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posted by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
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[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]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.

Test scenarios:

  1. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button not appear on the main page?
  2. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button appear on the story page?
  3. Does it work?
  4. Is the appearance consistent across all of the available themes?
    1. Site Default
    2. BadA55
    3. Chillax
    4. Grayscale
    5. Black IcIcle
    6. Night Mode
    7. NV
    8. OMG PWNIES
    9. SoylentNews
    10. Vomit
    11. VT100
    12. VT220
  5. 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.
  6. Which of the preceding homepage settings would be better served with just a simple anchor?

    <a href="@acomments">Skip to Comment(s)</a>

  7. Other, what did I miss?

Original Submission

 
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(1)
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @03:11PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @03:11PM (#973520)

    You have no respect for us self flagellants who come here to punish ourselves.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @06:56PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @06:56PM (#973590) Journal

      You have no respect for us self flagellants who come here to punish ourselves.

      Au contraire mon ami!

      I have now given you the opportunity for even greater self-punishment by forcing a decision (Oh my!) on whether to [potentially] scroll through screens full of text or... to choose to make the superhuman effort of having to... click a button!

      Oh, the huge manatee!

      =)

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by noelhenson on Friday March 20 2020, @03:35PM (1 child)

    by noelhenson (6184) on Friday March 20 2020, @03:35PM (#973526)

    Guys, you are honestly doing a great job. Keep it up!

    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @07:09PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @07:09PM (#973595) Journal

      Guys, you are honestly doing a great job. Keep it up!

      Thanks for the kind words! Though I was not really conscious of it, in retrospect it had been bugging me for a while. Not a lot, mind you, but just simmering under the surface. The discussion about techniques to skip lots of story text suddenly made it an itch that I wanted to scratch!

      Restriction: @The+Mighty+Buzzard: is on vacation, so there are limits to what parts of the site I can readily and safely change.

      That, and I would rather not make a huge mess in front of all of you! So I tried for finding some kind of a control that (1) I could implement alone, (2) required no code (i.e. Perl) or DB changes, (3) people could intuitively understand what it was for, and (4) could readily be refined later, as needed.

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday March 20 2020, @03:42PM (4 children)

    by looorg (578) on Friday March 20 2020, @03:42PM (#973529)

    Would it perhaps be possible to make certain stories sticky on the front page to? That might make it easier instead of having to repost it over and over again. For "emergency" posts that can stay on the front page (top or bottom) for X hours, days or whatever time units you feel like applying.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @04:14PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @04:14PM (#973538)

      Aristachus sticky.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by kazzie on Friday March 20 2020, @04:36PM (1 child)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @04:36PM (#973543)

        But is that because he doesn't wash?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @10:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @10:40PM (#973662)

        Permanent Aristachu sticky at the bottom, refreshed daily, from the check-yo-white-privilege dept.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by maxwell demon on Friday March 20 2020, @04:51PM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @04:51PM (#973549) Journal

    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!

    Basically, that already exists. Well, not exactly a button. But the “n comments” under the story summary at the main page loads the story page and positions it right at the beginning of the comments.

    The only improvement I would suggest is to make the link not just span the number, but also the following word “comments”.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @07:19PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @07:19PM (#973597) Journal

      Basically, that already exists. Well, not exactly a button. But the “n comments” under the story summary at the main page loads the story page and positions it right at the beginning of the comments.

      The only improvement I would suggest is to make the link not just span the number, but also the following word “comments”.

      That is an excellent point. The one main drawback to it that I see is that it requires an action ahead of time. If I open a story and suddenly realize "Oh yeah, it's that long story", there is little I can do at that point.

      Adding this button allows graceful recovery from an oversight.

      I entirely concur with the idea of extended the anchor to include both the number and the word comments. The way the code generates HTML on-the-fly may make it a bit more challenging that it looks at first.

