
    Immanentize says:

    Ok, I do have a Question — at one point, someone (M4?) Had created a user niceness widget. Is that still on the site somewhere?

  21. 21
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Suzanne: On the list, in a prominent placement (high).

  22. 22
    Haroldo says:

    I should have thanked you first. My apologies.

    Related to gratitude: will there be some sort of ‘up-vote’ function? Many times I would just like to convey my agreement without typing in a comment.

  23. 23
    dmsilev says:

    There’s a weird issue which seems to impact the desktop version of Safari (latest version) but not the iOS version, which is that the posts and comments sometimes get stuck on an older cached version and it can take two or three refreshes to get the latest posts/comments to show up (i.e. I’ll load a post and the comment history will be twenty or thirty minutes out of date, and similarly for the front page). It’s mostly just an irritant, but any changes that might fix the issue would be welcome.

  24. 24
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jay Noble: “No autoplay video ads” is on the spec list.

  25. 25
    Immanentize says:

    @Haroldo:
    Sorry, but I must disagree. Please no up voting or Like buttons. If I like something I just reply, “Like” or “this” or “Tru dat” etc. It makes the flow better and I don’t like the GOS competition for likes.

  26. 26
    PJ says:

    I should add that an additional problem in Firefox is that the site never fully loads, but seems to be constantly loading, which makes it difficult to refresh.

  27. 27
    Shana says:

    @Elizabelle: I’d also love that. As it stands now I have to try to remember which comment I was reading when I go to a link and then scroll back to it once I’ve viewed the link.

    @MattF: I also get that message a lot when reading BJ but no other site. Something like “this website is using too much memory. Closing it may improve your performance” or something similar.

    I’d also like it if the site would remember my name, email, and actually work when I click save my name, etc.

  28. 28

    @WaterGirl: in my experience more people hate it than like it; you’re also removing the option for the user to open it in the same window (not 100% sure on that I’ll admit).

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @PJ: @MattF:

    I will answer together since the questions seem to point to the same issue.

    A little background / Fun Facts we have discovered:

    – The file size for the BJ front page appears to be ~ 11x bigger than the (kind of) standard rule of thumb for page size. That can’t be helping. :-)

    – Speed test on a phone came out as 8 out of 100. That can’t be helping.

    – One day last week we noticed that the WordPress server was running at 98% of available RAM. Probably not helping! :-)

    The site rebuild will be built from scratch. Comments and categories will be imported, but other than that this will be a new WordPress site. So we don’t expect that there will be these kinds of issues with the site rebuild.

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:

    @Haroldo:

    I don’t think that is in the cards, because to do that would probably require some sort of registration system, such as Disqus, to keep track of who you are and exactly what you have read. And we are not planning to go with Disqus or a third-party commenting system.

  31. 31
    The Dangerman says:

    For some reason, I can’t edit a comment on my phone, which is unfortunate, as, one, I suck as a typist generally, 2, my fingers are big and the keyboard is small (yes, Donald, some of us have realllllly big hands), and, 3, spellcheck on my phone (some version of Android) sucks mightily. The option to edit shows up … and it’s hot per phone … but nothing happens.

  32. 32
    jeffreyw says:

    @Elizabelle: Second that, open links in new tabs or windows. I’ve seen pages where there was a checkbox that let you add that behavior, or not, as a preference.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    @Suzanne: That requirement is on the spec list as a deal-breaker.

    Edit: To be clear, we are not choosing any web developer that cannot provide nyms etc that stick.

  34. 34
    frosty says:

    First, thanks to the Jackals working on this for John. Next, I’m in the same boat as @PJ and @MattF but it’s recent. Here’s the scoop:

    I bought a new computer and it looks like B-J is buggering it up. I’m running Firefox and based on what I see on Task Manager, B-J is using up to 2.5GB of my 4GB of memory and hanging up Firefox.
    This didn’t happen on my old computer.
    Old HP G215 AMD 4GB RAM
    New HP Pavilion x360 Pentium 4GB RAM

    Both are running Firefox
    Old 63.0.3
    New 64.0.2

    Task Manager shows that the older computer w/ earlier Firefox is using a lot less memory than the new one, something like 1.5 GB vs. 2.5 GB. The higher one locks it up. After a brief trial, it looks like this isn’t happening with IE. Is it a Firefox issue? Has anyone else run into this?

    Any suggestions? Adblock?

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: I try to keep up with BJ. but i have never heard of that. Can you or M^4 or someone say more? Or is that a joke?

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    Can we have something like Apple Screen Time so I don’t squander the rest of my life?

  37. 37
    Haroldo says:

    @Immanentize:

    I agree: I’m not a fan of voting competition, but I am a fan of rapid communication (and I’m a horrible typist with even worse spelling – but perhaps I can work on my ‘true dat’.). I think ‘down voting’ is abominable.

  38. 38
    PJ says:

    @WaterGirl: Thanks, glad to hear it. Also, it would be great if, when you click “reply”, you are immediately taken to the reply box (which used to happen), rather than having to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    @Haroldo: Cole has decreed there will be no up-voting or down-voting. Personally, I am glad about that!

  40. 40
    Plato says:

    Alain shitcanned the mobile site. He said it was a memory hog or something like that. Is mobile site being brought back like it was before? Where the FP had only thread titles and the thread itself was inside the fold? It was so much easier to read that way.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    That looks to have more to do with Safari/Mojave than the website. There seem to be a couple of glitches in the latest upgrades that don’t affect everyone but do affect a lot. The upgrading upon returning to a page in Safari and the losing connection with bluetooth are two that I know about. The bluetooth issue wouldn’t be as big a deal if it weren’t that the keyboard/mouse/trackpad weren’t connected that way on desktop.

    OK on to the issue at hand. Everything I’ve heard about the new system sounds good. I just really want to be able to take advantage of the communication that is what this place is all about. I like how it works, how it looks and what it does for all of us. Things like the most recent comments are a nice addition to the general feel of the place and I miss that but things like this are not deal breakers. Basic functionality is, so thanks everyone involved.

  42. 42
    WaterGirl says:

    @dmsilev: Hmm. I have not experienced that, and I don’t believe Steep or Bella Q has, so we haven’t looked at that at all and don’t have a ready answer for that one. Will make a note of it, and if anyone else has experienced that, please jump in and say so.

  43. 43
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Haroldo: I’ve found

    +1

    easy for me, but admit I haven’t tried on my phone yet.

  44. 44
    WaterGirl says:

    @PJ: We have seen that a lot, and for us it seems to be related to stactkpath. Stackpath will not be used in the site rebuild.

  45. 45
    DemJayhawks says:

    I’m glad to hear you all have seen the eye-popping page load size. On a whim, without a blocker running, I opened Chrome dev tools to watch the site load and holy smokes, there’s a lot of crap going on.

    I’d also suggest removing autoplay, autoadvancing video ads, such as Ora.TV. It is murder on a metered mobile connection.

    Edited to note that I have seen the same caching behavior as dmsilev. In my case, it’s desktop Chrome on Win10 machines.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    @WaterGirl: I see that happening. I’ve just gotten used to refreshing the page a few times in order to get all the current posts.

  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elizabelle: @Shana:

    I’d also love that. As it stands now I have to try to remember which comment I was reading when I go to a link and then scroll back to it once I’ve viewed the link.

    Do the responses from me and Steep resolve that for you? Or do you already know how to do that and you are asking for everything to open in a new tab anyway?

  48. 48
    Plato says:

    And the annoying stackpathcdn issue will be fixed?

    Also in android, bj is the only site that doesn’t work properly in night mode.

  49. 49
    dr. luba says:

    OT, but an open thread, so did anyone else see the SNL music video obviously aimed at the BJ demographic? I Love My Dog

  50. 50
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    in my experience more people hate it than like it; you’re also removing the option for the user to open it in the same window (not 100% sure on that I’ll admit).

    That is my sense, too, M^4.

  51. 51
    Haroldo says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    +1

    easy for me, but admit I haven’t tried on my phone yet.

    And all the while I thought that related to the number of drinks consumed……

    (But truly, I hate to type.)

  52. 52
    geg6 says:

    My thanks to all of you. Sticky name and email is all I ask.

  53. 53
    MattF says:

    @Haroldo: It was, until Cole got sober.

  54. 54
    PJ says:

    @WaterGirl: I have the same problem (but not always), but I can usually get to the current state with a refresh. A related issue is that the post on the front page will reflect the state at some time in the past, but if you click through to the full post, you get a more current version.

  55. 55
    Plato says:

    @dmsilev:

    Yup, the post update lag is happening for me in both desktop Firefox and in android mobile browser CM browser

  56. 56
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    Are there any plans for a subscription option with fewer or no ads? I really enjoy that on a couple of other oft visited websites.

  57. 57
    Ruckus says:

    @The Dangerman:
    Try typing on a phone having fat thumbs and tremors. On a keyboard it’s not that bad but having to aim and hit the exact spot on a phone screen? I had a Blackberry for years because it had a keyboard. Of course with fat thumbs it really didn’t help at all.

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    @The Dangerman: There is a big focus in the rebuild on design so that the site works properly on mobile devices. If there are problems after the rebuild, those issues will be addressed. But we don’t expect that because of the focus on mobile devices working properly.

  59. 59
    The Dangerman says:

    @Haroldo:

    And all the while I thought that related to the number of drinks consumed……

    That is my understanding (but I’m only +1, referring to coffee this time).

  60. 60
    dmsilev says:

    @WaterGirl: Thanks. It’s one of these sporadic things (not behaving that way right now, for instance), which makes it that much more annoying to localize.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Elizabelle says:

    @WaterGirl:
    @Steeplejack:

    Thank you. I am on a MacBook. Do very little responding via phone or tablet — too tedious. MacBook does not have right click features. I cannot tell what the link about to be clicked is, either, if someone has not identified it.

  63. 63
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    I wonder if the reloading issue is because of the size of the front page, when there are a lot of us on the site at one time, do the servers have a no refresh setting that deals with memory allocated?

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    @frosty: Read your comment, it’s pretty specific, so if it’s okay, we’ll get to some other questions first and come back to yours. Is that okay?

  65. 65

    This is all reminding me of the old joke.

    There are only two hard things about programming:

    0. Naming things
    1. Cache invalidation
    7. Asynchronous callbacks
    2. Off-by-one errors

    As always do let me know if I can be any help.

  66. 66
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Suzanne:

    Same here!

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Is that a joke? :-) If not, please explain.

  68. 68
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Ruckus: I love a stylus for my Android. It’s the only way I can successfully type on a phone. And with Swype it’s even faster.

  69. 69

    @Elizabelle: most browsers show the URL at the bottom of the window when you hover over a link. On a MacBook, two-finger click (also command-click or option-click, forget which) will get you a right-click.

  70. 70
    mad citizen says:

    @WaterGirl: I am also glad about NO up/down voting. That’s just an added distraction and time waster.

  71. 71
    zhena gogolia says:

    @WaterGirl:

    It’s a real thing, but I regard it with the same loathing I did the avatars that showed up one day where we were all purple (and green and yellow) people-eaters.

