Username or EmailPassword
Would it be too harsh to make anonymous postings starting at -1? I know some people cannot/will not register so I don't want to punish them but trolls also post this way and it's annoying to mod down an obvious troll when such points can be used to mode up people instead.
It's been considered. I don't think we'll do that. We've also discussed having posters with positive averages over a certain number of comments start with +1. That's more likely, but nothing is certain yet.
How about if you just have users who've been on the site for a while have a +1 and all else, including anonymae have a 0. Then make the default threshold 0. That way it only takes one point to knock out a stupid anonymae post, and users who have been here a while reguardless of how much others don't like them will have a better position..
There are people on the site who've got negative rankings when there posts really are positive to the site. I think that's something to address. I'd hate to see the site turn into a popularity contest, like *cough* slashdot. Usually they get them by either:
1.) Posting very strong views which make them look like extremists. Which of course is bound to offend someone, even if it may not be inflammatory.
2.) They get into heated arguments with other users. This is also bound to create an inflammatory remark or too. I've always believed that to be pretty forgiveable as we've all been in a discussion and strongly believed the other individual to be of other than sound mind.
3.) There also tends to be, because this is an english site, a bias against bad english speakers. It's hard to get across a good idea in a language that's not your own...
4.) There are also people who I think are simply going through and modding down one side of a debate. For example they'll go and mod down every strongly pro-linux, pro-microsoft, or pro-apple point. I'm sure you guys catch many of those... Either that or it's people who are simply aversed to debate and mod down every point which is actually asking for a strong discussion.
The site admins are usually pretty good about downmodding obvious anonymous flamebait, so it really may not be necessary.
Let me add, has an irc.osnews.com/net been considered?
Let me add, has an irc.osnews.com/net been considered?
Not to my knowledge.
Well, it seems that complaints about keeping the site simpler were not considered. Very well, I'll look for something else. Having to think about a complex UI and it's behaviour is NOT attractive design. I never liked to subscribe to sites just so that I can do this and that. Anonymous is the simplest way to attract people to the site. Now anonymous is casted more and more into a second class citizen.
hope this is heard.
I don't find OSNews one bit more complicated to use since v3, quite the opposite. If future additions are implemented in a similar style while still keeping simplicity in mind, I have no worries.
I agree however with some points raised above about anonymous users being able to chose names again and some way to limit anonymous abuse (because it really feels pointless to moderate them down).
The option to ignore anonymous postings isn't really useful either, because this can't be changed on the fly and most conversations become unreadable with this setting activated. I would find it more useful personally to have an option to apply a certain score modifier to Anonymous users.
I totally agree. The reason I started participating in OSNews discussions in the first place was because of the ability to post with a user name without creating an account... I feel like this should still be available!
...I've been taking user feedback and playing with things like an alternate XHTML compliant site...
Why not start with an HTML compliant site? http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.osne...
Why not start with an HTML compliant site?
Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?? Have you paid attention to any of the conversation history??
We are intentionally non-compliant because our goal isn't compliance -- it's rendering everywhere. We are tested on hundreds of browsers, some very small and obscure. And we render on tons of mobile devices as well. Compliance is NOT a goal of osnews.
What is the obsession everyone has with compliance anyway/ Doesn't it work in your browser? What's the problem then?!
I would imagine, considering the number of rendering paths you have currently, that it wouldn't be hard to add a nice compliant path. And compliancy is always better then non-compliancy. Cleaner. Prettier. Better.
> We are intentionally non-compliant because our goal isn't compliance -- it's rendering everywhere.
I don't think you need to be HTML-Strict if that's what you're saying. HTML-Transitional is designed with your goal in mind.
Nope. Doesn't work.
Trust me, you need a crazy mix of HTML 2 and HTML 3.2 to work on the most browsers possible.
That depends on what you're doing. :-)
I use a crazy mix of browsers to test my own site, for example, including goodies the original IBM WebExplorer for OS/2 and the browser built into StarWriter in StarOffice 5.01, Xiino for PalmOS, and both Links and lynx, and HTML 4.01 Transitional seems to cut it for all of the above.
1)Compliancy makes your site more semantical, thus makes it more visible on the net. Something you may want. You don't have to pay to get google to see you, simply design compliant sites, and you will get better hits.
2)Compliancy makes your site accessible, i.e. blind people can read comfortably your site.
3)Compliancy allows your site to downgrade gracefully on engines that do not support all the features, you don't have to tweak for hours to make it work everywhere..
4) Compliancy makes the page load faster, because it will be smaller and because most of the theming will be in the css, which will be cached by the browser (dowloaded only once for all OSNews webpages).
5) Compliancy allows you to seperate content from presentation. You could easily change the look of your site, if need be.
6) Compliancy will allow you to easily extend your website to future web technologies.
And some more.
