The Times HA they are a changin’

Over the coming months I plan to roll out a series of updates to HA, including more content, more features, and better layout. Some of the changes will be rather trivial, and some quite dramatic (including the total redesign I’m currently elbow deep in coding.) And some might be only passing fancies, as I intend to experiment freely, modifying or even tossing “improvements” as I go along. It will be a work in progress.

The goal is to provide the HA community a better and more compelling user experience, and so I hope you not only tolerate the disruption, but work with me to help get it right. I’m willing to consider anything, no matter how radical, so if there’s something you’d like to see HA do better — or completely different — please consider this comment thread a suggestion box, and freely offer me your input over the coming months.

(Oh… and if a professional graphics designer wants to offer me some pro bono service, I could use the help.)

Comments

  1. 6

    spews:

    Goldy ..

    I am not a designer but do have some skill with Lgoes and such if that helps!

    As you know I also have a gallery of images of a number of the regulars from DL if you want to do something with those. I do have one of you too .. not sure you would like it but de gustibus non fresse.

    I assume you are going to keep the HA brand name?

    How about linking to something like the Examiner so folks can have news and HA for breakfast?

  2. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    Well, you could allow users to have avitars attached to their names…

    Uh, forget that. Bad idea. Requires way too much supervision, I would hate to see what kind of avitars this bunch would use. I wouldn’t be able to access the site on my work computers.

  3. 11

    spews:

    Why do you always have to beg for stuff to be given you on the cuff? Why not adopt a more profitable business model?

    In other words, SELL ADVERTISING! Then, instead of having to be a latter day version of Oliver Twist (“Please, sir, can I have some more?”) in a work house, you can stand on your own two feet and take on all comers.

    Certainly, the HA Happy HooliHordes represent an extremely desirable demographic. Upscale, affluent, cutting edge, influential, and among the very elite of society, government, culture, and the arts.

    Or you could “venture capital” your entreaties. If you haven’t the cash to pay vendors (e.g., a professional graphics designer), then give him/her a piece of your action on the come. A chance to go to the stars with Goldy and become rich beyond the dreams of avarice!

    That you furnish the HA Happy HooliHovel in early Salvation Army doesn’t mean you should fund raise as they do.

    Or may we expect to see you with a kettle and a bell in front of the main entrance to Safeco Field this summer? Battling it out for quarters and dollar bills with the guy that plays the accordian?

    Heck, with all the $$$ you’ve raised for The Darcy and others, it’s criminal that they don’t reward you by buying massive ads at inflated rates on HA. Some friends they are, eh what?

    The Piper

  4. 12

    laurel spews:

    A minor suggestion: When the HA page finishes loading, it always sends the cursor down to the bottom of the page. This drives me nuts! Can you have the cursor stay at the top, where the newest content is? Thanks!

  5. 13

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Jesus, Scrooge!

    This is an online community. In many online communities, it is part of the accepted norm to help each other out. This is one such community. If you don’t like it, there are other communities that would, shall we say, better share your miserly values.

    (Hint: That means you can GET LOST any ol’ time, geezer!)

  6. 14

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Can we have reader blogs like the P-I webpage? Can we? Can we huh?

    Just kidding – please don’t have reader blogs, at least not like the P-I. Terrible idea.

    However, I can agree with Laurel on the cursor behavior, that is slightly annoying.

    The only other suggestion has to do with editing (like, try some) but I’m pretty sure what that suggestion will get me.

  7. 15

    Hannah spews:

    Goldy, maybe some way to sort out comments from when you looked at a thread to know which threads have more recent comments? Don’t know a thing about coding so don’t know if that could even work, unless you setup login accesses. And yes, #3’s a great idea!

  8. 16

    GBS spews:

    Half uwe ever considered adding spell checker? That wood bee nice. Eye make lots of typo’s.

  9. 17

    spews:

    I have no idea what is causing the scrolling to the bottom of the page thing. Others have reported it, I have chanced upon it a couple times in Firefox for Windows, but I can’t reproduce it consistently.

