What you’ll find where

March 31, 2011 in Site news

Based on your feedback, we made some significant changes to the site yesterday in an effort to make things easier to use. Below is a rundown of the tabs and what you’ll find under each of them.

What do you think? Keep the feedback coming.

HOME. Main screen. Biggest thing to note here is the Notes From the Moderator column. Look here for site news, policy changes, announcements, and updates like this. You’ll also see recently active members on the right, as well as a listing of the topics we’ve created. We’ll likely add and revise topics as we go along.

ACTIVITY. This tab shows ALL the activity, with the most recent at the top. It shows new discussion threads, comments, replies … everything. You can click the links (in blue) to read more on each item. You can also post an update here. This is a status update, similar to what you’d post on Facebook.

MEMBERS. You can see, sort and search all site members and their latest status updates. Click the tab view to see only the people you are friends with (linked to). Click on a name to go to their profile page to see all their posts or send them a private message.

TOPICS. Here are all the topics we have created. Click on one to read the threads in each topic. We plan to add more topics as we go along, so let us know if you have any ideas. ‘Around the Home’ and ‘Tech’ will be added soon.

DISCUSSIONS. This is my favorite place to start. Discussions are threads — individual conversations that you can reply to. You can sort the threads to see the most recently active or the ones with the most posts. Click on the title to read more and reply. At the top, you can click ‘new thread’ to start a conversation of interest to you. Any topic, you post it, you start the discussion. Don’t forget to select a topic forum for your thread. You can also add topical tags. On the right, you’ll see Forum Thread Tags, showing recent and popular tags. Click one to see everything tagged with that topic.

BAKERSFIELD.COM. We call this the Bread Crumb, it takes you back to our main site.



• Favorites vs. likes. Like a comment but don’t really have anything to add? Click like to show your support. Like a thread so much you want to hang on to it? Favorite it. Favorites are like bookmarks, you can view all your favorites on your profile page.

• You can add up to three links to your posts and comments. If you have more than three links, your posts and comments go to moderation. This helps prevent spam.

• Chris (BIG round of applause for Chris for all his work!) will be adding the site footer to the bottom of the page to direct you to things across the Bakersfield.com network. That will probably appear on Friday.


I think that’s it for now. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Thank you for all your feedback.

Meet-up at Starbucks in The Marketplace on Ming 8:30-10:30 a.m. Friday. Hope to see you there!

39 responses to What you’ll find where

  1. I’m still trying to get used to this new format. Two questions:

    1) Why can’t I “Like” or choose “Favorite” on a comment no matter where I read it? For example, if I read the flow of comments after clicking on the Home tab (which I find disjointed and confusing), I can “Like” one there. However, if I select a topic from the right hand side of the page and choose the forum tab in that topic so that I only see comments related to a particular thread, I can’t “Like” any of them or select that thread as a favorite. To do so, I must go back to the Home position and search for the comment there.

    2) If “Like” is an option that has been programmed into the new format, how difficult is it to add a “Dislike” button?

  2. Let me ask Chris to look into why those buttons aren’t appearing everywhere.

    The ‘Like’ button is a plug-in (an add-on), the theory for no ‘dislike’ button is that if you dislike something, we’d like you to comment and give reasons why you disagree.

    • With regard to the theory for no “dislike” button…that leads me to believe that the people making that decision have a short memory as to what happens when comments of a disagreeable nature are encouraged. Sometimes a simply click of “dislike” is sufficient. Does it cost extra for a “dislike” plug-in?

  3. I took a somewhat longer look around this morning, and my pleasant surprise was followed by a mixture of disappointment and hope.

    My pleasant surprise was that this new system does, in fact, have a blogging feature. “New Blog Posts” is one of the filters, and Jamie is using that blogging feature.

    My unpleasant surprise will come as no surprise; none of the rest of us can use it.

    Many people like the forum-type setup. That is their taste and they are entitled to it.

    But forums do nothing for me. Nothing about the new setup inspires me in the least. That is my personal and subjective taste, which is mine to keep and not to be taken as a reflection on your team’s work. You have to decide what is best for your company.

    I realize, painfully well, that the blogging service was terribly abused in the past. I can understand not wanting to open it to everyone.

    But my style, my interest, and that which inspires me, fits into the format of a blog, not a forum. If “ordinary” users are denied the blogging feature, I will not be participating.

  4. I believe Jamie said that you had to start your own blog site under one of the supported platforms and then it would be linked to from here. During the whole transition, it’s always been said that reader blogs would not be directly hosted by TBC anymore, just linked to. Perhaps Jamie could give more details on how that will work.

  5. I’m aware of that; I’m expressing my preference for a change of policy.

  6. I can’t seem to find an edit or delete function.

    I”m expressing my preference for a change in policy, since the facility for blogging evidently does exist.

    No blog, no me.

  7. I finally found a delete function (by viewing my activity in my own profile), but it evidently doesn’t work. My comments are still there.