I have read the reasons for not being compliant. Personally, I think they are weak. Truly, how many people use Mosaic to browse the web, much less this site, any more? If your HTML was well written according to the specifications, strict is the only real way to go, then you will save yourself, and other, a whole lot of bandwidth. There is a ton of unnecessary HTML in this reply page alone.
Plus, you get the "works in every browser" almost for free. There are couple older browsers where a heavily styled page does not degrade cleanly but tough love to them; lynx works just fine and just about on any platform. You seem to love the fact that you render on tons of mobile devices -- CSS2 has a "handheld" media rule specifically for that purpose. Your mobile users would no longer have to go to special URLs (if they still have to any more).
Basically, your reasons for using quirky HTML are lame. However, I am not going to be one of those who say "change it because it absolutely MUST be compliant." Sure, I feel that way but it is your site. Do with it what you want. I just don't think it is right for a web site about technology to purposefully scoff at the effort to keep websites working as they were intended -- on any platform without having to use special code. What are you going to do when browsers deprecate quirks mode?
This site is great (much, much better than Slash in every respect). So just a full XHTML 1.1/CSS 2.1 (that includes proper Content-Type) version that gets served to Safari 2+, KHTML (whatever the modern version is) and Gecko 1.4+. No comment threading, though, please. I agree with this post.
I like the direction of the changes, and I think it is great that things are still being developed and improved with our feedback being considered.
Not all changes will be to everyone's liking, but I feel that more positive than negative changes are being done. I agree that it would be nice to implement some sort of system where I don't have to use so many negative mods to get rid of trolling posts (and we have all seen too many of them). Once this system is tuned, I would expect that everyone will be able to use their mod points to promote good posts more than punish negative ones.
As for the "Anonymous" posters, there are some great posts under Anon, but unfortunately too many people use that status to post frequent trash (even returning to repost junk that got modded down out of normal sight).
I am looking forward to a more enjoyable OSNews, where people can still disagree, but discuss things reasonably. I hope this 'admin assisted' self-moderation experiment works out.
The thing I find the most annoying is if you are not already logged in, and you go to make a comment you, of course, want to log in. Unfortunately, if you go to login, you lose your place (say if you had already hit reply to a certain comment).
Activewin.com has it so that if you are not logged in, all you need do is put in your user name and pass, type up your message, and then when you post it logs you in as well.
I think this would be a nice little interface change.
I'm waiting for the reply function on the mobile osnews.
It's coming. I promise, you'll see it sometime in the near future.
Before there were hardly any "Anonymous" users becasue giving a name did not require registration. I do like some of the features that registration adds, but I also miss having names for some of the Anonymous users. There are several frequent posters here whos names I have not seen since OSnews moved to a registration based system. One possible solution would be to let anon users give a name and have it show up in black with no hyperlink.
Sure there is the possibility of impersination with this system you could always dissable the feature again if the abuse gets out of hand. (besides, they can be modded down if needed)
> One possible solution would be to let anon users give a name and have it show up in black with no hyperlink.
Or just have it say: "By Anonymous As ______ on ...". The _____ would contain the name they provided, but you can still easily see that it was posted anonymously and not by a registered user. Then, if people are worried about getting impersonated, they can register and avoid the problem entirely.
Registering an account is simple. If someone wants a moniker associated with their posts, then they can create an account. If people want to be anonymous then they can be anonymous. Being anonymous while having a moniker offers what benefit, exactly?
I should also add that having to create an account hasn't curtailed certain parties (Moulinneuf for an extreme example) from posting a lot of troll bait. There's really no substitute for vigilance.
Being anonymous while having a moniker offers what benefit, exactly?
We could actually understand who's talking with whom. It's just very confusing if 80% of the postings come from Mr. Anonymous.
Why isn't the comment view threaded? Few people, it seems, have taken the time to read How to Use OSNews Version 3, which explains the answers to these questions.
Where? The only relevant thing I see is this:
flat thread comment view for better conversion tracking
What the hell does that mean? Seriously, it's impossible to following a thread of conversation on OSNews. That's why there's always so much repetition in the comments.
The only time I have a problem following OSNews threads is when articles get > 100 comments. Now I can raise my threshold and weed some of them out, which is a good thing.
If you read a message that is in reply to something that you haven't read you can click on the "In reply to" link which is also very cool.
I like it.
The lack of a threaded comment display is the single more annoying thing about OSNews, I think.
While one can click on the Reply links and such to follow each thread, that's not always as efficient in a web browser as it could be.
The idea of suggesting an obfuscated e-mail address was a good one. But how about obfuscating them the way this site does instead: http://ktmatu.com/info/email-address-obfuscator/
when the rating system was first started i really thought it was kind of a joke and for some time it was not used properly, (a lot of trolls modding people down because they didn't like what they heard).
