What the hell happened to TDWTF?



  • Ok, I haven't visited the site for a few days. So I come back this evening, and the articles are all truncated! I'm thinking "ok, did the forum database give up the ghost", and then I see a "Full article" link. Ugly and hackish, but ok.

    Click that, and there are no comments! Where have the comments gone? And then I see the "Comments" link. Suffice to say I didn't click that.

    So Alex has finally given in to the multi-page advertising model. Thanks for the laughs over the last year or two, but I won't be visiting again.



  • @Two9A said:


    So Alex has finally given in to the multi-page advertising model. Thanks for the laughs over the last year or two, but I won't be visiting again.

    Either that, or I've given in to this crazy thing called "reader feedback". Here's how it works. I ask a representative sample of readers what they think, and they tell me. I then design the site to fit around the majority. This majority says that:

    • Home Page is way too big and they do not wants to scroll past several screens worth of articles they don't want to read to find one they do
    • They do not read the comments and don't like having to wait for them to load

    As for the ads, if you'll notice, the forums are devoid of Sidebar advertisements. I've placed a small google ad below the first post in each thread.

    I know that the idea of advertising pains a small (but vocal) handful, but the $480/mo server bill needs to be paid by someone. And when I'm spending a lot of time writing articles and not billing clients for consulting work, it's a bit hefty of a bill to pay.



  • What about having separate links on the main page for both "Read the article" and "Comments". The article link would be as it is now, the comments link goes directly to the comments page, including the full article at the top. This way, those of us that love reading the comments won't have to click through the intermediate page.

    I, for one, don't mind the new front page. I'll get used to it. Its the new level between the main page and where I want to be that I dislike. 



  • <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>That's a great idea! I see no reason not to do that. So, it would look like: </FONT>

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>Full Article • 871 Words • 45 Comments</FONT>

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>As for putting the full article on the comment page: the reason I didn't do this is b/c there's a lot to scroll past to read the comments. What do you think about having it look like:</FONT>

    Comments on A Show of Hands

    [Display Article]

    « Prev Page 1 Next

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>The Display Article link would simply unhide a Div using JavaScript.</FONT>



  • If we're going "Read article | n Comments" from the main page then the Display Article link on the comments page shouldn't appear when you go directly from the main page to the comments, otherwise its just an abstraction of the click-through annoyance I mentioned. If it is shown automagically, then this is gonna be great.

     Edit: I just re-read the javascript div line there. I'll just mention quickly that even if it's not automatic when the page loads, this is still a better solution. Good work.
     



  • That makese sense: if one's clicking "n comments" from the home page, he probably wants to read full article. That'd be easy to handle with a querystring parameter (?AutoExpand=Y), but I'm trying to keep in mind how the indexing will work by search engines -- not for SEO, but I just hate those sites that have like 10 links that show up in the results that go to the same thing. I have very little knowledge of how SE indexing works ...



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    but I'm trying to keep in mind how the indexing will work by search engines -- not for SEO, but I just hate those sites that have like 10 links that show up in the results that go to the same thing. I have very little knowledge of how SE indexing works ...

    I think you can just slap a rel="nofollow" or whatever it is on the link.



  • @Two9A said:

    Ok, I haven't visited the site for a few days. So I come back this evening, and the articles are all truncated! I'm thinking "ok, did the forum database give up the ghost", and then I see a "Full article" link. Ugly and hackish, but ok.

    Click that, and there are no comments! Where have the comments gone? And then I see the "Comments" link. Suffice to say I didn't click that.

    So Alex has finally given in to the multi-page advertising model. Thanks for the laughs over the last year or two, but I won't be visiting again.

    Oh come on, how much extra effort is it to make one more mouse click? Especially with the back-n-forth on the shortcuts folks would like to see, and Alex seems willing to make?

    As for the ads, you can always ignore them, and unless you're using dial-up, the download time should be negligible.

    Thanks for the upgrade Alex :)



  • I just discovered this site a few weeks ago and I personally like the new format.

    My only suggestion is that once I click on full article, I wouln't mind seeing the comments right below the article so I could just continue reading.

    The comments link on the home page would have to jump down below the article of course.

