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Big site update! New blogging tools, new social stuff

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Power to the people

I hate when Facebook moves stuff around. You get comfortable, you just want to go in and do your business, and stuff's not quite where it used to be. So, it's interesting to be on the opposite side of that where my so-called cool ideas with all the best intentions will drive somebody batty. I get it. But bear with me: some of you are very skeptical-pants about this update because we got a lot of it done in a crazy weekend code jam. Do try them out for a week and see if they grow on you. 

This update is not as random or unplanned as it seems: As some of you might know, I've started to transform the site for friendlier mobile use back in April. Today we unveil a ton of new features to bring the Dtoid community's funniest and finest more front and center without having to wait for their cblog to be promoted, some of which are designed primarily for mobile interaction while others are pieces of old projects revived (yay infinite scroll is back!). 

Let's jump right in to my favorite feature: The Lovefest

LOVEFEST

The awesomest update is Lovefest Mode: which mixes community updates right on the home page. If you prefer a more social Destructoid, you can make this your home page (I already have). One of the most-requested community features was moving the cblogs sidebar higher on the page, so this is that on steroids. It's a little funky right now because we're rendering various parts of the site together, but we'll make it prettier in the coming days.

Thus, we put microblogs and community blogs front and center with LoveFest Mode. We know two things from analyzing site behavior: people don't really use the filtering/fap count buttons as much as they scroll and click in the things that appear in their natural path. People don't really click on stuff as much as they just scroll scroll scroll until something warrants their attention.

We think the most-followed Dtoid Bloggers should be shown more prominently there, which brings us to a reboot of the faps system and the underused follow system (we'll come back to this)

COMMUNITY BLOGS ABOUT SPECIFIC GAMES 

If you view a story about a specific game, it will appear in the new "what the community thinks" area on the right while you are browsing home page stories. This feature is a little obscure right now and will get future updates as we improve the community blogs editor. The idea is to get community content out of the /blogs/ section and more in people's natural path of browsing the site. Like LoveFest mode, that puts your stuff front and center. NOT AFRAID. Actually it's kind of terrifying but our moderation team is incredible or I'd never sleep at night.

 

LIVE ACTIVITY TAB

A cooler comments tracker: see who upvoted stuff, who replied to whom, who liked a post, and so forth, updated every few seconds. The Quickpost and Activity tabs require you to leave those pages to reply right now, but in future updates you'll be able to reply inline. That stuff is harder to build. Aren't you glad we shipped this today instead of waiting a few months before the whole thing is done? Move fast, break stuff, ship things!

QUICK POST AKA STATUS UPDATES

The quickpost idea came from a few people wanting to blog from their phone, but our concern is that short phone-based blogs might not be welcome alongside epic long-form posts, so we split the two into different areas of the site.

You can now post a sort of "super comment" on a wall called QuickPosts. We hope this micro-blogging system will be the gateway drug to getting people to post longer form blogs, or at least get their personalities out there beyond the comments. Right now it kind of looks like the cblogs but we're crafting its own look and feel in the coming days. You can add videos and photos to Quick Posts using BBcode - try it right now (top right of this page)

 

INLINE LONGFORM REPLY TO COMMUNITY BLOGS

We may reverse the display of this (where the Cblog reply is the parent and the original is the sublink) but the idea is to connect same-topic community blogs together. It's also an interesting idea to "bump" posts that get cblog replies. We're working on it.

YOU CAN UPVOTE MORE THAN ONCE

Before you freak out: if you've earned 50+ faps in the past the new term for that is 50+ fappers (people who came and upvoted your blog once). You can still count them the same way you used to. Deep breath. Are you still with me? Ok! I think that was the most contested change.

It sounds crazy, I know. With good reason some users were really concerned about this one. Let's use an analogy to explain why having two dimensions of likes seemed like such an obviously good idea that we didn't hesitate to implement it.

One friend throwing as much bacon as they own at your face. You can count your friend or count the bacon. Both things are counted. Both things are good. Now three of your friends show up, and they had twice as much bacon as your first friend. But you can still easily count three friends. And so much more bacon than before.

What if you don't even like bacon? We'll give you different ways to sort upvote behaviors.

I think people saw the upvotes change and did not realize upvotes are tallied at the bottom of the post, distributed by people. We can still sort the page by unique number of fappers.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the blog has 7 fans/fappers (in the past this would just say 7 total faps) but has many more faps -- these 7 people really liked this post, and all those people or some definitely have some followers so they pooled 80 upvotes/bacons/faps/etc. This introduces two dimensions on which we can visually represent a popular post. The third would obviously be showing view counts, and being able to sort by the community posts that have the highest views. Just more cool ways to discover the very best of the blogs, while the default view remains democratically sorted by date by default. Best of both worlds.

We already know that the number of upvotes that a blog receives means that's an amazing blog worth reading, and we continue to count that by displaying the number of fappers displayed under the upvotes. (That's not clickable/filterable yet). I hope I explained that correctly.

It's not likely going to change things too dramatically as currently 99% of Destructoid users only have 1 fap power. If you're getting a lot of likes it means an influential bloggers have visited your posts. 

Those with great power now have great responsibility. You don't have to fap more than once. Know when to quit it or you'll go blind.

AN INCENTIVE TO FOLLOW MORE CBLOGGERS: BACON

If how many people showed up to upvote a post, that's what? Popularity? Kinship?

Another controversial addition, but again bear in mind that we can still view the number of fappers that fapped one story (old-school style), so it's just an added data point: Influence.

We do have a few rockstars that we want to give the power to curate and recommend more great content, but for that to happen right now it means those blogs need to be read by everybody. What if one Legendary Dtoider could pseudo-promote another cblog? That's the heart of multiple upvotes based on what a badass blog they've self-cultivated over the years.

