New Theme: Comments

We're customizing a new theme. Feel free to add your constructive feedback, positive or negative, to the comments below!

In case you're interested, the theme I'm tweaking is Hueman by Alexander Agnarson, and he has released it (in exchange for acts of kindness) under the commendable WTF Public License.

Old:

In the coming days, we'll be revisiting our venerable logo to make it larger and jauntier in the new theme. We'll also be making minor refinements and major changes as we discover things not to our liking. Feel free to add your thoughts by commenting!

Last 5 posts by David Byron

Comments

  1. anne mouse says

    Sorry, another comment on what seems to be a layout designed for mobile phones. Before the weekend (i.e., last time I was online) I got it sporadically; now I'm getting it consistently. It's quite awful on any screen sized for, oh, reading, rather than swiping. Please kill it with fire.

  2. Dragoness Eclectic says

    What the hell did you do to your layout? The new one is a cluttered mess. Make it go away.

  3. says

    Appreciating the new look on the individual articles myself (header could be less tall, but hey… it's not unbearable). Travels well between desktop/laptop/kindle. Front-page is a little crazy tho — I see what the others are complaining about there with the "clutter" comments.

  4. vonlurk says

    Besides the effort Ken participated in 25 years ago, I see another effort at social engineering is underway. I personally liked the color palate of the old site, but I'm sure this layout / color palate will grow on me.

    Like mold.

  5. trebuchet says

    Not sure I like the new theme, but it's better than the random "mobile" one. Now if we could get FreeThoughtBlogs to give us the new page they've been promising for several years….

  6. says

    It's your sandpit, Mr White, so take this cum grano salis… I was certain that the "new look" about which some folks are complaining, was (a) deliberate; and (b) perfect.

    I digest Popehattery on a range of devices from a 6" phone to a 50" TV (and between those ,an iPad, an Android tab, 2 laptops of different screen sizes, and my 'triptych' of 3×23" desktops screens). Not all at the same time, mind.

    On anything below 23" (my monitor) the "old" layout used to get all crammed up and looked absolutely pants (English idiom). The quality of the content kept me coming back, but the 'presentation layer' was a letdown. (ZeroHedge has the same problem).

    The new Popehat layout looks glorious across all platforms; clean, crisp, and something else that starts with a hard 'c' for alliterative purposes that escapes me for the moment (dammit).

    Can we keep it? Pleeeeeeeeeze can we keep it?

    Also: nice work on Melissa. I often wish I was that cunning.

  7. joe-blow says

    I'm still getting the mobile version on the homepage, but the new design in the interiors looks nice.

  8. handofgod137 says

    I, too, like the new theme. Less scrolling is good. However, all the HTML formatting in comments appears to have vanished in the version I can currently view: is that a known issue?

  9. says

    I have the same issue: I diligently typed "i" tags around stuff I wanted to emph in my comment, then I see them presented in non-italicised base font like normal schlub words spoken by some Delta with a flat affect.

    It *totally* loses the PUNCH and _EMOTIONAL CONTENT_ I was _trying_ *_so HARD_* to convey.

    Fnord.

    Srsly though: it seems that Popehat uses WP as its CMS; Disqus is a standard WP addon that adds all manner of useful kerjiggers. (WP Jetpack probly has its own comment system too, now: I'm basing my assessment on ancient history – i.e., 2012)

  10. handofgod137 says

    In all honesty, I could live without the emboldening and italics, but the lack of blockquote tags makes a lot of old threads very hard to follow.

  11. James says

    Back to formatting – is there any chance of a more nearly black font color? Or perhaps a slightly heavier font?

    I'm resisting going with the "high visibility for those with impaired eyesight" setting on my various computers.

  12. says

    @James: The font's color is #000, which is blacker than everything in the cosmos except this. However, I've changed to a fatter 'face; I agree that the default was a bit wispy.

    Do you like this one better? I do.

  13. says

    That's strange, because I can see James' name as much blacker than the body of his and all the other posts.

  14. says

    It's still not showing up black for me. It's a slate grey. I'm running Chrome on Win7. No idea what's going on. Can has black back? Grey on white angers my eyes.

  15. James says

    Thank you!

    I do prefer the serif font. And like Josh below, I'm on Chrome/Win7, and it still appears grey. Must be the "theme" that chrome uses.

  16. David C says

    "Inspect Element" shows the color of the comments as #777 (which, obviously, is grey.) But yeah, this font is a bit better than the other one.

  17. says

    @David C, @Josh, et al., There's the color of the font in the articles, and there's the color of the font in the comments. The former was black; the latter dark gray. My remark was about the former, but I've darkened the latter now, too.

  18. says

    @anne mouse: Thanks for your valuable feedback. The theme you got sporadically before the weekend is unrelated to the theme you now see. In addition, the viewport for reading single articles is wider in this theme than in the previous theme (where it was only about 500px). Tweakage is underway, but it's unlikely we'll revert to the theme from 2007.

  19. says

    @moonridden Thanks for your helpful remarks. Decluttering is underway. The chief offender was the social sharing array, which made the front look like a circus. Sizes, proportions, colors, and contrast will be tweaked until we achieve nerdvana.

  20. says

    @Ken: HA!

    @David: I think the new format is pretty! If I were to offer a bit of (to me) constructive feedback, I'd say that the bar on the Right's awesome, how it's hidden unless you click on the arrows…It would be nice if, maybe, the bar on the left did the same? On my screen, the L sided bar is at least 1/3 of the page. Also, I'm a fan of sans serif fonts for readability. But that's me, and I'm weird.

    Edited to add: What'd I do to get sent to moderation?

  21. says

    @grifterd: No idea why your post went into the moderation hopper. Did you use a new/different email address?

    Anyhow, the expando-click thing works symmetrically on the L and R sidebars, so if it's not doing that for you, please reload the page and try again. (You should be able to collapse the L by tapping its header.)

    Serif v Sans– I'll be experimenting. Thank you for your feedback!

  22. Jon Reeves says

    Minor glitch I noticed in the front page: The "number of comments" flag isn't showing up on Clark's posts, but it's showing up on everyone else's.

  23. says

    @Jon Reeves: Clark's not being singled out. However, his post is of a type (namely, video) and bears a trait (namely, embedded video as featured image) incompatible with the number-of-comments overlay.

    If Clark were to post a standard message, then its display on the front would automagically include that overlay.

  24. anne mouse says

    Thanks for removing the rows of Like-Me buttons from the front page, that makes it mostly human again. I still feel like the content has been unduly squeezed. Aside from the side margins taking up most of the width of my screen, the main issue is that I see no more than a sentence or three of each article. As a fast reader, I would much rather scroll than have to click in and out of articles to find out what each one is about.

  25. says

    The front page is looking considerably better without the social media badges! I preferred the sans serif fonts (I find them easier to read when reading back-lit materials, but I could be odd woman out).

    Thought I'd share this re: social media — I found it interesting when I was recently helping a friend rejig his 2005 design to something more responsive and modern: http://ia.net/blog/sweep-the-sleaze/

    And then on general web trends: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/08/20/typographic-design-survey-best-practices-from-the-best-blogs/ — really just for interest since it seems someone here is interested.

    Enjoying the new design quite a bit, so thank you for the effort.

  26. says

    @anne mouse: Re "unduly squeezed": on what sort of device are you viewing the site? If you're using a tablet or a phone, you can collapse the sidebars (so that they take up only a narrow strip along the side) by clicking their headers (where you see "Follow" and "More").

    I agree that scrolling through full content is convenient. I'll be investigating whether there's a way to support both the tiles and the full flow and to allow readers to set a preference.

  27. James says

    Thank you for changing the color of the comment font.I find it much easier to read.

    Now, would you do something about the rest of the interwebz? Who decided that grey on white was a good idea?

