Website Updates: April 23, 2009
Over the course of the last 72-96 hours a number of changes have been made to the ChristianBlog.Com website.
Below is a documentation of the changes that will directly affect the membership community of ChristianBlog.Com.
Profile Status Updates (aka: "What's on your mind?", aka: "What are you doing?"):
We have made major change to the way that your "Status Updates" are displayed within your Profile Page.
Previously your "Status Updates" were displayed on the right-side of your Profile Page.
This was a great thing until we added the ability for your Friends/Contacts to add comments to each of your Status Updates. What we mean by "until" is that we failed to execute a "clean way to display" the comments to your Status Updates. It was ugly. We admit it... it was really ugly.
So we changed it - because we don't like ugly!
Your Status Updates are now within the main block of your Profile Page! They are listed just above your "My Wall" feature and it looks great! Not only does it look great, but the ability for your Friends/Contacts to post a whole lot of their own comments looks great too! So, now your friends can sit and post as many comments as they want (well, we will only display the most recent 50 comments for each Status Update) and you do not have to worry about your Profile Page looking ugly anymore!
We feel this is the most exciting change we have to announce! We love this change and by the looks of the amount of Status Update "comments" that have been added since we made this change... it looks like our community loves it too! We have had a 300-percent increase in daily growth of Status Updates "comments" since we made this change! WOW! So, is looks like this is one much-loved change!
(btw, we really need to decide on what we are going to call this feature! - LOL - status updates, what are you doing, whats on your mind.... lol, anybody got a suggestion on what to finally call this feature?)
We have made a major change to the way that your personal gallery is displayed within your Profile Page.
Previously your gallery was displayed on the right-side of the Profile Page and was simply the gallery upload and a brief text block saying how many comments the item has.
We have now done away with the right-side gallery and moved it to the bottom of the Profile Page.
We have also added "inline comments" so you can now see not only the gallery but all of the comments added to the individual gallery uploads! You can even add your own gallery comments - if you are Friend/Contact of the member.
There is two items of feedback we would like to gather from the ChristianBlog.Com community:
(1) Should we hide the Gallery from people who are not logged into the website?
(2) Should we hide the Gallery from people who are not apart of your Friends/Contacts list?
Community feedback on this issue will be the deciding factor for which option/choice is implemented.
The "Groups I am apart of" within the Members profile page has been changed to only be displayed if you are a Friend/Contact of the Member to ensure compliance with our ongoing "Privacy Changes" here at ChristianBlog.Com.
There is one item of feedback we would like to gather from the ChristianBlog.Com community in regards to this.
That item is this:
Should we, or should we not, display Groups that you are a member of - when the Group is a "private" group?
Take for instance the "Virgins Only" CB Group, which is a "private" group that you can only join if you are a virgin. The reason this CB Group is a "private" group is because the members of this CB Group may discuss items related to being a virgin that may not be something that they want to discuss with those who are not a virgin. Furthermore, the members of this CB Group may not want anybody but the other members of this CB Group to even know they are a member of the Group. If we were to display "Private Groups" within the "Groups I am Apart Of" (within their profile page) than it would many that any of their friends would know they are apart of this CB Group -- and that may be something the person does not want. After all, a person might have a hundred to two hundred 'friends'... but are those 100-200 people "close enough friends" to let all of them know you are a virgin? Probably not. Therefore, there is a case made to not display CB Groups you are a part of that are "private" groups, to everybody who is a friend/contact.
On the other hand, if you happen to be a apart of a "private" group that is not necessarily something "so private" (as another group, the aforementioned "virgin" group, for instance) that it would not matter to you... than having the CB Group not display because it is a "private" group might be something unwanted. Therefore, there is a case made to display CB Groups you are a part of that are "private" groups, to everybody who is a friend/contact.
There is a third option of course - to allow you to select if you wanted to display "private groups" - however, in our quest to make ChristianBlog.Com be as simple as possible, with as few "options" as possible to confuse those individuals who use ChristianBlog.Com and are not "computer savvy" (which btw, makes up over 80% of our membership, best as we can tell) ChristianBlog.Com has made the decision to discontinue these sort of "select either/or" options/features and simply make things "one way or the other".
So the feedback we would really love to hear from our members -- and will be the deciding factor for which is implemented -- is just this issue. Should we, or should we not, display "private groups" within the "Groups I am apart of" within your Profile page?
What we have done for now is display ALL of the CB Groups you are apart of if you are looking at your own Profile Page. If you are looking at somebody elses Profile page you will only see the CB Groups that they are apart of that are not marked as Private groups.
19-days ago we announced a major change in the way that the ChristianBlog.Com "Reporting System" would now work.
We have now finalized these change and we are extremely happy to announce that this change will be a major factor in the future of ChristianBlog.Com!
Without any doubt we can confidently say that ChristianBlog.Com has not added a single feature of the Services of ChristianBlog.Com that will so greatly impact the overall safety of Published Content here at ChristianBlog.Com since we imp lamented our "Moderator Group" way back when ChristianBlog.Com went public! For the first time ever, the global ChristianBlog.Com community now has direct access to have Published Content that is in violation of our Global Policies to be removed from the public view. ChristianBlog.Com is one of the very few websites that has put such great faith and trust in our Members to implement such a system - something we have great faith will not be abused, and if it should become abused, those who abuse it will loose their rights to this feature!