  10. 19

    LPM spews:

    Invite a blogger who isn’t a guy to have some “air” time.
    That might help with the testosterone toxicity…

  11. 20

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Funny, I get spell-check in my posting windows. If I misspell a word, it is underlined with red dashes. Using Firefox on a Mac, YMMV.

  12. 21

    rhp6033 spews:

    PS @ 11: If you’ve ever tried this yourself, you would know how difficult it is to sell advertising on a website which might bring in anything more than mere pocket change. Major advertisers still aren’t willing to shell out big money like they do for print ads. The model is still too new to attract big advertising bucks.

    Part of the problem is that the big advertising money is funneled through ad agencies, and they see the internet as being potential competition. They have been arguing for years that businesses need to spend big money on “image” ads which don’t directly sell a product, so their effectiveness cannot be verified. The internet provides more reliable means of tracking how many people actually see an add (impressions), as well as how many people actually act on the ad (click-throughs).

    Google AdSense paid off for small web sites pretty well for a little while, but not so much anymore. Everybody’s doing it, and people have learned to ignore the Google ads.

    What’s left is mostly affiliate advertising (you pay if a reader clicks through and makes a sale). But you need a LOT of traffic to make that pay off in any big way. I’ve got a colleague down in the LA area who has a website which brings in about $10,000 a month on affiliate advertising, but she’s been at it for ten years, and has a pretty good niche sewn up.

    But having said all that, I would agree that Goldy needs to do more to “monetize” his site. He puts a lot of work into this, from which we all benefit, and “a workman is worthy of his hire”. So he should make a decent income off this effort.

    Some of my suggestions to Goldy:

    * Take the time to write a really good unique article at least once a week, complete with research, interviews, fact-checking, editorial review, etc. Think in terms of N.Y. Times or Washington Post quality. Try to make it one of general interest, of a more lasting nature than some of the more transitory or merely local stories which we often see here. This can then become a resource which other media can then use when the story goes national, linking back to your site. But in doing this, you might want to establish a seperate companion site with a “friendlier” name, and without the obscenities or the comment boards – one that MNSBC won’t have a problem linking back to in their articles. But then provide recipricol links back and forth between that site and this one (with appropriate parental warnings?)

    * If you aren’t already an affiliate under Amazon.com or Barns & Noble, sign up. Add a section of book & magazine reviews, with links which will give you credit for any sales. Go through your article and find ways to turn the text into hyperlinks to relevant products, those seem to have the best click-through rates.

    * Always be thinking in terms of products which can be sold on the site. T-shirts with relevent messages can be set up through CafePress.com. (“I voted for George Bush, and All I Got Was XXX Trillion in Debt”).

    * Consider self-publishing a book which you can sell on this site (“The Best of Horse’s Ass Comment Boards?”). I’ve self-published a book at a cost of less than $3.00 a copy, and then sell it at $19.95 each on our website (no, I won’t point it out to the various wingnuts here). It manages to bring in a few hundred dollars a month of extra income, in addition to affiliate sales.

    All of these take a considerable investment in time up front, but they keep paying off down the road. We first wrote our book in 2001, but it’s still selling pretty well (we do update it once a year).

    Anyway, take it for what it’s worth. As they say, when you solicit free advice, you usually get your money’s worth. Maybe Piper Scott and Mark the Redneck will want to try their own hand at it, instead of constantly trying to tell you how you ought to run your own site.

  13. 22

    spews:

    Piper Scott,

    “Why do you always have to beg for stuff to be given you on the cuff?”

    Beg for stuff? What you fail to comprehend, dumbass, is that HorsesAss has elements of a community to it. Therefore, people are all too happy to lend a hand.

    You, on the other hand, soak up bandwidth with very minimal return. That’s Okay…every community has its leaches.

    “Why not adopt a more profitable business model?”

    Ok…how about this: make a handsome contribution to make up for the bandwidth, server charges, and database storage charges Goldy incurs on your behalf? Put your money where your fucking mouth is.

