Bil Browning

Reader Poll: Bilerico Questions

Filed By Bil Browning | April 09, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: reader poll, site questions, site redesign

It looks like we're finally going to launch that long-promised redesign soon - hopefully within the next couple of weeks. Before we do, I have a couple of questions I'd like to pose to contributors to help us guide some of our final decisions. Please take a moment to answer these three questions and help us make Bilerico Project even better for our readers. They're very short and shouldn't take more than a minute to complete.

The other two are after the jump. If you have other suggestions for us, please leave them in the comment section.



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I'll be honest and say I don't think I've ever heard of the Quote of the Day feature. Unless it's those things Alex sometimes posts a quote from an interview or news article and then links to it.

It's in the middle column. Every day there's a new quote. It also shows up in our RSS feed as the first post of the day every day at 7am.

People who read the site through twitter, facebook, or a feed might not know that it's a special feature.

Wait, I thought it was the second post at 7:30. I always mix those up ever since we switched the order between YGST and QOTD in 2007.

Bil,

I tried clicking on more than two items in the second poll, but it won't let me...?

Yeah, it only allows for two choices there so people can't choose everything. LOL

Ha! Okay, I can see the reason for that; I'll go ahead and fill it out now.

Crap. I assumed it would only allow one choice, so I sucked it up and chose. So add an additional vote for news analysis since I voted or political analysis, although I'm not sure how different those are.

Also, I do subscribe to the e-mail digest just to support the numbers for the site. I come to it online every day and delete the e-mail unread. Congratulations on breaking 6,000, BTW.

Problems which should be fixed:

1. When you're not signed into Bilerico, you are presented with a comment form which includes fields for Nickname, URL, and E-mail address, as is common on Wordpress or Typepad blogs. This comment form DOES NOT WORK. You need to be signed in to comment. Either enable semi-anonymous comments through that form, or get rid of it altogether, and replace it with a "sign in to comment" button.

2. Sign-in is only by username/password. Most blogs allow a range of sign-in options. (My personal preference is for OpenID.)

***

I voted for an increase on Political Analysis and Personal Stories, because to my mind these (especially the latter) is what makes you stand out from other gay news blogs. Box Turtle Bulletin is very good with breaking news. Good As You has good research behind the headlines of breaking news. Bilerico, BTB, and especially Pam's House Blend are streets ahead of the others in terms of accessibility (I'm a web programmer, and I care about accessibility, though I have no disabilities myself).

I like all the categories of content you mention, though I'd drop you if entertainment/pop-culture became much more prominent. I like the odd little bit of it.

TRiG.

Actually, it does work. We have to approve those moderated comments all darn day long! :) I know that the new Firefox beta is having issues with the captcha, but that's it. Unfortunately, that's a problem with Firefox and they swear it'll be fixed by the full release.

The new design will eliminate that altogether though. We're going to allow folks to comment with a Bilerico Project account (which accepts Open ID btw - we have several folks who comment using it) or your Facebook account. This saves us the headache of constantly checking the site every half hour or hour to see if there's any moderated comments that need approval.

Thanks for the suggestions on content - and the compliments, Trig. :)

Okay, where's the OpenID sign-in hiding? When I click "Sign In" I'm taken to a page with the Movable Type logo and username and password fields. And that's it. I see no other options.

TRiG.

I'll ask Jerame about it Trig. (I don't know since I never use it and I'm always signed in.) I see open id people commenting all the time - although they're usually spammers.

Whenever I've read the quote of the day, my inevitable reaction is... why is this the quote of the day? Never terribly interesting. Nor do I like the 'comment of the week' or whatever you call it. It's never even vaguely the most interesting comment by a long shot.

I would resist the endless stream of "look what this crazy bunch of bigots is doing now" posts. There are many LGBTQ oriented sites which do this, including Pam's House Blend (which is a dreary site and, at times, unreadable). I don't feel as if it gives me any great perspective on the opposition. Yes, Michelle Bachmann is a whackjob... got it. Got it the first time.

I also really enjoy the political analysis, essays and, especially, personal histories and culturally-themed posts. More please. I do admit that endless posts about this representative or that voting or not voting for ENDA for the 50th day in a row gets dry. Real dry.

My #1 desire for Bilerico is the ability to edit one's own responses after submit is clicked.

