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We've just redeployed a new version of Warwick Blogs with a few bug fixes and changes.
- Anonymous users can no longer post web links in their comments, which should hopefully reduce the level of spam we have been receiving from paid-for spam companies
- The Admin Entries page is now paginated, and should load a lot faster
- Creative Commons copyright items are fixed
- Departmental groups are fixed
- WGA members should now be able to register for new blogs
There are a few other fixes as well, and some general tidying up. If you find any problems, or have any comments, feel free to reply here or email elab at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further to my last entry about abusive comments, we've seen some blog entries and received some email from people who are, understandably, upset to have received such unpleasant comments. Here's a summary of the suggestions and advice we've been sending out:-
- Do you really want comments from strangers? When you write an entry which is world viewable then by default anyone in the world can also comment on the entry. But if you're fairly sure that people who might want to comment on your blog are also students or staff at Warwick, then you can change the "Who can comment on this entry?" dropdown list to be "Staff/students" and then anonymous comments won't be possible on that entry.
- But I have friends and family outside Warwick who I want to be able to comment; what about them? A useful way to allow this is to change your anti-spam question from something which anyone can guess ("What colour is an orange?" by default) to something which people will only know the answer to if you tell them. For example, change the question to "What is my commenting password?" and change the answer to "elephant", and tell your friends and family what the password is. Then they'll be able to comment, but nobody else will.
- I want comments from strangers, but what do I do if I receive abuse? This is tricky. The university can't do anything to help you in this situation because we can't reliably prove the identity of the commenter, and in many cases we would have no jurisdiction over them anyway. In the new year, we'll add a feature allowing blog owners to ban an IP address (the address of a specific computer) from commenting on their blog, and this may help in some cases. But the bottom line is, if you allow strangers to comment on your blog, there's a risk that some of them will be obnoxious. You should think carefully about whether you're comfortable with that.
One other thing: if you can, please restrain yourself from replying to abusive comments. People who post abusive comments more than anything want a reply; it doesn't matter to them what kind of reply it is. And while you may be relaxed about or even enjoy trading insults with commenters, the message you're sending to them is Warwick Blogs is a place where I can get a reply. And what happens then is that they keep coming back, not just to your blog, but to other peoples' blogs, and those other people may not be as relaxed about it as you were. As soon as we deleted all the recent abusive comments, and removed new ones as soon as they appeared, the commenting stopped; there was no longer any reason for the abuser to continue. So the most community-minded thing you can do with abuse is to delete it quickly, and not respond to it.
Thanks, and happy new year to all.
Over the last few days there's been an outbreak of trolling – unpleasant and abusive comments scattered throughout Warwick Blogs, traceable to a single IP address.
We've now deleted all the comments from this IP address and the various names used, and we'll continue to do so if more comments from the same person appear in future. It's possible that deleting these comments has left some blogs in a state where there are replies from logged-in users to comments which are no longer there; apologies if you've been affected by this.
It's also possible that in doing a bulk removal of offensive comments, we may have accidentally deleted a legitimate comment or two; again, apologies if you've been affected by this.
If your blog looks wrong, try doing a forced refresh (pressing CTRL and F5 together) or restarting your browser
There has been a new release of BlogBuilder with several improvements and fixes:
New Markup / CSS
Andy Ingram has created new markup and CSS for blogs pages now. You may need to press Ctrl-F5 in your browser (a forced refresh) to make sure you have the latest stylesheets.
Included in this:
- HTML rearranged to put entries before the sidebar, gives improved accessibility and search engine results
- Fixed various issues of content dropping below the sidebar
- Left-floated images should no longer drop into the entries below
- Utility Bar appears correctly in Opera 7
- The background image in the header of all blog styles should now be visible in Internet Explorer
- The whole banner area (except utility bar) is now part of the link back to your overall blog view
- Removed opacity effects from various blog styles to allow more consistancy between browsers
- Most blog styles tweaked in some way for browser consistency
- Galleries should now be more readable (no more white on white)
- The bluegreen2 style is completely redone
- New style: black 2
- New style: puce
- New style: swift1
- Favourites markup improved and styled to suit each individual blog style better
- Existing styles don't appear exactly the same as before, if you feel an important part of the style has been overlooked or changed, please don't hesitate to mention it.
New Blogs Search
New Blog Search has now been implemented into the front page and the sidebar. When you start typing in, search results will appear immediately below the box, and then you can click on any of the results or on "more results" (or press enter) to get to the posts you want.
Search works better if you're logged in, because if you're logged in then it will search protected posts as well.
- Tags: You can now select which tags you want to display on your sidebar, or how many of your top tags to display, and also display a list of untagged entries if you please.
- Tag Selection: You can now click on a number of suggested tags when making an entry
- Comment Spam: When a non-logged in user tries to make a comment on your blog, they must answer an arbritrary question (by default, "What colour is an orange?") – this has allowed us to set the default commenting permissions back to "Anyone", which should make the WGA people "well chuffed".
- My Comments: By default, your "My Comments" page now sorts by the date of the most recent comment on the entry, not the date of your most recent comment. You can still sort by the old format if desired.
- Comment Information: When you're trying to make a comment, you can see a padlock next to the "COMMENTS" title which will tell you who has permission to comment - this will allow you to see easily why you're not allowed to comment (did you forget to login?) or if your own entries are accidentally locked (or unlocked)
- Book/DVD/CD/Game Reviews: You can now attach a custom picture and URL to a Book, DVD, CD or Game review just like with Movie and TV reviews, so you could quite easily make Gig Reviews under the guise of a Music review and they would appear under the "Music Review" entry type.
- Top Tags: The top tags page is now weighted differently; it will weight tags that appear on several blogs much, much higher than those that appear on a single blog. Also, the Top Tags page now only shows tags used in the past month by default, in order to show popular issues at the present time.
- Miscellaneous: When on a tag page, you can now see the actual entry and image counts being displayed and how many are available on the other links. The "Tag" counter on the front page now only shows the number of unique tags. Tag counts in the sidebar no longer take into account draft entries.
- Image Editing: You can now edit your images again. Sorry about that.
- Tag Selector: You can also use the up/down arrows in your entries again. Again, sorry…
We just rolled out a small update that includes one fix, one improvement and one new feature.
The new feature
We have upgraded to SlideShowPro 1.2 which has given us the ability to put nice little thumbnails in when you hover over the image numbers in a slideshow.
Commenting should now be a lot faster when you comment on a blog with lots of comments.
CSS is now properly included in the headers for the comment popups.