denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2012-04-12 03:17 pm

Dreamwidth News: 12 Apr 2012

Hello, Dreamwidth! I'm eagerly watching the clock until the weekend getaway I have planned with my lovely wife -- and boy howdy do I need a vacation -- so in order to pass the time, I bring you an offering of hopefully-useful Dreamwidth information. Behind the cut:


* Development
* Javascript modernization: release candidate
* Paying via credit card
* Request for comment: username squatting
* Spam (not the singing Vikings kind)
* Default theme poll
* Arts and Culture: Changing Seasons



Development



The tours of the latest round of development are available for your perusal:

14 March - 23 March -- all of these are live on the site
24 March - 11 April -- all of these will be live with the next code push

This month we welcome new developers [personal profile] purplecat and [personal profile] randomling, both of whom have been kicking ass and taking names! We're always eager to have new developers join us, so whether you've been looking for an excuse to learn Perl or you've been doing this for years, we'd love to have you.


Javascript modernization: release candidate



For those of you who have been participating in the new Javascript on journals beta test, you are likely already aware of this, but for everybody else: we have now labeled the existing beta as the release candidate. This means that barring any major, showstopping issues, the new version will be made default on the site very soon.

After the next code push -- which will likely be sometime next week -- we will be turning the beta flag on for everyone for one last test, with the ability to opt out of the beta if you discover a showstopper bug that prevents you from using your journal. With the code push after that, the new code will be taken out of beta entirely, and be made the default behavior for everybody.

This is almost entirely a backend change, being done to modernize the Javascript used across the site. We're pretty confident that the release candidate has had most of the major issues smoothed out by now, so you shouldn't notice any major changes. You may notice some errors when expanding comments, especially on entries with lots of comments or threads that are very deeply nested; the next code push should fix some of that. (So you don't need to report that issue!)

(Also, because there has been some confusion: the Beta Features page has two separate beta tests running right now: the new Create Entries page beta and the New Javascript on Journals beta. We're talking about the New JS on Journals beta -- the first of the two, not the second. You're still welcome to beta test the new Create Entries page, but it's not yet at release-candidate status!)


Paying via credit card



No, not an announcement of changes to the payment system -- a request to y'all in the hopes of saving some time and energy all around.

If you're using somebody else's credit card -- a parent, a partner, a friend, a roommate, etc -- to pay for your DW account, please let them know, and let them know that the charge will appear on their statement as coming from "Dreamwidth Studios, LLC". In the past few weeks we've had a few phone calls from people wondering what that charge on their statement was! (And since people are thinking that they're calling a big business, and if it's after hours nobody will be there and they'll just leave a message, one of those calls was at 1AM -- fortunately I keep odd hours, heh.)

We were able to straighten out the problem each time, but in order to prevent problems -- and to save me from having to answer the phone, which I hate! -- please be sure to confirm permission before using somebody else's credit card and let them know how the charge will appear on the statement. This will also keep your parent/partner/friend/roommate from panicking and cancelling their credit card. :)


Request for comment: username squatting



The question of username squatting -- people registering hundreds and hundreds of accounts to sit on them, to claim popular usernames, or to trade or sell them later -- has been coming up lately, and we're looking for a way to handle it that will be fair to everybody, without affecting people who are using the site legitimately.

If you have some time to consider the problem and give us feedback, check out the Request for Comment posted in [site community profile] dw_biz, which lays out all the factors, and comment there!

Meanwhile, I'd like to once again remind people that trading or selling usernames or accounts is against the Terms of Service, because a traded account can never be fully secured. We've seen a definite increase in the number of instances of account trading or selling lately, and we are definitely going to start taking stronger actions to stop it when it happens. Please don't do it, either by arranging trades on Dreamwidth or elsewhere.


Spam (not the singing Vikings kind)



As many people have noticed, we're seeing an uptick in spam coming from logged-in users, coming in the form of comment spam, private message spam, and spam blogs that keep to themselves but exist to boost search engine rankings.

