RDF website status

Aug 23, 2012


Discussion by: /Mike (admin)
Update Sep 2, 11:00pm MDT (GMT-6)
Making some notes up here as an update rather than in comments to make sure people see them.

  • Discus has comment numbering available but when we investigated more fully, we found out that the numbering they offer is along the lines of comment 65,495,489  then the next comment displayed on rd.net might be 65,498,332. We feel a useful numbering system on our site would be for each article; 200, then 201, then 202, etc. We are exploring some other options right now.
  • We are working on a more compact display option where there are more articles readily visible. Also as noted in comments and replies to many e-mails, a display option with more contrast for those who have difficulty with the shades of gray.
  • The feedback link is a gold icon that displays at the bottom left of the screen.  The icon should float such that as you scroll up or down it remains in the same postion on the screen.  If for some reason you don’t see it please send an e-mail to feedback@www.richarddawkins.net and any information which we could use to try and sort out what the problem is.  For example; your browser and operating system, the device (laptop, monitor, iPhone etc) and a screen shot, and are you logged in or not.


Update Sep 1, 05:00 MDT(GMT-6)

  • RSS Links added to site. RSS Feed button on the main nav will take you to RSS FAQ which has all the RSS feed links.

Update Aug 30, 10:00am MDT(GMT-6)

  • RSS feed now working for all content separate from comments.


You will need to resubscirbe to the feed if you have subscribed in past – it will not restart automatically.

  • Issue with text overrunning annoucement boxes depending on zoom level fixed



Update Aug 28, 10:00am MDT(GMT-6)

  • There is still some work on the RSS feed that will be pushed out later today.
  • Working on the display of the “feedback” icon for mobile devices
  • The background of articles has been changed to provide a bit more contrast – we are exploring other options as well
  • < ol >, < ul >, < blockquote > tags were being overwritten by the overall site template – fixed – mainly an issue with articles but those will now work.  If you submit a discussion there are icons to create bulleted or numbered lists which previously would not be rendered on the site.



Update Aug 27, 7:50pm MDT (GMT-6)

Twitter follow @richarddawkins added to each article and discussion page
RSS feed restored
Subscribe via e-mail implemented
 
Update Aug 27, 12 noon MDT (GMT-6)
The fix last night to include the correct titles in the Disqus RSS feed seems to be working ok.

Update Aug 27, 3:30am MDT(GMT-6)
 
 404’s sometimes returned for valid urls fixed – this was the case where often a search would return a url of richarddaakwins.net… for an older article, “old.” is now autoamtically prepended and the url “old.richardadwakins.net…” is requested and returned to the user. A 404 should now really mean “page not found”.
 
Titles for articles populated for NEW articles in RSS feeds for Disqus
http://rdnet.disqus.com/latest.rss
This is only for new article submitted right now – the first article submitted which worked correctly in terms of provdiing the title in the rss feed for the comments is 

http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/8/26/buzz-aldrin-s-official-statement-on-the-passing-of…

Update Aug 26 2:30pm MDT (GMT-6)

Continuous page loading implemented – click on Web News and articles load as you scroll.
Discussions now listed at the bottom of the home page.

Update Aug 25 12:15am MDT
The issue with commenting should be resolved. If you are logged into your RDF account and are unable to post please please refresh the page and try again. If you are still unable to post please send us a ticket via the gold feedback link on the bottom left corner of every page. Thank you.

Update Aug 24 11:45am MDT
We are aware of the new Disqus issues and and account signup and are trying to resolve those as top priority today.
The beta site is now live as was announced last night. 
Some of the initial issues have now been corrected. 