Anyway, I have to say, the rating system is really starting to come into its' own, it's not perfect and there are some abusers but I really am starting to see it function properly.
I also think it would be a good idea to allow anonymous posters to give their name and have it posted with no hyper link as Jody said in an above post.
Great job osnews staff, keep up the good work
Do you realize that adding another rendering path = additional work when for example adding features and/or re-designing? I hardly see why the osnews staff must doing that.
I'm very much for xhtml/css and deplore the use of tables, but it seems to me that XHTML standards can either be adhered to in spirit of the law, or letter of the law.
You can validate your document, and make it only work in a couple of browsers, this is the letter of the law, or you can embrace all browsers and sacrifice that little w3c logo so that everyone can view your document.
Validation is a Good Things, it can help you achieve XML well-formedness and often times your doc will validate, but it's a tool, not a be-all end-all.
What OSnews has done here is good Design at it's heart, and I can appriciate it.
i really wish this could be defined in user settings, i know some really want comments threaded, others dont just as passionately.. it'd be nice to have the option..
myself, id prefer threaded just due to the simple fact that some comments go on tangets unrelated to the subject.. and its an easy visual way to skip all that..
otherwise, im pleased with the overall new usage of v3.. just need more people voting on comments
If you make threading optional, then you get the problem that those users who have it enabled will write their postings with less context, assuming that readers will have threading enabled, too. In result, following discussions will become a lot harder for those who prefer the flat view. Just try the flat view on any popular threaded news site and you'll see what I mean.
I don't see why this is so important, after all comments should be about adding useful information to a news item and not so much about discussing totally unrelated topics. There is a reason why most popular web forums have adopted the flat view and even gmail uses it with success instead of email-threading. It's a lot less confusing and much easier to keep track of new additions.
You can't have a reply mechanism in place, complete with a link to the page of replies, without the threading mechanism being inherent. The threading is already in OSNews v3, and people are already making use of it. Now that @so-and-so etc. is out of fashion, it's become near-impossible to sort through what's being responded to without having some sort of threading view. While you personally may not use it, a lot of people would be a lot happier if they could follow conversations with some bit of coherency.
I don't see why this is so important, after all comments should be about adding useful information to a news item and not so much about discussing totally unrelated topics.
Why would they be unrelated? That seems like a much more Slashdot-esque behavior to me than what I've come to expect from OSNews readers.
Besides, threading allows you to simply skip over unrelated conversations...
One thing I might advocate is a limit to thread depth; e.g. three replies deep is the max. This would ensure that threads never got too convoluted and out of hand in terms of followability.
I like the idea but rather than being black with no hyperlink we make it red or have it with striketrough to make sure people know they're not logged in, or have decided not to.
First let me say that I love the way OSNews renders on every single browser I've ever tested, and with a site like this I think that's the right goal to strive for.
Second it's great that more modpoints are alotted now. I noticed a tendency to spend much of my votes modding down trolls, leaving less room for 'positive' moderation.
Third when will the friends/fans function be activated ? I noticed it already is for the editors, or am I just missing a button somewhere :-) ?
"It works everywhere", what a mediocre alibi. Just tell us what illegal markup you use that makes your site soooo world-accessible.
You have articles about the future all day long, and don't realize this markup crap you send just makes a friendlier and more useful web later.
Let's save the planet, he said, throwing his garbage over his shoulder.
Not that I support their lack of a compliant page, but noncompliant pages are required for many old browsers. Try opening a XHTML/CSS site in, say, Netscape 3 (still company policy browser for a company I do work for). No CSS support, no HTML support (well, it supports HTML, but not any of the ratified standards). Or try opening a page that uses divs for positioning in IE4 (as compared to tables). Or try opening any of this junk in a mobile browser, especially an old one. FONT tags are ugly as sin. But they're required for older browsers. I'm not dissing any of that. But it would be very little work to put in an additional render path that produced clean XHTML/CSS code and used server-side browser detection (if they need it, they can have my PHP browser detection algorithm, but I'm sure they can make their own) to send that code only to Gecko and KHTML/WebKit browsers. And maybe Opera, if we ask really nicely. But what do I know? Maybe they use some kind of horrible internal templating system to manage all of this, and it wouldn't work with that kind of a set up.
Sorry, but over the past 4 years or so OSNews has gone down the crapper. I don't think any amount of work on the site can really save it from the trolls who started invading a few years back and think the GPL is a religion.
Too bad, because OSNews used to be a great site.
Which some people adopt and live their life by. In many ways it is just like a religion. Much like Marxism and Libertarianism are in many ways just like a religion. That is, they are constraining systems of thought.
Of course, this doesn't answer my question.. why can't we have comment threading? It's a fundamental part of many to many communications. Usenet had it for christ sake, why can't we?