  28. says

    @Dragoness Eclectic: We'll support your free speech rights if the state beats you down. And we'll even tolerate you (until we don't) in these here parts. But none of that means we'll refrain from mocking you… possibly for reasons we'll decline to name.

  29. QHS says

    My thoughts on the new format: the font is too big, and the left "Follow" panel is too wide. Fortunately i was able to kill 2 birds with one stone by using Firefox's font adjustment, which can be used to scale both.

  30. Dragoness Eclectic says

    I liked your old layout. It was clean and uncluttered and did not eat up 60% of my screen width with sidebars (size not exaggerated). I am using Firefox, and there is no obvious way to hide those sidebars–and they seriously distract from the article and comments. Yes, I am using NoScript, but I have Javascript enabled for everything on this page except the social media crap. So unless Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Facebook are essential for hiding the sidebars, I don't think that's it.

    I don't like the double-column format for the front page–it makes it harder to see what's new and what came in what order. And I loathe the current fad for making everything look like a damn Windows 8 clone–in general, the 'Metro' look is fugly and looks like it's intended for 6 year olds with a smart-phone. That is not a scheme that looks good on a full-sized screen.

    I'm going to try fiddling with the default font size–for some reason, your site's fonts have ballooned in size, contributing to the "iPhone for Dummies" look and feel (seriously, I'm not sure what else to call the impression I'm getting off the new look). I usually have my defaults set quite large, because of all the older sites out there that sized their fonts for 1024×768 screens and look like the fine print on a shady contract on modern screen sizes. (But you really don't want me to go on a curmudgeonly rant about why hard-coded font and sizebar sizes are bad, so I won't).

  31. Trebuchet says

    Since this has turned into a post for discussion of the new layout (maybe a special post for that would be appropriate) here's another thought:

    It seems to me that the amount of text shown in posts on the main page is insufficient. Just a couple of lines. For new ones, at least, it seems like at least a paragraph or two could be shown. I really don't mind having to scroll a bit, as long as it's vertically.

    Also, we've lost not only the handy auto-preview function, but any way of previewing at all. I hope we can at least still edit.

  32. khymchanur says

    The in-page message preview feature is gone. :(

    EDIT: At least the edit-comment feature is still there.

  33. says

    Looks completely jacked on Google Chrome/Ubuntu Linux. "We're customizing a new theme" vertically overlays "By David Byron – July 19 2014" by a solid 65+% of the height of the lede.

    I can post a screenshot if you need/want me to.

  34. says

    And oh, man, I am NOT liking that whole "tiles" thing going on with the main page layout as opposed to the single-article layout. ='(

    I would like you to imagine ='( as standing for Iron Eyes Cody, giving you his best white-man-masquerading-as-soulful-native stare as a single solitary tear (or, hell, drop of glycerine, but no really, you make Iron Eyes Cody sad) slides down his weathered cheek.

  35. says

    Ditto the Dragoness on all counts.

    But thank you, at least, for not locking me out completely by making this forum part of either Facebook or HuffPo.

  36. Shiofra says

    It looks awesome, nice & clean. But…I'm in Chrome and the author line is hidden behind/overlapped by the beginning paragraph text.

  37. Just a thought says

    The changes aren't awful, and things have both improved and got worse in various ways since the makeover. My biggest problem is the greatly reduced information density. I don't need to be able to read web pages from the other side of the room, and I don't think huge grey bars and small white bars are really helpful. They may be fashionable, but that's not the same thing.

    Also, the latest changes have things appearing on top of each other. For example the excessively large black text "We're customizing …" at the top of this item is overlaying David's name and other info.

  38. Carl A. B. Pearson says

    The layout that I am looking at as I post this is fine, and compares favorably to the old one.

    My two suggestions:
    – I'd like it to be more sensitive to screen real-estate. If I make my browser window really wide, it's because I want to view pages that way, research about optimal column widths, etc be damned – stretch your content div.
    – more persistence of navigation elements, e.g.having the stuff on the sides more statically positioned would be nice (though you do have a bajilliony link friends). The alternative is that I'm looking at tons of dead space as I scroll down to the end of the comments.

  39. Leland Roach says

    Finally: multiply-nested comments are readable on my cell phone without having to connect it to a 1080p TV! Information density outside of the comments has certainly suffered a tad. Compared to the 3 letters per line after 4 threaded comments that was evident before (with a complete sentence taking up several screens in height), the new margins rock! The font face and sizing is bleh, but I'll pick my battles.

    Thank you!

  40. LrdDimwit says

    1) Really don't like the multiple-columns (as if it were a newspaper) tiled approach to laying out recent entries on the homepage. I vastly prefer the old layout.

    2) Your articles are not using about 70% of my screen real estate horizontally. I have NoScript installed because it's a much safer way to browse the internet (the fewer domains I allow the privilege of running potentially hostile code on my box, the harder it is for a hacker to pwn me by pwning your server). If I fire up a browser not using NoScript, it uses a much more reasonable width.

  41. says

    @LrdDimwit: I'm afraid we cannot tailor the look and feel of the site to individual users' particular, non-standard browser configurations. You're running NoScript because you believe that it enhances your safety; perhaps you should explore whether it empowers you to customize its behavior on a per-site basis in a way that fixes the problem that it creates.

  42. says

    Love the new design, massive improvement. As a professional web developer and designer, I approve.

    I hereby volunteer to update your logo graphic to match better if you'd like.

  43. Tim! says

    Text under the header image wraps. Header takes up more vertical space; sidebar takes up more horizontal space; body font is larger than normal; "Last 5 posts" is HUGE. All told, much less information is available on screen.

  44. says

    Re the left sidebar's use of red type for the lists of authors, blogroll, etc.: Old typographer's rule of thumb (I was one for 20 years or so in a previous career) — never use red type if there is more than one line together. It works so rarely that it isn't worth trying. Red is for display lines only.

  45. Michael says

    • The header bar takes up an enormous amount of space to do nothing more than display an equally enormous Popehat logo. By the time that's done, vertically, and all of the story attribution and title on the lead story is waded through, the actual first piece of useful content is almost a third of the way down the screen. (On a 27" iMac running Firefox. It looks equally bad on Safari, except the tagline under the logo wraps.)

    • The story attribution line is too large. (Actually, ALL of the type is far too big.)

    • The columnar story layout is hard to read. The story title text is too large, as is the summary font, and actual space devoted to the summary is insufficient to give any sense of what the story is about (since it's just excerpted from the top of the story).

    • Re. the columnar story layout. Since when is columnar data in English read over-then-down, and not down-then-over? Confusing.

    • There's enough vertical space in the "Follow" and "More" headers on the main page to fit at least four lines of type in the box.

    • The type in the sidebar is so large that it forces almost every line under the "Pages" header to wrap.

    • The page footer is enormous, and content-free. The entire thing could be reduced to by at least two-thirds the vertical height and still have room to spare.

    • There is so much white space around elements, and the fonts are so huge, the theme actively works against anyone trying to glean useful information out of the layout. For instance, on this page, there is almost no story, but by the time the no story is presented, and the enormous "last 5 posts by the author" block is done, there's a blank space you could fit five or six lines of reasonably-sized text into AND THEN there's an inappropriately large sig-block advertising the author's Twitter feed. By the time all of that is out of the way, the previous and next stories scroller is 3/4 of the way down the screen. There's a "you might also like" box — which seems to be chosen completely at random because those stories have nothing whatsoever to do with site design or information layout (and features stories seven years old) and actually continues off the bottom of the window. Considering how much content there isn't on this page, the fact that you have to scroll to even see that there are comments attached to the story is embarrassing.

    • Lest all of this sound overwhelmingly negative, the threaded comments block is nice.

  46. listcatcher says

    This is a big improvement. And perhaps due to my tired aging eyes, the font size is perfect.