  1. Creating an account, transferring an account, resetting your password were failing with a 505 error.  This was due to a limit that was set on the number of e-mails that could be automatically sent by the website. This has been increased to 40,000 per day and we don’t anticipate further problems. 
    If you tried to create an account, transfer an account or reset your passowrd please check for a confirmation e-mail and if you don’t see that simply recreate, transfer or reset your password again. If you have any problems please use the gold “feedback” button on the lower left of your screen to report them as that also captures your operation system and browser information for us which could help in debugging any problems.
    We’ve gone through the accounts that were pending confirmation and have manually confirmed those so there shouldn’t be an issue.
  2. RSS feeds are not working – we are looking at this and hope the fix is straightforward – we think it is at this time.
  3. Discussions are now enabled for the new site. Please submit new discussion topics here by clicking on Submit a Discussion at the top of the screen.
  4. Article submission via a form is now working, if you have an article you would like to submit for possible posting on the site, please use the link at the top of the Web News page 
  5. Events for your groups can be submitted by clicking on the Create Event link at the top of any of the event pages
  6. Performance – we are still working on caching and performance issues on the site – we know there are occasional glitches and reponse time issues. 
  7. We appreciate the feedback on the site as far as layout and constrast go and are looking at options for that.  We also know there is still work to be done for mobile deivices such as phones.    

79 comments on “RDF website status

  • 1
    DallasDad says:

    Any chance we can get black instead of gray for the article text? I find the lack of contrast makes me have to zoom in to ridiculous levels in order to read anything.



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  •  

    So how do we actually look at other people’s profiles on the new site?

    Click on their avatar.  You will get their Disqus profile.  Not sure where the old profile is gone.  One advantage of Disqus is you can follow people so you get emailed when they post.Michael



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  • If I touch an item the selection box appears slightly above the item, but for the rest it seems to work fine on my Android tablet.



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  • 10
    thatgingerscouser says:

    Dunno. I can go to a page which gives all my info when I click on myself, but when I click on others it just gives me a list of which Disqus sites they use, which isn’t very helpful.



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  • 11
    FrankMill says:

    I wish I could say I like the new website.   It’s all very clean to the eye, but we now have just four RDF originals on display and four items of web news to select from, and the link to older entries appears as a menu item at the top of the page instead of in the intuitively obvious position at the end of the list. 

    But then, the list of topics is no longer a list.  Every entry is a picture and, for me, this makes the list of items far less easy to take in.  Richard Dawkins rose to fame writing WORDS, and the old website presented its topics as words, which a few of us are still capable of reading.

    Website designers put far too much pressure on designs with confusing arrays of pictures.  I’d rate the new look as blatant dumbing down. 



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  • 12
    mmurray says:

     Dunno. I can go to a page which gives all my info when I click on myself, but when I click on others it just gives me a list of which Disqus sites they use, which isn’t very helpful.

    If you click on the Activity tab on page you can see the posts that person has made. 



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  • 13
    QuestioningKat says:

    Why is it that I can type a comment here, but when I try to type a comment on an article it doesn’t recognize me and asks for me to login and create a password?

    Dallas Dad, Hate to say it but I like the gray text.



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  • 15
    mmurray says:

     How? I don’t see an option for that.

    When I click on your avatar it brings up a window in the centre of the screen and in the top right hand side of that window there is a green button with a cross on it and next to it it says Follow.

    Michael



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  •  I can only agree with FrankMill, here.

    Less intuitive. More complex. Harder to find/scan news topics/originals because of arrays of pictures rather than lists. Limits on the text (that doesn’t expand on mouse-over?) making little sense as to what is behind the link.

    I also agree with others: dark gray text on a light gray background is a nightmare.

    And pasting html? Really? No, seriously, really?

    Bottom line is it looks nice but doesn’t work as well, or nav’ as easy as the old site.

    Makes me wonder why the bother?

    The litmus test for me has been the reduction in time I spend on the site.

    I’ve not checked but feel it’s down to about 25% of what it would normally be.

    Is this just me?

    Has traffic to the site dropped?

    It does seem there are less posts on new topics, but that may be just confirmation bias on my part?

    Anvil.



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  • 19
    Red Dog says:

    Test comment. It hasn’t been letting me post comments even though it seems to show me logged in. See if this one goes through. 



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  • 20
    Red Dog says:

    You might want to try posting a comment on an article again. I was having the exact same experience as you describe. The site showed me logged in but when I tried to post a comment it asked me to login and when I did it didn’t recognize my name and password. But I just tried adding a test comment here and it worked and I also went to another article and was able to comment as well. I think (hope) it may be fixed now.



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  • There was a problem with registration mails due to a limit on the mails sent per day (as a precaution against spammers, should they manage to compromise a site, I guess).

    What do you mean by “pasting html”?

    One thing that does bug me is the inability to resize the comment box.



