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New look heralds big changes at RiotACT

By The RiotACT - 12 August 2016 22

Riot screengrabs

We’re looking better than ever this week (if we do say so ourselves), with a revamped website that has been designed to complement our all-new team and revitalised editorial direction, and to make it easier for you to access and share the content we create together.

The site is now optimised for mobile use, which means you’ll be able to read articles and have your say more easily on tablets and phones. Hallelujah!

The design is brighter, livelier and more colourful than its yellow and black predecessor, to reflect our team’s positive outlook on Canberra life.

Behind the scenes, it’s more up to date, which will give us scope to further improve existing features, and more easily introduce future offerings. There are one or two post-migration glitches to iron out, but we’re 95 per cent there.

We’re keen to hear what you think, and open to making changes based on your suggestions, so please let us know by leaving a comment below or dropping us a line via social media or the Contact us page.

So, about that all-new team. You probably already know that the founders of the RiotACT haven’t been involved for some time, having handed the reins to new owners in 2014. What you may not know, though, is that the site has just been acquired again, by a group of Canberra entrepreneurs with some serious runs on the board in both the ecommerce and digital media spaces.

We’re looking forward to introducing you to them in the next few days, so you can share in our excitement about what their involvement means for the RiotACT and its readers, and for Canberra and the surrounding region.

The new owners have already made changes to the executive staff.

Award-winning former Fairfax journalist and digital first book publisher Charlotte Harper, who joined as acting editor in late 2015, has this week agreed to stay on permanently as Editor of the RiotACT. She is looking forward to recruiting a band of new writers to join the RiotACT’s strong team of regular contributors in coming months, and to steering the RiotACT’s mix of serious and less-so coverage of the coming ACT election. We can’t say too much about the latter yet except to reveal that it may involve cupcakes.

Joining the team as Business Manager is the irrepressible Josh Mulrine, another new media entrepreneur. Josh is a long-term fan of the RiotACT with real expertise in digital media and particularly video. He is looking forward to giving decision-makers around town the inside running on what we’re up to and how they can get involved.

We’ll be telling you more about Charlotte, Josh and their plans in coming days, and asking for your feedback on all of this as the RiotACT begins the most exciting phase of its journey so far.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
New look heralds big changes at RiotACT
1
gbates 10:27 pm
13 Aug 16
#

Does this mean we might expect to see out posts get through moderation in a timely manner?

2
RiotFrog 7:14 pm
14 Aug 16
#

Do you still have the ridiculous comment moderation in place?

3
Pandy 8:46 pm
15 Aug 16
#

When will you guys have the guts to challenge the bigotry directed towards those who would question that there should be an Indigenous Day public holiday?

4
Mordd - IndyMedia 10:25 pm
15 Aug 16
#

Looks good. I would still prefer you consider allowing $5 / month subs to remove the advertising though. Emailed you a list of bugs I found. So far 1 is fixed, Vivaldi browser will now login properly instead of failing, yay!

Can we post our own vote polls now in articles? Also can we please bring the community calendar back and allow users to submit short items of interest directly to the calendar in place of tiny articles? Also can we embed youtube videos in articles now?

Still won’t allow me to upload my avatar again after it came through with a much older one in the migration and I deleted that one. Tried to upload a jpg and a png and both just reload and say the profile is updated but I still have no avatar 🙁

Trending now comments are a bit slow to load, initially and when changing tabs. Viewed tab is only showing me pieces from 5-8 years ago, even after spending a few days viewing new articles on the new site design. Popular tab appears to be working as intended, except for the first one it is showing which is from 2009 (with comments last posted in 2009) and I am positive I never viewed it at any point on the old site, so no idea where that is coming from.

Is there a new guideline being added (or already here but I haven’t found it yet) with something about timelines for how long articles take to get viewed and approved and will this be getting any faster, and is comment moderation being spread around more people to make it more timely overall, especially on weekends when we know you want time off but we want to comment on here and want comments approved that day?

Can you also elaborate on why you choose to remove subs altogether, and what features are being retained (like the avatars – avatars for all? hard to tell atm when the upload isn’t working). Also something on how featured contributors are selected and if new ones will be added over time would be good too.

Mobile optimised site is a long time coming, that’s probably the stand out big change from this overall, so many people read news like this on mobile these days. Have you noticed the new logo looks very similar themed to the Visit Canberra logo, with the blue and the shape?