Read the post I linked. Threading is nice, but then you end up with something like Slashdot where there's a million different disconnected conversations going on. That happens to a lesser degree here, but because people can't follow a million different conversations (I guess clicking on the "# Replies" button is too hard), they mostly end up talking about either something that has something to do with the topic, the GPL vs BSD/any other license, or how much the Gnome devs suck.
Which brings me to my next suggestion, for Adam. Add 3 new fields to our User Profiles. They can be "combo box" fields. The first one will be "Stance on GNU GPL". The second one will be "Stance on Gnome devs". The third one will be "Stance on OS X/Windows". Yes, the stance on both will be in one combo box. It is left as an exercise to the reader to decide what the user had in mind when they answered that question. Through this addition, most of the comments here can be avoided, just by clicking somebody's user profile. Brilliant! :-)
Which brings me to my next suggestion, for Adam. Add 3 new fields to our User Profiles. They can be "combo box" fields. The first one will be "Stance on GNU GPL". The second one will be "Stance on Gnome devs". The third one will be "Stance on OS X/Windows".
I definitely feel like a huge nerd for reading that and laughing out loud.
You may not like being able to follow the thread of a conversation, but your personal preferences shouldn't dictate whether or not an *optional* view is incorporated. Furthermore, the lack of a threaded view has hardly prevented threaded conversations in the least, as you suggest, as this particular thread clearly demonstrates. All it does is make sorting through the conversations a lot harder.
I noticed that a comment was replaced with title: "[post removed]" and body: "[post by <full ip> removed]", limiting that person's privacy and worst of all, wiping their remark off of the record, even to those who read at -5. I find this to be a bit Orwellian - do you think arbitrary comment deletion is a good direction for OSNEWS to go, considering that we consider ourselves part of the FREE movement?
do you think arbitrary comment deletion is a good direction for OSNEWS to go, considering that we consider ourselves part of the FREE movement?
No, I think it sucks.
But the comment included some especially inciteful terms (inciteful, not insightful) that were explicitly offensive and directed at our editors. That has happened exactly ONCE, and I hope never again. You happened to catch it the one time it occured. I promise you, the VAST majority of moderation is done by users now, and this is a very rare exception, but I would absolutely do it again, and will not hesitate if that type of content is posted on this site again.
This is not subject to US law, this is a private site. While I personally encourage freedom and freedom of speech and I know David does too, I do not and will not protect hate speech. Period. Would you agree that that's fair?
Perhaps the real issue with threading is that one of the moderators would always have to be tuned in to shuffle arriving posts to the correct thread.
No, just use a References-based threading mechanism like USENET does. That will take care of itself. The site already knows which message you're responding to, so just link each child message to its parent with a pointer, and (if needed) create pointers the other way to ease display.
If you are writing X/HTML then you're writing trash to be disposed of. HTML is a form of output like postscript or pdf. XML/XSLT is the only proper way to build a site and you can generate all three from the same content which is completely separate from presentation logic. Anything else and you're just fscking yourself over and over again.
Not much difference between writing XHTML (which should contain no presentation, just organization) and XML/XSLT, except you need to do more work for XML/XSLT. Especially in a dynamic site, where everything's pulled from the databse on-demand anyhow. Would you have them first pull from the database, then generate an XML document, then apply an XSLT transformation to create an XHTML document to pass onto the user, then apply the CSS presentation on top of that? Seems a tad complex to me...
Ever noticed that OSNews seldom shows up well in Google? And when it does, completely different pages are detected as duplicate pages by Google's algorithm?
I'd love to see some basic cleanups to prevent those problems. Even just putting the article title ino the page title would be a BIG help there.
I like the new OSNews even though I haven't seen much need to comment lately. A couple of things I would like to see added, though:
1. Local OSNews comments can be rated from 1 to 10. I think *all* posts should be rated with the rating displayed with the article on the front page. I only read maybe a third or less of articles as it is, but it would help a bit more to have a community vote even on linked posts (which seem to be the majority).
2. Number the posts. I don't want to see threading -- I like the current system. But it would be nice to know what number to start over at when you leave the site and there are 20 or 30 new posts. Plus when the site takes you somewhere else and you return you can also lose your place.
3. Have links open in a new tab or window when possible.
I like the new OSNews. I've tried Slashdot and Kuro5hin a few times but I basically stick to OSNews and Arstechnica, the two best tech sites on the web.
That reminds me... How about a "xy new comments" display and a click on it would directly jump to the first new comment (another thing which is easier to implement with flat views).
I definitely agree with your #1. Being able to moderate linked articles would be a godsend, especially if we could set a filter level for the main page (say, filter out all articles over 6 hours old with a score of less than 5, so we still see the new ones, but don't see the crap). There's a lot of articles that I find poorly written and not really suitable for contribution, and that I would enjoy modding down.
