I took the liberty of expanding the options in the submitted poll, which originally suggested separating just reviews.
I've been considering a front-page redesign for a while now, though I was thinking of something a little more radical - along the lines of BBC News, which displays briefer summaries and story titles.
I'm also pondering a page width of 1280px, as the number of users with lower-resolution (or at least thinner) screens is around 15% and falling. This would add an extra column to today's layout. Mobile users might require their own front page.
Bear with me, here, as this is going to sound off topic but totally does have a point.
Okay, so in March I made a post of the percentages of types of stories on the front page after Mister Twister complained everything was porn reviews and drama (it wasn't). Anywho, this post set off a weird little part of my brain that loves statistics, so I've been going through the monthly archives and sorting each story into seperate categories (as well as by year and author) in an Excel spreadsheet. Because that's what I do with my spare time sometimes. Anyway, somebody needed to do it. I think.
I thought this would take a couple nights, a week or two, but, uh, wow, I bit off a bit more than I could chew. All at once, anyway. Right now, I've archived through September 2004. So, about a third done.
The thing about the monthly archives is that they provide a historical overview of the furry fandom much like a newspaper's physical archives, even if articles of different types occasionally lock horns. I am not voting in this poll because, uh, I don't really know about that (I see the point about seperating opinion from news, but if you seperate out different types of articles into different pages, will these pages update fast enough to keep readers' interest?), but say strongly the monthly archives should stay about the same.
Also, design-wise, I have no idea why Green Reaper is so hung up on the BBC page; it looks exactly like every other news site on the Internet. Flayrah has its own unique look; that's a good thing.
Okay, anyway, here's a preliminary breakdown by crossaffliction of Flayrah's articles up to October 2004 (I'm planning on doing up an article when and if I finish.) Perhaps, I don't know, they'll inspire further "sections."
April Fools articles as of 1/10/04: 1
(Actual April Fools jokes; not articles reporting on other website's April Fools jokes, or, as I've seen in at least one case, what I'm pretty sure was an April Fools joke reported on by Flayrah as a real story.)
Con Report articles as of 1/10/04: 7
(Self explanatory, though they seem to have fallen out of fashion as of late. In case you hadn't noticed.)
Interviews as of 1/10/04: 1
(Interviews, in theory, should be a part of every news article, but Flayrah's contributors are not professionals, but hardworking amateurs doing this in their free time, so we have the rare interview-and-nothing-but-the-interview-transcript instead. Which a lot of professional reporters sometimes run, and they don't have the excuse of being amateurs.)
News (Animals) articles as of 1/10/04: 606
(The meat and potatoes of old Flayrah, and the largest category so far. Not all just cute animal stories, either; probably the vast majority are about violence done to humans by animals, or vice versa. Also included are articles about non-anthropomorphic virtual, robotic or otherwise artificial animals, and non-anthropomorphic animal art.)
News (Flayrah) articles as of 1/10/04: 34
(Site updates, news and other such stuff.)
News (Furry) articles as of 1/10/04: 435
(Articles about the furry fandom, or anthropomorphic animals. I have a reputation as a definition snob becasuse I've worked hard at making a reputation as a definition snob, darnit. However, I have tried to be as liberal with the definition as possible here. Biases are still inevitable, though. I've noticed I instantly categorize anything about people in animal costumes as Furry, while articles about the science of genetics and how human/animal hybrids may be possible are put in Animals, though I can bet a few of the article's submitters considered those the furriest articles of all.)
News (Other) articles as of 1/10/04: 144
(Random stuff that has nothing to do with animals, anthropomorphic or otherwise. Mostly about furry related areas such as animation, video games, science fiction, fantasy and other "geeky" things. Big historical events, such as the 9/11 attacks, were covered, as well as just, well, stuff the submitters liked, I guess. Should be noted that all of the news categories contain articles that are not "news," in that they cover a breaking story or whatever, but "feature-y" pieces as well.)
