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Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 8:27 pm CDT
What are your ideas for the main page blog feed? How would you like it structured? Currently it is by post time, but I could add "Most Discussed, Most Commented, etc" lists. TideLiar was concerned that if the site grew too large that good posts would get lost in the "noise" like they do on NatureNetwork. We do not want that to happen! So we need to come up with some good ideas so that the great posts get their due time and exposure.

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 4:52 pm CDT
I've been thinking about this too--as the # of bloggers grows, having only the most recent 6 or so up probably isn't the best. Maybe show the most recent from each blogger, with those in chronological order, sort of like our individual Blogrolls work, but with pictures and first couple of sentences? As it is now, I feel like there's so much white space down where the blogs go, you could probably shrink things a tiny bit and put it in two columns, so you don't have to scroll so much to see what's going on. I also like the idea of a "most viewed" and "most commented," maybe for a given period of time, though, like of the past week or two weeks or something?

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 5:21 pm CDT
I could also hand pick my favorites :P Haha, or we could have a special feature list based on our votes?

biochem belle
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 6:09 pm CDT
Be forewarned: This is a bit of a stream-of-consciousness post.

I know there's been some back and forth over first paragraphs vs. summaries, but I think shorter summaries might be better for the front blog page... although now when I look at it, I see that those are going on the featured page, so maybe not.

I like Becca's idea about having the most recent post of each blogger on the front page, and maybe have link to the individual's blog page adjacent to their most recent post. But I also just realized that with Tideliar and possibly another recruit or 2, we're up to nearly 20 bloggers! So once everyone is rolling out posts, that might be too much as well.

So I've been looking at the front page for other networks, like SciBlogs, ScienceBlogs, and Scientopia. It seems that what might make the most sense, in terms of keeping the front page from becoming too crowded, is to:
- have a few (4 to 6?) "featured posts" that include the first paragraph or summary of the post (a la Sb)
- keep the "writers" section on the front page (either in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page)
- have a more extensive list of recent posts with titles only (a la SciBlogs)
- possibly have a recent comments feed (also a la SciBlogs)

Just some thoughts... which may make no sense at all.


Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 6:27 pm CDT
Keep the ideas coming. I like where this is going. And Belle, there are 5 more people that have blog space, but haven't activated it yet. I would GUESS that since they haven't started yet, that they probably won't...which is ok by me. Just keep in mind that the number could be closer to 25 at some point. We just have to decide how many is too many, I don't want noise, so let's figure this out early so that everyone is happy with the result.

Lady Scientist
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 8:21 pm CDT
Like Biochem Belle, this is kind of a stream of consciousness thing.

-I like the idea of keeping the list of writers on the page because it'll help with keeping the smaller blogs visible.
-Have the highest rated, most viewed, and most comments in the past 24 hours with a short summary.
-I really like Becca's idea of having the most recent post by each blogger with a title on there in chronological order. As I think that would keep some bloggers with a smaller readership (or who aren't as prolific) from getting completely lost in the mix.


Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 10:23 pm CDT
One (non-science) website that I think has a really nice layout is The Awl. As you can see, they've got 5 featured posts (icons + title) across the top, as well as a most viewed/commented box on the side. A little further down, they've got a "contributors" side box. On Lab Spaces, you have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the recent blog posts--past all the social media stuff and ads that sort of look bottom-of-the-page-y. I think if we want the blog collective to be seen as a major part of LS (I know I do!), there should be something a little more substantial higher up. Like maybe selected/featured posts in the right column, above the twitter feed, with a link to the main "blogs" page? (for the most part, the tweets are just the headlines from the news stories, so it seems a little redundant to have them next to each other.)

I am TOTALLY spewing random thoughts here, and as we have made patently clear over the last week, I truly have no clue with regards to what goes into making a website. So if these thoughts are way off-base, just ignore them!

Lab Mom
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Tue, Aug 03, 2010, 11:07 pm CDT
I agree with Biochem Belle and Lady Scientist.

Even if you just keep the title of everyone's most recent post under their name (like you can do in a blogroll) it at least gives a new reader the idea of what kind of subject matter they blog about, even if it isn't the highest rated or most commented on.

I also agree about spotlighting the hot subjects/posts front and center (since those are the articles that drive traffic)

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Wed, Aug 04, 2010, 5:41 am CDT
LOL, @Becca, design and tech are two very different things. :p I like the ideas! The twitter feed could definitely be adjusted.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 8:10 am CDT
So I think this is the plan, please chime in on any changes.

1. Cut the twitter feed down the the last 2 tweets, make the font smaller (Just to let people know about the twitter account really)
2. Replace that section with a "Featured Blogs" list. This will be determined by YOUR votes. I'll put a backdoor into the star rating system that can tell if you're a blogger or not. Posts with 5 or more 4 star+ votes will be thrown into the "Featured" feed. Posts can stay in here for one week.
2. The "Writers" section will be split into two columns.
2a. Column one will be the standard "This is what has been posted in the last 24hrs"
2b. Column two will be a list of all the bloggers and will have the title of their most recent blog. If you haven't posted anything in the last 2 weeks, you won't be included in this list.
3. At the bottom of these two columns I'll add a 3 column list of "Most discussed," "Most Viewed," and "Best Rated" for the last 2 weeks (Already seeing how that set-up might be redundant...)

These are just ideas, please give me some feedback :) Also, you could draw pictures and post them too!

Evie
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 8:22 am CDT
Sounds really good. RE: "This will be determined by YOUR votes" Do you mean just the writers get to vote? why not everyone?

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 8:59 am CDT
@Evie, because I want you guys to have control of the feature list :) That's why I planned on adding a "Best Rated" to take into account everyone's vote.

Evie
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 9:21 am CDT
Ok :)

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 9:42 am CDT
For those of you who were on twitter this morning, Ed Yong had some thoughts on the LS layout. I asked him to expand, and he sent me an email. Here it is!

"The way I see it, on your site, you have the blogs, which provides unique, original and interesting content, written by an impressive collection of people. You also have “news” (and I use the term charitably), which amounts to nothing above what you could achieve by plugging the Eurekalert RSS feed into a blog. In terms of which of these should take pride of place on your main page, I personally think it’s a no-brainer."

I have to say I agree. We've now got a pretty large and extremely strong team of writers, and people are going to come to LS for the blogs, not for the news headlines they could get anywhere.

Here's some more random spewage of thoughts:

Re: "best rated" - how well is the rating system working? Are people actually voting on blog posts? I have a couple that have been rated, but only 1-3 actual votes per post. Also--and this may just be me--but I initially found the "rate this blog" to be confusing, because to me, a "blog" is the entire collection of posts by a single person, not an individual entry. Obviously, we know what the rating system does here and can go nuts voting on each other's posts to generate the Featured posts, but I wonder if for the masses, "most viewed" and "most commented" will be enough to push the popular posts to the front.

I like the idea of having a "recent posts" column and a "all the bloggers" column. I think that in "recent posts" you should probably not put our bios there--it looks a little silly, for example, to have 3 Genomic Repairman bios right in a row. I do think bios should go in the "all bloggers" column, though.

I'm going to work on a mock-layout today, because I'm losing my job in 2 months and am too depressed to think about real life stuff.

Evie
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 9:58 am CDT
I actually think the news should stay the main focus, that is what brought me to LabSpaces in the first place, and that is what brought everyone here who is using the site now. In the future that may change w the development of the blog area, but the news presented and laid out the way it is will keep brining people in.

Sorry about the job situation @Dr Becca,though I am sure this means new and better things await you :)
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