    Thanks for all your work!

  72. 72
    WaterGirl says:

    @Plato: Check out my reply at #57, and I will add a bit to it.

    The site rebuild will have a mobile version that will automatically scale to the appropriate size for each device – phone, small tablet, bigger tablet, desktop. The plan/goal is for speed/responsiveness on all devices.

  73. 73
    zhena gogolia says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Yes, it happens to me on Chrome on a laptop.

  74. 74
    Ruckus says:

    @Elizabelle:
    I use an Apple trackpad with my iMac – this is the equivalent to the MacBook trackpad and for right clicks I just tap one time with 2 fingers. That brings up a menu that allows me to do a number of things depending on where the cursor is at, such as go back a page, reload a page, etc.
    Click on system preferences – track pad for all the possibilities.

  75. 75
    Sebastian says:

    @WaterGirl:

    It’s either threaded comments or opening in a new tab because we lose our position and have to find the comment again. I literally have to memorize the comment number before clicking on a link (iOS Safari) because a browser back will just default me to comment 1. That is stupid.

  76. 76
    delk says:

    Can the ‘http’ that populates the link button be removed? The pop up already has ‘Enter the URL’. On iOS devices it is far less finicky to select all -> copy -> paste, and that includes the ‘http or https’ already so you have to delete the populated ‘http’ first before pasting.

  77. 77
    RobertDSC-Mac Mini says:

    Will we be forced to see Taboola or other style ads? They are a grotesque eyesore.

  78. 78
    Sebastian says:

    Ok, maybe it’s really too much to ask but can we get basic IDM? I would love to log on to the site and stay logged on with my user and be able to comment and -gasp- even receive a private message from a user.

  79. 79
    Plato says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Thank you. That would be a great help.

  80. 80
    Another Scott says:

    @dmsilev: I’m almost positive that the “laggy updates”/”need to refresh multiple times” happens to all of us (though many may not realize it) and is a consequence of the CDN (content distribution network) fixes that Alain implemented to take load off the WP database. It’s a good idea, but it needs to be tweaked/tuned/etc.

    I assume that the new code base will help too.

    In the meantime, I just refresh the page if I suspect it is old. :-\

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  81. 81
    zhena gogolia says:

    @dr. luba:

    Greatest video ever! I almost forgive them for their Nancy Pelosi slander.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:
    One of the guys at work has a Samsung with a stylus and it looks to be a possible answer. I just don’t type on my phone enough to have ever taken the time to look for one. Maybe if I get off my butt and do that………
    ETA OK I found a website that shows hacks for making a stylus. I have the technology to do that!

  83. 83
    WaterGirl says:

    @White & Gold Purgatorian:

    Are there any plans for a subscription option with fewer or no ads?

    There are no plans for a subscription option.

    I think Ruckus put it really well on last week’s thread:

    Don’t think it’s hard to set up particularly but think about how many people really wouldn’t feel comfortable/within their budget. Sort of the point of BJ is, I think from being here for a number of years, open communications between people of all walks of life with a similar political stance.

    ETA I’ve been, at times in the last 12 yrs in that position, $20-50 just wasn’t available.

    But beyond what Ruckus said, the ads will be specifically managed and tested so they do not interfere with the site. No autoplay ads, not a bunch of Taboola ads junking up the screen, etc.

  84. 84
    Elizabelle says:

    @Ruckus: Interesting. It appears Command-Click might open the link in a new window. I will try that out with the next link I investigate.

  85. 85
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    You were analyzing all the commenters in terms of a niceness index — don’t you remember that?

  86. 86
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: @Elizabelle: It’s control-click that gets you the option for opening in a new tab.

  87. 87
    FelonyGovt says:

    I’ve already seen my major issues (“using a lot of energy” on Safari, slow loading, sticky nyms) discussed so I just want to thank all of those who are working on the site rebuild.

  88. 88
    WaterGirl says:

    @Sebastian: Are you aware that you can open in a new tab yourself? On the mac, it’s control-click instead of just “click” to open in a new tab. Are you feeling that it’s not acceptable to have to open in a new tab yourself rather than having a single click automatically open a new tab?

  89. 89
  90. 90
    WereBear says:

    Is one of the problems the sheer size of the blog? Multiple posts per year, over multiple years, and often multiple hundreds of comments on each one seems like it adds up to serious overhead.

  91. 91
    WereBear says:

    To be fair, what I love lately: those tabs that show a new post has appeared, or lets me go back to a previous one.

    The scroll buttons are useful, especially on tablets that are funky about it without a bluetooth keyboard or the like.

    I love the window for editing!

  92. 92
    WaterGirl says:

    @delk: That’s part of the spec list.

  93. 93
    WaterGirl says:

    @RobertDSC-Mac Mini: Taboola ads are out. Not sure what you mean by Taboola style. Can you please explain?

  94. 94

    Ok this thread covers a lot of good stuff. Chrome win10 and mobile, you got your work cut out and better up the programmers budget. Testing is going to be interesting.

    Watergirl thank you for taking the time. Kudos to all for being invested.

  95. 95
    JanieM says:

    1. @zhena gogolia:

    You were analyzing all the commenters in terms of a niceness index — don’t you remember that?

    I was just going to say that myself! I think it was during my first year or so of coming here, so more than two years ago but less than three.

    2. Thanks to everyone involve in making BJ work.

    3. I don’t have much of a wish list. I’m glad threaded comments are out; I hate them.

    4. I’m an “old person yelling at the clouds” in relation to technology, so my habits are atypical. I read BJ mostly on Firefox with ads blocked, and so much stuff disabled that when I want to comment I go over to my not-so-disabled Chrome. I don’t use my phone for internet access, I only use it as a phone. Okay, and a camera, in a pinch. And an alarm clock. I’ve sent a bit of $ now and then to make up for not letting ads run, and would at least consider a subscription/no-ads option.

    The one thing people keep mentioning that I experience is that if I read a thread, close the window, and come back later and reopen the site, it still has the same # of comments, and set of comments, that it had before. If I refresh (it only takes once), I get updated. But that happens on the other blogs I read too, so I thought it was a browser thing and not a BJ thing.

  96. 96

    @zhena gogolia: ah, that was just a one-off thing, and it was sentiment.

  97. 97
    CatFacts says:

    Many thanks!
    I like the basic font size/type we’ve got going ATM. Please no “upvote/downvote/Like” options.
    Love the pie filter. If it’s possible to have one that also has an option to filter for certain words within comments, I’d love it even more. There are some debates (coughFrankencough) that turn any thread they’re in into a mess, and I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to avoid them.

  98. 98
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: Not to worry.

    The developers are not fond of stactkpath, which is what we’re currently using for CDN. CDN will be implemented as needed for best site performance, but it will be a different implementation than stactkpath and should only speed up the site, and not slow it down.

  99. 99
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Sebastian: Staying logged in will be fixed! IDM would require a 3d party commenting system that is not an option, per Cole’s explicit declaration. So no private messaging.

    But the nyms will stick so you can open Balloon Juice and be ready to comment.

  100. 100
    frosty says:

    @WaterGirl: Yes, waiting is OK. I’ve learned enough from this post to figure that long-term it will be fixed with the rebuild. Short term I’ll use another browser.

    Although I just got this:

    “A problem with the webpage caused Internet Explorer to close and reopen the tab.” LOL!

  101. 101
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ruckus:

    Pilot G2 pen stylus. Cheap, good pen, excellent stylus at the
    other end.

  102. 102
    debbie says:

    @MattF:

    The site’s great on Chrome on my laptop. The mobile site, however…

  103. 103
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Will the next version remember users being logged in? I have had to type in name/email for a long time now, both on the desktop and on my phone. It’s quite annoying.

    (I use Chrome on desktop and Safari on iPhone)

  104. 104
    Plato says:

    @WereBear:

    Go to top/bottom scroll buttons / arrows are the best part of bj which I have not seen in other sites. Hope they will be kept in the rebuild.

  105. 105
    WaterGirl says:

    @CatFacts:

    I like the basic font size/type we’ve got going ATM.

    A major goal of the rebuild is readability. We told them that our eyes are likely to be much closer to 40-60 year old eyes than 20.

    Please no “upvote/downvote/Like” options.

    Answered already. No up vote/downvote.

    Love the pie filter.

    Implementation will either be the current pie filter integrated with the new rebuild OR… someone suggested last week that they’d like the pie filter to be written and part of the site rather than integrating the old one. Would be glad to hear people’s thoughts on that.

    If it’s possible to have one that also has an option to filter for certain words within comments, I’d love it even more. There are some debates (coughFrankencough) that turn any thread they’re in into a mess, and I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to avoid them.

    Not sure we can help you there. That is not part of the current specs.

  106. 106
    debbie says:

    @dmsilev:

    New posts show up after a refresh, but I get taken back to the post from a few refreshes earlier.

  107. 107
    Elizabelle says:

    @Plato: Yes! I love the up and down shortcuts. Use them constantly.

  108. 108
    Mary G says:

    Balloon Juice has always worked better for me than most – a lot of the complaints I see don’t happen to me. I am hoping you will keep the design nice and plain and spread out like it is. All the white space is so restful to the eyes. I don’t mind the Taboola ads, they can be ignored, but can you please, please, please make sure that those ads that slide into one of the bottom corners are not allowed. I hate those with the heat of a thousand suns, and when BJ had them, I was always clicking on them by accident trying to use the up and down arrows.

    Bonus thing I would love is a preview function as I tend to forget to close links and inflict a giant block of blue text on youse guys before I can edit.

    Cosign the appreciation for all your hard work on this, and it’s a great idea to hire a professional who has no relationship with the blog. The Tommy situation was stressful as shit.

  109. 109
    Steeplejack says:

    @WereBear:

    No, the size of the blog—its entire comment history—is not the problem. The problem is the obsolete structure of the current blog. Everything needs to be updated!

  110. 110
    JanieM says:

    Oh yes, and this was brought up a few days ago: can the pie filter have an option just to have pied comments say something that’s an immediate signal to skip it, like “xxx” or an icon of a slice of pie? The whole point of the pie filter is that it’s a time-saver. If I have to read a nonsense item about pie to find out that the commenter is one I want to ignore, I’m not saving all that much time.

  111. 111
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mary G:

    Yes. I like a really clean design. And all the white space.

    There are some sites I just cannot abide, because they are ADD-inducing. White space is good. As long as it is not filled with white supremacists.

  112. 112
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @PsiFighter37: YES! See # 98.

  113. 113

    @WaterGirl: If that’s the case, I may turn off my ad blocker. It was the auto plays that dragged me back to watch them that drove me to it.

  114. 114
    debbie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Press and hold the control key, then click. A new menu shows up with opening in a new tab as a choice.

  115. 115
    WaterGirl says:

    @frosty:

    “A problem with the webpage caused Internet Explorer to close and reopen the tab.” LOL!

    Sad news for frosty: All developers say that even Microsoft doesn’t support IE anymore, so that is the one exception to “we’ll make sure the site works for all devices and operating systems”.

