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SoylentNews is people

posted by NCommander on Monday August 18 2014, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-there-was-much-rejoicing dept.
Over the weekend, Paul finished upgrading the site to the latest release of Slashcode, 14.08, which contains the usual slew of bug fixes, site improvements, and plenty else. I know this is late, but we had to do a fair bit of regression testing to make sure the biggest part of the update, UTF-8 support, didn't cause any regressions. Here's the short list:
  • Full UTF-8 Support
  • Subscriptions - Revamped and almost ready to go live
  • Nexuses - Ready to go, still DEPWAIT wildcard SSL certificate
  • Removal of the most annoying aspects of the lameass filter
  • Two new themes, CSS fixes, and blockquote changes
  • Removal of journal themes (it was half broken, and interfered with the new theming engine)
  • Updated zoo, and topic logos, as well as touched up logo and favicon
  • Improvement some of the more stupid error messages
  • Backend upgrades and improvements performed during the weekend downtime
  • File upload support for admins (no more wiki abuse!)

All things considered, a pretty large update! I've got more to talk about, but check back past the break for that.

So, a long announced, and long-delayed feature, I want to offer a round of applause to TheMightyBuzzard, who did most of the grunt work; Bytram, who did most of the sanity checking; and paulej72, who lost his sanity in getting UTF-8 full-functional in Slashcode with a massive merge that caused my brain to melt the first time I looked at it. This was a massive amount of work, but the site should no longer have those long-frustrating issues where characters randomly show up, or get mutated after you click Preview or Submit, something that was true on the other site as well. As part of the work on this, Slashcode was modified to be native UTF-8 or in other words we're not dong any sort of conversion to HTML entities or such, and four-bit unicode characters are also working as expected (contrary to what was previously reported). As part of this update, most of the annoying aspects of the lameass filter got ripped out as they were incompatible with unicode support, and mostly served to piss people off vs. serving any using spam prevention method.

In other visible changes, we've updated most of the images, and artwork this goaround to be somewhat more consistent, and to make the site itself have a slightly cleaner look and feel. Thanks to rand, mrcoolbp, and paulej72 for their efforts in this department.

In other news, its been somewhat hectic since we completed our incorporation, and are now moving towards getting the site towards self-sufficiency. Due to various administrative hiccups, combined with what ultimately became an ill-timed vacation on my part, we've still got a few minor business hangups before we can accept income and revenue, but everything will be resolved by Friday. As I noted above, our subscription code required an unexpectedly large amount of effort to get functional again due to missing components (which was not evident until we tied it into PayPal), but I'm pleased to note that everything promised got implemented in this update, we're just doing a final smoke test and business 1-2 before pushing the button.

I'd like to offer an apology on behalf of the staff, simply on the long period of time it has taken us to get our act together. For those who haven't realized it, SN is now six months old, and while we have made tremendous progress, none of us are able to work on SN full-time. Unfortunately, that means some things do fall by the wayside such as the long promised, and under-delivered moderation rework. As always, we welcome anyone to come by and volunteer time and effort to the cause; you can find all of the staff on IRC, and anyone is welcome to attend both our staff meetings, and the board meetings (with the next one scheduled for August 20th, at 23:00 UTC) are open to all.

Looking ahead, we've still got a few major things that need be solved relatively soon. The migration from Apache 1.3 -> 2.x is still a high-priority item, one that I think I'll be able to dedicate the necessary time and effort in the next month, which will mostly complete our list of "things we need to fix from golive". Looking ahead, I'm slowly developing a list of longer term objectives to fulfill in Slashcode; in no particular order, or promise of delivery:
  • Subslash support (basically our version of subreddits)
  • More advanced filtering options for the main page for customization
  • Overhauling journals to be more usable as a blogging platform
  • Article rating system
  • Renaming slashcode
  • Revamped voting system
  • Bidrectional NNTP gateway
  • i10n and i18n of slashcode (a LOT of our userbase is international, and I won't mind working with someone who'd be interesting in SoylentNews in second language)
  • RSS Reader Functionality (have your favorite RSS/Atom feeds show up as part of "your" homepage)

As I've stressed before, time and again, this site exists for the community, so if you've got some ideas, post them below, and let us hear about it!

On the business side of things, I'm working on drafting a "longer-term" plan, hopefully ready to present something this week, or early next week, which lays down a specific "here's what we are going to do" plan, and then let you guys think it over, poke it with a stick, then call me an idiot, and have me do it again; as far as running a site, its been a pretty successful model thus far :-)

Expect one or two more "meta" posts in the next few days, and until then, let me know your thoughts below ~ NCommander

 
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  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday August 21 2014, @02:12PM

    Interesting idea but I personally think it couldn't help but lead to rampant stupidity.

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday August 22 2014, @06:44AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 22 2014, @06:44AM (#84246) Journal

    Interesting idea but I personally think it couldn't help but lead to rampant stupidity.

    How that?

    You think marking italics like *this* instead of <i>this</i> of <em>this</em> leads to stupidity?

    Or quoting text

    > like this

    instead of

    <blockquote>like this</blockquote>

    or

    <quote>like this</quote>

    does?

    Maybe you think the problem of Usenet was that exactly this style was standard on Usenet?

    Wait ... you've got an bidirectional NNTP gateway in the list ... there people will inevitably use ">" formatting for quotes because that's how newsreaders do it automatically. If you don't support this, posts sent through NNTP will probably look awkward on the web site (and vice versa).

    I'd really like to know how a slightly easier to type (and to read!) formatting will lead to rampant stupidity.

    What it would cause is less formatting errors in posts due to incorrectly closed tags.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday August 22 2014, @03:40PM

      Ease up there guy. It's just an opinion not a personal insult.

      If we allowed full markdown it would be opening up formatting that we currently do not allow for very good reasons. That was the rampant stupidity I was talking about.

      If we limited markdown to mirror the tags we allow, you'd only be getting bold, italic, lists, and quote. Hardly seems worth the bother it would take to code properly* to me but if you want to convince paulej72 or NCommander to code it or to submit a pull request of your own for consideration, welcome to it. The issues tracker is here [github.com] if you want to submit it as a feature request.

      * You should see all the checks and transformations incoming text goes through before it ever makes it to even the preview much less the db. They would all have to be extended, tested, and debugged. And that's not even considering rendering the markdown correctly.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.