  47. Frederick Joseph Doubloonski says

    On an iPhone, the layout has a bunch of blank space on the right and too much junk below the comment section.

  48. says

    Two blogs I follow regularly (SmartBitches, TrashyBooks and Dear Author) maintain a regular, garden variety blog for those old curmudgeons who struggle with change *raises hand*

  49. says

    I apologize in advance for complaining, as I fully acknowledge that in the end the only people who need be pleased about the design and performance of the blog is the people who run it. However, since you asked for comments….

    I hate threaded comments with a passion. A person is forced to scroll the entirety of the comments to find new contributions, instead of heading directly to where one left off and continuing from there.

    I don't care for the newspaper-lite tile thing on the main page. My brain likes the old fashioned, chronological layout that's no longer in fashion.

    Finally, while I won't stop reading Popehat no matter what happens with the layout, if you guys use Disqus for comments I won't be able to contribute. Granted, not a terrible loss, but you did ask.

  50. alpha4centauri says

    I hate threading, too. It only works for people who come along after the discussion has ended.

  51. Foog says

    I will like this new theme if, and only if, you manage to make it flash or shout at me or do some other form of cool and/or annoying shit whenever the popehat signal goes out. Otherwise: meh.

  52. Dave says

    Can you please expand the blurbs on the front page to show as much content as they used to?
    Or, at least expand them to full width, rather than squeezing two into a row.

    Another site I frequent shortened their blurbs, and I was immediately annoyed by the amount of tabs I was opening up to read more, only to realize I wasn't interested. After a matter of days they publicly reverted the change.

  53. says

    Really needs more Comic Sans.

    While you are messing around, several of the blogger links are dead, or at least I found several dead links last time I went through them several months ago.

  54. says

    Initial thoughts after playing with the CSS in Chrome. Viewing this on a 27" inch monitor at 1920×1200.

    'div.entry.excerpt p, div.entry-inner p' : change margin-top & margin-bottom to 12px. (custom-css)
    I like the spacing between paragraphs and it's absence was one of the first things I noticed yesterday. Now it feels too large.

    The container-inner div is constricted by the absolute max widths, on my monitor this leads to a huge amount of empty space. Using the % and allowing the center area to expand will still leave some padding on the sides but looks much better (at least on my screen)
    '#wrapper, .container-inner' : remove max-width (index)
    '.container-inner' : change max-width to 90% (generated)

    Names on comments feel too small, as well as the timestamp
    '.commentlist .fn, .pinglist .ping-link' font-size up to 18px (generated)
    '.commentlist .comment-body p' font-size down to 110% or even 100% (custom-css)

    Just my $.02

  55. Matt says

    I think this is fine as an idea, but maybe not the best approach here.

    I'd look up some UX/UI design books. There is now a feeling of deadspace/whitespace around every border, it's like everything is just bigger than it needs to be. It's also an inconsistent design, as the "more" and "follow" areas break the design of the page in it's entirety.

    It does look great for mobile and fits for that, but for PC (as I'm viewing) not so much.

    the "Anew" theme by the same individual actually looks better than the hueman one.

  56. says

    Test:

    This is content in a blockquote.

    This is content subsequent to a blockquote.

    • item 1
    • item 2
    • item 3

    Edit: Yup– gotta fix that blockquotin' issue right quick.

  57. says

    Late to the party, but I'm not seeing threaded comments (maybe they went away), but I could take or leave 'em. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of having to click through different *pages* of comments.

  58. says

    @Matt: In the interim, may I refer you to Smashing Magazine's use of whitespace? Not their discussions, but their actual implementation. Not that that's authoritative– I'd be interested to read any sources you can provide from 2013 or later that support your remark that "a feeling of deadspace/whitespace around every border, it's like everything is just bigger than it needs to be" is inappropriate to contemporary viewing platforms.

    Of course, I'll be reducing negative space some as I continue tweaking. I'm mainly interested in whether you're working from concrete knowledge or merely your personal hunch/tastes.

  59. B.Hudson says

    No problem with the new layout. I do think there could be about 5 more pixels of padding between everything, as it all seems quite squished together. The comments stack on each other a little too closely, the articles squish into "The last 5 articles by" text a little too closely, etc.

    Other than that, it doesn't seem much different as the previous layout, except it seems to resize much nicer.

  60. says

    @B.Hudson: When they're farther apart, some ask that they be closer; when closer, the contrary. If you'll pardon my essentialist discourse, that's human nature for you!

  61. says

    Overall, I like it, but the middle section, containing article text and comment text is too wide (1142px) on a larger display. Reading is like watching a ping pong match, turning from left to right and back.
    Thanks.

  62. Matt says

    So, everything was personal opinion, first and foremost :) I like smashingmag because they know their UI . but to me the irony is that I don't like their homepage design (which is of course notably similar to here and what you were pointing out). I should add, I'm viewing at 1080p on a 24".

  63. says

    @Jay Wolman: Read the comments before yours, and you'll see more than one complaint that the center column is either too narrow or inflexible! There is no magic number of pixels that can satisfy everyone's width preference across all viewing platforms, nor indeed on any single platform. Some like it hot. For this reason, I've made the center dynamic. If you'd like to see it narrower, grab your tab, pull it from your browser (so that it's free-standing), and resize its width; the website will respond accordingly!

    At Popehat, website empower you!

  64. says

    Just to confirm a rumor that's been circulating around all of our fansites – the Diamond Tier membership will allow members to submit alternate designs. Those interested in becoming a member at this level should contact ken at popehat dot com.

  65. says

    The Popehat icon seems weird. There'ws this little white dirty pixels around. Probably because it was used on the last theme. A good way to not have this problem is to redo it using PNG 24 bits or PNG 8 bits with alpha, so it would look good no matter the background color.

  66. Tim! says

    @listcatcher: If your eyes are old and tired, you can change the font size in your browser. Try ctrl-mouse scroll. If you like it, look into user styles for your browser type to make it a universal default.

  67. Barista Selmy says

    A couple of comments:

    1. I don't like the two-column blurb format. It really wrecks the underlying formatting. See, e.g., the blurbs for the May 19 post Texas v. Johnson, and the May 16 post Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery. I would prefer that the blurbs be in a single (wider) column, and that the blurb preserved the underlying article formatting.

    2. The "…" (see more) indicator that the article is continued on the click-through is a bit clunky. Basically the "…" at the end of the blurb indicates that I should scroll back up to the top and click on the link in the title. I would like the addition of an explicit "click for more" link after the "…" at the bottom.

  68. says

    Font size is just a shade larger than I prefer, but thank you for making the comments black again! My eyes are much happier.

  69. Chris Ryan says

    There used to be an amazon search bar on the right side of the page. I used it as my start point for amazon searches (under the premise that you guys got a cut). I cant seem to find it now. Not sure if it was removed or just put somewhere that I am too blind/stupid to find.

  70. says

    The Amazon search widget is still there. The items on the right sidebar include "Subscribe", "TwitFace", and then the one you seek: "Feed Our Server…."

  71. says

    Looking great David! I really like the color change of the sidebar links to purple and the auto hiding of the side navs as you increase the zoom is really slick.

    Hopefully my suggestions earlier didn't come across as overly demanding. I did notice one side effect of changing the max-width, the top logo now appears off center. Reducing min-width of .'.container-inner' from 48% to 40% appears to fix that. Otherwise I think it looks great in Chrome on both desktop and laptop (resolution is 1920 for both)

    Looking at it in Chrome on my phone (Nexus 5) the primary issue is that the header is very tall which looks a little odd on the homepage and cuts off the top of the first line in articles. The articles & comments themselves look good. As for the homepage I think it looks good on my device (though the "Culture Wars" article threw me off for a second because it's just the video and title with no text but not sure if that's really a case to worry about)

  72. says

    Your ideas were good; I implemented most of them. (Logo centering isn't a matter of the .container-inner's min-width, but of the #header div.group.pad's margin-left percentage, which offsets the margin: 0 auto.)