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Thanks so much for doing this — both the rebuild and the willingness to engage with the Juice-Jackals.

    Two main issues for me:

    1. I cannot access the Quick Links feature at all. This has been the case for many months. Safari on iPhone.

    2. It will be a joy to be able to comment without having to enter my nym and email address.

    3. (Okay, three main issues for me.) Could you add a strikeout code to the formatting buttons?

    (There are other things that would be nice, but they’re not quite as high on my list as those two three.)

    Thank you all!

  117. 117
    JanieM says:

    Sorry, the thread is moving so fast (what else is new?) that some of my comments are superfluous before I’ve finished them. :-)

    @Mary G: Seconded on adding a preview function.

  118. 118
    Elizabelle says:

    @debbie: Thanks! Will give that a try later and let you know how it works.

    Gotta do some other stuff. Carry on, site improvers.

    And thanks to Team WaterGirl for all you’re doing here. Yea Alain and MMMMMMMMMMM (now reunited with Samwise) too.

  119. 119
    debbie says:

    @dr. luba:

    UES sure has changed since I lived there!

  120. 120
    debbie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    It would be great if that sarcastic font had a formatting button too.

  121. 121
    debbie says:

    White space is always good, but please don’t tiny up the type!

  122. 122

    @WaterGirl:

    they’d like the pie filter to be written and part of the site rather than integrating the old one.

    I don’t understand the difference. It’s not like it’s a turnkey WordPress feature, and it’ll need rewritten with any layout changes anyway.

  123. 123
    Plato says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I think the much loved arrows are due to Alain.

  124. 124
    Jamey says:

    @PJ: Same here–BJ on Safari makes my MacBook cooling fan kick into overdrive.

    … And also you should win things by watching!

  125. 125
    B.B.A. says:

    I think you should ban anyone who goes by three initials with dots in between.

  126. 126
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elizabelle: @Mary G:

    Yes. I like a really clean design. And all the white space.

    We have sent that message to the developers — loud and clear. Clean design, easy to read, lots of white space not cluttered not big images everywhere. Nothing flashing.

    There are some sites I just cannot abide, because they are ADD-inducing. White space is good. As long as it is not filled with white supremacists.

    We told both possible developers that we have never seen a site “upgrade” — on any of the political blogs we are on — that was better than the one that was upgraded.

    So we are being very specific about the look. They are not “redesigning” the look or “giving it a facelift”; this is a structural rebuild.

  127. 127
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mary G:

    The “slide-in” ads have already been killed, so no one should be seeing those now. And part of the spec is a preview function to let you see how your comment will look before you post it.

  128. 128
    WaterGirl says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Just don’t turn off your ad blocker yet! :-) Wait for the redesign.

  129. 129
    Joy in FL says:

    The few things I would ask for have been addressed by others, but I want to say Thank You!!!! for your work and knowledge and for this open thread.

  130. 130
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @JanieM: We’re hoping the new development will offer either option with a pie filter, but we haven’t gotten into that level of detail yet.

    I agree that a pie comment is a similar waste of time as an aggravating comment, but perhaps with a less deleterious affect on blood pressure.

  131. 131
    DaddyJ says:

    I second the motion to address that godawful ora.tv bandwidth vampire ad. I think it’s been said in the past that it generates revenue for Our Host, but it degrades performance horribly.

  132. 132
    Ruckus says:

    @Elizabelle:
    If I click on the trackpad with 2 fingers on a link or an image it gives me the option to open it in another tab or another window. It actually gives me a menu of a lot of things to do. The menu is dependent on what I’m 2 finger clicking on.
    Just thought of this, if your MacBook is older it may not have the same features. I had the previous generation trackpad for my prior iMac and it didn’t do as much. Have a buddy with a 2011 MacBook Pro which has the prior generation trackpad, which doesn’t have the same amount of functions but I think that the 2 finger single tap still works the same.

  133. 133
    WaterGirl says:

    @Plato: @Elizabelle: @Plato: You guys are talking up the up and down arrows and the “next post / previous post” wings on the right and left side of the page.

    That functionality will still be there in the rebuild, but the location of the arrows may change. Still in discussion with developers about where they will be located.

  134. 134
    Plato says:

    Also. Too. Ever since the mobile site was shitcanned, there’s always one file named bWCjyqIK-3451682.mp4 that shows up as a download in every thread. May be this file download be removed?

  135. 135
    Elizabelle says:

    @WaterGirl: Good to hear. Thank you!!!

  136. 136
    debbie says:

    @Ruckus:

    My MacBook is from way back in 2012, and I can either do your two-finger click or Control-click to get the menu. I use both interchangeably, just as I have for menus and keyboard shortcuts.

    ETA: I too have forgotten my manners. Thanks for all the hard work!

  137. 137
  138. 138
    Plato says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Yes, up and down arrow buttons are the ones we are talking about. Thanks for keeping them. Though I don’t see the previous /next thread arrows in the mobile version now but they are there in desktop.

  139. 139
    WaterGirl says:

    @WaterGirl: To be more clear, I was trying to say that we are not asking them for a “new look” or a new design, with them going off and potentially bringing back something more flashy. We’ll have the Balloon Man banner and some things will definitely change. but we won’t be looking at anything like the shock from when Steve Bennen moved to Rachel’s site and they “upgraded” MSNBC.

  140. 140
    WaterGirl says:

    @Plato: The plan/goal is for the same functionality on mobile and desktop sites.

  141. 141
    jeffreyw says:

    Bonus thing I would love is a preview function

    QFT

  142. 142
    Steeplejack says:

    @Plato:

    We’re not going through the current site and taking stuff out. We’re rebuilding the site from scratch. If a file doesn’t need to be in there it won’t be in there.

  143. 143

    @WaterGirl: I think it’s very amusing that over the last two years, the new hotness in web development has become… uncluttered static sites that load quickly.

    Gosh where do I remember such an idea from.

  144. 144
    Steeplejack says:

    @DaddyJ:

    Our spec calls for no autoplay ads, so that should take care of that problem.

  145. 145
    WaterGirl says:

    @B.B.A.: Done!

  146. 146
    Another Scott says:

    @Plato: Yes, many thanks to John and the Three Musketeers keeping us updated and working on the spec’s, etc.

    All the upvotes for Previous/Next thread button on the Mobile version. A dedicated Refresh button that remembers the position on the page in every circumstance – including pages with Twitter embeds ( which always populate later) would be greatly appreciated the, if possible.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  147. 147
    Another Scott says:

    @Another Scott: Grr. Last “the” to “too”

    On my phone, so the Edit button doesn’t do anything.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  148. 148
  149. 149
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jamey: @PJ: This may come as a big surprise, but requests for crashing, freezing, and phone overheating do not appear anywhere in our specs. :-)

  150. 150
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I know!

  151. 151
    The Pale Scot says:

    @frosty: 4 gigs of ram isn’t enough now and days. Ram is inexpensive and easy to swap for most machines. 8 gigs is ok but it’s better to max out, Today that’s at least 16 gigs. Look at this way, if you bought new machine and plan on keeping it, the internet keeps requiring the hamsters to work harder. So get more hamsters. The machine might run cooler too

  152. 152
    Plato says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Thank you all once again. I will see my complaing ass out now.

  153. 153
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott:

    A dedicated Refresh button that remembers the position on the page in every circumstance – including pages with Twitter embeds ( which always populate later) would be greatly appreciated the, if possible.

    Interesting thought for the dedicated refresh button. Not currently in the specs, but will make a note of that.

  154. 154
    Ruckus says:

    @JanieM:

    But that happens on the other blogs I read too, so I thought it was a browser thing and not a BJ thing.

    I believe that this may be how things work now, in response to more security, just not updating all the time without our involvement. A little less handy to use, possibly a bit better security. Or possibly a bit less server overload that is, if we weren’t as lazy, not all that much of an issue. Or possibly not having constant updates to a page allows us to see where we are/want to be/don’t want to leave and have to find our place all over again.

    No system, auto updates, no updates, return to where we left, return to the top of the page, etc, etc, etc is going to satisfy everyone. Are we getting to the point that we demand that our computer adapt to our every whim and demand, which of course, given current tech, is going to increase the programer work load, the server work load, therefore the cost of getting the product delivered, the increased workload on possibly older tech computers…… Not all of us can afford to upgrade our hardware every year with the latest, greatest, fastest hardware. Actually most of us probably can’t afford that. The latest top end iPhone XS max costs @1450. The cheapest iPhone is $450. Samsung S9 is $840.

  155. 155
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I think it’s very amusing that over the last two years, the new hotness in web development has become… uncluttered static sites that load quickly.

    I don’t think that’s new at all – I think it’s just stating the obvious.

  156. 156
    Doug R says:

    @RobertDSC-Mac Mini:

    Will we be forced to see Taboola or other style ads? They are a grotesque eyesore.

    Especially on a phone, that rack of taboola messes with the flow, is hard to not accidentally click on and contributes to the world being a shittier place.
    If you must take the $ for garbage clickbait, please put it at the bottom where it belongs.

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:

    @Another Scott:

    The page navigation and refresh issues all will be addressed in the rebuild.

  158. 158
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Looks like all my issues have been addressed. Only other I can think of is on the back end. I’d like a comment search feature, so you can find a user’s comments by date/keyword/nym. Ideally, even through changes of nym (searching by email without revealing the email).

  159. 159
    Sebastian says:

    @WaterGirl:

    New tab please. Today I sole it by tap and holding the link which will bring up the context menu and then I open a new tab.

    From a user perspective there is little advantage to open it in the same window. We will mostly be engaged in the comments and certain links are for later reading. Or referencing/quoting/copy-pasting while still being engaged in the comments.

    Maybe that’s just me but from where I am standing there are no advantages and only downsides to opening links in the same tab.

  160. 160
    JaySinWA says:

    @zhena gogolia: If I understand the problem correctly it happens to me on my chromebook as well. It looks like a cache problem. Forced refreshes work sometimes, and it seems to be related to time of day (late night/early morning?)

  161. 161
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Ruckus: The rebuild will include functionality across all platforms and devices (except in Internet Exploder!). The current structure is old, and didn’t account for all the variations.

  162. 162
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    1. I cannot access the Quick Links feature at all. This has been the case for many months. Safari on iPhone.

    I assume you are talking about this not working on your phone or tablet? The same is true for me. FYI Quick Links, in its current form, is going away. The top 3 items will be combined into one. The most popular categories (writer’s chat, dog blogging, etc) will appear in a bar underneath the Balloon Man banner. So you won’t lose functionality, but some stuff will be in a different place.

    2. It will be a joy to be able to comment without having to enter my nym and email address.

    A joy for all of us!! Our site traffic dropped to around 1/3 of what it used to be — and it happened around the time the nyms stopped being sticky, and the ads started going crazy. Hoping we will get everybody back. I miss so many people who used to be here.

    3. (Okay, three main issues for me.) Could you add a strikeout code to the formatting buttons?

    On the list!

  163. 163
  164. 164
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl: Joke. Sorry.

  165. 165
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    More ice cream.

