Dec 212013
 

Change your mind site; nothing ever stays the same.

It’s once again time to make some changes here at RISCOSitory.

The keen-eyed readers will already have noticed the first change – which is that, following a change to the site’s appearance earlier this year, it has now reverted to something similar to how it was before that change.

The site is now using the same WordPress theme it was prior to that change – Suffusion by Sayontan Sinha – but with a lick of paint and some of the furniture moved around here and there. The alternative theme looked nicer, I felt, than the way the current theme was previously set up – but I think the old theme, with its new touch-of-green and minor layout changes, looks better still. It’s also more versatile than the alternatives I’ve tried, and is therefore more useful.

Related to that change of appearance1 is the new logo, which appeared at the same time as recent theme-change . It’s actually quite an old logo, which I came up with a couple of years ago – but when I originally added the logo to the site I somehow uploaded the wrong one, and didn’t notice! Oops.

The second change is to do with commenting on posts.

Originally, users had to register and be logged-in in order to post a comment, and not many people bothered, though there were lots of bogus registrations, probably from bots designed to look for and exploit weaknesses. I then changed it so that people didn’t have to have an account or sign-in; comments could be made by anyone, but were moderated – so they wouldn’t appear on the site until I approved them. Each new comment added to the moderation queue came to me in the form of an email.

The number of genuine comments went up only marginally and, instead of bogus registrations, there were now lots of attempts to post spammy comments. I could simply ignore these, just deleting the emails as they came in, and delete the comments themselves from the server whenever I saw a genuine comment arrive, which I needed to approve. However, the number of emails I had to open in order to see if the new comment was genuine or spammy was just ridiculous – so I switched it back to how it was, and things went back to rare commenting, and lots of bogus registrations.

I have therefore decided that I will shortly switch off the ability to comment altogether (along with the ability to register for an account). Too few people use the facility to make it worthwhile having. This change will happen in a few weeks time.

The third change involves the backlog of news (and possible news) that tends to build up when I am busy, or – as I was towards the end of last year and for some time into the start of this one – ill.

As a general rule, I don’t like to simply copy announcements word for word and post them. My preference is to add something to the announcement, so if it’s about a game, for example, I try to look into its history and add some information about that, or if it’s a piece of software which is now being updated by someone other than the original developer, I might discuss those origins, and so on. All of which means the amount of time taken to post any given item of news soon mounts up.

And this is what I am going to change. I have decided to introduce a new type of post, which will be used for announcements or press releases – particularly those that may be in some way time-sensitive and need to be posted sooner, rather than when I can otherwise get to them – and will see those announcements published on RISCOSitory more or less as the originating companies or individual developers themselves posted them, with only minor changes here and there as appropriate.

The body of such posts will be formatted to make them visibly different to other posts – nothing special; just a border and slightly different background colour – and they will be put in the new ‘Announcements‘ category. The title of the posts will very likely be nothing more than the original subject line of the announcement, and instead of some kind of joke, silly comment or pun, the sub-heading will identify the origin of the release and identify it as what it is – the point being to make it perfectly clear that they are simply original announcements and press releases posted directly, with no additional commentary, observations, research or background information.

Not all announcements or press releases I receive will be posted this way – but I believe doing this will allow me to post such things more efficiently so, when I am busy (including in the week or so leading up to a show), this should mean I can get the news out that much quicker.

The current backlog stands at over 170 emails and usenet posts which, when whittled down, probably equates to around 100 potential news items. A number of those are likely to be things already covered, perhaps in a show report, some will be related items that can be combined into a single post, and some will very likely only be small items that can be included in a more general ‘Snippets’ post – but there is still a notable backlog. I do not at this stage know how practical this new category of post will be for reducing that backlog – it might only make sense for new items – but I hope I can use it for at least some of what’s in the queue, to see it reduced.

!ReadMe

  1. You may see other changes to the site’s appearance – such as this new !ReadMe2 panel, which will be used when footnotes are used in a post (and deliberately used here to illustrate the point) – as and when they are first employed.
  2. !ReadMe? How very RISC OS!
 December 21, 2013  Posted by  Administrivia Tagged with: , , , ,

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