Storiesonline.net’s Author Listings Have Changed

Recently, I redesigned the authors’ listings on the site. It was a necessary change, but some are very unhappy with it.

In one way, they are a little bit less convenient to some now. But it was a necessary change.

What are the changes? Not much, I added paging to the listings, so now instead of each letter being displayed all at the same time, it gets displayed in chunks of 30 authors. Also, it’s better looking for desktop browsers.

This change made it difficult for somebody going for a certain author to get to their target quickly if the target happen to be on page Eighteen of a certain letter. For those browsing for discovery, it shouldn’t really matter.

The new display has a solution for those who are seeking a specific author. The page has a ‘Jump To’ field at the top. Just type the first few letters (up to 5) of the author you want and the page will jump directly to it. In a way, this is actually faster than scrolling through up to 500 authors on one list.

The reasons for change are:

  1. Mobile: Scrolling down 200-500 names on a phone is very tedious. The new listings are way better for phone users.

  2. Search engine indexing: Google and other search engines on the internet have limits on the number of links per page that they follow. The limit is around 100-150. Which means, when served with a list of 500 authors with each author having an average of 3 links, the indexing bots drop a lot of links and many authors don’t show up in search engines’ indexes. That’s isn’t good nor fair for those authors at the bottom of those lists.

Update 2014-08-04: Due to popular demand, and since this redesign didn’t really benefit the site from a performance view, I’ve implemented some code modifications that removed the listings limits for logged in users on non-mobile devices.

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The Clitorides Awards are open for voting, Finally!

It took a while, but I finally finished the code for the awards voting system. I was supposed to be finished before the first of March 2014, but as these things tend to happen, I encountered life, work and coding issues. But that’s all water under the bridge now as they say.

So head on to the Voting Page and cast your vote for your favourite 2013 authors and 2013 stories.

Please note that for voting, it’s different from nominations, you have to log in to cast your votes.

On a side note, the awards site is now also accepting nominations for the award year 2014. The awards will accept nominations for 2014 until the end of January 2015.

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The New Clitorides Awards Site is here!

As I promised a while back in one of the discussions about the new home page on SOL, IT’S FINALLY here.

The actual functioning, ClitoridesAwards site.

http://clitoridesawards.org/

It’s in beta status still. But, it’s practically done.

And now I need all the help that I can get. It’s simple really: Please use the site.

Test it out, explore every nook and cranny in it. Login (if you have a storiesonline.net account, you’re already registered). Nominate stories. Nominate authors. Check out the pages. Check spellings, things that look out of place, things that don’t work as they should, things that don’t look right at all and file bug reports for the stuff that you stumble upon. There is a bug reporting form on the site.

We need to find as many bugs as possible. We need to find them and squash them before new year’s. Which is the official launch of the site.

Few notes:

1 – The nominations submitted are most likely to be discarded by the end of the beta period. However, we definitely need as many valid nominations as possible in order to debug the code that will sort out the winners.

2a – The site uses the new Log in System. I call it ‘WLPC Login system’. That has one implication. If you change your password or your email on the clitorides site, then if everything is working properly, it will change your password or email on SOL too. The clitorides site doesn’t use user names, so those won’t be affected on SOL.

2b – Storiesonline doesn’t really support the new log in system fully. It only sends info to the ID server, but it doesn’t get updated beyond the initial addition. So if you have changed your password or email address on SOL in the last few months, then your new info may not log you in at the clitorides site.


Another thing about the new clitorides awards that needs discussion: The award categories.

The following categories I have no problem with:

Flash Erotic Story of the Year – up to 1,000 words
Short Erotic Story of the Year – 1,000 -> 7,500 words
Medium Erotic Story of the Year – 7,500 -> 20,000 words
Long Erotic Story of the Year – 20,000 -> 50,000 words
Epic Erotic Story of the Year – 50,000+ words
Classic Clitoride
Best Erotic Story by a New Author
Best Romantic Story
Best Erotic Science Fiction/Fantasy Story
Best Erotic MC Story
Best BDSM Story
Best Furry/Best/Zoo Story
Best Erotic Horror Story
Best Erotic Humor Story
Best Erotic Poetry
Best Voyeur/Exhibitionism Story

The above categories are fine.

The ones below I’m not sure about:

Best Hetero Sex Story
Best Same Sex Story

Do we really need a category for ‘Hetero’ story?

Maybe Gay/Lesbian needs its own category, but the hetero one is so broad that it is meaningless and undeserving to be a specific award category in my mind.

And of the existing ones, what the hell is a ‘Best Erotic Seasonal Story’? is that like for a holiday or occasion maybe?

Also, what about other genres that we have on SOL and other site’s but weren’t in the awards before I took over. Like Westerns? Don’t those deserve their own category?

What other categories have I missed?

Let me know what you think.