    This is just an opinion, it's fine the way it is now and may be to much trouble to change.  On the other hand, everything related to an article is together.
     



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    As for the ads, if you'll notice, the forums are devoid of Sidebar advertisements. I've placed a small google ad below the first post in each thread.

    I for one preferred the ads in the sidebar. They're easier to ignore that way.



  • The purpose of ads is not to be easily ignored.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size="3">As for putting the full article on the comment page: the reason I didn't do this is b/c there's a lot to scroll past to read the comments. What do you think about having it look like:</FONT>

    Comments on A Show of Hands

    [Display Article]

    « Prev Page 1 Next

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size="3">The Display Article link would simply unhide a Div using JavaScript.</FONT>


    That could be an issue for people with JavaScript disabled (can't unhide the article) or screenreader users (screenreader doesn't realise more content has been displayed). Why not just put a "Skip to comments" link at the start of the article? If people have just clicked a link to get to the page, their hands will still be on the mouse, so it's easy enough to click again if you've already read the whole thing; and it should work seamlessly with assistive technologies.



  • @nickfitz said:


    Why not just put a "Skip to comments" link at the start of the article? If people have just clicked a link to get to the page, their hands will still be on the mouse, so it's easy enough to click again if you've already read the whole thing; and it should work seamlessly with assistive technologies.

    I'm trying to avoid putting the Comments on the View Article page, as that's what a lot of readers didn't like (they didn't read comments). Right now the article heading is like this

    A Show of Hands

    Friday, January 05, 2007 (46 Comments)
     My thought was that it'd be easy enough to click on the "46 Comments" link to go to comments page, but I guess a lot of folks don't like clicking?


  • Personally I prefer to click as little as possible. That's one of the reason I wonder if it's possible to have an RSS feed that links directly to the page with comments. Right now I find it a nuisance that I have to click the extra link to see them.



  • Re: Ads

    Alex,
      I know the server bill has to be paid somehow, but do you think it would be possible to move the advertisement that is now below the first post to the bottom of the page? I find it disrupts the flow of the page. Either the bottom of the page or the sidebar. It just disrupts the reading flow to have it in the middle.

    Nate 



  • @Kevertje said:

    Personally I prefer to click as little as possible. That's one of the reason I wonder if it's possible to have an RSS feed that links directly to the page with comments. Right now I find it a nuisance that I have to click the extra link to see them.

    My bad -- I put in the <slash:comments> tag but forgot the <comments> tag in. Oy. Should be back in the feed now.



  • @makito said:

    Alex,
      I know the server bill has to be paid somehow, but do you think it would be possible to move the advertisement that is now below the first post to the bottom of the page? I find it disrupts the flow of the page. Either the bottom of the page or the sidebar. It just disrupts the reading flow to have it in the middle.

    Nate 

    I will experiment with this down the line; I'm no expert at ad placement, but the goal is to make the advertisements distinguishable from content (hence the different color) but not be out of sight. Kinda like a "commercial break". Would the same background color be better?



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>That's a great idea! I see no reason not to do that. So, it would look like: </FONT>

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>Full Article • 871 Words • 45 Comments</FONT>

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>As for putting the full article on the comment page: the reason I didn't do this is b/c there's a lot to scroll past to read the comments. What do you think about having it look like:</FONT>

    Comments on A Show of Hands

    [Display Article]

    « Prev Page 1 Next

    <FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>The Display Article link would simply unhide a Div using JavaScript.</FONT>

     

    Gods no, please.

    Some of us, by default, leave javascript off.  The constant use of javascript by major news sites is, at least in my opinion, a serious breach of coding standards.  Most sites such as reddit, digg, slashdot, fark, etc, run with the idea of keeping things relatively simple and clean.

    For me to post on digg is a pain just because their captcha requires javascript and weird security features I haven't figured out, although NOTHING else does.  I have to actually load up firefox in order to post on digg. (gah)  Don't tell me to just switch to firefox.  Some other sites only work with IE, and I have IE all configured where I'm comfortable with it's level of security.

    Some sites I used to visit decided to make a fancy div heavy front page, and I can't successfully click on anything in it without again switching to firefox.  So I just quit going there.

    Please, don't go the route of requiring javascript to view your site.  Don't make the front page so fancy that it needs javascript. 

