New Stuff

I think I have the bugs worked out on a new feature here. The default layout has the posts in the middle column, but if you go down to the bottom of the right sidebar, there’s a Themes box, with two entries. “Journalized Sand” is the default theme, and the other theme is “Connections.” You can click on “Connections” if you want a different look to the site. I got it running this morning, but changed back because of some problems with it, but I think they are fixed now. Please let me know of any glitches.

UPDATE: I’ve now reversed the default theme to “Connections.” You can switch to the other theme if you prefer.


New Stuff — 14 Comments

  1. Jon,

    In terms of readability and overall aesthetic, the present layout is maybe the best I’ve ever seen on a blog. Its almost too cool. I’m very jealous.

  2. I, too, like the “connections” theme look.
    On my Internet Explorer browser, the default text size is set to “smaller”, and while that works fine for most sites, Certain Doubts in its new “connections” look, becomes completely unreadable. When I re-set the text size to “medium,” though, it looks great. Don’t know why this site is now so particularly sensitive to text size, or if others have had this same problem, but thought I’d relate what worked for me just in case…

  3. Right now (I know this stuff is changing around), we have sidebars for “most popular” and “most commented,” but the old sidebar for “most read” is not showing. Of the three, I find the “most read” sidebar — the one we don’t have right now — to be the most important. New readers may want to look at, in addition to the most recent entries, some of the most read of
    the older entries.

    I don’t understand the idea behind the “most popular.” It’s measured in terms of some sort of perecentage, but I don’t know what exactly is being measured.

  4. Keith, the “most read” info I’ve converted to a separate page, along with some other info as well. They are linked to in the sidebar, under the heading “Pages”. It includes various lists that made the sidebar extremely long.

  5. Oops, I forgot one thing. “Most Popular” is a ranking based on number of pageviews and number of comments. Can’t remember the exact formula, though…

  6. Keith, great ideas here. The formula is editable, so I can go and give whatever weight desired to each of the items. I think you are right about trackbacks and pingbacks, and notice that since I can edit the weights, we can make “most popular” mean “most read” anyway.

  7. (These are the kinds of comments I would ordinarily just e-mail to Jon, but since I don’t really understand the workings of blogs very well, I thought this would be a good chance to publically display my ignorance — and maybe people who know better can straighten me out!)

    Thanks for the info, Jon — and for the formula for “popularity” you gave at the later post. I was going to suggest we put “most read” on the main page instead of “most popular,” but my two reasons for that have been addressed: 1. I didn’t understand “most popular”. But now I’ve seen the secret formula. 2. The “most popular” was showing only very recent posts which are on the main page anyway, while “most read” directed readers to golden oldies. But I take it that’s b/c the most popular calculations have just started now, and so in time will direct readers to posts that are no longer on the main page anyway.

    Still, I think that “most read” might still be better. First, the formula for most popular places extremely heavy weight on “trackbacks” and “pingbacks”, and I don’t think those things are working on this site, anyway. (More on that later.) Also, it gives a lot of points for comments, and we’ve already got “most commented” on the main page.

    Even if trackbacks were/are working, I don’t see why they should count for so much. When other blogs (especially Leiter’s) discuss CD entries, that sends a lot of readers to the entries discussed, and moves those entries up on the “most read” rankings. (That happened, for example, with Jon’s post on Donald Kagan.) So I don’t see the point of also giving really heavy points, in addition to the readers sent to the post, for the trackback as well. In fact, I don’t understand why all the different weights should be given to different ways people find their way to a post. In my state of blog-ignorance, I’m most attracted to a simple, egalitarian formula: one point for each reader. But, I take it, that’s just what “most read” measures.

    Now, on trackbacks: We have a sidebar for trackbacks — I take it for the most receent trackbacks — but the ones listed are from a long time ago. I don’t know much, but I don’t think trackbacks are working on our site. Most of the posts — like, for instance, this one — say “Pinging is currently not allowed.” I think that’s because that’s the default setting, and few of us change that when we post items. I don’t even know the difference between pinging and trackbacks, but I went back & edited my latest post, and checked “allow pingbacks”, and the result was that instead of saying “pinging is currently not allowed”, the entry now says one can leave a trakcback — not a ping — from one’s own site, so I take it trackbacks and pings are close, but they are separate items in the “most popular” formula, so I’m a bit confused. Anyway, when one clicks on the trackback link, nothing much seems to happen. So, as one can see, I don’t know what I’m talking about. But whether or not it’s because these features aren’t working on the site, we seem not to get trackbacks.

  8. Now that I see on your “Update” to your “Trackbacks?” post that trackbacks are disabled on CD, it makes the “most popular” formula seem inappropriate, since it’s based so heavily on things we don’t have, anyway.

    But at any rate, it seems the “trackbacks” sidebar should be deleted.

  9. Jon,

    The links at the top (“About”, “Archives”, “Links”, “Contacts”) don’t lead anywhere. This probably only bothers me…

  10. The sidebar set-up seems pretty good now.
    With the contributors no longer listed on the main page (which seems a good idea, since the list of contributors is so long), it’s probably not a good idea for contributors to use just their first name in posting (as I have been doing). Better to use either one’s last name or first-and-last. This can be changed by logging in, then hitting “Users” at the top of the screen, and then adjusting the value for “How to display name.”

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