Site Notes

The microdevelopment of the site continues apace.

The microdevelopment of the site continues apace.

  • We’ve removed the Quick Takes section from the main page, thus allowing more seamless presentation across platforms. While the site looks different on very small screens than on tablets and above, all posts now appear on all platforms in the same order and with the same basic functionality.
  • We’ve placed the front-page excerpts on post pages as well, under the headlines. It’s something I’ve seen on a handful of sites and find helpful. Very long headlines are problematic for a variety of reasons. Yet readers instinctively form impressions about the article from the headline; having a subhed can add clarity and context from the outset.
  • I’ve been experimenting with different ad networks and placements. Let me know if you see anything particularly egregious in terms of ad behavior. I’ve already cycled out a couple of networks that were serving particularly ugly ad units.
  • We’ve made some minor tweaks to the way site caching behaves that may improve some of the comment-lag issues several users have noted. My developer thinks they’re most likely on the way users’ devices handle caching rather than how our side handles it, making tracking the issue down trickier.
  • For now, I have the Gravatar logo showing up rather than a blank token as the default icon for commenters whose email is not associated with a Gravatar.  I’ll likely restore it to blanks again in the near future but made the switch to nudge regulars to sign up. It’s free, quick, and non-intrusive. Gravatar got bought out by WordPress some time back, so they’re seamlessly integrated into the backend. Even the front-pagers’ author byline photos are served that way.
  • Relatedly, the About page is more-or-less revamped. It’d been ages since I’d cleaned that up and nobody mentioned it, so it may be that nobody actually looks at it. But it was close to a decade out of date. (And I signed up for probably ten Gravatars for defunct authors to populate the images. Did I mention that it’s quick and easy?)
  • We’ve also cleaned up some menus, particularly in the footer, and made the way various archive views (Blog, Author, Category, Date, etc.) display consistent.
  • A certain annoying commenter who got banned at least once under a previous pseudonym has been banned again under his new one. We’ll see how well it sticks.

I’m sure there are some tweaks I’m forgetting. There are a handful of minor ones still coming, including quite probably the move to a new, more capable server in the near future.

FILED UNDER: OTB History
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    Timestamps for the posts on the main page?




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  2. teve tory says:

    Good deal.




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  3. John Peabody says:

    You had me at “apace”.




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  4. Mister Bluster says:

    A certain annoying commenter who got banned at least once under a previous pseudonym has been banned again under his new one. We’ll see how well it sticks.

    Who will make book that “annoying commenter” resurrects himself by April Fools day?




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  5. James Joyner says:

    @PJ:

    Timestamps for the posts on the main page?

    We haven’t had them since moving to a magazine format in 2010. Most sites seem to follow the same format: date/time only on the article pages, not the front.




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  6. al-Ameda says:

    thanks for all the hard work in refurbishing the site – seems to be successful.




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  7. Franklin says:

    I appreciate the work. Perhaps it’s getting some extra views, because I saw someone post an OTB link in the comments of my local news site MLive. I don’t recall anyone doing that before.




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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Franklin: Traffic’s definitely up since the refresh. How much of that is the simultaneous increase in content production, mostly by yours truly, is unclear. But we’re also more search friendly (Google keeps changing its algorithms and the 8-year-old design was surely problematic) now.




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  9. Kylopod says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Who will make book that “annoying commenter” resurrects himself by April Fools day?

    Is that the commenter where just uttering his original screen name causes your comment to get thrown away, like “Voldemort” or something? It took me several months before I figured out why some of my comments were mysteriously not posting. And “annoying” as he is, nobody’s explained to me why he was banned in the first place, even after I’ve asked this question repeatedly. Based on what I’ve seen he’s no worse than about a dozen other commenters here who are no less “annoying” but who have not, to my knowledge, been banned.




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