    I agree that the header should shrink vertically as the view scales down. Also, the tagline should perhaps vanish sooner, and the logo remain large-ish.

    The embedded Youtube is in a "Video" post type, and there are about a dozen such types, each with its own potential for styling. So I'll be revisiting those as time allows.

  73. Durp says

    I liked the simplicity and the single-direction of reading with the original theme. Too much shit going on with the new theme, and I hate change.

  74. trebuchet says

    Wow! I suggest a dedicated "new look" thread and complain that not enough of the newest post is show, and next time I'm here, it's done! We need David Byron on more of the internet!

    I'm still missing the ability to preview and the copy/pastable HTML controls. Although the ability to edit helps.

    Edit: Just checking that it works. Also, posting seems to take rather longer than before.

  75. Anon Y. Mous says

    I'm a fan of the old fashioned scroll and read blog format. None of that new age click to read more tom-foolery. When Powerline did a similar update a year or three ago, they added a formatting button at the top. If you like the web 2.0 (or whatever the latest version is), you didn't have to do anything – that is what you got. But, if you want the old style, just push the button and you get the blog in the old style. It even remembers your choice, so once pressed, you always get the old style when you visit.

  76. anne mouse says

    Yes, thanks for multiple improvements over the last few days.

    Off topic: did you get tired of being "Beige"?

  77. Jesse from Tulsa says

    I fear change.

    Honestly. I liked the old version better. The ability to scroll down over the post from oldest to newest in a single column was quick and convenient.

  78. Resolute says

    Like the look overall, hate the two-column format on the main page. It's the in thing to do with web design these days, but it just creates a giant cluttered mess in my view. However, I learned long ago not to rail against the clutter. It's not going away, and I get used to it. After all, I come here for the commentary and insight, not the layout of the page!

  79. The Wanderer says

    Just to add my voice to the crowd:

    * I agree (in one way or another) with pretty much everything Dragoness Eclectic has said here on this subject so far.

    * azteclady's specific complaints also pretty much fit me. With the exception that I do like threaded comments both in general and as a matter of principle, but without some way of easily distinguishing between "new"/"unread" and "old"/"read" comments (such as can be available in a good mail client, or in a "login required" Web interface), they're not very practical for an ongoing discussion rather than an archived one.

    * The current iteration of the new layout / design / theme is considerably better than the first one I saw, but I still don't like it as much as the old theme. At minimum, I think the front page's central posts column needs to be returned to a single-column format, and preferably with a "before the cut" preview much more like what there was under the old style. (I previously had the impression that the "cut line" was manually specified by the poster for each post, whereas now it seems as if it might be dynamically determined to some degree, and to be capped at a certain length regardless?)

    * In my view, NoScript should not be considered a nonstandard configuration unworthy of being supported, since it's a good idea for anyone who cares about privacy or security to use it anyway.

    I'm aware that I'm not exactly one of the well-known, valued readers here (though I'm probably one of the few who's read the entire archive), but the first iteration of the new layout was so strongly offputting to me that I'm not at all sure I wouldn't have given up reading Popehat rather than have to put up with it. The current one isn't as bad, but without at least the front-page central-column dual-subcolumns feature being changed, there's still a chance that I may end up reluctantly coming to that decision.

    Also, just to note: I've tried to post this three times now, and the first two attempts timed out waiting for a response from the server. I'd normally blame having things blocked with NoScript, but other people who report they use NoScript have been able to post just fine. I don't necessarily expect anyone to try to fix this (especially since, if this post makes it through, the problem will presumably have stopped happening), but I wanted to report that it had occurred.

  80. Aaron says

    @David the image showed the byline and the article overlapping, and had nothing to do with sidebars.

    Edit: which @Shiofra pointed out before me, and David fixed. Carry on!

  81. says

    @Aaron, I was referring to this comment of yours, in which you said

    I can't seem to collapse the left sidebar, like the right one is collapsed by default. Also, the byline collides with the body on articles. I had an image, but I'm apparently not allowed to embed it, so:

    and then linked to an image that shows nothing of the sort, sidebar-wise. But you only meant to illustrate the overlap problem, so it's all good!

  82. says

    I've tried to post this three times now, and the first two attempts timed out waiting for a response from the server. …other people who report they use NoScript have been able to post just fine. …if this post makes it through, the problem will presumably have stopped happening

    @The Wanderer: Your efforts to post are probably impeded by all the malware running on your system.

  83. says

    Two things regarding comment threads:

    1. David and I keep saying we're going to do certain things and real life keeps intruding (to wit: I was sick and not sleeping last weekend and not up to doing much of anything). But one of the things we want to do would offer us an overhaul to commenting as a byproduct of doing it. Nobody really uses our forums but it's our intent to replace them just the same.

    2. We won't be running threaded comments on this blog ever I suspect. It's a philosophical thing; other people are welcome to do it that way but it's not our thing.

    In my view, NoScript should not be considered a nonstandard configuration unworthy of being supported, since it's a good idea for anyone who cares about privacy or security to use it anyway.

    @The Wanderer – you misunderstand David's point. NoScript is not, strictly speaking, something people "support" in web designs (gracefully degrading javascripts are another matter). NoScript is a browser add-on that in addition to blocking harmful scripts allows people to whitelist sites. Time being the factor that it is I don't think we're inclined to do much else besides tweak this current layout to taste; designing and maintaining a second style isn't in the plans at this time. We certainly welcome feedback, suggest that NoScript users should whitelist Popehat.com, discourage Gozer worship, and direct the truly OUTRAGED to contact Ken. That's his department, and he gets cranky when we meddle in his affairs.

  84. says

    …the first iteration of the new layout was so strongly offputting to me that I'm not at all sure I wouldn't have given up reading Popehat rather than have to put up with it. The current one isn't as bad, but without at least the front-page central-column dual-subcolumns feature being changed, there's still a chance that I may end up reluctantly coming to that decision.

    Grandy! My salts!

  85. says

    That's really weird, I can't see your handle idnicating you authored that last comment, David. The only way I know it was you for sure is in the assumption that some scoundrel didn't copy your Avatar over. I think the blockquote swallowed it.

    Actually. . . who are you really?

  86. The Wanderer says

    In more specific issues, I see the blockquoted text as what looks like boldface, which is a bit disconcerting and leaves me wondering what boldface plus blockquote would come out looking like. Is that sort of appearance intentional?

  87. says

    @Grandy: I'm David Beige! Mwahahahaaaa!
    It seems that putting a blockquote first in one's comment has the undesirable effect of ensuring that the blockquote occurs outside a paragraph. A minor bug in the plugin. It can wait.

  88. The Wanderer says

    OK. The new tweaked version looks much better; thanks.

    I think the only substantive objection I still have to the current layout / design is the fact that the literal blog itself, i.e. the front page, apparently no longer presents older posts in the same way it (would have) presented them when they were the newest.

    Under the original design, no matter where the "cut" line for the part of a post visible on the front page was, it would be the same regardless of whether the post was the newest or had slipped to become an older one; now, it looks like older posts are dynamically subjected to an arbitrary "before the cut" limit. (And, of course, older posts are squeezed into one of two half-width columns instead of getting the full column width.)

    I find value in being able to see "old content" pretty much the same way it would have appeared when it was new, within the limits of practicality (such as allowing for intervening changes in site design). The old design came so close to that ideal that I'd have never really noticed any discrepancies; this one could come equally close, but for whatever reason, does not.

    Also, in regards to the dual-column layout, it's not as intuitive to follow the line of "oldest to newest" by going "down and left, right, down and left, right, down and left, right" as it is to follow it by going "down, down, down".