  166. 166
    WaterGirl says:

    @WaterGirl: @zhena gogolia: @JaySinWA: Hoping you can live with that until the rebuild, which should fix that.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Never apologize for a joke!

  168. 168
    Steeplejack says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    It’s on the list, but only the basic flavors. No Oreo-flecked stuff!

  169. 169
    Baud says:

    @WaterGirl: You don’t want to give me that sort of leeway.

  170. 170
    rikyrah says:

    Please no threaded comments

    Also, I miss not having to fill in stuff(name, email,website)

  171. 171
    RobertDSC-Mac Mini says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Ads by companies that are presented in a similar style to Taboola. Outbrain is one such provider.

  172. 172
    WaterGirl says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: That might be a possibility for a second phase where we can consider more bells and whistles.

  173. 173
    Sebastian says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I know I can do that. 30 years IT professional. Problem is sometimes I forget or I fatfinger or I think I’ll just simply look and come back. However, when I go back in the browser I am at the beginning of the comments section.

    Please don’t take this wrong but I am feeling we are being questioned why we want certain features. At least I feel slightly defensive about it.

    Feature process requires to gather requests (creative stage) first, then examine if it’s doable (feasability stage), and lastly if it complies and aligns with values. We might be putting the cart before the horse here.

    Yes, we can all rightclick or tap and hold. But we were asked what we would like to have. That’s all.

  174. 174
    HRA says:

    I very seldom comment. In the last few days when I did comment, I received an instant message telling me I already said that. Two of them were inserted without the countdown.
    Many thanks to the crew for the work you are doing here.

  175. 175
    HRA says:

    I very seldom comment. In the last few days when I did comment, I received an instant message telling me I already said that. Two of them were inserted without the countdown.
    Many thanks to the crew for the work you are doing here.

  176. 176
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @rikyrah: Done and done!

  177. 177
    rikyrah says:

    Please keep the arrows for previous and future threads

  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    @Doug R: Taboola ads and ORA autoplay video should be nuked from the universe.

  179. 179
    rikyrah says:

    You do know that the edit function sometimes doesn’t work😢

  180. 180
    waratah says:

    I would love for the reader view available. I like that I can expand to a size I can read with out my reading glasses.
    Thank you all for all the work you are doing to add all the features we like.

  181. 181
    JaySinWA says:

    OK, my current pet peeve is for posts with multiple linked content, largely twitter stuff, the page does not refresh to the last comment I have pinned to the top by selecting the timestamp. I am not what the new format will be but some way to reliably get back to the last comment you have read on a page refresh or has been suggested a page return would be welcome.
    On pages with even a few tweets I see the screen repaint several times with different comment positions at the top.
    I was thinking a page preformat function that builds the post once would both improve performance and eliminate the screen flashes for those posts.
    PS a reliable RSS feed is important for me.

  182. 182
    HRA says:

    Sorry for the double message. Please delete one. Thanks!

  183. 183
    stinger says:

    @Elizabelle: First, thanks so much for doing this. This site is my home page. I’m on a MacBook Pro, and when using Safari I have browser-specific problems similar to those that others have noted above, and when using Firefox ditto.

    Replying specifically to Elizabelle:

    MacBook does not have right click features. I cannot tell what the link about to be clicked is, either, if someone has not identified it.

    Per the first one, I use Command-click to open a link in a new tab. Per the second one, when I hover on a link Firefox displays the URL at the bottom of the screen, but Safari doesn’t. I too like knowing where the link will take me!

  184. 184
    rikyrah says:

    I miss not having the list of the most recent posts on the right side of the blog, where it used to be😢

  185. 185
    rikyrah says:

    The pie filter is one of the best developments for the blog👏👏😊😊

  186. 186
    FlyingToaster says:

    Just a huge thanks to y’all for working on this.

    I have a plethora of content controllers in Firefox (the locked-down-for-work browser), and Disconnect for Chrome and Safari, and manually hacked in a “nothing from this fucking site ever” thing for ora.tv (which crashes every device/browser I use, Jeebus, it’s fucking awful). Mostly things just work, but occasionally they slow to a crawl, which seems to be a combination of things on the FYWP end and my local ISP getting hammered.

  187. 187
    MazeDancer says:

    Would it be possible to be able to post links to BJ on Twitter that caused pictures to appeat. Like what happens with WaPo.

    Be a great traffic builder.

    And have always assumed Alain doesn’t post a pic above the fold for some not clog the system reason. If he could have a “preview” pic of the daily offering it would octuple the viewing and participation.

  188. 188
    JaySinWA says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: I find the pie filter as much of a pain as not. I would prefer a personal ban list, that just puts up a button to display the offending comment if I chose. Disemvoweling might be a second choice.

  189. 189
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @rikyrah: We do! It will work reliably after the rebuild.

  190. 190
    stinger says:

    Reading further, I see others have replied to Elizabelle about both things. Ability to edit a recent comment would be nice!

  191. 191
  192. 192
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @WaterGirl: You’ll have to make do with pie-filter progressives.

    Best of luck on the rebuild; I am still willing to review any database related ideas

  193. 193
    WaterGirl says:

    @Sebastian:

    Please don’t take this wrong but I am feeling we are being questioned why we want certain features. At least I feel slightly defensive about it.

    Apologies if it came off that way, but I wasn’t at all questioning WHY you wanted a certain feature. We aren’t questioning the WHY at all, or asking people to justify WHAT they want.

    I was attempting to find out 1) whether you knew how to open in a new tab, and 2) whether you were saying you wanted a single click to automatically open in a new tab, no matter what. You answered that, so we am happy to know the answer.

  194. 194
    RobertDSC-Mac Mini says:

    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Your efforts are appreciated.

  195. 195
    Steeplejack says:

    @JaySinWA:

    [. . .] the page does not refresh to the last comment I have pinned to the top by selecting the timestamp.

    This is one of my hot buttons. It and the other page-navigation/​refresh issues you mention will be addressed.

  196. 196
    Sebastian says:

    @HRA:

    Like these two? :)

  197. 197
    Redshift says:

    @Elizabelle: Control-click (not command-click) is the equivalent of right-click on Macs. (Mine does right-click both on the mouse and on the right side of the trackpad, though the trackpad is kind of finicky and sometimes gets it wrong.)

  198. 198
    WaterGirl says:

    @JaySinWA:

    PS a reliable RSS feed is important for me.

    Me, too.

    It’s on the spec list. “Must work consistently and well” is part of the spec for RSS and many other features.

  199. 199
    WaterGirl says:

    @FlyingToaster: We feel your pain. Literally. The rebuild should eliminate all of that.

  200. 200
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer:

    Would it be possible to be able to post links to BJ on Twitter that caused pictures to appear. Like what happens with WaPo.

    Be a great traffic builder.

    Are you saying you want the pictures to appear on Balloon Juice? Or on Twitter?

  201. 201
    Sebastian says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Thank you for being so patient.

    The core problem is that browser actions such as page refresh/reload or going back will wreak havoc with the page position and then we have to read comments and query our progressively challenged memory to find the spot where we left of. If you can make the page position anchoring robust enough this will make links in new tabs obsolete for some workflows.

    My personal opinion is that it’s the more convenient fix to open in new tabs as it allows us to copy paste or just read something later.

  202. 202
    WaterGirl says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    You’ll have to make do with pie-filter progressives.

    I assume that’s a joke, but it flew right over my head.

  203. 203
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @JaySinWA: There seems to be a growing consensus that pie comments aren’t helpful but not having to read comments from those who annoy is.

  204. 204
    Steeplejack says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    We made note of you as a resource. I believe WaterGirl asked you to tell Adam if it was okay to give us your e-mail address, but I don’t think she has heard anything yet.

  205. 205
    Sebastian says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Twitter most likey. Say someone links to a post about Samwise or Lili. We would like that picture to appear when linking. Also when posted to Slack or Webex Teams etc.

    My understanding is that each post/site has a primary image that gets selected for that purpose?

  206. 206
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @stinger: Editing will be reliably possible on all devices! There will always be a time limit of some duration, though.

  207. 207
    Suzanne says:

    Thanks to the build and design teams for your huge sacrifice of time and effort.

  208. 208
    WaterGirl says:

    @waratah:

    I would love for the reader view available.

    Reader view is available for me even with the current site – in Safari. I am thinking maybe that is a browser specific thing?

  209. 209

    Any chance on getting a way to preview a comment and be alerted that it’s going into moderation hell and edit the comment to prevent said fate?

  210. 210
    WaterGirl says:

    @Sebastian:

    Twitter most likey. Say someone links to a post about Samwise or Lili. We would like that picture to appear when linking. Also when posted to Slack or Webex Teams etc.

    My understanding is that each post/site has a primary image that gets selected for that purpose?

    Interesting. That’s not part of our current specs but we can investigate to see if that would be super easy to add.

  211. 211
    tarragon says:

    It’s super minor, but…

    The current scheme changes the color of the scrollbar thumb. It basically disappears in Safari and mobile Safari.

  212. 212
    WaterGirl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Any chance on getting a way to preview a comment and be alerted that it’s going into moderation hell and edit the comment to prevent said fate?

    WYSIWYG Preview is part of the specs.

    Our expectation is that there won’t be moderation hell for no reason, as there is sometimes now. I don’t see that a check for moderation could happen as part of Preview.

  213. 213
    waratah says:

    @WaterGirl: I use Apple iPad and phone but I have noticed that Apple News does not have it. Most of the sites I read I am able to do this but there seems to be more that do not have it available. Some of the sites say on top that it is available. That is why I asked.
    My computer skills are very basic. That means I do not know what happens to cause this

  214. 214
    WaterGirl says:

    @tarragon:

    The current scheme changes the color of the scrollbar thumb. It basically disappears in Safari and mobile Safari.

    That’s not minor at all! It makes me absolutely crazy that I can’t even see the scrollbar at all on my laptop! That working properly is also listed in the design specs.

  215. 215

    @WaterGirl: there are more specific actual rules for how Twitter, FB etc. try to grab the featured image, but this already happens for a lot of posts. e.g.

  216. 216
    JaySinWA says:

    @WaterGirl: The reader view I found earlier (by Yokris.dev) in the Chrome extension only displays the post, no comments. So of limited utility. There are others now including one claiming to be ported from Safari. Will see if others work better.

  217. 217
    AndoChronic says:

    More old timey guy with megaphone, miss that guy. You know what I’m talking about!

  218. 218
    WaterGirl says:

    We are coming up on 3 hours, so this is your 2-minute warning for a comment to receive a live response.

    We’ll answer comments that come in later, but it won’t be live.

  219. 219
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It’s my understanding that twitter interaction is not high on the list of priorities at this stage, but full disclosure: I’m not the one taking notes.
    @AndoChronic: He’ll be back!

  220. 220
    Ruckus says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    First desktop – Apple II. Replaced a Teletype Model 32. The Apple was purchased as soon as it was available.
    Today’s computers are slightly better.

  221. 221

    @The Pale Scot: @Ruckus: I’m so old I remember when my desktop chat client didn’t use two gigs of ram.

