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_news2010-09-24 04:14 am

Weekly Update: 24 Sept

Hey, folks! Another week, another update. (I did warn you the schedule might be a bit spotty for a while, at least. *g*) I'm off for a mini-vacation this weekend, which means I'm using this update as an excuse to procrastinate packing ...

This week, I was really complimented by a poem in [community profile] dreamwidth_haikai about these weekly updates: Letters to the Dreaming World by [personal profile] jjhunter. I have to admit, it's been on my mind as I write this. :)


This week we resolved 13 bugs (which includes the addition of 8 new journal themes), the usual mix of bugfixes and new development. Thanks goes to [personal profile] azurelunatic for this week's code tour, which describes them.

Of note this week: starting with the next code push, you'll be able to set a minimum security level for offsite accounts in the crosspost settings, so if (for instance) your LJ account is set to automatically post friends-only while your Dreamwidth account is public, editing the entry on Dreamwidth won't set the entry on the remote site to public. We'll remind you about this after the next code push!

Code Push

Speaking of code push, it's been a while since we've had one, so we've tentatively scheduled the next one for next weekend, the (EDT) evening of Sunday October 3. (We'll set a more definite time when we get closer, and post about it in [site community profile] dw_maintenance.) We may have to reschedule it, since this push involves coordinating the schedules of more people than we usually do -- we're using this one as a training ground for our backup sysadmin [personal profile] alierak -- but right now that's the plan.

It really has been a while since our last push -- the last one was July 28 -- so this one will include a lot of stuff. This means there might be some rockiness -- we do test before we push, and most of the changes have been working in our development environments for a while without problems, but there are some things that only manifest in production when we introduce the changes to the widely varied ways y'all are using the site. We'll do our best to minimize downtime and problems, but some might be unavoidable!

A full list of what's going to be going live with this push is in the following code tours:

(Some of) 2010 July 23 to 2010 August 10
Aug 10 - Aug 19, 2010
20 August - 25 August
26th August - 1st Sept
1st - 8th September
9-9 to 15-9
2010 September 15 to 2010 September 21

(I love how everyone who does code tours dates things differently!)

I'll remind everybody next week, and post then about more of what's going to be new in this push. I am most looking forward to renames going live, but we have a whole whackload of other awesomeness waiting, including:

* A "collapse cut" at the bottom of the expandable cut-tag, so you don't have to scroll alllllll the way back up to the beginning of the cut to compress it again;

* A "random userpic" on comments to go with the random userpic option on posting entries;

* A whole bunch of updates to the polling system, brought to you via Google Summer of Code and [personal profile] jportela, including a "Tick # boxes" new poll question type, truly anonymous polls (where not even you-the-poll-owner can see who answered what, although you'll still be able to see the answers), and the ability to submit poll votes without leaving the page you're on;

* A ton of new themes to select for your journal;

* ...and a whole bunch of bugfixes, small usability improvements, backend cleanup, and other things that you might not notice but are designed to make your journaling experience (and our experience maintaining the code!) better and smoother.


The [site community profile] dw_antispam team would like to thank everyone who's expressed interest in helping out! They're looking over applications, but it's not too late to submit one. If you'd like to spend a few hours a week helping to keep DW free of spammy spammers who spam, check out the recruiting post and submit an application.

Spam volume continues to increase, so the perpetual plea: if you get a comment that's spam (whether anonymous, OpenID, or Dreamwidth user), please select the "mark as spam" checkbox when deleting it. The antispam team use these reports to stop spammers from spamming. We're still small enough, and enough people don't report the spam they get, that one or two reports can make the difference.

(Some people worry that if they mistakenly identify a comment as spam, something bad might happen to one of their friends. Don't worry about that -- the system isn't 100% automated for that very reason. A human always checks over any action before it gets taken.)