One last thing, when I log in atm, it always takes me to the admin section, not to the page I was on, which is kind of annoying, please fix this asap, thanks!

Overall a strong foundation in place now on which to build an even better site than ever before and hopefully grow to the visitor number the site used to see a few years ago and even more in the future. According to Alexa the traffic has already grown by 75K daily visitors over the past 9 months after the previous 1 and a bit year slump in traffic, and is back to 350K average visitors as of 2 months ago. Can’t wait to see the future of RiotACT from here on out.

5
No_Nose 7:48 am
16 Aug 16
#

All-in-all I dislike the new site. It is clunky and difficult to navigate around or to see what is new. There are less stories on the front page and space is taken up by repeating stories. There are only 26 stories showing. The old site had many more older stories listed at the bottom and then another page with further older stories. Are you expecting people to not use the front page and go through all of the categories (news, opinion, features etc) to see what is happening?

Like most websites, when you bring in computer geeks to re-design them they do it in a manner to impress other computer geeks with how clever they are…not with what the actual users need or want.

But I guess we are stuck with it…so here are a few comments/suggestions:

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

when I log in atm, it always takes me to the admin section, not to the page I was on, which is kind of annoying, please fix this asap, thanks!

I thought this was just occurring for me…please, please fix this!

In regard to the “Trending Now” section, it only shows 6 topics which is far too few. It could probably do with showing 15 or so. (it doesn’t need to show the comments – just the headline)

This is particularly important due to the extremely slow moderation/release speeds and the smaller number of stories displayed on the front page. On occasion there can be no new comments for two days, then a heap released at once. With only 6 showing as trending is will be very easy to miss comments on a topic you are interested in.

gbates said :

Does this mean we might expect to see out posts get through moderation in a timely manner?

RiotFrog said :

Do you still have the ridiculous comment moderation in place?

This is without a doubt one of the biggest problems with RiotAct. It is simply too slow to encourage debate or conversation. Have you considered going un-moderated? It is possible to report comments so you should be able to set it up so that if a comment gets a certain number of reports it is automatically removed for review. Posters who are continually removed can be banned or placed in a more permanent moderation, as can persons who are found to maliciously report comments. Many other sites successfully use this method successfully.

If you are not going to do this, can you at least send your moderators on a course in identifying ‘humour’, ‘pop-culture’ and ‘light hearted banter’.

Lastly, in regard to the original post comments about ‘introducing the new owners’ – I’ll believe it when I see it! When you changed in 2014 you promised the same thing, and then refused to deliver…even going so far as to refuse to publish any comments which asked about it. (I wonder if this is enough to stop this comment getting through)

6
Holden Caulfield 10:26 am
16 Aug 16
#

No_Nose said :

Lastly, in regard to the original post comments about ‘introducing the new owners’ – I’ll believe it when I see it! When you changed in 2014 you promised the same thing, and then refused to deliver…even going so far as to refuse to publish any comments which asked about it. (I wonder if this is enough to stop this comment getting through)

This.

Still waiting for the promised announcement of the new owners from back in 2014. Now we discover that not only will never know who they were, but that the site ownership has changed again and…

We still don’t know who owns the site. Maybe the prolonged silence has been a deliberate ploy. Either way RiotACT still has a warm place in the hearts of many Canberrans. It would be a shame to see that sense of goodwill lost completely in the chase or desire for profits.

7
Mordd - IndyMedia 4:04 pm
16 Aug 16
#

I would like to add a +1 to going completely unmoderated for commenting. With reporting comments and applying moderation enforcement to only those that need it applied to them, and the ability to blacklist users you don’t like, it is probably time to do away with the forced moderation for all comments.

Also need to find a way to be able to click on specific comments like before and get straight to that point in the comment thread, even a “show new” function that automatically takes you to the last unseen comment would work also. Also need to expand that list somehow to around 10 articles in the Recent list, unless you can get the other 2 tabs functioning properly and they actually show fairly different selections among the 3 tabs.

8
Mordd - IndyMedia 4:27 pm
16 Aug 16
#

Ok so after some further testing, a new bug identified, and some more info on the login problem.