      Let's get through this, first. Please remind me in a week or so, okay? I only have so much spare time between IRL stuff, trying to keep the story queue fed, and then taking on yet another side project. =)

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Friday March 20 2020, @05:18PM (4 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @05:18PM (#973561) Journal

    Now I've seen what you did at the dev server, and honestly, I don't like it as it is. There's lot of grey empty space to the right of the “posted/by” and dept. line, but instead of using that, you add the skip button below, centered with nothing but wasted space left and right. This also gives the button far more prominence than justified by its functionality.

    I would suggest to place the button right-justified in the grey area, or alternatively right-justified to the right of the "xy writes" line. But don't move that line (and consequently, everything below it) lower because of the button.

    One thing I particularly like about this site's design is that it doesn't waste much space. The skip button as currently implemented on dev goes directly against that.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @06:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @06:14PM (#973580)

      First -- I'm logged in, posting as AC. Normally view in green VT100 mode. FireFox 60.9.0esr on Win7Pro.

      1. Went to the https://dev.soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org] link, opened in a new tab. I was not logged in on the new tab--fair enough, it's another instance of SN, default red color scheme. When I logged in, surprise, I got the pink OMG PWNIES scheme, Ha!! That set me back in my chair for sure! I guess my profile isn't replicated on //dev ??

      2. The Skip to Comment(s) button works fine, if I want to go back to the story I just scroll up.

      3. Agree with parent that the button takes up a whole line.
      Any chance the button could be added above or below the Topic icon (in this case "Rehash")?

      Once again, amazing work!!

    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @08:45PM (1 child)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @08:45PM (#973613) Journal

      Now I've seen what you did at the dev server, and honestly, I don't like it as it is. There's lot of grey empty space to the right of the “posted/by” and dept. line, but instead of using that, you add the skip button below, centered with nothing but wasted space left and right. This also gives the button far more prominence than justified by its functionality.

      I would suggest to place the button right-justified in the grey area, or alternatively right-justified to the right of the "xy writes" line. But don't move that line (and consequently, everything below it) lower because of the button.

      One thing I particularly like about this site's design is that it doesn't waste much space. The skip button as currently implemented on dev goes directly against that.

      First off, thanks for the thoughtful, constructive feedback!

      Yes, I do not terribly like the amount of vertical space it takes up. There are, unfortunately, some complications I could foresee that I was trying to address ahead of time.

      Please reload the story on our development server. See that I updated it with a longer "dept." line? Most of the themes for this site present the "dept." text in a proportional-spaced typeface. Examples:

      1. From the MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM dept.
      2. From the IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII dept.
      3. From the twenty-seven-character-long dept.

      I took a quick look at your profile and notice you have neither "[] Simple Design" nor "[] Low Bandwidth" turned on. I could, maybe, potentially use those settings as a toggle. If either of those are set, replace the current button and location with a simple anchor instead.

      One other thing to consider is the amount of "screen real estate" that is available on different displays. My home system is connected to a UHD TV that my little lappy can drive at a maximum of 2200x1200. So, even when things are getting near their max size, there is still lots of room. Accessing the site on my smart phone is an entirely different matter. There, I have Full HD (1920x1280) which, in portrait mode gives me (1280x1920). That puts quite the squeeze on places where I could sneak in a button without having things overflow and force the use of another physical line of text on the screen.

      There was something else, but it escapes me at the moment, so I'll just post this for now.

      Again, and I seriously mean this: thanks so much for the feedback! I apologize if I come off sounding like I am trying to shoot down your ideas. I spent too much time doing software test and it is all too easy for me to dive down into the details!

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @08:48PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @08:48PM (#973615) Journal
        Bah! Preview, I meant to click Preview!!!!
        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:13AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:13AM (#973700) Homepage

      Yet another testament to human sloth. I'd like to say "just scroll down, you lazy fucks," but if the button was designed for disability accessibility or something, please make it optional.

  • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Friday March 20 2020, @05:45PM (1 child)

    by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @05:45PM (#973569)

    about the possibility of adding themes. I've been a subscriber for three years and wasn't aware of that feature. VT100 ftw. Thanks, guys.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @09:03PM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @09:03PM (#973622) Journal

      Re:Came in to bitch... about the possibility of adding themes. I've been a subscriber for three years and wasn't aware of that feature. VT100 ftw. Thanks, guys.

      I'm just happy you found it! I was on Slashdot before they even set up accounts! Having been spammed before, I was reluctant to set up an account. And then they lost their DB and I had another chance to sign up for a low UID. It wasn't until they were nearing 200k users that I finally set up an account.

      So, when I heard rumblings that another site was being set up during the Slashcott, well, I didn't miss my chance this time! I searched around and discovered a screen capture as part of a bug report. I tried the URL that was shown in *that* browser window, set up an account, and then waited until SoylentNews went live to reveal myself. That is how I got a 2-sigit UID here!

      All of that is to show I've been using slash in some form or another since the late 1990's... and I *still*, once in a great while, stumble upon a feature I did not know was here!

      I hope you enjoy finding new things as much as I have!

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Friday March 20 2020, @06:47PM (18 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Friday March 20 2020, @06:47PM (#973587) Journal

    Be simpler to just show the story header and the comments. Also reduced the bandwidth required, since even using css to hide stuff doesn't mean it's not still downloaded. Same bandwidth, save energy, more responsive, save the planet one step at a time.

    --
    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:27PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:27PM (#973598)

      Be simpler to just show the story header and the comments. Also reduced the bandwidth required, since even using css to hide stuff doesn't mean it's not still downloaded. Same bandwidth, save energy, more responsive, save the planet one step at a time.

      Good point. It's not like anyone reads the story anyway, let alone the linked article.

      • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Friday March 20 2020, @09:04PM (2 children)

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Friday March 20 2020, @09:04PM (#973623) Journal
        Well, I meant either show the headline + story, or headline + comments. No need to repetitively show the story. Either people read it, or (as pointed out above) they haven't.
        --
        SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @11:02PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @11:02PM (#973668)

          When writing a comment, I sometimes scroll back up to the story to cut-paste something into my comment, like this:

          ...it is kind of long to scroll down through...

          Yes, I'm the AC that was honored with a quote in the story.

          So I'd like to be able to see both story and comments at the same time.

          • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:29AM

            by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:29AM (#973686) Journal
            Well, there is always the option to open comments in a new window automatically by specifying a new window in the target=whatever in the anchor tag. Or frames. Draggable resizable framesets work. Don't know if that will work in links or lynx, though I seriously seriously seriously doubt it.
            --
            SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @09:37PM (13 children)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @09:37PM (#973637) Journal

      Re:Another option

      Be simpler to just show the story header and the comments. Also reduced the bandwidth required, since even using css to hide stuff doesn't mean it's not still downloaded. Same bandwidth, save energy, more responsive, save the planet one step at a time.

      Just before replying to this comment, I downloaded this story and the entire discussion tree. Do note that I have most of the optional Slashboxes enabled, too. That said, the entire thing including all the .CSS files, the .PNGs, .GIFs, and .JS files, the story and all 20 comments came to a total of... 155,073 bytes. Yes, bytes. I could easily store a couple copies of this on a single 360 KB floppy disk!

      Oh, and like most sites, we use gzip compression when sending things down the wire. Zipped up, it comes to less than 40 KB for ALL of this story AND its comments, everything.

      So, I appreciate your concern on bandwidth, because I had had my own concerns early on with the site (I accessed it tethered through my cell phone which had a 1X connection. On a good day, I would get 35-50 KB/sec. I ran that way for several years on this site!)

      I now have LTE on my cell phone and only have "two bars" at best, and I still access SoylentNews on my laptop tethered through my phone.

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Friday March 20 2020, @09:53PM (12 children)

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Friday March 20 2020, @09:53PM (#973647) Journal

        Fair enough. I also access the net through my phone, so I tend to be careful (2 gigs/month doesn't go far. Good thing I don't do social media - a real data plan hog).

