It is here … And changed things forever

Ascent
From this time, we’re all looking at a
different picture … ~Portishead

While some of the bloggers went fishing during the summer, some of us were left behind on purpose sigh!. The monkeys have been training us, the new admins, in the ND bunker all summer! After barely getting a passing grade, we set to work and now have something we promised you.

You thought it wasn’t possible anymore to impede your work-day productivity reading Sepia Mutiny. I’ve got News for you. The News tab has been re-designed with new features so that the content can be customized by YOU! Yes, shiny new toys for those fond of the F5 key. Here are the highlights of the changes / new features …Scope: The changes / new features only apply to the News and Events tabs. The blog itself remains unaffected. We know you love it just the way it is, so we dare not change too many things without warning. Some of us may even be too old to cope with change … ummm … ;)

Sign In: Most of the updated / new features now require you to sign in. During sign in, you will be taken to a third party website – TypeKey, an authentication service from the makers of MovableType. After you (freely register if necessary and) sign in, you will be automatically redirected back to our site for us to uniquely recognize you as a sepia user. Hold it, before you say it, we are not trying to track you down, we just want to be able to tell you all apart. And it’s not just us, sometimes you need to tell each other apart. Specifically, we will not publish your email address associated with your TypeKey account. We respect your privacy.

Post Story / Event: You must now be signed in to post a story or event to take credit as tipster. This affects the Enlighten The Mutiny! bookmarklet you use to post stories. You must be signed in, prior to using the bookmarklet, to post a story.

Mutinous?: Sometimes it’s not enough to send us tips, spam our email, call our cell phones and bang on our doors in the middle of the night to tell us you’ve got a new story! Each news story posted can now be voted using the mutinous? link next to the story. This will tell us and fellow brown folk what’s interesting, hot and sizzling andhra pickle hot!

Popular Menu: The popular menu on top will sort the news stories based on what you like.
– New is the default option that shows the latest tips we receive.
– Popular sorts news tips that have been generating a lively discussion in their comments section.
– Top in 24 Hr, 7 Days, 30 Days, 365 Days all sort news tips based on the number of people macacas think it’s mutinous.
– The above sort options can be further filtered by Category, such as Humor, Politics etc.

Profile: You can tell the world who you are, what you do and confuse us with your strange handles, or just tell us like it is and keep it real (simple)! Tell us a little bit (or a lot) about yourself on your profile. Your profile will be automatically linked to your tip or comment handle.
– Stats: The profile page also features a stats section in order to distinguish the regulars from the visitors.
– Stories: The stories sections will show the stories you posted, you liked, and your popular and top submissions.

Comments: We know you have a lot to say about a lot of things, so here is even more room to say it. Each news tip can now be discussed in its own comments section. And plus, heavily discussed news topics make it into the popular section of the news tab, so we and fellow site visitors know where all the ruckus is.

Semi-auto moderation: From time to time (or perhaps most of the time these days) we have the he said, she said debate in comment threads turning into flame wars. Here’s a way to curb that a little bit .
– In the News tab, tell us if a story is a duplicate (or commercial spam) by using the Duplicate (or Spam) link and we will take care of such old or duplicate stories, and ensure the earliest tipster gets credit. Use the buttons, and help keep the News tab clean and interesting with only the latest stories.
– In the News Comments page, tell us if a comment is violating our comment policy i.e., abusive (or irrelevant / spam), by using the Abusive (or Spam) button and we can delete it for you. Use these buttons, and help keep the Comments section stay on-topic.
– Please use these moderation features judiciously. Improper use of these features will be tracked and may result in banning. So play nice. :)

In The Works: We are working on more toys for you to play with. Got suggestions? Feel free to share with me or via our Contact Us page. Pats on the back are welcome too. :)

Credits: Ok, stop rolling your eyes. This took a lot of time and effort in creating.

Abhi has been the driving force behind this. All the time he spent discussing ideas and patiently answering questions about every little detail. Thanks! This project would have never happened without him.

Thanks to Neha for her support. And thanks to Kunjan especially. So many times I’ve come close to breaking things, and thought I had no other choice but to call the governor of ND state and have a state of emergency declared. But he was there to rescue me from myself. Phew! (uh-oh … I hope Abhi doesn’t read that part.)

Thanks to the bloggers for making this place an inspiration. Thanks to the regular readers, commenters for their suggestions, to Payal, Amit and many others who I may not have interacted with directly, but nevertheless deserve credit for pouring in ideas. THANKS!

61 thoughts on “It is here … And changed things forever

  1. Got registered without too much hassle, except that my display name is not the same as my login name, but that’s OK I suppose.

    And it’s not just us, sometimes you need to tell each other apart.

    Just to remind people who want to keep a general idea of other commenters’ background, there’s some more stuff here.

