|Denise (denise) wrote in dw_news,|
@ 2011-02-10 01:10 am UTC
|Entry tags:||weekly announcements|
On a somewhat related note, and I do hate to do this, but: Does anyone reading this work for Speakeasy, now Megapath, and can provide me with contact information for corporate management? They were responsible for our six-week-long internet nightmare, in which the service worked (intermittently, even) for a total of six days before completely cutting out for the next six weeks despite multiple attempts to resolve the problem, and they have since failed to cancel the service at our old location, triple-billed us despite us having turned off auto-bill-pay, refused to issue a refund of that overbilling and of the credit on our account, billed us again despite having cancelled the service, and now charged us a termination fee for cancelling a service they were unable to provide. I have exhausted the possibilities of resolution with frontline customer service and am now attempting to get in contact with someone who has the authority to resolve this. I've already emailed their "executive customer service" mailbox and their board of directors, but if anyone has an inside contact, please PM me; thanks!
Turning to happier matters, behind the cut you will find:
* Code Push
* Adopt a FAQ Category!
* Open Account Creation Week
* Changes to HTML/CSS Allowed in Comments
* The Ada Initiative
This week we bid a fond welcome to new developer mmmpork, who has had a first patch committed to the codebase. (It's not listed in the code tour, because it was committed after the code tour was done, but still!) Congratulations, and welcome!
The January 22-February 5 code tour comes to us this week courtesy of truelove. This fortnight's development efforts were once again mostly concentrated on backend improvements that will make the code easier to maintain in the future (we've been paying off an awful lot of our technical debt these past few months), but we also have:
* Improved the process of making a suggestion to improve Dreamwidth.
* Improved our outgoing Atom feeds (the feed we provide of your journal) to make sure they contain all the information the RSS feeds contain, in order to play nice with other services out there. We also changed our outgoing feeds so that they include a link back to the original (on-Dreamwidth) post at both the top and bottom of each entry, instead of just the top.
* Added helpful text when you run into one of the system limitations on how many entries you can display on your reading page. For performance reasons, we limit the reading page to 1000 entries or entries posted in the last 14 days (whichever comes first). After that, entries won't display. Now, if you hit one of those limits, there'll be a message on your reading page explaining why no more entries are showing.
* Added communities to the results of the Find Similar Interests option on the Interests page.
* Fixed up our way of processing incoming feeds (from other sites) so that when you create a new feed, entries won't be shown in reverse chronological order, which happens sometimes. This of course turned into an epic project that ate up way too much of kareila's time.
And, the big one: this week sees the culmination of months of exor674's hard work in doing the backend stuff necessary to make it possible for your icons page to be displayed in your journal style if you want to, not in the site skin. (This will only be available to styles created using core2, our improved version of the S2 layout system. Styles imported using core1 don't have the necessary information to do this.) Over the next few months we'll do the necessary frontend work to make sure each layout has the necessary styling. We'll keep you posted.
As always, none of these improvements will be live until our next...
We are planning a code push this weekend or early next week, to update the code on the Dreamwidth site itself to the most current development version. We'll announce the date and time in dw_maintenance once we set it and again when we're about to begin, and we'll announce it on our offsite Twitter status page when we begin the process.
This code push will cover improvements listed in the following code tours:
January 3 - January 21
January 22 - February 5
It will also include some of the patches that will be included in next week's code tour.
Adopt a FAQ Category
This week's volunteer opportunity spotlight comes to you from dw_docs: the Adopt a FAQ Category project. This involves volunteering to "scrub" a particular FAQ category for needed revisions: updates to document things that we've added or improved, rephrasings to make things more clear, addition of extra material that isn't properly documented anywhere yet, and identifying (not necessarily writing, but we sure wouldn't say no!) any gaps of FAQs in the category that still need to be written.
You don't need to be a DW guru or a technical wizard, just willing to look back over old code tours in dw_dev to find changes that affect that category. You also don't need to write the new FAQs yourself, just make a list of things that should belong in the category! (Although if you did want to write them, really, we won't stop you!)
If you're interested, check out the Manual of Style and then leave a comment on the dw_docs signup entry with the category you'd like to claim.
And speaking of DW work, if you've been thinking about getting involved in Dreamwidth but haven't been sure how, check out dw_volunteers. It's where project team leads can talk about their projects (and try to get people interested in them), new volunteers can describe their skills and interests and get suggestions on where they might be interested in volunteering, and everybody can socialize, hang out, and get to know each other. I promise we don't bite!
Open Account Creation Week
Invite codes: whether you love 'em or hate 'em, just about nobody is indifferent to them. We have invite codes as a method of controlling our growth to make sure it stays within sustainable levels, as well as curbing abuse and spam. They've been doing a great job at both purposes, especially since we have the ability to create "promo codes" for people to use one single code to create multiple accounts, which really eliminates a lot of the hassle of setting up a new community, RP game, or in-class use of Dreamwidth.
