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_news2010-03-23 11:53 pm

Weekly Update: 23 March

Hello, Dreamwidth! We've got an action-packed update for you this week, and I'm experiencing a distinct dearth of clever and witty tonight, so I'll just go straight to the videotape.

1. Development

First under this subpoint: this week's code tour, done by [personal profile] ursamajor -- her first code tour, and thank you, Ursie! -- goes over the week's dev work. It's a nice combination of bugfixes and improvements.

Second, we're pleased to announce that we've been accepted as a mentoring organization for Google's Summer of Code program. We don't know yet how many student positions we'll be granted, but we should get at least one, and I know I'm looking forward to seeing what awesomeness comes out of this. If you're new to Dreamwidth as a result of the Summer of Code, [staff profile] mark has posted a overview of our dev process geared to newcomers. Welcome to everyone who's expressed interest in applying so far, and we're really looking forward to reading the formal proposals.

Finally, if you're having problems posting to a community because you've set up an account for crossposting without a saved password, we wanted to let you know that this bug has been fixed in the development branch of the code, and will be updated on the site with the next code push (which should happen within the next week or so). In the meantime, the relevant Issues FAQ has a workaround.

2. Ada Lovelace Day & Women of FLOSS

I was a panelist this weekend at LibrePlanet 2010, along with Chris Ball (of One Laptop Per Child and the GNOME Women's Summer Outreach), Hanna Wallach (of Debian Women and the GNOME Women's Summer Outreach), and Erinn Clark (of Debian Women), on a panel moderated by Deb Nicholson of the FSF about recruiting and retaining women in free software projects. It was a great panel, and we had a lot to say about the importance of recruiting and retaining women in free software projects. (And not just women, but a broad, diverse contributor base in general: software reflects the needs of its makers, and the more voices that are involved in the making, the more broadly applicable the software will be.)

Coincidentally, March 24, 2010, is Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating the efforts and achievements of women in technology. We here at Dreamwidth are proud of the fact that our development team is so appealing to free software beginners, but we're really proud of the fact that so many of those beginners are women, and that we're able to serve as an introduction to the world of FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) for so many smart, passionate, talented women. We're also really proud that we're able to offer experienced FLOSS developers, no matter what their gender identity or expression, a friendly and inclusive place to hack on things.

So, in honor of Ada Lovelace Day, I'd like to point at all of the incredible women who've contributed to Dreamwidth so far, doing development, documentation, support, design, or anything else that has helped the site to grow. I started writing out lists, but quickly stopped when I realized it would be well over a hundred names -- which is pretty amazing all by itself. We're building amazing things here -- all of us, not just Dreamwidth's women -- and we're having a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

(And, if you want to join us, come check out [site community profile] dw_dev_training and Mark's Summer of Code intro post, which is applicable to anyone who wants to come hack with us, not just GSoC students!)

3. Styles

We've been working lately to add more styles and themes to the site, and the next code push will have a number of new themes (and at least two completely new styles!) available for use. If you don't feel like waiting, though, you can always check out the unofficial style community, [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts. There have been two new layouts posted this week, and the archives have a bunch of beautiful options.

If you've got a layout you've made that you love, and you don't feel like submitting it to [site community profile] dreamscapes for consideration as an official system style, why not post it to [community profile] dreamwidthlayouts for others to share?

4. Payments

You guys have been so incredibly patient with us as we work through the difficulties inherent in switching credit card payment processors again. (For those of you who are new to Dreamwidth, details on this can be found in the 14 January, 15 January and 22 February newsletters.) We're pleased to announce that our new payment system should be available by no later than the end of next week, and we're hoping to have it even sooner.

While we're rewriting the payment system backend to work with our new processor, we're also taking the opportunity to make some long-asked-for changes. We're going to be implementing a payment credit system, where you can buy "Dreamwidth credits" which can then be applied to paid time, rename tokens (renames are coming very soon!) and vgifts (once they're available -- and we do have a developer working on the project, although it's quite complex). Also planned, although I'm not sure if Mark's going to be able to get to it in the first round, is the ability to buy credits for other people, or transfer your credits to other people -- the equivalent of buying someone a gift certificate.

