Confused? Freaked out? Alive with pleasure? If you think you've found a bug, post to the LS 2.0 Bug Thread, or pop into IRC and see what's what.
OK, we're finally here. That took a while, but I've been promising it forever and didn't want to be a fink. I wanted to finish it up before my boy was born, and I've actually managed it, so hoorays. He's a week and one day old, and he's the one hitting the switch to go live with the new stuff.
This thread should be our migration thread -- in it, I'm going to attempt (miserably) to explain all the new features and differences, and hopefully here's where all new mysteries will be revealed to all SwarmKind via your thoughtful questioning and my hopefully-not-embarrassed-at-having-forgotten-to-keep-some-crucial-feature-around explanations. There's bound to be a plenty of meep that is broken. When you see some of it, post to the LS 2.0 Bug Thread and let me know.
There will be also be plenty of things that seem wierd that aren't actually broken because you're used to the old engine and in the last 14+ months of my laser-focused coding derangement I've gone quietly off the rails and created something too sublime and/or retarded for a casual human glance to interpret. If something wierds you out, post here and let me know.
Because this is an entirely-new engine, it gives us a chance to do a total refresh. I've kept old features that were integral, seemed well-loved or cool. You may notice stuff you liked missing. If so, post it, and we'll see about getting it in.
Firstly, all the old data was migrated over with a few exceptions noted below. (FYI, we have made over a quarter of a million comments total.)
Firstly.5, you can now change your own avatars. Please go do so now, so we can stop looking at the same old meep and enjoy some glorious new meep. Attached to your avatar? Download it to your box, plant something festive on it for the holidays, and re-upload it as your new avatar.
(Firstly.8, when I say Thing or thread, I mean one Link, Forum, or Journal. Links, Journals, Forums -- collectively, these are Things, because literally that's what the code calls them. And because you post comments to them, I also call them 'threads' interchangeably.)
Secondly, let's explain that wierd little box to the right where the sideblocks used to be. The Xray Shoutbox is the old shoutbox, plus the old Talking meep page, plus the old RSS feeds. That is to say, it's a window displaying chat and realtime system updates. Any time anything happens -- nocal submits a link, smurfbarf comments on a forum, wotak submits his 9 millionth comment and wins the "Planetary Commenters Club" achievement -- you'll see it pop up in this window, like an Xray machine for LinkSwarm. If you click the 'More' link at the bottom, you'll see the full Xray page, which is the same as the Xray shoutbox, only bigger, and it'll eventually have clickable links so you can walk backward through time if you're of a mind to.
All things now appear on the frontpage instead of forums/journals appearing in sideblocks, and act just like Links used to. This means you can...
- ClipSwarm Forums and Journals as well as Links. (Used to be just Links.)
- See Links, Forums and Journals on your RapeDAR. (Used to be just Links.)
- Get notified when someone posts to any of your things: Forums, Journals, Links. (Used to be just forum threads.)
- Etc. Literally, they're all the same basic stuff and should Just Work.
Obviously we've kept Journals. A non-tiny number of you saw a distinction between Forums and Journals so I left them in. If you don't see a distinction, then you can use either one. When in doubt, post it to the Forums.
Private Journals are nixed. They weren't really all that useful, as no one really wants to keep a private diary on LinkSwarm. People used them chiefly as a place to hold drafts, so that tells me we should have a draft feature, not private Journals. Journals marked private in the old system were not migrated over. I can grab them from a backup if you have something important in there -- a public service I both feel it important to offer and understand no one even remotely needs.
Link/Forum Categories are nixed. In their place, we have Tags. You can assign multiple Tags to a thread (currently, up to three), which is a lot cooler than having to decide what single category something belongs in. You can now click the meep Tag and see all Links, Forums and Journals tagged as meep. The frontpage shows only the first Tag in a Thing's list. All a Thing's Tags will show up on that Thing's comments page, and it'll be searchable by whatever Tags are assigned to it. We can do even do nifty combo searches, like "Show me all Links that are tagged Funny, meep and Bizarre".
Summaries: When posting a thing, the first paragraph of your description will be used as a summary. This will be visible under the thing's Title on the frontpage. This means you don't have to be super-clever about describing the whole damned thing in the title -- peeps will now also see some of the description on the front page.
- Not only are all textwars now visible on a not-just-when-I-remembered-to-update-the-page basis, but you can launch your own without my help. At least, you can launch your own free ones. Unfree textwars -- you're either not an Alpha, or you are but you've used your free monthly textwar already -- will send an email to me once you've paid, and I'll then hand you a passcode. Then you can launch the textwar on your own without my help. If there's a lot of these, I'll automate that passcode generation, so the minute you purchase the Textwar on PayPal, you'll have the passcode, and can rock out.