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  • Go to http://disqus.com/, log in, choose “edit profile” from the top-left, choose Avatar, upload an avatar. I’ve not tried it, but that looks like how it works. If anything goes wrong with it, do say what happened here.



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  • 31
    thatgingerscouser says:

    I can see that, but that doesn’t tell me anything about the poster: how long they’ve been on RD.net, how old they are, what country they’re from etc. It’s possible to select what info about yourself you want to make public, but then that same info is impossible to access by anyone but yourself. Madness!!



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  • 32
    Peter Grant says:

    Thanks for all your effort Mike 🙂

    It would be great if you could set up redirects from the old URLs to the new ones.

    Am anxiously anticipating the RSS feeds for articles, discussions and events.



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  • There is an RDF profile of each user that wil be expanded over time. For now we have an index page for users that you can user to find others. http://www.richarddawkins.net/user…. Keep in mind that it is still in a very basic format so it has no searching and might take a little bit to load as have not set pagination or caching on it. 



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  • We have gotten a bit of feed back like this. We are looking into different option. We also have a lot of people saying they like the clean look. So the only option is options. We are looking into a way to give you options to set different pages with different layout. 



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  • 36
    InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    I see I have all these little notifications. Cute. It would be nice if when I clicked on them it actually linked me to where it said it would link me. 😛 Also, the notifications disappear after I expand the menu and then leave it!



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  • 37
    InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    And I also see in my email that people responded to me. I click on the link to see the comments and they aren’t there!



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  • 38
    Red Dog says:

    Here is some feedback on the navigation of the new site. It seems to me all articles are divided into two main groups: RDF Originals or Web News and under each main category they are further classified as:
    Religion | Atheism | Science | Politics | Pseudoscience | Education (plus an extra category Foundation that applies only to RDF Originals)

    However, the names on the new site aren’t completely consistent. Sometimes Web News is just called News and RDF Originals is under a main menu called “News and Media” is Media the same as RDF Originals or is it some different thing? Also, in the breadcrumbs RDF Originals is just called Originals.

    Also, when I’m looking at an RDF Original article I have those menu options across the top of the screen:
    Foundation | Religion | Atheism | Science | Politics | Pseudoscience | Education

    I would expect the current category that I’m in to have it menu option altered so that when I look at them I immediately know where I’m at. E.g., if I’m looking at an article about Religion then Religion is grayed out or otherwise altered from the other options. There are breadcrumbs right above that list that show me where I’m at (in this example they would say Home > Originals > Religion) but in my experience best practices would be you also change the menu options as well. 

    All these are trivial, just my 2 cents.



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  • There is a note below, a thanks to me – there are actually quite a few of us. Niels and Nick are the main developers who live here in Colorado – although we are physically close we do 99% of our communication with Campfire, Agile Zen, Skype, GoToMeeting and e-mail.  We also have several contractors that have been with us for several years who live in Kansas and some very skilled contractors in India and Vietnam.  Also in Colorado is Kim who does much of the content on this website as well as The Out Campaign and NBGA sites and a few people who do moderation in several places in the world. The online store is also here in Colorado and is managed by Suzy with part time help from Tyler for packing, shipping and stocking.

    As for moderation some readers think that we read all the comments on all the articles all the time. Although we’ll occasionally read an article and the comments and can do moderation from there, more typically we look at list of most recent comments coming in from all articles and can drill in for more detail to the comment on that page to see the context and if it’s really out of line or not.  The continuous chronological listing also allows us to see sockpuppets, obnoxious trolls and the rare spammer.   If you see a comment that is out of line please flag it using the gray flag next to the time stamp in the comment. Those go to a separate queue so that we can see anything that is flagged.  We do not have an all seeing omniscient moderation team, we need your help in knowing if an articles is going off topic or turning into a flame ware.  

    In addition to flagging which is helpful on articles, please use the gold feedback button for any issues. That captures your browser and operating system info and also sends an e-mail to all of us on the tech team as well as posts in our Campfire chatroom.

    We are working on the user profile display. There are many more options there than on the old site many of which as noted are not exposed for others to see yet.  There has been a problem linking the Disqus profile as seen in the comments and the profile of the user so that you can click on a person in the comments section and see their profile. We are working on further connections with Disqus on our site and also looking in to writing our own commenting system that we have full control over.