If you come to the site logged out, it loads the new logo as the icon in the tab in the browser. When clicking to login, it changes to the old logo in the tab on the login page. Once logged in from the main page, it redirects you to the admin section, which also shows the old logo in the tab in the browser, then when you go back to the site front page, it changes the tab icon back to the new logo again. Logging in from an article takes you directly back to that article though after logging in. Hope that helps.

9
No_Nose 6:32 pm
16 Aug 16
#

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Ok so after some further testing, a new bug identified, and some more info on the login problem.

If you come to the site logged out, it loads the new logo as the icon in the tab in the browser. When clicking to login, it changes to the old logo in the tab on the login page. Once logged in from the main page, it redirects you to the admin section, which also shows the old logo in the tab in the browser, then when you go back to the site front page, it changes the tab icon back to the new logo again. Logging in from an article takes you directly back to that article though after logging in. Hope that helps.

This is pretty much what is happening to me too when I log in.

10
TuggLife 6:39 pm
16 Aug 16
#

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

I would like to add a +1 to going completely unmoderated for commenting. With reporting comments and applying moderation enforcement to only those that need it applied to them, and the ability to blacklist users you don’t like, it is probably time to do away with the forced moderation for all comments.

I quite like the moderation – r/canberra on Reddit often links to RiotACT articles and is unmoderated, and the quality of the comments is rubbish, and often defamatory. I do agree that moderation could be a bit quicker, though – it would help to promote discussion if there was more frequent posting of comments.

11
Mordd - IndyMedia 10:38 pm
16 Aug 16
#

So since we’re speaking about controversial ideas like no moderation for comments….

What do other readers think of adding the ability to upvote/downvote comments?

Personally I would love this feature, but I worry it could lead to petty vote wars like happens on some sites. Some sites it works great, others not so much. Not sure if it would work here or not, but I would be curious to try it out and see and revert back if it failed.

12
Mordd - IndyMedia 10:32 pm
17 Aug 16
#

FYI if the new Show More button the Trending Comments is not working for you, you will have to disable AdBlock (plus) for this site or put up with it not working, I tested and all popular ad blockers are currently blocking this tab by accident.

FYI @ New Owners, other than that, all standard ad blockers block all ads on the new site, and so many users use an adblocker these days, you will be losing ad revenue unless you bring in an option for $5 / month subs for no ads, for those of us who hate browsing with ads but still want to support the site financially.

13
No_Nose 7:15 am
18 Aug 16
#

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

FYI if the new Show More button the Trending Comments is not working for you, you will have to disable AdBlock (plus) for this site or put up with it not working, I tested and all popular ad blockers are currently blocking this tab by accident.

Why are some ‘trending’ threads being shown with 3 or 4 comments and others with just 1?

If they all just had the title and just the last comment (one) there would be space to list more threads as trending.

As I said previously, comments seem to get moderated/released in blocks usually it is about 5-6 sites trending at the same time…then nothing for hours and hours (sometimes up to 48 hours).

14
Charlotte Harper 7:52 am
18 Aug 16
#

No_Nose said :

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

FYI if the new Show More button the Trending Comments is not working for you, you will have to disable AdBlock (plus) for this site or put up with it not working, I tested and all popular ad blockers are currently blocking this tab by accident.

Why are some ‘trending’ threads being shown with 3 or 4 comments and others with just 1?

If they all just had the title and just the last comment (one) there would be space to list more threads as trending.

As I said previously, comments seem to get moderated/released in blocks usually it is about 5-6 sites trending at the same time…then nothing for hours and hours (sometimes up to 48 hours).

Thanks for your feedback, @No_Nose (and everyone who has contributed over the past week or so).

On average comments are moderated at least hourly during business hours – most of the time every 30 minutes or so. Comments that require a second review can take longer to moderate. Please check our moderation guidelines if you want to give your comment the best chance of getting through without any issues.

We are in the process of updating the moderation guidelines and will be calling for community consultation during that process too.

The trending now section shows the last placed comments (up to 5 per article). Moderators will at times choose to mark a comment to appear at the article level only, because the comment is referring to an older article, for example.

Based on the latest feedback we are going to move to showing the last 15 comments. Then if you click more you will see the last 25.

15
Citizen Phil 11:47 am
18 Aug 16
#

The left hand ads staying fixed are annoying if they’re rotating, distracting when you’re trying to read. If you’re going to fix a column the right hand one is much more useful. If not, I hope you’re charging your advertisers more for the privilege.

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