    “In other words, SELL ADVERTISING! Then, instead of having to be a latter day version of Oliver Twist (”Please, sir, can I have some more?”) in a work house, you can stand on your own two feet and take on all comers.”

    Only antisocial morons like you cannot tell the difference between begging and asking ones community for help. Even in asking people for some help, the incredible amount of uncompensated services Goldy provides to this community puts him WAY ahead of anyone else around here in volunteerism.

    “That you furnish the HA Happy HooliHovel in early Salvation Army doesn’t mean you should fund raise as they do.”

    Why the fuck do you care how Goldy raises funds?

    “Or may we expect to see you with a kettle and a bell in front of the main entrance to Safeco Field this summer?”

    That would be the alcohol talking to ya, Piper.

    “Battling it out for quarters and dollar bills with the guy that plays the accordian?”

    Could be worse…could be a bagpipe!

    “Heck, with all the $$$ you’ve raised for The Darcy and others, it’s criminal that they don’t reward you by buying massive ads at inflated rates on HA.”

    Given all the steaming piles of shit you leave behind in the comment thread, shouldn’t you be (1) donating to maintain the blog, (2) send EXTRA money for the necessary environmental remediation?

    “Some friends they are, eh what?”

    Another case of WingDing projection!

  14. 23

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    @ 20, I get the spell check, also.

    Machine is PC XP SP2, bowser is Firefox.

  15. 24

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    What I would really love is the system they use on DIGG.com. IF someones post is found to be asinine by enough of the other posters the comment is “hidden”. It is not removed, but it is buried and a user is required to “unhide” it, in order to read it.

    That would make it much easier to glide through the on topic worthwhile posts and not have to slog through all the troll batshit-crazy posts.

    You could also make replies to a particular post branch off from the other posts, into their own tier. That way if someone wants to battle a particularly crazy troll post, they do it in their own tiered thread. That would clean up the page, and again make it easier to find the worthwhile posts.

  16. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “if there’s something you’d like to see HA do better — or completely different — please consider this comment thread a suggestion box”

    How about a feature that automatically electrocutes wingnuts pretending to be Democrats?*

    * Just kidding! Ann Coulter humor.

  17. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “Could you consider banning the F-word??”

    I have a better idea. Let’s pass a ban against Republicans fucking over everyone else.

  18. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 “Goldy is red-green colorblind.”

    In that case, he should avoid intersections with red-light cameras.

  19. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 So? You think anything another wingnut says is a good idea. And it turns out none of them are.

  20. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 They don’t like that model because it means no Republican boss is getting paid for their work.

  21. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 Speaking of bagpipes, the last time I heard someone playing one, the neighbors called the police.

  22. 32

    rhp6033 spews:

    Hey, Republicans like “user fees”, right? And they like to have exclusive access to public facilities by paying a small fee which the rest of us aren’t allowed to use, right?

    Okay – set up a seperate comment board for their use, and charge them by the word.

  23. 33

    spews:

    @21…rhp6033…

    Actually, you make some decent suggestions from a business POV, which was my point all along.

    You even quoted scripture! But I won’t tell anyone.

    Sad how anathema it is for those one the far left to not immediately look at something’s money making potential. Just because it’s an alleged “community” and all the other blah, blah doesn’t mean you can’t make an honest buck from meeting community needs…or creating within the community a demand for something they don’t know they need then selling it to them.

    What’s needed aren’t more techies and academic moralizers with little if any real world payroll-meeting experience (Calling all Darryls – Calling all Darryls), but someone who can take Goldy’s vision – skewed out of his left eye though it may be – and help him package and sell it.

    If a guy can make big $$$ selling pet rocks why can’t Goldy make some dough selling the rocks that are in his head?

    A key is to not take yourself so seriously that you think you’re entitled to anything. Goldy, do you feel entitled? That maybe KIRO, The Seattle Times, or others somehow owe you?