    Rather than just piling complaints and objections on top of one another, I would like to note that almost every one of the changes I've seen pass by as development has iterated over the course of the day has been for the better, which I find encouraging, and/or possibly reassuring.

  89. says

    ( a ) We're supporting desktop monitors, laptops, tablets, mini-tablets, phablets, and phones. Tiling the older items is friendly to users of the last four on that list of six.
    ( b ) It's just not that hard to click once in order to see the original of an older post in all its glory. One click.

    Of course, that doesn't mean we're not reverting to the non-tiled layout. Maybe we will. But the case for a semi-tiled presentation is strong.

  90. TheHaywardFault says

    Adding my voice to the objections about the "tiled" front page. I read popehat on both "regular" computers and my smartphone, and I infinitely prefer the columnar approach of the old theme. I also wish the return of longer blog posts before cutoffs.

  91. princessartemis says

    I have been reading Popehat on an iPad for quite a while, and my first impression of the tiled articles is it looks a right mess and I had trouble making sense of it.

    Other than that, it looks fine to me.

    ETA: I do miss the link list of recent articles though. Much easier to glance there to see if I'm caught up, rather then scroll down, then up, then down, then up, at the tiled posts.

  92. kps says

    Lines of four or five
    words are more diff‐
    icult to read. I come
    to Popehat for the
    articles.

  93. KronWeld says

    Well, the new layout is finally getting to a point that I can handle it. It was way ugly, hard to follow and very distracting. You've slowly brought it to a point that is acceptable to me. Which we both know, was your top priority.

    Thanks for respecting us enough to keep tweaking the design based on the complaints and suggestions.

    And thanks for not going to a third party comment management company. You are most kind.

  94. En Passant says

    David Byron wrote July 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm:

    ( b ) It's just not that hard to click once in order to see the original of an older post in all its glory. One click.

    Gawd! If you're placing such onerous demands as that on readers, I'm surprised you have any left.

    The old layout worked for me. This new one works for me too, only different. This layout is similar to the layout of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Sort of.

    I've read both old and new layouts in both FF and Chr*me. I've observed one weirdity in the new layout worth commenting on. It's not even close to making me pull out the chair cushions to look for enough loose change to become a diamond member. But it is weird.

    In FF, if I zoom in (CTRL +), the center column (ie: the blog post) enlarges and eventually (with enough zooms) forces the sidebars or side columns off the screen, with no horizontal scroll bar ever appearing.

    In Chr*me, doing the same thing enlarges the sidebars and the center column text, while simultaneously shrinking the center column width and enlarging the two sidebars or side columns widths, until eventually the center column disappears.

    That's just plain weird. Luckily, on both browsers I can readily find a font size and zoom level that is perfectly readable for me.

    Now if I can just figure out how to do that click thingy so I can see an older post.

  95. says

    Heh…

    Well, the new layout is finally getting to a point that I can handle it. It was way ugly, hard to follow and very distracting. You've slowly brought it to a point that is acceptable to me. Which we both know, was your top priority.

    How many Popehat readers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? ;)

    To be sure, it has been a grueling 59 hours since the theme was first installed.

    As for disqus, I suppose it's good for annihilating Hyacinth, but that's not our objective.

  96. Anton B says

    Guys, some white space would be nice.

    Get some more padding around the content section. It's the main reason everyone is complaining about clutter, since there's no clear separation between the main Maybe, pull the sidebars closer to the edges. Also, make the comment text-area element longer vertically.

    Otherwise, the theme is very good, I like it quite a bit. I like that you guys are using the whole screen now, we do all have extremely wide monitors now, and more websites should be using that real-estate, but most are still stuck in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

  97. Pickwick says

    I preferred the old, as a desktop user with 1920×1080. I never tried to navigate Popehat on a mobile device, so I can't judge the increase in convenience/accessibility the new layout provides those users, but for some reason it seems harder and more eye-tiring to read now–though vastly, vastly better and less cluttered than the initial switchover. Guess I'll fiddle with my display settings.

    Popehat is your collective house, and you'll decorate it the way you want, subject unruly guests to the perils of paste and ponies, and so forth. But it seems to me that your old display theme better matched the kind of content your cabal tends to produce, and the quantity. There was a staid, sedate feel to the orange and white vertical bars of yesterweek, topped by their majestically silly chapeau, that fit the legal comedies Ken produces like a snort fits a taint. The new look, though, gives everything a transitory feel, which seems odd for a blog not oriented toward constant, brief, low-information-and-insight updates. Popehat posts come in all flavors and sizes, long and short, quirky and often wickedly funny, but they don't typically arrive at the rate of several per day. Mobile-style displays say, to me at least, "Don't pay too much attention to these words; there'll be more soon, anyway. So check back compulsively every thirty minutes!"

    There is no Popehat brand, and the Popehat brand is whatever you all want it to be at any given moment, but the new layout seems counter to what I've perceived it to be.

  98. Resolute says

    Well now, back to a one column format? Yay! Whatever Ken is paying you David, tell him to double it!

  99. says

    David and I feel about Disqus the same way that David and I feel about spiders: kill it with fire. For values of "David and I" that mean "Me", because I can't recall off hand how David actually feels about Disqus. Or spiders. But he's right that it's not the plan, in any case.

  100. says

    @Pickwick

    your old display theme better matched the kind of content your cabal tends to produce, and the quantity. There was a staid, sedate feel to the orange and white vertical bars of yesterweek, topped by their majestically silly chapeau…

    Just a reminder: there was no set of "orange and white vertical bars of" yesterwhenever. The old color scheme was nearly identical to the new.


  101. Pickwick says

    That's… odd. There were orange bars to the side with white underneath the text on my screen every time I came to Popehat. I liked them. Now you're telling me they were never there? o.o Possibly something to do with my setup?

    Your knowledge of web pages is approaching infinity times mine, so I'll wander off in quiet confusion now.

  102. says

    I believe you, Pickwick. But perhaps the orange bars were a feature of your platform or browser rather than of Popehat. Or perhaps Popehat was rendered in your browser in a way that exposed some colored element not normally visible. Or perhaps you have unusually rectilinear and monochromatic macular degeneration.

  103. says

    Miscellaneous observations based on the side-by-side comparison above:

    • Some have complained that the new sidebars are too wide and take up so much "real estate" on the screen. However, the old sidebars were wider.
    • Some have fretted that the new font is so huge, but the new fonts are actually the same or smaller.
    • Some (and not just Pickwick) have worried that it'll be hard to get used to the new colors, but they are the same colors. (Even the purple played a role in the old design by announcing the Amazon widget.)
    • A few have offered that only a small percentage of the screen's width is given to content, but the content column in the old design was much narrower (and this was true even before I elasticized the new one).
    • Some say the new design is too busy. In comparison to the old design. Srsly?

    I think the old logo and tagline looked better, so I'll be fiddlin' with those to bring the new header up to snuff.

    With the designs side by side, to filter out the effects of waning memory and reveries d'orange, what do y'all think the new look still needs? Already on my to-do list:

    • Enlarge logo and brighten/fatten the typeface
    • Right-justify the left-hand sidebar links.
    • Reintroduce the small gray Popehat logo between main posts.
  104. says

    @Anton B:

    Guys, some white space would be nice.

    I just reduced whitespace because the madding crowd loathed all the whitespace. Content density, eh what eh what?

    Get some more padding around the content section. It's the main reason everyone is complaining about clutter, since there's no clear separation between the main…

    The original complaint about clutter, which I shared, was that our social sharing widget was dumping icons at the foot of each tiled excerpt and thereby making the wagon look even more beclowned than it ought. Most or all of the remaining observations about clutter have had to do with the tiled excerpts themselves. Their very existence.

