December 6, 2014

More Episcopal Café Mysteries

Episcopal Café logo
Although I have not been trying systematically to discover everything odd or simply wrong with the re-designed Episcopal Café, I do keep running into quirks. (See my last post “Probing the Mysteries of Episcopal Café” and my comments on the site’s welcome post.)

First, I should note that a couple of my early complaints have been addressed. The original background image, a purple field of a repeated geometric pattern, about which I was not the only person to complain, has been changed to a solid color. At first, it became a garish purple, but it has now been transformed to a demure, Episcopalian purple. Thanks for that. I do wonder if the new background is permanent or whether it is the background color of the Café for Advent.

Also, the Café logo now has the proper accent on the “e” of “Café.” (See image above.) I would have separated the two words in the logo with a bit more vertical space, but at least the spelling is correct now. The accent is missing in other places, however, most noticeably in the categories list and in the heading “Please support the Cafe” in the sidebar, and on the Support the Cafe page.

Now for some features I have not mentioned heretofore. As best as I can remember, all posts on the old site indicated who had posted it. The poster was not necessary the author, but it was useful to know who had thought the post worthy of attention. The new site is inconsistent in this regard. For example, “Church of England to push BP & Shell towards a low-carbon economy” carries no indication of authorship. “The Magazine: Not the Secret Gnosis—An interview with the leadership of St [sic] Gregory’s of Nyssa, San Francisco” indicates an author below the title, though it isn’t clear whether the author is the poster. “Formalizing a bad idea” shows both the poster and subsequent updater at the bottom of the post. It would be good if the new site consistently indicated who posted an item.

Another missing feature, sort of, is the ability to link to a particular comment. Well, one can do that, but how is something of a mystery. On many sites, the time stamp on a post or comment is a link to that item. This works on Facebook, for example, and on my own blog. Comments on Episcopal Café carry a date but not a time, and the date is not a link. “Reply” under the date is a link. It takes the reader to the desired comment, but with a reply form below it. This isn’t terrible—one can still see the comment in its original context—but it is odd. If, on a particular comment, the “Reply” button is a link to http://www.episcopalcafe.com/welcome-to-episcopal-cafe-2-0-2/?replytocom=44544#respond, the proper link to the comment in context but without the reply form is http://www.episcopalcafe.com/welcome-to-episcopal-cafe-2-0-2/#comment-44549. I doubt such a link will be used very often because it isn’t at all obvious what the proper form is.

It is oddly annoying that, on the home page of the site, the sidebar does not appear. One has to load a particular post for the sidebar to be shown.

Finally, as one commenter noted, the Subscribe to RSS Feed button works differently in Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer, and, in Chrome, it is virtually unusable.

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