Posts Tagged ‘blog mechanics’

Site overhaul latest

Yes, I’m working through this lovely Memorial Day holiday on this.

1) Thanks in part to a very helpful plugin from developer Alex King, most individual post URLs from the old site now redirect seamlessly to the new. (Some still don’t work properly, but we’re probably not going to be able to fix that).

2) URLs are shorter with the “index.php” now gone. Again, this should redirect seamlessly so it shouldn’t matter if you’ve bookmarked an address that uses the longer version.

3) The new crisis is that monthly archives in the new site are fritzed. At work on restoring them. Update 5:45 p.m.: back working now.

P.S. And now we have a site map too.

Those share/save buttons; tagging posts

1) As part of our continuing WordPress transition and overhaul we’ve added those blue “Share/Save” buttons to the bottom of each post, but they seem to slow down the time needed for page loading, which had been so quick. On the other hand, we’d really like it if people used Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc. to let more people know about us. Are any regular readers likely to use this feature? Is there some simpler method of achieving this goal?

2) We’ve lagged behind the technology curve when it comes to tagging our posts, and we’ve now got years’ worth of archives with no tagging whatsoever, which handicaps both our outreach to new readers and our internal ease of navigation. Any suggestions on speedy ways to rectify this? Are there “social” tagging methods in which we can take advantage of readers’ each doing pieces of the job? Or assuming we can handle the security aspects, are there readers who’d like to volunteer to tag posts from within WordPress for us?

WordPress site now operating

Update: Since it’s awkward to keep two blogs going at once I’ve now switched the WordPress site to function as the “main” blog. Old post addresses generated by Movable Type (which lack the “php” suffix) still appear to work.

Earlier: Looks like I’ve fixed the problem of imported MT posts being misattributed to the wrong authors. I’m also trying out a new design “theme” (XMark by Lisa Sabin-Wilson) which fixes some glaring problems we had with the previous test theme (such as italics not rendering properly) and looks, in general, blog-friendly. At the moment it’s not a great fit for the accustomed look and feel of the site but it seems to be highly customizable, and should be considered a work in progress.

As an experiment, we’ve made commenting somewhat easier and you may notice that your comments appear immediately.

Site housekeeping

* Comments on the main site are still broken, sorry. Update: Comments now working since WordPress changeover.

* Yesterday was one of our biggest Instalanches ever, with about 7,000 Glenn Reynolds readers coming over to visit this post.

* You can see our rapidly evolving WordPress “sandbox” here. One vexing problem we’ll need to fix: most of the posts from guestbloggers are being attributed to the wrong contributors. That problem is evident in this recent post, which was really authored by Jim Copland; the case names don’t render properly either. The posts in the sandbox may accept comments (which may or may not survive in a reconstructed site) but any permalinks are not really permanent and are apt to break soon. Comments about the reconstruction itself are best added to this post. Update: Sandbox removed since WordPress version has gone live.

WordPress here we come?

Given the vulnerabilities of Movable Type to attack — comments are down once again and I don’t know at this point when we can get them back up — it looks as if we’ll have to join the crowd in migrating over to WordPress. (And I had really wanted to spend the week on other projects.)

Those who might want to share relevant MT-to-WP conversion experience are welcome to check in through email (since comments are busted).

Comments and search down for now

The site crashed under spammer attack this morning — I’m told the link from Instapundit with its resulting heavy traffic was just a coincidence — and we’ve had to shut down comments and search temporarily while we try to get back on our feet. Update 1:15 p.m. Eastern: search back up (although all old saved searches are broken, you’ll have to re-search on individual terms), comments still down.

