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_news2011-01-25 11:50 pm

"Weekly" update: 25 Jan 2011

Dear Dreamwidth,

I know -- I never call, I never write. You're beginning to forget my name, aren't you? I'm so sorry about the delays on the updates. Our internet situation has been -- well, the less said about it, the better. There's a vague light at the end of the tunnel -- the DSL company swears they've figured out the cause of the problem ("the problem" being that the connection won't stay up for more than 15 minutes at a time), and we've allegedly scheduled an install with the Spawn of Satan, aka Comcast, to replace the DSL. If they ever get around to actually, you know, providing us service. (It's been two weeks since we started that process. I would think they'd be able to cough up an install date within two weeks, but apparently I would be wrong.)

Anyway, I've got hope that we might have functioning internet back sometime in the next week or two, and we can get back on a more regular schedule. (Believe me, I am this close to happening to someone if it doesn't get fixed.) I'll try to catch y'all up with the last month's worth of news, and then we can play the game of Let's See How Many Tries It Takes To Post This...


I've said over and over again how awesome our team is, and this proves it; over the last month of me being only available sporadically, and never for more than about 20 minutes connected at a time, our volunteer development team and the mighty, mighty [personal profile] fu have still managed to do some kickass dev work. You can read up on the improvements in two code tours: Dec 20-Jan 2 and Jan 3-Jan 21. (The first one was done by new dev [personal profile] mmmpork -- welcome!)

Highlights, some of which are live on the site, include:

* Displaying an entry's tags on the "Post a comment" page you see when loading an entry with ?mode=reply on the end of it, for better context in replying to posts.

* A new way of letting the site know what style you'd like to show site pages in. Now, on the Display tab of Manage Settings, you can specify what style you'd like to view links in by default. This means that if you click an unstyled link (just the bare link), it will display in your chosen style no matter what. Things like will still show in light style, no matter what style you've chosen to view things in, but setting this will mean never having to see a custom comment page again! For more information, check out the [site community profile] dw_nifty entry: Persistant style=mine.

* Bugfix: previously you couldn't vote on polls that displayed in your inbox (such as in a new-entry-posted notification). That is now fixed!

* And speaking of the inbox: it now respects the "don't autoformat" option, so entries posted with that option won't show in the inbox with eighty gajillion linebreaks.

* Display fix: the site skins will now handle deeply nested comment conversations better at large font sizes.

* Fix an error message when renaming tags if the destination tag already exists: Say you wanted to rename your 'guns' tag to 'butter', but you didn't realize 'butter' already existed. The error message would say that 'guns' already existed, which was confusing. (Of course it already exists! That's why you want to rename it!) Now it tells you that 'butter' already exists, and prompts you to do a merge instead of a rename.

* Client protocol change: So, the client protocol (the thing that desktop clients use to access the site) had a 'checkfriends' mode, which is the thing that makes the client flash if your friends have posted something since the last time it checked. Because of changes we've made to split 'friend' into 'access' vs 'subscriptions', we fixed up the method (which has been disabled since we opened) to be 'checkforupdates' instead. Client authors be warned!


And speaking of DW volunteering, if you've been interested in it -- and haven't quite figured out what you want to do, or how to go about getting started -- we've opened the community [site community profile] dw_volunteers for that purpose. You can socialize with other volunteers, find information on the major project teams, or post an entry detailing what you're interested in and what you're good at and see if anyone has suggestions on where you'd be happiest and what you should be working on. Dreamwidth is powered almost entirely by people just like you, and there are tons of volunteer opportunities waiting!

...and, as I wrote that, my backup internet connection died again. Dear God, at this rate I'll get this done on Friday or so.

YouTube embeds

YouTube has changed the way it provides the code for embedding a video in another page, and the new code as given doesn't work on DW -- this is because the method their new code uses is blocked on DW for security reasons. (We're working on ways to make it work again just for YouTube, since we're pretty sure they're not evil. Well, no more than anybody is.)

Until we can fix it up, you'll need to slightly change the way you get the code from YouTube. after clicking the embed link three checkboxes will appear below the embed code. Click the one that says "use old embed". That should generate the right code for embedding.

(Thanks to [personal profile] rebelsheart for working this out!)

Delicious Glue

Recent changes we've made to this-and-that means that the Delicious Glue script, developed to work with Delicious's "autopost bookmarks to an external site" feature, now works on DW again. [personal profile] matgb has made changes to the original Delicious Glue script, and makes it available to all: Updating the Delicious Glue script for DW. You will need server space of your own to run the script on, running PHP5.

(We're working on making it so that Delicious's autopost works natively on DW without needing the Delicious Glue script -- among other ways of improving our interaction with other sites in general, I mean, not just for Delicious -- but in the meantime, this will work for now!)

