Site Changes

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Hi all. I just wanted to give you all a heads-up about two coming changes to Thurrott.com and our sister site, Petri.com. We’re hoping to implement these changes in the next day or so, but certainly by the end of the weekend.

The first is related to comments.

As you probably know, we currently have separate comments for Premium and non-Premium members. We did this for good reasons, but the result is a custom component that bogs down the site performance. And we’ve wanted to change this to a more traditional comments system to allow for more natural and fluid discussions for a while now.

So, going forward, we will be using a more standard commenting system. This will be properly nested and threaded, answering long-standing complaints. It will be much faster overall. And previous articles will display existing comments correctly commingled.

There is one bit of bad news, however: Premium badges will temporarily all be the same color, meaning that those who chose a custom color will lose that, at least for now. That will be fixed soon, however.

The second change is related to the mobile version of the websites.

Google recently announced a page experience update to its site ranking system, and the current versions of our websites rank poorly using this new system. As a result, we are moving to Google AMP (which is no longer an acronym but used to stand for Accelerated Mobile Page). The new mobile sites will have cleaner, faster new themes for the home pages and article pages. (And I think they look great, for whatever that’s worth.)

Thanks!

Paul

Comments (35)

35 responses to “Site Changes”

  1. Avatar

    erichk

    "Is this gonna raise the price of beer?"


    "No."


    "Then what do we care?" -- Norm Peterson :-)

  2. Avatar

    wunderbar

    Personally, I will miss the separated premium comments, but I get it. Maintaining custom code/site elements is not ideal. If it means resources can be more efficiently directed, then it is a net win.

  3. Avatar

    dftf

    Another thing: maybe revise the error-message displayed when trying to adding an image or URL to a comment? Currently, it just says "Something went wrong.", which is rather generic, and makes the user think the issue is their-side, such as browser settings or blockers. I'm guessing it should say "Sorry, adding links is only available to Premium members" or similar?

  4. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    First, I am glad to hear about the combining of comments and the improved experience. I REALLY hope there will be a fix for the notifications system, which has never really been stable. There are a ton of other enhancements I would like to see as well (just visit the TWiT Community forum as a point of comparison).

    Second, I am very disappointed to hear about moving to Google AMP. I appreciate the desire to improve site ranking, but my understanding is that a website can be optimized to perform better-- and as a result improve its ranking-- without specifically using AMP. Maybe this is some kind of interim step to jump start performance enhancements? Hopefully so, and that it is not a vote (however reluctantly) for Google's proprietary system over open web standards.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      If we don't adhere to what Google requires, we can be erased from the web, basically. Someone in an antitrust regulatory role should look into that, come to think of it. Anyway. The AMP site looks great.
  5. Avatar

    j5

    Cool! Looking forward to the site upgrades, thanks for the update!

  6. Avatar

    sherlockholmes

    Oh good. My subcription is coning up again in about a wekk. Will ad another year :-)
  7. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    No way to edit comments. No way to delete comments. No way to represent line breaks. No way to handle boldface, italics, etc. How long with the new pre-alpha commenting system be like this?
    • Avatar

      George Coll

      We sincerely appreciate your comments and they are fair. This update isn't meant to be a consolation prize for our members and community. It is a necessary change that had to happen right away. It will provide much needed agility for the team to develop both basic and new features, not to mention, the dramatic improvement in site performance that we are already realizing. Thank you!
  8. Avatar

    wright_is

    The one thing I'm really missing is the ability to edit my posts. I am mildly dyslexic and often only spot errors once I've posted and come back later and re-read the posts. I have already had a couple of times where I have sworn at the screen, because I have spotted an error and can't change it.

    Otherwise the change is positive so far.

  9. Avatar

    vladimir

    I think the new website looks good and it's way faster than before. The unified comments are also great. Of course we look forward to the possibility of editing/deleting posts but I guess it's just a matter of time. Thank you for the good work

  10. Avatar

    crownseven

    AMP is terrible. You do realize if you use amp google will just host your amp page on google meaning anyone clicking on an AMP link from google search will not be going to Thurrot but rather stay within googles ecosystem and your site will not be credited with that page hit?


    This is a terrible decision and you should replace your IT staff immediately if they are the ones recommending this.


    See here for more reasons why this is a terrible idea. And ironically uts using amp as well.


    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/ecrzvp/eli5_what_are_amp_pages_and_whats_bad_about_them/

  11. Avatar

    locust_infested_orchard_inc.

    To read that the commenting system shall be receiving an overhaul is most welcome, as the current setup has numerous flaws, many of which have been randomly discussed, scattered across the articles here.


    As I recall, prior to the current commenting system, this site used Disqus. The decision to migrate from Disqus to the in-house commenting system was to segregate the premium comments from those of the plebs. As Paul seems to acknowledge now, a traditional commenting system shall allow for a more "natural and fluid discussion". Indeed it shall, moreover, the commentariat shall become more engaged as both premium and non-premium members will be able to exchange views and opinions.


    I welcome your decision Paul, if long overdue. 😊👍

  12. Avatar

    wright_is

    That is good new, regarding the comments. I expect that it was a lot of effort to make the custom comments section and it always had a few quirks, such as your comments often not relating back to the original comment and comments to lvthunder often appearing dislocated at the top of comments.

    That is a lot of work for a dev, especially when there are complete solutions out there that allow the dev to concentrate on more important things.

  13. Avatar

    dftf

    Thanks for the update, Paul!


    I've never understood why Premium and Non-Premium comments were separated; I've never found any-other website that works in this way. And to view Premium comments on an article, as a free-member, you have to use up one of the three free monthly acticle views.


    Glad to hear the comments will finally be threaded properly too... though any-chance of also explaining what the difference is between the red heart icon and the black? I'm assuming it's when one of the site owners like a comment, as it clearly doesn't mean "most-popular comment" as you can easily find articles where the red heart comment isn't the most-liked overall.


    On an area you didn't mention though -- the forums. Any chance of making it so a forum-post gets auto-locked say one month after the last comment so years-old dormant ones cannot suddenly get resurrected from the dead? Again, something most other websites do as-standard with their forums...

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      We had good reasons for it. They made less sense in execution than in theory. We can't touch the forums yet because it's a different system. I'm not sure what you mean by black heart. :)

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