We have called this feature a "Scoreboard" because it works pretty much exactly like a scoreboard - only, perhaps, in reverse format. When a member of ChristianBlog.Com files a Website Report against a specific piece of Published Content, that specific piece of Published Content receives an increase in its overall score. Should the piece of Published Content reach a certain score, it will be automatically suspended (removed from public view) and it will be reviewed by ChristianBlog.Com to see if it justifies being suspended or if it should be un-suspended and released back to the public. This is a very fair system that provides our members the ability to suspend things published to the ChristianBlog.Com website that might be totally unacceptable and in violation of our Global Policies!
For further information about the Report Scoreboard be sure to check out our public announcement blog.
Bye-Bye To Bulletins & Shoutouts:
Two days ago we here at ChristianBlog.Com said our final good-byes to Bulletins & Shoutouts, due to the overwhelming popularity of the "My Wall" and "What I'm Doing" (aka: Status Updates) we felt it was time to do away with depreciated features.
We were happy to see there has (thus far) been no negative feedback about these features! That helps affirm to us that we made the right decision! After all, duplicate features just end up causing confusion to the vast majority of our members and especially to new members trying to "figure out" how the website works!
Friends/Contacts: Family/Blood Clarification:
Back when we accounced the new friends/contacts revamp we added the ability for our members to have a list of their friends who were "Family".
It was quickly realized by ChristianBlog.Com that the members of ChristianBlog.Com were abusing this "Family" settings by placing within this "Family setting" people that were NOT real family members. They were using it as an attempt to abuse the feature and by-pass other features of ChristianBlog.Com put into place to ensure quality and control.
Obviously ChristianBlog.Com much put into place measures to enforce Quality-and-Control so we updated the settings with a very bold-and-clear message that the "Friends Settings" should only be used for "Blood Relatives".
This solved the issue of people abusing the ChristianBlog.Com website and this feature.
However, it also caused some confusion for those who were husbands/wives.
We here at ChristianBlog.Com tend to think that "Blood Relatives" includes husbands and wives, but it seems, not everybody thinks that way. "Opps" on our part.
So we have gone back and changed the wording to help clarify this "Family" setting/option.
We have now changed the message from "Blood Relatives Only" to "(please do not abuse this by putting in "brother" or "sister" for "brother/sister in Christ"... please... keep it for blood/marriage family only!)"
We hope this will make it more understandable and we offer our apologies to those who did not use the term "blood relatives" in the same way that we intended it to be used.
Also, please do not forget that after you set somebody as a "Family" member, to edit what family-relationship they have with you! If you do not it will show up as blank... and you don't want that to happen ;) So, be sure to set what type of family member they are! (husband, wife, son, daughter, etc etc)
We have added a new BBCode method called "Title" which is intended to be used for Section Titles.
For instance, the words above "BBCode: Title" are used in the intended way for this new BBCode.
It is documented within our BBCode page and you use it via the BBCode method: "title"
Just like you might use the "bold" or "h3" or "link" or "image" or so on... only in this case you use "title" and it produces a very nice "Section Title" for you!
Well that pretty much explains the major features we have added/updated/removed from ChristianBlog.Com over the last few days!
We hope that the ChristianBlog.Com community enjoys these changes, that there are not too many out there who do not like the changes - and as always we do welcome feedback of both types!
We very much hope everybody will take the time to voice their "vote" on the two or three items we have asked for public feedback on. We are going to let the community at large have a major say in the decisions of how we should handle the issues presented - so you taking the few seconds to post a reply to this blog with which decision we should make will be very important!
As a group owner of both a private and public group, I would like to say that there are reasons why people choose to make a group private. Most people might not be aware of this but on the group page where it shows who joins new groups, people joining private groups do not show up.
I know a couple of people who wanted to join my chronic illness survivors group but were hesitant initially because they just wanted to keep some things private. They felt better and actually joined when they understood no one outside the group could read comments or would see them join.
Just this morning someone was telling me they wished their group was private as there are some things they'd like to share with those individuals who are facing the same issues but they're not comfortable with sharing those things with the community at large. I think this is one of the purposes of groups. To connect with others in regards to common areas and I appreciate the fact that CB is sensitive to the fact that sometimes those areas are best served if they are private.
While individual choice may sound good on paper, if it is going to make things more complicated, I say just hide private group membership on the profile pages.
It has been my experience that most people have joined my group either because I invited them or...someone in my group has told them about it.
I do think that private groups should still be displayed as a group you can join, of course and I think the number of members should continue to show up as that shows people it is an active group.
As a side note, I have learned that it appears that the term "private" has been confusing for some. A couple of people I've talked to seem to be confusing "Private" with "By Invitation Only" and thought they couldn't join unless the group leader initiated an invitation. I know that's mentioned if you actually attempt to join the group but I don't know if some people get that far. This is just an observation I've made.
On an related topic but related to the changes in the site made in recent weeks, i confess as an old-timer that i do not like the new sleeker, faster-loading home page. So I have taken the plunge and used an option that you so thoughtfully provided for us, and I am test driving going to the recent blogs page upon login. Which I think I really like doing, it gives me the feel of the old site that I am comfortable with and like better (personal preference).
But may we have a button at the top of the page or on the far right of the page to take us back to the recent blogs page? I find that when I get into reading a blog and comments and then perhaps checking out someone's profile while there . . . well, I can't get back to the recent blogs without first going back to the home page and then scrolling down to find the link.
Or did I overlook something and therefore I'm saying something really stupid?