March 01, 2009 - Website Updates

Hello Everybody,

A few small updates happened over the weekend.

, We have removed the "Headline" and "Mood" from the profile page, due to a greater emphasis being placed upon the "Status" (aka: "What Are You Doing?") feature. You can now quickly update your Status by clicking on the icon next to the "Logout" within the top-navigation that looks like a clock. Simply press the clock and a small box will reveal itself just below the navigation menu, type in your message (up to 140-characters) and press the "update" button!

, We have changed the way that we display Membership Levels throughout the website. We are in the process of removing the membership level icons that have been next to usersnames throughout the website. We have also made a much more predominant reorganization of those who are Primer/Gold Members, and those who are donators, within the profile page. The reason for this change is to help clean-up the overall design of our website, yet continue to recognize those who help support ChristianBlog.Com!

, We have made minor updates to our Content Policy to better explain our definitions of hate speech, cyber-bulling, advertisement, fundraising, marketing, philanthropy, and denominational abuse.

, We have removed the advertisement at the bottom of the website for all Premier/Gold Members, once you have logged into the website.

, We have added the ability to show blog snippets for new blog entries and updated blog entries on the (logged in) home page. The ability to enable/disable this is located within your Account -> Home page settings.

, We have added a "My Friends" section to the profile page, which shows the first ten contacts you have within your friends/contacts list. This allows those members who do not use the "Type" feature (close/church/professional) to have their friends/contacts listed on their profile page.

, We have began a limited initial beta testing of a feature that will display the latest music you have listened to. At this time we are supporting last.fm and the Rhapsody player. To see this beta feature see very bottom of the profile page of abelajohnb.

, We have now made it MUCH easier to contact a member - if you are their friend. Simply view their profile page and you will have quick access to a form to send them a message. In light of us adding the contact form to the profile page we have removed the "click to contact usersname" button that has been around for over two years. Please report any abnormalities you might encounter.

, We have now hidden from view the "Prayer Request", "Praise Reports", "My Top Commented Blog Entries", "My Top Viewed Blog Entries", and "My Recent Comments In Other Members Blogs" if none exist.

, We have now made it impossible to view shoutouts or send shoutouts to members if you are not their friend. Because shoutouts are often personal in nature we feel this is something that needs to be protected from the general public view and only displayed to those who are friends of each other. Note that when you are a friend of somebody ALL shoutouts are viewable, even if somebody who sent a shoutout is not your own friend. We see no reason to place such strict limitations on this, plus it will help expand your own friends network.

, We have moved the "Groups I'm Apart Of" above the "Recent Photographs I've Added" to help people quickly access the Groups they are a part of, when viewing a members profile.

, We have added the "Weekly Hot-Topic Blogs" to the (logged in) home page - at the very bottom. This is a loved feature and we felt it should be on our (logged in) home page as well as the main home page of our website.

, We have decided to increase the limitation of contacts that free members can have from ten (10) contacts to twenty-five (25) contacts. This is very likely the final increase in max-friends that free members can have that ChristianBlog.Com will ever do. This places the max-contacts of free accounts at 1/4 the amount of Premier Members.
Thank you,
ChristianBlog.Com

@kreynolds
K Reynolds @kreynolds ·

I've been checking out the new changes this morning. I like them! I think increasing the friends of free members from 10 to 25 was a good move. Also, although it wasn't mentioned, I noticed earlier that the comment box in groups had been moved from the bottom of the page to above the most recent comment. As someone who owns a couple of "chatty" groups, I was getting tired of scrolling all the way down, forgetting some detail I wanted to add into the comment (I have a swiss-cheese brain now), having to scroll back up to refer back to the comment, etc. Having it appear after the most recent post makes it so much easier on me at least!

Thanks so much for all of your hard work! :heart:

K :princess:

@savedbyegrace
Linda Young @savedbyegrace ·

Y'all have been hard at work, even on the weekend, when most of us are goofing off. Thank you!

With all these changes, is there ANY way to send someone who is not a friend and whose friend's list is full, a happy birthday wish?

:heart:
Gracie

@kraftykatz
Marsha Tyler Ronquist @kraftykatz ·

I like the look of everything.

You all work too hard but I for one do appreciate all the effort.

KraftyKatz
:coffee: drinking tea

@bethy
Joyce Bethy Ferguson @bethy ·

My heart literally broke for those free members who were limited to 10 members, and I am sincere in how distressed I was for them. This is wonderful, THANKYOU

@poodlelady
Sandy Brooks @poodlelady ·

Thank You Thank You Thank You for all you do to make things great for us here at CB.
I don't know how you did it but I am so grateful that you came up with the option to have or not have the blog previews as well as the pics and the logged on today feature.
I love the new Status Update feature -this is so easy I can even us it!
I Thank You with all my heart for the increase in friends allowed for the non-paying members.
I agree with K on the new placement of the Groups Comment box. This is so much easier to use.

