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“Read more…” links in the middle of everything
Posted: 08 May 2012 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]

Where did these come from, and is there any way to get rid of them? It’s hugely irritating to scroll down the newsblog page and have every article intro suddenly break off in mid-sentence.

Posted: 08 May 2012 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

I’ll put something about this change in my Lab Notes later today. Essentially, though, I’m just carrying over the editorial policy I’ve been using in the other site blogs. When Baseball Primer started, the intros to articles were very short and usually only quoted very small parts of the linked article. Over time, though, more and more articles were posted with quotes. Now, not only does every article have a quote but the amount of quoted material continues to grow. Although some users might prefer things this way, it creates a few issues.

First, it discourages people from clicking the link and reading the full article. That’s not really fair to the content provider and it is not my intention or policy to discourage people from reading the original material. As a matter of fact, when I started the original Primer blog it was with the intent to spotlight and point to the most interesting stuff on the web. Although this change doesn’t address this concern completely (you can still read the completely submitted material by clicking on the “Read More” link, it is a step in the right direction. It is my hope (and I will do other things to encourage shorter intros in the redesign) this will nudge people to submit shorter link intros while still allowing posters the ability to include as much personal commentary as they are comfortable sharing. 

Second, it makes it harder for visitors to find the links they are interested. Instead of being able to quickly scroll through the page and scan through short intros, users are forced to scroll through long passages of text. This is particularly true when viewing the site with a mobile device. I have experienced this problem first hand as I view the site with the updated design. Also, the longer intros discourage the addition of other potentially interesting links as nobody has the time of inclination to wade through so much material.

So, although I can understand why you might not like the change, I hope you can understand the reason I made it.

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]

Given your stated motivation, it might be a better idea to address this on the submission page, by adding a character limit to the field for the article summary. That would keep quotes from the article restricted to a reasonable length, while allowing the submitter to determine the location of the page cut before the article is submitted, so that all the synopses aren’t cut off in mid-thought like the writer suddenly dropped dead, and posters who wanted to provide personal commentary could still do so in the field designated for remarks below the cut. Or you could designate one (limited) field for synopses and another (unlimited, or larger limited) field for personal commentary.

I find the current setup much less mobile-friendly than the one of a few days ago, since I’m not able to determine whether or not I’m interested in a given topic from an interrupted half-summary on the main page, and thus am forced to resort to clicking through on literally everything to determine exactly what it’s talking about, with the attending bandwith usage and wait time that requires.

Posted: 08 May 2012 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]

In the redesign, besides being able to submit links directly into the system, members will also be able to submit their own entries (similar in style to what is currently Sox Therapy, Transaction Oracle) for display within the new microBBTFs. These can be anything like book reviews, complex studies,  or short gameday observations. They will be able to submit their submission to whichever microBBTF that they desire. The best submissions will not only show up on the main page of the appropriate microBBTF (the new topic-related communities) but the best one will also show up on the frontpage (and a few other highlight pages). With the integration of all content into a single system, it will be important to standardize the way the content shows up on the list-type pages. So, in addition to the reasons I gave, it’s also important for other reasons.

As for your suggestion, on my to-do I have added a note to add a character counter to the new submission page. At least this way, people can have an idea of where the summary cutoff will be. Thanks for the suggestion!

As for the current mobile setup, it’s not particularly workable. I’ve been viewing the site using the redesign for almost two months and, when you eventually see it, I believe you will agree the change makes the site much more mobile friendly.

BTW, it’s a little tough right now to really see how some of the changes fit in. If you haven’t already, I suggest you sign up for the beta. I am extremely close to having the initial beta program available and would really appreciate your input.