> I definitely agree with your #1. Being able to moderate
> linked articles would be a godsend, especially if we
> could set a filter level for the main page (say, filter
> out all articles over 6 hours old with a score of less
> than 5, so we still see the new ones, but don't see the
> crap). There's a lot of articles that I find poorly
> written and not really suitable for contribution, and
> that I would enjoy modding down.
Yeah, the articles here have a large deviation in quality from very good to very bad. And that's just for the ones that I actually read!
Automatic selective quoting would be nice, too, like the old BBS days!
Am I correct in my understanding that now entire threads get moderated down with the original post (or something like that)?
I have often replied to inflamatory posts in an attempt to correct any false statements without having to moderate people down if I didn't think they were intentionally trolling. I wouldn't want to lower my score by trying to help people like that.
Am I correct in my understanding that now entire threads get moderated down with the original post?
No. Posts are individually modded down, and the vast majority of the moderation is done by users. However, the cases when an admin "cleans up" a thread, often times, if there is a massive off topic thread, they'll take out the entire thread and you're a victim of collateral damage. That's exactly why new mod options are better - now you won't be penalized.
Ah, this sounds great. I just let out a little steam about off topic posts yesterday.
Could this be programmed into the site?
When a comment with RE: in it's title is submitted, instead of it being placed in sequential order as is presently done it is placed underneath the title it is refering to.
This way you avoid the threading problem of clicking through subtitles and of having to leave the page. The site will have the same look but be better organized.
Someone mentioned in one of the above posts about numbering the comments. These numbers may assist in programming a solution as long as the RE: comments that are placed under the title their refering to are not numbered.
1. I would like to see the comment's score _before_ the comment, in order to discriminate. That's the whole point of scores: enabling the reader to read selectively. Some comments are very long, and this causes me to scroll to the end and then back up.
2. Usually I know how many comments I'd like to read, but not the score threshold is good for me. For example, if I only have 10 minutes to spend, I'd like to only read the 20 best rated comments. Unfortunately I cannot specify this; I can only specify the rating threshold. So I end up trying each threshold and then scrolling down to see how many comments are there. It would be nice if, in the dropdown list where I set the threshold, I could see how many comments with that score are there. Yes, Slashdot does this, and there's a reason. :-)
Whenever someone advocates XHTML strict, I like to point to JWZs rant:
It's a typical jwz piece, but somehow I tend to agree
So, if i choose to subscribe to email comments...are only comments made directly to a comment I made emailed to me, or can I subscribe to a thread and have all comments emailed to me? From what I can tell, it's the former...I'd really like the ability to subscribe to a thread and recieve notifications of all comments for said thread.
And *please* enable full RSS (including CommentRSS)!
To add to my original reply, only allow emailing of comments above a certain threshold.
How could that work? *All* comments start at 0, and the email is submitted to the mail queue when the comment is submitted.
Sorry, replied to the wrong post:
Write an email job that runs every say...10 minutes or so. If it finds a comment on a thread that satisfies a threshold set by the user for emails, send the comment. Should involve a trivial amount of coding :-).
Please make the comments threaded, or at least the ability to view it that way. As it is, looking through the comments, one regularly comes across comments that are obviously a reply. However, you then have to scroll back up the list and try and find the original comment so you can understand what is going on.
However, you then have to scroll back up the list and try and find the original comment so you can understand what is going on.
Above each reply there is a link to the original comment. No need to search for it.
I don't care about ratings/votes, modding up or down, threads, XHTML/CSS or any of that stuff. There is only one reason why I signed up for an account and that was so I no longer had to look at the anonymous posts. I hoped that people with accounts would have better posts. The quality of posts at OSNews has gone down quite a bit in the last 18 months...
Eugina had it right: no linked reply per say and no threading, no score - just a way to flag a message as needing review.
The idea of banning accounts and reviewing scores and looking for cheaters - its all a waste of time. Its some sort of silly game. All that I want is to read news and review some intelligent replies - all the system needs to be able to do is hide/remove poor messages as soon as possible. Get a pool of 16 or so trustworthy 'sub administrators' who are able to scratch bad posts and who, among them, are likely to be on at any time of the day. Then just let them clean up those posts and forget about all this other stuff. Really, sometime computer programmers come up with difficult solutions to simple problems.
I can appreciate your perspective, although experience tells me you've overestimated the public in both the quality of posts and the amount of moderation required. The "Report Abuse" method means people need to be online and on our site for extended periods, and we know that that generally leads to someone getting involved and thereby losing all objectivity.
Eugina had it right: no linked reply per say
What's objectionable about linked replies? Nearly everyone I speak to thinks that's one of the best new features.
Oh, this is nice. My comment got voted -1. I have been a regular on this web site for years and never abused/trolled it. I used to post as APW [before accounts] if you want to check me on this...
