Site Discussion

Amazon Associates (+ other advertising)

a while back, in the last days of userland, there was some discussion about putting advertising on this site to help pay for hosting, upkeep, etc.

i don't know where or how the site is hosted now, but even if it's in a forgotten corner of some kind company or institution's server, it seems to me that there would be no harm if the people involved in maintaining this site (not me, in case you're suspicious ;o) made a tiny profit. especially if it adds something to the site.

anyway, i'm mentioning this now not because i have a sudden desire to see google textads on every page, but because i've been looking at the amazon associates program. they pay a commission for any purchase made via certain links (so you provide a link saying "buy this book from amazon" that people click on). i was kind-of hoping i could become an associate, recommend books to myself, and then buy them at a discount. strangely enough, that seems to be against the conditions. so i then thought "well, who would i want that commission to go to, if i can't have it...?"

if this seems at all sensible, go to amazon, click on the "help" link and then type "associates" in the search box.

seems to me you could start with a page of classics, add a forum where people recommend new titles, and take it from there...

Problem with posting

Every time I post, regardless of the thread, I end up on the "Erlang the Movie" thread page.

Surely that's not because we think it is the most interesting discussion here, is it? ;-)

New Recent posts

The new Recent Posts page looks good, but it doesn't show some topics, like for example the Morrow & First-class labels topic.

Quick question...

On the old site, wasn't it possible to send someone an email via the site? Is that possible on the new site? I don't need to be able to see an email address particularly, but it would be nice to be able to send a private message...

Maybe it's there and I just can't find it...

Thanks, as always!

Adding a parent link to posts

I started to use the "Flat list - expanded" mode because the indentation was (in some discussions) getting too large, but in this mode we don't know the parent of a post (which make things a little confusing). IMO it would be nice to have parent links, regardless of view mode.

Folding Recent Posts

You may have noticed that the type systems thread dominates the Recent Posts list. :/ Wouldn't it be nice if Recent Posts only showed the last n posts in a topic, and concluded with a link like "... (click for more) ..." or something if necessary? Or even, if you were logged in, if it showed only the new (asterisked) posts in each thread?

No asterisks, please

When a topic gets very lengthy, it can be difficult to find those items which are new. One solution is to click on the message in the chronological view, read that particular entry (only), hit the back button, chose the next, etc.

The first problem with this approach is that if I close my browser (perhaps accidentally) after reading the first item, I will lose the stars for all the rest of the unread items in the same topic, because they all show in the same page as far as the browser is concerned.

The second problem is that it requires me to constantly reload the page unnecessarily, wasting time and bandwidth.

There is a second solution, which is to search for asterisks in the text. This will quite handily find all the unread items on the page. Unfortunately, asterisks also appear in code, and *some* people *use* them for emphasis, instead of using the <em> tag. Ideally perhaps, we should just use a more distinctive search marker. In the meantime, it would be helpful if people would avoid using asterisks unnecessarily.

Thanks.

Another minor usability gripe...

I've noticed that things don't seem to work as I'd expect when a thread extends onto a second page. For instance, links from the tracker don't link to the correct page. Instead it generates a link to a non-existent target in the first page, so I manually have to scroll down and go to the next page. Then, when I get there, there are no more red stars: it thinks I've already read all the comments. There may be other things, too, but those are the ones that impact me personally.

By the way, from the URLs it looks like comments-per-page is configurable, but I haven't seen a (non-URL editing) way to change that setting... Anyone?

Finally, my opinion: I'd prefer not to have threads paged at all. It's a rare thread around here that goes past 50 replies, and I'd much rather see them all on one page. Obviously if this is configurable on a per-user basis, please point me to it and I'll change my settings.

Thanks, and sorry once again for complaining. The new site really is light years ahead of the old one.

HTML guidelines

Is it generally ok to post content with character entity references (like &rArr; for &rArr;)? I mean how many people won't be able to read that?

Also, I remember seeing discussion on using "style" tag, but without any conclusion. Could we standardize some style classes by inclusion of their definitions in LtU CSS file(s)? I think we need classes for at least quoting previous comments (italic?) and for excerpts (blue italic? should we break tradition to make it different in color from default links?).

Cookie expiration

Have the settings for cookie expiration changed after the last code update? AFAICS it's now set for end of session expiration and I have to login again every time I open the browser, which is mildly annoying.

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