Revamping reading

I’m sure a lot of you are already aware of this, since the changes have been up for over twelve hours, but I figured I’d let the folks just showing up to the party know about the rather extensive changes I’ve implemented on the site this weekend.

If you’re a frequent Protagonize visitor, you’ve probably discovered that our Stories area was getting rather cluttered, full of a mix of poetry, screenplays, song lyrics, and roleplays in addition to the typical narrative prose we had originally started out with. This is probably my fault, as I never anticipated that (a) the site would grow so large, or that (b) people would want to use it to write anything other than stories. Mea culpa!

Having spoken to a number of our authors in the beta group, via email, and even face-to-face (/wave, Protagonize Pub-folk!), I’ve slowly realized that the ever-growing clutter of mixed content was becoming a major hindrance to pretty much every author on the site. People who were interested in reading stories were never sure of what would show up when they were browsing, people who wanted to write and read poetry were running into the same kinds of problems, and the growing popularity of roleplays was overwhelming everyone.

With that in mind, I’ve revamped the stories area quite heavily. The interface isn’t too different, but it should be somewhat improved. As I mentioned in a discussion in the Protagonize Pub earlier this week, what I’ve done is created a new Read page that houses all content submitted to Protagonize, replacing the old Stories page, which in turn has become a sub-section of the new Read area. In addition to stories, you’ll find new over-arching sections for Poetry, Writing Exercises, and Other Works (which includes song lyrics, screenplays, plays, non-fiction, and more) in there, as well.

Within our new writing exercises section, you’ll even find a new category for the ever-elusive Protagonize Tennis exercise, which is all about alternating writing a scene or storyline (or basically, anything) between two (or more) authors, trying to keep the results consistent. Good fun, all around!

In the process — as I mentioned in the Pub discussion — I’ve had to automagically re-assign a lot of your existing content into those new areas. You may find that some of your poetry, roleplays, and other works have been moved into their appropriate new super-categories. While some of it I was able to re-categorize properly in these new sections, a number of works (particularly poetry) didn’t have matching categories after the move. In that case, you’ll find the works in their respective sections under the Uncategorized category. Feel free to update those as you see fit — I did my best to preserve existing categories as much as possible, but some of them just didn’t work in the new sections.

At the same time, you should be able to edit your existing works and move them into the new sections yourself, if you need to. You’ll see some new options at the top of the story editing page that will allow you to select whether your work is a Story, Poem, Writing Exercise, or Other work. I’d also suggest that if you find works that seem to be in the wrong areas, please report them using the Flag button at the bottom of the post in question so that our moderation team can move them into the right spots.

I’d love to hear any feedback folks may have about the change — so far, most of the comments I’ve been seeing have been overwhelmingly positive. And as a little taste of additional upcoming changes, I’m going to be working on the My Stories page so that finding and organizing your work will be significantly easier in the future.

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14 Responses to Revamping reading

  1. aryst0krat says:

    I spy a Paddytum representing stories.

  2. Nick says:

    Anything’s possible. :)

  3. SpookOfNight says:

    I like it! Now I can actually find half the stuff people request me to read, ha ha!

    Thanks Nick! :)

  4. Alipix says:

    Yay! My reading life on Protag has been made so much easier!

    Thanks so much!! :)

  5. Danielle says:

    Love it!!! Thanks so much, so much more user-friendly!

  6. Danielle says:

    Oh, but now are we going to have features in each of the new categories…? Maniacal, aren’t I?

    • Nick says:

      That may happen down the road — I just to put a few things in place so that it’s not always me picking the features each time, otherwise I’ll never get around to it. :)

  7. Ritu says:

    :) Nice interface!
    I have just one complaint.
    It’s become a habit with me to click the Surprise Me button everyday, and read the stories/poems/whatever that comes up, and I really loved that. I think it was a good button for the community too, since it gave stories that otherwise wouldn’t have been read a chance. And now it’s GONE *sob* =(
    Just thought I’d let you know.
    -Ritu :)

  8. Nick says:

    @Ritu Actually, the button is still there. Check the bottom of the “Read” menu, second-to-last item. :)

  9. Seattle says:

    I love it…. Great job, Nick. When I go to find my stories, especially if it’s not my most recent work or top rated on my profile, I’d have to sift through that huge list of random pages… Usually, I just went over the “search” area and found it that way, since it’s usually a heck of a lot easier…

    There’s just one suggestion I might have.
    Instead of, when you’re sifting through all that clutter of pages, I think you should try to make it sort by each story, instead of by each individual post or page that there is.

    Like, Every page from “this” story under that, if you can understand what I’m trying to say…
    Maybe you’ve already done this, I’m not sure (I haven’t exactly looked at it up close yet), but if you haven’t, that’s an idea…

    Thanks for revamping the site though. It’s great.


  10. Nick says:

    @Seattle The My Stories page is undergoing a complete overhaul — what’s there isn’t going to last much longer. I realize it’s a pain in the butt for folks who’ve posted a lot of stuff to find their Stories, etc. Don’t worry, though; I’m working on it next. :)

  11. Ritu says:

    @Nick Oh thanks, I hadn’t noticed it since it went all weirdly transparent on my computer :P

    I’m happy it’s still there :)

  12. trevor says:

    That’s a great update.

  13. Nick says:

    @Ritu Try clearing your browser cache – I’m not sure if you’re using IE or Firefox or another browser, but you might be seeing some old cached code. CTRL+F5 might do the trick in a pinch.

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