The really neat thing is going to be that you'll be able to transfer credits in micro-amounts. We still haven't decided if one credit is going to be worth $.10 USD or $.01 USD, but either way, you'll be able to send someone some of your credit balance to function as a "tip jar" and as a way for community members to all chip in to cover the cost of a paid community together.

To simplify everyone's life, we'll be transfering everything over to the credit system, including paid accounts. Fundamentally, though, the process won't change: you'll be able to buy credits in blocks that conform to the price of the various paid account levels (as well as entering your own amount if you want to buy an oddball number of credits), then choose what type of paid account you want to apply those credits to. Your credits will be delivered to your account immediately, and credits will be deducted from your balance for every month your account has access to the paid features.

You'll be able to choose whether you want this deduction to happen automatically when the end of your month rolls around, or whether you want to confirm the deduction each month. (You'll also be able to stop the auto-deduction from your credit balance whenever you want.) This delivers another frequently requested enhancement to the paid account system: the ability to "pause" your paid account time if you're going to be away from the service for a few months. You'll just have to tell the system not to automatically deduct paid service credits from your credit balance at your next renewal (which, again, will be monthly). Your account will lapse back to free while you're away, and when you return, you can tell the system to start applying your paid time credits again.

We hope that all of these changes will be easy to understand, but fear not, we'll describe them all again when the code is finished and live.

5. The War Chest

Back in January, we told you that we were in good financial shape to weather a brief downturn in income. As you can imagine, nearly three months of spotty income have taken their toll on our "war chest" -- the amount of money we keep in reserve to cover our future operating expenses. This is not to say that those of you who've made the effort to send in a check or money order haven't been incredibly great at supporting us! We were already running slightly in the red from month to month as it was, though, and with the loss of credit card income we've had to dip a little further into our reserves than we'd like.

To that end, we want to run a "Dreamwidth fundraiser", once the credit card payment system is up and running again, to 'repay' the reserves that we've had to tap into over these past few months. We haven't decided exactly what form that fundraiser might take, though, so we thought we'd put it up for discussion.

I've posted more detailed thoughts about our April sales goals to [site community profile] dw_biz: we're looking to raise $50,000 in the month of April, in order to pay back the funds we were forced to dip into, with a "pie in the sky" hope of raising $100,000 to finance some really neat things for the rest of the year. If you're interested in providing input on how we can reach our goals, we'd love to hear from you.

6. You're My (DW) Idol

Inspired by [ profile] therealljidol, and hosted by [personal profile] invisionary, this week's community promotion slot goes to the unoffical DW Idol community/contest: [community profile] dreamwidth_idol. The full rules describe how the community works. (If you're familiar with the LJ version, note the rules changes -- in particular, there can be multiple groups running at a time, so you won't have to wait for the next round to start up in order to play.)

If you're a creator (of any type -- it doesn't have to just be writing), and you're looking for a kick in the butt to get you creating, some friendly and fun-spirited competition, and a chance to promote yourself, go check it out. And if you're just looking for some more neat stuff to read, why not go vote?

7. Suggestions

Speaking of voting, [site community profile] dw_suggestions needs your input. This week we had a particularly interesting discussion with lots of (polite and reasoned!) disagreement, and we'd like to open it up to a wider audience to see what kind of further discussion results. The suggestion in question is Twitter-style @user addressing, and we'd love to hear your thoughts, particularly on the various alternate proposals brought up in comments.

And while you're there, why not give us your thoughts on any of the pending suggestions? The next Suggestions-to-Bugzilla migration will be coming soon (whenever Mark and I can dedicate an entire afternoon to it), so now would be a good time to weigh in. You don't have to comment or vote on everything, but if you see something that catches your eye, or something you have a strong opinion on, we really want to hear from you. (Remember what I said up there about diversity of opinions leading to better software!)


That about does it for me for another week! A reminder: if you have paid time that's about to expire, and you can't renew using check/money order for whatever reason, just open a support request in the Account Payments category and we've got you covered until we can implement our new payment solution.