You mean edit comments you've left on the site? Like to correct typos or whatnot?

Yes, I'd like that, too. And it would nice to be able to spell check comments on the form before they're posted.

Also, God help me for wanting to emulate Facebook in any way, but a "like" button on both individual comments and the articles itself would be handy, too, so you don't have to sign in and write an entire comment just to say, "yes I agree".

And while I'm at it, I'd like to be able to stay signed in, or at least stay signed in longer.

Okay, case in point: I had just posted two comments on this article, and then when I hit the submit button for a third, it said I had to sign in again. Luckily, I knew from experience that if I didn't save what I wrote, it would be lost when I signed in again, and that's just what happened.

I've had that happen a few times lately too, Rory. My workaround has been to hit the back button twice and it resends the form and the comment is accepted.

But I know how annoying that can be. Hopefully the next incarnation has that fixed.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'd luv that! --- If I could correct my typos after I hit SUBMIT button, you guys would be my hometown herpes!

Uh ... I mean ... hometown heroes!

Staying signed in longer would be great. I'm not sure I want the ability to change comments *after* hitting submit - there's already a preview function that aids with that.

It does seem that being able to "edit" effectively means that people can actually change what they wrote, perhaps after they're um, corrected (or argued with). If that's the case, I'm not sure I see the point of a comments section, in all honesty. What makes discussions online so interesting and vibrant is the fact that comments are made in the heat of passion that we may actually regret at times.

I know I've left lots of comments here and elsewhere which, I'm sure, would make me cringe now. But that's what I felt and said at the time,and I'm really fine with the "world" seeing that. If I were not, I would just stop commenting, period. And as for typos - I know for a fact that, no matter how many times I proofread my previews, there will always be one or more that escape my notice. I'm commenting on a thread, not submitting a manuscript.

And I say that with the full awareness that some of my comments do in fact take on the length of manuscripts.

I am interested in what people think about the qotd since I'm the one stuck with it now. It's the oldest regular feature on the site, although when it started, there wasn't a quote of the day every day. It was just whenever Bil found something interesting. Then we relaunched and there was the box and we wanted to do it every day....

Then it got painful looking for something every day to put in there. So We'd try our best not to do it and to pawn it off on one another. Then Dana Rudolph came along and volunteered to do it, and she did it for a while and we were just happy not to do it.

Then she didn't want to do it anymore and Bil and I looked at each other for a while in silence, and I said, "Oh all right whatever. I live six hours ahead of you so I guess I can do it." And since it was just as hard in 2009 as it was in 2007, I just turned it into another post. The quote isn't great on it's own, usually - I've been using it as a way to get another post in with a quote that's at least semi-interesting (not just a paragraph of an AP story).

So that's the QOTD story.

Since you don't call it the QOTD on the site, but Homotextual, I don't see why it has to be changed every day. Just leave it up until you have another worthy quote. After all, Kate Clinton's video stays up there for weeks at a time in the same location, more or less, as the QOTD.

Too true. We called it "quote of the day" up to 2007. Between me and bil, we still call it that even though it's been "homotextual" for almost four years now.

That's about the best summation ever. Bottom line: were kind of sick of doing it, but if people like it we'd continue. LOL

Personally, I love it, but then I tend to see things differently from everyone else. I almost always find something in it that speaks to me in some way, though, and it is usually really hard to restrain from commenting on it.

FWIW

Bil,

Could it be possible to have easy links to the state specific Bilerico Projects up top instead of in the blog roll?

Just want to say, while I don't use the e-mail feed, I DO use the RSS feed. That's a must for any blog I read. :)

I would like to be able to comment using Open ID. I check this site 2-3 times a day, but am frustrated in not being part of the conversation. Attempts to post a comment are met with technical problems and error messages that don't lead anywhere. Telling me that my "text" is "incorrect" doesn't help.

Compare your content to other LGBTQ blogs. It's impressive in the range of topics and perspectives. Then, compare how many remarks are posted on average here, per article, versus on those other blogs. It's pretty sparse. Why don't more people comment?

Quantity doesn't equal quality, of course, but it would be good to hear from a broader range of commenters.

I hope to be one of them.

Problems with the survey as I see it:

1) The current system allows people to vote more than once and hence leaves it open to gaming the results.

