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_news2012-12-08 11:30 pm

Dreamwidth News: 8 December

Hello, Dreamwidth! It is I, here to bring you the usual veritable rainbow of interesting news, exciting developments, and stupid-ass jokes that prove I should not be trusted with posting access to the journal that sends out newsletter notifications to tens of thousands of people. (With great power comes great ... oh, you know the saying.)

Behind the cut:

* December Shop Promotion
* Holiday Giving
* Development
* Styles Stuff
* Content Importing
* Misc. Other Maintenance Notes

December Shop Promotion

We are once again running our annual December promotional giveaway. For the entire month of December, all orders (made by a logged-in account) for paid time or Dreamwidth Points will receive a 10% points bonus, saveable and spendable for Dreamwidth services in the future.

To take advantage of the promotion, visit the Dreamwidth Shop and buy paid time or Dreamwidth Points, for yourself or for a friend. (If you buy paid time or points for a friend, the points will be delivered to you, not them: the points to the account that placed the order.) For instance, if you buy a 12-month paid account (350 points), we'll give you 35 points to spend later, once you complete your order.

This is our way of saying "thank you" to the people who make it possible for us to keep Dreamwidth running. We rely entirely on user payments for 100% of our operating budget: we don't display advertising, we haven't taken venture capital, and we don't have any outside investors. This allows us to make decisions entirely based on what's best for you, the people who are actually using the site, instead of decisions made to keep the advertisers and the investors and the venture capitalists happy.

2012 has been a banner year for us so far in terms of income, and having that money in the bank has allowed us to invest back in the site considerably: from the computer-resources (new servers, better tools) to the people-resources (everything from buying books and reference materials for our volunteer developers to sending a bunch of our senior contributors to OSCON, O'Reilly's annual open source conference).

Our current income is definitely enough for us to run the site itself on with a pretty comfortable margin, but when we started Dreamwidth, we had a dream (no pun intended!) of building it into a sustainable company with a small team of dedicated employees. This year has shown us it's not as much of a pie-in-the-sky dream as we worried it might be -- not that we were ever worried about keeping the servers on, but there have definitely been a bunch of fiscal ups and downs in our three and a half years so far (oh my God, where does the time go?) That dream of being able to someday pay a small team of people a living wage to make awesome things is starting to look less and less like an impossibility, and it's all thanks to you.

So, if you've ever thought about buying paid time (for yourself, a friend, or through our random gifts link), please consider it. The more paid time you buy, the closer we get to being able to make that dream a reality.

Holiday Giving

It might seem odd to announce this hard on the heels of an appeal to help us fund further expansion, but even as far back as when [staff profile] mark and I were still wondering if we'd taken leave of our senses to even consider doing this, we knew we wanted to build "giving back" into our operations from the ground up. Part of that is making sure we put our money where our mouths are: supporting open source projects that build the tools we use, sponsoring organizations and events that work to improve the open source and technology ecosystem, and donating to charities that are doing good work in the tech sphere and beyond.

Last year, we donated 10% of our proceeds for the month of December to the Ada Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the experiences of women in open technology and culture. (Disclaimer: I volunteer my time on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, because it's something I feel passionately about!) This year, we're bringing back the December charitable giving, with a twist:

* 5% of our gross income for the month of December will once again be donated to the Ada Initiative.

* 5% of our gross income for the month of December will be donated to several other nonprofits doing awesome work.

Here's the trick, though: you guys will get to direct the money. In January, we'll post a poll with our choices of a few different charities. You'll vote for one of the charities. After the poll closes, we'll use the percentages of votes as a guide for what percentage of the "donation pot" goes to each charity.

For instance, let's say that 5% of our December income is $1000, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is one of the charities, and it receives 40% of the vote. We'd donate $400 of the $1000 to them. And so on, and so forth.

We'll announce the list of charities -- and the amount of money to be distributed -- in January!


Last week's code push brought a collection of new and awesome things. For details about what went live last week, see the code tour and supplemental code tour in [site community profile] dw_dev.