So I speak my opinion and I get voted as "bad". This is really friggin childish. That is why the "report abuse" is better. Someone can report abuse, if the staff agree then it is removed. if they don't its not like I get any negative marks against me. now me, a faithful and regular user looks like a troll in your database.
as for replies - frankly want I want to see is throughful comments on the news item, not a discussion. I left slashdot a long time ago (maybe 4 years ago) because I hated reading all this stupid little childish bickerings. It might have changed since, but I was so disappointed by it then I just don't have the heart to try again.
If discussions really were useful I'd alright with them, but most of them are just nit picks and jabs. Focusing on replies - and especially thread views - encourages this idea of everyone commenting on everyone else. with no reply button and no threads, hopefully people only add a reply when they have something to say. and hopefully they only post when they have read the article and have e a thoughtful/insightful addition to make.
I'm sorry I'm fustrated. I've been a professional software developer for 13 years. When I setup CMS systems for my clients (e.g. XOOPS) they don't use a large number of the features and they find the forums features confusing. As a user of OSNews I can appreciate their feelings...I don't want lots of extra icons/text at the bottom of the posts (heart, replies, +, -). it is distracting and entirely unnecessary for what I want out of the system. thats just my opinion, I'm not trying to represent anyone else.
clean and simple is what will improve the user experience. challenge each new feature, prove that it is needed.
BTW - I think the website is generally fine looking and I like that it renders in all browser engines. so I'm not all negative.
That's a little melodramatic. Report abuse had higher latency (someone has to sit around and police the site), was prone to abuse (click every post! yay!), and didn't deal with positively-moderating good posts. Moderation isn't bad because you stated that the quality of posts has declined and someone moderated you down for it. That's seriously overreacting, and I've had far more unwarranted down mods levied against me without batting an eyelash.
Nothing's wrong with linked replies per se, except that if a lot of replies are made to replies of replies, then things start getting really unmanageable. This is why, if linked replies are going to be implemented, a thread view needs to be implemented too. I'd say it's either all or nothing: optional thread view or back to the old way with no linked replies, but just plain linked replies are a pain in the ars, in my experience.
Now that I think about it, Gadrel's right: linked replies do encourage people to nitpick instead of filtering their thoughts for the maximum effect. Unfortunately, I don't think there's any going back at this point.
I think the quality of comments has significantly improved in the last 18 months.
It used to be that trolls ran the show, plunging most discussions into the same flamewars over and over and over again. And then the moderators would kill whole troll-created threads, at which point self-appointed "concerned" members of the community would lash out at their "tyrannical moderator overlords" with all manner of accusations from "trampling free speech" to "biased news postings." *sniff* I'm feeling nostalgic.
Now people for the most part just try to discuss things calmly and rationally, providing genuinely insightful comments. It's very refreshing to click on the comments link with the expectation of learning something useful such as how to fix a common problem or why a major company has made a seemingly strange decision.
Of course, the fact that I now post here very rarely has absolutely nothing to do with the improved commentary.
I don't think that the quality of posts has changed all that much in either direction. If you look at the 100+ comment topics, they still devolve into the same tired arguments about subjective nonsense. There is much less complaining about the tyranny of moderation, but various anonymous and some people with accounts (pravda for example) complain about the moderation of their inciteful comments.
There's not much that can make discussion better; it is well within the purview of the people that use the site.
I have just received my new Palm with WiFi support (LifeDrive) and like how you have created a version that renders beautifully on my screen, both landscape and portrait might I add. Thank you for this!
Now to the requests (you knew they were coming):
1. I would like to be able to view the comments with respect to certain ratings like I can on my computer. It starts at the default setting and that is it. (i.e. - I cannot select to view only comments with a rating of 3 and above.)
2. Why can't I login to OSNews on my Palm? I can login to both GMail and Yahoo! in secure mode, but I am not offered any option to log in when on the Palm. I would love to be able to login so that I can rate comments and such.
Thanks again for the much improved system, and good luck with future feature additions.
Anandtech is going through a similar process with their comments section. While I realize that what is good for one site is not necessarily good for another, one idea piqued my interest. I found that when I posted a comment, I lost my ability to use my moderation points for that particular article. Perhaps this would keep the voting more objective?
The biggest issue I have with a lack of compliance to, at a minimum, HTML 4.01 standards is accessibility. OSnews gives a big f-you to the blind community. This site is terrible on screen readers.
The problem is that OSnews is obsessed with making the site present the same in every browser. The real focus should be the content, and making sure the content is accessible in every browser, including browsers for handicapped people. The idea that is missed is that a website does not have to display exactly the same in every browser. Just the content has to be readable. So, design for the best browser and use CSS. The CSS will be ignored by the older browsers, and if you have proper markup, a text version will still be shown.
