[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[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]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>
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!
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.
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.
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.