Welcome To The New Techdirt!

from the up-and-running dept

On Friday, we announced that we were beginning Techdirt’s migration to a new platform – and now that migration is complete! Though you’ll only see some changes on the public-facing site (especially in the comments section) we’re now running on an all-new WordPress back end.

There is still a small handful of known bugs and housekeeping tasks to be dealt with (see below) so you may experience some quirks or some bursts of slow performance this week, but the majority of them should be resolved today. Those of you with accounts will need to reset your passwords in order to log in. Your comments and membership subscriptions should all be correct, but let us know if anything is missing. Same goes for any major issues with the site in general: drop us a line via our contact form (we’ve added a special feedback category for website migration issues, but feel free to submit general feedback and bug reports too). You can also leave a comment on this post.

There are a couple of known issues that you may encounter – or they might be fixed by the time you’re reading this! A handful of posts may have character encoding or other formatting issues, and some comment sections may have some incorrect threading of replies, and these are both in the process of being fixed by a cleanup script. Also, older comments (mid-2020 and before) are temporarily missing their vote totals and badges, but this data will be restored very soon.

As you’ll see, the comment section has been overhauled with better formatting for nested threads, and a new tool (the Comment Scrubber) for navigating comment sections when in threaded view. We’ll continue to make tweaks based on reader feedback, and we also have some plans for new comment features to unveil in the future.

Thanks to all our readers for your patience during this process! We’ll be addressing any issues that come up as quickly as we can. Also, a huge thanks to the team at WordPress, who did a lot of the heavy lifting that was necessary to replicate Techdirt on the platform and transfer over 20 years of posts and comments without losing anything. I’m not sure our small team could have completed this massive project without their help.

Welcome to the new Techdirt!

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Comments on “Welcome To The New Techdirt!”

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Tanner Andrews (profile) says:


Not sure why the site keeps on reminding me that ``If you have an account, you will need to reset your password” when I am clearly logged in. None the less, it does this, with clever use of javascript to be sure that the message does not go away.

And let me count the times the system reminds me that ``This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies”. I am thwarted: I cannot count the times without first removing my shoes.

And is it my imagination, or is posting entirely broken if javascript is turned off?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Preview”, “View in Chronology”, “Collapse replies”, and the image of the question mark do nothing. It’d be best to hide these entirely when Javascript’s disabled (e.g. by using JS to insert their HTML), rather than showing things that look like links or Submit buttons but don’t work.

At least one of these is a “link” with “#” as the target. Don’t do that. Use real links, and have any attached JS handler suppress its normal behavior when invoked. (This one doesn’t only affect users with JS disabled; it can cause trouble for anyone trying to open things in a new window or tab.)

I’ll be interested to see a post-mortem eventually. The claimed reason is that “it makes Techdirt much more manageable and maintainable”. But that should be written in the future tense; it’s cleary a prediction, given that so far the migration has been a “massive project” involving “heavy lifting” by outside parties. I’ll be interested to know to what extent things actually become easier, and what changes go back to the upstream project.

Out of curiosity, why migrate the old stuff at all, instead of just dumping it to static HTML?

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Re: Persistence

Commenting should work just fine without Javascript! (Though comment Previews currently do not)

Considering the importance of preview in the posting process, I would say that posting is seriously broken.

Of course, the requirement to use javascript for pretty much any part of the web site might be consided a bug. It is debatable. It might be considered a serious design flaw rather than a bug, but reasonable minds can differ on this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The “uses cookies” nag at the foot of the screen is worse.

…and kind of lame too. I’m not seeing my browser send any cookies or being asked by the site to set any. It would be better to mention it only in contexts where it would be relevant, with the message in that location as opposed to forever stuck at the bottom of the screen (though I remember the old site’s banner being worse).

thor says:

Preferences not working

Setting website preferences for non-logged in users does not appear to be working. The site reverted to the default settings of Fixed page-width and Collapsed post length. I have used the preferences panel to try and set things back to Variable/Expanded, and it says that my settings were saved, but continues to render in default format.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Wordpress width restriction?

Is the new site width restricted? Most WordPress (maybe all) sites are. As commented above setting preferences to variable width does nothing. The site is 8 inches wide on my 32 in monitor with the browser at full screen.
Really, really, really hope you get this fixed.

sumgai (profile) says:

Not quite 6 hours after the opening bell….

The only thing I can see and call a probable bug is that under the profile link at the top right, the menu choices (four of them) don’t disappear when I click elsewhere on the page. In fact, when I visit another page, either here on TD or another site, I can return to the same page where I had previously dropped it down, and then menu is still visible. If I ask for the dropdown on two pages, they both display said menu again, after going away and then returning to either of those pages. Even if clearing the cache straightened this out (I’ve not tested for that possibility), the old setup didn’t leave things visible like this – I clicked away, and the menu disappeared.

It’s not in the way, at least not for me on fixed-width, but it’s something I’m sure you’ll need to address sometime in the future.

BTW, it would be very nice if the Preferences page had an option to set the fixed-page width. TD takes up less than half of my screen width – that’s a lot of white space! But variable drives me nuts, I can’t use it. I don’t know if I’m the only one in that boat, but I thought I’d just throw that out there….

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: See, this is (sort of) why I learned CSS.

I rigged part of my Techdirt userstyle to change the color of the “active” icons (yellow for “insightful”, green for “funny”, and red for “flagged”). It’s a minor edit to the SVG code in the CSS, but it works well for showing me when I’ve clicked one of the icons. I also did a similar thing for the “insightful” and “funny” badges that appear on posts that earn said badges. If you need that code, I put it on Pastebin.

