Blog planning made public for little reason!

I haven’t done any blog planning in ages. I’m just going to throw this out there because well, somehow I kinda feel like I have to write more than anything else to get muh thinking out there. I’m publishing because I’m not very notable bar my fuwa involvement and this might be the only thing marginally useful to anyone I’m going to publish anytime soon. Oh yeah, and information wants to be free and all that.

This is probably a bad idea, but hey, I feel so funny and free![1].

So, what needs to be done?

Design gothrough of the blog

To be honest, I never got done with blog design. Part of this was that it was impossible to change some settings due to clumsy theme design (something like a comically large variable set was being passed or whatever and the request size was too high so it got noped by the server iirc.) Now, what is currently up is somewhat thought through. However, it’s not really what I’d personally like most which is just full posts after each other classic blog style (as far as I can tell this is literally impossible using the current theme; excerpts and big pics is as far as it gets), but the layouts possible do leave us with other options.

First of all, I should probably start with a general look-over of each page currently on the blog to weed out consistency issues and in general just plan out how I want them to look. The blog customization is a bit headache-inducing, but that’s something I’ll just have to endure. If anyone that has actual qualifications in web design could help me with this that’d be great; I know one person that might do this, but I have no idea if they’re interested in working with me for this and well, reaching out for help is always somewhat of a struggle. They are also likely busy helping out on a more important fuwa feature.

One big thing to meditate on is whether having multiple VNTS posts show up is a good idea. I /somewhat/ lean towards a no, but picking just one may be tricky if not impossible with the current customization options. A two-column layout beneath the first post in big size may be possible, but in general more or less anything I do is going to feel a but clumsy methinks. Maybe I should look to other blogs for inspiration.

I actually had a certain person (modestly justifiably) ask me about what the hell the Featured category is for. In part this is a relic of the previous blog theme, which had a slider element which was not shitty. We used this slider to display featured articles up top with auto-scroll. The problem with the one currently in the Voice theme is that the UX is utter horseshit with those really small, disconnected arrows, weak text overlays, and well, general design mistakes made in its implementation. Now, sliders in general and auto-scrolling ones in particular have their issues, and I’m just not keen on using the aforementioned crappy theme one. As such, a new way has to be found to display featured stuff (I’d prolly call this “staff picks” and have it display a random selection).

The Featured category is intended to showcase general high-quality articles that are either timely or timeless. If viable I’d probably want to split it into ones that are relevant to more recent events and ones that are generally timeless high quality pieces. For example, our current opinion piece on Shiny Days is relevant but will be less so say, six months after its 25 August release. It would go in the section for things of current interest. Meanwhile something like Zalor’s narcissu analysis could prolly go into the staff picks from the archives section.

Quote font size is currently undesirably high, but we may need to actually do a CSS hack or similar for a font resize to work out properly and not hit sizes in other areas. This is annoying.

I noticed recently is that there’s a slider for blog width (I think?). I’ve always been a bit disappointed with it as it makes long paragraphs a bit more wall-y than really needs to be the case (planning for 1280px width is likely the best solution, and I think we have some space there – not to mention that the blog should hopefully be all responsive-design anyway).

Bro, you have a backlog

The most pressing issue at the moment for me feels like a post I will codename だけ (you get a cookie if you can figure that one out.) For various reasons I got somewhat demoralized when it came to this one, and I will need to do a fair bit of work to arrange it properly.

The second-most pressing post requires me to arrange for things to flipping happen regarding a certain problem with giving permissions, which may or may not require me being slightly more insistent in my communications with a certain person.

I also have a horrible Twitter list backlog, but to be honest, I’ve been using the exhaustion resulting from going through it (I would estimate that I have around three hours’ work to do on that front at the moment, increasing by thirty to forty minutes per day) to justify slacking on other things. Sometimes, one must prioritize.

Dude, writers

This is actually a pretty hard one. Finding candidates is hard, and finding ones that are both dependable and require little work on my end will be even more difficult. As it turns out[2], writing is actually pretty hard, and if writing delivered does not meet standards then I’ll prolly end up doing an extensive rewrite.

Especially for news (which we used to do much better coverage of back when I was less ded), considering that I also need to fact-check the article for errors (and getting things wrong is not uncommon), this takes some serious effort.

It generally less effort than writing one myself, but it may also result in poorer quality (I am likely being somewhat arrogant here considering the limited sample pool – ah well.) Getting other people’s help has still been useful, but less so that I would have hoped.

I am somewhat of a control freak as well, which does not help.

