Introduction to Alpha
Hello. If you are reading this you may have been selected to participate in the alpha. Don't be alarmed. Everything is under control. I've been giving this little speech to everyone as they join the alpha site. First, please don't share the alpha site's IRC channel information or the alpha site URL with anyone outside of that channel.
When you get on, feel free to register, play around, post comments, submit articles, test stuff, try to figure out all the things that aren't working yet. In other words, be an aggressive participant. Log out and check the site as an AC, try different browsers. See if you can inject bad links or sql, but don't do this, please. Actually, TABLE students might be the safest way to go. Coordinate with someone else on the IRC and double-team issues. Click every link you can find so you can tell us what works.
Post bugs, and issues at http://sylnt.us/bugs (registration required, and email approval may be intermittent, be patient), check this page for known issues until we transfer everything into the bug tracker, and even after. Read all the known issues below before you start complaining about bugs in the IRC, we haven't lost patience yet but there are only so many times we want to hear about how you can't check for availability of your nickname before you register. Try not to post duplicate bugs, but if you do it isn't the end of the world.
Keep editing this page for any suggestions you have about the site that aren't bugs.
Note: When you register on the actual alpha site, the registration email might get caught in your spam folder, so make sure to check that if you don't see it.
The only people with mod points right now are the site admins, and they have better things to do for the most part, so don't worry too much about your karma unless you post really dumb things. Be a good commentor and you'll be fine. -- Mattie_p
Note: We have had at least three people join the alpha site without a specific invitation anyone on staff. They have uids right now on the alpha server. Based on the method they used, they deserved to get in. We have not removed them nor do we intend to. We just asked that they tell us what they did, we all had a good laugh and left that door open. Feel free to use it. PM one of the leaders on the IRC with URL of the top article and we'll give you the IRC channel to discuss the alpha project specifically.
Post bugs and issues here. Do not hyperlink to the pages, please provide that information separately to the devs for now.
Please stop posting bugs here
This is not a full list of bugs, that list will be on the tracker here: https://dev.soylentnews.org/tracker/?group_id=6
- Some (most?) saved changes to settings on the "You" pages are not reflected following pressing "save"
- Karma score of -1 means you cannot post as yourself, meaning you essentially remain at -1 forever.
- Posted by user link under the story heading always points to the current page (whether from the front page or story page)
- Remove ALPHA_SERVER/help page (See Section Titled "Broken Links not Found in FAQ" for more information)
- Under Topics --> Navigation, the word “Topics” refers to Search, but the search functionality seems fundamentally broken. Additionally: “Topics” is not an intuitive word for “Search”. Under “Topics”, there are several links for searching different sections of the. All of this is confusing. Edit: Just found Navigation --> Older Stuff leads to another search as well. Navigation --> Past Polls ==> More Polls is also another search.
Issues don't affect the operability, but are inconvenient or undesirable
- Many 404 errors on Help and Preferences page
- Preferences page /users.pl?op=edituser not saving most changes, Real Name, Homepage, Mobile Text Address, Sig and possibly others I didn't test
- The 'Misc' pref page (/my/misc) has no content (no error messages, just nothing to see or interact with)
- Email links and registration email are all NCommander's personal address
- Create account - check for availability gives no response
- COMMENT: This is now issue 14 on GitHub.
- Categories (section and topics) for new submissions need expanding. - (current suggested list is here: http://www.soylentnews.org/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=33&start=20#p486 - mattie_p)
- Is there a way for users to make posts on submitted stories, or is that an editor-only thing.
- COMMENT (2014-03-30): We can probably assume this question came about due to the difficulty some people were having working out how to create 'top-level' comments against stories (as opposed to replying to someone else's comment). There's (now) a "Reply" button near the bottom left corner of story pages.
- FAQ links don't work when directed to slashcode. Internal links work fine.
- Altering comments settings (You --> Comments ==> Make a change ==> Save) will re-display your old, unwanted settings, but if you leave and come back, then your new settings will show. (Apparently, settings really are saved.)
