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Website Update Announcements (Updated: March 27, 2021) • Page 4

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Jason Tate, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Jason Tate Apr 18, 2018
    (Last edited: Apr 19, 2018)
    April 18, 2018

    Added to each of the forums a new "policy/guidance" post to outline a few different policies about each forum:
    These can then be updated in the future by moderators to help clarify specific policies, rules, or informal rules about each forum to help maintain a cleaner and clearer list of policies if/when they may differ between different forums.

    I also cleaned up the pinned/sticky thread situation in all of the forums. The goal is to have a minimal amount of pinned threads in each forum so that new discussions can bubble to the top and be easier for new (and long time) visitors. A few forums have more than others (like the sports forum) but I think we had too many in most of the forums and everything will run smoother this way. This thread being in every single forum now gives people a place they can check to see forum policies and quickly access the rules and code of conduct as well. Plus, the thread can be a place to discuss new policies, formal and not, for each forum with moderators and other members to talk about formatting, informal/formal rules, and things like that.

    There's also quick links to all the prefixes in each forum that are available and some common threads that are important and worth highlighting.
    KidLightning and sophos34 like this.
  2. April 19, 2018

    Added "Bracket" and "Genre" prefixes to the music forum. Added "NSFW" and "Location" prefixes to the general forum.
    Butinsmallsteps and bachna84 like this.
  3. Jason Tate Jun 14, 2018
    (Last edited: Jun 14, 2018)
    June 14, 2018
    • Made a few changes to bring our text advertisements to the mobile forum website. These text banner ads (which can be purchased here) are now seen at the top of the forum pages, followed threads, and recent activity. Advertisements are one of the ways we are able to keep this website up and running and I've done everything I can to keep the advertisements simple and user friendly, instead of hostile or gross, and they do not employ any third-party tracking or any of that shit you see on other websites (I'll go down swinging on not bringing pop-up/take-over/tracking advertisements to this website). However, they are needed to help pay the bills and for this website to stay online as we're not fully supported by readers yet.
    • These advertisements do not show up if you are a supporter of the website.
    • These advertisements can be turned off on the homepage as well for supporters.
    • The $3 a month / $25 a year plan also removes advertisements on the forum and main website. This can be purchased via the account upgrade page or support us page. If you're a frequent user of the forums or website, I (obviously) greatly encourage you to upgrade your account! Supporting members are absolutely the best way to make sure this website can continue onward and for the price of basically one pizza a year you can go a long way to making sure we stick around!
  4. Henry

    LISTEN TO CHAI Moderator

    I actually appreciate the ads and how subtle they are on mobile. Doesn't take away from the product at all, and I'm not inclined to go out of my way to make them go away. Good call on the format.
    RyanPm40 and Jason Tate like this.
  5. June 18, 2018

    When quoting long blocks of text in the forum, I like to use the "blockquote." I think this looks better than the regular "quote" (which I think works best for quoting other users on the website), but when I'm just quoting something from an article, then the blockquote is far more useful and I think looks and reads better:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 5.10.14 PM.png

    This has always been possible using the [bq]text here[/bq] bbcode, but I've now added this option to the editor menu as well. You can find this using the "more" pull down menu on the "more options" version of a post.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 5.12.52 PM.png

    You can highlight a block of text and select it, or select it and then copy/paste text between the bbcode. Figured this may make it easier for more people to use the blockquote, which, is just better for long blocks of text and looks great.

    Long live the block quote.

    Block quotation - Wikipedia
    A block quotation (also known as a long quotation or extract) is a quotation in a written document that is set off from the main text as a paragraph, or block of text, and typically distinguished visually using indentation and a different typeface or smaller size font. This is in contrast to setting it off with quotation marks in a run-in quote. Block quotations are used for long quotations. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends using a block quotation when extracted text is 100 words or more, or approximately six to eight lines in a typical manuscript.
  6. Jason Tate Jul 3, 2018
    (Last edited: Jul 3, 2018)
    July 3, 2018

    Ok, after listening to feedback and re-thinking some things, I've spent some time under the hood to re-write the blocking system on the website. This post will outline the changes I've made and how they impact the people you block on the website.

    Reminder: You can block a user by clicking their username and clicking "block" on the mini profile. You can also view their full profile and click "block." You can find every user you are blocking, and add users to your block list, via the blocking page. This page can be found via the side menu on mobile, or via the menu when you click your username on the desktop.

