Site Update – June 6, 2016
It’s been another busy week for our team – getting the kinks worked out, and essential new features added! In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the changes since our last update, as well as give you a glimpse into what we have planned for the near future.
One Million Submissions!
We’re proud to announce that on June 5th, at 4:52am MST, Furry Network officially passed one million submissions! This is a huge milestone for us – and it wouldn’t have happened without your support. We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support in helping make this possible – and hope we can keep living up to your expectations!
What’s New Grid View has Actions now
By popular request, we’ve readded the Fave, Promote and Delete buttons to the ‘grid’ layout on What’s New. You can now dismiss, favorite and promote submissions right from the what’s new page, without having to switch to linear view or using delete all!
Huge Performance Improvements
By upgrading to PHP 7, we managed to reduce CPU usage on the web servers which run Furry Network by about 80%. Here’s a before-and-after – note the percentage vertical scale:
Before – peaking at ~30%
After – peaking at ~5% (note the vertical scale):
Additionally, as the site has grown rapidly in the past few weeks, the number of tags on the site has skyrocketed to over 400,000 tags. Our autocomplete search box shown on the right of the page requested the full list of tags every time the page loaded – which was making search results take several seconds to complete. By disabling auto-complete on the tag search box, we managed to reduce load times from 3-4 seconds on average, down to under half a second for most queries. This also saved us a lot of CPU:
All this means that as Furry Network grows, it should continue to be fast and responsive! Things have come a long way performance-wise in the last 3 weeks – and as we grow I’m sure we’ll have more tweaks to make.
Import Tool Captcha now more robust
The import tool now displays a loading message when it’s fetching a captcha image, and has a retry button if it fails. This makes the captcha portion of the importer login a lot less confusing – and more reliable too.
Flagging Notifications fixed
We’ve fixed a bug with how flagged posts are handled – most notably, that the user who uploaded it was incorrectly notified that it’d been flagged (by receiving a new ticket notification in their top menu), before one of our moderation team got a chance to look at it. We’ve set it so that now the person who’s submission is being flagged will not be notified, until a moderator has reviewed it and determined the flag reason to be valid.
Given that the ticket that showed up in your feed when this happened to one of your posts was very sparse on information – in particular, not including the reason why it was flagged in many cases – it was quite understandably causing undue anxiety for those who received them! Like any site which relies on eagle-eyed users to spot problems, we feel it’s important that moderators take a look at any report before any action – including notifying the user who uploaded it – is taken.
Change Password form improvements
We added validation and confirmation when changing your password in account settings. Users are now told their password has been updated successfully, and the fields are cleared after a successful change. There are error messages on the screen when the user enters invalid info in the password fields. Previously nothing happened on this page when updating your password and it was a bit confusing – no longer!
Stories can now be deleted
Somehow we forgot to add the ability to delete stories to the submission manager – it’s now fixed – and stories, like other types of content, can now be deleted while editing them in the submission manager:
Markdown helper text now has a tooltip
We got a lot of questions from users on social media, asking how to add formatting to their stories, submissions and posts – and it turned out that our Markdown cheat-sheet wasn’t visible enough.
When hovering over the “Markdown supported” text while editing a story or making a commission announcement, a tooltip explaining Markdown is now displayed. When you click on it, it’ll show a cheat-sheet of some of the things Markdown lets you do. We’ve put a placeholder link in place for some examples – be sure to let us know what examples you’d like us to develop for you on our support site!
If you’re curious, here’s some of the things you can do in Markdown:
Better icon for mobile menus
On the “What’s New” feed page, we previously used a magnifying glass icon on the bottom right to open the menu with filters and actions, which worked great when that page was searchable, but makes less sense now it’s an ‘inbox’ style feed of content. As a result, we’ve updated the icon to a three-line ‘menu’ icon, which should hopefully be less confusing.
Display Name / Username Switch Fixed
A number of users reported a bug whereby people’s display names and usernames were being switched on the What’s New page. This is now fixed!
- Users should not be notified of a pending ticket or see it in their ticket list until a moderator has replied. Users will no longer receive any notifications for tickets unless a moderator replies to it. That way if a ticket is found to be invalid, it can be closed/dismissed without the user ever knowing or being bugged about it.
- Added validation and confirmation when changing your password in account settings. Users are now told when their password has been updated successfully, and the fields are cleared after a successful change. There are error messages on the screen when a user enters invalid info in the password fields. Previously nothing happened on this page when updating your password and it was a bit confusing.
- Delete stories from the submission manager. Stories, like other types of content, can now be deleted while editing them in the submission manager.
- “What’s New” grid items have actions now. While on the list view, it was possible to remove/favorite/promote individual submissions – but this wasn’t present on the grid view. Now users can perform these actions on both views.
- Fixed missing tooltip message for Markdown on Commission Announcements and Story Editor. When hovering over the “Markdown supported” text while editing a story or making a commission announcement, a tooltip explaining Markdown is now displayed.