        --
        SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
        • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @11:54PM (11 children)

          by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @11:54PM (#973678) Journal

          Fair enough. I also access the net through my phone, so I tend to be careful (2 gigs/month doesn't go far. Good thing I don't do social media - a real data plan hog).

          I don't know how much it would help, as I have not tried it myself, but I noticed your preferences for the homepage has this UNchecked:

          []Low Bandwidth
          Reduces the size of pages for people with slower network connections

          If you have trouble finding it, then just reply here that you want it turned on, and I would be happy to enable it for you.

          --
          Wit is intellect, dancing.
          • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:20AM (10 children)

            by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:20AM (#973682) Journal
            Thanks, but low bandwidth totally breaks a few things. It's not a big deal - probably has something to do with my setting fonts larger than the norm or something. Not a big problem.
            --
            SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
            • (Score: 2) by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:03AM

              by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:03AM (#973698) Journal
              Thanks for the quick feedback. Like I said, I've not tried it... well maybe I did WAAAY back when, but it didn't strike my fancy, so I never pursued it after that first attempt.
              --
              Wit is intellect, dancing.
            • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46PM (8 children)

              by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46PM (#973805) Homepage
              > Thanks, but low bandwidth totally breaks a few things. It's not a big deal - probably has something to do with my setting fonts larger than the norm or something.

              I'm in the same boat sizewise, but I survive with low bandwith and lighweight page layout - what are the problems you notice?
              --
              Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
              • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:45PM (7 children)

                by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday March 21 2020, @11:45PM (#973968) Journal

                Safari on the iPhone - the comment box only shows the center portion, so anything I type on the left and right sides is pretty much invisible. Makes posting "interesting." Eliminating the scroll bars might look nice, but when you are using big fonts ut's a bit of a hassle.

                The thing is, I can stick my phone near my face, and when I focus on it, the lens in my eye goes more spherical, which is good because it then displaces much of the tangled protein that forms the posterior cataracts in both eyes. At a "reasonable" distance, the lens flattens, which means that I have to look through more of the tangled proteins, which makes it more awkward to use my laptop, even with a 26 inch external screen (especially since, with the wider field of vision, I have more floaters and crap getting into the field of view, which was only 60 degrees 3 years ago - and will probably be less when I'm tested again by the local association for the blind next month).

                I know, cue the Apple hate, but overall I have to say I prefer the iPhone to Android. The "material design" is a barrier to people with low vision, especially since low vision is often accompanied by lower colour spectrum perception.

                It's one reason I used to refer to slashdot as "the other green site" - this one also looks green to me. I live in an "interesting" world nowadays, where a palette wrapped in red shipper's wrap is invisible from more than 40-50 feet away. Most yellows have a greenish tinge. Most reds look more like brown. And browns blend in with greens and cement, which makes it hard to pick up my dog's poop.

                I wouldn't worry about it. I'll probably have to try again to use a screen reader at some point, which means I'll have to go back to Windows or on to OSX. Or pipe everything through festival in linux or bsd, but festival hasn't been supported for a quarter-century, and is fussy as to which distros it still works with.

                I'd say "welcome to my world" but I don't want anyone to go through this crap. :-)

                --
                SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
                • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday March 22 2020, @09:40AM (1 child)

                  by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday March 22 2020, @09:40AM (#974078) Homepage
                  The narrow window issue is known, that's what you're seeing on the iPhone. I get it on my Nokia n900 too. It's reproducable even on the desktop if you narrow the window to half screen width. Bloody annoying. The CSS (which of course we inherited from the green sight, don't blame us) is a bit of a nightmare, I did look at it in the past, but it was a mire. I'll take another peek.
                  --
                  Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                • (Score: 2) by martyb on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:27PM (4 children)

                  by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:27PM (#974136) Journal

                  I have two suggestions that might help out.

                  (1) Did you know that the size of a comment box is a user preference?

                  Go to your Preferences [soylentnews.org] page.

