from the putting-our-heads-together-from-a-distance-seems-like-it-should-be-easy-but-it's-MMMMMMMMMMMMMM-not! dept.
[20200320_184315 UTC: Update: Made the dept. line longer to better demonstrate space [un]availability.--martyb]
[20200320_202305 UTC: Update: Added topics: "/dev/random", "Code", "Software", and "Answers" topics to better illustrate their use of space in a story. --martyb]
[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]
First: Please accept my best wishes to everyone during SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. Please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe!
Second: I should not have been surprised, but I must confess my admiration at how the SoylentNews community came together in support of each other in response to SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You? As of my writing this, there are over 300 comments! community++ This is what I had hoped for when SoylentNews started over six years (Wow!) ago, and so validates my giving of my time to this site!
Third: (and the focus of this story) our virus roundup stories are... long. An AC posted a comment: thanks to eds:
Thanks editors for pulling together this summary. SN for the win!
One comment--it is kind of long to scroll down through, to get to the comments. Perhaps next time some of the longer stories could be put inside the spoiler tag?"
This was quickly acted on by a member of staff, but that was not universally embraced as a "Good Idea". Both Soylentils, to my eye, had good points. If I am visiting an active story again, I have already read the story (both the "Intro Copy" and the "Extended Copy"). Why should I have to scroll through a wall-of-text to get to the comments? The suggestion of using <spoiler>...</spoiler> to bracket the contents of each of the merged stories seemed like a reasonable suggestion. But, when you have a hammer... Right idea, but maybe not quite the right tool.
Aside: If I am reading a review of, say, a movie, then a spoiler is an appropriate way to hide plot details from those who have not yet seen the movie. That is not the situation here. Why hide details of a story about the pandemic? Hmm. A good first try, perhaps, but it looks like we need something different in this case.
Idea: what if there were, say, a button at the top of the story that I could click and be brought immediately to the comment section of a story? Hey! I can do that!
Acknowledgements: At this point, I hereby express my sincere thanks to AndyTheAbsurd for constructing some CSS which allowed the conditional display of a button, and to FatPhil for his testing efforts. Thanks guys!
Read on past the break for details on the implementation and a request for assistance before I attempt to roll it out to production.
So, I hacked up something that I hope addressed the initial concern: "kind of long to scroll down through". I'll be the first to admit the implementation is crude. We can go for pretty later. (The perfect is the enemy of good enough, right?) I think the ideal would be to have a separate nexus for virus-related stories. That way we would not feel compelled to gather a bunch of story submissions into a single story. We could process each submission independently and release each on its own. Unfortunately, there is much more to it than just adding an entry to the site DB.
It has been implemented on our development server: https://dev.soylentnews.org/ and I hereby solicit feedback from the community on how well it works. It was implemented with one addition to an in-memory copy of a single site template (dispStory;misc;default).
For the curious, see Original and Updated Versions of Template: "dispStory;misc;default" ("Skip to Comment(s)" button), but do be aware that rehash replaced tabs with spaces, so what you see is NOT an exact copy of the sources.
Now what? Feedback! This is your site. I am well aware there are Soylentils who have a much better grasp of HTML and CSS than I do, and am hereby soliciting supportive feedback.
- Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button not appear on the main page?
- Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button appear on the story page?
- Does it work?
- Is the appearance consistent across all of the available themes?
- Site Default
- Black IcIcle
- Night Mode
- OMG PWNIES
- Is the layout consistent other homepage settings?
-  Simple Design
- Simplifies the design of Dev.SN to strip away some of the excesses of the UI.
-  Low Bandwidth
- Reduces the size of pages for people with slower network connections
-  No Icons
- Disable topic icon images on stories.
Which of the preceding homepage settings would be better served with just a simple anchor?
<a href="@acomments">Skip to Comment(s)</a>
- Other, what did I miss?
Even though it has only been a short while since our last round-up there are 22 separate stories merged into this round-up. Many report duplicate news but, nevertheless, we have tried to distill the important elements of each submission.
Firstly, there is some confusion regarding the actual names that are reported for the virus, the disease that it causes, and names frequently seen in media reporting. From https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0695-z:
The present outbreak of a coronavirus-associated acute respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is the third documented spillover of an animal coronavirus to humans in only two decades that has resulted in a major epidemic. The Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is responsible for developing the classification of viruses and taxon nomenclature of the family Coronaviridae, has assessed the placement of the human pathogen, tentatively named 2019-nCoV, within the Coronaviridae. Based on phylogeny, taxonomy and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as forming a sister clade to the prototype human and bat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) of the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and designates it as SARS-CoV-2.
In order to facilitate communication, the CSG proposes to use the following naming convention for individual isolates: SARS-CoV-2/host/location/isolate/date. While the full spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans remains to be determined, the independent zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 highlights the need for studying viruses at the species level to complement research focused on individual pathogenic viruses of immediate significance. This will improve our understanding of virus–host interactions in an ever-changing environment and enhance our preparedness for future outbreaks.
There is much more information at the link provided.
