Planet Lotus 2015 Update

Two weekends in the making, PL 2015 ships with some pretty exciting updates. The code changes were done to establish a new approach. The update culminated last night with moving the site to a state of the art server; more on this below. Please forgive the glitches this may have caused, they are being fixed. Switches be like, mess with me and I’ll drop yo packets. #geekhumor.

The change in approach boils down to this, when determining which blog to publish you can either wait for them to prove they post content that the community would be interesting in, or you can take a chance. The new approach is all about taking the chance. The time spent curating, adding the blog meta and reading the content of each blog to make the decision almost entirely goes away. The blog submission processes has turned self service allowing just a flip of a switch on my end to approve. This will expedient the publishing process and welcome in a new era of fresh content. It also removes the catch 22 (i think that’s correct), where you have a new blogger that doesn’t want to start blogging until they’re on PL but they can’t get on without having content… but i need your help. Please email me if the risk taken goes south.

The other theme is getting back to the basics. Over time, the site took on so many features in the pursuit of making it a full featured community site. Over time visitors came for the feed. l’ll leave the deprecated features (listed below) to other developers, downloads, events, forum, custom feeds, etc.

The focus on fresh also applies to data collection.

  • Counted clicks works well to understand what the community is reading and what author are on fire. The update will only collect 7 days of hits, life long or YTD hit counts have been removed to the tune of MILLIONS of rows from the database.
  • Extended profile information has been simplified. Please see linkedin, about.me, blog about page for this info.
  • Content has been pruned, PL is no longer the way-back machine for the Lotus community. Posts will live on the site for a rolling 365 days. Plus, Google does this way better :).
    Inactive blogs will be removed after a year if there are not posts published. If you are unlisted because of this and start blogging again, just send me and email. Blog meta is hidden not removed so it’s easy to get them back on line.

Feature Updates:

  • Events – Removed.
  • Downloads – Removed.
  • Keywords – The analysis of a posts relationship to “Lotus” has been removed.
  • Forum – Posts, profiles and design deleted.
  • Podcasts – Now treated just like blogs.
  • Blog Widget – Removed. http://planetlotus.org/widgets.php
  • MyPL, custom feeds, custom front page, accounts, deleted. This was a difficult decision but it was based on an old customized forum that was long figure out by hackers and filled with spam, etc.
  • Post hover over Tool Tip on front page, increased on the speed of page load.
  • Planet Lotus blog comments disabled. Not done to silence opinions, it was done to stop the fragmentation of site support questions. For example, people leaving their blog details to be posted on the page that tells them to email them. Feel free to always contact me at planetlotus@collaborancy.com if you need anything updated.

Data Retention Summary

  • Hit Count – 7 Days. This is based on a rolling 168 hours, not on calendar days.
  • Posts – 1 Year.
  • Blogs – 1 Year. Stale blogs will be unlisted if there are not posts for a year. All posts and hits are removed from the site when a blog is unlisted.

Deprecated User Detail

  • Blog Type (vendor, person, IBM employee, multiple person, etc)
  • Stats on hits in the user profile.
  • Language
  • Anything Twitter related. Your twitter handle, image, your tweets, etc.
  • IBM Employment status.
  • More to follow.

Additions

  • What’s Hot – 7d (The most popular post over the past 7 days.)
  • Hot blogs, the top 6 increased to top 10.
  • Self service blog submission form with link on the front page. Remember, updates to your blog meta are still done by emailing planetlotus@collaborancy.com.
  • A Faster Server. The site went from Fedora v7 (EOL’d in June of 2008), to a vm on a 24 core CentOS 6.5 running the last versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP. The server is currently using 0.74% of it’s allocated CPU.
  • Better poling algorithm. It is no longer based on how popular a blog is. The new break out is as follows:
    • Every 10 minutes. Blogs 1-50 based on the most recent post.
    • Every 30 minutes. Blogs 51-150 based on the most recent post.
    • Every 120 minutes. Blogs 151-last based on the most recent post.
  • New posts are sent to the @planetlotus twitter feed.

Updates

  • Date stamps have been moved way down the front page.
  • The preview and tweet icons to the right of the blog title has been removed.
  • Sharing has been enhanced. Click on the blog’s favicon and it will take you to the preview page where you can get all kinds of share buttons.
  • Brought the 7 day what’s hot listing inline with the one  day, so now there is two.


I’d love to get your feedback!!!

Favicons on Front Page

I’ve added favicons to the front page to liven up the branding of blogs. There is no override to this enhancement. If you see the default icon for your blog, do some searching of Googles favicon rendering service to troubleshoot.

Example:

http://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=planetlotus.org

2 months of free front page advertising on Planet Lotus!

In an effort to raise donations for my favorite charity I’m trading ad space on Planet Lotus for donations. All you need to do is make a donation directly to the charity and I’ll place your ad, any ad on the front page. The more you donate the higher your ad on the left hand navigation bar will be placed.

