Feedback Welcome

You may have noticed that I’ve been making some changes around here lately. I’ve been excited by some of the nifty plugins available for WordPress sites, and I’ve also enjoyed poking around in my php files. (I *am* a geek at heart.)

Three of the more visible changes are as follows:

  1. More advertising. I feel like Anya some days, but it’s nice to make a bit of change from this site. It motivates me to keep content fresh and also makes the time I devote to it more rewarding, which means I’m likely to keep doing it longer. Everyone wins! (If you’re interested in purchasing ad space, please email me. I will be open for additional sponsors in the new year.)
  2. Link popups. The one piece of feedback I got on the pictures of other websites that appear when you roll over some links said he hated them, but I thought it would be useful to readers (so they get some idea where the link goes and if they’ve already seen it) as well as add some more visual interest to what’s a text-heavy site.
  3. And something I thought would be fun, a listing of the most popular posts in the left sidebar. On the homepage, that’s for the whole site; on the category pages, it lists the most popular posts in that category. (As calculated by a formula that includes and weights direct links, views, comments, and trackbacks.)

I always welcome reader feedback, but I thought it might be good to remind folks of that.

14 Responses to “Feedback Welcome”

  1. Darren Witt Says:

    Hi Johanna,

    My 2bits worth:

    1. Don’t like advertising, but see it as a necessary evil. As someone who works from home and likes frequent, small breaks from the doldrums, I click you often, and like more content. Viewing a few ads (those that adblock won’t catch) is a small price to pay.

    2. Link Popups – even before your request for input I was thinking of commenting on these. The short is that I really don’t appreciate them. The way I read pages, the cursor is often hovering over text, and I am clicking on links while I continue reading – this means that the popups get in the way of my reading/enjoyment. I find this annoying. At the very least I find them distracting. Though, admittedly, I can see that they have some utility, just not one that I care about much. (If I am interested enough, I just click on a bunch of links – my connection is high speed, so opening up a few repeat links that I have already seen is not particularly costly.)

    3. Popular posts is kind of neat. I use them sporadically on other sites.


    4. “Comics Worth REading”. On your previous version of this site you had a page (a fairly long one) with your “best-of” or top recommendations (cannot recall exactly) that went well beyond your current “comic classics” page. I really, really miss this. From what I have been able to find in this iteration, this list is gone from the graphic novels section.

    sorry if i get confusing from here on, my wife had a 3-year old emergency i had to deal with, so i am picking up where i left off

    … Yes: you have a “Recommended series” label in the manga reviews which provides great direction, but the graphic novel section (and others, i presume) lack this label/categorization. I want to know what you think is great (ever since you turned us onto Amy Unbounded, you have been a mainstay advisor), sometimes without wading through the reviews of mediocre and bad comics. It was a nice, tidy reference page. I loved it.

    Unless I am missing something? I’ve been stupid(er) before and missed the obvious. Tell me I’m wrong. I really want to be able to (easily) find comics worth reading on “Comics Worth Reading”.

    Hope this made sense.

    Cheers, and thanks.


  2. Trochee Says:

    Like Darren above, I don’t care so much for the ads but I don’t mind and I understand the motivation.

    Link popups? hadn’t noticed til just now, ’cause I turn off Javascript unless I have a reason to turn on. Interesting effect; I’m not sure I like it or I want it. If I want a preview of the link, I hover over it and look at the status bar, which tells me what that links to (if I really want to see more, I’ll just right-click|open in new tab…).

    One change I’ve noticed is that you no longer have full-text in your RSS feed, and I was sorry to see that go. I prefer to read most of my regular feeds directly in the reader — I promise, if I’m interested in the comment threads, I’ll click through. But now with only the partial feed I have to open the posts in a separate window instead.
    On the other hand, removing the copyright notice at the top of the RSS feed: a good thing. (at the bottom, it’s fine, but at the top it was mostly distracting and a little off-putting.)

    overall, I’m happy with the changes and improvements you’re making to your site. quite nice!

  3. Rob Says:

    I’ve never seen the link popups – I use the noscript extension addon for firefox. I’ve allowed the main domain and refreshed, but I haven’t found any yet. Can you give a sample link?

    (I don’t have any interest in googlesyndication, snap, or assoc-amazon gathering data about what I like to read. That which is not recorded cannot be supoena’d :) )

  4. JD Says:

    Same as Darren : the link previews are more distracting than useful (it’s not as if you can see much of a website on the snapshot : just the general layout, which I don’t care about).

  5. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the feedback, readers! Based on early results, I’ve turned off the outside site previews; let’s see if anyone asks for them back.

