The first reaction to version 4 was overwhelming and most assuredly mixed. While many welcomed the improvements and took the time to write us about them, some were so turned off by the colors they were unable to focus on the features. Between the praise and the threats to leave laid the bulk of the feedback, and we took it very seriously. We hope that offering alternative themes will eliminate the major point of contention: the look and feel. Design and color is a very personal preference: since the site design was never meant to be final, it was tough for some to get over this point. Themes ought to calm things down a bit there. Please note that the default theme and the classic theme are now pretty close to what I expect the final verison to look like. The other themes are all still under development, and while usable, some are not complete.
The sidebar is now configurable. Once logged in, go to your preferences page and go to the "sidebar" section. You will now be able to adjust the order of the items in your sidebar, as well as select your default headlines from our choices.
As I outlined in in my personal blog, there are now several compelling reasons to subscribe to OSNews, including one of the most popular requests we get: an ignore list. In addition, your profile links do not get a rel="nofollow". And of course you can default your flat mode view to "All Comments" in one page. All of this by passes the #1 reason to subscribe, which is the complete removal of ads, and of course helping to defray the costs of keeping our site running.
We've also done lots of UI tweaking: areas like the private messaging section has been revamped to have more consistent navigation. There is still some tweaking to do to remove some placeholder graphics, but we are getting much closer to the final product.
There are many features that many people did not notice the first time through: avatars can be turned off in your profile so that you may revert to a "lite" theme. In your "bio," you can now use UBB bold and italics and create outgoing links.
Lastly, a word regarding advertisements: I have removed many of the ads in the comments page to preserve continuity and in other places, I've moved them. The advertisement placement is not final, so I'd ask you to be mindful of the fact that the ad sections are not set in stone yet.
Please take a few moments to play around with OSNews 4. It's certainly ready to be used as your day-to-day OSNews. All constructive feedback is welcome.