  222. 222
    WaterGirl says:

    It’s 4:00 and we’re officially off duty, but we will for sure check back later and respond to all questions.

    We think we’ve answered all the existing questions. If we haven’t answered you, it’s either because we think we answered your question somewhere else in the thread OR because we missed it somehow. If it’s the latter, please drop a short reminder pointing us to your original comment #.

  223. 223
    catclub says:

    @frosty:

    Any suggestions? Adblock?

    I am on linux with ublock rather than adblock+,
    I think adblock+ got slow.

    ublock is a letter muBlock

  224. 224
    Ruckus says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:
    All of the comment you replied to is conjecture on my part but that is based upon things I see with other websites with the latest upgrades to Safari/Mojave on my Mac and some things I’ve seen on the web. Computer security has had to change a lot in the last 10-12 yrs, and yet I agree, the age of and kludges done to BJ over the years to keep it working probably accounts of most of the issues.

  225. 225
    catclub says:

    @rikyrah: yes, when I asked about it I was told that keeping it borked the up/down arrows at the bottom of the page. I also liked it.

  226. 226
    Yarrow says:

    Just want to say thanks to all who are doing this. I think everyone has mentioned the things I’d like to see or not see in the update.

  227. 227
    Ruckus says:

    @Steeplejack:
    NO!!!
    I can’t have ice cream! Not allowed, verboten, niet….. Nor cookies, sweets, anything that tastes like heaven melting in your mouth, that’s right out. Salt, that’s right out. Taste, that’s right out. Everything must be bland I tell you!

    You know, this getting old shit is not near as much fun as it was 60+ yrs ago, the just getting older part.

  228. 228
    Yarrow says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Our site traffic dropped to around 1/3 of what it used to be — and it happened around the time the nyms stopped being sticky, and the ads started going crazy. Hoping we will get everybody back. I miss so many people who used to be here.

    That’s interesting. Just out of curiosity, when was that? It’s been so long now I can’t remember when it happened. I miss people too. Would be nice if people came back once the site has better functionality.

  229. 229
    Steeplejack says:

    @WaterGirl:

    It just dawned on me that the “members of the commentariat who are advising Cole on the new website design” weren’t specified. They are WaterGirl; Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho; and myself.

  230. 230
    piratedan says:

    when you do hit reply to someone, is it possible to note which entry of theirs that you are replying to? Many of us here can be verbose and active in a thread and sometimes a clap back to what you are inspired to respond to would be helpful. It seems to me that if we can number the comments, it would be nice to have that incorporated into the reply.

  231. 231
    TomatoQueen says:

    I use IE during business hours (8:30 – 5 east coast) not by choice but because gov’t. Gov’t also blocks ALL social media and webmail, so those links–most especially to pets–are useless during working hours. The site totally freezes on clicking any web link, scrolling past more than 20 comments, sometimes just on moving the mouse. I assume this is an IE feature, yet few other sites do this so thoroughly and so fast, every damn day. Opening a link in another tab guarantees that the new page will be blank, no matter what. I think I’m complaining about IE. But yeah, recent comments is remarkably helpful.

  232. 232
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ruckus:

    Just stay away from the spicy and sweet parts of the blog.

  233. 233
    Ruckus says:

    @piratedan:
    I usually do some sort of blockquote so that it’s obvious what I’m replying to, but that does slow down the commenting and I never do this on my phone, fat finger/thumbs makes that rather difficult.
    So having the comment number as part of the reply could speed up the process and would seem to add a bit of clarity to the entire site as well as somewhat reducing the DB requirements for repeated verbiage.

  234. 234
    Steeplejack says:

    @catclub:

    The problem with the old versions of the “recent posts/​recent comments” gizmo was that they were doing a search of the entire database every time someone loaded or refreshed a page. There are much better ways to implement that, and, as WaterGirl said above, it is part of the spec for the rebuild.

  235. 235
    Ohio Mom says:

    I didn’t read the thread, just got here, I only have one set of questions: how much is this going to cost and do you have enough money?

    If this has already been addressed, sorry for barging in.

  236. 236
    DaddyJ says:

    Thank you @WaterGirl and everybody else advising on this! As a front-end developer the thought of your venturing to please both JC and the entire commentariat fills me with respect!

  237. 237
    Ruckus says:

    @Steeplejack:
    Get rid of republicans and that would be all of the blog.

  238. 238
    JanieM says:

    Cranky riff off this @WaterGirl reply to tarragon:

    @tarragon:

    The current scheme changes the color of the scrollbar thumb. It basically disappears in Safari and mobile Safari.

    That’s not minor at all! It makes me absolutely crazy that I can’t even see the scrollbar at all on my laptop! That working properly is also listed in the design specs.

    The first person to go before the firing squad when I run the world, or at least to be sentenced to five lifetimes in re-education camp, will be the developer who dreamed up disappearing scrollbars in Word and Outlook. What earthly or unearthly purpose can it possibly serve?

  239. 239
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Cole has put some money in the cookie jar, and we will do a whip-round if we need to raise more. We are still examining proposals, so the cost is not yet set in stone.

  240. 240
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ruckus:

    Touché.

  241. 241
    Louise B. says:

    A belated thanks for doing this. Do you still need money? If so, do we use the general PayPal link or is there a dedicated one? Update – never mind, I see you have already answered this.

  242. 242
    Yarrow says:

    @Steeplejack: That was always stupid because posts stop allowing comments after a certain amount of time–maybe two weeks? At least it could have only searched up to that time frame.

  243. 243
    JanieM says:

    desktop chat client didn’t use two gigs of ram

    I’m so old, not only do I remember when that string of words would have been word salad (which was, relatively speaking, only last week), I even remember party lines, a feature of telephones stuck to the wall with wires. ;-)

  244. 244
    Elizabelle says:

    We can haz new thread?? Jennifer Rubin has an excellent column up.

    WashPost: Republicans — and the media — should reexamine their assumptions

    [in italics in the original:] There is no end in sight to the shutdown; Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will never put a clean continuing resolution on the Senate floor; Senate Republicans will never turn on President Trump.

    Each of these assertions fell apart on Thursday when McConnell did put a clean CR on the floor (which got more support than the one that included Trump’s $5.7 billion for the border wall). Senate Republicans reportedly were at each other’s throats by week’s end. And boom, the shutdown was over by Friday. Trump suffers a humiliating defeat, which was entirely avoidable had he not been goaded by the hoots and hollers of the right-wing media. Trump is not only weakened; many Republicans in the Senate are furious with him. (To be fair, they could have brought this to an end weeks ago.)

    Meanwhile, Trump’s “no collusion” refrain was eviscerated by the indictment charging Roger Stone with obstruction and witness tampering. How many Republicans have repeated ad nauseum that they see no evidence of collusion? They should look again.

    …. In sum, the Republicans’ assumption that there was never really any collusion has now been undermined. The assumption that Trump had some clue how to govern and would not put the Senate at risk was blown up, as well. If so many assumptions about the Senate and the evidence in the Russia investigation turned out to be faulty, maybe we should rethink three other assumptions: 1. The Senate will never vote to remove Trump; 2. He’s so popular with the GOP base that any primary challenge would be fruitless; 3. His nomination in 2020 is certain.

    If the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report is truly damning (and every filing has surprises, new facts and story lines previously unknown), maybe the Senate will be happy to run Trump out of town — especially if he is polling in the low 30s …

    …. Don’t get me wrong. None of that is a given. However, within just a week’s time, such developments seem as possible as the Senate will never turn/Mueller will never find collusion/challengers won’t step forward chain of assumptions. The only rule of thumb in this, the most mind-blowing and serious scandal in history — we’re talking working with the enemy to grab an election, in part by weaponizing stolen emails — is never assume anything. Mueller will be smarter and Trump will be dumber than you can possibly imagine.

    You will notice she never broaches the possibility of Trump being indicted while in office, or of Pence out too, which leads us to President Pelosi. A bridge too far for Jen Rubin. But not as unlikely as it might have looked a few months back. Take her advice: re-examine your assumptions.

    Everyone is dialing up on this one. We saw it with Nancy Pelosi the other night. It is going to be bad. This is unquestionably the worst scandal in presidential history. (I will leave aside the Trail of Tears and other atrocities. I am talking about actual scandals personally affecting the president — president* in der Trump’s case.)

    PS: re the WaPost headline: Yeah, we’ll let her get by with the “Republicans — and the media”. We’re nice that way.

  245. 245
    Jay Noble says:

    @WaterGirl: YAY! the autoplays are down right annoying.

  246. 246
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Elizabelle: Second that! New thread!

    And Elizabelle, just so you know… Rubin is a wanker.

  247. 247
    Sebastian says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Thirded. New thread please. Serious question (and repost from the thread below):
    Are we sure AOC is not a jackal?

    https://twitter.com/aoc/status/1089604364065533952?s=21

  248. 248
    WaterGirl says:

    @piratedan:

    when you do hit reply to someone, is it possible to note which entry of theirs that you are replying to?

    You are probably aware that if you click the “@person’s nym” in that message, that it takes you to the comment that is being replied to? And that using the back arrow returns you to the comment you were reading?

  249. 249
    Steeplejack says:

    @JanieM:

    Party lines are in the rebuild!

    Okay, I’m out. Dinner at Sighthound Hall.

  250. 250
    NotMax says:

    Woke up, made coffee, checked B-J and here’s a thread I wish had been able to jump into earlier.

    Anyway, that said, rather than repeatedly mentioning a spec list why not share at the top of any future threads about this an actual enumerated list so people can see what is on it to reduce or eliminate multiple comments about the same feature. I realize some items on it constitute a wish list and may have to be modified or jettisoned going forward.

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho

    Please also test that the new site is fully accessible and navigable with javascript disabled, as it is currently and has been forever. Note I said fully navigable, not fully functional. Keep the current set up which has the Post Comment button working without having to enable j-script,.

    Also too, no requirement to enable cookies (again, as is currently the case)..

  251. 251
    Aleta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: that was just a one-off thing, and it was sentiment.

    Correct me if I’m wrong please … I remembered that as a fooling-around-to-learn-things type of practice in rough data mining? (By counting the use of (chosen) words in the comments per user and assigning traits based on the chosen words.)

    Data mining makes me think of a general site question.

    Are there privacy agreements that people who have keys to the BJ site or have access to servers it uses, or who do temporary maintenance, agree to? If so, can that be transparent to commenters? (I don’t know much about this stuff at all, so my vocab is vague.)

    Besides general privacy, another example would be from something I read recently — that making and selling much more accurate profiles of individual users (as opposed to profiles based on a region) is a recent direction of marketing data research. Also that there’s interest in distinguishing different individuals (different email addresses) in the same household or IP address.

    Since the site and its work has been expanding lately, are there any rules that people with access to user emails and IP addresses, etc agree to follow, beyond the honor system? Or about letting us know if ‘serious’ tools for data collection/mining are used?

  252. 252

    @Aleta:

    I remembered that as a fooling-around-to-learn-things practice in rough data mining?