    Here's what happens when you block a member now:
    • If you are following them, you will un-follow them immediately.
    • You will no longer be able to view their profile or their mini-profile. This will help avoid the temptation to find the posts of people you've blocked.
    • All of their posts will be removed from the website for you (including profile posts). When you're logged in you will no longer be able to see their posts on the website. I've tweaked a few things to make this work even better and have the posts more transparently disappear from the flow of reading the website. This includes all feeds.
    • You will no longer see their "likes" on any posts.
    • You will get no notifications from them.
    • You will no longer see any private messages they send you. They will simply not show up in your message inbox. You will also not be able to send private messages to them.
    • Any private message you have in your inbox from a blocked user already will remain, in case you need it for your records. The blocked member can still add new messages to that conversation thread. However, if you click "leave conversation and ignore future messages" that message will be gone and they will no longer be able to contact you.
    • You will not see any blocked user's posts in "quotes" from other members.
    • The blocked member will no longer show up in @replies auto complete.
    • Basically, to you, the blocked member will cease to exist on the website. Poof. The only time you'll notice anything different is that on the thread and forum view, under "last post," if the very last post in a thread is from a blocked member it'll say "Blocked Member" and if you go to the very last page, and there's zero posts on that page from anyone that you have not blocked, you'll see a little notification that lets you know you're blocking the posts on that page. That only shows up if the entire page of posts is from blocked users, just so you don't think the website is broken.
    I think overall this is a massive improvement to the blocking system on the website and allows users to better decide who they want to see posting on the website and who they would rather not run into. By tweaking a few things to make the entire system "erase" the blocked member from around the website it also gives you a peace of mind you won't see a name in the "likes" or feel tempted to view their profile and do some stalking. Heh.

    Along with this, I've also made the decision to allow all members of the website the ability to block my account. In the past I had stopped this from happening so that I could give warnings to people and I would know they would see them. However, I also realize that at times my shit-posting or sarcastic comments are very annoying. Now, if you block my account and I do give you a warning, or try and reach out to you, you won't see it ... so, that's one of the risks you'll take. So, be aware of that. You won't get any messages from me, privately, or publicly. Since the news posts come from Melody Bot, and most of the official "warnings" for infractions also come from Melody Bot, this hopefully will have a minimal impact on the moderating/actual website usage. At the very least we're going to give it a shot for a little while and see what happens.

    If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I think I've got to everything and thought through everything, but I may have missed something.

    Ok, that was a lot of coding over the past week, so I need a beer and some dinner.
  7. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    Nice work! Is there anything stopping someone from unblocking then re-blocking if they're curious about what that person is up to? I'm wondering if there should be some "cool off" period after unblocking someone where you can't re-block them for a little bit to discourage that behavior. e.g. if you unblock someone, you can't block them again for 7 days or something.
  8. Yeah, that's something I've thought about. It would take a lot more coding work to build in the timer. But, I've thought about something like that ... if the timer was built right it would allow for automatic "block for 24 hour" or "Block for one week" kind of options as well. Which is something I've thought about, along with "block from this thread only" kind of options.

    Some other things I can play with in the future.
    CyberInferno likes this.
  9. July 9, 2018

    I made a few minor changes to improve a few things around the website.
    • I swapped out "friend feed" at the top of the forum navigation tab bar to instead be "recent activity" -- which matches all the other tab bar pages. Recent activity is more used, more accessed, and I thought it made the most sense to have these three tabs be consistent across the website. It was a little confusing and weird that I changed them depending on where you were on the site. The friend feed is still accessible via the menu at the top of the screen (click your username) or via the side menu on mobile.
    • I also added "recent activity" to the side menu on mobile. It is now under "friend feed" for easy access. Now, when you're on any page on mobile you can access the recent activity feed to see what other conversations are going on around the website.
    • On the mobile side menu I've also tweaked a few things to make it easier to use. I put all of the "preferences" under a new collapsable menu called "options." Clicking options will expand a sub-menu with "edit profile," "contact details," "privacy," "following," "blocking," "password change," "preferences." and "notification settings." Instead of all these options taking up lots of space in the menu, they're now collapsed until you need them. This allows me to add new options to the side bar when needed, and to keep that menu cleaner when you open it to navigate around the site.
    • A couple minor bug fixes to clean up some cosmetic things for logged out users.
  10. July 11, 2018

    I made some mini-profile changes on the mobile website. The mini-profile (what you see when you click on a username on the website) is one of my favorite features on the website. I think it's great on the desktop to get a quick look at a user's profile and see information about them. When I originally designed this site I wanted to do more with the mini-profile on mobile, but ran out of time to do all the responsive changes I had envisioned. I have now gone back to make those changes. The mini-profile now displays far more information on mobile to give you a great, quick, look at a member. You can now see their post count (taping on this will take you to a user's posts), like count, and follower count. You can also see their bio line (if you have permission to view it) showing gender, age, and location. I've also added the "last seen" bar as well so you can see when a user was last on the website, and if they're on the website right now, what they're currently viewing. And, lastly, I've made the block button more visible. This goes hand in hand with my recent "blocking changes" to make it easier for someone to block a user they don't want to see on the website. The button is now far easier to access and find via the mobile mini-profile.