I'm off to read the change in the rules -- just so I'm aware of them and then maybe check the other new changes -- just wanted to comment on what I have checked out so far. :)

Blessings
poodlelady

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello All,

[quote=kreynolds]I noticed earlier that the comment box in groups had been moved from the bottom of the page to above the most recent comment...[/quote]

Yes we made that change a week or two ago. I, like you, got tired of scrolling all the way to the bottom. What is odd is that within the Groups section of the website all of the newest comments are on top. This is the only place within the entire website where it is like that. I say "odd" because I'm not sure if I really like it or not.

[quote=savedbyegrace]... is there ANY way to send someone who is not a friend and whose friend's list is full, a happy birthday wish?[/quote]

I really do not see that happening. With the changes we have mapped out that protect members from being contacted by only their friends ([blog=christianblog/major-security-updates-coming-soon-to-christianblog]a privacy rights issue[/blog]) I do not see how we could possibly do this without the violation of an individuals rights of privacy. Open for ideas and suggestions though.

[quote=bethy]My heart literally broke for those free members who were limited to 10 members, and I am sincere in how distressed I was for them. This is wonderful, THANKYOU[/quote]

Yep. Not sure how wise of a decision it was from a business stand-point... but, whats done is done at this point.

[quote=poodlelady]I'm off to read the change in the rules -- just so I'm aware of them and then maybe check the other new changes[/quote]

They are nothing that will affect you poodlelady. Just a few minor word changes to help clarify issues and a few additional clauses to help us have a legal standing to terminate spammers and haters.

[quote=alight]I would just like to see the people who have logged into the site "today" not the last 24 hours. Other than that I guess the site looks OK.alight[/quote]

I looked into that when you suggested it elsewhere and I am just not sure that is going to be possible any time soon. The issue (right now) is that the database for that is not setup for internationalization. We've got members from around the world so where exactly does "today start"? Does it start in Chicago (where our servers are located at), does it start in California (the greatest place in the world, and where I live - grin), does it start in NY because NY'ers think they are the all-and-everything, does it start in the UK because they of course are the most civil people in the world, does it start in Nigeria because that's where the most internet scams come from, does it start in NZ because they have the most beautiful country in the world, or perhaps Austriala because... umm, well, I'm not sure why. lol. The issue here is (at this time) our database that stores who has logged in and when is not setup for internationalization. Back in the days (like, 1,000+ days ago) when I added that feature ChristianBlog.Com did not have any members outside of the Americas. But, we now clearly do and I am working really hard to get things internationalized. But at the end of the day, I'm one guy and one guy cannot do all things at once, so I've got to prioritize. The whosloggedintoday is one of those very very very minor features of the website in the large scope of things thus it is down near the bottom of the list. It will take a complete rewrite of the code to get it to be internationalized and that would require time that I just do not have on my schedule...which is booked solid trying to security the privacy rights of all of our members. So, sorry mate, but gonna have to keep holding off for this change - It is on the to-do-list though!

Thanks all,
John B. Abela

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

[quote=alight]Before the "change" I could log in after midnight (I work shift work) Chicago time and there would be a NEW list of people logged in today. There would only be 4 or 5 names in the list and they were from NZ, Australia and maybe 1 or 2 night owls from the U. S. Later a couple more from GB would appear and not until 5:00 am (Chicago time) would the list grow from the people here in the U. S. The way it is now there is always a long list of people who have logged in really in the past 2 days. Not much help.[/quote]

Well, I don't know what to say... other than... the same exact code that was used before is in use now. So, I don't see how things could be ANY different.

[quote=alight]And yesterday (U. S. time) I posted a blog that was a Part 2 and when I did a pop up appeared and said that I needed to add the part 2 to the comments of part 1. I contacted Support about it and the reply was, "I have not seen the pop-up message yet, but from what I understand, what you explained is what the message says." I am afraid that the new blog will be lost, especially to the new people coming into CB. alight[/quote]

I have no idea what you mean by "the new blog will be lost" but I'm willing to say that blogs do not "just get lost" around here.

We are now asking people to post "Part-X's" (2, 3, 4, etc) as a Blog Comment rather than a whole new Blog Entry, because we have been getting a lot of people wondering "hey, were's 'part-x' at?" It is, after all, sort of stupid to have to have people going searching all over the place just to find the first, or second, or whatever part of a blog. There is no reason to not continue a longer Blog as a single blog, with numerous blog comments. It helps readers not have to hunt things down - and as a blog author that is a rather high priority, eh.

