Story 2014-09-08 2S4X Site Update

Site Update

in pipedot on (#2S4X)
I haven't posted a progress report in a while, and I wouldn't expect everyone to follow the mailing list, so here's a short list of the latest features of the site.

Journals are now enabled for all user accounts! Similar to the venerable Slashcode journal, the Pipedot version allows you to write your extended thoughts and post them in the familiar story-like form – complete with comments and community moderation. An example journal story can be found here.

Feed Page
If you where previously using the root of your user page (e.g. to display your feed page, you will need to instead append “/feed/” to the end of your shortcuts (i.e. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Message ID
Originally, I adopted a similar system as Slashcode, where each object gets an auto-incrementing integer. However, this global increment is just not usable in terms of a distributed system. And so, after rewriting a large chunk of the site, objects are now given a unique ID that looks more like a Message-ID from Email and Usenet messages.

This change had an unintended side effect of making some links a bit long and kinda ugly. For example, a link to a comment can be 55 characters long (e.g. Which leads me to the next item...

Short Codes
All items (stories, comments, polls, etc...) on this site are now assigned a short code similar to those seen on Twitter (, Google (,, and others - except that it's built into the site and automatic.

For example, the full URL of a poll could be rather long:

But it can be shortened to:

These links are useful for character limited services, such as Twitter posts, as well as any other scenario where a shorter link would be appreciated. Also, like other link shortener services, you can tack a "+" on to the end of the short link to get statistics on who has clicked it.

After a few people mentioned the ugliness of the Message ID style links, I realized that short codes could also work in place of the long Message ID. Therefore, even the unshortened links are again shorter. (e.g.

SoylentNews Federation
I thought the SoylentNews federation would be a cool mini-project. Combine the efforts of two nearly identical sites while improving the resiliency of both. If you missed it (the feature was online for less than a day) the idea was to combine all stories and posts from both sites into one feed. However, I seem to have greatly underestimated the disdain for such a function. Because I'm not overly fond of receiving that many threats and hate mails in a single day, I've simply turned it off and removed all references to SoylentNews in the code.

Pipecode has long supported a profile picture. This feature allows you to show off your mugshot on your user page and various other places. Of course, thus far, only 4 people had managed to find and update their picture. To help prevent a missing image when viewing a profile, I've added Gravatar support to automatically populate profile images. If you do not have a Gravatar, you can still manually update your profile image with the old method. You can also disable Gravatar updates to your picture by unchecking the Gravatar option on your profile settings page.

Retina Images
Nearly all images, icons, and logos on the site now support “retina” displays. So if you are blessed by a device with an incredibly high DPI screen, the graphics here should all look especially crisp.
Reply 9 comments

Nice! (Score: 2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-08 09:29 (#2S50)

I am happy to see this site still progressing. After the negative reactions at SN for sharing information with Pipedot, I am less interested to be a part of the SN community and my interest for this site has clearly been growing.

I hope we get enough of people commenting here also. The stories coming here are OK.

Re: Nice! (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-08 13:49 (#2S5F)

To be fair, there were a lot of negative reactions on this side about the Soylent New thing. I was certainly part of it (although I didn't send any theats/hatemail).

Re: Nice! (Score: 1)

by on 2014-09-08 18:39 (#2S5Q)

I did send an email simply asking a checkbox in my settings to turn it off, but it was polite and certainly wasn't threatening.

Besides thanks to Bryan, I discovered that I could add SN in my pipedot feed, so when I feel like reading it, I just go there.

Anyway, I really prefer pipedot waaaaaay more than the two others, it's elegant, nice and the articles have a much better quality.

Two things I didn't know (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-09-08 10:43 (#2S54)

Glad to hear about gravatar support and retina quality graphics. I didn't know about either of those. I'll have to go see if I can get my gravatar account working again.

I self-added my new favorite feature. Over at Soylent they had an article about favorite browser plug-ins, and I learned about It's-all-Text for Firefox, which lets you edit any text field using a real text editor. Wow, that has changed my life. So my new favorite feature is being able to type this post in emacs, which is pretty awesome.

Listing the number of new comments (Score: 3, Informative)

by on 2014-09-08 11:11 (#2S55)

I did not see it mentioned, but noticed new comment numbers are listed next to the total. That's kind of nice. :)

Feature request: systemd support (Score: 5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-08 11:24 (#2S56)


Re: Feature request: systemd support (Score: 2, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-09 03:11 (#2S68)

Are we going to have to start a "suck fystemd" movement/boycott?

Federation (Score: 5, Insightful)

by on 2014-09-08 14:24 (#2S5J)

The idea of federation is a good one - don't let the fuss over SoylentNews put you off.
Many of us want a return to the old days of communities being in control of their forums instead of web sites (see the recent discussions on Usenet, and the slashcott)
The hackers answer to this is distributed social networks but these haven't taken off - probably because most require users to install software.
OTOH you could have a distributed discussion system - like Usenet - except accessed through web front ends, provided anyone could set up a website to access it then competition would mean users are still in control.