    Btw, thank you for rewriting the basic site.  Although the message entry system still seems very problematic, it also seems faster.



  • Have the DIV unhidden by default, and run javascript on loading the page to HIDE it, with the link set to unhide as described. That way if javascript is off, everything still works fine, though the non-javascript user has to see the article regardless

     



  • Just wanted to put in my '2 cents', as they're called.

    I'm with the people who enjoy reading the comments.  Now, I wouldn't mind clicking an extra link to see the comments, except for the fact that I often go back to the article to re-read what posts are referring to in the main article.  That is why I hate the new trend of having the article and comments separate, not because I don't like clicking.

    Of course, I don't like clicking, either, but I'd be willing to deal with it if it weren't for that one issue.

    (Yes, I joined just to post this message.  I've been reading TDWTF for a while, I just never had a reason to join, before.  This was my reason.)



  • Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(



  • @DustinMichaels said:

    Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(

     
    Me too.  The front page is a mess - the main column of articles is
    incredibly wide and doesn't re-flow when you reduce your browser
    window, I only have a 19 inch 1280x1024 LCD screen and I can barely
    make the browser wide enough to view the whole thing without
    scrolling.  Another bad feature is that the grey texture behind
    the right-hand navigation column is floating and fixed to the browser
    window's right-hand edge, while the nav column itself is fixed to the
    rh-side of the fixed-width main column with the stories, meaning that
    when you shrink the browser the grey bit expands and shifts across
    until it's filling half the page.

       This doesn't happen on the forum pages, just the front.

       Alex, if you need/want, I'll lay my monitor flat on a wooden table and take a snapshot or two to show you what I mean...

     



  • @m0ffx said:

    Have the DIV unhidden by default, and run javascript on loading the page to HIDE it, with the link set to unhide as described. That way if javascript is off, everything still works fine, though the non-javascript user has to see the article regardless



    Ah there is sanity here after all.  This it the "Right" way to accomplish this. It's called degrading gracefully.

    As far as the site, It seems that right now I can either go to the comments, or to the article..   I apparently am not in the majority as I preferred the combo pages.   



  • @DaveK said:

    @DustinMichaels said:

    Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(

      Me too.  The front page is a mess - the main column of articles is incredibly wide and doesn't re-flow when you reduce your browser window, I only have a 19 inch 1280x1024 LCD screen and I can barely make the browser wide enough to view the whole thing without scrolling. 

    Which browser / OS?

    It was tested on IE7, IE6, Firefox 2.x, Safari, and does not show this behavior.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @DaveK said:

    @DustinMichaels said:

    Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(

      Me too.  The front page is a mess - the main column of articles is incredibly wide and doesn't re-flow when you reduce your browser window, I only have a 19 inch 1280x1024 LCD screen and I can barely make the browser wide enough to view the whole thing without scrolling. 

    Which browser / OS?

    It was tested on IE7, IE6, Firefox 2.x, Safari, and does not show this behavior.

     

    Just to make the list more complete, Opera 9.02 and Konqueror 3.2 also do not show this behaviour.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @DaveK said:

    @DustinMichaels said:

    Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(

      Me too.  The front page is a mess - the main column of articles is incredibly wide and doesn't re-flow when you reduce your browser window, I only have a 19 inch 1280x1024 LCD screen and I can barely make the browser wide enough to view the whole thing without scrolling. 

    Which browser / OS?

    It was tested on IE7, IE6, Firefox 2.x, Safari, and does not show this behavior.

    I see this happen in FF1.0.4/Win2k too (not restarted FF  on my work PC since FF2 was released yet (no, really)) so perhaps that will fix it. Anyway, if I load the front page with FF maximised (yuck) I get the main page full screen, and the side bar starting just past the edge of the screen, in scroll-land. If I load the page in a non-fullscreen mode I see thew same, but expanding the window brings the sidebar into view. No odd FF extensions installed/enabled (ad/script/cookie blockers, but not active on this site). I see this happen nowhere but on the front page. In essense, it will resize upwards, but not downwards, and the default page width doesn't take the sidebar into account. Odd.

