Site Update

in pipedot on (#QXSJ)
A few interesting features of the site where silently introduced over the past year (like notifications), while others have long since been shrouded in mystery (like the stream). We also haven't had a meta update for while, so lets dig into some of the new changes:

Notification System

When someone replies to one of your comments or journals, you will now get a notification instead of a text message. These new notifications show comment replies in-line and can be used for other events that where not covered by the old system.

Numerous Small Pages

A summary page ([username] is now available for every user that shows you a brief overview of their activity. You can now monitor the computers/devices that have an active login cookie to the site on your "Logins" ([username] page. You can now see all feeds on the browse page. Feeds are also now organized into topics. Your published story submissions ([username] now have their own page as well.

RSS Reader

Although the feed page ([username] was added pretty early, many users may not realize that a full feed reader ([username] is now built into the site. You can add your own RSS/Atom feed by URL, or select one of the existing feeds from the list of topics. You can even comment on articles or vote for your favorites.

The Stream

The stream is an attempt at simplifying the "link sharing" process. The traditional method of sharing a story is a rather involved process that may turn off some contributors:
  1. Find an interesting article for a story.
  2. Write up a short synopsis including a link to the article, maybe a quote or two, and possibly even a bit of editorial.
  3. Submit your scoop to the pipe.
  4. Wait as users vote up your submission.
  5. An editor reviews your story, makes any spelling/grammar/etc corrections they notice, and publishes the story to the front page.
However, with the stream, all you need to do is "vote up" an article that you see in your feed reader. Others will then see your article in your user stream ([username] or the main stream.

Upcoming Pipe Changes

Speaking of story submissions and contributions, special thanks goes out to evilviper and zafiro17. Together, they have performed the entire submission process (detailed above) on nearly 500 of their own stories, as well as the laborious task of rewriting hundreds of poorly written (or incomplete) submissions to an acceptable quality level. The amount of effort required for these tasks is not inconsequential.

Suggestions to help relieve the burden of the editors mainly involve changing how the pipe operates:
  • Submissions could automatically be published after a certain number of up-votes in the pipe.
  • Submissions could get instantly published, but then have +/- vote buttons on each story to provide a "moderation" of stories. Stories with low scores could shrink to a smaller size or hide completely (similar to the comment moderation.)
  • The pipe could be populated with automatically created stories generated from popular stream articles.
  • Many browsers (Firefox/Chrome/nearly all mobile browsers) now support custom "share this page" buttons. These "Pipedot" share buttons could be an easy way to automatically create a story submission for interesting articles.
So what do you think? Where can we improve to make this site the best site for nerdy news?

pipe visibility (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2015-11-28 18:22 (#W1CC)

I feel a big part getting more users involved with voting in the pipe, and eventually story submissions, is giving better visibility on the homepage, and actively encouraging participation from readers -
  • The main 'pipe' link should have a indication of how many stories are waiting. For logged-in users, ideally it would show a 'un-seen' count, similar to unread comments.
  • Some method of asking readers to vote/get involved on a story without having to navigate to the Pipe page. A few ideas i had:
    • An occasional bubble, floating top bar, or inline-box suggesting a random pipe story, and asking if the viewer finds the subject interesting. Extra emphasis on occasional.
    • A small left or right UI box to list 3-6 most recent story titles, with small up-vote buttons
    • To encourage positive voting, a down-vote would be presented as 'flagging' a story (Pipe page would still present up/down.) Older, or stale stories would get a bump in display priority.
    • If the pipe fills past x-amount, a temporary (read: self-expiring) notification could be sent to all, or a random subset of users as a plea for help (I envision US Propaganda poster-style imagery - "What have you done for Pipedot today??") :D
  • A notice on the Pipe page encouraging people to use the comments to suggest alternative links, corrections, etc., and clarifying that pipe comments don't publish with the story.
  • I'd like to see the pipe list sort itself not primarily by date but by rating, similar to your OP pipe suggestion # 2; Higher ranked stories would rise to the top, low to the bottom.
  • Down-arrows be a different color; its difficult to tell what you voted when presented with a full pipe, the green arrows blend. Personally I would prefer it to 'pop'
  • I like the idea that stories could automatically publish, or delete depending on votes, or lack of votes within a defined time period. I'm a bit wary about auto-publish, as it could encourage a decline in submission quality, if left completely unedited; abuse aside.
Well, thats my 30 cents ;)
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