This will save you the time of making one million versions for different browsers. Who cares if it doesn't look perfect? As long as the user can read the information, its all good. Even if the browser doesn't support any CSS, using proper html will allow for a black and white text version to show. That version would work great for mozilla, handheld browsers, mosaic, internet explorer, be browsers, commodore browsers and screen readers.
A great thing to do is look at the sites on cssvault.com. Turn off the style settings. You'll see the pages are still very accessible and readable, even if they don't look 100% perfect.
Simple things can be done to make a site very accessible:
1. remove all tables that were for presentation
2. remove all presentation markup from html (e.g. font tags) and move it to css
3. replace all b,i,u type tags with proper strong, em, and other tags.
4. organize content properly - heading tags follow proper order, use lists when needed, move content above ads (css can place it later)
5. add accessibilty items - skip navigation links, add alt and title attributes, etc.
Doing these will make the site handicapped accessible, lower the number of maintained versions of the site (in turn lowering development costs), and will lower bandwidth usage. Not to mention, content will be properly readable from all browsers.
Note: Slashcode is HTML 4.01 compatible now and table free! Slashdot is soon moving to the table-free design.
OSnews gives a big f-you to the blind community
Honestly, Kyle, I think that's a bit dramatic. OSNews is most assuredly *not* a big "f you" any more than a CD is a big f you to the deaf community. In fact, your post is a big f you to non-English speakers.
In all seriousness, the obsession IS with displaying the same, not providing just content. We cover all operating systems, and we pride ourselves in being functional on all browsers, even the dinky ones for dinky little OSs. Write an OS, code up a flimsy browser, and we'll render properly. Even Net+on BeOS works.
lower the number of maintained versions
I think people have the wrong idea - there are only two versions - mobile and standard.
Note: Slashcode is HTML 4.01 compatible now and table free! Slashdot is soon moving to the table-free design.
And for the record, I don't think anyone is interested in running Slash here. It's big and bulky, and while many of our readers would understand, I know FROM EXPERIENCE that most people can't figure out what the hell they are looking at.
Just to add from my last post. If you go to http://www.slashcode.com, you can choose the /. page style in Firefox. You can also see what the new layout looks like with no style applied. It's all very accessible compared to the old slashcode system, and much simpler and faster.
To tell you the honest truth, I don't understand why you want to make OSnews look the same on every obscure browser there is. OSNews' layout isn't exactly artistic, there doesn't seem to be an overwhelming need to make it look the same on every browser except for personal reasons (just to be able to say you can). I can understand wanting to make it look the same (or nearly the same) on mobile devices, but as soon as you start going beyond supporting most mainstream browsers+mobile devices you've left the realm of pragmatism and good web design and entered the realm of geek-ego massaging and obsession.
I won't go beyond that, as you can probably tell which side of the compliance-line I stand on. Whether you choose full-compliance or not is your choice. I do find it ironic that, because of the nature of this website, you attract those people that demand full compliance to web standards, and also those who might use obscure web browsers. I guess you can't have it all, huh?
I would like to add a vote for allowing mobile devices to log in and moderate.
Really just logging in and having a reply button would be nice. That way you could trick mobile users posts for good or ill as well.
What I find very annoying is having to click "Read Comments" which then drags me through the first (usually 15) comments, but slows me down if for some strange reason I actually want to look at *all* the comments in one shot. Why should I look at one screen more than once in order to choose to see all the comments at once, like I intended to do before I got there? This is a waste of time for me as a user, and a waste of bandwidth for your server as well, and frankly, I'm betting very few users give a rat's a$$ about the joy of seeing those annoying ads more than once anyway, as those external servers slow things down for page loading. Please, PLEASE, allow the viewer to go directly to a "Read All" from the first link on the front page and at the bottom of an article that's posted on here. That's just so easy to do that there's no excuse for this flaw remaining, unless you're hung up on maximizing ad page views.
Another gripe: I've noted many times when I go to view a group of comments (15 at a time) that the "Read Comments" block at the bottom may not show *which* group of comments I'm currently viewing: ie, someone added some comments after I started reading the last block, I go to view the next block (but there were only a few, near the end) and when I look at the bottom to see where I'm at, there's *nothing* to indicate that I was at any particular place. This is especially annoying when more than 15 comments get added between the start of viewing the last block of comments and when I actually finally try to look at the next block. Surely this wouldn't be more than a short conditional bit of logic to detect this correctly.
Read all is available. Just fork over the cash. And if you register, you can look at more than 15 per page. There are benefits to subscription and registration.
Please, PLEASE, allow the viewer to go directly to a "Read All" from the first link on the front page
Subscribers currently have that option. I don't know when, if ever, it will be available to non-subscribers. We're trying to determine which features we want to keep as a subscription boon and which we want to roll out for everyone to enjoy. I've suggested to the editorial staff that we open the XHTML site for subscribers, at a minimum, as well.