  2. thanks, guys.

    except that my display name is not the same as my login name, but that’s OK I suppose.

    your “sepia profile” has a place for your blog display name so that people can make the connection…

  3. More things to play with on the internet. Less work on the dissertation.

    Thanks, Mutineers. May I never finish this degree!

  4. An admirable effort, for a bunch of straight guys. What you need now is a better UI. Where are all the creative gay webdesis ?

  5. Folks, what Chaitan isn’t telling you is that he hand-coded a lot of this stuff himself — there isn’t some readymade software that has all the features the new news tab has. Anyone who has even a little experience trying to mess around with this stuff knows that it takes hours and hours to make these things work…

    Also, a request. Even if you’re not currently someone who posts a lot on the news tab, we’d love to see you create a login/profile page for yourself — we’re just curious to see what people do with this.

  6. “what’s interesting, hot and sizzling andhra pickle hot!”

    what about those that are jolokia pepper hot?:) just kidding. nice work.

  7. Nice job:)

    I had a question. For my typekey account, the username seems to display instead of the nickname. Is that correct? Thanks.

  8. thanks raprasad

    I had a question. For my typekey account, the username seems to display instead of the nickname. Is that correct?

    this is intentional. typekey assures that username is always distinct (and mandatory of course) whereas, some users may choose to leave their nickname blank and is not necessarily distinct. for these reasons, using the nickname defeats the purpose of requiring a sign in.

  9. Chaitan Bandela: You have done a superb job in redesigning the layout of SM. I tried to find out from Abhi last night – and he would not tell me. I’ll tell you – kids these days !! Anyways, congratulations and welcome to SM. By the way you seem to take good pictures too. Who is the lovely lady in Sari in the very first picture?…..

  10. Good job Chaitan and co.

    this is intentional. typekey assures that username is always distinct

    So, when you post a story, what do others see – the nick or the username?

  11. Congratulations Chaitan, Abhi, Neha, Kunjan! Nice work. The News Tab was down for less than 24 hours, and this is a fairly major change, especially since it was mostly hand-coded.

    The more obvious spam that had been showing up on the News Tab will now start getting demoted and tagged, and so will duplicates. I wonder, though, whether people might get multiple Typepad Keys by using multiple email IDs. Also, and just btw, is the ‘mutinous?’ voting being tracked by IP? To some extent, this might cross-check people using multiple IDs, unless they also change computers and IPs.

    BTW, me and Optional did correctly anticipate most of the spirit of what was coming back here!

    Last night, I posted a comment at the same time that I voted ‘mutinous?’ on Chaitan’s post – that comment had roughly the same content as this one. Although the voting showed up, the comment didn’t. I haven’t tried commenting on the news tab again, but thought I’d mention it in case that hadn’t been ironed out yet.

    At some point perhaps you will consider extending the idea to comments on the main tab too. Some people (perhaps most people) consistently use the same handle, but others do change it between threads, and sometimes even within a thread. That occasionally adds humor and satire via the handle, and perhaps that’s a net plus – though the potential for abuse also exists; plus occasional confusion when someone inadvertently uses a handle that is already being used by another poster. I’m curious if this aspect was explicitly considered and what rationale was used to keep it unchanged, other than that “we dare not change too many things without warning” :)

    Once again, congratulations everyone, and thanks! I think we’ll get used to the change sooner than we thought!

  12. thanks guys. she’s a lovely friend from Boston Yo Dad. Thanks for checking out my pics. :)

    what do others see – the nick or the username?

    your typekey nickname is never used anywhere on SM. only your username. thanks Ardy.

  13. Great work, TeaWithTanya! I’ve barely left for a month and you’re out there getting rich and famous. OK, just famous.

  14. Thanks Chachaji. Do you and Optional have spies on the inside? ;)

    I wonder, though, whether people might get multiple Typepad Keys by using multiple email IDs. Also, and just btw, is the ‘mutinous?’ voting being tracked by IP? To some extent, this might cross-check people using multiple IDs, unless they also change computers and IPs.

    Without disclosing the inner workings on a public forum, let me just say that this is an initial release and based on performance, feedback, etc., I’ll make further updates so that trolls are discouraged while the regulars don’t find it too inflexible. It’s a fine balance perhaps.

    Although the voting showed up, the comment didn’t.

    I’m sorry that happened. There were a few bugs immediately after release, but I think I fixed everything after 4AM. Will you please try again?

    At some point perhaps you will consider extending the idea to comments on the main tab too.

    We are always planning changes to improve the site. However, updating the blog is a larger project in itself and we’d rather make updates in increments after gauging responses.

  15. Good work..Chaitan

    A question : Why is that “Post story” on the front page of SM doesn’t require one to sign in but the “Post story” on the news tab requires you to sign in. Is this a bug ?

