Monday, March 21, 2011
Pallimed Arts and Humanities is undergoing a redesign similar to Pallimed: Case Conferences. There are still some bugs being worked out, and some new features being added including refined navigation. Hopefully this cleaner look will increase the ease of use of the site, and encourage exploration of some of the wonderful posts from the archives. These same changes will be coming to the main Pallimed blog in the next week or so.
We will roll out new features on all three blogs over the next few weeks, including a chance for you to write for any of the Pallimed blogs. One of the more important changes is with the commenting system. I was never a fan of the user interface under the basic Blogger template, but there was little room for customization. I had been researching add-on commenting systems for a while and finally decided on Disqus (pronounced "discuss", get it?). This platform has been implemented on several popular blogs and has been shown to have increasing stability, so we have finally made the switch.
So what does this new commenting system mean for you?
- No more word 'captchas' (the squiggly words)
- When you sign up for to follow the conversation with email, you get a really cool feature to reply straight from your inbox. Just hit reply and your comment goes straight back to the blog. Try it out! It is pretty easy and keeps the conversation going.
- Disqus allows us to build our community of commenters. When you login (instead of just commenting as a guest) a user profile is started that tracks your comments and 'likes' from other people. Our hope is as this system grows we can find a way to reward the commenters who contribute the most. You do not need to sign up for a Disqus account, but it does allow for more functionality across multiple blogs if you comment a lot.
- You can attach links without knowing any html code and they will be clickable. You can also embed videos and images easily.
- You can log in with multiple other accounts securely. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and OpenID are all available. Pallimed collects no information, such as user names or passwords from this type of login.
- When you sign in with Facebook or Twitter, you have the option of sharing your comment with other people in your network. You have a chance to 'opt out' of sharing before posting, just look for the little square icon in the lower left area below the comment box. We obviously would love for you to share your comment with your network and spread the word about Pallimed. Since we have no advertising budget (or regular budget to speak of) anything helps to widen the discussion about palliative care intersecting with Arts and Humanities.
- You can still leave anonymous comments, although you will have to enter an email address to comment. Obviously you could leave a fake one, but you would miss out on the great replies to your comment.
- It is a new system to learn, but it is pretty intuitive.
- If you are concerned about someone seeing everything you ever commented on, then you may not want to use this, but at the same time, it will help you to make sure that your comments are clear, straightforward and helpful even if critical.