Just so no-one goes crazy on this, here's what we know - subscribers are generally more likely to contribute comments that are modded up, as well as more likely to contribute high quality comments. This is why we like to reward them with benefits - we appreciate their support, and in turn, they get an enhanced experience.
Also, they get the ad-free version, which loads SO MUCH faster it's kind of dizzying.
block at the bottom may not show *which* group of comments I'm currently viewing
It absolutely should, unless you're refreshing a page. I'm still using Eugenia's old page detection logic, which uses the GET variables to determine which page you're on rather than inferring it. At some point, I'll update that.
I think Hierarchical Threads are still the best way to go. It would be great if I could skip over the countless GPL vs. BSD or my distro is better than yours arguments that clutter every single comment section of a given article. On the other hand whole conversations can be followed by sticking to one main topic/post thread.
Write an email job that runs every say...10 minutes or so. If it finds a comment on a thread that satisfies a threshold set by the user for emails, send the comment. Should involve a trivial amount of coding :-).
I agree it was dramatic. I don't think OSNews purposely tries to hurt accessiblity, but rather unintentionally does. The mish-mash of invalid html code does it, including the tables.
I only talked about Slashcode because you mentioned it in your initial article. I don't think OSNews needs slashcode at all. It's overkill. I just thought the good news about /. should be posted here.
I think that osnews programmers should work to overcome the obsession with exact presentation. I would think that going to standards based code and lowering the bandwidth requirements and server load would be far more imporant. People don't come back to popular sites for the looks, they come back for the content. There are millions of blogs out there that look beautiful, but don't have the content to justify visiting them again. So, why worry about it here?
P.S. An important fix that is required:
In Firefox, if you click "Reply" on a specific post, it just brings up the new post information. It does not fill in the subject. You have to click the "# Replies" link, then reply. "Reply" just doesn't work right.
Hmm. I use Firefox on three platforms and Reply works normally on all of them. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the nature of the problem that you're having, or you're running into a bug with the version of Firefox that you have installed.
Well, I hit reply from your post, and no subject was filled in. I'm on Firefox 1.0.6. Maybe there's something here messing it up. But, if there was a conversation thread and I hit "# Replies", then I will have the reply option.
Check your your user info page... For example, mine is http://osnews.com/user.php?uid=30. It has buttons! And if you look at one of the admin's pages (http://osnews.com/user.php?uid=1), you can see friends and fans and such. No foes yet, though. Anyhow, cool!
Yep, you found it. I don't think we'll be implementing foes. I think it encourages flamewars and negativity. For now, I'm content with *positive vibes* on the site.
Keep your eyes peeled for more new stuff over the next few weeks. And for those still reading this thread, here's a neat little easter egg:
yah great...now back to the matter at hand. When will we ever use those stats? It's purdy and all, but come on.
I still can't believe my earlier requests have been ignored. Implement some sort of email system based on comment threashold (write a "lazyreader" mechanism that periodically sweeps through the comments and emails them based on the user's specified threshold or recieving comments via email), and enable full RSS.
Jayson - calm down. Nothing has been ignored. You want me to code something WHILE YOU WAIT?
Th editorial staff will discuss everything readers brought up, but that doesn't mean we'll implement them, for lots of reasons. You may not use stats, but like I tell people who complain about too many Linux distros -- "just ignore them and let other people enjoy them!"
Your suggestion as to comment threshold just doesn't make sense to me. Comments are moderated over time - people want to know there's been a reply quickly. 10 minutes, almost guaranteed, is not going to see your comment moderated. It just won't work with this system - trust me, I know the backend better than anyone else. It's not that it can't be done, it's that it's pointless to do it that way. If you want more detail, email me offline.
A flat threaded view would be an excellent compromise, in my opinion
I've suggested this before, but it would be nice to see the name of the article you're looking at in the title bar of the browser/ on the tab as the case may be.
First, I'd like to thank the whole OS News team for their work.
* put story title into the page's title. this makes orientation in browser windows, browser tabs and bookmarks easier.
* For comment pages, you might want to add " / comments X to Y", where X would equal to the "offset" parameter and Y to the "rows" parameter of comment.php
* a political one - staff members should use two accounts. One for moderating, one for discussing. It is OK that I can't moderate your post, when it says "please calm down, don't flame here". However, I should be able to moderate it, I believe, when it actually is dicussing the article.
I value your work on this site a lot (as I know I would not have the time and energy for such a thing myself), but that does not make you always right (or wrong). Hence it should be able to "-" and "+" (!) your posts, if they are on-topic.
I don't see a way to retrieve/reset my password. Due to cookies, I'm still logged in, but cannot change my preferences, as for the sake of $DEITY, I cannot remember my password.
Forget about the password, got it.
Had to open osnews.com in a browser, that did not have my login cookie. Then I could see the link..