[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[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]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?"
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.
Which of the preceding homepage settings would be better served with just a simple anchor?
<a href="@acomments">Skip to Comment(s)</a>
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.
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.