    Also there is cleanup and consistency of what’s displayed in navigation.

    The last two days have been a bit hectic sorting out some major issues, many of which thankfully have not affected the users but we’ve had issues with the website in general and Disqus which have been problems.  Most of that has been cleaned up and we can focus on the layout and navigation and various cleanup issues as well as expanding the features available. 

    I think next to be released will be the Groups feature which allows people to tie into and associate their profile with groups which you create. This will tie nicely to the Events so that a group can create an event and then upload their logo so that it can be easily see which group is sponsoring any particular event.



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  • There is a note below, a thanks to me – there are actually quite a few of us. Niels and Nick are the main developers who live here in Colorado – although we are physically close we do 99% of our communication with Campfire, Agile Zen, Skype, GoToMeeting and e-mail.  We also have several contractors that have been with us for several years who live in Kansas and some very skilled contractors in India and Vietnam.  Also in Colorado is Kim who does much of the content on this website as well as The Out Campaign and NBGA sites and a few people who do moderation in several places in the world. The online store is also here in Colorado and is managed by Suzy with part time help from Tyler for packing, shipping and stocking.
    As for moderation some readers think that we read all the comments on all the articles all the time. Although we’ll occasionally read an article and the comments and can do moderation from there, more typically we look at list of most recent comments coming in from all articles and can drill in for more detail to the comment on that page to see the context and if it’s really out of line or not.  The continuous chronological listing also allows us to see sockpuppets, obnoxious trolls and the rare spammer.   If you see a comment that is out of line please flag it using the gray flag next to the time stamp in the comment. Those go to a separate queue so that we can see anything that is flagged.  We do not have an all seeing omniscient moderation team, we need your help in knowing if an articles is going off topic or turning into a flame ware.  
    In addition to flagging which is helpful on articles, please use the gold feedback button for any issues. That captures your browser and operating system info and also sends an e-mail to all of us on the tech team as well as posts in our Campfire chatroom.
    We are working on the user profile display. There are many more options there than on the old site many of which as noted are not exposed for others to see yet.  There has been a problem linking the Disqus profile as seen in the comments and the profile of the user so that you can click on a person in the comments section and see their profile. We are working on further connections with Disqus on our site and also looking in to writing our own commenting system that we have full control over.
    Also there is cleanup and consistency of what’s displayed in navigation.
    The last two days have been a bit hectic sorting out some major issues, many of which thankfully have not affected the users but we’ve had issues with the website in general and Disqus which have been problems.  Most of that has been cleaned up and we can focus on the layout and navigation and various cleanup issues as well as expanding the features available. 
    I think next to be released will be the Groups feature which allows people to tie into and associate their profile with groups which you create. This will tie nicely to the Events so that a group can create an event and then upload their logo so that it can be easily see which group is sponsoring any particular event.



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  • There is a note below, a thanks to me – there are actually quite a few of us. Niels and Nick are the main developers who live here in Colorado – although we are physically close we do 99% of our communication with Campfire, Agile Zen, Skype, GoToMeeting and e-mail.  We also have several contractors that have been with us for several years who live in Kansas and some very skilled contractors in India and Vietnam.  Also in Colorado is Kim who does much of the content on this website as well as The Out Campaign and NBGA sites and a few people who do moderation in several places in the world. The online store is also here in Colorado and is managed by Suzy with part time help from Tyler for packing, shipping and stocking.

    As for moderation some readers think that we read all the comments on all the articles all the time. Although we’ll occasionally read an article and the comments and can do moderation from there, more typically we look at list of most recent comments coming in from all articles and can drill in for more detail to the comment on that page to see the context and if it’s really out of line or not.  The continuous chronological listing also allows us to see sockpuppets, obnoxious trolls and the rare spammer.   If you see a comment that is out of line please flag it using the gray flag next to the time stamp in the comment. Those go to a separate queue so that we can see anything that is flagged.  We do not have an all seeing omniscient moderation team, we need your help in knowing if an article is going off topic or turning into a flame ware.  

    In addition to flagging which is helpful on articles, please use the gold feedback button for any issues. That captures your browser and operating system info and also sends an e-mail to all of us on the tech team as well as posts in our Campfire chatroom.