    Also, make the comment text-area element longer vertically.

    You can do that yourself by grabbing the lower right corner of the editing box and dragging it downward. See the little grabby diagonals in the corner? I've just used them myself while typing this reply. Most exhilarating!

  105. says

    @rmd – they might become irrelevant. Well I guess it depends on what you are using them for.

    What we want to replace the forums with is Discourse. Discourse, like sensible BB software should, keeps track of your position in comment threads automagically. There's no muss/fuss with not realizing how many comments in the 257 comment thread are new and where your position was last time anyway.

    A world press plugin exists to seamlessly bridge between WP and Discourse. We'll investigate it more closely in the near future, I hope. Discourse is pretty great from a quality of life perspective, and we're very sensitive to that.

  106. PopeGuest says

    Long time lurker here, the changes are OK to be honest. The only thing I sort of not like is the double column main page but that's not a big deal and I think people that don't like it is because there is no "obvious" way to tell which entry is the older between the two (right is newer, left is older).

    One suggestion though, since the reading area is wider, maybe it would be a nice thing to justify the text now so it looks cleaner. Also, maybe an extra blank line in between paragraphs will make it look better(this I don't know, just guessing).

    The previous reading section was kind of slim so justifying didn't really matter but now with a wider section maybe justifying the text will make it look better.

    Now to my opinion on other comments: I can't believe people are still hating Windows based Tile UI. for one, you can entirely skip it on PCs and boot to desktop, setting up a laptop with Win8 didn't take me any longer than setting one up with Win7. Second, one can argue the Tile screen (known as Metro before) can be more productive than the start menu. You can pin as many programs as you want without making it look cluttered. Third, even Google is going towards this "simple flat design" with Materials Design. I don't see anyone complaining about it…

    The only downside of Windows8 is the stupid default apps for, lets say, opening a picture. It opens the "metro" app rather than the good old picture viewer. So you have to set default programs otherwise you get the "Metro" apps.

  107. Dragoness Eclectic says

    It looks much better now. The single biggest improvement, for me personally, was reverting to the single-column front page with longer intial excerpts.

    The one thing you might want to do still is tighten up all the social media/sharing crap that appears at the foot of the article, before the comments. Personally, I'd like the "articles you might like" and the sharing buttons to disappear, or at least move to the bottom of the comments. The author's twitter feed box seems to have a lot of padding for a one-line item, as do the next/previous article buttons. I would also shrink the font on the "Last 5 articles by…" header.

    Note: today I am posting from a work (desktop) computer with a severely locked-down IE browser.

  108. Resolute says

    My guess is that the "new colours" bit is a matter of perception. The colours look different to me too, but the side by side examples shows that it is actually the introduction of some small differently-coloured highlights that are messing up my perspective. The light blue "follow", the purple "more" and the red boxen for number of comments. Now that I am focusing on the look, I realize that these are what my eyes are being drawn to – because they are different in style and placement. They will vanish into the background as we get used to the look, however.

  109. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    It looks lovely to me! (read: similar enough to the previous version to ensure an easy transition for this averse-to-change curmudgeon)

  110. Jon Reeves says

    Getting much better. Even the previously missing comment counts on Clark's video-only posts are there now. One tiny glitch I see: There's no space between the date and the byline on most of the articles on the front page (exception: Ken's latest has the space).

  111. Grifter says

    @David:

    It's interesting you say the sidebars are the same size…I don't have the hide option on the lefthand side (which, based on something a previous commenter said, is probably a Ubuntu/Chrome issue?), but I swear it's at least SUBJECTIVELY bigger. I magnify the text usually…it might be related to that. I probably had it set up to remember my scroll position and magnification, and now that it's "new" I need to redo that. I think the main difference to me is that, where before I could just scroll things to the center so that I didn't look at the sidebars unless I wanted to, now the articles appear shifted to the left and there's no scrollbar. But these are petty, stupid observations.

    Overall, it's very pretty and I think everyone appreciates that you spend as much time and effort working on this place that we like so much!

  112. CJK Fossman says

    @David

    It's interesting to watch you at work. Nice job.

    There appears to be a very minor malfeature, though.
    The sidebar-content divs appear to be a few pixels low on Firefox 30 Ubuntu 12.04 Unity and Xubuntu 14.04.

    As a result the background colors appear as a stripe at the top and the bottom edges of the "Follow" and "More" divs don't line up with the lower edge of the big div at the top.

    Is the edit timer of shorter duration?

    @Everybody else
    Yes, they are the same colors. They don't look the same because their relative prominence and positions are different. Adjacent colors exert mutual influence in the way we perceive them.

  113. Papillon says

    @Grifter:

    I'm on Chrome on Windows, and whether or not the hide option appears depends on the width of my browser. At its widest, neither sidebar has the option of hiding. As I narrow the window, first the right side gets the option, then the left side.

  114. Grifter says

    @Papillon:

    Interesting! It does the same to me. I guess I shouldn't keep everything maximized all the time…

  115. Dion Starfire says

    I really liked the threading of comments that appeared monday afternoon (around the time of my comment on the "sorry, Melissa" post. I hope that comes back at some point in the tweaking.

    Also, the "you may also like …" section doesn't really fit Popehat. Very few posts here are timeless enough to be relevant for more than a few months or years.

    The color theme of the side columns and background create an appearance of wasted space that the previous design lacked.

    Finally, I wish there was some way to widen the center (content) column past where the side columns become empty.

  116. I was Anonymous says

    If you start a comment with a blockquote, without providing attribution, your name and date stamp gets hidden.

    I.e. your first line is <blockquote>some text

    As opposed to

    So-and-so wrote:
    <blockquote>…..

  117. says

    @Dion Starfire:

    I really liked the threading of comments that appeared monday afternoon (around the time of my comment on the "sorry, Melissa" post. I hope that comes back at some point in the tweaking.

    I think that's unlikely, unless one of our co-bloggers makes the case and wins the day on that issue. The benefit of threading is that replies and second-order replies and such are displayed together. The bane of threading is that new posts are scattered hither and yon rather than queued at the comments' end. I suppose a system in which new threaded posts are colored or otherwise highlighted throughout, but chasing them all down would seem like work for the admirably lazy Popehat reader. So we're probably going to keep this format for now.

    Also, the "you may also like …" section doesn't really fit Popehat. Very few posts here are timeless enough to be relevant for more than a few months or years.

    That crap Ken writes is unquestionably ephemeral, but each of my contributions is a precious everlasting snowflake.

  118. says

    @Dion Starfire:

    I really liked the threading of comments that appeared monday afternoon (around the time of my comment on the "sorry, Melissa" post. I hope that comes back at some point in the tweaking.

    I think that's unlikely, unless one of our co-bloggers makes the case and wins the day on that issue. The benefit of threading is that replies and second-order replies and such are displayed together. The bane of threading is that new posts are scattered hither and yon rather than queued at the comments' end. I suppose a system in which new threaded posts are colored or otherwise highlighted throughout, but chasing them all down would seem like work for the admirably lazy Popehat reader. So we're probably going to keep this format for now.

    Also, the "you may also like …" section doesn't really fit Popehat. Very few posts here are timeless enough to be relevant for more than a few months or years.

    That crap Ken writes is unquestionably ephemeral, but each of my contributions is a precious everlasting snowflake.

  119. says

    @CJK Fossman:

    The sidebar-content divs appear to be a few pixels low on Firefox 30 Ubuntu 12.04 Unity and Xubuntu 14.04. As a result the background colors appear as a stripe at the top and the bottom edges of the "Follow" and "More" divs don't line up with the lower edge of the big div at the top.

    Thanks! That's useful info.

    Is the edit timer of shorter duration?

    No. It's unchanged.