Atom API

And speaking of updating things to make it so that other sites work better with DW, [personal profile] fu is soliciting feedback from people on how the new version of our Atom API should work. (If your eyes glazed over reading that sentence, that's okay, you can just skip this section!) If you're interested in client development or interoperability features, you can weigh in on her entry: Supporting Atom Publishing Protocol.


The antispam team is happy to report that spam volume seems to be down! Please, everyone, keep up the good work: if you delete spam, select the 'mark as spam' option. This puts the comment or entry into the antispam system, where volunteers will evaluate it for spammishness and block the spammer if warranted.

Also, if you happen to notice spam after you import comments to a journal from another site, thus bringing the spam over with you (attributed to an OpenID account) -- yes, delete that too! We can suspend the OpenID account even though the spamming took place on the other site, thus keeping things a little more clean and meaning that if anyone else imports a spam comment from the same ID, the comment won't import.

And, as a reminder: if the comment isn't actually spam -- someone trying to sell you something, or trying to get Google juice for their website, etc -- please don't mark it as spam! About 20% of the reports our antispam team receives are invalid, and while it doesn't mess things up, it does make more work for them and makes it harder for them to address actual spam. If you break up with your significant other, or your best friend isn't your best friend anymore, marking all their legit comments as spam won't get them in trouble, I promise, so don't do it. (You laugh, but that's actually pretty common!) Or, if there's that one person who comments to your anonymous meme with obnoxious images, irritating comments, or code that disrupts the page, that isn't spam either; it's just them being a jerk. (If there is a comment with code that disrupts the page, though, please do open a Terms of Service complaint by emailing with the HTML source contents of the comment (not just what shows on the screen, but what shows in the view-source of the page) so that we can prevent whatever trick they're using from working in the future. We won't block the person from commenting, but we will put in blocks to fix the page-breaking.)


Unhappy news: Inksome, another site based on the LiveJournal code, has announced that they're shutting their doors in April due to lack of funding. This is sad news, because we here at DW believe that the ecology of our corner of the internet is stronger the more options there are for people to choose from. (Not to mention, [ profile] staff-kit has always been awesome to brainstorm with!)

We're sad to see Inksome go, but we're happy to welcome Inksome users here to the DW family. If you or anyone else moving from Inksome needs a code to create an account on Dreamwidth, you can use this URL:

To make it easier for Inksome users to settle in and get started, each account created with this code will have a month of complimentary paid time. Once you create the account, visit our Content Importer to bring your stuff with you. And, if you have any questions, our Support team is standing by.

Purging deleted accounts

There have been a few people asking about this, so, an update: when you delete an account, you'll have at least 30 days to undelete it. At any time after that, the account may be purged: completely removed from our servers. The 30 day point isn't a guarantee, though; we don't run the worker that actually purges accounts regularly. (There's a reason for this: it adds load to the site, and can cause database access problems.)

We haven't done it in a while, because of those problems; we only run the worker a few times per year. So, if you have a deleted account that hasn't yet been purged even though it's been more than 30 days, that's why. As long as the account is marked as 'deleted', though, it won't be visible to anyone.

Display Updates

As you may have noticed with our last code push, we've been doing some work to change the CSS class descriptors used on the site, in order to standardize more and make it easier for designers to work. The last code push included a bunch of those changes, which is why some things changed the way they look.

We've worked out most of the bugs with that round, we think -- there are still a few things we can't quite get, but for the most part we're good -- but if you're still seeing any problems, open a support request.

Check/Money Order Payment Reminder

Just a reminder -- since Dreamwidth HQ has moved, check/money order payments should go to the address currently displayed in the store, not the address that used to be there. (In short: We've moved; update your address books!) We discovered after the fact that the post office doesn't keep their PO boxes available after hours (even though they said they did), so we can't get to the PO box every day, but we do have a system in place that will alert us when there's an order coming in so we can be sure to check it as soon as possible.

If you're renewing your account and paying by check/money order, though, please do leave a few extra days for us to get the payment and apply it to your account. If your account is about to expire and your check hasn't been applied to your account yet, we will extend your account for up to a week to give it time to get here, since the problem is on our end! Just contact us by opening a support request in the Account Payments category.

(This same offer applies for those who pay by credit/debit card and need a few days to tide you over until payday or something! If you need a few days of grace period, just let us know. I have to do it manually, but I'm more than happy to.)


That's it for another week month! 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.

Again, I'm so sorry for the delay in writing this. [personal profile] fu is going to be doing next week's, and hopefully by then I will have an internet connection that stays connected for more than fifteen minutes at a time.

Now let's see how long it takes for me to browbeat my connection into posting this ...
artisan447: hearts in nature (hearts)

[personal profile] artisan447 2011-01-26 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
*Bad* internet provider!

(... and *thank you* for the YouTube fix, which appeared exactly as I was on my 47th experiment trying to make it work. yay!)