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 for our next update, which I have vague dreams of actually getting written on Monday this time.
izzy: cartoon hearts with angel wings ([u2] you and me and the rain)

[personal profile] izzy 2010-03-24 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
i love the tip jar idea! the thought of everyone throwing in a little bit to pay for a community made me go "i LOVE Dreamwidth!" out loud in the middle of the house. go you guys!
sky: (Default)

[personal profile] sky 2010-03-24 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
So if everything's going to be in monthly blocks from now on, does that mean it will be impossible to just buy paid time once a year and never have to bother with it otherwise? And how will this affect paid time already in the system?
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)

[personal profile] fairestcat 2010-03-24 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
My impression is that it would be possible to buy a year's worth of paid time, set it to automatically deduct every month without asking for permission and get essentially the same results as buying a year's worth under the current system.

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[personal profile] tifa 2010-03-24 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
The micro-credit system sounds really interesting! I'm excited to see it implemented. I'll most likely be using it once it comes out. In particular, I think the RP scene will really like it cuz it's a good way to "tip" a player whom you like. I know you could also just buy them a paid account but you always run the risk of having the player drop the character, and it's less guilt on both sides, methinks.

/runs off to now offer thoughts on yaoi twitter-style @user addressing.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

[personal profile] yvi 2010-03-24 06:27 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my, I had no idea that credit system a) was already on its way, b) would be so awesome. I like the idea of being able to help pay for a paid community witthout having to take over the complete price!
auburn: flames in stone fireplace (Hearth fire)

[personal profile] auburn 2010-03-24 06:37 am (UTC)(link)
The micro-credit system intrigues me, because it sounds like just the thing for those gift cards that have maybe a buck and half left on them. That and the credits system will let you just buy enough to keep a paid account for a month if things are tight rather than let it expire because that month you didn't have the extra to pay for an entire year.

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shyfoxling: Ravenclaw crest (Default)

[personal profile] shyfoxling 2010-03-24 07:46 am (UTC)(link)
the ability to "pause" your paid account time if you're going to be away from the service for a few months.

That's pretty cool. Not that I can imagine being away from the internet for more than, oh, the time I sleep every night... ;)

(I'm amused there hasn't been an uproar about microcredits. When this kind of system was recently introduced on Deviantart, a lot of people seemed awfully upset about it.)
jumpuphigh: Purple scarf on table shaped like a heart. (Knit heart)

[personal profile] jumpuphigh 2010-03-24 07:53 am (UTC)(link)
I &hearts you.

That is all.
auroraprimavera: Michelle Monaghan (Default)

[personal profile] auroraprimavera 2010-03-24 07:58 am (UTC)(link)
I'll be checking out Mark's intro post - hopefully I'll have a chance to do some stuff, once real life stops kicking me in the but. :p

And, I have to say, I love the micro-credits system. Such a simple thing and it adds so much flexibility for us. \o/

*runs to read suggestions*
lanterne_rouee: dreamwidth swirl over text: dreamwidth (dw swirl over name)

[personal profile] lanterne_rouee 2010-03-24 08:12 am (UTC)(link)
the new payment system sounds exciting. :)

will there be an option not to accept vgifts?

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angelikitten: Hands with painted fingernails tying a bowtie (Queer - Going Out)

[personal profile] angelikitten 2010-03-24 09:42 am (UTC)(link)
We're also really proud that we're able to offer experienced FLOSS developers, whether they identify as male or female, a friendly and inclusive place to hack on things.

As a genderqueer person, this made me all sad :(

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melanie: (Default)

[personal profile] melanie 2010-03-24 11:15 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, you guys/gals have been busy. Thank you for your dedication, hard work and not giving in to bullies (cause basically that's what they were). Been waiting for the new payment system to go in effect so I can pay for my account.

I appreciate the effort you all put in!
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

[personal profile] kate_nepveu 2010-03-24 12:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Re: suggestions:

I can't find it now in suggestions, but it's bug 1386: if visited links _changed color_ on Tropo-schemed pages, I would seriously start posting to DW right now. That is literally the thing keeping me from crossposting to LJ & moving all my discussions here.
ninetydegrees: Drawing: lots of yellow pencils (pencils)

[personal profile] ninetydegrees 2010-03-24 01:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh I so wanted to work on this the other day but I couldn't find colors that would be both distinguishable from hover links and from black text. I'll give it another try!