2) Percentages are nice, but one really needs the raw numbers themselves, particularly the total number of people participating. And limiting it to unique visiters to better understand #1

It's sets a cookie that's supposed to prevent anyone from voting more than once. We can see the raw numbers - only the people taking the poll see just percentages.

This is just a pet peeve of mine, but I would greatly appreciate if Bilerico would sort its "Contributors" page into alphabetical order, within groups.

Yes, I know I can use my browser's "Find ..." feature to locate a particular name ... but somehow, it is not only inconvenient, it also seems gauche.

One suggestion is to make sure that all posts have LGBT-related content (no matter how tenuous the queer connection). That's our angle; that's part of what makes us unique. When I see stuff like the "Manwich" ads or the Kelly family, I wonder, why are we promoting straight culture? That's not our job, and it takes away from what makes us special.

See, I'd argue that the Manwich post especially is relevant since the man is getting punched for being gender non-conforming. Plus, we have a healthy dose of feminism that's historically ran though the site's bones that I rather enjoy. We've asked that all the posts be LGBT-relevant, but that's an awfully hard thing to quantify. A purely political news story (say, Obama's health care plan passage) may not be 100% queer, while still being relevant to our audience.

What do you think of Terrance's recent post about the budget crisis and Paul Ryan, for example?

I agree that the editorial team has to exercise keen judgment as to whether a non-obviously LGBT-related post should be accepted. Yet, one great example of the type of thing that, IMHO, should be accepted is the explanation about Egyptian politics and culture that Don Davis posted during the protests in Tahrir Square -- I watch quite a bit of political punditry, especially the PBS stuff such as Charlie Rose, yet Don's explanation of the social and political forces behind the Egyptian protests was the best I read or heard anywhere! I was very thankful that, one way or another, Don's insight made its way onto my radar screen.

It wasn't a critique, just a suggestion. :)

Terrance's article is a tricky example because, although it's not explicitly LGBT content, it talks about class in a way that may be relevant specifically to many queer people.

No defensiveness meant, Max. Promise. :) It's all up for grabs right now so I appreciate the input.

In defense of the manwich commercials - the reason I put that up was because they're homophobic. I think that's gay-relevant, even if people disagree with me.

The Kelly family was Jake, and he can defend his own stuff. :)

Regular lurker, but I want to share my perspective. I really love the Queer Music Friday feature. I learn about lots of new artists (most of the time). I also agree with ginasf, other blogs cover the bigot beat well. One area I would like to see more of is history. I consider myself a history geek and I would love a weekly post of famous queers in history or a queer history on this day feature (instead of QOTD).

Leeward_Guy | April 9, 2011 6:12 PM

Just read Alex's comment about QOTD being labeled "HOMOTEXTUAL" I get it now - but maybe you should change the survey question to, ".....read HOMOTEXTUAL (aka QOTD)?"

Thanks. Always enjoy my time reading BILERICO content!

I want to add that even though I picked news and history as my choices on the second poll, I have no objections to an increase in gratuitous eye candy either. ;)

Okay, while we're at it, I think Gloria Brame's photos are a waste of space. Sorry if that sounds mean, but that's how I feel. Her premises are usually weak, and most of the time she's just guessing about when they were taken, and under what circumstances. Even if that was solid, it's really unimportant content.

And I guess this is also a good time to renew my previously rejected suggestion that the commenters names appear above the comments rather than below them. Before I read the comment, I like to know who wrote them which might inform how I interpret them. And if the comment is long, I end up having to scroll down and then back up to read it. If there are a bunch like that, it gets tedious.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but I would like to counter that I really enjoy Dr. Brame's historical photos and similar items. They are evidence that we have always been a part of society, even in more repressive or even persecuted times. We not only existed, we managed to establish and maintain social networks at various levels of openness and secrecy. Finally on a whimsical note, some of those men (and women), often long passed on, are hot to look at -- kinda shows us what we missed by being born so late?

I hadn't recognized a word of the day, either; but I'm on the email list and don't always get to the site.

I'm in agreement that some of the stories about the homophobic bozos in public office, etc. get tedious. They're there, they're square and they're annoying...but it seems they'll always be there.

The vintage photos - no doubt, keep them! As noted above, it's further evidence of our existence down through the years; resilience also.