  120. Ben Smuda says

    This may be what CJK Fossman observed, but when the site description wraps to a second line, the position of the sidebars (and content section) shifts down by 5px; when the site description wraps to a third line, the shift is 35px. That third line is disappearing behind the content area, too. It's an issue in IE and FF on Windows. Also in FF for Android. Chrome is fine, though, on Windows and Android.

  121. The War Hamster says

    I have one request/suggestion. Please change the color of the purple links on either side of the main column—the purple list called to mind that non-American man tourist with capris who doesn't know how to match his clothes (I do not know why that was the image, but it was).

    Purple definitely has a place in this theme, but it is—in my opinion—not in a list of links. I think that the author name at the top of the article and, possibly, the links embedded in the articles themselves ought to be purple (provided that there are not full paragraphs of links) and find another color for the list of links to the side.

    I am not sure what color would be best, but I am confident that a bit of experimenting would lead to a suitable replacement color.

  122. Narad says

    My biggest problem is the greatly reduced information density.

    I concur. The sidebars (which don't even function for certain ABP settings) appear rather differently for me than they do in David's optimistic image posted above – I'm not resizing a window to accommodate a design. This is fundamentally a mobified layout, with all the predictable consequences.

    The choice of black text betrays an unfamiliarity with what typographers mean when they refer to "color."

    There is no reason for a purple bar to the left of a blockquote.

    Intergraf spacing is slim, and seemingly absent in the comment preview; I had to go back and check whether it worked at all.

    Please restore comment numbering.

  123. Narad says

    Also n.b. that my preceding comment (1245061) appears for me without a name or time stamp (and <b> doesn't work in the live preview, if it does at all). As I block Gravatar by default, it is indistinguishable from a continuation of The War Hamster's comment (1245060).

  124. princessartemis says

    Quoth David:

    The link list of recent articles is over on the right, in the "LATEST POSTS, LATEST COMMENTS, POPULAR POSTS, & TAGS" section.

    Ah…that's in a roll-out sidebar which…honestly it never occurred to me to actually roll out. Based on further reading, the right side column is supposed to default to open? I don't know–it was never more than an inexplicable purple arrow at the top before. Now I know it will roll out a column! Not one I will leave rolled out, as it covers the text of the articles, but good to know it is there.

  125. Dion Starfire says

    I think that's unlikely, unless one of our co-bloggers makes the case and wins the day on that issue.

    So, which of y'all could I bribe with a bottle of Scotch? What about Bombay Saphire?

    The bane of threading is that new posts are scattered hither and yon rather than queued at the comments' end.

    What are you, some sort of comment communist? Not all topics/tangents are of equal interest to all readers.

    And when comments come fast* and furious, having the replies placed right next to the comment they're responding to makes it much easier to understand. The current layout presents readers with a lose-lose choice, either:
    1. scroll back up to re-read a comment (to understand the context of it's response)
    or
    2. ignore a possibly interesting side discussion.

    Finally, even with the threaded comments I only saw three or four threads forming. The vast bulk of comments seemed to be directed at the original post, which will show up at the bottom in any layout. Scanning 3 or 4 threads for new comments (or just waiting for a notification via email**) is less of a burden than trying to follow 3 or 4 conversations without some sort of grouping.

    * or more often than a person is inclined to check in on a posts comments.

    ** I love that feature, by the way.

  126. CJK Fossman says

    @David

    Would you consider a threaded comments view where the child comments and descendants are rolled up under the top level comment?

    That way one could easily browse and drill deeper if desired.

  127. says

    @dstartfire (but CJK Fossman read too)

    So, which of y'all could I bribe with a bottle of Scotch? What about Bombay Saphire?

    You've already gone about it precisely the wrong way. Whoever this is, they more or less need to beat me and probably David in mortal combat. There isn't an author on the blog that's capable, frankly. David is, in most respects, my superior but I know all of his weak points and have built contingency on top of contingency to help deal with a possible clash. And anyway neither of us cares for threaded comments, so we've effectively combined our powers. Also, we don't like to rub that in to the faces of the other authors, so let's move on.

    The supposed benefits of threaded comments are all arguments for "go start another thread". Of course, that's generally not possible in a blog post's comment thread, and that's fine. There should be room for a comment thread to meander too and fro (this one is, and it's perfectly natural), but real digression indicates a splinter discussion that needs to physically move – virtually speaking – so it can go on and interested parties can pop in at their leisure, all the while the original discussion can carry on no problem. BBS software is great for this; users can just wander off and go do their thing.

    The problem we currently face is that our forums suck. Their dead for a variety of reasons (they weren't once, but a significant portion of the traffic at it's height was not something we had a real grasp on and we knew it; the thing that could draw it back off of us happened and that's that). But they are partly dead because there is basically no good BB software in existence. Shitty software makes people not care, even the people who are trying to run the place. And I deliberately misspoke there; there was no good BB software until Discourse. BB software has tended to be a double shitburger of awfulness in that it's generally inadequate (scaling problems, UI problems, insufficient tools to help deal with spammers), and it's largely a PHP domain. This is so terrible that sometimes it makes me miss UBB's CGI/Perl codebase (PHP is the only thing that could make me miss this, yes).

    When we go to Discourse the forums will no longer suck. They may not attract anyone but so be it, it won't be because the place is a dump and it won't be because we didn't try. There are people who won't be interested in the forums and that's cool. But there are people who might be and we hope we can start attracting some of them. That it will take a tiny little bit of effort on the part of users to go track down digressions suits us (party feng shui: it's always better to have clusters of people that allow for lots of circulation). And anyway Discourse has some great tools in place to make that a painless affair. It does not handle organization or searching like anything that's come before it (these being areas that have caused traditional BBS software to break down at scale). It's a quality piece of software I think. Your Popehat authors not only have a lot of experience being a part of online communities, but we've got a lot of management experience as well. We don't get excited at software easily (well Ken does, if it's shiny and it makes beep boop noises. Not judging).

  128. says

    @Narad: Just click on the conspicuous arrow atop the sidebar visible in your image, and that sidebar will collapse. No resizing required. Failing that, try rotating your tablet.

  129. The Wanderer says

    I suspect that some of the perception of difference in colors comes from the fact that – according to the comparison images, which I think do match my memory – previously the links in the sidebars were red, but now they're purple.

    The "flat"-styled blue and purple "header" rectangles at the tops of the sidebars are (or appear to be) new colors, also. Personally I'm not a fan of either, particularly the purple – and even more particularly not the "flat" styling. (Though I can certainly live with it. Nothing of the current, as-I-write-this design and layout is a deal-killer; there are elements I don't like as much as the old layout, but I can find something wrong with very nearly anything if I look for it, and sometimes even if I don't want to look for it.)

    I do also remember there having previously been some element of the layout (perhaps an overtone of the background of the sidebars?) that I would have described as orange, but I can't think what, and it's certainly not present in the comparison image. Possibly that's a perceptual side effect of the change from red to purple links?

    Also, in re threaded comments: I do like them (to the point where I refuse to use any mail client that can't do threading properly), but as I said, they don't really work well for a "discussion in progress" unless there's some ready way to tell which comments are "new" and which ones you've already read. I don't know of any way to reliably track that per-user without per-user logins, and I'd prefer to continue not to need a login on Popehat; on balance, I think the non-threaded comment approach is the right way to go here.

  130. Rex says

    Am liking the new look, especially now that I can make the right column disappear and the improved text-flow used in the center column. I also appreciate the return to showing only a single flow of postings instead of the two-tile display. Makes it much easier to parse when new content appears.

    However, as each column container has some "white" space around its content, I would really like to see the blank gray spacing borders on the left/right sides go away (or be reduced to only 2 or 4 pixels). Why frame the entire browser window with a 1/2 inch of empty pixels when they aren't really needed? Probably part of the basic design, but its just looks wasteful and makes it almost impossible to squeeze the window width to something useful on smaller screens. Try it, open a browser window and make the width about 2". Note the wasted pixels.

