cvillenews.com Software Upgraded

This evening, I hastily brought forth the Impending Upgrade(tm) and switched the software that runs cvillenews.com. (For the geeks out there, it was running PHP-Nuke, and now it’s running PostNuke.) I’m distinctly unhappy about this, but it had to happen. I’d hoped to be able to upgrade quite smoothly. Instead, we’ve got an ugly beige site with all kinds of weird options remaining to be configured and/or removed, new URLs that don’t even map to the old ones (translation: broken links), and I had to move the site to a new server yet again. The big change that this brings about is the end to anonymous posting. For the full scoop, click the headline, or however the heck you read the attached stories now. Note: If you already have an account, there is no need to create a new one; your old one will work just fine.

The software that I’d really hoped to switch to was Slash, or perhaps PostNuke when it got up to version 1.0. (It’s at v 0.714 right now, meaning it’s not ready for prime time.) But PostNuke is the option at hand right now, so it’s the one that we’re going with. Sucks to be us.

The biggest change in this upgrade is the demise of anonymous posting. I’d hoped that this wouldn’t ever be necessary, but ongoing abuse by a single individual has made this necessary. Consequently, user registration will be required in order to post from now on. The user registration system on PostNuke isn’t a whole heck of a lot better than it was on PHP-Nuke, so my apologies to those that will struggle with the registration process. The idea behind requiring registration is that an e-mail address is tied to each account. An e-mail address creates accountability, and also makes it possible to ban abusive users, more or less. At some point, we may try going back to anonymous posting, but I’m afraid that it just doesn’t seem possible right now.

It appears that, to some degree, collaborative post-rating is possible with PostNuke. This is A Good Thing(tm), because it means that setting those little scores by each post will not just be done by me, but by a bunch of my hand-selected minions that will surely collectively work to carry out my evil deeds.

Finally, I’m concerned that some comments may get lost in this transition. If I see any comments that were posted to the old site during this transition period, I guess I’ll cut and paste them over here or something.

When you see stuff that’s broken, please e-mail me or reply to this story (that is, if you have an account) and I’ll do my best to take care of it.

32 Responses to “cvillenews.com Software Upgraded”


  • BTW, I un-blocked UVa. Hopefully it won’t be necessary to block them again.

  • Thanks Waldo. The registration process seemed pretty simple to me.

    I wonder what people think about having to have a user name to post? My feelings are that if someone has something to say they should be willing to stand behind it (just as any letter to the editor requires a name and town of residence) and that for the more timid and/or inflammatory writers, they will still have the option to hide their e-mail address from all but the board owners/moderators and use a sufficently anonymous moniker to suit their posting style. Will people be able to sign up using a free web-based e-mail account like hotmail or yahoo?

    Jessica

  • The old login/password information seems to have survived the transition.

    Font sizes are pretty tiny. Would it be a lot of hassle to increase them by a pixel or two in the style sheets?

  • <i>Font sizes are pretty tiny. Would it be a lot of hassle to increase them by a pixel or two in the style sheets?</i>

    I intend to drop in a whole new design. I’ll be leaving town for the weekend in a few hours (anniversary vacation with my girlfriend), but when I return I intend to swap out this whole design with something as approximately ugly (but functional) as the old look. I’m sorry for this current design — I don’t like it, either.

  • I wonder what people think about having to have a user name to post? My feelings are that if someone has something to say they should be willing to stand behind it (just as any letter to the editor requires a name and town of residence) and that for the more timid and/or inflammatory writers, they will still have the option to hide their e-mail address from all but the board owners/moderators and use a sufficently anonymous moniker to suit their posting style.

    I think that you’re right. But the only downside is that the process of creating an account — as easy as you found it — is intimidating to some users. There are people that aren’t looking to make the sort of a committment to the site that an account symbolizes, that would just like to make a one-off comment. I think that there’s a lot of value in such comments, particularly on a small community site like this. I’ll be interested to see what happens to such comments as a result of the loss of account-less posting.

    Will people be able to sign up using a free web-based e-mail account like hotmail or yahoo?

    They can for now. If I see trolls registering for freemail account after freemail account, I imagine that I’ll have to ban registration via services like this. That’s something that I certainly hope isn’t necessary.

  • I think the only real added hardship here is the process of creating an account. Anonynmity is still somewhat possible. look at my screenname for instance…not a name and not readily identifiable (unless you happen to know me). Individuals will still be able to sign up with a screenname of their choosing and it doesn’t have to mean anything.

  • The "submit news" function isn’t working (among other, less significant bits-and-bobs).

  • I think it’s worth noting for people that it seems like the existing accounts have all migrated successfully. Just saying this in case someone tries to register again and gets an error.

    The user-block module isn’t found on the home page.

    Kudos on the upgrade Waldo! I’m sure it’ll be better than ever once everyone gets settled in and we get all the kinks worked out.

  • Details, details. ;)

    Thanks, Belle.

  • I wouldn’t say that anonymous posting is over. Waldo was always able to look at IP addresses and make a fairly educated guess about who someone might be. Your user name is no more connected with your ‘real world’ identity than it was before. What has ended is the convenience of *instantaneous* anonymous posting.