    If those who pay for the privilege feel as though they’re getting something for their money and that you respect that they have choices and that they’ve chosen you, then you will go a long way toward building a relationship between seller and buyer.

    Creative selling these days is based upon partnering relationships – buyer and selle are in it together for the long haul for their mutual benefit. One hand washes the other.

    If you’re only methodology is to ask for dough from the faithful, then what functionally distinguishes you from the gang down at Tent City?

    Build that better mousetrap! I’d like nothing more than to see Ol’ Goldy Porschen it down the Ave wearin’ an Armani, checkin’ his sched time on a Patek Phillippe, gettin’ ready to book it to the ski condo at Sun Valley, and tradin’ the HA Happy HooliHovel for an e.l.f.-proof green mansion that makes oppressed Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 10,000 +++ sq. ft. retirement poor house look like the shanty shack he claims is the lot of all poor folk in the U.S. of KKK-A.

    Think on it…you could self-finance a run for Congress ala Ross Perot. I mean GasBaghdad Jim McDermott can’t take free junkets from Saddam Hussein or his ilk for ever, and one more damage award for violating the civil liberties of one of his Congressional colleagues may send him to the poor house (Maybe a job as Rev. Wright’s pool boy?) thus leaving the field wide open for the Rt. Honorable David Goldstein.

    But then you’d have to clean up your language, which might prove to be your undoing.

    Choice is still yours, however – in America, if you have a dream and the willingness to work hard enough, the sky’s the limit!

    The Piper

  24. 34

    spews:

    Will came close to developing a way to turn the HA apples into gold: sell posting rights.

    A couple months ago, he was willing to sell, for the price of a pizza, the right to have a thread on any topic written by him with the topic chosen by the buyer.

    Immortality for the price of a pie!

    But if every one of the HA regulars – where the Hell did Paul Andrews go, BTW? – sold four topics a month with Goldy taking 100% of his own and splitting the others 50 – 50%, then some coin could accrue.

    Will genuinely showed some entrepreneurial spirit and creativity with his Pie Plan – Goldy, can you match him?

    The Piper

  25. 35

    Ed Weston spews:

    OhhTay
    I admit to being a semi pro artist. B.S. Sculpture,Founding member of The Kingston Art Gallery. Most of my portfolio is two dimensional.
    Retirement occurs shortly.
    While I’ve some experience with computers. I wouldn’t recomend me assembling a web page’s graphics.
    I’m willing to be some help,if possible.

  26. 36

    Jim, (a genuine musician) spews:

    Goldy:

    In addition to being an accomplished pianist, I teach piano, and my business card says (among other stuff) “variable rates; barter encouraged.”

    You could rent or barter space to “Pipers Anonymous.”

    s/
    The Pianist
    (absolutely NEVER to be somehow confused with a bagpipe operator)

  27. 37

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    There’s nothing wrong with Fox News except that it’s not guaranteed to deliver elitist liberal talking points all day long. If you want that kind of stuff, just watch ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and especially MSNBC. They’re so far left they’re on another fucking planet!

  28. 38

    thorn spews:

    Goldy,
    Is there anything you can do to empty they trolls from the comments septic tank? Opposition is ok, but continuous off topic ranting is destructive. The comments sections need an editor. Just get rid of the off topic stuff (except for open threads, of course).

  29. 39

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    @ 37 whoever PI is, it is obvious he is from another planet in an entirely different galaxy.

  30. 40

    thorn spews:

    @37
    Politically Incorrect is correct about one thing. Fox News is from another planet.

  31. 41

    thorn spews:

    @39
    The Blatantly Obvious, our 2 good minds obviously think in the same train of thought. You scooped me on this.

  32. 42

    Puddybud spews:

    Goldy: I agree with point #3 and somewhat with Thorn. In fact thorn is 1.5 for 358 with post #38.

    Commentary into the septic are from many lefty posters. Does thorn support ByeByeGOP and his love of other mens wives, sisters etc? Does thorn support racism? Or how about Pelletizer and how he hijacks a link? There is much cross contamination on the left, which, of course, the manipulated mind of thorn skips over.