    My 2 cents, keep up the good work.

    /* rex */

  131. Rich Rostrom says

    I can still read comments and post comments.

    This is sometimes a problem, since I am still using Firefox 2 (for various stupid reasons).

    So the new theme is good by me.

  132. Aaron says

    I like the little gray hats, but you might want to get rid of the horizontal rules under them, which clash with them. Tiny hat or horizontal rule.

  133. Levi says

    @Dion Starfire

    Also, the "you may also like …" section doesn't really fit Popehat. Very few posts here are timeless enough to be relevant for more than a few months or years.

    I realize this is a few days old, but I have to disagree with your latter point. Though there is generally a good job of linking to historical related posts, sometimes I get a hankering to browse pony posts which are not always consistently tagged. Sometimes I even like to increase the horror.

  134. Pickwick says

    "Unusually rectilinear and monochromatic macular degeneration": one of those rare conditions where the delightfulness of the name exceeds the woe of having the condition.

  135. Chris says

    Off topic, and go ahead and delete this if necessary, but on mobile the title to this piece is way too large compared to everything else. I'd attach a screenshot but that is apparently beyond me.

  136. Bruce says

    I feel like the button to go to comments should be at the bottom of the article rather than up with the headline. This has 2 issues for me:
    1 – having to scroll back up to comment on an article
    2 – encourages jumping into comment mode without having read all of the article or, even worse, commenting based on the headline only.

  137. Resolute says

    A thought on comments – is it possible to use an alternating background shading between comments? I find they are blending together too easily. Especially in this example from the Glenn Beck thread where the third comment listed there has a missing username.

  138. Luke G says

    Just my own $.02, but I'd love to see the comments link at the bottom of an article rather than up next to the headline. I usually read an article, and then if it seems likely to spark some interesting discussion I'll look to see how many comments there are and click over if something appears to be heating up. With the comments link up by the title I have to scroll back up the article to check, rather than letting my eye follow a downward path from title to body to comment count. Also I see Bruce from a few comments ago has said the same thing, so… what Bruce said? Anyway, minor nitpick, but there it is.

  139. The Wanderer says

    I interpreted Resolute's suggestion as being about A "shade the background of odd-numbered comments differently from the background of even-numbered comments", where the previous design was B "use one background color for all comments", and what's currently implemented looks to be C "shade the background for the top of each comment differently from the background for the bottom of that same comment".

    The current design does work, but I think approach A – if properly implemented – would look better. Not mandatory, of course, just one opinion…

  140. Phil Dawson says

    One thing I noticed with the new site: I was not seeing any new posts until I did a refresh in IE. Of course that COULD be just because I'm using "Winders" (=Southern for "Windows"). But it seemed to work okay without the extra refresh until the new site was in use.

  141. says

    @The Wanderer: Yes, Resolute meant A (aka striping). I chose a gradient after comparing the two.
    @Phil Dawson: In Internet Options, accessible from your browser's menu bar, you can alter when and how IE updates its local copy of a page.

  142. sorrykb says

    My only complaint about the new layout is that everything stands out a bit more clearly — Which is a problem if I'm at work and trying to conceal the fact that I'm reading Popehat. :-)

  143. sorrykb says

    Thanks, David! A brilliantly simple solution, and now I'll never get any work done. :-)

  144. The Wanderer says

    I don't remember clearly (the available screenshot doesn't cover comments), but I seem to recall that the old site did either B or a fourth option, D "display some type of border around each comment". I presume you've also already tried that, and decided against it?

    sorrykb: Do you see comments on the 'print' version of the page? I didn't when I tried it, and I'd expect comments to be what takes up most of the Popehat-reading time.

  145. david says

    Just a point re new website (my 2 cents – old format far superior for readability) your quotations go off the right edge of the page; i lose maybe 4-5 letters of the last word

  146. says

    @david, What are you using to view the site? Which viewing device (desktop | laptop | tablet | mini-tablet | phone) and which browser? Thanks!

  147. Carl says

    The mobile version of this website is malfunctioning. I can't see half of the quoted text.

  148. Marlowe says

    On my android phone I only experience problems with blockquote when holding my phone vertically. Switching to widescreen (which I prefer for longer reading sessions) fixes the issue.

  149. babaganusz says

    1) that is a tremendously commendable license.

    2) having no absurd issues with mobile devices/display, and no difficulty moving the screen farther away to minimize eyeball/neck wear-and-tear by way of the [praiseworthy!] widening of the center column, my sole complaint [regarding the nu face o'Popehat] is that the "here's how many comments there were on this piece when you loaded the front page" button is above the [exposed] body [portion] instead of below it.

  150. says

    @Carl, Any chance you could (a) identify your mobile device, and (b) upload a screenshot to imgur.com?. Thanks for the info, @Marlowe. Which device are you using?

  151. says

    Yeah– moving that little red expando thing will be a minor hassle, so I don't see that happening this week. At some point, I'll bump it down in all the relevant templates, because I agree that it would serve better at the bottom of each post.

  152. Kat Anon says

    The subheaders in the Prenda articles have lost their formatting and now look like regular text.

  153. The Wanderer says

    I notice that blockquotes in articles themselves – though apparently not in comments – now appear to apply italics to their contents. Is there a reason for choosing that behavior?

    It has the obvious downside that if the blockquoted text contains text which was already explicitly italicized, that distinction and its associated emphasis will be lost. I think that's enough of a negative to warrant not doing it, but maybe there's some advantage to it that I'm not seeing.

  154. Fasolt says

    First time looking at the layout on my iPad and it looks good. I usually look at the site on my laptop. It took some getting used to, but a thumbs up from me.

  155. grouch says

    New Popehat is more purply. Links change from purplish to black in some places, blue in others as the mouse cursor stabs them. I have no idea if this symptom is indicative of any ailment of links at Popehat — they seem happy enough.

    Text is identical to all websites everywhere: Black Bitstream vera serif 16 pixels or Droid sans 16 pixels or Droid sans mono 16 pixels.

    There are the occasional weird little rectangles containing hex which tell me my chosen Western font family does not include the characters which, apparently, are used to indicate javascript links.

    Bottom line for me is that the new theme doesn't interfere with my reading and is therefore good. (I hate web pages where I have to choose "none" for style just to unearth the content).

  156. says

    @The Wanderer: Those are good points. I've noticed some of the minor inconsistencies among fonts wrt font-styling, weight, etc, as well as margins/padding. As time allows, I'll implement appropriate changes.

  157. says

    Mentioned this in another thread, and maybe it's already been brought up here (very long comments section, haven't had time to go through the whole thing), but…why are the link colors backwards?

    Visited links are blue, unvisited links are purple, in defiance of 20 years of Web design standards. I can't think of any reason to do this other than to mess with people.

    I mean, if the reason IS in fact "to mess with people", then okay, fair enough. But if it's not, well, what's that about?

  158. Narad says

    @Narad: Just click on the conspicuous arrow atop the sidebar visible in your image, and that sidebar will collapse. No resizing required. Failing that, try rotating your tablet.

    Now, that's a knee-slapper.* Please excuse my tardiness in returning, as the modern, innovative design clean left me forgetting that the topic existed in the first place.

    The dual-toned external–internal link colors are a bold gesture toward a novel Torquemadan aesthestics, though, so at least it's memorable.

    * Or try rereading the actual comment, whatever. Your machines, your toenail painting.

  159. Narad says

    Text is identical to all websites everywhere: Black Bitstream vera serif 16 pixels or Droid sans 16 pixels or Droid sans mono 16 pixels.

    Heh.

    <pre>body { font-family: Arial, sans-serif; }</pre>

    (Yes, I put those there.)