As some of you may have noticed, we’ve very recently added a new regular columnist, Pepe Escobar, who has been writing on international globalization issues for the Asia Times and numerous other publications for at least two decades. We’ll be regularly republishing his insightful new pieces as they come out, and have already incorporated his archives of the last few years, totaling over 150 pieces.
Meanwhile, as partly proposed and discussed in the previous Announcement thread of a couple of weeks ago, I’ve made a few fairly minor and tentative changes in our webzine design and operation:
(1) Numerous individuals have long complained regarding the sharp restrictions on Reaction comments (Agree/Disagree/Etc.), which had been limited to one per hour for established commenters. My strong opinion is that raising the limit too high would overly dilute the value of the currency, and also lead to the sort of pointless “gang warfare” found in so many other commenting systems. But some persuasively argued that just one Reaction per hour was too low, and forced readers to clutter threads with trivial comments merely saying “I Agree.” Therefore, I have modified the limit to a total of three Reactions per any eight-hour period. Since most individuals visit the website only episodically, they will now be able to leave three Reactions instead of one, but without overly increasing the daily total. Also, Reactions will now be available to anyone who has had five approved comments during the last thirty days, down from ten, a much easier requirement that should still filter out most trolls. Depending upon feedback, these parameters may later be adjusted.
(2) Regular commenters are still restricted to 10 comments per hour with no more than 3 of those being on a particular thread. However, when comments are refused, the text of the failed comment is no longer lost but now is instead provided so that it can more easily be tried again later.
(3) I’d tried a temporary experiment in running Google Ads as a means of covering some of the operational expenses of the website. But I found the ads more annoying than they were worth, and many of the commenters had a similar reaction, so they’ve now been removed again. Given the enormous time and intensity that so many readers devote to this website, I’m instead thinking of exploring means of encouraging such users to provide regularly monthly donations.
(4) Based on user suggestions, I’ve expanded the list of most popular articles on the Home page and the Sidebar from six to ten.
(5) Given the growing coverage of the website, I’m testing an expansion of the top menu to three lines as a test. The aesthetics seems slightly worse, but the functionality considerably better.
(6) Some readers have suggested that we switch to a more streamlined sans serif font, and I’m considering exploring that possibility, though only on the Home page and the Sidebar.
(7) Although this Announcement may currently be used for reporting bugs and suggestions, I’m planning to add a permanent Bugs & Suggestions link to the Sidebar.