The best and fastest way to handle these, if you get them, is to send a report to the antispam team. For comments, delete them and mark them as spam. For private messages, visit the Inbox and select the "Mark as spam" link at the bottom of the notification. Once you do this, there's no need to notify us further; the antispam team will take it from there.

The only time you should report a spammer to the Terms of Service team instead of using the "Mark as spam" option is if you find a journal while browsing around the site that looks like it's a spam journal designed to boost search engine rankings. (And do let us know about those; they're not as intrusive as comment or PM spammers, but they're just as bad for the site as a whole and the harder and faster we step on them now, the less likely that the people behind that kind of thing will start thinking of DW as a good host for their garbage.)


Conferences and Meetups



We're pleased to say that Dreamwidth will be representing at YAPC::NA in Madison, WI from June 13-15, and at OSCON in Portland from July 16-20. Thanks to your support of Dreamwidth, this year we're going to be able to bring some of our volunteer developers along with us, too, which is tremendously exciting news. (Thank you to everyone who's paid for an account recently -- your payments are what's allowing us to reinvest in our volunteer developers, which will pay off down the road in awesome new features and fixes!)

I'm going to be attending the Ada Initiative's AdaCamp DC unconference July 10-11, and if you're interested in the topic of women in open technology and culture, why not consider attending as well?

On the topic of Dreamwidth meetups, meanwhile, if you're a SCA member as well as a Dreamwidth denizen, there's going to be a DW meetup at the Warriors and Warlords event in Northshield (Boscobel, WI) this July. For discussing, planning, and reporting on Dreamwidth in-person meetups, check out [site community profile] dw_meetups.


Default Theme Poll



Our default theme poll last month showed an interesting split: the two styles that were neck and neck for much of the voting were Abstractia, a super-snazzy, high-concept (and gorgeous!) layout, and Five AM, a super-simple, clean and organized (and gorgeous!) layout.

Five AM was the winner, however, and that means it's time to narrow it down further. Go check out the available themes, and help us pick the one that should be the default theme for newly-created accounts for a while:

Poll #10140 2012 Default Theme Poll
This poll is anonymous.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 424

Which Five AM theme should be the default theme for newly-created accounts?

View Answers

Acidity
7 (1.7%)

Broad Horizons
31 (7.3%)

Celadon Blues
7 (1.7%)

Color Blockade
14 (3.3%)

Dryads
16 (3.8%)

Dóma
4 (0.9%)

Early Edition
99 (23.3%)

Hesperides
4 (0.9%)

Hollow Silence
2 (0.5%)

Killjoys
1 (0.2%)

Lavender Mist
14 (3.3%)

Lichen
11 (2.6%)

Limeade
4 (0.9%)

Love Game
2 (0.5%)

Low Frequency
7 (1.7%)

Meteors
5 (1.2%)

Monster
4 (0.9%)

Nebesá
14 (3.3%)

Poetic
19 (4.5%)

Prized
28 (6.6%)

Prose
49 (11.6%)

Právda
11 (2.6%)

Rainy Day
4 (0.9%)

Rambling
6 (1.4%)

Sandbox
4 (0.9%)

Spectrum
5 (1.2%)

Suitcase
2 (0.5%)

Sunset
12 (2.8%)

Underworld
3 (0.7%)

Velvet Steel
22 (5.2%)

Yellow Highlighter
1 (0.2%)

Your Smile
12 (2.8%)



And, as a reminder, if you've got a color theme for one of our existing styles, or even a completely new style, that you'd like to submit for public use, check out [site community profile] dreamscapes. Or, if you're looking for an easy way to get involved in Dreamwidth development, taking submitted themes and turning them into a version that can be applied to the code is a great way to get started, because it requires no experience or special knowledge (seriously, you don't even have to know or learn Perl for it).