                  (How to get there: You can find the link on the Left-Hand Side of the main page. There is a Slashbox titled "Navigation". When you are logged in, a subordinate Slashbox is displayed with the title "You". Below that subtitle is a link titled "Preferences". That's the one!)

                  Next, find and click the "Comments" tab or button. This link might work: https://soylentnews.org/my/info [soylentnews.org].

                  Almost there! Scroll down to the "Posting" section where there is displayed (please pardon the formatting!):

                  Comment Box Size
                  Columns: [ ] Rows: [ ]
                  Also applies to other large text boxes

                  It appears you are using the default values: "Columns: [50] Rows: [10]"

                  I have changed my settings to : "Columns: [60] Rows: [30]"

                  Since I primarily use the site with a large monitor, I have selected larger values than the default. If I primarily used my cell phone, I would likely change it to something like: "Columns: [30] Rows: [30]" which shoul make the text area narrower, but provide additional lines that I can enter text in without needing to deal with scroll bars.

                  (2) Alternative approach (often works for Android; I have no idea about iOS): By default, I use my phone locked to Portrait Mode (So the phone is taller than it is wide.) I can toggle that to lock to Landscape Mode (wider than it is tall). On Android, my phone's accelerometer can sense the physical orientation so I also have a choice where the phone automatically switches between the two. In this automatic mode, if I rotate my phone from Portrait to Landscape, wait for the display to repaint, and then rotate back to Portrait Mode, I often find that the size of the text-entry field is adjusted to provide more rows.

                  Hope this helps!

                  --
                  Wit is intellect, dancing.
                  • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Sunday March 22 2020, @07:08PM (2 children)

                    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday March 22 2020, @07:08PM (#974199) Journal

                    Thanks.

                    Problem with that is I would then have to change it every time I switch from the itty bitty display to the 26". Ideally the stupid phone would correctly handle scrolling when I drag in the text box, but it doesn't. Same as it doesn't do a lot of other things you'd expect it to do. Apple is almost as shitty at design as everyone else (and worse in some respects - who can forget the hockey puck mouse or the toaster mac or the multiple crappy keyboards, or dragging a floppy to the trash icon to eject? That last one is as bad as clicking start to shut down!!!).

                    People would freak out when, instead of shutting down properly, I'd just wait 3 seconds for any data to be spun out to disk and then pull the plug (just to freak them out). Gotta love journaling file systems :-)

                    I'll just live with it and consider myself happy that it's still a problem I have to deal with - if/when I have to go to a screen reader ... tried it before when I really needed to and couldn't get the hang of it. This time I'll accept the offer of assistance from the local blind association, but I think they only do Windows, and I hate Windows more than I hate OSX.

                    --
                    SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
                    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM

                      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM (#974271) Journal

                      Yes, I have kind of the same problem going between a 2200x1200 resolution setting (best my little lappy can put out) feeding a 43" UHD TV and Full HD (1080x1920) smart phone.

                      I have toyed with the idea of supporting different "profiles" on the site... but that gets extremely interesting very quickly! Corner cases, but of the multidimensional variety!

                      Hmmm, have an "alias" user defined with its own preferences... Still use the site under the same nick/UID, but the alias could be used to store alternative setting? Still rather hairy to implement, but it gives me a different idea of how toorganize and structure things. Still a long ways off, but pulled in just a bit closer towards feasible, with limitations. heh. Reminds me of: Rubber duck debugging [wikipedia.org].

                      Best wishes on getting help; though Windows is the most prevalent OS, there are resources available for Apple, Linux, and others, too.

                      --
                      Wit is intellect, dancing.
                    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM

                      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 23 2020, @01:09AM (#974272) Journal

                      Yes, I have kind of the same problem going between a 2200x1200 resolution setting (best my little lappy can put out) feeding a 43" UHD TV and Full HD (1080x1920) smart phone.

                      I have toyed with the idea of supporting different "profiles" on the site... but that gets extremely interesting very quickly! Corner cases, but of the multidimensional variety!

