Friday, 12 February 2010

Site Updates and How to Post Your Comments

Hopefully you'll have noticed a gradual improvement in the appearance and content of this blog.

Those of you who were with me from the start may well remember the bland 'all white' look of the site. Things have moved on a bit from those minimalist beginnings, and I'm beginning to feel more happy about the way the blog's looking. I know that it still doesn't have enough video, audio or pictures, but I'm always on the lookout for how it can be improved so that it is a more attractive site to visit.

There are two new improvements to the site I wanted to tell you about. After each post, you'll now see a 'Reactions' tool. This allows you, by clicking in the box next to the description that best fits your reaction to the story, to give instant feedback on what you thought about what you've just read. It's helpful to me to see what people are interested in and what they're not. And it'll be interesting for other people viewing the site to see which stories have generated the most interest. So the next time you read something you like, or don't like, let everyone else know by registering your reaction!

If you've wished that there was some way to be automatically notified of when this blog gets updated (and you're not technically minded enough to subscribe to my RSS feed), then you'll be pleased to know that there now is. Email me (dan - but without the space between my first and surname) and you will be automatically notified by this blog every time I post a new story, saving yourself time logging on to the site only to find the same story still at the top of the page, and getting to read the new stories as soon as I post them.

I have one further request to make regarding people adding 'Comments' on to the stories that I post. It's not a new feature on the blog, but it is one that's woefully underused. I guess you come to this site because you're interested in what I've written. I am equally interested in what you think. So if you've always wanted to post a comment, but don't know how to, here's the straightforward guide:
  • The last ten stories that I've posted always appear on the homepage of the blog. The title of each of those stories is actually a clickable link (eg. the title of the story immediately below this one is "What the Parish Council Will Cost You"). If you've read a story that you want to comment on, click on the title of that story.
  • This will take you to a new page containing just that one story that you clicked on (the rest of the blog page will look exactly the same). Scroll to the bottom of the story and you'll see a heading "Post a Comment" followed by an empty box.
  • Type whatever comment you wish to make (good or bad!) in that empty box.
  • Underneath the box, you'll see another heading "Comment as:" with a down-pointing arrow next to it. Click on the down arrow.
  • You'll be presented with a list of up to eight options, but you only really need to concern yourself with the bottom two. If you want to add your name to the comment you made, select the second from bottom "Name/URL" and then type your name in the box that pops up (and then click "Continue"); or select "Anonymous" and your comments will be posted without you having to say who you are.
  • Finally, click on "Post Comment" and that's all there is to it.

And if you think that this sounds complicated, try it once and you'll realise just how simple and obvious it actually all is.

Once people start posting comments, these will appear at the bottom of the each post they relate to. Have a look at my 1 February 'Scrutiny Review' story as a good example of this.

Blogs become really interesting when there's a regular exchange of differing views and opinions, so I'm calling on my regular readers to set an example and let's start having a conversation!

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