Arts and Culture: Changing Seasons



Just like last time, I'll turn it over to [personal profile] pinesandmaples to give us a tour of some of the neat things people are doing or making on Dreamwidth:

As days slide off the calendar and into April, a young student's thoughts turn to final exams and stealing kisses in library study carrels between papers. Fortunately for y'all, the rest of Dreamwidth has poetry, bunnies, Norwegian socks, and bicycles on their minds. This collection of links has a common thread of occupying the space between seasons as both hemispheres move into new weather patterns.

  • [personal profile] jjhunter is celebrating April with a Haikai Fest. The poem "And This Too Is Grace" has two charming threads seeded already.

  • [personal profile] sunt brings blooms to the April festival with Flora hexifera var. 'Spring Magic', a quilt of both traditional and nontraditional floral persuasion.

  • [personal profile] inyadreems jumped out of March with a visit to Tynemouth Priory in England. Macro and micro shots have an air of changing seasons and shifting skies in this little travelogue.

  • [personal profile] nearly_hairless got a jump on her season with this sweet little bunny, ready to bring cheer and nibble some fresh grass.

  • [personal profile] fajrdrako restarted the year on April 1 with a walk through the shifting sights.

  • [personal profile] katieintheworld acknowledged the true nature of transitional seasons with these amazing Selbu Stars socks (Ravelry link, mea culpa), ready for windy days and chilly nights between the sunny patches of the
    season.


  • *

    And that's it from us for another update! 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 in a few weeks for our next update. (Meanwhile: who else already has your tickets for the release of the Avengers movie? ...is it here yet?) I shall leave you all with something that boosted my mood at least 80% the instant I saw it: Suddenly, ducks.
    doldonius: (Default)

    [personal profile] doldonius 2012-04-13 04:48 pm (UTC)(link)
    Don't even know the name, but here it is (sorry for the non-English scribblings.)

    What I'm looking for is a style that

    • doesn't change text font or size or text/background colours. People choose those for a purpose when they do;
    • doesn't add its own pictures. If I'm ever seduced by the Spam Side and feel like wasting my readers's bandwidth, I'll find a way;
    • doesn't squeeze the text into 1/3 of the screen by those huge sidebars, so the longer threads are still readable;
    • doesn't require lots of computing power client side. It's against all netiquette I've learnt.


    Am I asking for too much?
    narrativian: annoyed owl (F: ORLY 1)

    [personal profile] narrativian 2012-04-14 07:49 am (UTC)(link)
    THIS. This this this. This this this this this THIS.

    You may see a pattern here :-)

    Looks like you're using Dystopia at LJ. So did I! I came to Dreamwidth because LJ has become so borked and skeevy, but so far I've yet to find a journal style here that isn't overflowing with ugly ~cries~
    liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)

    [personal profile] liv 2012-04-14 10:29 am (UTC)(link)
    The styles here are a bit fancy by default, because most people like their journals to look a bit distinctive. But you can turn off pretty much all the visual clutter, if you want to.

    All the styles here are set to use browser defaults for the base font size, and do all the other fonts (eg headings etc) relative to that. If you want to use browser defaults for the typeface and the colours, you just have to delete all the options from the wizard and it will fall back to browser default. Most styles are non-graphical; you have a current choice of 21 different options which have no graphical elements whatsoever by default, and you can always remove the graphics from the ones that do have pictures in. Nearly all styles allow you to turn off sidebars if you don't like them; you want to select the 1 column option here:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/#layout

    You can use the Modules tab to turn off all the display stuff you don't need, here:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/options?group=modules
    You just want to uncheck everything you don't like, you can get rid of the mini-calender, the tags list, the links list, the page summary, and the syndication and timestamp stuff, pretty much anything. Or you can move them from the sidebar to the footer, if you do want those functions but you don't want them taking up so much screen real estate.

    If you want to simplify even further, you can choose EasyRead, which is specifically designed to be as uncluttered as possible:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/?layoutid=110057&show=48

    Or you can go all out and choose Tabula Rasa layout, Plain theme, which makes no changes in appearance at all, no colours, no fonts, nothing. Just displays plain text like the way the web was back in the 90s.