    I was getting to know various text-mining libraries, yes. Comments scraped right off the site. Which brings us to your next question. There’s no such agreement, that I’m aware of, but I will note that I stopped all such activity once I got the keys. And at any rate Cole is committed to us all having as perfect of privacy as one can have in such a venue. I have none myself, but that’s by choice.

    making and selling much more accurate profiles of individual users (as opposed to profiles based on a region) is a recent direction of marketing data research.

    It’s far from a new direction (it’s an integral part of FB and Google’s business model, among others), but it does seem to be getting some more scrutiny right now. Full disclosure, I’m currently working in adtech and should probably stop typing.

  253. 253
    NotMax says:

    @Aleta

    Frankly, outside of tradition, I don’t see any reason for the site to require inputting an e-mail address at all. For identification/verification purposes, a password would substitute just as well.

  254. 254
    catclub says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: yes, most folks here know that, but as long as Rubin is doing yeoman’s service attacking Trump I will ignore that history. I assume that at some point Mitt Romney will become all dreamy again for her. But so far, she is the best of a bad lot of GOP opinionators.

    I wonder if she will say good things about getting Elliot Abrams back in the state dept – he who never approved of sending only one death squad when two could go kill campesinos.

  255. 255
    B.B.A. says:

    @WaterGirl: Also, I would put a tax on all people who stand in water.

  256. 256
    Mary G says:

    @Aleta: I’ve always had the impression that Cole will let anyone – cops or commercial developers – have access to commenter information over his dead body. It’s why he won’t use Disqus/FB/Google/Amazon logins like so many sites do. It’s one of the many things I love about this site. Being profiled doesn’t appeal to me. Back when you could first look and see what Google knows about you, many moons ago, I was delighted to see that they thought I was male.

  257. 257
    catclub says:

    @Elizabelle: I noticed this on the article at WAPO:

    1.1k
    Comments

  258. 258
    Miss Bianca says:

    Nothing to add that others haven’t already addressed, so I will just say “thank you” for keeping the things I like (no threaded comments, etc), fixing the things I don’t, and contributing ypur time and expertise to the update project!

  259. 259
    catclub says:

    @NotMax:

    Frankly, outside of tradition, I don’t see any reason for the site to require inputting an e-mail address at all. For identification/verification purposes, a password would substitute just as well.

    I don’t think you don’t need to put a VALID email there. just the same one each time. Ask me how I know.

  260. 260
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I want the site to be able to serve up cake.

    See what you can do about that.

  261. 261
    Mike in NC says:

    @catclub: I, too, have tempered my disdain for Jennifer Rubin, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and others for the duration of Fat Bastard’s reign of error. That will no doubt change some day.

  262. 262
    Ruckus says:

    @NotMax:
    Some of us have communicated with front pagers a time or two by email. That would be complicated greatly or even totally if we used just a password.
    I do suggest using a service like gmail for a common posting email, if for no other reason one can keep track of extraneous tracking of you on the web and how you are known on that site is up to you, other than your actual web address.

  263. 263
    WaterGirl says:

    @Louise B.: I will go a bit farther than Steeplejack did. John has raised a goodly amount of money for the rebuild, but I don’t believe that we yet have enough to match the developer proposals from the two finalists.

    So if you have some coin to toss in, it would be appreciated. As always, if extra money is raised, it will go to hookers and blow. Okay, not really. It would be saved for monthly web hosting costs.

  264. 264
    frosty says:

    @WaterGirl: What do you recommend for a browser? I’ve been using Firefox forever. IE was just my workaround for the recent unpleasantness.

  265. 265
    NotMax says:

    @catcklub

    Precisely, it doesn’t have to be valid, just has to be formatted correctly. Also in the same boat as you on that. So in essence it functions the same as a password.

    @Ruckus

    My beef, such as it is, is making the e-mail field required. Suggest making a password field required and an e-mail field optional, for the use only of those who want to share such info.

  266. 266
    frosty says:

    @The Pale Scot: I suspected as much about the RAM. I’ll look into upgrading it.

  267. 267
    WaterGirl says:

    @Aleta:

    Are there privacy agreements that people who have keys to the BJ site or have access to servers it uses, or who do temporary maintenance, agree to? If so, can that be transparent to commenters? (I don’t know much about this stuff at all, so my vocab is vague.)

    Yes, there are privacy agreements and yes, they will be posted on the site when it’s rebuilt. Cole feels very strongly about privacy, so you will be well protected there.

    We have been checking on this with potential developers, so there is on caveat:
    If Cole were subpoenaed, or the web hosting organization were subpoenaed by the government, they would be legally obligated to turn the comments and list of nyms and email addresses over to the government. If any of our legal eagles here would like to tell us otherwise, we would be thrilled to hear it.

  268. 268
    WaterGirl says:

    @Aleta:

    Since the site and its work has been expanding lately, are there any rules that people with access to user emails and IP addresses, etc agree to follow, beyond the honor system? Or about letting us know if ‘serious’ tools for data collection/mining are used?

    You ask an excellent question. Until now, that has not been the case, in terms of a formal agreement, but I feel certain that there will be going forward. :-)

  269. 269
    NotMax says:

    @frosty

    IE sleeps with the fishes. Microsoft Edge superseded it when Windows 10 was dropped on the public. The half-life of Edge would appear to be exceedingly short.

    Not a recommendation, merely info.

  270. 270
    WaterGirl says:

    @frosty: This would get into what I call “Ford-Chevy” or “Mac-PC” territory.

    Personally, I use Safari as my browser and I use Chrome — without Ghostery, without ad blockers, etc — only when something I want to do doesn’t work on Safari.

  271. 271
    NotMax says:

    @frosty

    Prices on RAM fluctuate seemingly randomly. Go to place for RAM is crucial.com.

  272. 272
    BroD says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:
    I, for one, would prefer threaded comments. Just sayin’

  273. 273
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax:

    Anyway, that said, rather than repeatedly mentioning a spec list why not share at the top of any future threads about this an actual enumerated list so people can see what is on it to reduce or eliminate multiple comments about the same feature. I realize some items on it constitute a wish list and may have to be modified or jettisoned going forward.

    The rebuilt can’t be all things to all people, but we are working really hard to make sure that it does what it does very well. We have the spec list pretty much in place, but we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to say what is really important to them.

    If someone hands you a list, it’s far too easy to look at it and think, “that looks good”. (What am I thinking??? At BJ, it might be “you suck, and your stupid list sucks, too”.) That’s the reason for our approach here. After this Q&A, we’re thinking the specs are in really good shape, but you guys did come up with a few details that we hadn’t considered, and we bring a few of those things into our conversations with the potential developers.

    Thanks so much to everyone who participated! (I kind of wondered if we might be throwing a party and no one would come.)

  274. 274
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax:

    Please also test that the new site is fully accessible and navigable with javascript disabled, as it is currently and has been forever. Note I said fully navigable, not fully functional. Keep the current set up which has the Post Comment button working without having to enable j-script.

    Also too, no requirement to enable cookies (again, as is currently the case)..

    We can certainly check with the potential developers and at least ask about those things.

  275. 275

    @WaterGirl: if the database is encrypted, the hosting company can’t access that information.

  276. 276
    J R in WV says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    Looks like all my issues have been addressed. Only other I can think of is on the back end. I’d like a comment search feature, so you can find a user’s comments by date/keyword/nym. Ideally, even through changes of nym (searching by email without revealing the email).

    This too, all so, for me… Thinking about some beloved commenters who are no longer around, and wishing I could look up their old discussions.

    Also, being able to see a few simple stats about a commenter, like date of first comment, number of total comments… to help ID a new russian friend, as you see… Google search can help with that, but what a hassle>1!

    Sorry to be so late, I’m on a hill in the high desert, and power for the sat link is from a generator, which we don’t run 24/7 while we wait for new batteries for the solar plant. Old batteries hit end of life a while ago.

    Thanks all of you guys for working on the specs… I did that for a couple of decades and I know how hard that is, so glad for your work.

    You too, John G Cole, thanks for starting and supporting this crazy diamond.

  277. 277
    J R in WV says:

    @BroD:

    I, for one, would prefer threaded comments. Just sayin’

    Then you need to go over to Lawyers, Guns and Money, where they implemented threaded comments long ago. So long, dude. Just saying.

  278. 278
    Another Scott says:

    @BroD: Yeah, maybe in another 20 years we’ll have browsers and discussion forum software that lets the user decide how to display comments on their own computer.

    You know, kinda like yarn and tin and trn did nearly 30 years ago. (sigh)

    No, not like threading in Disqus… >:-p

    We’re not there yet, but I have hopes. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (“If I email John in ALL CAPS, do you think he’d consider it??!?!?!”)

  279. 279
    piratedan says:

    @WaterGirl: it does, but referencing the comment number lets everyone else know what you’re responding to.

  280. 280
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @BroD: Cole doesn’t. That settles it, though of course you’re welcome to advise him of your preference.

  281. 281
    Another Scott says:

    @piratedan: Until a comment that was in the Dungeon gets freed and changes the comment number of subsequent comments… :-/

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  282. 282
    NotMax says:

    Oh, one more thing. Limit on embedded links is currently three, INCLUDING the reply link.

    No particular qualms about keeping it at three, only not including the reply link. Alternatively, just go the easy route and bump the limit up to four.

  283. 283
    JanieM says:

    1. @piratedan:

    it does, but referencing the comment number lets everyone else know what you’re responding to.

    Not that it’s my business, but I’m confused about what you want beyond what we have. I use the feature all the time of clicking on the nym link produced (in someone else’s comment, not my own) by the Reply button, to go back to the comment that’s being replied to. Sometimes I go half a dozen comments deep, clicking nym links, then use the browser’s back button to get back where I started. What would having a number provide you with that isn’t already there?

    2. Thanks again to the team working on the rebuild specs, especially, in this particular thread, Watergirl, who has been patient and informative throughout. :-)

  284. 284
  285. 285
    JanieM says:

    @Another Scott: Heh. I know Crooked Timber’s site does that, I never noticed that BJ’s does too, precisely because the nym link gives backtracking capability, so the numbers are irrelevant.

  286. 286
    2liberal says:

    @JanieM: it was probably me

    Oh yes, and this was brought up a few days ago: can the pie filter have an option just to have pied comments say something that’s an immediate signal to skip it, like “xxx” or an icon of a slice of pie? The whole point of the pie filter is that it’s a time-saver. If I have to read a nonsense item about pie to find out that the commenter is one I want to ignore, I’m not saving all that much time.

    I HATE the current pie filter – please do as JanieM asks ! PS I gave $60 towards the rebuild

  287. 287
    NotMax says:

    @Another Scott

    Nice to know my record of always being the last to know remains unblemished.

    ;)

  288. 288
    J R in WV says:

    And here’s a tip for people with readability issues:

    If you have trouble reading almost any web site, in some browsers you can press and + simultaneously and enlarge the font size of the text on the page, or press the minus sign and the control key to reduce the font size.

    [ to be more specific hold down the control key while pressing the plus key at the same time — on my keyboard that would be uppercase equal sign for the + key to enlarge the text size.]

  289. 289
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Super happy to hear that! I should have thought of that myself. thank you.