                      Hmmm, have an "alias" user defined with its own preferences... Still use the site under the same nick/UID, but the alias could be used to store alternative setting? Still rather hairy to implement, but it gives me a different idea of how toorganize and structure things. Still a long ways off, but pulled in just a bit closer towards feasible, with limitations. heh. Reminds me of: Rubber duck debugging [wikipedia.org].

                      Best wishes on getting help; though Windows is the most prevalent OS, there are resources available for Apple, Linux, and others, too.

                      --
                      Wit is intellect, dancing.
                  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday March 24 2020, @10:17AM

                    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday March 24 2020, @10:17AM (#974877) Homepage
                    > (1) Did you know that the size of a comment box is a user preference?

                    Vaguely. That's useless. Pretty much an anti-feature. I view Soylent on my phone (narrow) and on my PC (wide). The comment box should be a different size, dynamically calculated, by the browser that knows how big your screen/window is, for those two different contexts, even though I am the same user.

                    Having dynamic width would be the actual feature. I.e. the absense of this fixed-width feature would be the actual feature. Less is more.

                    I gave up looking at the CSS again, I simply couldn't see where the width was being decided. However, your post gives me something new to look for, so thanks for posting.
                    --
                    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:54PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:54PM (#973605)

    If I could have my wish list, you would include hidden "skip to story" and "skip to comments" links at the very top of the document, use the semantic tags, and follow the other accessibility guidelines.

    • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @09:49PM (5 children)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 20 2020, @09:49PM (#973643) Journal

      If I could have my wish list, you would include hidden "skip to story" and "skip to comments" links at the very top of the document, use the semantic tags, and follow the other accessibility guidelines.

      I *might* be able to hide "Skip to story" and "Skip to comments" as non-displayed links...

      <div style="display: none">
          <a href="#wide">Skip to story</a>
          <a href="#acomments">Skip to comments</a>
      </div>

      Something like that?

      P.S. I cannot make any promises, because the code is broken up in, well, interesting ways. It is based on a Model View Controller [wikipedia.org] design. I am actually a bit surprised I could shoehorn the button in at all!

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:50AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:50AM (#973707)

        Wow. That was fast. Thanks for adding it. Either that or it added there since I last complained and I got too used to ignoring all the boilerplate before the stories and comments!

        • (Score: 2) by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:30AM (3 children)

          by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:30AM (#973716) Journal
          As much as I would like to take credit, I made no changes, so must have been there all along!
          --
          Wit is intellect, dancing.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:48AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:48AM (#973723)

            No seriously, it is a big help to not have the navigation and boilerplate read to me before everything. Maybe it has been there the whole time. The three links seem to be on there whether the anchor on the page exists or not. I may have just ignored them because they weren't marked clearly and come after the link elements before the main site link. I must have just thought they were a part of the links or something. Thanks to whomever took accessibility seriously for that. It is a nice change compared to the usual reaction I get here.

            • (Score: 2) by martyb on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:58PM (1 child)

              by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @02:58PM (#974140) Journal

              I have a friend who is legally blind and she has made me aware of some of her on-line accessibility challenges, so I am sensitive to the issues. FWIW, she tells me she uses JAWS [freedomscientific.com]. She has partnered with a non-profit agency in the area which has made it available to her. (Note: it is Windows/DOS specific). See also, these pages on Wikipedia: Screen reader [wikipedia.org] and List of screen readers [wikipedia.org].

              I would suggest reaching out to community, county, and state agencies -- many can provide grants or and other sources of support. Consider grants and work-in-kind relationships that may provide free/reduced-cost access.

              Good Luck!

              --
              Wit is intellect, dancing.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2020, @02:11AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23 2020, @02:11AM (#974287)

                I appreciate your response. I have a good setup already, including a couple of screen readers, that works for the vast majority of websites I use. It is just the little quality of life things that can make a big difference. For example, while not perfect, the IRS website is an accessibility dream. Use a text-mode browser or NVDA (which is free on Windows) or Orca on Linux or AVO on Mac. Try that one and then compare your experience with SN and you'll probably see what I mean about the little things making a big difference.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:54PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20 2020, @07:54PM (#973606)

    There is not skip to comment button anywhere.