In general I’ve been extremely passive on outreach to other writers. This is kinda-partly in Tay’s court (poor sod), but I can definitely do more in the area, especially when it comes to responding to and working with others in a timely manner.

We do have some somewhat frequent guest writers, which I again should work with a bit quicker.

Skillz

I might be a decent writer, but I can probably improve a lot on editing when it comes to identifying and solving more macro-level issues than wording. In general, I use very few formatting tricks, which kinda is a waste of the shinies you can do with the blog theme. Now, shinies ain’t everything and I’m not sure how much I really want to shift style vs substance, but I can definitely play around with it more.

Energy and motivation

I want to do a post focused on this issue, but it’s probably not going to happen this century since I’m lazy so I’ll give a brief outline: basically, I get mentally exhausted from FuwaWork of whatever kind pretty quickly. This keeps me from doing more than one or maybe two productive things a day; if the limitation was not there I could probably be near-infinitely more productive. Combined with the difficulty I have in starting things in general, which is then exacerbated[3] by mood issues, randomly getting sick etc, I’m functionally dead on the productivity front quite often. When I’m not ded is when you get a week where suddenly four posts.

I don’t think I’ll ever really stop having problems with this, but there really must be ways I can counteract these tendencies and be able to do work even when not feeling all that well. One thing that can motivate is just working with people I like (that write well), but this can backfire when I get really rekt and don’t edit for a bit and then I feel all guilty and it gets harder to do anything.

I am actually seeing a counselor[4] with the goal of mitigating these issues. It seems to be somewhat constructive. I missed the latest appointment because I suck, and then the next appointment was randomly on my birthday; haven’t gotten any reply to my mail about /that/ undesirable situation. Maybe I should send another at some point as I haven’t gotten a reply for a while, but probably going to wait a bit longer. If possible it would be a good idea to attempt to resume certain activities to help myself suggested by said counselor (I am wording myself carefully here to avoid certain labeling issues).

In other random news on that front I’ve been in za queue for a neurological investigation into whether I have like ADD or shit for ages but za queue is long. However, I have been in there for a while so it might happen before the heat death of the universe.

To-do summarization

Blog Design

  • -Overall gothrough
    -VNTS situation
    -How do I Featured articles
    -Quote font size
    -Blog width

Backlog

  • -だけ
  • -work out out current permissions situation with certain person

Writers

  • -Think about ways to find ’em
  • -Consider more outreach
  • -Be more timely

Skillz

  • -Play around with formatting and macro level stuff

Energy and motivation

  • -Attempt to attend appointments
  • Make sure to rearrange that loltime or just #dealwithit

In closing

I just used ages on this 1809 word post, sapping energy I could have used to shrink my actual backlog. I suppose it’s at least somewhat productive procrastination though, and the summarization is something I can actually use.

Yay.

Alright, I am now actually ending the article

Music used while writing: first of all, …And Justice For All by Metallica. Actually an EAC rip by muhself, FLAC format now ofc. Second, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix. Wow that one’s 160kb/s mp3 CBR, how disgusting. Ah well.

Footnotes are cool

[1] This is me quoting the delicious Indigo Girls. Usage is likely not congruent with song’s themes. I can’t find the album version on Youtube, but I suppose this one is /decent/. Sigh.
[2] I have been watching a bit too many Kripp videos. Alright, so this example actually took ages to find, but still.
[3] I initially spelled this wrong (but it did look ugly so I would have checked it up); notepad++’s helpful spell-checking plugin is akshully p. useful.
[4] Fuck off spell check, I don’t want to use two Ls.

I used some p. fiddly text-mode edits for both font size effects and the sick footnote linking here. Be impressed.

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3 thoughts on “Blog planning made public for little reason!

  1. sanahtlig

    This was a useful post. I feel like I have a better understanding of what’s going on with Fuwazette now. I’ve actually been pretty impressed with your timeliness on my article submissions (although you sleep at inconvenient times). You also have my respect because you actually give a damn. A lesser man would skim my drafts and post as is, but you actually take the time to not only read them carefully but you even wrangle with me on details.

    I agree that the current blog design needs work. I started some feedback threads in the forums where some productive discussion occurred. The #1 issue right now, as I see it, are the VNTS posts which seem to dominate both the front page and the recommended articles. I really don’t know anything about the nuts and bolts of how blogs work, so I’m not sure how to solve the problem without disrupting the SEO. Maybe you could set a script to delete the last VNTS post whenever a new one is posted?

    Reply
    1. zakamutt Post author

      Currently working on design with Tay. Have read the threads you mention but not commented because was under the weather / generally not feeling well.

      Reply

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