In addition to new styles, new themes, and a slew of bugfixes for the current beta tests that are running, the big improvements this time around include:

* You can now set your reading filters to be public, which will allow other people to filter your reading page to those filters. So, if you have a filter for "members of my writing group" called "writing", you'll be able to set it to public, and other people will be able to view only entries from people in that filter. Existing reading filters have all defaulted to private, so if you want to make them public, you'll need to go edit them to make them public.

* When customizing your journal, you can now specify an embedded webfont if you'd like to use a font stylesheet such as Google Webfonts.

* If you have paid time on an account that you're not using anymore, you can refund it to points. Because of how the payment system works, this can only be done in 30-day blocks, and if you have fewer than 30 days of paid time left, you won't be able to convert any of it: for instance, if you have 40 days of paid time left on an account, you can convert 30 days of it back to points, leaving 10 days of paid time left on the account.

And, of course, the usual slew of bugfixes, backend improvements, and other tiny shiny things like better wording, display fixes, workflow improvements, and many more.

Styles Stuff

A collection of styles-related news and announcements:

* In addition to the dozens of new themes for existing styles, the code push also included two new base styles: Fantasie and Summertime, both by [personal profile] ninetydegrees. Check them out and see if one of them is the style or theme you've been waiting for.

* Thanks to the hard work of our contributors, we now have over 1200 themes available for you to choose from! That's a lot of (awesome) themes to choose from. It's getting harder for people to find That Perfect Theme, though, so we're starting to think of better ways to sort and present them. If you have a few minutes, stop off at the Brainstorming/Request for Feedback: Style Categories post and give us your thoughts.

* Found that one style that's almost perfect, but not exactly? It's easy to tweak most things at the Customize Style page, but if you're looking to customize things more extensively, we've also made it really easy to tweak just about any part of a style through the use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). [personal profile] momijizukamori (who's been rocking the styles lately!) has a draft guide for layout CSS structure as the beginning of a layout-making tutorial that you might find useful there, and the friendly people in [community profile] style_system are generally happy to help give you a hand with figuring out how to achieve a particular effect.

* There is one thing we'd like to remind people, though: we can't officially support layouts that originated on LiveJournal. Many people are following instructions to bring over their LiveJournal styles such as Flexible Squares and Expressive using "core1", the first iteration of the S2 compiler. (S2 is the custom templating language that is used for journal customization.) "core1" is the version that's very similar to the version LJ is running; "core2" is the Dreamwidth-native version, the one that we've standardized, extended, and improved.

We do try to keep core1 as backwards-compatable with LiveJournal's version as possible so people can install their favorite layouts if they really want to, but core1 will never have access to the full range of features and customizations, and it's a "use at your own risk" type thing. We definitely recommend using a core2 layout instead (and then using either the customization wizard to tweak it slightly, or use CSS to style it more fully).

"Tabula Rasa" is the style designed to allow people to customize it any way they want -- it has very minimal styling on its own, but it has a ridiculous number of CSS classes to target with your custom stylesheet. We really, really encourage people to start using that instead of jumping through hoops to figure out how to make an imported core1 version of Flexible Squares or Expressive work. It is generally much, much easier to do what you want to do with Tabula Rasa, and it means you'll have access to all the full range of features.

* And finally, a reminder: if you come up with something you really love, we'd love to add it as a system style for everyone else to use, too. We accept submissions of styles and color themes at [site community profile] dreamscapes -- check out the posting guidelines and then go wild. Both new styles and new color themes for existing styles receive a "bounty" of Dreamwidth points when they're added to the site, so it can be a fun way to pick up points for future spending.

Content Importing

It seems like every news post lately includes something about the importer being touchy!

If you were one of the people whose entries were importing but the comments weren't, go ahead and try re-importing your journal now. We're pretty sure we've fixed the underlying cause (a change in the way LiveJournal was providing data for some accounts).

Likewise, we fixed the problem that was resulting in duplicate entries and comments (another change in the way LJ was providing data for some accounts). If you imported your journal and wound up with duplicates of entries or comments, [staff profile] mark has written a cleanup tool that will let you remove all imported content from your account and then try again. Instructions on how to use the tool, plus a few important cautions about what it will and won't do, can be found in the dw-maintenance post announcing the tool.