    I was going to write a more concise replacement comment, but my two above say the essence of it, if not as succinctly as I’d prefer.

  8. While I’m making observations, I just noticed another oddity which will quickly become confusing to users.

    Comments do not appear in chronological order.

    At the time of writing this comment (and before hitting “Submit”), there are two comments from April 1, then one comment from April 3, and then below it are five from April 2.

    • You’re right, AD, that the layout is confusing the way it shows up currently. If there were also time stamps it might help a little bit, but what is needed more is some form of indentation so that the reader will be able to tell that some of those comments are actually replies to previous comments. Specifically above, Jamie replied to my first comment and then I replied to her comment. It’s hard to tell that’s the case just at a glance. I am posting this comment as a reply to your post, but it likely won’t show up that way.

  9. That explains it; your comment was a Reply, which caused it to be inserted below the comment to which you replied.

    An indentation or some other indicator that it was a Comment Reply would definitely help. However, that insertion behavior could become a shortcoming as a thread gets longer; replies to comments mid-way down a thread would likely be missed by its intended recipient, since it’s natural to look to the bottom of a thread for the most recent comments.

    Just a thought.

  10. It’s called threaded commenting, like what Disqus does on the main story comments. Obviously needs to work out a few kinks as the indenting works on threaded comments to updates but not here.

    • Just an FYI – There are a lot of changes we’re holding off on making. Mainly because they would involved a lot of work for us when the vendor will be releasing a software update soon. So we’re hoping that they make and support the changes we’d like to see. If not, we’ll re-evaluate and decide if how we want to prioritize hard-coding the changes on our end. But please keep the feedback coming, everyone!

  11. While this new discussion is good enough for me, I understand that is not perfect for everyone else. In fact, any medium that allows me to communicate with other Internet users is more than enough. It’s a work in progress and I’m seeing Jamie B. and Chris Ladd are both doing a great job in making the interface easier for everyone.

    A suggestion is to contribue to the community by continuing to the same that regular folks were doing on the former B.com blog — just a topic by writing a blog or story.

  12. I have one possible nitpick. I’ve had the chance to browse around the past few hours and I feel that the navigation seems somewhat redundant. I’m almost leaning towards suggesting that the Topic and Discussion tabs be integrated together and then eliminating the redundancies — but I’m holding it off now until I get a thorough understanding of how the navigation works.

    I feel that content should be easily accessible and navigation should be intuitive for all new visitors. I’ll chime in again I still feel the same way after several weeks.

    • Yeah, we’ve kicked that around, too. The consensus is that some people may want to see only things in certain topics. I could personally go either way on that one. I prefer to just use the discussion tab. What does everyone else think?

  13. Chris posted about embedding, bolding and italicizing in updates and other threads. Those are the things that would be nice to have in a FAQ section so that we can reference that easily if we need it at a later time. Otherwise, it will be long gone in the threads of yesteryear!! 🙂

  14. Very good idea MsKim.

  15. On the first day, everything was void. Then came along @cladd and says, “Bang!” BakersfieldTalks.com was created.

    On the second day, he created tabs.

    On the third day — embedding tools and created two beasts called pugs.

    Ah well, you folks know where this goes.

  16. I noticed you added both the embedding and HTML tag info to a FAQ tab like MsKim suggested. Thanks for the quick response.

  17. A few more observations:

    The page layout seems to be inflexibly designed for 1280 pixels wide or more. Unless I spread my browser window out *really* wide, I get a horizontal scroll bar. In my opinion, horizontal scroll bars shouldn’t happen until the width becomes less than 800 pixels, even 640. It should be able to compensate for widths less than 1280.

    Next, I noticed that a newly started topic is almost indistinguishable from comments on topics, when looking at the Activity. It may be beneficial to highlight newly started topics in some distinctive way.

    Also, I thought it was unusual that a really long update, such as the Library update, displays the full text of the update, whereas newly started topics are abbreviated in the same manner as are comments. Perhaps if you take my suggestion for highlighting newly started topics, updates could be highlighted in a similar yet distinctive fashion.

  18. Apollo –
    As for the page layout, it’s the same as on our new staff blogs. As we’re going through and updating the site, we’re bringing out to the new width, which is industry standard. Our traffic and tech reports show us that about 80 percent of our users are on screens capable of viewing pages at this width without scrolling. My personal laptop (which I’m hoping to upgrade this summer) has a smaller screen, so I have to scroll, too.

    Good points on the others. They may have to wait until the software upgrade though, I don’t think that is anything we can control on our end, but I will check next week.

  19. Thank you for the reply; since I am now just days away from officially being a senior citizen, I’d have to confess that my opinion about page widths, like so many other things, is shaped by my age.

    I’m aware that suggestions of this nature is a job for the developers. In my own opinion, it *would* be a big plus if new posts had a way of standing out, like possibly a distinctive pastel-colored background (as an idea). That would be a step toward giving reader posts some of the “blog” feel that I desire.