  290. 290
    WaterGirl says:

    @piratedan: I get what you’re saying. Possibly adding comment # to “@commentername” is something to think about. edit: and Another Scott explains why that won’t work.

    I never thought of it that way because if your comment is a reply to Baud and I want to know what it’s referencing, I just click on “@Baud” in your comment. I do it all the time.

  291. 291
    NotMax says:

    @J R in WV

    Also any browser includes a way to set a preferred default font and/or font size size universally. Firefox here is set a to use Verdana at 15 points, although the time is probably not far off when will have to change that to 16.

  292. 292
    Another Scott says:

    @JanieM: I like the numbers, myself.

    If I read B-J in the morning, am away for a few hours, then come back, unless we have per-thread “cookies” that keep track of what we’ve read (via e.g. comparing the time stamp with when we last refreshed the thread), then the quickest way to keep track of what we’ve read is via the comment numbers.

    And having the comment numbers in replies to replies can be handy if, e.g., everyone is beating up on a troll and one wants to see what set the discussion off (Oh it was comment #27!) rather than clicking back, back, back in a 300-500 comment post.

    But, personally, I think that UI changes like that probably won’t be worth the effort – not at this stage. It’ll be interesting to see what the coders, etc., think.

    If the UI is ever re-designed, I hope that the designers keep in mind that we have at least 2 types of users here: 1) People who are on B-J for hours at a time and can read threads in near real-time; 2) People who read dribs and drabs throughout the day – sometimes with hours between them. A UI that works great for #1 may be infuriating for #2.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  293. 293
    WaterGirl says:

    @JanieM: You are too kind! I think I speak for all 3 of us when I say that we love this place and that’s why we are invested in working hard to make this happen.

  294. 294
    JanieM says:

    @Another Scott: Speaking of those two types of users, I’m definitely the latter, and the pace is so amazing that sometimes I wonder if other users have cloned themselves. Maybe I’m a slow reader, but I couldn’t in my wildest dreams keep up with this place and still do much else with my day.

  295. 295
    WaterGirl says:

    @2liberal: It’s a good idea, and it is on our list to ask the potential developers how much rewriting the pie filter from scratch, with what you have suggested as an option, would add to the scope of the project. Scope of project as it translates to $$.

  296. 296
    MazeDancer says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Idea is tweeting a link to BJ, pics would appear on Twitter. A la WaPo – or actually any media site.
    Like happens when the tweet goes out on John Cole’s Twitter. The normative, common result of clicking on the Twitter icon and sending out a link to a post, except not. alas, right now on BJ.

    And the marketer in me winces every time I know sharing a great post without a pic is a waste of time.

    Right now, there is zero incentive to tweet out a BJ link, because there is no pic. It doesn’t look real. And Adam and Cheryl are laying down great info. Needs a pic to encourage people to click and learn.

  297. 297
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: It’s also on our spec list for the comment numbers to include a “.”, as in “33.” That way if you search for comment number that is 59 or less, it won’t pull up every f-ing time stamp that matches your number.

  298. 298
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer: Thanks for the information. I was hoping you would come back!

    No promises, but that makes total sense. That has been added to the list of things to ask the potential developers about.

  299. 299
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott:

    A UI that works great for #1 may be infuriating for #2.

    When you get a chance and you’re up for it, please say more about that.

  300. 300
    Aleta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Thanks. OT , but on the general topic of Facebook etc.– I read an opinion article about the slogan used by such companies to reassure users — something like “you’re in control of your data” or “you own your data”). The writer said that although that sounds meaningful, it isn’t so much. (I lost the link when my computer drowned, but hope to find it some day.)

    Back to the site. I’ve always liked John’s commitment to privacy— wasn’t there something about laying down his life, maybe dyn a miting every bridge ? :) — and how he trusts and isn’t controlling. It really attracted me to (w/ such anxiety!) try commenting. (Before that I’d only commented at TNC’s. He gave a link to here … then for a few years I was here as Read Only ….)

    I liked that the site was organized and maintained by likeminded people who sort of lived here too. Also, John and Alain, etc. had a rare awareness of what the internet and RL can do to women, etc. (who may have a stalker or attacker) who decide to type out their name, sexuality, race, radicalism …. anger, fears, body type, ethnicity, off-key thoughts …

  301. 301
    NotMax says:

    @WaterGirl

    As it is B-J, after all, // instead of a period.

    (I kid, I kid.)

    Thinking on it a bit more seriously, maybe square brackets would look better than a period? [33] versus 33.

  302. 302
    Yarrow says:

    @WaterGirl: I don’t think that’s going to work unless the problem of comments appearing after other comments below that one has been solved. Also, new users aren’t allowed until/unless approved, so sometimes their comments show up later and bump everyone’s down.

    So you might have a new commenter (or other reason a comment doesn’t appear–forbidden word, moderation hell) at comment 25, but then, say, WaterGirl posts at what looks like comment 25. If the comment number is hard coded into the reply, then when someone replies to WaterGirl’s comment and it auto-populates that it’s Comment 25, that will hard code into any reply below. Meanwhile, new person/moderated comment appears at comment 25 and now the hard code comment number in any reply that’s already happened is wrong.

    Not sure I’m explaining that right, but unless the comments appearing, disappearing, moderation meaning comments sit out unless released, and new people not being able to have their comments appear until approved issues are solved, hard coded comment numbers used in comments that incorporate replies will often be wrong.

  303. 303
    piratedan says:

    @WaterGirl: I get what you and AS are saying and yes, I’ve used it too, but then again, we have no idea if comments will continue to be tossed into moderation (tyvm WordPress) and not everyone knows how to use that trick to track those conversations and I’ve found that this has sometimes led to massive misunderstandings in the threads.

    All I was seeking was more clarity for folks…. regardless of their level of tech savvy. If its too complicated. naturally don’t do it, we all want fewer problems and smoother loading times and a better easier to maintain site.

  304. 304
    Aleta says:

    @WaterGirl: Thanks for answering. I know it’s tricky and not at all perfect. Complete privacy and protection don’t exist. Seems OK to ask so that people can judge their risks.

  305. 305
    Aleta says:

    @WaterGirl: btw, really appreciate your clarity in answers

  306. 306
    WaterGirl says:

    @Yarrow: Yep. See my edit at #290:

    edit: and Another Scott explains why that won’t work.

  307. 307
    WaterGirl says:

    @piratedan: We are really hoping that random visits to moderation hell will be eliminated in the rebuild, but since we don’t know why that is happening, we can’t be completely sure of that.

    Still, even if that still were to happen, if the rest of the site is more stable, surely it would be possible to figure out why that was happening.

  308. 308
    WaterGirl says:

    @Aleta: Thank you!

  309. 309
    NotMax says:

    @Aleta

    Making the e-mail field optional and using a required password field in its stead would be a step to opting out of providing private info for those so inclined.

  310. 310
    MazeDancer says:

    This is a little wacky, but just an idea.

    BJ threads expire faster than Twitter posts. Poof, they’re dead.

    Not everyone can check in 10 times a day. So they miss great discussions.

    Is it possible to have “Current Discussions” or “Current Active Threads” or some kind of naming other than “Recent Comments” that features/pimps the last 4 or 5 posts prominently. So more than 1 thread at a time is active.

    Like this thread, because it’s essential, and because the folks answering are doing yeoman’s duty, is not drifting into oblivion.

    (And, yes, all my comments are about expanding market and usage. Because, remarkably, I don’t have trouble using BJ. Not on my MacBook Pro, iPad, or Alexa Pad, or Whatever they call that thing from Amazon. And i want to expand BJ audience as wide as possible.)

  311. 311
    BroD says:

    @J R in WV:
    Thanks for showing me the door but I ain’t leaving–just, you know, sayin’.

  312. 312
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer: I’ll tell you what I understood about what you wrote, and then maybe you can say more to clarify what I am confused about?

    Recent Comments, which will return with the site rebuild, would show the 5 most recent comments. Those could all be on a single thread, or on 5 active threads if they ware all going like gangbusters.

    Are you looking for more than that? Or something different from that?

    We had “Recent Threads” for awhile, and that showed the 5 most recent threads, but you can always get that from the main BJ page. (Though I never, ever, look at that. I either go from one open thread to the next or enter from my RSS feed.)

  313. 313
    cain says:

    I just want a website that doesn’t slow down my computer. Can we have that?

  314. 314
    MazeDancer says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I am just thinking about, possibly, renaming “Recent Comments” to “Active Threads” or “Active Discussions”. Helping promote more than one thread going at a time. Just a nuance.

    People tend to start their posts after 45 minutes with “Late to the thread, but….”

    Sometimes feels like the participation theory is left over from when BJ was so small it didn’t need this rebuild. So, I am looking for every way, marketing wise, for the mega rebuild to be as expansive as possible.

    Also, cannot believe you folks have hung in answering questions so long. Big props.

  315. 315
    Another Scott says:

    @WaterGirl: Another site I frequent has its own forum software. A conversation thread can stay dormant for hours, days, even years, but a new comment will resurrect it. Why would you want to do that? It’s great if you asked for help on something and wanted to report back later on how it all worked out. Or if you wanted to talk again about a topic, and make sure that all the evidence/facts/counter-arguments were already available so that they didn’t have to get rehashed again. Or you were away for a month and just came back and wanted to comment. Etc.

    So, the conversations there can be in real-time, but they don’t have to be. And it works well either way.

    And you can edit your own comments – with a preview – even years later. (But the old version is always available to be read, so you can’t be sneaky and try to change your argument without being caught! ;-)

    And by doing a “Mark Read” click, you know that when you come back – minutes, hours, years later – you’ll have a visual indication of comments and replies that you’ve already read before and it will hide comments in subthreads without new comments.

    Something that makes B-J great for live, fresh, conversation (the linear layout of posts on the front page (with only a handful of exceptions – pinned posts,), you know that you’re looking at the latest threads when you hit the site), can make it a little frustrating if you’re reading an interesting thread but have to leave and come back an hour or a day later – the conversation may well be over. I’m glad that “Recent Comments” will be back – that will help a lot. But a lively thread can swamp the RC sidebar so that it will quickly lose comments in other, less active, simultaneous threads. Maybe a scrollable sub-window for RCs could help with that.

    So, getting all this stuff mostly right is tough. Something that makes things fast and convenient for real-time conversation can make it frustrating or more difficult for people who can only read and post things off-and-on.

    To be clear, I’m not arguing that John should cater to my usage patterns. It’s John’s house here. Just hoping to clarify what I was talking about.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  316. 316
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer: Got it! Are you in marketing or advertising?

    I did like your idea about images if you copy something to a tweet. Don’t know if it will make it to the list, but it’s worth talking about, for sure.

    P.S. In my defense, I did leave for awhile and ate dinner. :-)

  317. 317
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I think everyone knows what I want from the upgrade, and, since Cole is with me on it, I feel confident that the horror will be avoided.

    Beyond that, I would like to thank the foolish masochists noble volunteers who took on this task.

  318. 318
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: That helps a lot, thank you!

