June 22nd, 2001


I hate the overrides box.

I want to move it to the admin console ... people could do: "override_list" or "override_set <variable> <value>".

Reasons why I hate it:

  • the majority of people have figured it out now, so people are using that as an explicit reason not to pay for an account
  • it's confusing for new and current users... I still get mail asking about it.
  • it lets people set non-overridable variables, thus avoiding making a style the real way.
Any change is going to piss people off, but we need to change it.

Here's my current thought: move it to the admin console, impose restrictions (you can't override things that aren't overridable), but expand the number of things people are allowed to override ... the talk links, especially. I'll write a quick program to see what people currently override, and make sure we don't interfere with that, but disallow overriding of the whole page and such.

S2 --- people keep saying everybody will be allowed to use it, anyway, so who cares, right? Paid users will get to use more of S2 than regular users, I've decided. Free users will be allowed to do a lot, but not everything. Styles will be able to have high-level options like, "What do you want the talk links to say?" and "What side do you want the bar on, left or right?". Free users can change all that, add blocks of HTML into the page, and customize all the colors and graphics, but making a new style will still be restricted.

We need to treat paid users better, as I'm hearing an increasing amount of complaining that paid users aren't much different from free users. My goal isn't to be filthy rich, but my goal is to prevent a drop-off in the percentage of new memberships.

Also ... do we let people use styles they made after their paid account runs out? What about user pictures?

Flame away.

Hmmm... good points.

This Is A Place To Post Thoughts On Blogger, Not LiveJournal
post 82 of 94

6-21-2001, 20:50

I don't see why you LJ people are whining. Blogger is right, ya'll are cocky. The Webbies aren't for itty bitty sites, otherwise everybody could be a nominee. They're for BIG sites. And Blogger is big. I'd heard of Blogger a lot before I started Blogging, and I had never heard of LJ until one of my friends told me I had to read her friend's blog hosted at LJ.

Why would LJ be better? I have just gone and set up and LJ account to see why it's sooooo good. I didn't stick around long, but first of all, where is the option to change how your journal looks? An important part of blogging to me is the ability to attempt to make my blog look good. Maybe I just missed this feature. And then the way the entries are set up, it's for dummies! Having to have a place to stick a title? People ought to be able to do that. Even if you can't do HTML, this isn't hard. The features that Blogger offers (like a SPELL CHECK) seem to me to be much more important to the blogging expirience, so I advice all of you to blog there.

Besides, the goat on the LJ page is ugly.

(from the webby awards blogger comments .... some very good points on why LJ sucks)

A *second* webby award??!

It's 7:30 pm and we are only about 100 votes from taking the lead for a second Webby nomination, where we trail PayPal in the services category by only 2%! We're closing the gap... can we take first place tonight?

If everyone who voted for us in the personal category also voted for us in the services category, we'd be way ahead by now! Are you *sure* you voted in both categories? If you aren't, please check.

Take a minute and help LJ this evening. Write us in for a Webby in the Services, Personal site, and Community categories! If you really want to help out, copy this post into your journal or into your communities. Spread the word and get out the vote!

Iterative Improvement

LJ's site navigation and text needs to be rearchitected.

But nobody will ever do it.

Everybody volunteers, but nobody follows through.

The solution isn't to totally scrap it and start from scratch. That's too big of a project for anybody to do. Just take one page at a time and improve it... bring the information up-to-date, simplify, elaborate, whatever.

LJ needs good volunteers for stuff like this. Don't tell me you're going to work on it, though ... that only gets my hopes up. Just do it ... then mail me. I may not take your change fully, or I may not take it at all, but I'll have comments on how to improve it, and at least stuff will be getting done.

I'd like to point out alanj, martmart, opiummmm, and halkeye for doing some excellent work on the code lately ... I get tons of mail from them with actual changes and fixes. It's wonderful. But I think more people could be doing this on non-code parts of the site.
  • jnala

Getting biz and dev to play nice

kibbles wrote an interesting comment to my last post, to the effect that it's sometimes frustrating to be a nontechnical LJ contributor when you need guidance or resources from the dev side of the house but don't get it.

I think this is a real problem. Most hackers find it more interesting to do things that are technically interesting than technically noninteresting, and when you're working for love rather than money, the motivation to do boring necessities can be even lower. I'm not an exception here. I don't think Brad is either.

However, there's an awful lot of noise from people who have ideas but aren't necessarily going to put in the work to follow through on them. When people are talking about code, it's pretty easy to tell who's who. I'll pay a lot more attention to someone who shows me code additions or patches, or at least some signs of having read existing code with a vaguely clueful eye, than someone random.

But in the case of nontechnical stuff, I find it really difficult to identify the people with both talent and perseverance. If someone asks the group for assistance, or analysis of various ideas, I might let it slide. I have a lot of stuff to work on that I know will benefit LJ, and spending solid effort in response to something that might be idle thoughts leading nowhere is just frustrating.

For this reason, I'm a lot more likely to take someone seriously if they demonstrate that they've done work up front. You want to do a mass mailing about the Webbys? Cool! Draft an email, come up with proposals for future emails and how often they'll happen and who's allowed to send them, make a definite commitment to do the routine mailing list administration (or find someone who'll do it), etc. None of this has to be correct, and you should expect all of it to be quibbled over and edited endlessly by the hordes of kibitzers... but get something on the table. Make it clear that if I set up the mailing list server, and provide addresses, that this will happen; that it's worth my while. This will drastically increase the likelihood that I pay attention.

This is actually a bogus example, because I don't have the permissions to set up a mailing list server on livejournal.com. :-) Brad or Dormando would have to do that. But I suspect their minds work in similar ways.

The web page texts are the same thing. Our front page sucks! Someone rewrite it, already! Don't ask about it, just do it! Worry about the protocol for uploading it and how to integrate it with the rest of the site LATER!

(Hmmm, that gives me an idea; write a horrifically bad front page design, and have Brad threaten to actually use it unless people come up with something better. We'd have a dozen submissions within a week.)