Redirects: thanks to volunteer Andrew Grossman

This may be inside baseball for those who lack interest in blog mechanics, but since it is excellent news for Overlawyered and its readers, we’ll boast about it: volunteer Andrew Grossman has stepped forward to accomplish for us something we’d been dearly hoping to accomplish, namely installing redirects that will get several years’ worth of older (2003-2008) posts to display in current URL format. The underlying problem is that we’ve been through three iterations of Movable Type and each had a different way of creating the URL format for a post:

http://www.overlawyered.com/archives/001600.html (first method)
http://www.overlawyered.com/2004/11/rr_didnt_warn_not_to_walk_on_t.html (same post, second method)
http://www.overlawyered.com/2004/11/rr-didnt-warn-not-to-walk-on-t.html (same post, current method — note use of hyphens instead of underscores)

Simply discontinuing the old versions would cause thousands of old links, both incoming and internal, to break. But the continued existence of the old versions led to several kinds of problems: they could no longer be formatted properly, so they looked ugly if not unreadable; moreover, users of Google and other search engines would encounter two (or, more recently, three) textually identical versions of the same post, which was confusing at best. Hence the need for redirects.

Aside from his having done us this service, another reason to commend Andrew Grossman to your attention is his day job as Senior Legal Policy Analyst, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation. His writing interests there include “federal criminal law and the problem of ‘overcriminalization’ — the practice of turning minor civil offenses into serious criminal acts,” and other topics equally well matched with ours here, including the likely boon to litigation from Congress’s CPSC expansion, the ill-conceived ADA Restoration Act under consideration on the Hill, and Judge Posner’s summary approach to dubious expert witness testimony. We hope he’ll be guest blogging in this space before long.

Reader inquiry on feeds

As mentioned, I know very little about RSS, Atom, feeds, etc. but just try to take the minimum steps needed to make sure readers can follow the site that way if they wish. This note from a reader in Australia is not the first to indicate that our software upgrade and site redesign of recent weeks may have caused some disruption:

I hope you’ll accept my apology in advance, but it just occurred to me today that I hadn’t had any feeds from you for quite some time now. I use Bloglines as my newsreader. I tried to resubscribe to Overlawyered using a different type of feed and that seemed successful, but when I looked at what had been supplied with the different type of feed, all of the material was from mid-March. Are you able to throw any light on this? Is there some problem with Bloglines and Overlawyered? Is there something I can do to restore the feeds? Thanks for any assistance.

Knowledgeable comments welcome.

Miseries of software upgrade, cont’d

Site search, which has been broken for the past couple of days, is back working now. Pre-2003 archives are now broken, but I expect to get them reinstalled fairly soon. (Update: fixed now.)

Unfortunately, the inherent limitations of Movable Type and its upgrades are forcing a retreat from one of my long-held objectives, namely to provide this site’s archives with stable longterm URLs. The previous URL formats we used are not supported by MT 4, which means that after our upgrade-in-progress is finished, existing links to individual posts published before March 2008 will mostly break. With minor exceptions the material itself will not vanish from the site, but it will reside at new URLs and you will need to do more searching for it. Sorry.

Redesign issues continue

An advisory about a few continuing issues arising from our Movable Type upgrade a week ago and the site redesign that it’s triggered:

* We’re experiencing a surge in comment spam which we’re trying to fix. In the past these attacks have sometimes forced us to close comments briefly or have even brought down the whole site.

* Relatedly, we’re suffering email disruptions which are affecting email addresses @ this domain name and at my personal domain walterolson dot com. If you have sent mail to me or Ted through these sites in the past week, it may not have gotten to us. Editor – at – pointoflaw – dot – com should reach me and is unaffected by the disruptions. Using comments on posts as a substitute for messaging is best saved for a last resort. Facebook messaging is another alternative to consider.

* A couple of readers have reported disruptions to Overlawyered’s RSS feeds. If this is happening to you, too, feel free to point it out in comments to this post. I don’t use feeds and rely on readers to let me know when they malfunction.

* I’m slowly moving up the learning curve on customizing display styles on things like font size and white space. The gavel icon is back on the front page address line. Don’t assume that this design is final as I’m by no means done tweaking it — I might even go back to the pink color scheme.

P.S. Prof. Bainbridge likes the new design. But does Ron Coleman? And QuizLaw favors the distinctive pink.