|Denise (denise) wrote in dw_news,|
@ 2010-05-10 11:24 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||weekly announcements|
It's been a busy week over here! We had a relatively successful Web 2.0 Expo -- I have abour four pages of notes on Things To Improve or Things To Plan For Later -- and the SF/Bay Area meetup on Friday night was pretty awesome (hello to everyone who was there, and especially to the people I met for the first time!) We also had what I think of as a particularly Dreamwidth thing going on: I taught mark how to knit, and he taught me how to fire a shotgun. (In case you've missed it, we both think that the wide variety of experiences and opinions demonstrated around here is pretty damn awesome, and both of us love exploring things we don't know, ideas or skills we haven't seen before, and opinions we don't necessarily share.)
I now get a week to recover from last week, and then head out to Portland to appear at the NCWIT annual summit with Kirrily Robert and Angela Byron. (Tuesday is the registration deadline, if you've been considering attending.) And as soon as I get back from Portland, sarah and I are ducking down to Washington DC to get married -- we're not holding the big-party wedding for another year or so, but we're doing a tiny courthouse ceremony the week of May 24th. It's a really packed month.
On to the update!
This week's code tour, done by Afuna, is chock full of awesome things of awesomeness. Most of the bugs are little things or backend cleanup, but the ability to merge multiple tags into a single tag will be going live with the next code push (I know I mentioned it last week, but it totally deserves repeating), there'll be the option to add a link to the entry on the remote site to the footer of entries on Dreamwidth that have been crossposted elsewhere, there'll be a new setting for communities to allow tagging of entries only by the maintainers and the poster of the entry (as opposed to maintainers-only), and comment emails will have a link to the comment that started the thread.
(Can you tell that I'm really excited about some of the dev work we've been doing lately?)
2. Update Redesign; Draft/Scheduled Posts
It's been a little while since we mentioned this project, so I thought I'd give a progress report! fu has created the initial mockup of the new update page design (the first step in the draft posts and scheduled posts project) for people to review, and it's currently with our project team leaders for their feedback. Once we incorporate all of that, and have it to a point where we're fairly happy with it, we'll be sharing it with the rest of you in order to gather your comments on it. We'll go through as many revisions as we need to achieve a version that nearly everyone can live with.
I say 'nearly' because no matter how much we try, we're never going to be able to make everyone happy. We can, and will, work to integrate as much feedback as possible, and we will obviously prioritize accessibility problems and major usability issues -- we're hoping that the multiple revisions method of development will let us work out the major glitches before we deploy the revision. Before anybody asks, though, we won't be able to offer an opt-out, or the ability to continue using the old update page. I'll get into more of the reasoning why when I introduce the redesign in dw_biz, hopefully in a week or two, but this redesign is critical in allowing us to do a lot of the new features we have planned for enhancing the posting experience.
(And speaking of enhancing the posting experience, mark spent last week working on the first, most basic element of media hosting: the ability to email pictures to DW and have them appear in your account, with accompanying security levels. He's only got a little more work left on that, which is going to be the foundation of our media hosting project -- it'll take time for us to build a really fully-featured version, but he really wanted to get the first, most basic form in sooner rather than later. I really like this thing where we send Mark to conferences and he builds awesome things.)
3. Data Security & Privacy
There are three ways that we (the Dreamwidth staff) can obtain access to your locked entries:
* By the use of the "viewall" ability, which is a URL-based argument that allows an admin to override the security of a single page. (Single-entry view, your recent entries page, etc -- it can't be used on your reading page to view any locked posts that might appear in that section of your reading page.) It is not automatic -- if I go to your journal, I can't see your locked posts unless I specifically add ?viewall=1 to the end of the URL. This is used for legal compliance issues; investigating reports of Terms of Service violations that, if the report is correct, would also be violations of US law; and for troubleshooting and diagnosing issues.
* By the use of the "impersonate" ability, which allows an admin to log into your account as you for a limited window of time. Someone using this ability means that the site considers them to be you, with all the access that you would have. This is used for troubleshooting and diagnosing issues.
* By direct database access on the production machines, bypassing the website entirely. This is used, very rarely, for diagnosing database issues that require access to live data that can't be obtained using another method. (Troubleshooting that doesn't require live data is done on a test install.)
Mark and I are the only people who have access to the viewall and impersonate abilities. Neither Mark nor I regularly use the accounts that have this level of access for anything other than participating in official DW communities. (I even go to the length of maintaining separate browsers, not logging out and logging back in, in case I forget to do so and accidentally do something as denise that should be done with my non-staff account, and I'm pretty sure Mark uses some similar method to make sure he doesn't accidentally do something as mark that he shouldn't.) All uses of these abilities are logged, and both Mark and I regularly review the logs.