We're pretty confident that we've fixed the problem for like 99.9% of the cases, but there's a chance we've missed something: the importer's a very complex system that's dependent on a lot of very small fiddly bits, many of which we don't have direct control over such as how LJ provides the data feed of your account. There's also a chance for bugs that only manifest under certain circumstances, like if your account contains some kind of data that we weren't expecting. So, if you try again and you still have problems, please report them to Support, instead of reporting them here. Any problems that are still remaining will require some very complex troubleshooting, and Support is the best place to go for that.

Misc. Other Maintenance Notes

Two quick notes:

* For those who don't watch [site community profile] dw_maintenance (and you really should be!): Site search is going to be a bit touchy for the next little while. (We're very close to outgrowing the existing setup. Which is a very exciting problem to have!) If you try searching for something and it doesn't work, or it doesn't pick up recently-posted entries, we're really sorry -- we're trying our best to keep it lurching along until we can get a chance to implement the plan.

* On the bright side, you may have noticed the site itself being much faster this week! This is thanks to two new webservers that we added to the webserver pool, in order to better handle the traffic. Once again, "stuff needs to be fixed because y'all are using it so much" is a very exciting problem. :)

* As part of that, though, we're working on an issue with OpenID logins and commenting on the two new webservers. More information about the problem is once more available in [site community profile] dw_maintenance.

* Also, Support has asked us to let you know that Twitter is in the process of phasing out support for RSS feeds (as part of their new restrictions on API use and interaction with Twitter), so anyone who is using a feed to keep up with somebody from Twitter on Dreamwidth may note some weirdness, or notice them not working at all. Sadly, this isn't something we can fix; it's entirely due to Twitter's choices in how to offer data.


And there we have it for another update! (I'm positive there were some other things I was supposed to talk about, but I'm sure that if I missed anything, it'll turn up in comments.) 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 soon for our next update!
sara: Well...I thought we needed some kind of official group battle cry. (official group battle cry)

[personal profile] sara 2012-12-09 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
* When customizing your journal, you can now specify an embedded webfont if you'd like to use a font stylesheet such as Google Webfonts.


(That is all.)
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)

[personal profile] peoppenheimer 2012-12-09 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
(1) You rock!!

(2) Does the web fonts thing mean I can use MathJax now?
azurelunatic: Dreamwidth antispam: a dreamsheep holding a hammer, the better to smack spammers with. (spamhammer)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-12-09 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
Hooray news post!

State of Antispam:

Most of the spam that's being reported these days is SEO journals that aren't commenting on anybody's entries. Kudos to the dedicated folks who keep noticing and reporting these. To help with traffic control on those reports (and to keep the Terms of Service folks able to sort out their stuff from our stuff), there's now an Anti-Spam support category.

Most of the accidental non-spam reports that turn up appear to be roleplaying applications. If you've accidentally deleted an application as spam while trying to screen/unscreen/freeze/etc., don't worry about something bad happening to your player: those reports are reviewed and dismissed.

[personal profile] thewalrus 2012-12-09 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
how long is the paid promotion going to run for? i'm a slow poke and i'm kinda saving up to buy two premium paids.
ilyena_sylph: the letters L O V E rearranged into a heart on a pink and blue gradient background (art: love)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2012-12-09 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, so Asp read out the beginning of the news post, and K_R (who was headed to bed) spun around and flipped the computer back open and flopped down to read the news post, while I dropped my stitching and scrambled to get my computer awake again, both of us yelping "News post? News post!!! YAY!!!"
amalnahurriyeh: XF: Plastic Flamingo from Acadia, with text "bring it on." (flamingo)

[personal profile] amalnahurriyeh 2012-12-09 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
So, part of the reason I've never bought myself a paid DW is that I'm tetchy about using my RL credit card in conjunction with my fannish identity, at all, in the least. I obviously know that you wouldn't go out of your way to link the names affiliated with payments to the usernames, but I'm wondering to what extent the payment portion of the process is tied to the "this is the user who should get the points" portion. To be blunt--what kind of a paper trail am I creating for myself if I buy myself a paid account?