    Mzaybe just do this a simple button - one to story top and one to comments top, and super fancy one to unread comments top. ALWAYS show them.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:27AM (2 children)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:27AM (#973685) Journal

      There is not skip to comment button anywhere.

      Mzaybe just do this a simple button - one to story top and one to comments top, and super fancy one to unread comments top. ALWAYS show them.

      There might be a misunderstanding here. This has not yet been rolled out to the production servers. What has been described here is on our development server: https://dev.solentnews.org/ [solentnews.org] — once I have some confidence that the design and implementation are basically sound, then it will be implemented on production. Hope that helps!

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:46AM (#973692)

    Since this is a meta thread, I'm curious about journal entries and why some of them don't show up in the "new journal entries" slashbox on the front page. A few weeks ago, I created a new account for the purpose of posting journal entries pseudonymously to get some advice from people here. I created my account and was able to successfully post the journal entry, but it never showed up in the box. Why is that? Is that an anti-spam measure that requires a certain amount of karma or accounts that are of a certain age? For what it's worth, I'll describe how I remember the content of the journal in the rest of this post. It wasn't spam.

    My initial questions were going to be about issues that I experience as a researcher in academia. I did a significant amount of work on some fluid dynamics simulations and summarized them in a document. The PI, my advisor, wrote a journal paper with my results, took lead authorship with me being the other author, and the paper was not good. I chose not to object to him being lead author, focusing my objections on the content. My concerns were mostly ignored and the paper was rightly rejected. Rather than accepting the reviewer criticism, my advisor is requesting I run additional simulations that won't actually address many of the reviewer comments.

    There's a bigger problem. My advisor wants me to use a different fluid dynamics simulation program than the one I'd been using. The work is funded on a grant, the proposal for which contains some preliminary results. The proposal indicates that the fluid dynamics simulator was run in a particular configuration to produce the results. However, the software cannot be run in that configuration without some very significant modifications to the code.

    Twice, once a few months ago, one within the past week, I've asked who ran the simulation for the proposal. I've been told it was done by a masters student who has since graduated. Apparently the student worked for an associate professor at a different university. My advisor has tried to discourage me from contacting the professor at the other university and has refused to tell me who the student was. I've asked for more details about how the code was modified and how the simulations were conducted, but haven't been given an answer. Instead, my advisor has questioned my competence for not having already made the modifications, despite directing me to work on other things over the past few months. Based on my tests with the original simulator, I had difficulty reproducing the results that were in the proposal.

    I believe the student probably made an error and didn't run the simulator correctly. But I believe it was a mistake, with no indication that there was intent for wrongdoing. I'm more concerned that I can't get enough information to reproduce the experiments, and that I'm being blamed for not being able to reproduce experiments that I don't believe were done correctly to begin with. This feels like an effort to cover up prior mistakes. In the journal, I was going to ask if this constitutes fabrication and how to proceed.

    Again, this isn't spam, so I'm very curious why it didn't show up as a recent journal entry. I think it matters whether or not it showed up in the recent journal entries slashbox because, if it didn't, I don't know that anyone would see my post. It kind of defeats the purpose of asking for advice if nobody sees my question.

    Thanks!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:07AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:07AM (#973699)

      After reading the story again, I realize that my post was even more OT than I realized. Sorry. But it was helpful to vent about my situation, anyway. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

      As for the actual questions, it seems like the user can skip to the comments from the main page already. Clicking on the "X comments" link goes to the comments while the "Read more" button or "X words in story" links go to the text. I think the main page is fine as-is. On the story page, it seems like the top, where the author, department, and posting time are displayed, there could be a link to the #commentwrap anchor, which would jump to that part of the page.

