Holovaty.com site improvements

Written by Adrian Holovaty on July 23, 2002

I just added a custom-built search engine. It's on the upper right of every page, assuming you're using a current browser. (Otherwise it's at the bottom of every page.) It only searches blog entries, but I'll add comment-searching functionality soon. Please let me know whether anything breaks, or if you have suggestions.

Another feature I just finished: a page that lists the 15 latest comment postings. I've found that some of our discussions have kept going for days, and it's hard to keep track of the latest postings. A permanent link to this page will be up soon.

Also, AgentKen suggested I provide a way to fix typos in comments. Right off the bat, I can think of two solutions to this problem:

  • Upon comment submission, have users provide a password that will let them change their comments at any time.
  • Display a "preview" screen before a comment is posted.

Which one's preferable?


Posted by Chris Heisel on July 23, 2002, at 3:20 p.m.:

Keeping with the theory that if you don't need to register users, don't - I'd say a preview screen.

I think many users would find it odd to register to leave a comment - if the comments were posted to a traditional discussion board I think users would accept that as it's the norm for discussion boards.

But these are more like the "scribbleboards" that are becoming all the rage to put at the end of articles (most of Time Warner's sites do this) - where people don't have to register.

Posted by Paul on July 23, 2002, at 5:04 p.m.:

A preview screen is better. People won't realize they made a typo unless they look at it right away; "hit and run" commenters won't want a password.

Posted by AgentKen on July 23, 2002, at 11:02 p.m.:

I tend to run off at the mouth, so a Preview screen would help.

And I figure it would be easier to implement than registration.

Posted by Adrian on July 24, 2002, at 4:50 a.m.:

All righty! A preview screen has been added. Thanks for the suggestions.

Posted by Sara on July 24, 2002, at 5:03 a.m.:

My lobbying is for the preview screen, too. Who needs another password to remember?

Also, the preview screen is really cool. I'm using it to add this part of my comment. Way to go, Adrian! Very nice.

Posted by Travis Linn on July 24, 2002, at 5:34 a.m.:

I vote for the preview screen, also. That probably won't cure all the typos, but it will certainly help those who care.

Posted by Rob on July 24, 2002, at 6:04 p.m.:

Maybe this is a pipe dream, but I'd like to see a community of online journalists on the Web. Something like this, but with more input from everyone. Anyone interested in starting something like this (cough, Adrian)?

Posted by Adrian on July 24, 2002, at 6:58 p.m.:

You read my mind, Rob...The next major step in holovaty.com is a message board kind of thing -- something more many-to-many than the current one-to-many configuration of the blog site. I'm envisioning a place for tips, ideas, shared stories, reference, job postings, you name it.

Of course, one difficulty with something like that would be to maintain a focus. Currently I limit myself to discussing only technical aspects of news sites -- not business models, advertising, ethics, or the news itself. In my mind, there are much better places for such discussion: the Poynter online list-servs, E-Media Tidbits and many others. I think an important thing to consider in the formation of any online community -- and, continually, in its upkeep -- is its niche.

Posted by AgentKen on July 25, 2002, at 3:48 p.m.:

I'd prefer to keep this focus on design, as well. Lemme just say that the tone and content of my posts to this site are very different from the types of things that I send to the NAA New-Media Federation or my own corporate listserv.

For those of use with small staffs (we have 3), a design/usability forum is a must.

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