- Trying this in Chrome. Settings activate immediately, but will not save for a return to the page.
- On the password page, the 'login session' link 404's.
- Achievements - I got the "You've posted a comment" achievement which is very nice, and then the same for journal, but the links take me to a page ( /~ancientt/achievements ) where there are no listed achievements
- On my 800X600 screen there is a horizontal scrollbar. Small issue, but it is there
- Instances of the word 'Slashdot'
- The comment creation / reply page (comments.pl op=reply) shows "Slashdot Comments" in the page title (the [html][head][title] element)
- The Lameness filter is not working. With a comment that triggers it, (a) pressing Preview just reloads the comment-creation page, and (b) pressing Submit just reloads the comment-creation page. No error message is printed.
- COMMENT: It looks like this was being worked on on 2014-03-08.
- Navigation --> Past Polls ==> Submit Poll : Goes to same page as Navigation --> Submit Story; In other words, submitted a poll makes it looks like you are submitting a story.
- The front page shows the wrong number of comments (most often 0) on the articles.
- COMMENT: This appears to be in hand, based on this 2014-03-23 comment.
- There is no sanitation of URLs containing potentially malicious code. A comment can be a vehicle for a XSS/CSRF attack. (of course it could be wrapped up in a shortened url and then posted anyway)
- There is no CAPTCHA on the post page for ACs
Serious Usability Problems
This is reserved for things that might completely baffle a new user, due to such problems as required fields not indicated as such, error messages that point the wrong way,wrong labels, etc.
- There is no clear indication on the journal edit page that comments must be enabled for these to even show up for the user himself, if it is unselected. The comments selector is labeled 'Comments cannot be disabled once enabled' which suggests a cautious approach may be wise to a new user. If a journal entry is made and submitted, the only message that indicates something may be wrong is the text 'You must enable comments for all users if you've marked your submission as "publicize" or "publish.' This text appears in no way like an error message, it is in normal, not even bold text, and refers to a function which does not appear to exist ('publish').
- Thanks to mattie_p and CommonJoe for helping me track this down.
- Friend / Foe seems to be best changed by clicking on faces next to names. This is not intuitive. (Found a couple of others places to click on but I don't find them intuitive either.)
- Generally users expect changes to take place immediately. Where this is not the case (cron jobs,etc.) there needs to be a clear indication in the text. Specific cases listed below:
- Friend / Foe can (sometimes) take at least 20 minutes to propogate. There is no warning about this and it can be confusing since you save one setting and it immediately shows the old setting again. Note: A job seems to run every 20 minutes starting at the top of the hour.
- Passwords sent to email address upon registration: warn it could be in spam folder.
- When making comments, or going to preferences, or anything else, a link at the bottom in a familiar place saying "Continue to .. (whatever area you were in before)" to navigate to the parent page would be very helpful. (I must not have noticed but a link to parent does appear after submitting comment). Clicking 'save' button should also redirect to the parent page.
- For comments the code would go here: slashcode/themes/slashcode/templates/comment_submit;comments;default .. snippit can be taken from: slashcode/themes/slashcode/templates/linkStory;misc;default
Pure layout, appearance, and css problems
This is mostly for future use, as the work on layout, theme, etc has not yet been integrated into the site yet. Completely missing elements should not go here, this is just about formatting issues.
- Needs new template
- Having the comments section work in a slightly less retro way would be awesome. Specifically: a) clicking on a comment URL shouldn't make the rest of the thread vanish. b) have the site automatically return you to the view you came from following posting of a comment.
- Yes. This causes way too much clicking. Plus clicking on an un-expanded comment URL should just expand that comment and not make rest of thread disappear.
- Would like to be able to click on the title, as well as 'Read more...', to go from the main list to an individual story page.
- "Dupe detector" at submission time. Use submitted title to search previous stories for dupes and get user to confirm that what they're submitting really is novel. (partial solution here, in that if you base the submission off a URL, that must be unique - mattie_p)
- Can we get the ability for logged in users to edit their own posts (as themselves, not AC)?
