October 18, 2003

Yes, NewsForge suddenly looks different

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

It's not an illusion. The site now looks much better than it has in the past. (At least we think it looks better, to the point where we're wearing out our arms giving endless back-pats to OSDN graphics designer Wes Moran.) There are also a whole bunch of new site features we hope you'll like. (Well, we like them, anyway.) We now have -- obviously -- a clean, modern look and feel that is comfortable to read on virtually any size monitor, at any resolution, with every browser we've tested (which is a whole bunch of them). We now have Slashdot-style moderation, lots of customization options, comics, an improved pair of RSS feeds for your syndication pleasure, and a few other goodies we're not going tell you about today, but let you discover on your own over time. UpdatedOne of the biggest changes to NewsForge is the addition of Slashdot-style moderation (an easy change since the site runs on the same code as Slashdot). When we started NewsForge a few years back, we expected it to accumulate a small, select audience, and didn't think we'd ever get enough comments on stories to make moderation worthwhile. But NewsForge has grown. It now has a large, select audience, and many stories get enough comments that moderation will make it easier to sort through some of the inevitable repetitions and see only new, informative posts. And, of course, if you suddenly find yourself with moderation points, please use them. As it says in the moderation FAQ, you can't post and moderate in the same story. But that should be no big deal. Most of us don't post comments on but a fraction of the stories we read anyway.

You must be a logged-in user to moderate -- and to do many other things on NewsForge you couldn't do on the old version.

Some examples:

  • Choose how many stories you see on the main page
  • Choose only story topics/sections you want to see
  • Deactivate icons if you're on a slow connection
  • Choose comment display format (threaded, nested, etc.)
  • Choose to read only comments above a selected moderation threshold (i.e. +2 or higher)
  • Automatically add a sig to your comments
  • Post a brief bio (with or without contact info) to let other readers learn a little about you
  • Get email notification when someone replies to a comment you posted

There are other things you can do as a logged-in user, too, to make NewsForge just the way you like it instead of being forced to see it only in default mode. Poke around, play, enjoy.

RSS Feeds

The NewsForge RSS feeds are now more complete than ever. If you want to add Linux and Open Source news to your desktop or site (or your LUG's or company's site), go ahead. It's free.

You'll get NewsForge stories and commentaries plus hand-selected headlines from all over the World Wide Web. No special permission is needed to pick up NewsForge RSS feeds. They're yours to use and enjoy (and share), all day, every day.

We're actively seeking more reader input

Many of our best stories start with suggestions by readers like you. And some of the best of the best were written by our readers. We encourage you to share news stories you spotted elsewhere, let us know about events or happenings you believe we should cover, and even to write for us yourself. We pay for some stories, and even if you want to write commentary or humor (for which we don't pay), NewsForge is the perfect platform for an opinion or idea you want to share with other members of the Linux and open source communities.

We strongly recommend either using our submission form or emailing editors@newsforge.com rather than contacting individual editors, because (despite evidence to the contrary) we are actual humans who sometimes take time off to sleep, be with our families, travel, and generally do things other than work. Web submissions or editors@ email will usually draw a faster response than email sent to an individual editor.

'Mommy, what's an IT Manager's Journal?'

Click on the "IT Managers Journal" tab at the bottom of the new NewsForge header and you'll see our new IT Manager's Journal site. This is where most of our business and management-oriented stories will go in the future, although there will still be links to them on NewsForge. We had a large number of readers ask for more business and investment news, but others have no interest at all in this sort of thing, so we decided to make everybody happy by making a whole new site specifically for those of you who are (or would like to be) in management.

ITMJ, as we call it for short, is a work in progress. Let us know what you'd like to see on the site. Also please take a look at our revised DevChannel.org site. Obviously, it's specifically set up to house news and information for software developers with various specific interests. Once again, a work in progress, and we'd like to hear from you about what should be on it.

Comics!

The New York Times aside, what would a newspaper -- especially an online one about Linux and Open Source -- be without comics? Check out our new comics page and its selection of goodies from our friends at Plan Nine Publishing.

If there are any other features besides comics you think NewsForge ought to offer, we'll be happy to consider them. And let us know about the comics selections, too. Plan 9 selects them. They have a wide range of books and cartoonists from which to choose. Tell them which comics you like most (and like least) and that'll influence future selections that get posted on NewsForge.

Enjoy the new sites, and let us know how they work for you

We tested everything we could think of and it all seems to work. But we live in the real world, not a fantasy, so there are bound to be bugs that crop up in full-scale use that didn't appear with just a few of us poking around.

Please post what you do and don't like below. If there are valid criticisms or complaints, we'll do our best to correct them. NewsForge editors will be closely monitoring your reponses here, and we will respond as often and in as much detail as we can.

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Update: We're noting all responses and requests, and thinking about how we can best make everyone happy. Realize that when we first put up the two-column layout, we got even louder screaming than now. :)

We will be changing the NewsVacs to give you more info about each article instead of just a headline, and we're working on several reader-selectable page display options like how many feature stories vs. how many NewsVacs you want to see, and whether you want to see them in a single column or side-by-side.

We love constructive criticism and advice, but please note that just saying, "This looks like [obscenity]," may tell us something about you, but it doesn't tell us how to make NewsForge better. :) - Robin 'Roblimo' Miller -

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