Keywords: website
It's been a little while now since we got the new BYOND site running. Work on the new site has been ongoing, and several improvements have been made--some at the request of our users, and some for our own benefit.

Blog posts have had some improvements and changes. When the new site went active a new flag became available, allowing users to choose to hide their page from the main members page if they want. That way if they feel it's not kid-safe or very community-friendly, they can keep it hidden so only their friends or guild members will see it.

Attaching files to posts is a little easier now too: All file attachments go into a custom directory set up just for that post. Once you submit the post, the files are tied to it so if the post is deleted, the files are too. This should help everyone keep their files organized a little better. You can also attach files while editing a post now, not just when you first make it.

The way you post a review for a game has also changed a lot. We noticed a lot of users didn't seem to fully understand how to post reviews, so now the system hopefully makes this a lot clearer. When you're writing your post, you just have to specify that the post is a review, and a box with more options will appear. Those options now include scores that you can use to judge games on their gameplay, presentation, originality, and overall impression. Along with these changes, any images you attach to the review--which are assumed to be screenshots--will appear as thumbnails at the top of the post. Eventually we hope for this easy access to screenshots to make its way onto the hub entry itself, so that users can get a look at your game to whet their appetite.

Speaking of hub entries, another change we've done is remove the ability to use the <style> and <link> tags there. If you took a look around the hub before the change you would've seen pretty quickly why we did this. Some people were using layout templates and such that were designed for Myspace or other totally different sites, and these caused major distortions to the page. Some were practically unreadable. Sadly when CSS was designed, no one thought it might be desirable to limit its effects to only a certain part of the page. You can still use styles on your hub pages by using style attributes inside your HTML tags, though.

At the request of some of our members, we've added the ability for BYOND members to block any of the ads on the site. This is accessible via your account settings page. The ads are still in flux; we've been making changes to put them where they'll do the most good, and take them out of the way on pages where they just don't do much of anything. For the moment we've taken the ad off the sidebar to see what happens--but it could come back. We're still testing a lot of this stuff out, so please bear with us!

Another request we've had is to allow people to turn the sidebar on and off. There is now a small toggle button that can be used to switch off the orange sidebar + topbar area. Switching this off only lasts for a single browser session. That way if we make any changes to the sidebar like adding a box for special events, you'll still be in the loop.

If you've been having problems with someone on your site's forums or who's been submitting inappropriate games to your guild, you now have the option to send them a warning. A warning must be read and acknowledged before the user who receives it can continue to use the rest of your site. Unlike the old forum warnings, these are one-shot deals but they're also harder to ignore.

You may have noticed that when you're managing the members for your guild, you can name people as contributors. So what's the difference between a contributor and a member? In practical terms, none. You can set up contributors for your site and assign them ranks, so they can be named as admins even if they aren't BYOND members who can join your site on their own. Another recent change is that if a member of your site leaves, their rank will stay intact if they return. This is pretty helpful if you've set up a "sandbox" rank for the folks who join your guild just to submit games that don't belong there, and it also means if you accidentally leave a guild you can return with your full rank intact.

We hope the new changes are generally well-liked, though of course it never seems possible to please everyone. While we were at it we also fixed some bugs in the way the site appears in Internet Explorer 6. (On a personal note, I implore everyone for their own sanity to upgrade to Firefox, or at least to IE 7.)
The site looks fine on Opera.
Lummox JR wrote:
(On a personal note, I implore everyone for their own sanity to upgrade to Firefox, or at least to IE 7.)

I'm with you on this. My school is still using IE6. If they're not going to switch their browsers to i.e. Firefox it would be better if they'd at least run Windows Update once in awhile.

As for the rest: love the new features, especially the new ability to warn people should they abuse a members' site.

-- Data
Great, I'm liking these changes. I'm actually starting to warm up to the new layout, but I'm not certain I like it yet(but the universal bar at the top was worth the gradients).
For myself I'm leaving the sidebar + topbar on. Aesthetically I like it better. Also the sidebar is narrower since our brief experiment with the skyscraper ad format yesterday, which should satisfy some people who didn't mind it but wanted it a bit smaller.
I did some resolution experiments and I find that the sidebar becomes less obnoxious at higher resolutions and actually makes the site look better. But for those of us at lower resolutions, its large and intrusive.

Of course, those who're used to seeing BYOND games as a postage stamp in the corner can probably handle looking on the right side of the screen to see the site.
One thing that is definitely needed is a way to remove files once they've been attached. If you're testing out the attachments and you decide you're not happy with the setup, the only way to get rid of the attachment is to start over.
Firefox ftw IE makes it look all squarish and weird
I like the new review options. Are the ratings going to be averaged on the hub?
Wow its 2010 now and we have improved so much since 2008 feb.