  16. “Who is the lovely lady in Sari in the very first picture?”

    ah ha, Yo Dad looking to hook Abhi up. .. :)

    All props go to Chaitan. We were just testing!

  17. A usability feedback:

    Somehow, I find it difficult to scan the headlines on the news page. Previously, it used to easy to quickly give the whole page a once-over.

    No idea why — probably due to the monkey background for the vote register against each story.

  18. I’m kind of freaking out a little — this is amazing. I mean, it’s totally tremendous. Really heartfelt thanks and congrats to Chaitan, Kunjan, Neha and Abhi. I’m excited to see where this new system goes!

  19. Chaitan, thought I’d mention a few (relatively minor) things I noticed:

    1. The mini-post after the news-item collapses all input text into a single paragraph – eats up both blank lines and indentations. If this is intentional, please consider changing it, since a poster might want to quote from the linked article, and then add a couple lines of his own opinion/commentary, and want to keep them separate.

    2. This also holds for the Comments added after the post – the 1000 word limit is great, but it would be great if the final formatting kept paragraphs that the commenter intended.

    3. The beep warning still comes in at 100 words (or still says 100 words) for the mini-post, not at 200 words, which is the new limit.

    Thanks again!

  20. Why is that “Post story” on the front page of SM doesn’t require one to sign in but the “Post story” on the news tab requires you to sign in. Is this a bug ?

    This is not a by-pass from a bug. This is because the blog has not been updated at all and is not aware of your sign in status. You can still access the ‘Post story’ url directly, but submission will still fail unless you are signed in.

  21. Somehow, I find it difficult to scan the headlines on the news page.

    Hmmm, time for a UI re-design! Thanks for your feedback.

  22. Thanks Camille and Sakshi.

    Chachaji: We should have hired you as a beta tester. ;) I appreciate all the detailed feedback.

    1. The mini-post after the news-item collapses all input text into a single paragraph

    The 200-word limit in the specs doesn’t leave room for any formatting. So all formatting is stripped. We’ll consider changing this perhaps. Thanks.

    2. This also holds for the Comments added after the post

    Comments after the post DO retain all formatting including line breaks and paragraphs. If they have collapsed, please report it as a bug. I haven’t see too many comments yet to know for sure.

    3. The beep warning still comes in at 100 words (or still says 100 words) for the mini-post

    An oversight on my part. Will fix this soon. Thanks for reporting.

  23. Now when is the new overall design coming ??

    One fine day, when you open Sepia to catch up on the latest topics early in the morning during breakfast, you will be mesmerized by an unexpected change… and forget to go to work. ;)

  24. Its the Resident Annoyance. Why can’t I get Sepia Mutiny RSS? Not news RSS or blog RSS? Or even Hindu RSS, for that matter ;)

  25. Chaitan, This is the message that I got when I clicked “subscribe” at the news tab: The XML page cannot be displayed Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.


    Whitespace is not allowed at this location. Error processing resource ‘http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/news.php?newsrss'. …

    I’m putting this under Science & Technology, because amidst all the discussion a ——————————–^

  26. And this is from “subscribe” on the main page.. The XML page cannot be displayed Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.


    An invalid character was found in text content. Error processing resource ‘http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/index.xml'. Li…

    <p>Readers, what would be good categories for a desi hipster olympics? Secondly, if you wish to prove your own

  27. nice job everyone, chaitan especially – as someone who’s been privy to the bunker’s hidden most nooks and crannies, i know that congratulations are in order.

  28. hi chaitan congrats. i have seen your web site it looks great. keep it up.

    -sagar bandela

  29. Jasmine – I think you are trying to subscribe to RSS feeds. You will need a feed reader for that, try reader.google.com or something like that.

  30. Wow! Great job. Congratulations on the improvements. Such a great event that I decided to “un-lurk” :)

  31. While I like the upgrades and appreciate how much thought and effort went into them, I also wonder if the SM bloggers will be more tempted to only blog about the tips that are the most “popular.” Part of the appeal of SM to me is that you bring to the table all kinds of stories, not just the popular ones. Can one of you please speak to that concern?

  32. While I like the upgrades and appreciate how much thought and effort went into them, I also wonder if the SM bloggers will be more tempted to only blog about the tips that are the most “popular.” Part of the appeal of SM to me is that you bring to the table all kinds of stories, not just the popular ones. Can one of you please speak to that concern?

    We’ll probably keep doing what we’ve already been doing — blogging about what interests, amuses, and distresses us, and only on things where we have something to say. Even now there are some popular news tab stories we’re not ‘bringing to the front’…

    Fortunately, the comments function there means people who want to talk about particular stories that aren’t getting blogged about have a space in which to do so.