    We’re never gonna get all of it right, or even mostly right. Not possible. But stable, reliable, dependable, and a lot right? That, we think we can do.

    Just brainstorming… So we could just have one fight-thread about Franken that would never end? That sounds awesome! //

    Sorry, evil WG just reared her head for a second.

  319. 319
    MazeDancer says:

    @Another Scott:

    That sounds fascinating. Is the site as big as BJ?

    There has to be a way that a site with as much cohesion as BJ can enjoy lively participation in more than one thread at a time. Having that would make for a livelier site.

  320. 320
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    foolish masochists noble volunteers

    As people are so fond of saying, why not both?

  321. 321
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MazeDancer: Many of us participate in multiple threads at any given time. I find that more than about three at once is too much, but I generally stay with a thread as long as it is active and still interesting to me.

  322. 322
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No clown graphics coded in – I promise. If Cole were to disagree, that’s a hill I’d die on.

  323. 323
    Another Scott says:

    @MazeDancer: No, it’s much, much smaller than B-J. ;-)

    IWeThey.

    I agree that having threads live longer at B-J would be very, very good.

    It looks like FYWP presently locks comments on posts after 24 hours. Keeping that time limit would naturally limit conversations and might make the number of posts in a “Recent Posts”/”Recent Comments” widget more tractable.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  324. 324
    WaterGirl says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: “No clown graphics” was not what I thought of when Omnes said he and Cole share the same priorities for the rebuild.

  325. 325
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: I am willing to add that one to my list.

  326. 326
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: I wonder what our limit is. I just added a test comment to a 5-day old BJ post.

  327. 327
    Another Scott says:

    @WaterGirl: Whoops. I went back a year – “Comments are closed”, then thought I was back on 2019 when I wasn’t.

    It looks like the limit here is one month – not one day.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  328. 328
    MazeDancer says:

    @WaterGirl

    …marketing or advertising?

    Whatever the name, it’s all the same game.

    Pretty sure that a current web site developer would automatically have posts on social media triggered by clicking on icons on the site result in pics on social media. Just going belt and suspenders on that.

    Dinner is allowed. So are ongoing beverages. Still applauding the stamina.

  329. 329
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott

    : It looks like FYWP presently locks comments on posts after 24 hours.

    I just left a test comment on a thread from the 23d.

  330. 330
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, it’s more than 12 days. Then I got bored with testing.

  331. 331
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @WaterGirl:

    The limit is definitely longer than one day. I believe that when a thread is closed there’s a message at the bottom that says so.

  332. 332
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MazeDancer: I don’t remember if you were here during the Tommy upgrade, but one of the things that created static at the time was the attempt by the upgraders to introduce a lot of commercial site/marketing features to a blog that doesn’t function that way.

  333. 333
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer: I accept your kind words, thank you!

    I should have said “something like marketing or advertising” – the way I phrased it sounded like I was asking you to identify as one or the other!

  334. 334
    WaterGirl says:

    @Steeplejack (phone): Yeah, I went to the archives at tried at page 25 or so of January, and that was 12 days ago. I got tired of going 2 pages at a time, so I quit testing. :-)

    It is an interesting point, though. We surely don’t want to go with the 1 day default.

    edit: yes, it definitely says very clearly when comments are closed.

  335. 335
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Someone suggested that we add avatars. Um, no.

  336. 336
    Another Scott says:

    @WaterGirl: Is #327 invisible??

    :-)

    The FYWP new comments lock hits at one month.

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  337. 337
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: Yes, it apparently was invisible! Thank you for asking. :-)

    I skipped right from 326 to 328. sigh.

    edit: Invisible comments are most definitely NOT on the spec list.

  338. 338
    NotMax says:

    @WaterGirl

    Randomly fluctuating invisible comments would make it a lot more fun.

    :)

  339. 339
    NotMax says:

    Ooh, ought to mention a doodad once again as it is going to be a bottom up rebuild. B-J birthday calendar, accessible in Quick Links. Need not be fancy, a text list for each month would work fine.

  340. 340
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Imagine the hurt feelings of those who are left off. Like mine when people remember SD and forget me. The bastards.

  341. 341
    MazeDancer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, recall poor Tommy, well.

    Never would subject BJ to any unnecessary commercial intrusions. But a blog either looks to create revenue or it doesn’t. If it does, then there are options to be explored. Wishing it wasn’t necessary and ignoring the possibilities is not the most productive option.

    In reality, BJ could likely create a substantial subscription base. But it is against the blog’s principles. But doesn’t mean there isn’t a secure monthly cash inflow option that could be constructed. Wouldn’t have to hamper any particiation. Could be more along “tax the rich” in phiosophy.

    Possibly would be a way that those that have could reduce the kinds of advertising to which those that currently have less are subjected. OTOH, coming up with money when needed has never been a problem, so maybe leave well enough alone.

  342. 342
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    The only ones left off would be those who for whatever reason don’t care to provide the data (no years, please, just month and date).

    As for you and SD, age before beauty. Or something.

    ;)

  343. 343
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: I think that costs more.

  344. 344
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: Only if I get presents! //

  345. 345
    E. says:

    If you need another data point, I’m on linux and the site crashes constantly on either Firefox or Chrome. It seems like it got a whole lot worse maybe a week ago or so?

  346. 346

    @WaterGirl:

    on our list to ask the potential developers how much rewriting the pie filter from scratch, with what you have suggested as an option, would add to the scope of the project.

    Couldn’t hurt to rewrite it (JavaScript has evolved), but it’s not a tremendously complicated doodad, and most any programmer worth the title would probably write it so that it would be easy to add more of [the effect applied to the identified comments].

    Incidentally I’d be happy to do this.

  347. 347
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    …write it so that it would be easy to add more of [the effect applied to the identified comments].

    Appreciate the offer. I’m not exactly sure what you mean there, M^4. Can you say more?

    I am headed off to put on my PJs and snuggle with my guys while watching some TV, but I will check back in the morning.

  348. 348
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    I just did a test. The comment gizmo does want to see a “valid e-mail address,” presumably of the form [nym]@[server]—it rejected “badmail” as an address—but I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t have to be your real e-mail address, or even any real e-mail address. I will put this in my notes to be confirmed.

  349. 349
    NotMax says:

    @Steepleejack

    Guess the point I was clumsily leading to is to question whether there is any valid reason for B-J to collect e-mail addresses in the first place. It’s more a matter of inertia than necessity in my book, an example of the way it has always been done-itis.

    Again, folks could offer an address in an optional field, just don’t see the point of requiring folks offer one. B-J not going to globally send out commercial offers or notices, nor emergency alerts, AFAIK.

    For whatever it may be worth, I have used a phony, non-existent e-mail address (set in the proper form) here since day one.

  350. 350
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    I think the point is to have some means of preventing 38 different people from commenting as “NotMax” or “Steeplejack,” which they could do if all they had to enter was a nym and then fire away. So in the dim reaches of the FYWP past someone thought nym plus e-mail was a good combination. That’s all it means. Not saying it’s the best solution, and it’s not like Cole ever intended to blast out group e-mails to everyone. It’s an artifact of Balloon Juice’s “grass hut” origins.

    From last August:

    [. . .] I always picture a grass hut that has been “renovated” over the years into a 10-story office building—with the grass hut still sitting in the first-floor lobby and controlling the plumbing and electric.

    Ruckus:

    Isn’t the electrical for all 10 stories run off an extension cord from the one outlet in the grass shack, which then runs across the floor of the main conference room and gets unplugged every time someone wants to plug in the projector for a PowerPoint presentation?

    It might be something to look at in a future round of changes, but it wasn’t considered a critical issue for this rebuild.

  351. 351

    @WaterGirl: had to run off for a bit. I meant that once you’ve written something to handle the user interface, storage/retrieval of data and all that… the function that is applied to every identified comment will be easy to write and swap out. So the marginal cost of “add an option to make the comment ‘REDACTED’” or whatever is very low, a line or ten.

  352. 352
    NotMax says:

    @Steeplejack

    I understand and do not dispute its utility but still say there is no real reason to collect that information when a password instead will do the exact same thing without requiring anyone to give out proprietary data unless they choose to.

  353. 353
    NotMax says:

    Steeplejack

    It might be something to look at in a future round of changes, but it wasn’t considered a critical issue for this rebuild.

    In this day and age of hacking and mass thefts of data, it really ought not be a low priority. Also too, takes Mr. Cole off the hook if ever legally required to provide the data – as it would not exist. He would be able to provide access to IP addresses but not e-mails.

    All that is necessary is something to serve as a unique identifier to avoid having a dozen Steeplejacks commenting, it doesn’t have to be an e-mail address.

  354. 354

    Whatever you do, please please please do NOT go in the current trendy direction being pushed by Google of low contrast light gray fonts for text. It is the absolute worst trend in web design right now. I am quoting from Nielsen Norman group from 2015 as follows:

    Low-contrast text may be trendy, but it is also illegible, undiscoverable, and inaccessible. Instead, consider more usable alternatives.

    A low-contrast design aesthetic is haunting the web, taking legibility and discoverability with it. It’s straining our eyes, making us all feel older, and a little less capable. Lured by the trend of minimalism, sites are abandoning their high-contrast traditions and switching to the Dark Side (or should I say, the Medium-Gray Side). For sites willing to sacrifice readability for design prowess, low-contrast text has become a predictable choice, with predictable, persistent usability flaws.

    Before using low-contrast colors on a website, especially for text, take a moment to remember all the reasons why they degrade usability. Then consider the reasons that prompted your site’s low-contrast design choices in the first place. Finally, look for alternatives that help you achieve those initial design goals without harming the user experience.

    https://www.nngroup.com/articles/low-contrast/

    Also, see Lauren Weinstein on this issue:
    https://lauren.vortex.com/archive/001144.html

  355. 355

    @NotMax: if it makes you feel any better said hackers probably already have your email address.

  356. 356
  357. 357
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    So let’s not deny future digital miscreants the same opportunity for infiltration.

    Nope, don’t buy that train of thought.

  358. 358
    WaterGirl says:

    @cleek: Thanks, Cleek. We’re not sure which way we will go: integrate your existing pie filter in the new site, writing new code to integrate, or asking the web developer to write a new pie filter. We are intrigued by the idea of adding the option to see pie-related information or just see an *.

    If you want to let Adam or one of the other front pagers know that I can have your email address, we can talk about this by email. thanks.

  359. 359
    WaterGirl says:

    @NotMax: The site rebuild will continue to use email address as one of the two required pieces of information.

    If a person does not want to supply an actual email address of theirs that actually exists, they can simply make up an email address that follows the rules for a valid email address. (examples: jimmy@icloud.com or hummingbirds@gmail.com or snow@yahoo.com)

    Just make sure that email address isn’t actually in use by someone else.

  360. 360
    NotMax says:

    @WaterGirl

    Again, why? That information serves no purpose other than as a unique identifier and is subject to being legally snatched or illegally co-opted for whatever purposes. A different method which does not potentially compromise privacy can be as readily implemented. Many people will not be aware that only the layout of the data is necessary and will give out their real address as there is no other option.

Comments are closed.