This ranty-whiny post was inspired by a recent conversation a few members had with a site moderator, in which I had characteristically rushed in – like the proverbial bull in the China shop – complaining about site issues, and was very nicely, politely and roundly admonished. It had struck me at that time that I should substantiate my claims with evidence, and organize the issues in a manner as can serve as a checklist – no, call it a bucket list, with all implications thereof.
And this post was born – FWIW – highlighting a few issues.
Site Design distractions and profile grief!
- URL network.nature.com/blogs – The Blogs tab. On clicking it, one reaches a page that is badly designed, with terrible (non-)utlization of screen real estate, and singularly uninformative. There is also no way for user customization. On the right-hand side of the reading area, there is a gaping hole, which could easily be populated with boxes such as ‘Featured Posts’ or ‘Recent comments’ – boxes that are there, but currently languishing way down, so that only way to see them (without having to click another button/link) is to scroll, scroll, scroll down.
- If some tenacious soul does scroll down, amongst all the boxes, what does one find? Something called ‘Questions’, dating back to 4 months earlier at today’s reading. Why? No one else dared or bothered to ask any other question in these four months? Does this section even have a relevance if it keeps serving ancient information?
- I would like to be able see at a glance blogs that I have been commenting on, not just what is ‘most popular’ or ‘most recent’ and so forth.
- It would be nice to be able to get to my own blog from the blogs page without any complicated, convoluted steps – currently impossible.
- If clicking on my name (which is a hyperlink) at the top of the NN page is going to bring me to my profile only, what is the point of having another link called ‘Your Profile’ to its right side?
- In my profile synopsis, strange problems that I had pointed out L-O-N-G back still remain. Of all my publications, one JI paper has mysteriously missing the volume, page and year info, and one JAC paper lists an invalid DOI link with – wait for this – the PMID number written, but no pubmed link. I have ascertained that the pertinent information is correctly written when I see them in the Edit mode, but they will not display properly. How difficult can this be to correct?
- I have tried this in three browsers, but have never seen any Orange Button that allows me to get to the blogger dashboard (despite Lou’s ‘fixes’). So long I have been following – as a workaround – the link that Matt provided me with at the very beginning, but the non-inclusion/non-appearance of the dashboard button is baffling and counter-intuitive, to say the least. And others have complained about this, too. Nothing happened.
[update: IF the system recognizes me as logged in, then I do get to see the Orange Button ‘Write New Entry’ on the sidebar for the blog-posts now, and it works :)]
- URL: blogs.nature.com – Why does the front page have O-L-D stuff (from Aug and July!!) displayed, like, forever?
Intractable Login Issues. Sigh!
- Bob O’Hara once advised Richard Grant to ‘befriend’ himself on NN as a solution to his login issues. Apparently, it was possible at the time – not any more. But I am constantly reminded of this curious and funny scenario when the NN right-side box proclaims that <my name> (not to mention, that ugly mug) has commented on such-and-such blog after my last comment – EVEN when I am logged in. For some reason, NN has this persistent inability to recognize current and past logins by the same user. Who woulda thunk.
- Another unresolved problem that still bugs me every time is that even if I am logged into Nature Network, clicking on my blog link (or typing the URL in) will still get me to a page that requires me to sign in – again. I have earlier even provided screenshots of this when I pointed this out. To no avail.
- Strangely, the front page of the NB recognizes me as logged in, but the moment I go to ANY damn blog, I have to sign in to comment. What gives?
- Just now, despite being logged in on Nature Network AND a member of the NN Bloggers private group, I was denied access to the discussion board of the group.
Clicking on the ‘View Discussion Board’ link brought me to a page which shows me as not logged in, and asks me to log in.
- When I re-log in, it just returns me to the main NN page. AAAARRRRGGHHHHH!!! Can the login page be configured to return the user to the same page prior to the login action? This is not super-duper high tech, I am sure. Lots of websites do this easily.
- I guess, I should be glad that I can still sign in. My friend, Ian Brooks, has not been so lucky. Despite a communication from Lou with assurances three weeks ago, nothing has been done to resolve his login issues, and he still can’t log in to his blog or to comment on posts. RPG had commented upon this in March highlighting a similar problem, and even then – per Lou’s response – their IT had fixed some of the logins. Why ‘some’? Why not all? Why are such login issues continuing, even for old bloggers?
- Jacqueline Floyd asked a question about RSS widgets and related features in July, 2010. We all would have wanted to know. There was no response.
- Cath, Jenny and Grrl made a complaint about missing comments in July 2010. Beyond “Will let you know”, there was no solution posted.
- In late July, Lou communicated that they have brought in an MT4 expert and that the team was pushing out batches of fixes on a fortnightly basis. A lot of discussion was generated in that thread, with many of us chiming in, talking about the attack of the spambots, lack of trackbacks, login for commenting (which turns off a lot of readers and would-be commenters, lack of site stats, and so forth. Then… silence. Does anyone have a clue whether any of the suggestions were considered?
- Matt responded to Richard’s complaint about inability to comment from iPhone or iPad, saying that it was not an overnight solution. Absolutely. But that was in the middle of September!
- In the beginning of October, Jacqueline Floyd made a very pertinent comment about the design of the NN home page, about how the “Recent Nature Network Posts” box creates a terrible impression to visitors and prevents truly recent posts from receiving timely traffic. No comments on that thereafter.
- Have we yet heard from the consultants about the Comment Previewing feature that Mike Fowler asked about the 4th instant?
To my knowledge (which is admittedly meager), this is by no means an exhaustive list of the current, unresolved issues. I didn’t have time to go through all the discussion threads. If anyone else has similar, or other issues, please jot them down in the comments.
I must acknowledge that since the sainted MT4 migration, quite a few improvements (inline image attachment function, faster page load, noticeably less spam, among many others) have been made in response to the bloggers’ questions, and have been communicated to us by Lou, bless her, as well as Matt and a few others from time to time. I thank the moderator team for their hard work and patience with all my heart.
But mods, please ask yourselves honestly: is this the right pace? Would you have been happy with the progress, had you been in our place?
Most importantly, even after this, will there be improvements? At this juncture, IDK.