    We are working on the user profile display. There are many more options there than on the old site many of which as noted are not exposed for others to see yet.  There has been a problem linking the Disqus profile as seen in the comments and the profile of the user so that you can click on a person in the comments section and see their profile. We are working on further connections with Disqus on our site and also looking in to writing our own commenting system that we have full control over.

    Also there is cleanup and consistency of what’s displayed in navigation.

    The last two days have been a bit hectic sorting out some major issues, many of which thankfully have not affected the users but we’ve had issues with the website in general and Disqus which have been problems.  Most of that has been cleaned up and we can focus on the layout and navigation and various cleanup issues as well as expanding the features available. 

    I think next to be released will be the Groups feature which allows people to tie into and associate their profile with groups which you create. This will tie nicely to the Events so that a group can create an event and then upload their logo so that it can be easily see which group is sponsoring any particular event.

    We are also working on the RSS feed problem and should have that corrected soon so that it works again.



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  • 43
    mmurray says:

     
    list of most recent comments coming in from all articles 

    Any chance of that coming to the front page like it used to 🙂

    Michael



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  • 44
    phil rimmer says:

    “I agree the gray text is harder to read.”

     The grey text is hard to read too. 🙂

    I fully appreciate the desire for a “clean” style. But those of us with failing eyesight (its variable through the day so glasses are only an approximate help) are greatly aided by contrast.

    All the white to left and right are stylish too, but I abandoned G+ after their style change throwing away half my expensive hi res screen. I like my pleasures to be less hard work.

    I realise stuff is still being fixed, but part of my brain has been wired to form around the old site. My thinking no longer flows here yet. I need that front page with lots of choice to know where I want to go today.

    Insanely, iGoogle is being canned (sunsetted….blech!) It made me realise how important portals are. These are what dominate our brain rewiring. A reliable, well loaded with choice portal to the site is my preferred option for the immediately doable future, and if I may dream a little, an app to produce a personalised portal (at least in part) would be fantastic.



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  • 46
    DaveUK9xx says:

     Tried that but it still forgets me each time I quit Firefox although it remembers me if I leave the site but come back during the same browsing session.



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  • 50
    DaveUK9xx says:

     I don’t have anything disabled as far as I’m aware. Everything works normally on all other sites as it did on the old one here.



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  • We’ve just put Discussions at the bottom of the home page – you should be able to access them now.  Note that discussions on the new site are separate from discussions on the old site. To see old site discussions you’ll need to go to http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/

    Also just released is continuous page loading – to see how it works click on Web News from the home page and the page will build as you scroll. No need to click next, next, next… then previous, previous, previous…

    Yes, the titles not appearing is an issue we are working on. We have that problem in the moderation panel as well and can’t easily tell which article a comment is coming from when we are looking at the latest comments all together in chronological order. 

    We are looking into options for display so that those who want a high contrast display (black on white) can more easily read the page.

    Disqus is another issue in general that we are working on. We know there are features that are lacking.



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  • 52
    Lorcán says:

    I have an RD account and a Disqus account (& I’m too tired to read the thread)……so just checking if I can post a comment.



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  • 53
    refuteist says:

    The RSS feed leads only to Google sites. I use Yahoo (since Google announced they were going to abandon IGOOGLE next year ). Will other alternatives be available in future ?



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  • 55
    Red Dog says:

    The Information Architecture of the site is starting to make more sense. One more minor thing that occurred to me, I don’t see why there is a category called Web News. Why not just News? If it were News about the Web it would make sense. Or if it were News delivered via the Web where as other news was delivered via TV or Telegraph it would make sense but it seems to me everything on the site is delivered via the Web. 



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  • Good point. In one incarnation of the beta site we had “Foundation News” rather than “RDF Originals” and I think this title was just a carryover from that and how we were distinguishing the two.  We’ll think about an appropriate name for “Web News”



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  • 58
    DallasDad says:

     Still nearly impossible to read. Grey on cream? Oh, my aging eyes!

    Would also like to see a list of articles without the page-filling graphics. You can keep the graphical page for visitors, but a good old [ul] [li] [li] … [li] [/ul] would actually, um, present information in a useful, compact format.



