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_news2011-05-26 05:05 pm

Dreamwidth Update: 26 May 2011

Hello again, Dreamwidth! I know it's been ages since the last update, but since I'm sure you all don't care about the trials and travails that have been preventing me from getting it done, I shall simply apologize for the delay and move on. (They were trial-icious and travail-tactular, though.)

At any rate, here! Have an update! Behind the cut:

* Development
* Code Push
* Themes and Styles
* JQuery Beta
* It's Business, Baby
* Seed Account Sale Results
* Spam/Not Spam
* Invite Codes
* Community Marketplace
* And A Little ♥ To Finish It Off


We've had a busy few weeks, development-wise! Code tours for this month's development:

April 24 - May 8 (all live on the site)
May 9 - May 18 (all live on the site)
May 19 - May 25 (not live)

More about the highlights of these in a minute, since:

Code Push

We did a code push on 17 May, which means that all the improvements in the previous item except for the last code tour are now live. Bugfixes include:

* Fixing the "expand all cuts" style module in the Sunday Morning and Transmogrified layouts.

* Fixing the defined colors for the Colorside layout to prevent an invisible-text problem.

* Fixing a bug where cancelling out of renaming a filter would rename the filter to "null" instead of leaving it untouched.

* Renaming the notification tracking page to remove reference to "subscriptions" (what they're called on LJ) to eliminate confusion with subscriptions-to-your-circle.

* Fixed a problem with embedding video temporarily not working.

New things include:

* Consolidating the Directory Search pages to remove the ancient and awful "browsing" frontend and instead forward to the full directory search.

* Allowing you to set a customized subtitle for your reading page (to go with the customized subtitle for your entries page) -- there's a bug that's causing blank lines to be printed there for now that will be fixed with the next code push, btw!

* Added something that's been bugging me for ages -- if you expand a comment thread, the inline actions (screen, freeze, etc) wouldn't work on that page; you'd have to load a separate page. Now it will just work inline!

* Added the "don't index this journal" metatags to icon pages, so if you have "minimize my journal's inclusion in search results" turned on, those tags will also be included on your icons page. (Not all search engines respect this setting, but most do!)

* Added the option to buy points for someone to the Circle Gifts page, in addition to the option for buying paid time.

* Added the display of the number of people who have voted in a poll before you vote in a poll as well, instead of just after.

* Added some extra information on deleted comments in the inbox: now, instead of just (Deleted comment), it will say "(Deleted comment to post from X days ago in [journal name]: comment by [commenter] in "[post title]"). (Since this information is already available to anyone who has email notifications turned on, and who saved the original notification.)

Themes and Styles

As a side note, with the last push, we officially passed 400 themes available for you to decorate your journal with! This is thanks to the awesome designers who post in [site community profile] dreamscapes and the tireless work of the styles team who takes those submissions and turns them into patches that can be applied to the site.

(A super special shoutout goes to [personal profile] ninetydegrees, who is like our very own Themes Goddess.)

If you're looking for that special style and it's been a while since you've checked out the offerings, go take a look. And if you don't know where to start, [personal profile] foxfirefey has created an unofficial Style Browser, including statistics on types and categories of styles. There are a lot of awesomely pretty things, so have a gander!

Also, the Styles Class that [personal profile] foxfirefey is running is about to enter the section on the actual task of implementing a style, so if you've been thinking about jumping in, this would totally be a grand time. The class is running in [community profile] style_system, and it's very self-directed and no-pressure. Be sure to read not only the previous lessons, but also the comments -- some very useful information in there!

(We interrupt this entry-writing for about, oh, two hours for me to take delivery of and do partial install of the air conditioners for the house oh my god you have no idea how much better my day just got, Dreamwidth, really, no idea)

JQuery Beta

If you're interested in helping us to modernize our code, and don't mind the occasional falling rocks (only with how you personally access the site -- it won't affect any readers of your journal and it won't do anything to the data in your journal), we are still looking for people to help out with testing our JQuery beta.

JQuery is the new Javascript library we're moving to using. It will make things much, much easier on us, since it's under active development, and it means we won't have to write all of our own Javascript (and debug it, and make it work on umpty different browsers...), not to mention it's under active development and there's tons of documentation on it. This is one of the instances of paying down our technical debt to make it easier for us to develop things in the future. You can help by turning on the JQuery test for your account and then just using the site normally. If you spot any problems, or something doesn't work the way you think it should, leave a comment to the latest JQuery beta post in [site community profile] dw_beta.

(One caveat: neither the popup icon browser nor in-page thread tracking without reloading the page have been implemented yet. Soon!)