    Regarding Fox News vs CNN or ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS, it seems the lefties are scared to hear another side of the news. At least Fox has the counterpoint. Where is the counterpoint on Keith Olbermann?

  33. 44

    Tommy Thompson spews:

    #38 #42 – Puddy don’t take it personal. Not everyone can know how to make a valid on topic point…don’t feel bad for yourself. Honest things will get better for you, learn how to become a little less illiterate and things will work just fine for you.

  34. 45

    My Left Foot spews:

    42

    Where is the counterpoint on Keith Olbermann?

    Come on Puddy, make the questions hard. The answer to this one is Bill O’Liely. In fact, Bill-0 is so paranoid of KO that he will not mention his name on the air. There is a story where Bill-0, who stands about 6’5″, confronted a sitting KO at some function. KO then stood up, he matches Bill-O in height, and Bill-0 backed off.

  35. 46

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    “Where is the counterpoint on Keith Olbermann?”

    Pat Buchanan is a regular contributer on Countdown.

    Nut then, that may not be fair, Pat Buchanan is honest in his opinions.

    FOX News has no use for honesty.

  36. 47

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    About # 46, remember “N” is very close to “B” on the keyboard.

    I apologize for any confusion.

  37. 48

    The Blatantly Obvious spews:

    @ 31, at the office building I work at, in the attached parking garage, there is a bagpiper who often uses the “acoustics” to practice his “craft”.

    No one ever approaches him. They all assume his is insane.

    He operates a good bagpipe. As far as I can tell.

    It all sounds like someone squeezing a bag of cats to me.

  38. 49

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Puddybud, The Blatantly Obvious & thorn,

    What Fox News does that is far superior than amything the rest of the media does is give a 3-minute summary of the news, usually at about 5 minutes and 35 minutes past the hour. What you’re getting with the ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, et. al., is the talking head’s opinions of the day’s news. Look, I used to watch The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather until I realized one day that all I was watching was Dan Rather giving his opinions of the news and trying to pass it off as journalism. I switched to Fox because, for one thing, I got the news in succinct summaries and secondly the news was delivered without the talking head’s opinions.

    If you like Katie Couric and think she should tell you how to think, vote and act, then, by all means, watch her for the news. Don’t criticize those of us that choose to think for ourselves.

  39. 50

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Also, Fox News is not going away: the other news sources are just so biased that Fox’s continued existence is assured.

  40. 51

    Ed Weston spews:

    Yah the way they harased poor old Scooter Libby and shrub about the pardon was just awful. Poor old Johnnie’s perfectly innocent multiple equation of AQ and Iran is just all over the news. Well known mass killer Seigalman is somehow out of federal prison and somehow no one is told. Darn that insuffiently accursed liberal media anyway.

  41. 52

    mark spews:

    How about having Tim Eyman start some threads and get
    some honesty going, you know, fair and balanced like
    FOX NEWS. Doesn’t matter if you like them they are still
    the biggest news channel in the world and the only one
    thats fair.

  42. 53

    spews:

    @42 ,,, The Counterpoint to Oberman???

    Puddy you are joking, yes …

    Glen Beck, Hannity and Combs, Laura Ingram, Bill Orei8lly, etc etc

    I am not all that keen on Oberman but he is one voice in a sea of cat calls from the FAR right/

  43. 54

    What'sittoya spews:

    I suggest that the comments section not be allowed to be a $%^^&(**-spewing sewer of obscenity.

  44. 55

    Puddybud spews:

    SeattleJew: My counterpoint to Olbermann is for MSNBC. He seldom has any counterbalance on his show. You all jump up and down but where is the MSNBC counterbalance.

    They just threw Tucker Carlson under the bus. They used to have Congressman Joe on the evening and they removed him.

    For the latest Buchanan argument just revert to thread #4513 from the one PacMan calls John Doe. Doh!