    Also I know full well  that it's not a browser with a giant marketshare so don't really expect a fix, but PocketIE (on Windows Mobile 5) has a problem hiding text on the front page (comments & full article view don't show the same behaviour). For example, the current top article on the front page (Fudge Factor) has the first few words "One of the most important aspects of being a" hidden by the accompanying image.  Otherwise the site behaves excelently in PocketIE.

     Anyway, all that sounds like a moan, but it's not, it's just an FYI.

     The option to show full text on the front page or not is great. I can have it showing on my PC, but hiden to make browsing easier and quicker on my phone. It seems strange having the forums articles using different systems, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. :-) Thanks for keeping the site going.



  • Oh and your page title needs sorting too.

    On articles it's
    currently showing up as "The Data CleanupThe Daily WTF - The Daily WTF"
    in the comments section, and "The Daily WTF - The Daily WTF" on the
    front page. :-)

     



  • Add firefox 1.5.0.9 to the works-normally list, and what is presumably the same gecko in thunderbird 1.5.0.9 (On Kubuntu 6.06 if you're interested)

    So seems to be a problem only with firefox 1.0.x? Which suggests it's a firefox bug in handling the css. Given that's an old version of the browser I'm not sure it's worth an ugly hack to make it look right.



  • Craptastic. Way too much clicking around. The whole TDWTF site is very disjointed. Yuck.



  • Alex -

     

    It was nice to have access to the sidebar WTFs from any and all pages. Now it takes more clicks to go back to the homepage to find them again. When you are in one, you can't pick another without an extra navigation step.

    check this out:  http://www.sensible.com/buythebook.html

     

     

     



  • I've been getting increasingly confused by the behaviour of the Sidebar WTF page, and finally realised what's happening: the page now shows them sorted by most-recently-commented-on, rather than most-recently-posted. Any chance of switching it back? I don't really care that much if somebody has added a comment to a post I read last week, I just want to see what's new.





  • @nickfitz said:

    , I just want to see what's new.
    And
    thatis exactly what you see now :) Maybe you don't like the
    comments,but those are new as well.

    There is a button at the
    bottom at the /ShowForum.aspx. If you click it you can set the sort
    order back to the old default, and apply them. It's only saved
    permanently when you log in though.



  • @pnieuwkamp said:

    @nickfitz said:

    , I just want to see what's new.
     

    There is a button at the
    bottom at the /ShowForum.aspx. If you click it you can set the sort
    order back to the old default, and apply them. It's only saved
    permanently when you log in though.


    Unfortunately the option to sort by "Last post date" actually means "Last comment post date", not "Last article post date" :-(



  • @m0ffx said:

    Add firefox 1.5.0.9 to the works-normally list, and what is presumably the same gecko in thunderbird 1.5.0.9 (On Kubuntu 6.06 if you're interested)

    So seems to be a problem only with firefox 1.0.x? Which suggests it's a firefox bug in handling the css. Given that's an old version of the browser I'm not sure it's worth an ugly hack to make it look right.


    I agree. Unless someone with a current browser version reports a problem, I personally see it as a non-issue.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @DaveK said:

    @DustinMichaels said:

    Gross I'm getting horizontal scrolling at 1024X768 on some of the articles :(

      Me too.  The front page is a mess - the main column of articles is incredibly wide and doesn't re-flow when you reduce your browser window, I only have a 19 inch 1280x1024 LCD screen and I can barely make the browser wide enough to view the whole thing without scrolling. 

    Which browser / OS?

    It was tested on IE7, IE6, Firefox 2.x, Safari, and does not show this behavior.

    Oh, goodness, I must really have been half-asleep to forget those vital details.  Sorry.  The answer is I'm running XPsp2, and I'm on FF 1.0.6, so it is a rather old browser.  Since none of the more recent ones seem to show this problem, I'm in agreement that this would most likely be the browsers fault and isn't worth fixing unless it turned out to be trivially easy.

    Apart from the layout problem in my browser, I like the new site; please don't count me among the complainers, because I'm not!  Thanks for all the laffs which brighten up the working day!




  • @nickfitz said:

    Unfortunately the option to sort by "Last post
    date" actually means "Last comment post date", not "Last article post
    date" :-(
    Ah, my bad. The old default has been removed entirely
    for one reason or another :?


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