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House Keeping Notes: Upcoming BN Upgrades

Hope everyone is having a good Easter Sunday. I wanted to give you guys a little heads up on site upgrades that will be happening during sometimes next two weeks (or earlier) here on Bruins Nation, which is part of SBN's ongoing upgrade.

Here is a descriptive listing of what changes to expect when our community is upgraded to a newer revision of the Scoop blogging platform software.

1.    Ajax Comments
2.    Auto-refreshing Comments
3.    Ajax Story editor
4.    Ajax Polls
5.    Tags for stories
6.    Comment preview before post (working on a fix to remove that requirement)
7.    Comment ratings (disabled but still show up, for now)

Ajax Comments
I think this is going to be the most impressive of the changes. Comments now can expand and collapse in a dynamic way, like is popular on so-called web2.0 sites nowadays. This will allow us to see what we want to see, with a less cluttered screen. More like reading threaded (or not...) email replies. Users can choose how they want to display comments, and it should "stick" as a preference for them the next time they read comments.

This is very closely tied to the Ajax comments. When you are reading comments in a long discussion thread, say a Ben Ball open game thread post, if you set your preference to "auto refresh", as new comments are posted, the site will periodically redisplay only the new comments, in order, in the thread. This happens without reloading the whole page. It's very cool when you see it in action. New comments are visibly labeled, so they're easy to spot.

Ajax story editor
The story editor has undergone some major reworking. Hopefully it is much smoother, it has buttons to apply html formatting to story text, and the preview before posting happens very quickly without having to reload the whole site. This will hopefully give us a nicer experience posting stories and diaries.

Ajax polls
Same goes for polls. They will be updated, and display the results in a dynamic, almost animated fashion.

In addition to the old Section division of stories into topical categories, is the new system of tags. Tags are hard to explain if you don't already GET what they're for. Best to just describe them as a really quick way to put things into multiple topical `boxes' that are clickable. You then end up with really free-form ways for community members to pick the subjects in our blog that really interest them. If your story had a Southpaw Jesus and a Prince of Westwood tag you could click either one of those to pull up all other stories with those tags. You kind of have to try it to really get how powerful it can be.

Comment preview before post
The new editor requires that comments be previewed before they post. This means an extra step for our commenters. I am sure there will be a handful of us who will be infuriated by this roadblock to our creativity! Maybe you will be that infuriated BNer! This is by design, to get commenters to think before they let `er rip. However, since our communities are a bit different than the political community where this system originated, we're trying to figure out a way to not require the preview. It may not be possible though.

Comment ratings
There is a system in place that which can allow users to rate or rank each others' comments up or down. Since our communities haven't had this function, rather than trying to teach them a new level of involvement, we've decided to disable the comment ratings. However there still is a ( 0 / 0 ) that shows up as a remnant of the system, that can't be easily removed at this point.

So there you go. If you want to get a taste of how BN may look after the upgrade check out SBN's blogfather: AthleticsNation. I am sure there are always folks who will be resistant to any kind of change. It happens all the time. But I am confident when all is said and done it is going to work out. We will continue to rock and roll.