Relaunch updates

Updated 6:49 p.m. ET Sunday

Welcome to Nationals Hill — just in time for the first-ever game at Nationals Park!

Updates/fixes are ongoing to the new MLBlogs Network and please keep the feedback coming here in comments. We are watching them closely and incorporating user input.

We just changed the default comment settings to “Anyone Can Comment” (instead of None, which would require approving first) and Email Notifications on. I’ve been told by the Movable Type folks that you should try using the links in that email to moderate comments. It’s a cool feature, especially when you want to edit or revise an aggressive commenter. Again, this is just a default settings change system-wide.

We’ve been seeing a performance issue on many static pages and a new bug has been filed with Six Apart on that one. Load times will improve.

Tag cloud and Most Recent blog headlines on the MLBlogs.com landing page are being worked on. So is the Edit Assets functionality in the MT software.

Reminder to add as many related tags as possible in that area beneath your text field. This is how a lot of people are going to find you. It’s one of the best changes from the old MLBlogs.

We’re going to deploy a fix in the morning to rebuild the sidebar more aggressively. This way new linked lists will show up much more quickly (along with revised info pics).

There are many known issues out of the gates and a team is in motion on them.

Adding a ton of widgets (ie counters, weather bugs, chat rooms, etc.) is not advised, according to our Movable Type partners. Do so at your own risk, as was the case with the past iteration of MLBlogs. They often decrease performance on MLBlogs pages, and in some cases I had no desire to click on the MLBlog because it took a year to load. We have done our best to migrate over all Typelists, and it is not surprising that some or many of these widgets have been lost in the transition. One user said he “paid for those,” meaning it was somehow part of the past subscription fee at MLBlogs, and that is false. Third-party widgets are not presented in the software for a reason. Not saying to avoid them, but they’re basically a hack to your software and widgeter beware.

If you have a major individual issue, a handful of us have “superuser” admin rights and can assist in changes. As I’ve noted, please also be patient through the Opening Day whirlwind activity. About to write another MLB.com Opening Day pageantry story now myself, as I know most of you are doing. Good luck to 30 Major League Baseball teams that are about to all be under way in the regular season, and good luck to all of you who are going to blog hopefully through the World Series and beyond. And check out my story: How Does It Feel?

Updates to be continued…

19 Comments

Learning HTML not very effectively at that…

Ok, so I do like the look of the new blogs, and I think that we will all get used to everything, and that little problems will be sorted out.

BUT, can you please explain some things about the whole ‘tagging is a great way to find blogs’ deal.

Here’s what I’m talking about. I have just posted an entry that I have added 6 tags to. They are all relevent to what the post is about. But none of those tags are on the Popular Tags panel. Add to that the fact that less than an hour after posting and my blog is already half way down the most recent list, and there is no way that as many people are going to be directed towards my blog. And I’m sure the same goes for everyone.

Also, with the tags, what is the point in encouraging all the tags, if from the front page you can only choose from the most popular? Are you expecting people to randomly click through blogs following some kind of Tag breadcrumb trail until they come across a tag they are actually interested in? Or is there going to be a search tags featue soon? For example, one of my tags is MLB.tv. What happens if someone comes onto the homepage and wonders if anything has been written on MLB.tv? Its not on the most popular tags, so there is no way to find out, short of trawling through blogs at random.

And then there is what happens when you click on a tag you are interested in. As an example, I just clicked on the “Spring Training” tag in the most popular panel. It took me, apparently, to ryan34’s “(Not so) Deep Ranger Thoughts” blog. On the page is at least 50 or so entrys, only one of which is from that blog. There actually hasn’t been a post on that blog since November 2006, yet by looking for Spring Training posts, you are greeted with his template, his ‘about me’, his recent comments, his archives etc. The next two posts returned are from this february and the blog “22 Talks”. You can read those entrys and never go near that blog. You may not even realise that far from being the Texas Ranger blog that the background suggests, those two posts are from a Red Sox blog. That is not a good way of generating traffic. Not only is that not right, but the returns are sorted alphabetically by blog title rather than chronologically, meaning that a post from a year and a half ago is first, while posts from this march, which I’m betting are the ones you’re going to be after if you have clicked on a Spring Training tag, are tucked away somewhere in a pile of posts that no-one is ever going to spend the time to look through.

For tags to work properly, you need either an ever-changing “recent tags” panel, not a “most popular” panel or, preferably, a tag search. And what you should get when you clig on a tag is a chronologically sorted overview of relevant posts, with linked entry title and blog name, not a mish-mash page of all entrys ever made with the tag, placed at random on the first blog’s template.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that everyone is very excited about the change, and that eventually the overall experience is going to be better, but for now it just looks as though no thinking has gone into this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks as though this change has been made at short notice, before it was properly tested and planned, and with little thought for how it would affect the everyday, regular users.

Sorry for both the length of that, and the overly-negative tone, but its just frustrating when new ideas and supposed improvements are brought in without any actual sense of how they are going to work in practice.

Oh, and I’m not a huge fan of having to learn some HTML so I can put my comments into proper paragraphs…

John
Rays from Across the Pond

Hi Mark,

I really like the new look – thanks for all the hard work on this! I’m a fan of FREE stuff too.

I can’t seem to get my link lists to appear, even after I deleted the ones that contained HTML and tried to make a new list with just plain ol links. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Julie

Mark,

On adding tags… the tag cloud space can’t handle a huge number of tags. I’ve been updating a lot of my entries to include tags and I’ve reached the point where the tag cloud shows only the first half (alphabetically). That’s not going to help! Is there some way you can reduce tags showing in the cloud to something like top twenty?

