Jan 14

Popular Reader Question

FT147 comments • 3,221 views

Hello –

As I ramp up the posting frequency on Popular again (hopefully an ongoing trend, though I’ve said THAT before) I realise I have very little idea about a potentially quite important thing.

If you’re a regular (or semi-regular) reader of the blog, how do you find out about new posts? Twitter? Tumblr? Facebook? An RSS feed? Just popping by now and then? Telepathy? Stalking me? I want to make Popular updates easier to find (and encourage new readers in, of course) but to do that I’d like to know about more about how you find them in the first place…

Any responses would be very helpful! Thankyou!


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  1. 121
    admin on 21 Jan 2014 #

    not exactly. Tom stopped adding links. but here for instance is Frankie ‘Relax’ with a video link. http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2009/07/frankie-goes-to-hollywood-relax/

    I think we used to make it pop open a box, now it seems to open a new browser and ‘full screen’ it.

  2. 122
    Tom on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Yeah, sorry – I know people would like videos but they’ve never been a regular feature on the blog. Partly that’s because I mostly don’t watch the video before I write the entry. Honestly, I find videos a chore to sit through, unless they’re very good – a quasi-rockist critical position which is going to become increasingly unsustainable as we get into the 00s, and probably before. So I should probably put the video at the bottom of the entry, after the mark.

  3. 123
    Cumbrian on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Cheers for the all comments button. Most useful.

    Next question: I am currently desperate to give R&J their earned mark but can’t seem to get the vote to “take” – i.e. I voted earlier today but on returning to read further comments I noticed that my mark was still a ? in the little circle. I tried voting again and then navigating away and back to the page and the mark still resets.

    A minor thing in the grand scheme of things, obviously. Still, short of going round Cowell and R&J’s houses and performing a Roy Keane v Alf Inge Haaland challenge on them, I’m going to struggle to give them their due.

  4. 124
    Alan on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Yes I see that still. Damn thought I’d licked that one last night

  5. 125
    admin on 21 Jan 2014 #

    try now – there was a silly mistake in the code. (aren’t they all?)

  6. 126
    Doctor Casino on 21 Jan 2014 #

    I’m not seeing the option to vote – where is that again? Do you have to be logged in to know about it?

  7. 127
    Alan on 21 Jan 2014 #

    yes, voting is for loggers-in only – it keeps the votes against your ID

    (our general polls system is more open but also to casual abuse)

  8. 128
    Cumbrian on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Excellent. Thanks very much – certainly seems to work for me.

  9. 129
    enitharmon on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Tom @122 I rather agree with you, I can’t be arsed to watch the videos either and isn’t the point of our subject matter that it’s about aural experience specifically? But there’s that curious word “rockist” again – can you explain to this bear of very little brain why it applies to videos? I thought it meant “favouring performers who show evidence of a modicum of talent”?

  10. 130
    Tom on 21 Jan 2014 #

    #129 I was using it hesitantly – I don’t think it means much either – but…. in general the school of criticism I agree with/relate to most is the one that says OK, anything is fair game for discussion – the video, the image, the marketing, the fans, the historical resonances… if you can sell it as interesting and relevant, it’s in, even if the music is the centre. Whereas there’s another school which says not only is the music the centre, the music is also the limit.

    So I was just saying that even though Popular is a music-centric blog, I identify with the “it all matters if you can make it matter” critics more. But maybe boredom with videos sits a bit uneasily with that, especially now a video channel (YouTube) is the default source of engagement with music for a huge chunk of the audience.

  11. 131
    swanstep on 22 Jan 2014 #

    That video-links have to be maintained is an argument against them (I kind of assumed that that’s why Tom stopped including them). I also think it works well for those who think the video (or anything else really) is important to add links in comments. Comments are inherently more ephemeral than lead essays and in particular nobody has a reasonable expectation that non-editable comments will have links that are maintained/updated.

  12. 132
    punctum on 23 Jan 2014 #

    Why bother commenting then?

  13. 133
    Doctor Casino on 23 Jan 2014 #

    “yes, voting is for loggers-in only – it keeps the votes against your ID”

    Aha! I’m never logged in and my privacy settings trend against it anyway re: saved logins. I wonder if it could be at least ghosted or something so you know it’s there? Not to junk up the site with a million little “Log in to post!” doohickeys, as I hate those in general.

    re: the date being in the red dot… d’oh! Well, I certainly shouldn’t have missed THAT!