    I also tweaked how supporter cover photos are shown. I basically stole this from Twitter. This allows the mini-profile on mobile to be easy to read even if a user has a cover photo and it's light. Before, this took over the entire mini-profile and sometimes made things harder to read. I kept the avatar at the same size and shape that it's viewed on desktop, so that when you're on mobile you can click a username and see a bigger version of the avatar in better detail.

    I think this is a massive improvement to the mobile website. (It also works in Dark Mode.)


    Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 6.58.40 PM.png

    I still may make a few tweaks/changes as I play around with it on the live website and search for any edge cases or bugs, but, yeah.

  11. July 16, 2018

    I've enabled and stylized a new notices system for the website that I may use in the future for various things. We already have a notification system that can send alerts to users, as well as the private messaging system, but I wanted to also have a way to display customized notices to different users based on different criteria. For example, I could show a notice to members once they move from being a "newbie" to a "trusted" user and let them know that they can create new threads now. Or, promote our "account upgrade" options to members after they've been on the website for a year. Or to let the entire forum know about something important. (I'll probably be using this in the future when there will be scheduled maintenance on the servers, instead of just posting a thread in this forum — which most people never see — so people know when the website will be down.) There's quite a few ways I can think to use these in the future.

    There's a few different ways these notices will display. The first, is at the top of pages:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.53.52 PM.png

    This is a basic notice. Note, these notices can be dismissed:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 5.00.10 PM.png

    There's a little X in the top right corner. Clicking it will make the notice go away. I don't want the notices to be annoying, but instead a way to alert users to some kind of information. So, once you've seen it, there's no reason for it to stay on your screen.

    It also works on mobile:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.54.06 PM.png

    And if there are multiple notices to display, it can rotate through them with little tab links to the other notices underneath:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.58.12 PM.png

    Along with this, I can also display little floating notices. Similar to the floating notification messages that appear in the bottom left corner of your screen when someone quotes you, or sends you a message. I can put little notices in different styles out to users as well:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.55.04 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.54.34 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.54.53 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.55.29 PM.png

    Even multiple:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 4.56.08 PM.png

    I am not quite sure what I would use this version for yet, but, it's an option available to me now if needed in the future. (These are also dismissible.)

    I haven't decided when/where/what the first notices will be (probably something for unregistered users suggesting that they sign up!), but I wanted to let everyone know what they are so when you see one you aren't freaked out.
    David Parke likes this.
  12. July 17, 2018
    • Made a few minor adjustments to the avatar selection screen so it is less confusing and looks better on mobile devices.
  13. July 18, 2018

    A relatively minor update, but I made it so all categories of emoji/smilies are available via quick reply on desktop. Previously, you could only access the "extra" categories via the More Options page. Now, when you click the smilies button via Quick Reply you'll also see the additional tabbed categories:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 11.51.48 AM.png

    As always, you can also find the full list of smilies here, along with all the shortcodes you type to use them.
  14. July 18, 2018

    It ended up being a pretty productive day. I get to cross two things off my to-do list that I've been meaning to get fixed up on the forums for a while. Not bad at all.

    I had a few people ask me if they could "turn off" the blue supporter badge that shows on profiles, mini-profiles, and posts on the website. They wanted to support the website, but felt like it was showing off to have the badge when they were posting around the website with friends. I totally get that, and so I've made it an option now to display the supporter badge if you're a supporter. You'll find this option in the supporter options section of your preferences page:

    Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 6.35.52 PM.png

    Simply check the box, click save, and you're good to go.

    If you've been holding off on being a supporter ... now's a great time to sign up!

    Ok, I'm calling it a day. Next project is probably gonna be a tad bigger.
  15. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    I like the supporter badge. Not for bragging rights ( is that bragging anyway?) but simply to subtly remind people that they should support the website if they can.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  16. Oh, I totally agree!, haha, it's just something that I had a few people ask me about so I figured I would provide the option.

    Also, thank you!
    CyberInferno likes this.
  17. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    Do you have physical devices for testing, or do you use some kind of service to emulate them?
  18. I use Browserstack, but have quite a few devices to use too.
  19. A couple little bugs I’ve found and noticed that I’ll fix and test tomorrow. They don’t ruin anything but are a little annoying when quoting really long posts.
  20. Rolling back the changes from last night until I can fix a few things.
  21. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    Out of curiosity, is there any plan to fix the (minor) but where the site shows a notification even though your session has timed out, so when you click it, you get a red error message and have to refresh the page? Not a big bug--it's just interesting to me that the notification itself is still active despite the session being invalid.
  22. I'n not sure I've seen that. Can you describe it a little more?
  23. CyberInferno

    Line below my username Supporter

    Sure. It's literally just a plain red-box text message with gray/white text that says "An error has occurred." that pops up when you click the notifications button. If you hit F5 and click the notifications again, it works fine. I'll make sure to grab a screenshot next time and browser debug details (if they're available).
    Mr. Serotonin likes this.
  24. David Parke likes this.