Site construction

posted in: Updates | 20

You may have noticed a few changes here and there on the Biofortified Blog and across the website. We are hard at work making major improvements. We’re getting a much faster host, testing a responsive website design, switching comments to Disqus, moving to a better forum, developing special subscriber pages, cleaning up our about pages, and much more. There might be some growing pains, so we thank you for your patience and invite you to contact us if you notice any issues.

The most important thing you may have noticed is that we have switched from the default WordPress comment system to Disqus. Our 13,000+ approved comments are currently being indexed, but should reappear on the Biofortified Blog soon. You have likely seen Disqus comments at other websites, including NPR, The Atlantic, and Grist among many others. While every tool has its drawbacks*, we believe this will give users more control over their own comments. And you can now add images and other attachments to comments! You can learn more about Disqus and create an optional account at disqus.com. You can also log in to comment using Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Give it a try in the comments below!

Construction barrel monster. Image by Eric Merrill via Flickr.
He’s not as mean as he looks. Construction barrel monster. Image by Eric Merrill via Flickr.

*Disqus makes money by collecting data from its users (hey, everyone has to make a living somehow, and they do offer a good product). So privacy concerns may be a drawback for some. Not to worry, you can opt out of data collection. You can post as a guest. Or, simply create a Disqus account, go to account settings, and configure the personalization settings.

Update (July 21): We have transferred our forum to a new home, which should look and function better than the old one, and will be more visible to search engines and for sites such as rbutr and others! Find the new home for the Biofortified Forums here.

Follow Anastasia Bodnar:

Anastasia is Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. and the Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. She has a PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her favorite produce is artichokes! Disclaimer: Anastasia's words are her own and views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of her employer. She is not paid to blog or conduct any social media activities. Mention of a company or product does not indicate endorsement.

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  • mem_somerville

    I was waiting to comment on the forum until the changes rolled out. Are they solid at this point? I’m having trouble with the tweets appearing in the last thread I created. And I can’t find some of the old ones (I’ve been searching for the “patent” one from a while back). Search results are borked right now, it seems.

    • Thanks for letting us know about the search issue. I will look into it. It does not seem to be working for the forum!

      • Unfortunately the forum search issue has not been resolved by the theme developer and they aren’t planning to do anything at this time. We either need a new forum, perhaps separate from Biofortified’s site or to have a web developer solve the problem.

  • This is my first visit to biofortified.org and also the first time for me to make a comment here. I don’t know much about the former site, but as far as I see, this site is great and I like it. Great work done.

    Candy Swift
    Creative Biolabs

  • I’d like to take the pulse of our readers when it comes to Discus vs native WordPress comments. There are certainly pros and cons to each method. What do you like about Discus, if anything? What don’t you like?
    If there are specific things people do like, we may be able to recreate some of those features with plugins.

    • mem_somerville

      I like being able to edit the comments, because invariably the link is broken or you notice a typo as soon as you press “post”….. My kingdom for a proper preview button.

      On the other hand, that can be bad because people can edit their bad claims to after they’ve made them, rendering the downstream comments to appear off-base if it was challenged, you know?

      I dislike the disqus link-to-comment options. Because of the way comments load only when you open the page, sending someone a link to comments makes it hard to get to the right one you were talking about. Especially in those 500+ comment types of discussions. But I don’t do that very often, and it’s not so much of an issue here.

      I like the threading. People seem to understand and use the “reply” better in disqus than some other comments software. It is easy to use and does formatting and linking decently.

      So I’d say for me it’s a mixed bag. I can live with it, and if it’s easier for you guys to manage, it’s fine.

      • We did have a terrible time with people not using the reply button before.
        Edit – I’m testing editing this post. Can you tell that I edited it?

        • mem_somerville

          No, I don’t see any indication that it’s been edited. Yeah, at least if it was flagged as edited that would help.

      • I think we can do a preview button with a plugin for native WordPress comments…

    • Ewan_R

      I rather enjoy that one can see what else people are talking about.

      It can offer… insights.

      Although often not ones that it is polite to bring up.

  • Benjamin Edge

    One thing I don’t like about WordPress is you can’t “like” a comment unless you are a blogger (have WordPress acct). At least that has been my experience on the sites I’ve seen. Discus has its problems, but it seems to give a more consistent feel across a lot of sites.

    • The consistency is nice! and I think that speaks to Mary’s comment that people know how to use it. Probably because they have seen it before on many other sites.

  • My 3 big issues:
    1) The sidebar “recent comments” links to the post page, not the comment like it used to do. I have no idea which comment is the new one. “Sort by Newest” is an option but that is for threads, not for the comments underneath.
    2) Having to log into Disqus when I am already logged into WordPress. But It’s probably a feature for most people to just log into Disqus, not Biofortified.
    3) I think our comment numbers have been down since we instituted Disqus, but there are so many confounding factors that I can’t say for sure if the issue is Disqus or something else.

    • Wackes Seppi

      Fourth
      issue: if you write your comment with a word processor and copy-paste
      into Disqus, the latter will cut the lines in a very strange and
      annoying way.

      More
      generally, could you have some empathy for readers with a poor
      eyesight and print text in plain black?

      Shorter
      lines also make reading easier. The GLP layout is a fine example.

      PS: I used to sign André

      • Tom

        I tend to “pre-type” in TextEdit (Mac – I guess NotePad should work just as well for PC) and copy-paste without any issues.

      • Ah that is annoying.
        I’ll see how difficult it would be to switch the text to black, thank you for the feedback.
        The new theme is “responsive” which means that the text will get skinnier as you decrease the width of your browser window, so you can customize the text width.
        PS Hi André 🙂

    • Mlema

      I have noticed issue #1 as well. Also, if someone provides a link, when you follow it and then try to go back to the comments, you’re also at the post page header instead of the comment you were reading.

      In general it appears as if the discussions that follow each post have been somewhat subjugated by the new format.

      • Mlema

        But I do like that my comments post in the spot where I “reply” – whereas formerly they would often drop to the bottom of the page.

  • Tom

    Um, maybe I missed something… where do we log in to start new threads in the forum? (Found this gem at the Guardian website: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/23/hawaii-birth-defects-pesticides-gmo )