Important Announcement: Techdirt Is Migrating To A New Platform

from the big-changes-behind-the-scenes dept

UPDATE: If you’re reading this, you’re looking at the new Techdirt! If you have an account, you will need to reset your password before logging in. You may experience some bugs and slow performance for the next several hours while we complete the migration. Contact us if you notice any major issues.

Almost since its inception, Techdirt has been run on a custom content management system that we’ve built, expanded, and maintained ourselves. Once upon a time this had its advantages, but lately it’s been an obstacle to developing the new features and improvements we’d like to add for our readers. So for the past two years we’ve been working on a huge project: migrating the entire site, and its history of over 75,000 posts and millions of comments, to WordPress ? and now we’re ready to make the switch. We’ve worked hard to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible, but there will be a few changes, and those of you with accounts will need to reset your passwords. This post outlines what’s going to happen during the transition this weekend, and what you can expect to see when the site changes some time this Sunday evening.

First of all, a note about what this is not: it’s not a Techdirt redesign. For the time being, the changes are primarily on the back-end and the site will look and work just the way it does now with only a few exceptions, the biggest of which is a significant overhaul and upgrade to the comments section. That’s the one part of the site that will look quite different, and work much better: it can now handle deeply-nested threads without becoming unreadable, and there’s a handy new tool for navigating lengthy comment sections. All the features you’re used to, like Funny/Insightful voting, reporting, and First Word/Last Word will continue to work just as they do now.

Another important note is that all posts and comments are being retained, and all old post URLs will continue to work. It was extremely important to us that we not lose any content, or break any links ? even though the URL structure for posts is changing, old links will continue to work just fine and be redirected to the appropriate page.

And, of course, all user accounts and membership subscriptions are being retained as well. However, as noted, all users will have to reset their passwords before logging in to the new system. It’s also possible that you might have to reset your display name, profile picture, and account preferences, though we’ve tried to ensure that these things are all properly copied as well. We’ll make sure there’s a prominent notice on Techdirt reminding you once the switch is complete.

Amidst all this, there will likely be some unforeseen hiccups. We’ll have prominent links to our contact form, and a special feedback category for issues with the website migration, for you to report any problems with your own account or the site in general. This is a massive migration and we’re hopeful that problems will be minimal, but please bear with us as we work to fix anything that does go wrong!

As for the migration itself, shortly after this post we’ll be locking down Techdirt for a few days ? you’ll still be able to read and navigate the site, but you won’t be able to submit comments or create new accounts, and any comment votes or changes to user preferences will not be saved. We also won’t be publishing the normal weekend posts. New membership subscription purchases will still be accepted and recorded, but won’t be activated until Monday when the new site is live.

We’re extremely excited to be finally making this change ? it makes Techdirt much more manageable and maintainable for our small team, and lays the foundation for the site to improve and grow in the future. Stay tuned for another announcement when the new site is live, and thanks in advance to all our readers for your patience and support as we complete this migration.

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Comments on “Important Announcement: Techdirt Is Migrating To A New Platform”

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63 Comments
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Other Issues

Well, if I can use this thread to report some wonky issues: The new comments-on-profiles system seems to have issues with displaying multi-line comments, in that what should be paragraph elements in the HTML aren’t showing up that way.

Also, subject lines for comments don’t seem able to correctly parse apostrophes and quotation marks—include “smart quotes”. Caught that in a comment preview before posting.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Straight Quote: " Curly Quote: “ Straight Apostrophe: ' Accented a: á

Any character issues or line-break in existing comments and posts should hopefully be fixed sometime in the next 24 hours or less – there’s a script working on cleaning those up. As for the subject line issue, thanks for the heads up, I’m looking into it (starting with some testing in the subject line of this comment!)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re:

Actually that black box isn’t that annoying once you get used to it. To whit I can see the utility in any thread featuring tp and/or Baghdad Bob trying to spam the thread asunder.

Although given that thread texts are skewed to the left I’d probably put the navigation pane to the right where there is a lot more empty space.

Tom says:

Random question marks in article

I haven’t seen anybody else comment about it, so I’m adding to the pile. This article (haven’t checked others yet) is delivered with seemingly random question marks in the middle of sentences. These are both in the formatted article and in the page source as plaintext question marks with a space on either side.

Rekrul says:

My opinion: There’s too much empty space in the comments. Everything is spaced much further apart vertically such that I only see one comment at a time on the page. Admittedly I probably use a smaller screen size than most users today, but the comments look like someone grabbed the top and bottom of the page and stretched it vertically.

Maybe it’s because I’m using older browsers on an older system, but the old site always looked neatly arranged. This one kind of looks like the layout isn’t being handled correctly. See here;

https://freeimage.host/i/EJlj2e

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

Sorry for the multiple posts, I was using the browser I used to use for reading Techdirt and it wasn’t showing me my posts, now I’m using a different browser.

I have an old system. This limits me to running old versions of browsers. I know it’s outdated, but at this time, it’s all I have.

Presented for the general mockery it will receive, I normally use Pale Moon 26.5. Not counting third party builds which generally don’t work much better, this is the absolute last version I am capable of running.

I also have Opera 36.0, which sometimes works better than Pale Moon, and sometimes fails miserably at even accessing some sites.

I know I’m way behind the times, but right now, getting a new system isn’t practical for me.

Anyway, that’s what it looks like for me, and the preview doesn’t work at all. At least I can post, which is more than I can do on most WordPress sites.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Tried running a live-cd with some flavor of Linux just to see if it works on your system? There are a bunch of them that are specifically built to run on older hardware, that way you should be able to use a modern browser.

That would probably work, but I don’t know anything about using Linux and I hop back and forth between reading sites like this and doing other stuff all the time, so it would be really inconvenient to boot one OS just for web browsing and another for everything else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Trying Linux

If you can boot from a flash drive, you could try the large version of Knoppix, and see if there are free software programs that meet you needs. Knoppix comes with a large sample of various free and open source program, covering office, photo and video editor, and cad. It also includes wine, so you can see if you can get some of your windows programs to run using it.

A dual cor pentium at 1.8Ghz, with 3GB of memory will run a modern linux distribution for anything other tha memory hungry application, such as serious video editing.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:2

One of your replies was caught in an overactive spam filter (now cleared). And I see one more reply from you, and several other comments – not sure if there are others missing? We will continue looking into it.

I think that’s all the ones I posted.

Some additional info:

In my version of Pale Moon, the icons for rating a post as funny, flagging for abuse, etc, don’t show up. The links are there when I mouse over them, but not the actual images. I only see the ones for first word and last word. They all show up in Opera. The only ones that work though, in either browser, are the first/last words, which tell me that I must be logged in. None of the others do anything when I click them.

Also, besides the Preview option not working, the links for collapsing replies and viewing in chronology don’t do anything. Neither does the little icon above some posters’ names that looks like a stack of quote bubbles with a number in brackets.

Finally, I notice that all the posts I’ve made have a different graphical icon next to them. I thought that multiple posts from the same person/IP address were supposed to be tagged with the same icon so that people could tell they were from the same person and not just using the same name?

On the positive side, I just replied to someone else and it showed up right away when the page reloaded.

xyzzy (profile) says:

Weird auth flow

Normally when I choose to auth on techdirt I use https://www.techdirt.com/my-account/ which looks like any other Techdirt page, but if I try to reply to a posting when I am not authenticated, when I click the login link I get forwarded to a wordpress branded login page (with some ungodly URL), which encourages me to link my Techdirt and WordPress accounts, is this intended, and what advantage is there to linking accounts?

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