HELLO! New digs over here, but why do you care? This thing now runs on Drupal, a content management system that's designed to facilitate multi-user sites. It has many, many features, like:
Comment improvements. No more 300-comment threads full of drive-bys, first posters, and several people talking back and forth at each other without any guidance as to just what the hell is going on.
The new comments:
- Can be restricted to registered users. I'm going to leave it open for a while to see how it goes, but if things get too annoying I'll lock out unregistered comments.
- Prohibit handle-jacking. All unregistered commenters post as 'Anonymous Coward.'
- Are more fuctional. A WYSIWIG editor allows you to bold, italicize, link, bullet, and indent without having to know any HTML.
- Are local. This should allow them to be searched for in the future, and you can always find a user's entire comment ouevre on his user page.
- Can be threaded or collapsed as you please.
Diaries. There is a species of Michigan blog akin to the mayfly. Inspired by this, that, or the other, a reader gets the idea he'll add his voice to the Michigan blogosphere, puts up a couple good posts, and then disappears once the overwhelming feeling of talking to himself is just too much.
These are invariably sad occurrences. Other times people just email me cool stuff, or leave excellent comments that really deserve a wider audience. When I miss these, they die on the vine.
Now registered users can maintain their own section of the site, where they can post whatever they want. SBNation calls these "FanPosts" and they're usually sparse and a little sad; DailyKos calls them "diaries" and there are frickin' millions of them. In any case, the idea is the same: post what you want. The tabbed section at the top of the right sidebar will track and link to various posts that are either new, popular, or "hot" -- commented on lots. If something is really good I might bump it to the front page, and if there's enough quality in that section there will be a regular (weekly? biweekly?) roundup.
Better organization. The old site's sidebar creaked ominously under the extreme pressure of thousands upon thousands of sidebar sections, links, and other cruft. Here, the really important site-usability stuff has migrated up into the navigation bar you see right below the banner, and the piles of links have migrated into flyout menus so that they don't take up too much screenspace when you're not looking for a Purdue blog.
A message board. Drupal comes with out-of-the-box message board software. It kind of sucks, but it works. I plan on doing something about it later, but for now there is a board, and it won't have any porn spam. Probably. It will remain a single board until such time as excessive off topic traffic drives people nuts, at which point there will be a schism.
The message board should be the place all OT talk goes. At some point the comments section exploded into an unmanageable mess and I stopped reading it because there were 500-800 comments every day, many of them about Gary Sheffield. I want to read the comments as long as they're relevant, and they will be relevant henceforth: offtopic posts are strongly discouraged and are subject to capricious deletion.
But that's not all, folks. Drupal is like a camel: if you beat it enough, it will take you anywhere. When I can find time (read: in January at the earliest), I plan on undertaking various other projects:
A recruiting wiki. Scouring the earth for every piece of information available on the dozens of kids Michigan recruits every year is a task that one man will necessarily leave incomplete. You can see evidence for yourself whenever Varsity Blue updates its recruiting board with 50% stuff I've never seen.
User-submitted photo galleries. Like diaries.
A Bittorrent tracker. Maybe. MGoVideo is up and has a good community around it, but I can't help but think it could be significantly larger and more comprehensive if it was part of this site.
Subscriptions. MGoBlog is and will always be totally free, but some people have expressed such enormous irritation with the banner ads -- though I do try to keep them under control -- that they'd prefer to buy their way out of them. I would love to provide this capability, and once certain add-ons provide versions for Drupal 6, I'll try to get it going.
User points. A big part of organizing a lot of information is providing ways for users to self-moderate the site; I hope to provide incentives for that.
Anything you can think of. I am open to suggestions.
One final item.
I've just hurled together an enormous amount of stuff labeled "beta" or even "alpha" and tested it... somewhat. There will no doubt be bugs. If there are, please email me and I'll get on it. Email me about bugs. Email about bugs.