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  • 59
    Mark__2012 says:

    I think my profile has multiple personality disorder. I commented on some article, logged in as Phen (RD profile), it said in the comment box “Post as LinguisticApe” (Disqus account) and it came up as Mark_2012 (?).



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  • Hi Mods, I’m getting used to the new site and I have two suggestions:

    1. Whilst I like the new format with pictures for each thread, you have reduced the threads we can see at a glance to 4. That’s too small a number. I’d like to see smaller icons, and more threads immediately avaiable – 6 to 8 minimum.

    2. If you reduce the size and still fit it all on one line, you may like to introduce a new section called “odds n ends”. This could be for items that fail to make the cut in web news. So they could be a bit random or off topic or light weight or amusing or something. We don’t need to take them seriously but it will lighten up the site and one or two items a month could fly. Look at it as genetic mutation and natural selection out there on the edge.



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  • 62
    jimmmmmy says:

    I like your comments section way better than before . I usually gave up before commenting , It was that difficult to get to. My old account was seamlessly brought into the new domain nicely done. I applaud the system operator for helping me get onto the site after a bit of tweeking and a number of emails today. Seems to be working well now.



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  • 63
    jimmmmmy says:

    Why in the 21st century are George Carlins 7 filthy words banned , by Disqus ? Sorry Katy Cordeth my comments still seem to be censored or your accept responses is off



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  • 64
    Red Dog says:

    I looked at the new site from my iPad yesterday and it looks really nice on that platform. Well done. The gray text doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue. One more minor glitch I just noticed, I created a fairly big comment (329 words) and then went to edit it. The edit box was way too small. I could scroll the text and get to the word I wanted to edit eventually but it was difficult.



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  • 65
    Katy Cordeth says:

    Why in the 21st century are George Carlins 7 filthy words banned , by Disqus ?”

    “Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits, Barbra Streisand.”

    No problem here. I even threw in an extra one.



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  • 66
    QuestioningKat says:

    I was wondering if the comments could be numbered or a quote button could be added. The reply button adds the  grayed in line  “in reply to ______” but after several comments it gets difficult knowing to which comment someone replied. If the comments were numbered, we could then know which comment the reply is referring to.



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  • 68
    Stephen of Wimbledon says:

    I appreciate that some aspects of the new Site must take priority. Please don’t foget:
    – HTML Shortcuts for the Comments
    – Comment Histories in Profiles
    – Links to friendly and like-minded groups and bloggers

    Keep up the good work.



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  • 69
    Keith Whiteley says:

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned.

    I’m viewing using an Asus TF101 running Android.

    In the comments, the lines are truncated and not wrapping properly. It looks as if 4-5 characters are being chopped on the right.

    It’s OK on my iPad and iMac.



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  • 70
    jimmmmmy says:

    Why has my post as box turned blue and banished me to the disqus admin site. when I responded to a comment that used carlins 7 forebidden words, with one forebidden word



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  • 72
    jimmmmmy says:

    My “post as”now turns blue when I respond is that normal ? If I can’t respond to a poster does that mean their notification is off ? I got sent into cyber space when trying to respond to one post.



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  • Hi Mods,

    I’m definately finding the new site less interesting as a home page. This is because the top half of the page (which is all you get to see without scrolling down) doesn’t alter much. I feel the Featured, the Announcements and (with all due respect) the RD originals should be posted either lower or off to the side.

    I know everyone is different, but I like to see at a glance what’s new.



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  • I get a Disqus “ERROR” when replying to Katy Cordeth’s original comment. Also I’m not sure what is going on with the blue text.  I did a reply to your’s and it posted fine.



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  • 77
    jimmmmmy says:

    I got your post. I’m thinking maybe the posters have their disqus set not to accept replies? I’ve responded to several other posts no problems  The blue box isn’t really an issue



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  • 78
    oberon says:

    Dear sir:
    I have a problem with the posting of discussions on the forum. Whenever I click on “post discussion”, I fiind that the text in the the box which is the title of that discussion disappears. This leads me back to where I have stared, asking me to type in the title again. When I do so, the text in the box disappears , and leads me back to the blank page, etc. etc.
    what can be done to resolve this?  



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