    Ads: I’m all for people using adblock or whatever other software they find helpful. Make your reading experience work for you. Just because I’m putting up links doesn’t mean you have to see or use them (although if you’re going to be doing an amazon order anyway… )

    Darren: I’m touched you liked that reference page! That was back when the site was originally focused on recommendations. Now, that page has been fragmented in a few ways. As you note, the manga series have Recommended labels on them. I’ve also restarted the Classics/Canon list on its own page.

    I hadn’t thought about bringing back graphic novel recommendations, but let me think more about that. I think it would be easy enough to do another page of highlights, or some kind of indication on the graphic novel master list. Thanks for the idea!

    Regarding the feed: I’ve had problems with some ad-scam sites picking up my full-text feed and republishing it as though it was their own. The copyright notice at top was an early way to attempt to foil them, but you’re right, it was too annoying, which is why I switched to partial feeds. I’m sorry that some crooks try to ruin things for everyone.

    Please, keep the feedback coming… especially when it’s so well-thought-out and helpful as this!

  6. Kitty Says:

    Thanks for explaining your reasons behind switching to the partial newsfeed! I’m also sad not to be able to read the full content in my newsreader, but I completely understand where you’re coming from.

  7. Nat Gertler Says:

    I rather liked the pop-up images of the linked pages, and was thinking of hunting down that plug-in and adding it to my pages.
    You might want to get one of the plug-ins that lists the most recent comments or the actively-commented threads; it’s a pain to go through and try to see what has new comments, particularly if one is not memorizing the comment counts each time one does so.

  8. Ralf Haring Says:

    Just wanted to chime in that I didn’t find the preview popups particularly useful. The preview image was so small that I couldn’t discern any details even if I wanted to. If I find a link I’m interested in, I usually just open it in a new tab in the background and keep it open for later perusal.

    Ditto on the partial rss feeds, but I understand your reasoning.

  9. Lyle Says:

    I’ll be honest, I don’t mind advertising and tend to pay attention more to ads placed in spaces like this since I presume the advertiser put more thought into their purchases and has some reason to think that a ComicsWorthReading reader (for example) should be interested in their product. I do use adblock, but mostly for major advertising sites who’s ads do tend to be intrusive (like those “Punch the monkey and win a prize” ads from Falkag).

    The only blog ads I do mind come when feed ads (which I’m okay with in general) are mixed with truncated feeds. I’ve subscribed to a few feeds where the feeds were already truncated to >25 words and in my newsreader, the most prominent thing were the ads, which were all the same. Content should never be overshadowed by the ads.

    A recent comments box might be useful (though I love the comments feed since this site has such great conversations).

    I believe this is the one I’ve been using.

  10. Rob Says:

    Thank you Joanna. I’ll probably allow, if I can figure out what it does. (Not much info available on that online, which is odd, if amazon wants people to allow that. Obviously it helps make the associates program work, but how? The white hats in this web 2.0 biz really need to document their stuff better.)

    Nat’s reccomendation for the most recent comments plugin is great – often I lose the chance of continuing a conversation because the parent post gets pushed off the page.

    I totally respect your reason for dropping full text feeds. I actaully dropped my feedreader, because in fifteen minutes I could accumulate enough good reading material to render me immobile for the next day. Your site made the shortlist of things I check by hand. :)

  11. Johanna Says:

    Nat, I went off and found one — the last ten comments posted are now on the front page.

    Rob, I believe that the cookie allows the pop-up Amazon box links to work. When I mention a particular book, scrolling over the link shows you its sale price and rating. The cookie means you can buy it from that link (and provide me a small kickback). I think.

    And yeah, the problem with only showing the latest 10 pages on the front page really hits me on the weekends. I want to write a bunch of new stuff, but I hate affecting existing discussions.

    And re your last comment: awww, thank you.

  12. Greg Morrow Says:

    The link popups interfere with how I read the web. I hate ‘em.

  13. James Schee Says:

    Hi, don’t mind the ads as I can block them which I was forced to do on dial up, they took too long to load.

    Outsite links scared me at first, as they just popped up and took a bit, but now they are useful for things like the Peanuts superheroes thing

  14. Ray Cornwall Says:

    There are ads?

    Huh. Ad blocker must be working.

    Let me tinker here…


    Ah, there are the ads! I turned off the adblocker for your site. :)

    I love tinkering with WordPress. There’s a new plugin that allows non-admins to write posts for the main page. They don’t get posted until I approve them, which is fine. I always wanted my site ( plugplugplugplug) to be more of a conversation than a monologue, so maybe that will help. WordPress Planet has all the new plugins.




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