10/26/2022: I’ve been tinkering with the site and made some changes I want to tell you about.
Rose Guastella has been posting her artwork on Et Cetera instead of Graphic Arts. That made a lot of sense to me because, for one thing, I haven’t built a category page for artwork yet.
That got me thinking. We don’t have enough content in Digests, Graphic Arts, Fiction, Poetry, or Music to justify building separate pages for those categories. I decided to dump that content into Et. Cetera.
As a result, everything in those categories will appear in Et. Cetera until such time that we have enough content to support additional pages.
For now, I would like to encourage you to use the specific categories – Digest, etc. – when posting that type of material. That way, when Et. Cetera becomes overloaded with content, I will be able to break up the category by creating new category pages.
THE SIDEBAR EXPERIMENT
I’ve also been tinkering with the sidebar, which is pretty obvious, I guess. The three sections – Recent Comments, Most Read, and Grab Bag have a couple of differences. The Recent Comments plugin does not allow me to adjust the size of the icon. The Most Read/Grab Bag plugin does not allow me show the author’s name. I had another plugin that did that but the plugin doesn’t seem to be working anymore so I had to replace it.
Looking for feedback about the color scheme. I am using those bright colors to spruce up the pages but perhaps I should have been conservative and used shades of gray. The point is to attract the eye toward additional content.
I am in the process of building out Author Archive Pages, one for each contributor, that will list all of your posts in chronological order, most recent first. The existing member pages are a pain in the ass for several reasons, both for the users and for me, so this seems like a better approach.
When you get an email from me with a link to your Author Page, please send me a discernable headshot (Kosh, I’m looking at you) and a brief biographical sketch. Also, if you want an option that will allow you to view your content in alphabetical order, please express that preference to me and I will see if I can do that.
Remember that the author archive pages will only work if you remember to put your byline in tags and – PLEASE – don’t add any other tags to your posts. Tags do nothing to draw search engine attention because the algorithm is heavily biased to favor posts with the most clicks on them and posts coming from the most heavily trafficked sites. I’ve tested this out a number of times and I always get the same result. Nothing.
Someone asked me why I have to keep tinkering with the site. If I don’t do that, I will eventually forget how to fix the site when it breaks. Better to keep in practice.
10/16/2022 I have found the copy protection plugin – which prevents people from copying anything on the site – to be a real pain in the butt because it also prevents us from copying and pasting stuff into articles and comments, so I have removed it for the time being.
If anyone really thinks we need copy protection on Bindle, please use the comments on this post to tell me why. If it is really needed, I will try to figure out a workaround.
OCTOBER 8, 2022: I have been tinkering with advertising and the Google system blew up on me and went wild. I have turned the ads off but it can take up to an hour for that to take effect. I will check back later to see if the change has taken effect.
AUGUST 12, 2022
Major changes in the formatting have taken place but you might not even notice them. I have now introduced the author’s name to the category post listings. Go to CONTENTS (which used to be categories) and pick any category (except About BindleSnitch) and you will see the author’s name directly below the title. This improvement was facilitated by a change that WordPress made that added the author variable to the standard widget layout.
AUGUST 10, 2022
Do not use tags for anything other than your byline. We are using tags to build better author pages. Please make sure that you enter your byline with the same exact spelling each time you post an article. The best way to do this is to click on the suggested name when you begin to enter your byline.
Adding additional tags does nothing to increase your visibility to the web crawlers but it does confuse our software. Langston Hughes does not write for BindleSnitch (although I wish he could.)
June 7, 20022
Today, I learned how to circumvent one of the serious deficiencies in BindleSnitch. I can now create user pages using the author name instead of having to use the tags to identify authors for the list. This requires turning a specific plugin off and on as needed but it seems to be working pending further tests. This corrects a major impediment, and I only found it by accident.