To opt in, visit the Beta Features page (this is also how you opt out if you want to turn it off again). Your (potential) suffering will help make DW better for everyone!

It's Business, Baby

I realized it had been ages since our last [site community profile] dw_biz Business Q&A, and since we try to live our lives (and our business) by the concept of "radical business transparency" -- aka, we'll tell you guys just about anything that you want to know, in order to help you make decisions about whether we're the kind of company you want to support with your dollars, pounds, rubles, yen, pesos, or bartered goods (yes, I could probably be convinced to trade DW paid accounts for really awesome yarn or really awesome beads...) -- I realized that "ages" is probably "way way way too long".

To that end, I've posted the May 2011 Dreamwidth Q&A Session in [site community profile] dw_biz. If you've had a question about how we make decisions, or what we have in store for you in the future, or just want to ask that question that your'e not sure if it's silly or not, c'mon over and ask. No question too big; no question too small. It's sort of like one giant crowdsourced interview!

Seed Account Sale Results

Speaking of business, our anniversary Seed Account sale went really, really well! The first batch of accounts sold out in half an hour, which made me a little nervous -- I was hoping they'd go slowly enough that people wouldn't feel like they had missed a chance to buy one if they really really wanted to -- but subsequent batches went a little more slowly, and the last batch took until a day or two ago to finally sell out the last few of them. (That's actually good, no matter what you might think -- it means that everyone who really wanted theirs got a ton of opportunity, and nobody was left feeling like they missed out!)

(Fun fact: Despite warning our merchant processor three times of the increased processing volume and the uncharacteristic transaction amounts, I still had to spend the evening of April 29 (due to people buying points in advance of the sale) and the afternoon of May 2 (due to the weekend processing volume) explaining to the very nice risk management people that we really weren't going to take off with everyone's money and run off to the Caymans. Then, last week, we apparently crossed another one of their lines for total monthly transactions going way, way over the processing volume we regularly do, which entailed another three hours on the phone with their risk management people explaining that no, really, I promise, this isn't what our processing volume is going to be from now on. We did eventually get it straightened out, and I am now on a first-name basis with half of the Risk Management department. Also, they think our business model is kind of awesome.)

At any rate, I'm really happy at how the sale went. We sold all of our allotted 400 seed accounts, which will more than make up for the "emergency fund" that we depleted last year during the period where we were unable to accept payments, plus allow us to make some much-needed improvements and upgrades. (First upgraded: my laptop. The poor thing was about two years past its prime.) It's your support that's going to allow us to do all that, as well as letting us have the "war chest" reserve to guard against future disaster and make sure we stay on the air, and we wanted to very, very sincerely thank everyone who bought one: you guys are absolutely our seed investors (hence the name of the account), and it's because of you that we can pull off this whole crazy thing without venture capital, without advertising, and without anybody having a say in how this little empire runs but us.

A reminder: if you chose "check/money order" payments for your seed account, you have until May 30 to get the check to us! We'll be a little bit generous with the dates, though, since [personal profile] sarah is the one who does the post office runs (I'm on several meds that mean I'm really not supposed to drive except in emergencies) and she's out of town for a business trip; this means I have to find alternate people to do PO box pickups. Still, please do make sure your payment is postmarked by May 31.

Meanwhile, if you had existing paid time at the time you purchased your seed account, we will happily transfer that paid time into points or transfer it to another account of your choice (counting from the time you purchased the seed account, not from the time we do the transfer), if we haven't already. Just open a support request in the Account Payments category, and let us know if you'd prefer the points or the transfer (and if it's the transfer, who should get it).

Spam/Not Spam

It's like Prime/Not Prime, only less mathematically geeky.

Our tireless and epically awesome [site community profile] dw_antispam team leaders would like to remind everybody that marking things as spam when they aren't spam isn't going to get that one annoying-but-not-a-spam-robot commenter to your journal, your ex whom you just broke up with, or that one person who keeps leaving inappropiately-cheery messages to your tales of personal woe blocked from accessing the site. All it does is make it harder for the antispam team to identify and handle actual reports of spam!

We've found that many anonymous or semi-anonymous "say anything" type communities are particularly prone to doing this, so, a reminder: if the comments are there to be annoying, but aren't at least two of a) automated, b) high-volume, c) selling something, d) identical or e) scammy, they probably shouldn't be marked as spam. The best way to handle comments that are designed to be annoying, but that aren't spam, is to temporarily restrict commenting (log IP addresses, require all commenters to fill out a CAPTCHA before commenting -- although CAPTCHAs are horrible for accessibility and should probably be used sparingly -- screen anonymous comments and only unscreen the ones that are legit, or, in drastic circumstances, block anon commenting entirely).

