Good morning, Sharders! Things look quite a bit different today, don't they? It gives me and everyone on the staff great pleasure to reveal the new 17th Shard--our fourth major iteration since we launched in 2010. I've referenced this for so long, worked on this for what seems like an eternity, that it feels unreal to finally show it to you. We hope you love it.
With this version of the site, we've updated our software to version 4.1, from our previous 3.4. That jump from 3 to 4 is a huge one and a massive overhaul of many site systems. Things will be different, but that's okay! It's different in (hopefully) a good way. Let's talk about what 17th Shard 4 has in store for you.
You can immediately tell, whether you are looking on the site on your PC, your phone, or your tablet, that things are really different. That's the biggest feature of this update: we now have a fully responsive design. It's just one theme that expands to the device you are using, instead of having some shunned mobile skin. What this means for you is that when you visit 17S on your mobile device, you actually have all the power of the site, all the time. Quoting multiple people at once? Easy. You'll find the editor on mobile is the same thing as desktop. You can edit all your account settings on your phone. Everything just works the way it always should have.
Though I absolutely love having a great mobile site, I also can't stop staring at this glorious art Will, aka Shivertongue, made for us. A new, cleaner logo; a glorious new background; and cleaner iconography. Legend has it that he just appeared in my apartment and left a flash drive there with this art, and then promptly vanished into the mists. In addition to his enigmatic help, Kerry (KChan) and Monica (Moru) helped with a lot of design and coloring as well.
Design is important, but what other features are in store for you? Well, there's a ton! We now have a Cosmere Q&A board where people can pose questions, and other members answers. It's like our old "Question and Answer" thread, only it no longer needs to be in just one topic. People can rate questions as well as answers so you are sure to get the best answers. So, if you're new to the cosmere and have a lot of questions, or you are a veteran with complex questions, or maybe you just want to know if this thing you heard actually has a quote to support it, make sure you get right on it over here!
What else? There are a lot of reputation improvements. You can, at long last, undo an accidental upvote or downvote, and the color scheme for positive and negative reputation is more neutral. But that's not all. You can now @mention particular people in posts and they get notified (of course, that can be turned off if you like). User profiles are pretty different and now allow you to have a cover photo. The "View New Content" is now "Activity" and is that newspaper on the navigation bar, and it's very cool now. There's a bunch of small stuff, and I'm sure you'll really like it.
Some things are in different locations, though. Your account options are on the upper right, under your username. That's where you can edit your sig, for instance. You can also edit some other settings directly on your profile. On mobile, your account options are in the dropdown menu under "Account".
The editor is now rather radically different from before. It's a far superior Rich Text Editor, and in my experience, actually does the things you want it to. One important difference is that when you press Enter or Return in the new editor, it automatically creates a new paragraph, with spacing between the two paragraphs automatically supplied. You don't need to press Enter twice for the same effect anymore! Of course, there are times where you'd really like to not have that extra space between lines--perhaps in your signature, for example--so to do that easily in the editor, just press Shift+Enter. Easy! The editor is also quite smart on knowing what spacing you want if you paste text from elsewhere, so that's a plus. Long time users of the site probably input things in BBCode. You can still use BBCode, though the actual post data is no longer stored as BBCode.
You might wonder as you go about your merry way on the site today, why on some tabs, there is sometimes a Pause icon on the tab. It's not that 17S is trying to play music, it's that when that pause icon is there, you aren't getting browser notifications for stuff on the site, because you hadn't been to that tab in a while.
There are some things I am noticing upon this update that I want you all to know about. Some content was just not quite converted exactly as I (or anyone) would have expected, so let's talk about that.
We talked about how in the new editor, it defaults "Enters" to automatically put space between paragraphs. This caused no problems on some posts, where the old empty line between paragraphs that you needed before was removed nicely. On other posts, there is still an empty line between the two paragraphs, and because the editor thinks, "hey, you wanted extra space there too, right? Right!?" it puts extra space after that empty line. This causes those posts to look ultra-spaced out (which sounds way less cool than it actually is). I've identified why this is happening and am actively working on removing these extra spaces. Just bear with us a bit, and don't feel obligated to edit your previous posts to fix it. I'm on the case!
The line spacing also affected signatures a great deal. The fix I have planned to do on posts might not work on certain signatures for various dumb reasons, so if you have time, you might want to update your sig. (Hey, that's a lot more practical than editing all previous posts!) Remember, in the editor, you can use shift+enter for a line break, if you don't want that extra spacing.
Some avatars--for reasons completely unknown to me--totally vanished, leaving users with the default avatar. We're sorry. (Sorry Matt.) You'll need to reupload the old avatar. Should you not have a copy of the file, I could probably find it in the old site files.
I've also heard reports on our test site that some people just can't log in on the new site somehow. I'm not totally sure why this happens. But, there is an important distinction to the name you log in with in this new version. Previously, you could have a Username (your log in name) and a separate Display Name. This was deemed as a somewhat unnecessary distinction, so now you only have a Display Name. So make sure you're logging in with your Display Name! If you do that, and are still having log in difficulties, perhaps try a password reset or email me at [email protected]. I am hoping these aren't widespread, but I am happy to help.
Myself and other staff will be on hand especially often, tweaking minor things, and helping you all out! So, if something is broken, if you're confused about something, post in our forum topic: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/54790-the-17s-4-discussion-thread/. Also, in addition to suggestions or criticism, feel free to send us some love. We've worked on this for a long, long time, and in particular, it's caused me more stress than you can possibly know. So send us some love if you like it, and of course criticism and suggestions.
Discuss the site update here: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/54790-the-17s-4-discussion-thread/
Edited by Chaos