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Jim's Lab Notes
— Site News, Baseball Talk, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Beta

The site beta launch is at hand. Today I am finishing up the creation of the Beta membership group and will be moving all the volunteers into that group. Starting tomorrow morning all of them will see a link to the beta at the top of the home page when they log into the site.

Here’s a screenshot of the new homepage:


For the most part the beta is self-contained; that is, you can view the site entirely within the beta, including using your mobile device. At this point the exceptions are the new member profile pages and the archives.

The framework for the micros is in place:


One of the primary reasons I am opening the beta is to get input from our new volunteer moderators on the design and to get help setting up our new moderation system. At the same time I’m looking for additional input and feedback on the updated mobile design.

In conjunction with opening the beta I will begin work on the new archive by converting our older blogs to the new setup. This means some of this content will not be available on the live site until the redesign is finished. Sorry for the inconvenience.

If you haven’t already and would like to volunteer to help out as a moderator or help out with other input on the beta follow the links.



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Jim Furtado Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:13 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Guapo Posted: May 30, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4143272)
What is this? A homepage for ants?
   2. Lassus Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4143297)
I volunteered to do the Mets group. Was I rejected? Should I have gotten an email? Or will I just be given something upon logging in, LIKE A WEEDWHACKER WITH RAZORWIRE?
   3. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4143317)
I was able to log in at the Beta site (I did not get a response via e-mail either, I figure that'll come when it's up and running). I don't think we "have the keys" yet, but we can log in and check out the design.
   4. Jim Furtado Posted: May 30, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4143468)
Everyone who volunteered so far will be part of the beta. As I mentioned in the original thread, in cases where multiple people volunteer they will be encouraged to work together.

FYI, not all page views have been created for this part of the beta. For example, the customized homepage has not yet been created. Additionally, the views for New (recently submitted content), Most Popular (stuff that people vote up) have not been added to the homepage or the micros. These views will be added in the next couple of weeks.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 31, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4143964)
So, I've just played with the Beta for ten minutes, and I have two immediate questions / criticisms. I figure I'll post them here, in case either (a) other people have figured out solutions already or (b) other people want to discuss the Beta.

1) I would like to co-ordinate with other people in the Red Sox / ST micros, but I can't find any information on the site as to who the other admins are for the micro. How can I co-ordinate with them? Can there be a simple "admin list" area with contact links? Or is there one and I'm blind to it?

2) A thing I don't like: When I go into a thread, my "hot topics" bar changes to the "hot topics" for only that Micro. I checked out the Mike Trout thread, and I lost the full hot topics sidebar, to have it replaced with the sidebar for the micros linked in that thread (Padres and scouting). In order to navigate, I need to go back to the main page every time I want to see what the current active general threads are. This is annoying for me, and I liked it the way the old/current site works.

I see that there are two hot topics tabs - "hot topics" (which has the hot topics for the linked micros of the thread) and "my hot topics" (which has my bookmarked threads). Would it be possible to add a third tab, so that I can see in my hot topics bar "(general/newsblog) hot topics" (which would basically be the hot topics bar as it currently exists on the site) plus the "micro hot topics" and "my hot topics"? Does that make sense?
   6. Jim Furtado Posted: May 31, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4143971)
Until I expand the beta to more users, I suggest people use the forum area to discuss the beta.

Since I'm here, though, I will answer your questions.

1) I haven't set up the moderator blocks and moderator areas yet. I want to get some ideas from the participants before doing so. At this point I plan on adding a moderator block to the sidebar which will contain a list of the moderators, including links to send messages to them. There will also be some embedded moderation links so moderators can easily change the entry status, fix typos, or close bad entries. There will also be a dedicated area for moderator discussions, including a page for each micro.

2) Actually the current site has different Hot Topics on each of the blogs. If you go to Sox Therapy the Hot Topics only contain Sox Therapy links. I can add another tab if other people feel the same way. We'll have to try it out.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 31, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4143981)
Thanks. (Also, sounds great on the admin areas / privileges.) Discussion moved to a thread in the forums.
   8. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: May 31, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4143996)
Just looking at the screen shots here I like the look of it. Seems a bit cleaner than the current set up.
   9. davekemp Posted: June 02, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4146091)
Love the beta. Cleaner site, more focus, less clutter. Microblogging/tagging works well and seems inclusive, not the other way around as some speculated above. Reason - all content streams through the main page. So you can focus on microblogs, or take it all in. Hopefully this was deliberate.

Looking forward to more. Assuming at some point we can see members of each microblog, etc.
   10. davekemp Posted: June 02, 2012 at 12:45 AM (#4146092)
Also, it looks like you can rec comments and posts. Would be great if those were visually highlighted ala sbnation.
   11. Shock Posted: June 02, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4146165)
I am able to access the Beta, but not able to access the forum thread about the beta: " You are not authorized to view this forum"

I just wanted to comment that while I like the layout (although I dislike the comic sansiness of it.) I do not like that when you click on an article about the Johan Santana no-hitter, it takes you to the Mets micro and all the hot topics are populated with only Mets threads. Maybe have two Hot Topics, one that's Mets focused and one that's the global one? Sort of like YouTube how it has "related videos" but then also has the other list from when you originally searched.

Just a thought. Thanks.
   12. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 06:56 AM (#4147420)
Love the beta. Cleaner site, more focus, less clutter. Microblogging/tagging works well and seems inclusive, not the other way around as some speculated above. Reason - all content streams through the main page. So you can focus on microblogs, or take it all in. Hopefully this was deliberate.

Thanks. Yes, it was deliberate. I want to keep things working essentially the same but streamline the setup (by making everything go through the frontpage) while also making it easier to both submit and find more specific content.

Shock, I changed the forum permissions so you should be able to see it now. I've had a few other people suggest an additional Hot Topic tab. I should be able to add it either today or tomorrow.
   13. Randy Jones Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4147742)
The beta site layout seems nice enough. Don't think it is appreciably better than the current layout honestly. However, the font used on the beta site is terrible. It makes it much harder to quickly parse text. Use the same font as the current site. No reason to change it.
   14. Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4147829)
Randy, there is a lot more white space so I don't think it's as clutters. I tried to keep some of old design (the comment layout, for example) to have some connection to the old design. The font might change. If you are a designer and have suggestions I would love to hear them
   15. Randy Jones Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4147832)
I'm not a designer per se, but I do a lot of web development, so I end up doing a lot of design like work. Not really speaking from that experience though. I just found it very hard to parse the text on the beta site and it is totally caused by the font.
   16. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 07, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4151327)
By the way, I haven't been able to see the Beta, though I'm a volunteer mod.
   17. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4151412)
I also find the font to be difficult to read.

Wish I had more helpful comments, but that's really the main thing that jumps out at me.
   18. JJ1986 Posted: August 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4198952)
Just something that I was thinking of, but is there a way to give us the ability to change how the title of a thread appears in our bookmarks? So, for example, I bookmark a thread that used to be about baseball but after 400 pages is about movies and can have it read as "Movie thread" to me.

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