The charity:

The PMC donates 100% of every rider-raised dollar to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. Founded in 1980, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an annual bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country.

The details:

  • Ads will be in the form of 125/125px images stacked in the left hand navigation of the front page.
  • Placement of the ad is determined by how much you donate, top ad = most donated. Dollar amounts will not be published.
  • I will publish almost any ad image/URL. Promote your blog or your favorite product, site, etc. But please, NO animation.
  • All ads come down on Sept. 30th.
  • The ad image should be exactly 125px / 125px.

To buy an ad:

  • Donate here: http://www.pmcdad.com
  • Email me your ad image and URL along with the name you used to donate. charity@collaborancy.com
  • If you already donated to this years ride, do the same thing.
  • Change of URL or image will require a second donation.
  • Ads will be posted in batch at end of business day EST.

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

Lose, Lose Situation

I feel I made the correct choice last week. I was presented with a situation where a sensitive post was brought to my attention and I acted quickly in delisting the blog pending further investigation.

I’ve spent the last week reading everything I could and don’t believe the action warrants removal from this site.

I will go ahead and remove the 2 blogs that requested to be removed if said blog wasn’t removed.

The two blogs involved in the boycott of this site will be missed and I beseech both of you to reconsider.

Last weeks blog post

Last week I was informed of a blog post that was said to contain information that could adversely affect programs that bloggers on PlanetLotus are a part of. I acted on that information, informed the author and delisted the blog pending further investigation.

The investigation is ongoing.

The complaints went beyond the single post, mentioning that the blog had become very negative for some time.

This negativity combined with the post mentioned above lead some bloggers to request their blogs be removed from PlanetLotus in protest.

I want to do what is best for the community and in the process establish some guidelines that will work in the future.

Please give me some time to read through the blog and get a feel for the extent of the negativity.

Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. If you feel this blog should be removed please take a stab at writing up that rule so that i may add it to the site for future possible occurrences.

Change Log

10/16/2012 – Fixed a lot of mobile issues, thank you http://per.lausten.dk/blog/ for your help in finding / testing!

10/16/2012 – Fixed many areas that were still showing unpublished blogs, there is still work to be done there, but i’ll get there. Fixed Front Page, Search, Top Blogs so far.

8/21/2012 – Inflation, the ad at row 50 has moved up to row 35.

8/8/2012 – All myPL authentication will be moving from the forum to the blog, so become a subscriber today.

8/8/2012 – Deprecation of the forum has begone. All mention of it navigation has been removed.

8/7/2012 – Created this blog. The forum will be closing down soon and this will take it’s place.

satellite

Blog Widget

The Planet Lotus Satellite has arrived. Copy and paste the following code in to your blog to get the most recent blog posts. The sizing and setup has been modeled after the IdeaJam.Net blog widget so as to not cause any clashes.

Preview it in action here.

Options are as follows:

Parameter Available Values
show
Based on the keyword filter.example:
show=”lotus_relevant”;
all
not_lotus_related_only
lotus_related_and_relevant
lotus_relevant

asdf

postsexample:
posts=”4″;
1-50

 

Blog Submission

To have your blog considered, read the details below. Please remember, the decision to post a blog rests with me, also, give me at least a week to process your request.

Things I consider when posting a blog:

  • Is the blog new? New blogs will not be considered, unless the author already has a listed blog.
  • Is the blog written by a real person?
  • Is the ratio of off-topic or ASW postings too high?
  • Does the blog promote a company, commercial product or service?
  • Does the blog add more value to the Lotus community than it does for the blog owner?
  • Does the blog contain advertisements?
  • Does the blog aggregate more than one blog? Each author that would like to be part of this site has to submit their own request.

Troubleshooting

  • Make sure to choose the RSS feed the parser has issues with ATOM.
  • If the feed is valid and not a Connections blog (more on this below) and PL is unable to consume it, consider burning it through Feedburner. Make sure to go into the settings and tell feedburner to publish it as RSS; the default is atom.
  • IBM Connections based blogs have issues with their RSS feeds; even if they test valid, they might not be able to be parsed here. Many have had success running their Connections feed through http://feed.informer.com
  • Using Blog Spot? Submit and test with this: http://yancy.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss not this: http://yancy.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
  • Have you updated your blog details? If the info below changes email the updates to planetlotus@collaborancy.com and be sure to include your profile URL: http://planetlotus.org/profiles/yancy-lent
  • Your feed will be polled about once an hour for updates. If you stop posting about Lotus related topics for greater than 6 months your blog will be removed. If you decide to start writing again, just let me know and I’ll republish.
  • If you have a community blog with more than one author your feed must post the author for each post, ‘admin’, will not do.

Submit blog here: http://planetlotus.org/rss/scripts/blogsubmit.php