    And if none of that works for you, post a request with a spec or a mockup in [community profile] style_system and someone will probably be happy to make you a style that suits you better. Please don't be put off because you don't like the defaults; the whole system is designed to be much more flexible than LJ, so you can basically have whatever you like, even if it doesn't show up in the default previews.
    narrativian: stylised portrait of Minazo the lolrus (I haz a bukkit)

    [personal profile] narrativian 2012-04-14 02:37 pm (UTC)(link)
    Many thanks for detailed reply! I do have to admit that overchoice isn't my idea of a plus point here - page style is one of those things where I want the work to already have been done for me. In a manner that anticipates my tastes and preferences, of course :-)

    (But I've saved your reply for reference, so thx again!)
    Edited 2012-04-14 14:38 (UTC)
    liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)

    [personal profile] liv 2012-04-14 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
    Fair enough. We made a ton of new features that LJ doesn't have, and we made them all optional because lots of people hate change. But the defaults show basically all the features, and all of them have some kind of visual impact on the layout, so people who like very clean lines are going to find them too cluttered. Sorry for the overchoice thing, I can definitely see why it's annoying.

    I think I might go and make versions of all the layouts that are as simple as possible, just so people can get an impression of what the layouts look like in the most pared down way possible.
    liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)

    [personal profile] liv 2012-04-14 10:10 am (UTC)(link)
    OK, now I've got what you're looking for. You can totally do this on Dreamwidth, it just doesn't quite fit the defaults.

  • Default browser fonts and colours: You just have to clear the options in the customize wizard. For example, here:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/options?group=colors
    delete everything that's in the box by "Page background color" and "Page text color" and save changes. You can also reset the link colors to browser defaults if you like.
    And here:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/options?group=fonts
    simply delete all the font names from the boxes.

  • No graphics: That's most of the layouts available here. Pretty much the only ones with graphics built-in are Abstractia, ColorSide, Funky Circles, Nouveau Oleanders and Sunday Morning. You may also want to avoid Fluid Measure, Modular and Skittlish Dreams, since they have things like rounded corners, which is a bit more graphical. So, Bases, Basic Boxes, Blanket, Boxes and Borders, Brittle, Compartmentalize, Crisped, Crossroads, Drifting, Dusty Foot, EasyRead, Five AM, Marginless, Modish, Negatives, Palettable, Practicality, Refried Tablet, Stepping Stones, Tranquility III, Transmogrified. You can see the complete list here:
    http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/?cat=base&show=all

  • No sidebars: nearly all the layouts let you turn off sidebars by choosing a 1 column layout. Some of them look kinda weird without sidebars, though, so you might want to play around a bit and find one that works for you.

  • Low resource requirement: this one is tougher; the only layout with fancy effects is Abstractia, which probably pissed you off when it was being considered as a potential default for new accounts. The others are purely HTML and (fairly traditional) CSS. There is some JavaScript involved in displaying journals, things like expanding the cut tags inline, or expanding comment threads. The only way to get rid of that is to disallow JavaScript for Dreamwidth. Everything should degrade gracefully if you do that.

    Definitely not asking for too much; the focus on accessibility means that it should be pretty easy to achieve what you want!
  • doldonius: (Default)

    [personal profile] doldonius 2012-04-15 06:01 am (UTC)(link)
    Thanks. Many thanks. Thread bookmarked for further reference.
    momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)

    [personal profile] momijizukamori 2012-04-16 02:51 am (UTC)(link)
    Hmm. As others have said, most of the layouts do obey browser defaults for font size, and a good chunk do for font-face as well. We're also largely imageless - most of the code is CSS, which afaik is very efficient. They may look very busy, but it's not a lot of code.

    That being said - the layout you linked there overrides my text settings (both size and font) and my color settings (both text and background) so, erm.
    doldonius: (Default)

    [personal profile] doldonius 2012-04-16 03:43 pm (UTC)(link)
    So I couldn't get quite what I wanted while using LJ, that's right. Small wonder I'm here now.