PS: I’m a busy man with a family, I’ve been spending a lot of time finishing the site. So I may not have plenty of time to respond to everything, but I will definitely read everything you guys contribute and take everything into consideration. I will reply whenever necessary.

Posted in Clitorides Awards | 30 Responses

Halloween story writing contest 2013

It’s that time of year again. We’re having our third annual halloween contest.

Have fun everybody :)

 

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Scoring and Voting System’s Upcoming Changes

As I announced back in 2012, changes are coming to the site’s voting system. Since work on the updates has progressed enough to make things clear, I guess it’s time to update you all on the coming changes.

1 – The TPA system is going away. The system never lived up to its potential. The members that could use it effectively and correctly are very few and those who used it tended to ruin the results. So it became a waste of resources that delivered very little value for everyone. The existing votes will be converted to normal votes (what used to be basic).

2 – The updated system now keeps individual votes and that means new useful stuff and less drawbacks.

3 – Due to the way the updated system works, there will be no display of the old bScore. Only the weighed score (the bScore was already hidden from new authors).

So what useful stuff will result from #2? Well, now we can calculate a story’s score while dropping the top 5% and the bottom 5% of votes; thus eliminating outliers and minimizing the effects of vindictive/manipulative/destructive votes. This top and bottom drop will kick in once the story reaches 20 votes. So, I don’t want to hear anything anymore about votes of ‘1’. Those are taken care of with this change.

I’ve been keeping individual basic votes since 2009, so those, with the individual votes from the TPA, will make up the source for the scores in the updated system (millions of votes already). I’ll be dropping the old vote results completely. Theoretically, all the scores displayed for all the stories on the site will now reflect the same voting conditions. What that means is that the old stories’ scores most likely will change drastically. I haven’t completed enough work to make a comparison between the old scores and the new scores for the top performing classic stories, so I don’t really know what will happen yet.

The updated system will allow readers to change their votes. So no more “where is the voting form” except when authors turn off voting. And readers will be able to update their votes on serials as chapters get posted.

Update 2013-05-21: All the changes have been implemented.

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Popup Ads on our sites!

I’ve been receiving many questions and complaints lately about popup ads littering the text on storiesonline and finestories. Even a couple of reports about outright graphical ads on the site.

Let me make something clear: storiesonline and finestories don’t serve, host or link to ads.

These ads are typically served by a malware-style browser extensions. Firefox, Chrome and IE have such extensions.

The easiest way to verify this is to turn off all the browser extension that you have and see the ads vanish.

To identify the offending extension, turn extensions back on one at a time. When the ads come back, the last extension activated is the culprit.

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iOS 6 and the non-working random story display

Anybody who upgraded to iOS 6 on the iPhone soon found the random story display on the home page to be broken. It took two days to track the problem to excessively aggressive page caching on the part of Safari.

I finally worked around the problem by varying the URL where the random story is fetched for each request. It’s now working on iPhones with iOS6.

You may need to force reload the site’s home page and javascripts by clearing all sites’ data on your iPhone.

To clear all sites’ data, go to: Settings -> Safari -> Advanced -> Website Data and clear the data.

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Recent move followup

As you all know, the sites moved to a new location and even onto a new platform. During the move the platform changed and that led to some unexpected issues.

  1. Temporary SSL Certificate issue: Some people, namely those on IE7 and IE8 and a few on Android phones were getting an error about untrusted security certificate when they try to log into the site or use any secure pages. It turned out to be a configuration problem and it’s fixed (needed to configure and specify unique IP addresses for each secure domain).
  2. Kindle eBooks didn’t work: Due to the platform change new updated binaries for the kindlegen software from amazon were needed.
  3. Zip files issue: Some members reported inability to expand zipped archives generated on the new servers. I couldn’t duplicate the issue, but nonetheless, changed the zip archive generation algorithm to use my own hand-rolled zipping solution. Hopefully that solves it. I haven’t heard any complaints since the change.
  4. Slow site during peak time: The new set up doesn’t handle text search well. I’m not sure if it’s a hardware problem (not enough processor bandwidth) or a software configuration problem. Whatever it is, I couldn’t find a solution quickly. I’ve moved text search to a small server that I had lying around. It’s slow but for now it does the job and now text search works without affecting the main database server.
    I’m still working on this one. I will be installing a different indexing software (something more efficient than MySQL’s own built in full text index) and rewriting the text search scripts to use the new software. Hopefully that would solve it.

If there are any outstanding issues that you’ve encountered, let me know. You can leave a comment here or send me a message directly through one of the sites’ webmaster forms.

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We’ve moved!

Alright, Storiesonline is now at home on it’s new server farm.

The whole move between stopping the site on the old servers, backing up the files, dumping the database, uploading the files to the new farm, build the database, create the content index, Changing DNS entries and seeing hits come to the new servers, took roughly an hour and a half. More than 45 minutes were simply spent waiting for DNS change to propagate.

Let me know of any issues with the new site, especially performance.

Time to go to bed for me. It’s been a long day.

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