    I am still checking in to see how things take shape.

  20. I have a couple more thoughts:

    The subject recently came up with respect to adding a “Dislike” button.

    I agree with those who feel that a Dislike button would only serve to stir up trouble, especially since this particular system identifies the “liker,” or in this case, the “disliker.”

    I also see very little use for the “join a topic” or “leave a topic” feature. The only effects that I have been able to find for it are that it serves as sort of a filter for showing my own activity in a subset of topics, and to show via someone’s profile what topics he or she has participated in.

    It may be that this feature has some future use. If that is the case, please disregard my second observation.

    I am still looking in to see how things continue to take shape.

  21. The width thing is possible in CSS by using max-width and min-width directives, but it does require a bit of forethought in laying out the style boxes and a bit of scripting to get boxes with little content to snap up to the desired width without overflowing the available space on the user’s browser. Fixed width CSS is easier because one can just fiddle with the widths to make it work without having to think about how box A nests into box B and how shrinking the browser size affects that.

  22. We won’t be adding a dislike button. If we have both, people would only click like or dislike and not actually reply and converse.

    Joining the topics is a feature of the software and has a use if we later choose to use private, closed, or invitation-only topics. So it has to stay on.

  23. — BUG REPORT —

    The post counter is one (1) off. At the time of writing this comment, but before hitting “Post Reply”, the counter shows 33 posts, when in fact there are 34.

    Since the system is set to display 15 comments at a time, the effect of the bug is to prevent Comment #16, #31, #46, et cetera, from appearing until a Comment #17, #32, #47 (respectively) is posted.

    When I discovered the bug, ConCorleone had posted the 31st comment to the Republican Primary post, but it would not appear. When I changed the URL’s query string to show 44 at a time rather than 15 at a time, then ConCorleone’s comment appeared.

    After Jlocke posted his comment, then ConCorleone’s comment appeared normally.

  24. I included more information on the Republican Primary post, since comments to this blog section cannot be edited.

  25. I’m not getting a difference in the comment count here. I’ll keep an eye on it though. Could be a cache issue on your web browser.

  26. That’s possible, because, just this moment, I saw an opportunity to reproduce the problem, but couldn’t.

  27. Another feature of the old, real blogs that I liked was its ability to tie into Printcasting; its feeds allowed for optional automatic publication.

  28. I’ve figured out what AD might have been seeing with the comment count. The “View” link on the Activity tab seems to take one to the wrong page for the first comment on pages 2 and up. For example, if I click the View link next to Lamonster’s comment on the Activity tab that is first on Page 6 of the Republican “none of the above” thread, it actually takes me to the top of Page 5 instead of to his comment on Page 6. His comment is still on the thread, I just have to notice that I landed on the wrong page and click to Page 6 to view it.

  29. That is similar to what first got my attention, except when I went looking for ConCorleone’s comment #31, there was no way to get to it. There was no “next page” navigation at the bottom.

    I found a new bug, however; the HTML tag BLOCKQUOTE has no effect. And CITE is indistinguishable from mere italicization.

  30. Chris already knows about blockquote and q from my “testing out the features” thread. Cite is supposed to be visually indistinguishable from italics (so is emph) unless the website has a specific style sheet for it (most don’t). It is only treated differently by some software that renders a page (like screen readers for the blind).

  31. I thought CITE caused some indentation, too, but I remembered incorrectly.

    And, style sheets are one of my mental blocks. I can get nuclear physics, cosmology, string theory, and integral calculus through my head with little effort, but style sheets continue to mystify me.

  32. I am sort of dis-liking the extra wide page, but that’s just me I guess. This is the only site I have that issue with…and I just found Jamie’s comment regarding my “whats up” blurb because I changed it. I better remember to hit all the tags,otherwise I will miss any replies. heh good luck with “Angry Birds”.

  33. I would prefer not to spread the browser almost full-width just to see the whole page. I think a 1280 pixel minimum is unnecessary, industry standards be darned.

    Maintaining backward compatibility as much as possible is another industry standard.

    Something to think about.

  34. I’m on a MacBook less than a year old and have to scroll to see the right side of the page. I do not have this issue on any other site.

  35. I have pretty much confirmed that my previously reported behavior with the View link off the Activity tab is indeed correct. Every single time I click a View link off the Activity tab for a comment that is the first comment on page 2 or higher, it takes me to the previous page (e.g. to page 1 when the comment is first on page 2). Since the page number is hard-coded as a variable in the View link URL, there is an off-by-one error in generating the page number on the View link.

    Additionally, can we have links embedded within a comment/post open up a new window/tab (e.g. put target=”_blank” or similar within the HTML code) or is that part of the embed service that you guys can’t customize? I hate when I accidently right click instead of middle click (my browser has middle click aliased to “open in new tab”) a link and it replaces the comment page.

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