It’s that time of year…. The NC annual fundraiser will be starting soon, meaning the end of this week.
Readers contribute generously to this site in many ways, via sending links, antidotes, hanging out at our water cooler, um comments section, and last but not least, sending money. I hate to be forward about it, but an effort like this does entail the use of that crass commodity. If you believe in Naked Capitalism’s distinctive combination of serious analysis, prescient calls, and no-holds-barred commentary, we hope you’ll show your support via a contribution, either a one-time donation or a subscription.
We also hope you’ll tell us what you like, and where we need to do better, so that we can direct our efforts to things that you consider important.
This site requires an
insane ongoing commitment of effort, not just by me but by other important contributors, particularly Lambert. And it’s become more challenging to keep coverage timely and relevant as the effects of the global financial crisis keep fanning out into the political realm. Since we regard our real mission as fostering critical thinking, this year we spent some time on the propagandizing and political fallout resulting from the Snowden revelations and Obama’s plan to intervene in Syria (which sadly we expect to rear its ugly head again in November). So we’ve been stretched even thinner than usual.
As Matt Stoller wrote:
The truth is, you can get lies for free. Wall Street is only too happy to buy advertising, to make sure you hear from their well-credentialed experts. If you are not paying for your media, though, then they are. And you aren’t the customer, you are the product being sold. While this arrangement works, what it means is that you’ll get lies for free. And this is a very expensive proposition. So I hope that you’ll consider, if you haven’t already, putting some dollars towards the Naked Capitalism fundraiser. If you can’t afford much, give only a few bucks. If you can afford more, give more. If you can afford to give a lot, give a lot. It will pay for itself, I guarantee you. This isn’t just giving, it’s a statement that you are want a different debate, a different society, and a different culture. It’s about saying you are tired of the lies you are being fed for free, and are willing to put your valuable resources into reshaping how information in our society flows. It will help policy-makers understand that if they make good decisions, they have allies, and if they don’t, they have enemies.
So, to help keep the blog that never sleeps after the banks that never sleep, please participate when we go live on our fundraiser!
To get a head start on reader input, we have finally made substantial progress on our site redesign (I will bore you later as to why reaching the point where we could begin the process was more difficult than you could possibly imagine).
We recognize that many of you regarded the prospect of a redesign with some trepidation (and given how some redesigns have come out, I can understand your concern. It made me leery too). However, there were multiple reasons to do so. Here are the three biggest:
1. As much as the “letter from the gulag” look can be seen as connoting a sort of gritty authenticity, it can also just be read as amateurish. This site actually is read by Serious People, such as people on the Hill and at financial regulators, and it would help its credibility if it looked more professional (McKinsey spends a small fortune on its firm format and visual presentation of information for this very reason)
2. The right column is ugly and cluttered and has long bothered me
3. Some changes in how the text was laid out (margins, font sizes, headers, etc) would make the site easier and more pleasant to read
Our designer Kristin went through the alpha version of the site last night. We though it looked good enough to show to you. There is still a LOT of work to be done, but we wanted to give you an idea of the proposed look and feel, highlight some new features, and ask for input on some specific questions.
Please DO NOT give lots of nitty gritty feedback at this juncture. I’d rather have you do that on a later version. We’ve already given Kristen a lot of notes, so the odds are high that what bugged you bugged us and is already on her “to do” list, so I’d hate to have you put effort in on our behalf to no avail.
Also, even though Kristin also has formatted the post pages as well as the landing page, we have a lot more notes on the single post page than on the landing page. So feel free to look at them, but they need a lot of tweaks.
Most but not all features render correctly in all browsers, so if something peculiar happens, it is likely to be browser specific and Kristin is aware of those issues. Pretty much everything renders correctly in Firefox, so if you can, please view the draft of the new site in Firefox (one remaining weirdness is one ad block renders as clouds when Kristin tries to fix it, so ignore that glitch). If you cannot or will not user FireFox, please give us your browser’s name, version, and operating system (e.g. Lynx 1.5 on Ubuntu (kidding!)).
Kristin also warned:
There are a couple of elements I am working on in terms of getting the ads working together so what I hate about people judging something that I’m working on is that one moment when the code is broken, half the page could look like spaghetti, and then they hate it but then a few minutes later if they stuck around it would load OK.
So if the site looks really weird, come back later. This is life with alpha releases. Apologies in advance if that happens to you.
So…drumroll…here it is!
Update: Spambots have discovered the dev site, so you’ll now need a username and password, which are:
Colors. We had told Kristin up, down, and sideways to keep the old colors, just rebalance them (use less orange, more of the secondary colors). She warned us before showing us her layout that she’d changed them but it would be easy for her to revert to the old scheme if we wanted that. Lambert and I were quite surprised to find we actually think her “cooler” look might indeed be better. But we wanted your take. An additional benefit if you concur is that we’d no longer look like a cousin of Daily Kos.
Menu Bar Landing Pages. Yes, we will soon have proper grown-up site policies and other descriptive info that most sites have. Of course, that means we need to decide what we really are about. Also note the Archives, which are now in the right column, will be listed in the Menu Bar and have its own landing page.
Tip Jar. We will have rotating sharing/cooperating/begging animals, as in a new one every day. We already have 30 thanks to our intern Jessica and will be adding more (if you have high resolution candidates, please send them!)
Improved Recent Comments. The text of each comment is longer, and best of all, when you click on the comment, it goes to the comment itself, not the top of the post as before.
Livelier Links. The color for a link is a bit too subtle right now, so we’ve asked Kristin to amp up the contrast a bit. However, find a link and put your cursor on it. See the color change? I rather like that.
Ability to Change Number of Posts Displayed in Recent Items. The fact that we have five posts listed in Recent Items is a disincentive to adding new posts on a busy news day (in that when a post rolls out of Recent Items, reader comments drop way off, which suggests they quit reading it). This way, if we get a lot of fresh material or otherwise would like to put up more than 5 posts in a 24 hour period, we can make sure they all appear in Recent Items.
There are quite a few, but we wanted to point out we are aware of the redundancy in the “Subscribe” options we show in the right column. Fixing one is a bear to recode which is why it isn’t completed yet, but rest assured it will be addressed. I also insisted a RSS reader icon be added in a prominent post, and it will be in the Menu Bar to the right of the search field.
1. Do you like the new colors?
2. Kristin eliminated “search comments”. Is that a feature you will miss?
3. In the right column, the items at the top are flush left and the ones at the bottom are flush right. That is somewhat driven that we have some flush left items, such at the Money News block, but the ECONNED ad is flush right. When we move the Archives section out, there will be an element added, so you should no longer have the abrupt and jarring shift from flush left to right. However, one reviewer did not like the flush right in the Blogroll and Topics at all. He did not like looking down an alphabetized list where his eye has to zig and zag in and out to find out exactly where he is. That does not bother me. Does that bother you as well or do you think the flush right lists are OK?
Any other high level comments appreciated!