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[personal profile] snowsurrounded 2010-03-24 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)
The credit system sounds AWESOME. Can't wait til it's up and running and I can start throwing money at you guys again ;)
zarhooie: Girl on a blueberry bramble looking happy. Text: Kat (Default)

[personal profile] zarhooie 2010-03-24 02:30 pm (UTC)(link)
\o/ microcredits!

I have been thinking about why changes on DW are different than changes on other services, and I think I've figured out part of it. Y'all tell us when something is going on, and you keep us informed about changes being made in the future.

+1111111 DW.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2010-03-24 03:55 pm (UTC)(link)
It's good to be told as a matter of course and not as the result of special access that even when something goes another way from how you wanted it to go (not that many things do) that it was the result of a decision not a default, and that many other options (your pet idea included) were considered.
crossfire: (Default)

[personal profile] crossfire 2010-03-24 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm definitely looking forward to the new payment system and being able to pay for [community profile] web_dev, my new blogging account.

Whatever ideas you guys come up with for replenishing the war chest, I'm in! I love DW and want to support you.
par_avion: collage of intl air mail stickers (Default)

[personal profile] par_avion 2010-03-24 04:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks as always for the round-up. I do love that you and [staff profile] mark write these yourselves AS yourselves, and not with some faceless, devoid of personality institutional voice.

I am very excited to hear that v-gifts will be available in the future. I love sending v-gifts! I would love to be able to financially support a company I like and make friends happy by sending v-gifts!

The micro-payment system sounds intriguing, and definitely useful for things like paid communities paid for by the community.

[personal profile] piscinarii 2010-03-24 05:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I like the microcredits idea, especially for chipping in paid time to communities :)

Yay v-gifts and name changes!
solitaryjane: (Al)

[personal profile] solitaryjane 2010-03-24 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
So with the micro thing: is it going to like send me a reminder that it had deducted some credits every month? If there is, can I customize it so it'll just warn me when I'm going to run out of paid time but not all the time? And if I buy something else (like, say, a vgift, or a "tip") using credits can I customize it so it'll send me a confirmation on that specific thing without making it conflict with what I just asked above?

Am I confusing people yet??

Sorry this is the first time I've heard the micro thing in detail. So it is very fuzzy to me.
sofiaviolet: drawing of three violets and three leaves (Default)

[personal profile] sofiaviolet 2010-03-24 09:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Weird question, maybe, but...

When I've purchased paid accounts for others in the past, I've chosen to be anonymous in doing so. Will I be able to send other users credits anonymously?

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flowerofsin: (minatsuki - drink box)

[personal profile] flowerofsin 2010-03-24 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not that thrilled about the new payment system, but there doesn't seem to be much to do about that.

[personal profile] madelienegrey 2010-03-25 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
I'm so excited to see [community profile] dreamwidth_idol. I can't join right now, but maybe in future rounds!
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)

[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2010-03-25 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
Yay microcredits!
ilyat: (Default)

[personal profile] ilyat 2010-03-25 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
>(renames are coming very soon!)

The concept of microcredits is very interesting. I look forward to seeing how they are implemented.
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (Default)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2010-03-25 02:22 am (UTC)(link)
I ♥ you guys. So much.

I can not wait for payment to be back online so I can buy time for a couple RP accounts and maybe one of my comms (I don't mail checks. I forget to sign checks and then there is badness).
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Disney - Dreamsheep)

[personal profile] dragovianknight 2010-03-25 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
I love the idea of being able to top off my credits whenever I have extra cash, since it seems my journals always run out of paid time when I'm broke.

Also, I noticed some comments concerned that people might buy a year's worth of credits, then fritter them away on vgifts or what have you without really realizing how much they'd spent. Perhaps by the credit balance could be a little thing saying, "You currently have enough credits to buy paid time until [date]," which might help people keep track of things. (Even cooler would be if it could spell out that you had enough credits for X vgifts, or y whatever else we can spend credits on. But I don't know how complicated that would be.)
Edited (edited for thinkiness) 2010-03-25 06:50 (UTC)
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

[personal profile] nextian 2010-03-25 06:08 pm (UTC)(link)

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