- The only kind of textwar currently available is the Beheading -- changing someone's avatar. The other textwars were used so infrequently that I didn't bother making them possible. meep if humans aren't some visual-meep people. Plus in the new engine at least two of them don't really make sense anymore, and there are other ideas that will make more sense, so I mostly wiped the slate clean here and we can create more Textwar methods as we come up with the ideas. For example, maybe we can create a Comic Sans font Textwar where you make some poor meep post in pink Comic Sans for a week.
- All users can now see their own things in the Alpha Queue. They can comment on their own things throughout the voting process.
- All users can see the titles of all things in the Queue, so they don't submit duplicates.
- Alphas can now comment on things as they sit in the Queue.
- When an Alpha's vote on a link is the deciding factor, they'll get a little notice telling them so (and there's an achievement tied to getting a lot of these).
- We now have an achievement system. We dreamed up probably 40-45 of these and I've got the code in for about 20 of them. Your profile page will show you the ones you've won and the ones you haven't won yet. Hope you dig these because they were a mothermeeper.
- The way I'm calculating popular things is a bit different. I was using a complicated thing where, when one of your things breaks 1000 hits, you'd get 2 rads for every 100 hits. I think that's confusing and overkill, so now, you'll get 50 rads for every link that breaks 1000 hits. This change means your rad number may change slightly -- probably increase, actually.
- Rads are now smarter about time. Instead of only being able to compare across the last three months, we can now compare across the last 90 days. This means if you rocked the meep out in December but got AIDS in January, your ranking won't immediately take a giant meep when we go from February 28 to March 1; instead, it will gradually taper off as the December days fall one by one off the back end of your running 90-day total.
- Your lifetime rad count displays with your submissions.
- Since I'm now storing rads intelligently, we can do meep like automate textwars and transfer rads among users pretty easily. (Latter feature doesn't exist yet. Post if it seems awesome.)
Scoops. If you're the first to submit a URL, you'll get free Rads every time someone else tries to submit that URL later on, cause you scooped them. This means it pays to get your meep in early, and it pays to check the queue for duplicates before submitting. - Search now uses a Google Custom Search Engine. This wasn't my first pick, since it gives me less control over the results, but my preferred way waited until I was entirely done with the entire thing and then started being a serious mothermeeper about keeping itself updated, and the Google search seems pretty solid and I technically have no complaints, so it'll handle our searching at least for the time being. Google is pretty good at search, after all.
There are three new comment controls that might be a bit confusing, so I'll describe them...
The first one is a cool paging feature.
- @ symbol (AKA twitter notation) If you say @SOME_USERNAME in a comment, the system will send that user a notification that you've said his name in a comment, along with a link to your comment. This is useful for paging people to a thread, and also lets you know when someone's quoting you. So if you post "@meepbox @vasudeva 9/11 was an inside job rite?", meepbox and I will both get notifications with a link to your comment, and will race there to agree and vilify, respectively. These next couple should save you some typing.
If you hover over someone's comment, you'll get two little pop-up clickables saying 'quote' and 'reply'. 'Reply' will put their name in your comment box so it's obvious to future readers who you're commenting to. 'Quote' will copy their name and entire comment into the comment box for you, with a clickable link to the original comment, so that once you finish your response and hit post, people can click the link in your post and jump to the post you're replying to.
This one's even better than Quote/Reply. Kind of a merge of the other two, the 'Respond' clickable pops up when you select some text from someone's comment. Clicking it does a quote of their comment using just the text you selected. Saves you typing. Just play with these and they'll make sense instantly.
- We're now using Markdown for comment formatting. Here's a wonderful demo you can use as a tutorial...
You've been able to use Markdown all along (well, since I installed that crappy/nifty live-preview commentbox), but historically I've been wishy-washy about my commitment to it, and that includes my making domeepentation on it accessible. Here's that.
Some quick notes about meep that bugs me and maybe bugs you too...
If you want to create text like this and have your linebreaks honored...
then put two blank spaces at the end of each line. This will make Markdown treat them as separate lines. If you don't put two blank spaces at the end, Markdown will do this annoying thing to them...
one two three
When in doubt, use the handy preview -- the green checkbox icon above the comment box. There are a few cases where the preview may not tell the truth and this is mostly when using the very small set of HTML tags I've left accessible. I'm willing to bet that Markdown does 99% of what we need it to and that we don't need much HTML at all. If you find you need something that isn't there, let me know, and we'll hash it out.
Linking YouTubes and such.
- I've got some code in that should preserve your YouTube embeds. In fact, you shouldn't even have to copy the embed code -- a direct link to the YouTube video should get the embed code automatically wrapped around it. This is true of a couple other video hosting domains, too, but no one cares about them.
- I'd like to get a wiki going to replace the FAQ, About Us, and etc. The plan is to have two flavors of wiki pages -- ones that admins can edit, and ones that anyone with an account and some reasonable trust level (e.g., has submitted 10 things) can edit. This way we can have known-good official docs and pages, and then we can have pages you guys can edit to be helpful or idiots as the whim strikes you.