Secondly, as this is a fusion of stories received over the last week or so take all quoted figures of casualties as possibly out-of-date. At the time of merging these stories (12 Mar 20) there have been 127,863 confirmed cases world-wide resulting in 4,717 deaths. 68,309 people have already recovered with the remainder either in self-imposed or advisory isolation, in basic hospital care and a relatively small number in critical care. The pandemic has affected 116 countries/regions. Source: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 - a graphical display produced by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Many countries have taken emergency measures to restrict travel or large gatherings of people. As this is a very fluid situation we suggest you refer to the media of any specific country in which you have an interest. President Trump has banned transatlantic air travel from countries in mainland Europe to the USA from Friday 2020-03-13 at 23:59 (no timezone stated) for a period initially of 30 days, and air travel within Europe is also significantly disrupted.
A lot has already happened this year. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) which can cause COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019) has been making headlines shortly after it was first reported. The first cases were reported to WHO (World Health Organization) on 2019-12-31. The virus spread. It began as an epidemic in China . The world watched apprehensively. Reports surfaced of cases in other countries and the the apprehension grew. For many folk, it turned to fear when it was upgraded to a pandemic: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020: "We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."
We have seen increasing efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Efforts have run the gamut. Closing of borders. Cancellation of sporting events. Conferences cancelled. Churches and other places of worship also closed. Schools closed. Panic buying of household goods and supplies. Supply chain disruptions affecting manufacturers. Restaurant, bars, and other such establishments closed. Work-from-home policies established and enacted.
The changes have been many, widespread, and continuing.
Reading about all the ways that "other people" have been affected is one thing. It seems different, somehow, when it hits closer to home and affects us directly. With many of our usual social activities curtailed or cancelled, it is easy to begin isolating and lose perspective. SoylentNews arose from a troubled period (the SlashCott) and a community has formed from that challenging period.
How have you been affected? Have you been infected? Had a family member or friend who was? Helped neighbors who are struggling? Hunkering down and isolating? (In a basement is optional.) Are you suddenly working from home and finding it challenging to manage your time? Still working on site, but now have a faster commute due to all the other people staying home? Catching up on watching TV shows? Reading more SoylentNews? How has your life changed?
From a somewhat different perspective, how have others helped you to cope... and how have you been able to help others? One of the potential impacts of social distancing is isolation and depression. I count myself fortunate, indeed, to have served this site for over 6 years and for all the people I have gotten to know, here. For those who may not be aware, SoylentNews has its own IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. Feel free to drop in to #Soylent and just say "Hi!"
Social distancing is permanent when you're dead. So, practice good hygiene and stay safe.
Previously (oldest first):
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
Working from Home: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years
[2020-03-21 15:06:00 UTC: Update 1:
(1) Reminder: this has so far been implemented only on our *development* server (https://dev.soylentnews.org/); it has NOT yet been rolled out to this (the production) servers.
(2) The control (now a simple text link, no longer a button) no longer defaults to taking up a whole physical line immediately above the first comment.
(3) Please note that in certain corner-cases, it is possible that screen size limitations may cause an overflow onto the next line.
(4) And the control should now appear aligned-right in the story header. =)
[2020-03-21 15:42:00 UTC: Update 2: Fixed typo in the first of the above two links to our dev server. --martyb]
This is a follow-up to: Changing the Site UI to Making Long Stories Easier to Navigate -- Input Requested.
Wow! Thanks for all the positive feedback to the previous story! I knew the implementation was a bit rough around the edges, so I very much appreciate the positive, constructive feedback that was provided!
Based on your input -- primarily displeasure in having a single button take up a whole physical line -- I have modified the in-memory template on our development server to now provide a textual link in the story header right after the printer icon. It should only appear when viewing the story by itself; there should be no indication of this on the main page.
To repeat, this is only on our development server so far; it is not yest implemented on our production server (i.e. what you see here).
In short, should this get rolled out to production?
- Yes, with these suggested changes.
Please refer to the previous story (linked above) for test scenarios and reply with any issues you may find!
[2020-03-23 01:32:11 UTC Update 1:Ed. Note - updated to clarify location of the skip to comments button.--fnord666]
[2020-03-23 12:56:40 UTC Update 2: Changed link target from "#acomments" to "#commentwrap" per suggestion in: https://soylentnews.org/meta/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=36704&page=1&cid=974278#commentwrap; added "Note-to-self". --martyb]
Thank You! Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on a new UI feature to the site; [Skip to comment(s)]" is now live on SoylentNews!
The SoylentNews' Main Page should function and look the same as before. The magic manifests only after a specific story has been opened. Code has been added to a site template so that "[Skip to comment(s)]" should now appear, right-justified, in the first of the two lines in the title bar that appears immediately below the story's title.
[Note to self: see in-memory version of template: "dispStory;misc;default" original implementation target fragid of "#acomments" changed to "#commentwrap" as of 2020-03-23 12:56:40 UTC--martyb]
Clicking the button will bring you to the comment header block. (That's where you can adjust Breakthrough, Threshold, and Threading preferences (either one-time-only, or save it away, permanently.)
Quite frankly, thanks to the community's feedback, it looks and behaves better than what I had originally envisioned!