- Changed the magnifying glass icon on mobile view of feeds. The magnifying glass on feeds on mobile was changed to three lines to indicate a menu.
- Importer now has loading message when getting a captcha image and a retry button if it fails. This makes the captcha portion of importer login less confusing for users.
- Fixed typo on tooltip for clearing individual submissions (“you feed” changed to “your feed”).
- Fixed submissions on What’s New page having display name and @names switched. This was a bug involving users who have a display name and username that are different. Submissions on the What’s New page had them backwards – display name showing as username and vice versa. This is now fixed.
- Fixed multimedia thumbnails in galleries showing up as black spaces in Firefox. Can see multimedia thumbnails in Firefox again.
- OG/Twitter, submission image not appearing when the url is posted. Fixed this bug so that the image appears when a link to a submission is posted on Twitter, etc.
- The importer now shows up as “FurryNetwork Importer 2.0” instead of “GuzzleHTTP Client” in FA’s security settings/access log page.
We are committed to making Furry Network a fantastic place to be, and part of that is in finishing up this last round of tweaks, polish and procedures, before we embark on getting our Commissions functionality ready for prime time. Our current focus is split into two areas- Administrative and Technical.
In addition, we’re developing our internal policies surrounding content classifications, unused usernames, evaluating some edge cases and making sure that we have a good structure in place for moderators to escalate issues in the event that there’s something we haven’t encountered before. Like any site in its infancy, we’ve found no shortage of tweaks needed (both code related and policy related!) – but as always, we’re committed to making things as great as they can be.
We have been recruiting additional moderators to the team, building out our staff roster, and getting policies and procedures in place for staff management. Since we launched the site a few weeks ago, our moderation team has almost doubled in size – and we’re planning for further growth, as more people use Furry Network.
Our development team has been hard at work fixing high-impact bugs and working on long-term improvements to the site, based on your feedback through our support site.
We’ve adopted a ‘lean’ approach to how we prioritize tasks, and meet regularly to evaluate the features, bugfixes and improvements we have planned, to make sure that we can keep up with the changing needs of the site and its users.
For this week, we’d like to give you a little insight into what we have lined up right now – though of course the schedule may change a little as things come up or are easier to fix than expected. If toy don’t see your favorite feature on here, don’t fret – we’ll be sneaking in a few little items here and there – and are always open to your input and suggestions. We think you’ll be excited by what’s on the horizon.
Here’s what we have planned for the next few weeks:
Week 1 – June 6th-12th
- Finish fixing “Load More Submissions” button on What’s New feed (sometimes it doesn’t load more, and you have to refresh the page to make it work).
- Fix issue with unsaved edit information being lost on upload for multimedia & price sheet. When editing a piece of multimedia any unsaved text or tag changes will be lost after uploading a thumbnail. When editing price sheet for commission, unsaved instructions are lost after image upload.
- Prevent imports from hitting Fresh / What’s New feeds, together with functionality to allow users to publish content without notifying their followers / it showing up in fresh (ideal for WIPs)
- Publish All / Select All button and batch saving functionality (especially on drafts page).
- Community Tag Improvements – including:
- Ability for artists to approve/reject suggested tags, and blacklist them from being suggested again (from the view submission page, as well as the submission manager)
- Ability for artists to disable community tags on a per-submission basis (later plans: ability to disable community tags for all their submissions)
- Ability for artists to flag a community tag as abusive (with resolution functionality via the on-site ticket system)
- A way to find images without any tags (or only ‘default’ tags from import) and display them in a list. (This is for a tagging drive / competition we are planning in the future!)
Week 2 – June 13th-19th
Three big items for this week: Journals/Announcements, Top menu tweaks, and User Profile redesign! These features are some of the most exciting – because they’ll have the biggest impact on the site as a whole, and we expect them to significantly improve how useful and easy Furry Network will be to use.
Journals & Announcements
Long-form Journals using the story interface, and short Announcements with an optional image for timely updates. Ability to edit/hide announcements at a later time (eg for art streams). Some teaser screenshots:
Top Menu Tweaks
Revisiting the site’s navigation to reflect how the site’s structure and layout has changed, and to make things less confusing. Teaser screenshots:
User Profile Redesign
Adjust user pages more towards ‘content’ rather than ‘social’, adding a modular homepage where the user can decide what ‘modules’ or blocks are shown, and what they contain. Teaser screenshots:
Whew – that was a lot of stuff to go through! Thanks for sticking with us.
This is a very exciting time for Furry Network, as we work on solidifying the site’s design and applying that final layer of polish to make it into a finished product. You’ve all been very patient and helpful with us as we get things wrapped up – and for that, we are eternally grateful.
We look forward to seeing your reactions to this update, as well as hearing your feedback and input. As always, you can reach out to us on Twitter and get support or vote for your favorite features on our support site. We look forward to hearing from you!
-Varka and the Furry Network team