May 2, 2022
I have completed the front page revisions. We now have the author’s name and the publication date and the entire insert is now linked to the article. I could have added the category and the number of comments but I really don’t see how that adds any real functionality. Nobody really cares about the categories an article is in. The purpose of the categories was to assign articles to different tranches for easier storage and retrieval. The next step is going to be creating author pages that list all of the author’s articles.
April 26, 2022
We have moved this link from the left side of the home page to the right side of the home page to make room for a welcome message on the left side of the page aimed at new visitors. We are also getting ready to switch designs to the test page which is looking better and better to us.
April 25, 2022
The current home page has been updated to include the author’s name …but there is an alternative home page that I have been experimenting with. Visit the new home page and post your feedback. The differences are subtle but I think they are significant. Which home page do you like better?
April 19, 2022
Well, I fiddled around a little more, switched to yet another plugin and fiddled some more and now the post listings are almost exactly the way I always wanted them to look. If you are posting new articles, which no one seems to be doing any longer, then please double-check your images AFTER you have published the articles…and also make sure that your excerpts aren’t too long, 0kay. Why do I get the feeling that I am talking only to myself?
April 17, 2022
After I don’t know how many failed attempts, I have finally…finally…managed to re-structure the home page so that posts listed on the home page now have the author’s name where it belongs, right under the name of the article. It would be better if the author’s name came first but the plug-in I am now using doesn’t have that option. This is a real milestone event for Bindlesnitch because the inability to list the authors’ names was a major impediment to the development of the site. The next project is to clean up the categories so that everything appears where it should.
April 14, 2022
It appears that the “sticky post” designation no longer works. It was supposed to keep posts marked sticky at the top of the feed. In order to keep BindleSnitch Updates at the top of the scroll, I had to modify the home page design extensively, using trial and error to achieve the desired result. I am considering re-inserting the most popular scroll by category so that you can choose between most recent and most popular on both the home page and the category pages. I will send an email requesting feedback on this. I have also written a new recruitment post called, “Why BindleSnitch?” which focuses on the immediate benefit to the user who wants to compose longer articles. Check it out and send feedback.
I have down-checked access for web crawlers. This is an experiment to determine if this can also dissuade AI Censorship from tracking back from a posting on a social media account to a post on BindleSnitch. I am also hoping that this will also cut back on the number of spammers who are trying to nest on BindleSnitch.
I have also reinstalled the copy protection scheme. This prevents anyone from highlighting and copying the textual content and images on BindleSnitch. If you need to copy from your own work, go to the back end and load the article you wish to copy from. If you want to copy something from another member’s article, simply drop them a note asking them to clip the excerpt and send it to you, and vice versa.
April 12, 2022
After around eight hours of trial and error, I have managed to revise the logo and the main menu to something that I think works better in terms of adding popularity. The old logo and menu bar were simply not strong enough, in my opinion. A number of menu choices have been moved to a dropbox under MEMBERS. This includes the log-in, log-out, new post, profile, and directory. Note that visitors will have access to this menu choice. I am going to be adding a welcome page, called Welcome and another choice for additional departments, fiction, poetry, art, and whatever else I can think of that makes sense.
April 8, 2022:
A long time ago, I turned free comments off because of the spammers. I am now turning them back on again, which means that anyone can comment. If spammers attack any of your posts let me know and I will attempt to bar that person from the site. I re-opened free comments to attract more people to comment. Comments require a user name and an email address…but it is a lot less cumbersome than trying to get people to sign on as members. After the first instance, the system will remember the visitor if they opt to save their credentials.
April 6, 2022
The tags have all been removed from the posts. If you want me to build a page for your posts, you will have to go into the posts that you want to show on your page and insert your byline into the tags. Eventually, I will start deleting the posts that have not been tagged with your byline. You can post without inserting an excerpt but, when you do that, the system will grab the first 25 words of text from your article. This reinforces the old journalistic truism…that the first paragraph of an article should summarize the content to follow. You can still insert a custom written excerpt but the system will pull an excerpt out of your article if you don’t insert your own.