    I suspect that this will ultimately lead to an overall better quality of content, even if some good stuff is lost.

  • The color scheme is bad but there is one unintended improvement: black text on beige background.

    made reading very tiresome.

    The previous blue background
  • Interestingly, I seem to have the ability to moderate posts in the polls comments. Though it seems slightly buggy. :)

  • You’re right, James — that (the default look for the old software) was also ugly. We were just used to it. Perhaps instead of reverting to the old look, I should use this as an opportunity to make something new and nice-looking.

    I’ll be in Virginia Beach for the next few days. If I get enough rest and relaxation, maybe I can work up the energy for a redesign.

    At the very least, I’ll fix all of the horrible HTML quirks of this system.

  • This reminds me of last week, when I went to Ntelos to get my phone software upgraded, and they told me that the return-call feature on voicemail won’t work anymore. mmm. upgrades. Yay for new features! :)

  • You have fun with that now, Lafe. :)

    <sigh>

    That testing-software-for-longer-than-10-minutes thing is *so* overrated. ;)

  • Well done, Waldo! I’m pretty sure mandatory registration will be a good thing — I think cvillenews.com has gained enough momentum at this point that people won’t be scared away by the requirement.

    Oh, and the PostNuke developer who created the default UI look should be slapped with a big wet fish. :) When you do get around to mucking with the color schemes/fonts/etc, I for one would like to see the old color scheme brought back. It was so happy and comfy…sorta gives me a warm fuzzy just thinking about it.

  • I would still like to be anonymous

  • Now your site looks just like my site, until my Webmistress :cracks whip: gets my custom skin finished and uploaded.

    We had quite the time, working out all the bugs, and as an Admin, I haven’t really noticed the difference since our upgrade. But I trust her. There were a few bugs before that seem to have been eliminated, so that’s good.

  • To beat a dead horse here, Tahoma is a terrible body font.

  • Stuff like this makes me very grateful I don’t have to write software for a living anymore.

  • To beat a dead horse here, Tahoma is a terrible body font.

    Indeed. I deleted the style sheets, as per a user’s (Chad’s) suggestion. Now everything is ugly, but differently-ugly, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, the HTML templates are echoed in a whole bunch of disconnected lines of PHP. So fixing this stuff is really laborious — no just like writing some code and dropping it in.

  • 1. Is it possible to edit the "News" link in the Main Menu to read something like "main page" or "front page" or something more accurate? I forget what the title on the old link was, but it seemed a helluva a lot clearer then to jump back to the front page once one was in the midst of reading a thread.

    2. Is there a way to edit (my) user’s info? If so, I haven’t found it. And the "users" module is disfunctional, anyhow.

    3.. The HooK website doesn’t show any of the story headlines since you did the Recently Realized Upgrade (or whatever we’re calling it). I know that the HooK’s site is not your headache anymore . . . but for cvillenews.com’s popularity’s sake, it might be wise to have fresh stories linked there.

  • The only way I have found to edit my user information is to type in this link directly:<br>

    <br>

    <a href="http://www.cvillenews.com/user.php">http://www.cvillenews.com/user.php</a><br&gt;

    <br>

    Hope this helps.

  • [edit: helps if you choose the right format]

    The only way I have found to edit my user information is to type in this link directly:

    http://www.cvillenews.com/user.php

    Hope this helps.

  • Any clue as to how to make user’s profile interface recognize HTML formatted text?

  • What’s wrong with the content in the upper-most right part of the frontpage?

    I see something like this:

    Block Type userbox Not Found
    The block type userbox doesn’t seem to exist. Please check your includes/blocks/ directory.

  • I wanted to change my password and other info, but I got a message telling me something along the lines of "not allowed to directly alter personal info". Please fix it so I don’t have to bother with a hard-to-remember password.

  • I like the new "Main" link in the Main Menu. Thanks!

  • Just for the sake of listing bugs, I cannot see any rating descriptions on posts.

    I see ratings like (2, ), where you may have intended it to say something like (2, insightful).

  • Would it be possible to make "HTML formated text" the default setting in "comment post", rather than "Plain Old Text"?

    Though, I admit, I’m not sure what the negative aspects of this change would be . . .

  • The negatives are that if you don’t actually use html formatting in your response, then it probably won’t look like what you’d expect it to look like.

    I’m typing this out as HTML formatted text, and to get the spacing between these first two paragraphs, I had to use <br> tags. To type out <br> I actually had to type out &gt;br&lt;. Ad infinitum.

    It’d be nice to have the "Plain Text that translates some HTML" like we had with the last version, but I don’t know if that’s possible. Especially since the output of "Plain text" here is buggy, by replacing symbols with HTML code, and then displaying the code instead of the symbol on output.

    But currently, if you’re comfortable writing straight HTML into your messages, then HTML Formatted isn’t too bad.

  • Well, it looks like even using the proper codes for > and < aren’t interpreted correctly when using HTML format.

    Sheesh.

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