Community Building

I always get horribly sucked into the Latest Things feed when I start writing one of these, since I always go looking for interesting communities to add. (And then I have to open up interesting-looking posts in tabs behind the tab the LT page is in, and then when I close that tab, well, I might as well read the things I just opened up, because the update window will still be there when I'm done, right? I have the attention span of a goldfish sometimes.) I mention this because several of us have noticed people wondering how to get more traffic in their community or more members for their community. So, this week I thought I'd add a list of Top 5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Comm More Active.

1. Fill out the community profile! You can do this by going to Edit Profile, selecting the community you want in the "Work as other user" drop-down box, and hitting 'Switch'. The most critical sections to fill out are the Bio and the Interests: the more interests you add, the greater the chance that someone will find your community from the Interest Search or from the Directory Search

2. Be sure to set your privacy settings to allow inclusion in site-wide journal search. This means that if someone is using the Content Search page (available to all users!) to search for something that your community contains, your comm will show up in the search results.

3. Post to [site community profile] dw_community_promo about your community. Be sure to include what kind of content gets posted, and what kind of things people are likely to find in the community! People browse through the posts there to find comms they're interested in, so the more information you give, the better.

4. Maintain a regular posting schedule. How you do this depends on the community -- some communities like [community profile] poetry, for instance, benefit from a semi-structured thing where people can sign up to post regularly in a specific week, while something more freeform like [community profile] omnomnom or [community profile] sauce benefits from more irregular posts. Still, just about any community has some way that you can post regular content or get others to contribute content on a regular basis. "Theme days" can be really successful in that aspect -- designate one day a week for everyone to post a specific kind of thing, for instance, like a knitting community that might designate one day a week for posting pics of what you're working on, or a fandom-specific community might designate one day a week for everyone to post fiction recommendations. Having regular content appearing in the community makes people more likely to post more -- they'll see the post on their reading page and think "oh yeah, I was going to post to that community."

5. Find other communities out there that have similar, but not exactly the same, subject matters, and ask the maintainers of the community if you can affiliate with each other or cross-promote each other in your profiles or in your communities. For instance, a knitting comm might want to affiliate with a crochet comm, or a comm for fiction about a specific pairing might affiliate with other communities in the same fandom for different pairings. This can help create little 'communities of communities', where members of one community are also likely to be members of the others, and can help you get more members from the other communities. (And can help the other communities get members from yours!)

Got a good tip on how to get your community more active? Leave it in the comments.


And speaking of communities, one that everyone should know about is [site community profile] dw_suggestions. It's where things proposed via the Make a Suggestion link in the footer go to, for community discussion and voting. We don't use the votes as our only criterion when we're considering which suggestions to accept and which to pass on, but it's a major influence, and points that are raised in the discussion can be critically important in figuring out how the proposed suggestion should work or serve as "implementation notes" for the developer who decides to pick up the project.

When someone submits a suggestion, it goes into the [site community profile] dw_suggestions queue, where I go over them and make sure it's not a duplicate of another suggestion (or something already in our bug tracking database) and it's not something that's technically, socially, or financially impossible. Every few days (or at least that's the goal -- sometimes I let it go a little too long) I go through the queue and release posts into the community, where people discuss the suggestion, identify anything the original proposer might have missed, and debate whether or not it would be a good idea and/or keeping with Dreamwidth's goals.

Discussion in [site community profile] dw_suggestions entries can vary from nothing at all to a rollicking debate, but on the whole, everyone who participates is polite and incredibly enthusiastic about making DW better. (Thanks for that, by the way, folks.) Still, we can always use more voices and more perspectives. The more we hear from people who use the site in different ways before we go to implement a suggestion, the more we can shape the suggestion to fit the way people want to use the site. So, if you've got a few hours a week that you can use to devote to considering ways to improve DW, come and participate in the discussions. (And if you've only got a few minutes, at least consider stopping by and voting in the polls!)


That's it for 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, after which hopefully my mini-vacation will leave me a little less stressed than I have been lately!
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)

[personal profile] ursamajor 2010-09-24 05:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Thisss. Being able to schedule tweets (and soon, FB updates) has been a boon for a local food newsletter I run.