We do plan on keeping invite codes long-term, since the last time we raised the possibility of getting rid of them permanently, the majority of people thought that they were a good and useful tool. (They're certainly working to keep us from having a rampant spam problem; the only spam we get is anonymous comments and a very few OpenID spammers from other sites.) Our current growth is looking pretty sustainable, though, and we know there are a lot of people out there who'd like to create DW accounts but don't want to bother looking for a code. (If you're one of them, check out dw_codesharing!)
So, we're going to try a little experiment. For the week of February 21 - February 28, creating an account on Dreamwidth will not require an invite code. You'll be able to register an account without needing a code -- just by visiting the account creation page.
We'll keep an eye on the results of the experiment for two factors: whether the growth is sustainable at the level we experience, and whether spam and abuse incidents rise after the open creation period. If we don't see any ill effects, we'll designate one week per quarter (and perhaps even one week per month) as an open account creation period, where no code will be required. (And if it doesn't go well, we'll let you know that it didn't, and we won't repeat the experiment.)
This will, we hope, combine the best of both worlds: allow us to keep control of the growth to prevent it from getting beyond our ability to support it and keep the spam and abuse curbed, while still allowing people who can't find an invite elsewhere a chance to experience DW.
And, as a reminder, our offer of account creation for those who are looking to move from Inksome, which will be shutting down in April, still stands. The promo code was temporarily out of accounts, but I've fixed it, and it will work again. People who are moving from Inksome can use the code INKSOME when creating an account to receive one month of complimentary paid time with their account creation, to give you time and space to move your things in. (Then visit the content importer to move in!) This code will last until Inksome's final shutdown; if it runs out of account creations again, just let me know and I'll refill it again.
Changes to HTML/CSS Allowed in Comments
And speaking of spam, we have had an uptick of spam comments made by OpenID accounts from other sites, exploiting some of the HTML and CSS we allow in our comments to "break" the page for everyone viewing it, to render the page unreadable by using complex markup tricks to fool our HTML and CSS cleaner into not closing a tag properly, or to hide their content to everyone but search engine spiders in order to artificially inflate their search engine results.
In order to prevent these attacks, with our upcoming code push, we will make the following changes in comments:
* Strip all uses of <blink> and <marquee> tags, used to render pages unreadable by tricking the HTML/CSS cleaner into not closing tags
* Strip all uses of absolute font size declarations via CSS ('font-size: 5000pt', 'font-size: 5000em', 'font-size: 5000px'), used to break the page for everyone viewing it by overlapping existing text and making it unreadable
* Strip the use of 'display: none' CSS elements, used to hide links or text used to increase search engine results
Over the past year, we already blocked the use of absolute positioning of elements, such as setting a 2000px by 2000px image to cover the entire screen. Nobody seems to have noticed this except the people who were using it to spam or abuse, and we're hoping nobody will miss these changes, either.
The only thing we anticipate people running into is the stripping of absolute font size declarations. We're really sorry that a few complete jerks have made it necessary for us to prevent people from doing the completely legitimate <span style="font-size: 14pt"> or <span style="font-size: 1.5em"> in order to make headings or to organize your comment. There are two ways you can work around this:
-- Use one of the built-in HTML header tags, such as <h1>This is my header</h1> or <h2>This is my subheader</h2>. The tags from <h1> through <h6> are visually differentiated from surrounding text in all the site skins (<h7> is identical to unstyled text in most of them). This is the best option if you're using font size changes to structure a comment, since it allows screenreader users to quickly navigate from header to header.
-- Use relative sizing with CSS, such as <span style="font-size: larger">This is larger text</span> or <span style="font-size: smaller">This is smaller text</span>. This is the best option if your styling is cosmetic only and conveys no information about the structure of your text, since most screenreaders will ignore it.
To be absolutely clear, this stripping only applies to comments. The markup you can use in entries is unchanged.
The Ada Initiative
Over the past few weeks I've been helping to advise Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner on their new project, The Ada Initiative, a not-for-profit (seeking nonprofit status) organization devoted to improving the representation and participation of women in open technology and culture (including open source, open data, open government, and lots of other open stuff). Mary and Val have a lot of great ideas and a really awesome vision (they asked for the advice of a fabulous group of women in open source, and I was honored to be asked, but we haven't had to do much advising yet -- Val and Mary know their stuff!)
If you're interested in helping to increase womens' participation in, and the working environments of, various open technology and open culture projects, check out the Ada Initiative. They're still in the very early days of the project, and a lot of the details are still up in the air, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish.
That's it from us for another week! 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.
We'll see you next week, and hopefully every week thereafter from here on out.