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Announcement :: Media : Technology
Welcome to our new website
17 Dec 2003
By now you've noticed there are changes to the Boston.Indymedia.org website! Prompted by the move to a new host, the members of the Boston Independent Media Center decided it long overdue to update the site to a new design and new codebase. This is the result: a faster, more user-friendly, more reliable website offering all the familiar elements of open-publishing with the addition of several new features.

To better introduce you to the new website, we review the new additions and changes to boston.indymedia.org…
User accounts. Users can set their own preferences, and can re-edit their own articles.
Newswire. Our open-publishing newswire, the foundation of the Boston IMC website, still works as an open forum for the public to submit articles, commentary, and multimedia of local and national interest, and for other to open a dialogue about the issues through commenting. Additions to the newswire also include
     - sorting local and national stories for better article management
     - enabled voting on newswire posts, allowing visitors to keep articles on the front page longer and boot those they find unnecessary*
     - easier access to articles ‘hidden' by the Boston Indymedia collective because of violations to our (very liberal) editorial policy
     - overall easier and faster publishing from the website
     - previewing submissions as they will appear to the public before final submissions
     - automatic generation of "printable" version for articles, no extra links or pages needed
     - "Email this article to..." support
Features . Articles ‘graduated' to the center column by members of Boston Indymedia will still be purely local stories and commentary, or national/global issues with a local angle. These stories now carry a designation by "Section" (news, commentary) as well as "Category" (Civil Rights, Media, Legislation, etc) for filtered searching later on, thus making them an excellent and easily accessible reference for future use. Comments and voting are also enabled for center stories, making discussion regarding current events around the greater Boston area as highlighted as the stories themselves. Email article support is also included on feature stories as well.
Calendar (coming soon). Seamless integration with the Radicalendar for iCalendar-compliant event announcements, including complex recurring events. This calendar, featured on the front page of boston.indymedia.org, will display a brief listing of daily protests, readings, gatherings, etc. in the Boston area with links to more indepth descriptions about your event, allowing local groups another resource to announce their events and get others involved.
Media Gallery. Visitors who simply want to upload photos to create an "article" containing nothing but images may do so through this new module. The media gallery allows users to upload various media with captions and attributions without having to create a bogus "article" to wrap around the media, as was common with image publishing to the previous newswire. All media uploaded to accompany articles and features are also placed in the Media Gallery.
Picturebooks. The picturebook is a cross between the media gallery and the newswire, allowing an individual to post a page-navigated "photo essay," combining photos and text into a book-like format for browsing.
InfoDoc. The InfoDoc library allows for the easy creation of informational text pages, such as the Mission Statement, Contact Info, or Donation information. No more need to FTP file uploads and adding links manually! It works from right in your browser, and automatically builds a table of contents.
The Otherpress. Too often, IMC "articles" are merely reposts of articles published elsewhere on the web. Recognizing the worthiness of other journalists' work, the Otherpress allows IMCs to have a section with pointers to articles published by other media outlets, reducing the clutter on the newswire while still allowing the information to be disseminated.
Razorwire. The razorwire is a short-lived "Alert Box" that appears at the top of the center column. It is used to cover urgent events unfolding in real time, allowing for by-the-minute updates of the situation. Razorwires can then be hidden and archived when no longer timely. Look for this feature for spring up shortly as we finalize preparations for the upcoming Democractic National Convention!
Polls. Short opinion polls with multiple choice selections for fun and easy community feedback.
Links. Links to other affinity groups within the area is now handled by a simple link database, which verifies links daily and tracks link hits.
Help. A system for adding icons (or link text) that creates a small JavaScript popup window with help or instructions for various aspects of the IMC site.
Languages (coming soon). ready for translators to plug in language files to offer a complete interface translation. Uses UTF-8 encoding, so characters from multiple languages can be displayed properly on a single page.
Search. Improved search function using MySQL fulltext searching with relevancy scores. Can be restricted to media, author, date, category, and/or keywords.
We hope you enjoy the new website and find it an even better resource for sharing your stories, media, and commentaries with the greater Boston area and the world. Over the coming months we'll be working to complete the website and make changes as the Boston IMC collective sees fit, and as per your suggestions. Remember that the Indymedia site is here for you. Comments are now available on these features stories, so we urge you to use the comment feature below to let us know specifically what you like about the new site and even what you don't.
And, as always, we further encourage you to actively participate in the IMC group by joining on the discussion lists and attending our monthly meetings. Please refer to the InfoDocs as to how you can become more involved with your local Indymedia Center.
In solidarity,
The Boston IMC Collective
 
*By default, only articles rated higher than -12 are displayed in the right-hand column, and on the "newswire" home page. This is called the "display threshold." If you have created a user account, you can even alter that threshold to suit your own needs, e.g., display only articles receiving +3 or higher. Articles which fall below the threshold are moved to the hidden articles section, which is linked from the bottom of the newswire column. They are still available on the site, and can be linked to directly, but their prominence is degraded as a result of user input. You are encouraged to visit the hidden articles section to see what ends up there, and why.