You can harvest more faps from Destructoid's most active community bloggers: every follower you have gives you +1 fap power. The obvious benefit is that it incentivizes people to use the underused follow function, which in turn makes your c-blogs more widely read. As we add more features to the new LoveFest, Live, and Notifications functions we hope that community bloggers will get more views than hoping to rank above blogs with high total of fappers.

Obviously, none of this stuff has been done before. We get that some people will want to reduce these features as a popularity contest, and that's a valid concern ... but big picture it's what I'd call a moot point. There were already ways to see the most popular bloggers prior to this, and all social sites have some form of popularity-driven metrics. We just want to continue to encourage multiple ways for the best, funniest, most popular content to surface.

What I do think is cool is that we now have different ways to look at which blogs are the most appreciated without having to add downvotes. I really don't want to add downvotes.

THE RETURN OF LEADERBOARDS

For those of you who remember that we had leaderboards in 2007 we're bringing those back but with deep categorization using tags and products, so you can be the king of some weirdly specific thing of the site. The competition for the top spot and badge for the Gardevoir hashtag leaderboard is going to be steep. 

Making universal features like badges, leaderboards, and so on require that the Destructoid site conversation happens on one platform. For reasons like this it meant we had to close our Vbulletin forums (but we'll import all that back in, I promise). 

I know some of you think leaderboards are not a good idea but my memory of them is that Jim Sterling came out of nowhere from the cblogs and dominated them until we had so much site traffic that our early software would kill the server crunching them. So they're a good thing, period.

SPAM IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ISSUE, WE'RE ON IT

Yep, some of the features were already attacked by spammers. As a reminder, Vbulletin forums attracted so much ungodly amounts of spam that it required manual approval of every user, making them post 10 times before they're visible to other humans. The more popular our site gets the more attacks it will attract. We're very focused on solving this problem.

As expected, our microblogging platform is already under attack by spam but we intend to fight them to the death to keep our site open. Spammers appear to have been seeding accounts without any activity and revive them later to get around our 90-day Akismet Spam Filter. We're doing a database purge to detect dormant accounts in our userbase to get the bad guys out.

That's it for the new features. In the interest of answering a lot of the quickposts and cblog concerns, I've put together a mini-FAQ about the changes:

 

ARE QUICKPOSTS THE SAME AS COMMUNITY BLOGS?

No! Of course, they're built from the same software, but they'll start to look different over time as we add more interactivity.  

As the internet becomes more mobile we think people will want to post shorter, quicker updates. This gets us there.

Of course, people come to Destructoid to read thoughtfully crafted blogs, so we hope it doesn't take away from the community blogs at all, which we have been promoting many of lately thanks to our new ace moderators and community teams.

 

ARE QUICKPOSTS REPLACING THE FORUMS?

Microblogging isn't meant to replace the forums. The only two things they have in common is that we didn't give everyone two weeks notice that we were doing either, and since emotions are still running high some users have taken this personally. This is for mobile users who want to post for their followers, and for general horsing around without spamming the cblogs.

 

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE FORUMS?

It's unlikely we'll ever have another Destructoid Vbulletin site, but the site was archived as Outer Heaven. There are plans to shut it down completely, but we would much rather prefer to keep online as its own thing without trying to force it to be coherent with Destructoid's core software and staff. As long as you're not being a dick, you can post whatever you want, which applies to all our sites. Either way, future Destructoid forum will be cohesive with LoveFest and Live Activity without needing multiple accounts and constant sync.

 

YOUR IDEAS: KEEP 'EM COMING

Awesome, we want to hear it. Yes, I know there are many other ways we can become a more popular site, (like stuffing Chris and the only dev kits we've been leased into a cloning laboratory) but most ideas require resources we simply don't have, or some cobwebs are so technically complex that they can't be done. We think some experimentation is healthy but please remember we're a very small team: your patience is virtue. We know some bugs are likely to pop up and do try to answer every support email within 24 hours.

I'd like to remind folks that for the last few years we've had a suggest a feature thing where the best ideas can be upvoted. I'm sure I can do a better job of communicating what's coming at the risk of making people anxious about things we may or may not do in the very near future. I think it's worse to promise things that I can't deliver quickly, like the many things that have been suggested here but we don't yet have the right scaffolding to implement (yet).

At the very least, here's an olive branch and general idea of the next few upgrades planned for the community parts of the site:

 

FUTURE POSSIBLE UPDATES TO QUICKPOSTS 

Just thinking out loud: we can possibly link and import other gaming-related microblogging updates and notifications (like what you're playing on Xbox Live, when you've gone live on your Twitch channel, etc). Really open to your suggestions here. The obvious one is Twitter, but perhaps filtered strictly by hashtags or throttled in some way. You should upvote some stuff if you're interested in this feature.

As for other parts of the site: the front page side bar isn't supposed to loop, and the community blogs area on that sidebar needs quickpost vs. c-blog filtering. Users will have the ability to make modern galleries like this one on your own blogs. We'll be taking quick posts out of the blog manager. The c-blog editor needs post scheduling, bump-defense, and open tagging, and photo uploading needs to be more painless.

Ok, that was a four-hour blog to write! The next few updates will be communicated via Quickposts, so be sure to keep an eye out from posts from Tom or myself.  

See you in the Lovefest!

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Niero Gonzalez
Niero GonzalezMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I keep Destructoid weird. Also I'm a playable character in Retro City Rampage, look: (along with the whole 2009 Dtoid Editorial team) Sometimes I have a villainous mustache My dog CoCo chec... more + disclosures


 


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