HOUSEQUAKE 2.0

Bottles1_1

Yes, it’s time to dust off the jiggling bottles.

Longtime readers may recognize them from redbankgreen‘s very first post, made June 1, 2006. In that article, headlined ‘Housequake,’ we laid out how we hoped to cause a minor earthquake, without death or injuries, to the local mediascape.

Well, three years later, we’re still here and still shaking things up. Only now, it’s time to do a little in-house housequaking.

As you may have noticed, today we’re taking the wraps off a site redesign.

What’s behind it? We had two primary aims. One was to take fuller advantage of the horizontal layout of your computer screen. The other, frankly, was monetary: to create more spaces into which we could sell ads.

Hey, without advertising, this free publication cannot exist.

With redbankgreen 2.0, we’re unveiling other changes as well. Foremost among them, perhaps, is a new approach to comments moderation that was designed to take back the comments area from posters we regard as cowards. We’ve created a virtual Back Alley, which you’ll see whenever you scroll to the end of a story. For a fuller explanation of how it works and why we built it, please visit our comments policy page. And please be sure to let us know what you think of it.

Still, policing comments makes us feel a little school-marmish, so today we’re also debuting a Comment of the Week feature, with the aim of promoting civil discourse and giving kudos to readers who make their points well. Initially, the Comment of the Week  will be chosen in-house, but our plan is to set up a reader voting system for this. Meantime, if you see a post that you think deserves the honor, please send us an email.

We’ve also made significant changes to our internal search function, which now serves up germane articles from our archive in reverse chronological order. Previously, we used Google search technology, which gives results according to logic that we find simply baffling. You’ll find the new search box at the top of the left-hand column.

Like most things having to do with computers and the web, we don’t expect this changeover to be problem-free. In fact, about 80 comments posted since late last week have temporarily vanished; we’re working to restore them, and apologize to their authors. Other glitches may become apparent. We encourage you to let us know if any you encounter; if you do write to us, please let us know what browser and which version you’re using, i.e., Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, whatever.

When we started this site three years ago, it was a weekly — a silly notion in retrospect, given all that goes on hereabouts, and the appetite for newness that the Web demands. We went to a five-day-a-week schedule little more than a month later. We’ve continued to adapt since then, and plan to keep doing so.

Thanks to all our readers and advertisers for bringing redbankgreen to this, its fourth year of shaking things up.