    “Something very wonky happening in the Recent Comments down the right – – – seems like the title of each post is ‘joined’ as a hyperlink with the text of the comment above, if that makes any sense.”

    Finally realized that what’s actually going on is that the post title is at the bottom of the comment, not the top. Which makes a certain amount of sense but still seems backwards to me, or maybe it’s just how the entries are visually ‘grouping’ for me.

  14. 134
    Steve Mannion on 23 Jan 2014 #

    #133 If you did miss the date that’s interesting and a decent argument for putting it alongside the author name, category and views though and that is a more logical place for it imo. I just wanted a colourful element at the top of each post. Will think on it more…

    Agree that a subtle visual hint to logged-out readers/newcomers that they can mark the songs out of 10 too might be handy too.

  15. 135
    Steve Mannion on 23 Jan 2014 #

    Re latest comments for me the post title is the least important of the three bits of data (1. comment extract, 2. author, 3. location) hence that re-structure (and also why I didn’t initially include it at all!). There may have been some odd psychological thing here where I might not always click the comment if the post it’s on is one I’m less interested in generally.

    It’s all useful feedback though and suggests to me that we should do more to highlight and get people to Comments beyond just a crowded box on the right hand side of the homepage. It deserves more space so I’m keen to try out some new ideas to that end next.

  16. 136
    wichitalineman on 23 Jan 2014 #

    My two cents, Steve. I think the location is quite significant. I’m now tending not to notice the comment because it seems a little unmoored with the song title/artist above it.

  17. 137
    David Sim on 23 Jan 2014 #

    I tend to pop in now and then, or sometimes come here via Twitter.

  18. 138
    Erithian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I agree with Wichita #136. I like the new look of the site, but the title of the thread should be at the top in the comments list. It wasn’t broke so no need to fix it – makes it easier to see at a glance where the debate is raging and what’s being revived.

  19. 139
    Ed on 24 Jan 2014 #

    @122 etc – Noel Gallagher’s views on videos – his own, specifically – are pure gold: http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/jan/22/noel-gallager-hates-oasis-videos

  20. 140
    Tom on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I’m certainly not going to better that “All Around The World” review.

  21. 141
    Cumbrian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Awesome remark by Noel right at the beginning of AATW – you should probably go and mow the lawn now, because this lasts ages – or something similar.

  22. 142
    Mark G on 24 Jan 2014 #

    As per Wichita and Erithian, I’d like it : Title, Comment, Commenter.

    Apart from that, it’s nice yeah!

  23. 143
    lmm on 26 Jan 2014 #

    I’ll be signing up for RSS via Feedly as soon as I catch up.

  24. 144
    dollymix on 28 Jan 2014 #

    An RSS feed that I read at about a 20-day delay, hence this comment.

  25. 145
    Izzy on 13 May 2014 #

    Has something happened to how the site works on mobiles (I’m on iphone)?

    I used to get the regular desktop site, with latest comments up the right-hand side; but in the last couple of days it defaults to a horrible mobile version that takes forever to load, has the title bar as a huge header which has to be scrolled down, has only a separate link for latest comments (again with the huge header), and worst-of-all I can’t see any way to change back to desktop view.

    It’s quite inhibiting and is really putting me off visiting – I don’t want long waits and multiple clicks to find out whether there’s anything I want to read.

  26. 146

    ditto izzy’s point — last time (i.e. when the mobile version debuted) there was a toggle that took you back to a micro-tiny version of the normal desktop site, but i haven’t found the same toggle this time :(

  27. 147
    Steve Mannion on 13 May 2014 #

    Any increase in load time may be down to the recent caching issues with the homepage we’ve had (see also trouble with logging in being recognised) rather than the mobile design.

    There was an issue affecting mobile view before which I hadn’t had time to investigate. Alan rectified this recently resulting in the responsive layout you now see behaving as intended on smartphones.

    What we’ve not had time to do is create a better FT homepage which can get people to posts and comments more efficiently as this would also benefit mobile users more than relying on the desktop layout. I recognise the header is not mobile-friendly as it is (other than to first time visitors perhaps).

    Sorry for any inconvenience. I’ll rework the header for mobile so it takes up much less height (and/or can be hidden) and provide a jump link to latest comments plus a few other tweaks to ease the transition ASAP. In the meantime we can revert to how it was until those fixes are in place too.

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