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My concern re the "front" page is that it's the home page and particularly the welcome page by which newcomers and undecided lurkers are likely to arrive at the site. We want them to be drawn in and to get the hang of the place asap. If you're not a habitué of DKos or another Scoop site, (and we're out to reach towards Europeans who may well not be, and also for whom English is non-native), it's not obvious how the place works. Nor what is even meant by "recommended diaries". Along these lines, I think help and information need a more prominent place than in the current lay-out or this mock-up.

Since Scoop offers a basic screen to the non-logged-in (as soon as you log in you get your user menu), could that basic screen be better tweaked towards drawing newcomers in? Example, have a big New User heading with links to a good guide? And/or have mouse-over info bubbles? Other suggestions, anyone?

As to the RSS feeds, I tend to agree with those who feel this mock-up centres them too much, while placing ET community stuff at the edge. The ET community should be the core, interacting with the affiliates. For the moment, I don't see the advantage of having the stories to the left and all the links (except top bar) to the right.

Following others, I'd say have the RSS feeds under the logo on the left, with the blogroll under them. Stories central, no more hateful space.

Another thought: scrap the logo and make a (slim) banner of it across the top with key navigation links appended beneath.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 06:36:11 AM EST
Good ideas.

One should also consider that many newcomers will arrive directly in a diary, from a link at some other site. Getting those to not feel confused and lost in the structure is important.

Something that I found confusing was the name "diaries". I still fail to see the point of that name, unless one wants to have only diaries in the traditional sense, that is people writing about something that has happened to them recently.

I think "articles" is a word that better describes what we have here. "Article" to me includes the more personal stuff (which I love, do not get me wrong) while also being a much better description for stuff about energy, economics, politics, ideas and such.

Another thing that bounced me of DailyKos a number of times was that I did not get how to read more by the same author. I think I even at some point guessed right and clicked the name, but when I came to "user pages for YY:" I figured it was the wrong place. And then I got annoyed and went somewhere else. Maybe it could just say "YY:" instead of "user pages for YY:". Better yet, maybe there could be an automatic link at the bottom of diaries that goes to that users diaries, and the link would be called "More articles by same author".

And what is "Stories" by the way? It shows up in the user pages...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since Colman was asking about lay-out, I didn't get into the Scoop "newspaper" analogy by which the welcome or main page is called the front page, and what goes on it are front-page stories. User posts are called "diaries" which I have always found inappropriate. I don't think it helps anyone to understand what's going on, and I think we could see if we shouldn't change the terminology (if Scoop permits?).

"Articles" is clearer, though we're still in the newspaper business there. I don't see why we should ape the press, even by this kind of distant and loose language. We should do some brainstorming around this.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 07:54:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree.. I do not like diaries at all.

I prefer articles much more....

But we could certianly try to find a better term.
Brainstroming...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 08:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a limited vocubulary in english, but here we go:

posts

texts

stories

contributions

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like contributions....yes indeed...

I would not have any problem with contribution, discussion or articles.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 10:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think "diary" is intended to refer to a user's "personal blog", that is, to the collection of all the "diary entries" which we actually call "diaries". If you go to a user's pages and click on the "diary" tab, you see a personal blog. I myself use the link to /user/migeru/diary as my "blog address" or "homepage" when I post comments on other blogs of the MovableType variety.

"Stories" are supposed to be articles for the front-page, going through a user-moderation queue [I suggest reading the description of scoop in wikipedia]. We have inherited from DKos a particular "two-tier" philosophy in which users cannot write "Stories", but front-pagers' stories do not have to go through moderation.

It seems that the possible configurations are quite varied, and originally (for kuro5hin, I guess) the distinction between the 'community magazine' and the 'user blogs' was sharper.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:49:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was also confused by the term "diaries": it made me overlook the main content of dKos for a time, a couple of elections ago. I suggest that we first decide whether to replace it (my vote: Yes!), and then choose a replacement. I would prefer any one of several suggestions above.

----------
di·a·ry

  1. a daily record, usually private, esp. of the writer's own experiences, observations, feelings, attitudes, etc.
  2. a book for keeping such a record.
  3. a book or pad containing pages marked and arranged in calendar order, in which to note appointments and the like.
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...So how did the term "diary" get applied to what clearly aren't diaries, or even diary entries?

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 03:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because originally (on kuro5hin) users could write both stories and diary entries. DKos configured scoop in such a way that ordinary users could only write diary entries, but they end up being the most important content. So, the name is unappropriate because the current configuration has changed with respect to the original design, for which the name was appropiate.

Personally, starting with the ET configuration, I would abolish merge diaries and stories into a single category (call it 'article' for argument's sake), and I would make the front page list the top-10 recommended articles list instead of top-10 recent stories.

There would still be a need for a separate category of content, the Open Thread, whose RSS feed and most recent instance would appear in the "hated space".

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 06:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me, whatever the configuration, diary is a poorly-chosen term because it is not immediately clear to a neophyte what it refers to (and a non-native English-speaker will get no help from a dictionary). So I'm for looking for a different name.

Scoop certainly provides for the rec list being automatically the content of the "front page". It also then provides for a fuller rating system for "diaries", including negative ratings. Even if the rating system were kept binary (recommend/do nothing) as now, your suggestion would change the way we look at diaries and recommend them. It would incite diarists to write "for the front page", and raters to think principally of that when rating. It would introduce a much greater notion of competition, and, imo, would do nothing for feelings of harmony and cooperation here. Neither is it obvious that it would provide a better front page than the current system, where an editorial choice is made of rec'd diaries that seem appropriate to the page that is, in a sense, the outer face of ET. Take the rec list I see now, for instance: three out of ten are unlikely front-page articles (however good they may be), the mock layout for ET (internal business), the Easter Barcelona meet (internal business), and Nonpartisan's excellent and gratefully-received image links (useful info for bloggers). Of the remaining seven, one (techno's) is on the front page, I've just put up Sven's hooch-from-trees piece, and possibly another will go over too. A point in favour of moderation is also that the rec list doesn't automatically reflect the quality of discussion threads (it may do so marginally, but recs are generally given on the basis of the diary itself, and early in its life).