Keep in mind that this will only change the color of the buttons when they’re “active” (or being hovered over while “inactive”); when they haven’t been clicked (or when they’re “active” but being hovered over), they’ll still be the same color as before.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

The Comment Scrubber

We’ll be rolling out a fix to prevent the comment scrubber from covering up content on variable width display soon! And following that, a user preference to disable it entirely. I do urge people to wait and give it a try next time we have a huge comment thread though – I find it very useful for navigation when that’s the case.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:


The issue may have to do with the fact that your memberships were bought with a different email address than your Techdirt account email, then activated on your Techdirt account.

The system should be handling that, but it seems not to be in this case.

If you still have access to the email that you bought the subscription with, you can check there – I think you will have gotten a new Activation email, allowing you to reactivate the subscription on your TD account. Feel free to do that, if you did! But this should have happened automatically so we’re working on getting it fixed, too.

Anonymous Coward says:

The reply button has bad behavior on mobile.

Normally, clicking and holding on a button shouldn’t trigger the button until and unless I release my finger while it is on the button. This gives a chance to drag away from the button to avoid triggering it. The reply button (not to be confused with the Post Comment button which submits the reply) on mobile is no longer a normal hyperlink (even though the View in chronology button still is) and triggers the moment my finger makes contact with the screen. It’s very easy to accidentally tap the reply button and to suddenly have to scroll back to where I was.
I’d appreciate it if you would change the reply button behavior back to “trigger only on release”.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:


Yeah – that system hasn’t been in real use for a very long time, and we were having some issues with it in the transition, so we decided to deprecate for the time being. I know that sucks for some of our long-time users who had some old submitted stories in there, and I’m sorry about that! At some point we will try to bring it back if we can.

sumgai (profile) says:

Couple more things….

I dont’ consider these so much as bugs as just lack of time to think through the whole user interface thing. For instance: (Note, I’m on a desktop. Should’ve mentioned that earlier.)

When scrolling, nested responses show lines that collapse inward when going up the page, and expand outward when scrolling down the page. These should remain stationary, and with a bit of spacing, as in the old system.

There’s no indication of
new, and hence unread, replies have been posted since one has last visited a given topic (such as this one!). Is there a plan to bring back the green line on the left of a posting to indicate that one has not yet read it? Pretty sure that others here appreciated that interface trick on the old system.

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry, Toom, but I don’t know where to move to, in order to get an orange bar, top or side. Nothin’ like that here. What I do see is occasional orange bars between postings, but I can’t tell if they’re part of the preceding post, or meant to call out the following one. Does no good for the reader at that point. But worse, I can scroll down the page just a little over half way, and the orange bar disappears! How is that helpful??

Besides, I’d petition to change out anything colored orange for any other color – reminds us all too much of a certain turd, doncha know….

Anonymous Coward says:

Expanding article, scrolling, then collapsing

Using my android phone, chrome browser.
Previously collapsing the article would end up with the article headline displayed, with the abbreviated article showing. Pretty much the view before expanding the article.
Now it seems that the article is collapsed, but the article headline is way above, and I’m now viewing articles several articles below the one just collapsed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bug: Not canceling a comment

First, congrats on the successful migration! The quick navigation tool on the left and the comments sliding out of the way certainly make great additions.

A bug: when you hit “reply” on a comment but then decide to forgo to reply without choosing “cancel reply”, and then scroll all the way down, the last comment won’t be marked read (I guess because there’s not enough space below the last comment).

sumgai (profile) says:

OK, next bug…..

When using markdown to copy/paste a quotation, the “>” symbol indents the quote, but does not italicize it.

Small one, to be sure, but one does get used to easily identifying certain aspects of what one is reading. Using indented italics to call out a quote is quick and easy for the reader. I’ll bet that others here wouldn’t mind that feature being returned. (But I could be wrong on that score.)

sumgai (profile) says:


This was unexpected. When viewing a profile, mine or others, and I see a post that I want to follow up on (to see if there was any further discussion), there is no link like the old system. You know, the one that used to say “re: re: re:”, etc.

If there is an actual title for that individual post, then that link shows up. Otherwise, all we see is the thread’s title, which just links to the top of the article.

I rate this as a highly undesired bug, there’s no way it can be re-labeled into “feature”.

BernardoVerda (profile) says:


What I’m really missing is a good way to find the posts that are “new” since I last visited a page, like the green margin used on the old version of the site.

The orange bar at the top of “new” posts doesn’t fill the bill;
* Firstly because it’s easy to miss, and
* Secondly, because it &^%$#@! disappears — much too quickly — while I’m scrolling down the page.

The old style, green margin would stick around till I left the page or refreshed, which really helped me navigate/keep track of things much better.

For example, I could skim quickly for where the interesting posts or exchanges were occurring, and easily scroll back to (and find) an interesting point that I might have neglected in the first skim. Having a clear indication of what’s “new” that doesn’t vanish in digital smoke the moment it appears on the viewing area would (imnsho) really improve practical usability, convenience, and overall user experience.

Thad (profile) says:

Bit of an odd one, but: backslash-escaping is broken in preview. For example, if I put a backslash and then an asterisk in my post, the preview won’t show either of the two characters but it will format the post like the asterisk is a markdown character (ie it’ll turn the asterisk into a bullet if it’s at the beginning of a line, or the start of italics if it’s not), as if I’d typed an asterisk without a backslash. However, when I post, the asterisk is escaped correctly.

* example — this line begins with a backslash followed by an asterisk. In preview, the asterisk is converted to a bullet. But (I think) the final post will correctly show the asterisk character.

Another *example* — that’s backslash, asterisk, the word “example”, backslash, asterisk. In preview, I just see the word “example” in italics, but (I think) the final post will correctly show the two asterisk characters and no italics.

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