I noticed that the “recently updated” blogs list on the MLBlogs homepage now updates each time that someone comments on a post–and comments aren’t exactly what I would consider “recently updated” material. For instance, when I submit this comment, MLBlogosphere will jump to the top of the updated list…and when someone else, looking for fresh meat, jumps on it, they’ll find out that the last actual post was on Sunday night.

http://1060westaddison.mlblogs.com

Hey Mark,

I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of the new layout. I just went to post and realized my blog resembled a MySpace page, which if I was surfing around found the blog I probably wouldn’t read the content because the layout looks amateur. I have since fixed it, at least to the point where it looks better then I’m on MySpace.

Sure, “free’ might sound great, but the blogging community on mlblogs who had no problem paying to blog took the blogging seriously, which I think improved overall content. I’m not trying to sound like any kind of “blog snob”, or state my writing is superior (believe me, it’s not), but I’d rather not see mlblogs turn into a myspace-type enviorment (I continue to use MySpace as an example because the “fan design” mirrors MySpace).

I also don’t like the fact that when I post comments I cannot break it down into paragraphs.

I don’t know, don’t dig change I guess. I liked the old layout I had better, and it’ll take some getting used to…

http://www.fightingphils.mlblogs.com

hefe300: Thanks for the heads-up. That URL has been changed so it’s linking to CJ at http://cjwilson.mlblogs.com in our new blogs area at the bottom of the Rangers’ homepage at http://www.texasrangers.com.

Zack: Just changed the ascending/descending order for these comments based on feedback. Good point about the dominance of the Report/Abuse/Spam font/color vs. username.

Dan: Per my previous posting, no, we haven’t permanently removed the Browse By Team feature. It will be back. We just went from a pay site to a free site, and opening the floodgates means I won’t have time to manually update that page in our publishing system. Automating it is the answer. It’s a subsequent addition (re-addition).

SoxAngst: See my comment to Dan. I appreciate what you said, and have been considering adding it back, but again, I’m not going to be able to maintain it manually, just not gonna happen with the volume of users. There are much better ways to get people around to other blogs and we’re working on all of those.

Everyone: MAKE SURE YOU ADD TAGS ALONG WITH EACH ENTRY! That’s one of those ways I just mentioned. If you don’t tag, your visibility lessens. And the tag cloud functionality and Most Recent are still being adjusted.

More updates to come, there is a big hit list and people are on it.

Mark/MLB.com

This is ********. There’s a link on the Rangers website that’s supposed to be to C.J. Wilson’s blog, but instead I’m directed here. I hate this damned new system. It’s screwing up all my favorite baseball blogs.

Two suggestions…

1) Reverse the order of comments so that the older ones show up at the top, NOT the bottom of the page.

2) The text “Report any abuse or spam” does not need to be bright orange/red. I’d much rather have the commenter’s name or email address catch my eye.

Two questions…

1) How can I remove “recent comments” from the panel on the right?

2) How can I add things to the panel, like a hit counter?

Other than that, I’m gonna give this new format a chance, although it’s really messing up my existence at the moment. I really, REALLY don’t have time right now to relearn how to blog on here.

My posting is still down!

Hey Jason, that’s actually where I’ve been running into the problem. I can create a new link list and save it just fine. But when I try clicking “Create A Link” in that list, nothing happens. It doesn’t open the link, doesn’t take me any place, nothing.

-Dan

http://fansonthefield.mlblogs.com

Hey, Dan. For your link lists, when creating a new one, try entering a name for the link list, clicking “Save”, and then clicking the “create a link” link. That should do the trick.

I like the new look and some of the new features are great, but . . .

-I’m having the same problem Baseball Cleats and Shoes is having with links. Nothing happens when I click Create A Link.

-Has MLBlogs permanently taken away the tool that allowed us to view blogs by team? That would seem MLBlogs is squeezing out fan blogs, which I like to browse and find a lot more interesting than “pro blogs,” which, let’s face it, most if not all are written by pr folks and the material can be pretty dry.

-As someone who just started running ads, it seems we lost some flexibilty here with what we can run. TypePad made it easy to run text ads, html banners, google ads. Not sure the new Link List will cut it.

-Also seems we lost some flexibility as before we could choose how many columns we wanted to display; this was important in terms of potential for ads.

I understand this new set-up is an evolving process. I hope MLBlogs will soon see to these matters.

-Dan
http://fansonthefield.mlblogs.com

More comments: I know you said the “Active Roster” no longer exists. But I disagree with that decision. We need a listing of active MLBloggers, even if they don’t qualify as a “Pro” blogger. You call this the “MLBlogging Network” or something like that. There is no network if we don’t have the tools to connect and reach out to other bloggers. And we all know as much fun as it is to read CJ’s blog, most of those folks are not writing BACK to us.

Personally, I like to browse other blogs every now and then just to see what people are saying. Compound the loss of that feature with the loss of my links, I really don’t have anything to work with. The previous comment about not having “Recent Posts” list update when it should has also added more to this frustration.

Thank goodness of fixing the slow loading bug. It still could use a bit more of a kick but it’s much much better.

I miss being able to organize how the widgets show on my page. Seems that we have lost the bit of control with the format being pretty standard now. Can we have that back?

Hey guys…site looks great. Biggest thing I see right now is the recent posts list on the front page isn’t updating, which makes drawing traffic more difficult.

Thanks.

I am having problems editing, removing, or adding links in my ‘link lists’ on the sidebar. The link to make changes is not working. Thank you for your attention to my concern.

Baseball Cleats and Shoes

When will posting be back up? I want to see all the new features.

How do you add tags or find out more information?

How do I see my recent posts without logging in and clicking on my own entry?

Thanks

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