I KNOW, I KNOW, PARANOID. Sorry. *hides in shame*
killing_rose: Abby from NCIS asleep next to a caf-Pow with the text "Goth Genius at Work" (Abby)

[personal profile] killing_rose 2012-12-09 04:57 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, what Yena said. I'm tired! I'm drugged! I have painkillers! Wait, there's a news post? No, that can't wait until morning!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ilyena_sylph: (Dreamwidth "d", rainbow-colored by Sophie) (Dreamwidth)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2012-12-09 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
If you've accidentally deleted an application as spam while trying to screen/unscreen/freeze/etc., don't worry about something bad happening to your player

And that right there is the 5,324,796 reason I live on Dreamwidth.
merzibelle: Black & White image of a leafless tree against a gray sky personalized with 'Merzibelle' (Personalized Christmas Icon)

[personal profile] merzibelle 2012-12-09 05:09 am (UTC)(link)
I renewed my account just a couple of days ago because I love it here and really want you to succeed!

Plus... NEWS POST!!! YEAH!!
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-12-09 05:14 am (UTC)(link)
If you're super worried about it, and you happen to have a RL named journal, you can buy the points under that name and transfer them afterwards.

I'm not sure about the paper trail; payments would be something that only staff tangle with. *awaits D's input*
random_xtras: The words Tam I am on a purple background (OOC)

[personal profile] random_xtras 2012-12-09 05:16 am (UTC)(link)
And you guys are looking at the problem where the new style entry pages won't let OpenIDs edit their own entries, right? :D
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-12-09 05:17 am (UTC)(link)
My braintwin made me promise to text her when the news post went up.

random_xtras: The words Tam I am on a purple background (OOC)

[personal profile] random_xtras 2012-12-09 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
Just buy one of those disposable gift card type credit cards to buy your points.
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)

dreamwidth culture news

[personal profile] jjhunter 2012-12-09 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for the thorough, thoughtful updates!

Some unofficial culture links for folks browsing the comment section:

* [personal profile] kouredios is currently hosting a fabulous friending meme for the fannishly inclined

* I'm currently hosting a two week anonymous love meme that will stay open until Sunday, December 23rd - all are welcome

* Dreamwidth Glitch players are sharing memories and documenting the end of their shared world on [community profile] glitches_of_ur and [community profile] glitchwidth

* [Reply with your own DW culture/art news to this thread]
azurelunatic: "Fangirl": <user name="azurelunatic"> and a folding fan.  (fangirl)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-12-09 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
Sometimes it's hard to tell the unrelated compliment spam from the unwanted contact deleted-as-spam (and as much as one party may clearly be trollin'-as-hell, antispam doesn't intervene in those situations) but applications are really easy to identify (and can alert the antispam team to some fun games to take a look at).
birguslatro: Birgus Latro III icon (Default)

[personal profile] birguslatro 2012-12-09 05:27 am (UTC)(link)
[looks at credit-card statements...]

My payments went to "Dreamwidth Studios Llc (+ some numbers and a few letters)", with the numbers/letters probably being my DW account number or similar. So no indication of who I am on DW, (as, as far as I know, even I can't see my account number on the site?), but anybody who saw those credit-card transaction details could probably guess I have a DW account.
random_xtras: The words Tam I am on a purple background (OOC)

[personal profile] random_xtras 2012-12-09 05:51 am (UTC)(link)
*more inane but very pleased grinning* Great! Thanks for replying.
birguslatro: Birgus Latro III icon (Default)

[personal profile] birguslatro 2012-12-09 05:58 am (UTC)(link)
Which would be excellent. For the record the numbers on mine are of the form: "41xxx.etc.,etc.xxx49" followed by two letters which are probably a US state abbreviation. Others will, I'm sure, confirm that here if it's correct.
narrativian: Photo of a sign that reads 'Warning special effects used during the show' (P: SFX)

[personal profile] narrativian 2012-12-09 06:05 am (UTC)(link)
~waves~ Civilian here, with a question - since part of this newspost touches on content importing:

Is there any way I can combine content from extant Dreamwidth accounts? 's like this - when I first decided to come over, I made several additional accounts and imported content from several of my LJ accounts that I was planning to shut down. Many months on, I'm finding that having to go to multiple Dreamwidth accounts to find my old posts on the same subject matter is a PITA. Is it possible to consolidate journals here, or do I need to do it piece by piece?

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