The only reason that I can see to not use Blog Comments for "Part-X's" is when a member is clearly posting a "series", such as what [member=fathersloveletters]fathersloveletters[/member] is doing within their [blog=fathersloveletters/fathers-love-letter-devotional-series/]Fathers Love Letters[/blog] series.

Again, I have no idea what "the new blog will be lost" is suppose to mean, but as myself and a lot of others see it, reading a blog with one or two comments as additional parts is a heck of a lot easier than hunting down other blog entries -- the "part-whatever" is not on this page.

Thank you,
John B. Abela

@kreynolds
K Reynolds @kreynolds ·

@John

As one of those "night owls" the logged in list would "reset" at midnight, (Chicago time) and for those of us who live in central time, like myself and Alight, this was "normal" but of course, that was a different story for people who lived in GB or NZ. It is no longer resetting at the same time and I think therein lies the confusion. I've got some time discrepancies showing up in various places. I sent a message to tech support and it was resolved but now the problem is showing up elsewhere again. I'll have to send another message on that one later.

I think Alight is referring specifically to a blog he wrote on The Road To The Cross. He wrote it before the restriction on Part X's were made. Alight has visited these places and I think he wanted to take us on that journey as well. He started us out in the Garden of Gethsemene but then posted the the second part right in the blog as instructed. I think he's afraid people will miss that second part as there are eight or nine comments on there already.

Wouldn't something like this qualify as a series? I think so and made the suggestion that each blog be titled with the individual name of each station with a link to the previous blog contained within the text so people could go back if they wished. Of course, my suggestions aren't always so good. Is this another example of a series? If so, is that how it should be done?

K

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

[quote=kreynolds]Is this another example of a series? If so, is that how it should be done?[/quote]

Last I checked alight was a grown man and able to make decisions like this for himself - so I'm not going to put myself in his brain/shoes.

If he knows what he is posting is a "series" than that is that.

If he knows what he is posting is a "part-x's" simply because he ran out of space, than that is that.

I am not sure how much more clear I can make this issue.

I read maybe 3% of the blogs posted here at ChristianBlog.Com - I have no idea what alight is doing so I have no place to comment on what he is doing, nor am I in any place to make a decision that he should be able to make for himself.

As to why the logged in list is not resetting "at Chicago time", that is because there use to be two different lists - perhaps you never noticed this. The list I choose to keep was the "last 24 hours" as it best presented the activities of the website. It is completely unfair to those people (that you yourself mentioned) who do not live in the Western Hemisphere to be limited to a list that is (was) specific to only those within the Western Hemisphere. ChristianBlog.Com presently has 42% of our activity from outside of the Western Hemisphere, it is around-about time we begin to realize that ChristianBlog.Com isn't a "USA" website anymore. I am trying very hard to realize this myself and make sure that the ministry that takes place here at ChristianBlog.Com does not suffer from "USA'ism". [i](can i make up that term??)[/i]

Thank you,
John B. Abela

@angelita
·

Thank you for increasing the friend limit for the free members. I wrote a blog before the series stuff started not knowing it was going to be a series. It is not hard to use the comment area to add on. But sometimes it might get confusing for some if there are a lot of comments on the blog. Is there a way to add a feature that puts the series together, then the other comments from the readers. I am not very smart when it comes to the tech stuff, so I don't know if it is possible. John, you have been a very busy guy, I think you deserve a :clap: and a nap. Thanks for working so hard for this wonderful web site. Be blessed.

Angel

@angelita
·

sorry, I forgot to ask where do we find the new rules at? I just want to make sure that I don't break any rules.

Angel

@ilovehimso
Ramona Meek @ilovehimso ·

Thanks so much for letting me have my friends back! This is awesome. God bless. Mona

@annajones
Anna Jones @annajones ·

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap: Alls I have to say is this is a wonderful site with wonderful people !!! THANKS JOHN for all you and the team does... AJ

@coldapplianceman
Alan Brown @coldapplianceman ·

[quote=annajones]Alls I have to say is this is a wonderful site with wonderful people !!! THANKS JOHN for all you and the team does... AJ[/quote]

I agree and i'm new here!.....hey is USAism like romanism?...laughing, sorry, I couldnt help myself...GBY

@abelajohnb
John B. Abela @abelajohnb ·

Hello,

[quote=angelita]sorry, I forgot to ask where do we find the new rules at? I just want to make sure that I don't break any rules.Angel[/quote]

All of the ChristianBlog.Com policies can be found within our [url=http://www.christianblog.com/globalpolicies.php]Global Policies[/url] page.

[quote=coldapplianceman]hey is USAism like romanism?[/quote]

I think so :mrgreen:

John B. Abela

Do not include honorifics.
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