      Slashdot used to have sections like science, YRO, radio, BSD (is dying), Apple, and several others. It seems like you might be able to temporarily create a section about the pandemic, or perhaps more generally for breaking news. Some of those stories could be posted to the main page while others would just appear on the section page. I think breaking news makes more sense just because the section could be reused when there are other major stories. Slashdot pretty much abandoned posting any other stories on 9/11, instead being just about the only site accessible that day, and posting about the breaking news. A breaking news section could be used in the future for stories like that.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:18AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:18AM (#973701) Homepage

        Do it 4chan style and have the sticky stories always at the top of the list in the homepage. Maybe a cute pushpin or thumbtack icon before or after the story heading title.

        Actually I like the coronavirus roundups, having new discussions as news breaks is a lot better than having a 2000 comment sticky because I'm not trying to read a fucking novel just to find something to reply to.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:27AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:27AM (#973713)

      Why is that? Is that an anti-spam measure that requires a certain amount of karma

      Yes. IIRC, I believe you need a karma of 10+ for your journals to appear in the slashbox on the front page.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @03:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @03:15AM (#973728)

        Just looking at what the posts are that fail the karma requirement, and it quickly becomes clear why it is there.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @03:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21 2020, @03:48AM (#973735)

      First, being lead author isn't that uncommon, especially if they are PI on a grant. Some insist on being first because they are the ones sticking their neck out for students. Others, like myself, put the students first if they did the most work or to give them a boost in the indexes (it counts in my PoP quota regardless). It is a decision that correlates with age on a "U" shaped curve.

      Second, document the crap out of everything. It will keep him from coming back at you later with various accusations about your non-compliance. Especially if you need to escalate things up your chain. Every time anyone says something in person that could affect you professionally, send an email with "based on our conversation today, it is my understanding that you [blah blah blah]. Let me know if I missed anything." and then save it, headers and all.

      Third, this isn't fabrication of results, yet. It doesn't sound like you have actual proof that the numbers were off purposefully (although the PI may be realizing they messed up). Instead, put in black and white in an email exactly what you need to make things work according to your decision-making model. Provide all the information they need up to the Execution/Take-Action step. If you don't get what you need back, push it once in response and then pursue it to the student's union or student research office for vague advice (in person, you don't want to document something they could rat to your PI). They should be able to give you some more specific advice without starting informal procedures. If you are real hesitant, you may want to contact them first. I would definitely avoid mentioning it in the department because they are more likely to take the PI's side or tell him (unless they really don't like him).

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by AlwaysNever on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:02AM (2 children)

    by AlwaysNever (5817) on Saturday March 21 2020, @01:02AM (#973697)

    I've seen the story in the dev server and I don't like how the skip to comments button is so big and prominent. I would prefer a small icon like a downward facing arrow, next to the print icon which is in the story header, and make that arrow icon link to the start of the comments.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:36AM (1 child)

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 21 2020, @02:36AM (#973718) Journal
      I've spent the last hour or so trying to make a button to fit in adjacent to the print icon... not my strong suit and I'm knackered atm, so will give it another try tomorrow.
      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
      • (Score: 1) by AlwaysNever on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:43PM

        by AlwaysNever (5817) on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:43PM (#973867)

        Hey, I see you have put a "[Skip to comment(s)]" text link in the header, at the right of the print icon in the article header.

        That is better than the button you had before, because it takes much less screen real state. I still think a small icon with a downwards pointing arrow would be better, because the text link "[Skip to comment(s)]" consumes reading attention from the user, when the user should focusing instead on pondering if the article Title and Summary are of interest to him, and therefore the user then should not be wasting his reading capability with distracting text about UI.

  • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:14AM

    by shortscreen (2252) on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:14AM (#973736) Journal

    When I just woke up, can barely see anything, one arm is numb, I'm pinned down by a giant cat, and soylentnews is up on my 17-year-old laptop running in low speed power-saving mode, there are some things I struggle with. But I can manage scrolling just fine.

(1)