The Recent “Improvements”

Over the past few days, I’ve been tinkering with the design of the site.

I am in the process of uninstalling the Ultimate Member suite of plugins because the UM effectively doubles our RAM use, from around 50% to 98% or more. When we hit 100%, I would have to move up to the next level of hosting services at an increase of around $20 a month, for no additional functionality.

Unfortunately, we are still depending on UM for certain functions. When I have figured out workarounds for those functions, we will be back to a 50% utilization, which will result in faster operations for everyone.

All of the CONTRIBUTORS who are currently enrolled on the site now have their own Member Pages. With Ultimate Member, everyone was forced to use the same format and a very awkward interface. Now, with the custom-designed Member Pages, I can customize them (to a certain extent) with external links, private messaging, and any other tools that I can cobble up. (Send suggestions for functions you want to have.)

You really should look at your Member Pages. Please send me a featured image that will ONLY appear on your Member Page, and whatever biographical notes you want to post on your page. Right now, I will have to set them up for you, but it is easy enough to learn how to customize these pages if you want to put in the effort.  You should also look at Rose Guastella’s page, which has been customized to feature her artwork.

To find your Member Page, go to MEMBERS>CONTRIBUTORS from the main menu.

I’ve also reinstalled two pages that used to be interesting…and may be so again.

The TOP TENS page lists the ten most popular posts in each of the 11 (ELEVEN? Why Eleven?)  topical categories, based on the number of comments earned by each article.

The GRAB BAG is just that, a random assortment of articles in each content category. 

A careful eye will discern that the plugin used on the TOP TENS page does not show the names of the authors, but the Grab Bag does. This is because the Top Tens plugin is the only one that allows us to order the posts by the number of comments, but doesn’t allow us to display the authors’ names. The Grab Bag allows us to display the authors’ names but does not allow us order the posts by the number of comments. (There may be others that do both, but I haven’t found them yet.)

Do you think I should take the author names off the Grab Bag listings so that it is consistent with the Top Tens lists?

Lastly, feedback is hereby solicited on the categories. Do categories matter at all? Am I missing any? Are they categories (like Sports) that I really don’t need?

I’ve actually had a lot of fun making these changes…but there’s another purpose behind cleaning up the site. I am planning to publish my collected writings on Bindle, using a couple of new pages, one to list the poetry and the other to list the prose work.

I am going to be encouraging others to do the same to provide a permanent home for works that might otherwise be lost in the course of time. To facilitate this, I am investigating alternative hosting systems that are cost-free, which would enable the website to continue into perpetuity, while browbeating my son into taking responsibility for managing the site and paying for the annual fees that are required.