I know that this can change the entire tenor of one of those "say anything" anon communities, but please use those options instead of reporting comments as spam if they aren't spam! Trolling, even high-volume trolling, isn't the sort of thing our antispam team can or will handle.

Invite Codes

As many of you have noticed, we sent out a whole slew of invite codes this morning!

You may (or may not) have gotten multiple "you can haz coeds!" messages. This is because the system lets us choose to distribute invites in multiple ways, and this time around, we used most of them:

* All accounts with no unused invite codes got 3 invite codes.
* All paid accounts got 4 invite codes.
* All seed accounts got 4 invite codes.
* All premium paid accounts got 4 invite codes.
* All accounts that have been active in the last 30 days got 5 invite codes.

These stack -- so if you're, say, a paid account holder who's been active in the last 30 days and had no unused invite codes, you got three emails: 4 invite codes, 5 invite codes, and 3 invite codes. (Obviously, we did the "no unused invite codes" part first.)

This is independent of the ability to request more invite codes through our administrative system -- we don't check those requests very often at all. (Quite honestly, both [personal profile] sarah and I keep forgetting, despite all our reminders!) When we hit those requests up after a mass distribution, we will reject the request if it was for fewer invites than that account got in the mass distribution, so don't be surprised if you subsequently get a "your invite code request was rejected" -- that's why.

If you ever need more invite codes on a time-sensitive basis, or need a larger batch of codes for a group such as a community you're moving over, a roleplaying game you're starting up, a class you're teaching and want to use DW for, etc, don't use the "request more invites" link -- it's almost certainly not going to be fast enough. (I added a disclaimer to this effect a while back.) If you need more invites and there's any sort of time pressure, open a Support request in the Account Payments department (which is really the Account Payments, Invite Codes, And Anything Else [staff profile] denise Needs To Deal With category) and let me know what you need.

We will always, always give out invites for that purpose, and we have the ability to give a "promo code" that will let you make multiple accounts from a single, easy-to-remember invite code -- no remembering a meaningless string of letters and numbers. This option is absolutely the best for anything where you have to give out codes to a large bunch of people, because it's so much easier to remember MYCOMMNAME as an invite code than it is to remember "MH54X4NTPWM8HAAAAEXZ"!

Community Marketplace

So, a while back, I was doing weekly showcases of artisan DW-user goods for sale, and had just started highlighting other creative work (music, books, art prints, zines, etc, etc). Then my wife and I bought a house and I had no internet but cell phone modem for a month and a half, which made it really hard to browse and properly build lists, etc, and I just sort of never picked up the habit again, due to how much work they were to put together!

I'd really like to get back to it, though, no matter how much work it was every update, because I loved seeing the incredible diversity of all the sheer awesomeness that you guys seem to possess. (I'm pretty sure that among all of us, we probably have the whole range of human talent and knowledge covered.) So, to that end:

* If you're an artisan with a web-based craft presence -- whether on a site like Etsy or Artfire, or a site that you own/operate yourself -- and you aren't already on "the list", leave a comment to the list of DW artisans with the URL of your shop, store, web presence, etc.

* If you're some other kind of creative folk, and you have a product that people can buy, download, obtain via smoke signals, etc, and you aren't already on "the list", leave a comment to the list of DW user creative works with the URL of your shop, store, web presence, etc, or the place where people can get prints of your photographs or art prints, or the name/album title location of your band's latest release, or the link to Amazon (or your favorite indie bookseller) for your book, or the gallery that's hanging and selling your artwork, or the latitude, longitude, and bearing of where smoke signals should be directed.

Then, starting next update, I will do my best to feature at least one example of the awesome breadth and depth that is the wellspring of our users' creativity! Because I think it is freaking awesome. (Okay, and while I'm at it, I'll show off our very own Dreamwidth earrings -- beads made by the incredibly talented [personal profile] dexwebster -- mostly for the fact that [personal profile] sarah photographed them on the actual keyboard that helped birth DW! Which I just think is neat.)

And A Little ♥ To Finish It Off

[personal profile] yvi has started an unofficial Dreamwidth <3 meme -- not for people on Dreamwidth that you <3, but for things you <3 about Dreamwidth itself. Head on over and leave a comment!


That's it from us for another $time_period_that_seems_to_be_getting_more_intermittent! 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. (And [site community profile] dw_suggestions has had a very large batch of suggestions released this week, so while you're at it, check it out and see what you think about your fellow users' ideas to make DW rock even more and whether you have an idea that'd make the suggestions even more awesome!)

We'll see you in 1d4 weeks for our next update.

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