- AudioGuy writes "blah blah blah"
- but if your article happens to begin with a quote it winds up like
- AudioGuy Writes ""blah blah blah""
- which looks kind of odd. Maybe the outer quotes could be left off and something like italicizing the initial text used instead:
- AudioGuy writes: blah blah blah
- So quoted text would look like this
- AudioGuy writes: "blah blah blah"
- Editors will have to check for quotes and make sure they make sense. I'll keep my eyes open for them - mattie_p
- When a reply to a reply is submitted, instead of there being a " Comment Submitted. There will be a delay before the comment becomes part of the static page. What you submitted appears below. If there is a mistake...well, you should have used the 'Preview' button! " notice, maybe the reply should be submitted to the static page, but 'lightened' or 'greyed out' to show it is not yet a part of the regular page.
- This page could include a timed auto-redirect in addition to the link to parent page.
- Also, maybe the default should be 'nested' for viewing replies (what slashdot users are used to seeing, i believe)
- On the other hand I always hated that default and thought it should be flat. Maybe vote on this one.
- Also, the default threshold is either too high, or index mode is kicking in too early.
- Possible usability improvements:
- Add an explicit 'Main page' option in the Navigation menu on the left: slashcode/themes/slashcode/templates/mainmenu;misc;default
- blockquote in comments should be more than just a tab, but instead be shaded, for example. Also should be achievable with the word 'quote' or 'q' and not just 'blockquote'
- Quote Parent feature in comments
- Article summary could appear as the parent comment when commenting to the root of a thread
- Consider smaller font size for low mod comments
- In left hand menu bar: Create Account / Login .. wraps around improperly and is ambiguous. Possibly rename to Sign Up / Login
- Also, Change Password could be truncated to just Password
- For lack of a better place for these things:
- The two lines at top of page "You have 0 new messages waiting for you, and 1 old message. This page was generated by a Cadre of Attack Midgets for Appalbarry (66)" could be smaller and not boldface. They kind of hammer you.
- Throughout the back end is a lot of language that really isn't clear - much left from Slashdot. This could be cleaned up and simplified to eliminate a lot of "huh?" moments.
- In the "posted by Dopefish on Saturday February 15, @12:00PM" section, the linked poster names don't go anywhere.
- I give up - what is the "XYZZY-ZZ.members.linode.com" link at the bottom of each story?
- I'm not that young, don't have great eyesight, and don't sit too close or far from my monitors, but find that the type in the articles is a bit large for my taste.
- Are Amigos and Friends the same thing?
- I'm in favour of being conventional and defaulting to Italics OFF in almost every area.
- I'm on the "Configuring User Preferences For Appalbarry (66) email@example.com" page, and find that in the menu strip above that header I'm seeing a link to another user. Can't think why. "Logout Preferences Password ~Appalbarry (66)~ragequit (44)"
- At least initially, until the major bugs have been fixed, and the first wave of new users are in place, the site needs a contact page, likely with the Overlord contact addresses. Better to have people e-mailing the site admins than cluttering up the comments sections with complaints.
- Having a setting for logged in users to display (on front page) articles new since last loading of front page in excess of "Today" as maximum (with yesterday as max), so to not having to click "Yesterday" during each first visit of the day.
Broken Links not Found in FAQ
- Navigation --> About
- Remove ALPHA_SERVER/help page (Is used by a number of "Return to Help and Preferences links"; Common Joe is still trying to hunt these links down)
- Is this the exact same or different page?
- Navigation --> Journals ==> Messages : ALPHA_SERVER/my/inbox/
- Navigation --> Messages : ALPHA_SERVER/messages.pl
- Note: This matters because of the “Return to Help and Preferences” link that needs to be removed.
- Navigation --> Messages
- ==> Message Preferences ==> Return to Help and Preferences: Link needs to be removed
- Navigation --> Authors : ALPHA_SERVER/authors.pl
- The link NCommander and the link mattie_p simply refers back to ALPHA_SERVER/authors.pl
Broken Links for Stories
- When not logged in there are some stories that return 404 errors. Logging in the stories show up.