Opinion articles as of 1/10/04: 11
(Note that these are pure opinion pieces; news stories with editorializing still count as news, even if the editorializing is rampant. Also, pieces about opinion pieces written elsewhere are categorized as news, unless it is a response piece.)
Press Release articles as of 1/10/04: 600
(Articles written about the submitter, as well as articles where all or most content is taken verbatim from an outside source. Anonymous commenters sometimes make it hard to tell. Also, mostly consists of furry convention newsletters.)
Review (Comics) articles as of 1/10/04: 1
(Reviews of comics. Duh. Should be noted that, like in Opinion, articles pointing out a review on another site are counted as news.)
Review (Literature) articles as of 1/10/04: 9
(Reviews of books. Should be noted that I do not currently intend to seperate reviews into porn/not-porn categories, as I did in the original Mister Twister response post.)
Review (Movies) articles as of 1/10/04: 5
(Reviews of ... you figure it out. Another note for the review categories; I also haven't seperated reviews of non-furry movies or books or whatever. There are a few of those.)
Review (Music) articles as of 1/10/04: 1
(Yeah, we have one of those.)
Note: I have completely ignored polls, and plan on ignoring WikiFur News and Furtean Times articles, though I haven't gotten that far yet. Also, eventually a Video category will come up.)
This poll is specifically about the front page. I look to BBC News because find it very usable, and it has won awards. Something similar to Ars Technica's new three-column layout (news, shorts, and features) might also work well.
I won't be slavishly copying any site – what works for them will not necessarily work for us, not least because our content is written by different people to different standards for a different audience.
I can't speak for Rakuen, but for me the primary goals would be to provide a better mix of content, separation between different classes of content, and/or more stories above the fold. Right now it's too easy for good stories to be pushed out of view within hours, or for us to get a glut of a particular type of story. I've managed that on occasion, but I'd prefer it not be a problem to begin with.
The monthly archive and content passed to our external feeds would remain the same, as would the existing tag-based article lists.
I think you're going to find a big difference between content before and after Flayrah's 2010 relaunch.
Oh, yeah, everything changes. I mean, hey, wow, pictures! And, like, read more links actually work.
And, bizarrel appropriately, like a bazillion more inane comments (though mostly from the same tired old windbags. I mean, there's one guy, I think you guys know who I'm talking about, just all day, blah blah blah. Dude, get a life, man. )
Polls are less popular, though.
I know I have no life, sheesh :P
Looking at the front page simply starting off with reviews having their own section in parallel with others would be a good place to start.
I would've liked to have been able to make a bit of a supporting post for the poll before it was used but oh well. Here's what I would have said...
I think Flayrah has two different categories of submission (in a very broad sense) the news stories (and I'm lumping opinion pieces there too) and the reviews. I'm not against any of them and think they are all important but I do worry that with the proliferation of reviews that can happen actual news, which is usually slower but I'd say more pertinent, gets buried, which makes Flayrah more of a review site than a news site. I think if the front page were seperated to show a different feed for news and reviews we could have both types of story without the faster stream eclipsing the slower stream.
Although I suppose your view really depends on how important you think the types of story are relevant to each other. I do think the news stories are more important than the review, though I certainly think reviews have a purpose and are useful to keep.
"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~
This poll is slightly defunct because while it seems the "keep it as it is" is trouncing the "tweak its" there are three versions of "Yes" and only one version of "No". So the "Yes"s get muddled on the specifics while the "No"s got one option to choose from.
My original poll asked "Should Flayrah have reviews in a different section?" (or something along those lines) and the only options were yes or no. Greenreaper changed the wording to the current version which I agree has far too many options making the no almost certain to win. With the split divided it leaves the no looking far more popular than it really is.
I'll bear that in mind when evaluating the poll. I needed to see what the added options would get because I may develop features based on the result, and I don't want to do one thing when people prefer another. One of the additions has twice the votes of the original suggestion, though two vs. four is arguably not statistically significant.
I think it would be good to give different styling to opinions and reviews.
Not that it matters much to me since I read from a feed...
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