Your solution for the Open Thread forgets the Salon, and also the fact that at least a day back, both of these continue to attract comments and should be visible. I see them in HTML which allows us to punctuate the front page with attractive graphics, rather than an RSS feed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you way of allowing all users to write diaries and stories? I don't think any of the three recommended diaries which you rightly say are not FP material would have been written as stories. I don't intend to see the Barcelona meetup on the front page, but some of the other "serious" articles I write fall in a different category. Apparently the original scoop configuration included a "moderation queue" for stories, the best of which then made it to the front page.

So, it might be worth considering making the "diary" section more explicitly a "user blogs" section by a change of name, and re-introducing the story moderation queue.

Scoop was originally developed for use on Kuro5hin and was designed to allow user submissions of content much like Slash, another somewhat similar CMS. But where Slash and its flagship site, Slashdot, relied on a small group of editors to decide what content was actually published, Kuro5hin and Scoop aimed to allow moderation by the users themselves. Scoop's solution was to introduce a "moderation queue" where submitted stories would be visible to registered users, and where users could vote on whether a story should be published; a story which garners enough positive votes to cross a (configurable) "posting threshold" will become publicly visible, and a story which collects too many negative votes will be deleted.

...

While one of Scoop's main strengths is its innovative story- and comment-moderation system, a host of other features are available. For users, Scoop offers a number of conveniences:
* Individual weblogs or "diaries" which bypass story moderation and post to a separate section of the site.

I consider the Salon an Open Thread, neither diary nor story. And you're right the ability to be creative in the Open thread/Salon header is a plus. But maybe the front page could just display the last two Open Threads (one Salon and one Evening open thread, in either order) and 8 front-page stories.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I don't think the way Scoop was organised at first for Kuro5hin is really a criterion. That type of organisation (to speak to the substance) would add complexity and more stuff on screen for not much discernible advantage. Apart from tech/internal community questions and maybe personal requests for info etc, why would members write to the diaries list rather than to the stories?

Of course, you may disagree with me that the front page presents the outer face of ET to newcomers and those who are checking the place out one way or another, but I think that's its main function, and I think that function is better served by an editorial group rather than by automatic posting from a rec list. My objection, also, on the grounds of an increase in competitive spirit in the community, still appears important to me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 11:41:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, there has to be a way for diaries to be promoteable to debates. The Mock layout (internal business) could be there, and we have regular requests for "can this diary be moved to the debate box?" which can't happen because only stories, can become debates.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That we can fix when we have control of the code, which should be soon now.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not enamoured of the user-voted front-page. I've never seen one I didn't hate. I think an editorial board has a useful function of providing shape to the site, but that's a philosophical difference between us.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I just repeat my suggestion that if the editorial role becomes (at any point) contentious, that any editors are prohibited from posting direct to the frontpage.

Ya know, I enjoy watching Jerome's posts fight (and usually win) their way to the top of the recommended diaries list.

But I do understand there is sometimes a need to post direct (for e.g. Jerome as the site is his until the UberDoop .eu ET LLP gets writ)...so I'm in agreement with editorial boards...but would shackle them slightly by not letting them post direct (though they can post diaries and via recommends become promoted by their friends through a simple nepotistic system I am hoping to take advantage of for free rail travel through Eur....did I type that out loud?)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 08:10:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about a new approach to newcomers and infrequent visitors? One that will lure them in and then seduce them to become ET-junkies, of course! Let's call it the 'gate way' face of ET ;)

I'm thinking something like an 'ET-weekly' approach. A process that would allow especially good 'articles' from the week prior exposure to new users. My first thought is a new editorial process of sorts, a second 'recommend diary' button to support the promotion of the article to 'ET-weekly' exposure. This button would be a responsibility of the users (trusted users?), to steer content to this hypothetical audience. For example, this particular diary, though important to the ET community, would probably not be a good candidate for the 'weekly' since it is perhaps not of extreme interest to a newcomer. One would ask users to think not about "what is important to you?", but "what do you think would be good to show off to a newcomer?" It also allows for a category of "infrequent reader" who can interact with the cream of ET that has deliciously floated to the top during the past week.

This would work very well with if we make Scoop display for each user a page with "responses to your comments" and some organisation by whether that user has read the response or responded to it, as suggested by MillMan in the "Random site redesign thoughts" diary.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 08:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's take a serious look ar what we want the front page to  achieve, and once we have figured that one out we can look at other "views" like the diary list, the single-diary view, the user's diary page, etc.

To be clear, the front page displays the top 10 (is this configurable?) "stories", or "promoted" user "diary entries", but diary entry promotion does not turn it into a story (as only stories can go into the debate box, and promoted diaries can not).

I suppose someone should take a look at the scoop "class hierarchy" and try to explain it for the layman ET user so that it can be tweaked. As I say upthread, we have inherite a particular tweaked version of the (allegedly very configurable) scoop hierarchy, used by Kos for DKos.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 21st, 2007 at 09:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should think the number of front page posts is easily configurable (trade-off between depth of choice and speed of page loading), as would be the potential passage of "diaries" into the debate box.

BTW, I think the grandaddy is MyDD, not DKos.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
YOu're right, MyDD looks a lot like ET.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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