Our backup contract sysadmins, alierak and matthew, also have access to the production databases. They have signed nondisclosure agreements (link leads to the text of the agreement) that prevent them from using this information for any purpose other than accomplishing specific tasks and from sharing the information with anyone who is not authorized to have it.
There is a fourth ability, known as "viewall light", which allows people to view only content that was public in an account that has been deleted or suspended. It does not provide any additional access -- someone who has only this ability wouldn't be able to see locked posts. It's used by the Terms of Service team to investigate and verify Terms of Service violations in accounts that have been deleted or suspended. The only two people with this ability are jennifer and qilin, the leads of our ToS team, and they have also signed NDAs. All uses of this ability are logged, and both Mark and I regularly review the logs.
Because these abilities are used, in part, for compliance with court orders and subpoenas (and, for the record, we haven't gotten any yet), which have "gag orders" as part of them, we can't build a system where people are automatically notified if this ability is used on their accounts. We're looking into the feasibility of releasing information in aggregate ("this month, the viewall ability was used X times, viewall light was used Y times, and impersonate was used Z times") but that's on legally shaky ground as well. Still, we hope that over time you can come to trust us when we say that we only use it when we absolutely have to. (Personally, I really feel like I need to go take a shower every time I have to use it -- it just feels wrong.)
If anyone has concerns or questions about any of this, feel free to leave them in comments to mark's post, the comments to this post, or by opening up a support request in the (private) Accounts category. We'll do our best to give you answers.
4. Calling Artists
The first draft of the virtual gifts system, done by kareila, is waiting for code review! It will take a little while to go through various revisions, but this means that vgifts should be available in no more than a few months. (And, before anybody asks -- yes, you'll be able to indicate that you don't want to receive them!)
This means that it's about time to open up the floor for the creation of vgift images. So if you're an artist, or know someone who is, start thinking about what kind of vgifts you'd like to send or receive. This can be something generalized, like party balloons, flowers, books, etc, or something specific, like badges or buttons that have specific messages on them. (Suitable for ages 13 and up, please!)
If you'd like to contribute a vgift for consideration, it should come in two versions: one that's roughly userpic-sized (100x100 maximum) and one that's larger-sized (300x300 maximum). Artwork should be submitted in PNG format or as a vector graphic and should be done on a transparent background. We'll ask you to sign and send in a Contributor Licensing Agreement: you will retain the rights to your work, but this document gives us a licence to use and redistribute your work as part of the Dreamwidth project. You must be able to certify that you own the rights to the image you send in -- in other words, you can't use someone else's artwork as part of yours unless it's in the public domain or the creator has explicitly signed over the rights to the work to you.
5. Miscellaneous Other Stuff
Stuff that doesn't quite earn its own subsection this week:
* As you may have noticed, we distributed more invite codes this weekend! If you don't need the codes for yourself, consider donating them at dw_codesharing. Meanwhile, if you're in need of a large number of invites, to move over a community or to start a group project with a bunch of people who don't have DW accounts yet, just send in a support request to the Accounts category and we'll happily take care of it.
* This week at the DW meetup party, azurelunatic presented us with the alpha version of a crocheted Dreamsheep, which was the most adorable thing in the history of ever (and I hope someone got a pic of it). She plans on making the pattern available once she's worked out the problems with it!
* Three Weeks for Dreamwidth is going strong, and it's wonderful to see all of the things people are posting! (I'm horribly, horribly behind on my own planned posts, ugh.) If you haven't taken a look yet at all the awesome things people are creating, why not go exploring?
* If anybody out there is a Stylish/User Scripts expert, and would be interested in doing a good deed, hannah is looking for somebody to help her out with creating a version of the site scheme that can meet some very specific needs. If you've got experience with these tools, drop her a line!
* I'm starting work on the site tour for new users and prospective users, and could use some opinions on what should go into it.
* Related to the former, I'd really like to do a guide for DW users coming from Facebook, similar to the guide to DW for LJ users. For those of you who are heavy Facebook users, what kind of things do you think should go into it? (Looking for "things that are done differently than they are on FB" and "things that DW has that FB doesn't".)
* As a reminder, it is now possible to transfer DW points to another user! A few people have asked, and yes, it is possible to transfer points multiple times -- so, for instance, I could send points to mark and he could then turn around and send them to fu.
That's about all I can remember wanting to talk about in this week's update (I really need to start leaving myself notes...) As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page; if you've got an idea to make the site better, you can make a suggestion.
See you next week for our next update!