This work is in the public domain.
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Comments

Re: Welcome to our new website
17 Dec 2003
I tried to do a multiword search, putting the phrase in quotes, and it gave back every article that contained at least one word in the phrase. Taht wasn't too helpful.
Re: Welcome to our new website
17 Dec 2003
And after I posted the comment above, I got a blank screen with nothing but the left-hand toolbar. I hit the back button and found myself at this screen with the comment posted, so it worked, but some bugs still seem to be in there!

Also, if you got to www.boston.indymedia.org, you get to Buffalo Indy....
why would you do that?
18 Dec 2003
Why would you type WWW before any indymedia name?
if you type "boston.indymedai.org" it resolves correctly.
Fixed
18 Dec 2003
Either way, we've resolved this issue. www.boston.indymedia.org now takes one to the Boston IMC website instead of Buffalo IMC.

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention, and we'll be working to correct other problems in the near future.
Where's my article?
18 Dec 2003
I posted an artcle about Saddams Capture a few days ago. I saw it the day I posted it. After that?...IT DISAPPEARED! WHY? Nothing profane about it. Why delete it?
Your Web Site? Okay.
Re: Where's my article?
18 Dec 2003
I think one article has been hidden since the new website went up, and it was about Hussein's capture posted by someone under the pseudonym "backdraft". If this is yours, the reason I hid it is because it contained an image of an American flag with a swastika--when it shows up all along in the media gallery, with no text to provide context (no pun intended), it looks offensive. If that was your article, please feel free to repost it without the offending graphic.
Wasn't me...
19 Dec 2003
I use my real name. And I wouldn't post a picture of our flag with a nazi symbol on it...
Re: Welcome to our new website
19 Dec 2003
Kris -

If you posted your story Sunday night while we were finishing off the move, it's possible that your article was lost in the thick of things. Sorry if that's the case.
Re: Welcome to our new website
26 Dec 2003
okay two things...

one, the central column comes out really narrow on my browser (mozilla) about 3/4 of the time, with a really big space between it and the lefthand toolbar.

two.... it's great that there are 598064098 imcs worldwide now, but maybe a drop-down menu (or set of menus) would provide faster access and a a more concise visual setup?
Re: swastika censorship??
28 Dec 2003
QUOTING: ..."the reason I hid it is because it contained an image of an American flag with a swastika--when it shows up all along in the media gallery, with no text to provide context (no pun intended), it looks offensive."
My response
It finally dawns on me that the hostile talk about political correctness as overblown has merit. There is nothing wrong with offending people, especially not when they are entering what they must presume is a FREE SPEECH AREA, not the Christian Science Monitor. I'm offended more by the American Flag than by the swastika because the latter is mainly history, but the first symbol stands for CURRENT oppression.
Very disappointing stand, and clearly CENSORSHIP.
Re: Swastika censorship??
28 Dec 2003
May be a little bit of context will help you see why I decided to hide the article with the swastika. When I came to the Boston IMC page, what was showing in the media gallery near the top of the page was a flag with a swastika--no text whatsoever in that context. My immediate thought was that white supremacists had once again taken to posting to our site. We have a long-standing policy of hiding racist posts and I did not want to leave anyone with the impression that we had eased off on that. Perhaps it was overkill, but the author is welcome to repost the article minus the problematic graphic. As for whether the Boston IMC is a "free speech site", that depends on what you mean. Conservative views are acceptable here--views that cross the line into being blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Islamic, etc. are however hidden (and can be accessed at the hidden articles page) because one of our principle goals is to create a forum for progressives (and not some nebulous free speech site), and permitting such oppressive views to stand on the newswire would undermine our efforts to create a site that is a safe space for women, people of color, gays, Muslims and other oppressed groups. Our policy was clearly stated in a disclaimer at the top of the newswire of the old website and is still available if you follow the correct link on this new website (see the "info" page).
Re: Swastika censorship??
30 Dec 2003
There are limited options that we have for this problem (images in the media gallery that are not easily explained on the front page).

We can take offending/confusing pictures off.
We can take the entire media gallery off.

Unless we have someone who's more code saavy can jump on board and expand the options for the gallery, from my understanding, those are the only options that we have. Because the upload process sometimes goes faster than editors can check for policy violations, I am leaning towards proposing complete removal of the media gallery, rather than come into repeat conflict about "censorship" and administrative decisions.
Re: Welcome to our new website
31 Dec 2003
From the Boston IMC spin, it looks like some good work was done and I agree with the objectives.

From a graphic design and layout point of view the use of space could be much improved. More space should be given to the right hand column and less to the middle.

This would be a friendlier solution, since more stuff could be seen at once and it would minimize scrolling.

Keep up the good work. And many thanks to all of the IMC volunteers.
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