With the New Year Come Changes

With the New Year comes new resolutions. That includes MGC. As we’ve been hinting for the last few weeks, there are some changes coming to the blog. It’s my pleasure to show you some of those changes today as well as to make an announcement or two. We hope you will be as excited by the changes as we are. Of course, as with most things, it is a work in progress.

So let’s start with the new theme. We wanted something that would be a bit easier on the eye and easier to follow. What that means is you’ll see the opening paragraph or so of each post and will have to click through to see the rest. This lets more posts be seen on the homepage.

MGC also has its own Facebook page now. You can find it here. Please “like” the page. New posts will be announced there as well as news about upcoming new releases, contests, etc. We also have our own Twitter account now. Please check it out and follow it as well.

We’re also very excited to welcome two new members of the Mad Genius Club: Alma Boykin and Jonathan LaForce. This doesn’t mean we are losing anyone. Far from it. All of our regular bloggers will continue blogging as they have been. Brad is back and will blogging every Sunday. Dorothy will continue her every other Sunday blog and Alma will post on the Sundays Dorothy doesn’t. We haven’t scheduled Jonathan’s day yet.

The goal is to ultimately have two posts of the day by our bloggers. These will be regularly scheduled posts and spaced several hours apart. These posts will be supplemented with breaking news from the publishing world, publication announcements, etc. Sarah has promised to return to Elf Blood and, once it’s finished, other stories in the universe will follow — some by her and others by those of us in MGC who want to play.

Over the next few days, you’ll see more cosmetic changes taking place here at MGC as we continue to implement the various phases of the new theme. We’ve tested the theme in different browsers but that doesn’t mean there won’t be tweaking that has to be done. Bear with us. We haven’t done this major of a change on the blog in years.

To help celebrate the new changes, we have a guest post that will be publishing later today by Laura Montgomery. Please check back and give her a warm welcome.


  1. Looks good so far. Good to hear the new people are joining in (and maybe that will mean a lighter load shared by all?). Change ain’t always a bad thing, despite the experience of previous presidents and presidential hopefuls… *chuckle*

    1. It is great to have new folks joining and I’ll be making at least one more announcement along that line later today. As for making a light load, waggles hand. We wills till be responsible for our posts of the day but it means an easier time if we have someone who goes on vacation or if there is breaking news. It also means you guys will be getting new viewpoints and that is always fun.

  2. I refuse to get on Facebook *or* Twitter, so I’m afraid I can’t help you all there. But I can at least give feedback on the new blog “skin”, which I like so far. My only complaint at the moment is that the timestamp on comments only shows a date, and not a time of day — so it’s impossible for me to tell if I’m replying to a comment left five minutes ago (and whose author may still be reading the page, and thus will see my reply if he/she reloads the page) or a comment left 23 hours ago, whose author has long since moved on to reading other things and won’t see my reply.

    If it’s possible to tweak that one minor part of the comments page, so that comments show up with time of day as well (and a timezone, so that the time of day is unambiguous) then I would be completely satisfied with this look.

    1. Don’t blame you about FB or Twitter. I hate them. Thanks for the input about the blog. As for the comments, not sure what we can do with the timestamp. I’ve been finding more and more “improvements” when it comes to comments that are anything but. Too many themes don’t show any comments having been made on the homepage. Others don’t allow commenting at all. At least we can “next” comments with this theme. I will see about changing the timestamp function but not sure how much I can do.

      1. When you’re looking for that, is it possible to change comment text from gray to black? Dark grey on a light grey background is much harder for me to read than black on white.

        1. It is. I haven’t messed with that yet as I’m not sure I’m staying with this skin — I’ve left a msg on FB for the bloggers about it just now.

      2. As to changing the timestamp function, this sort of thing is literally my day job, so I’d be happy to help out with any technical details if you want to give me access. You can contact me at (my first name) dot (my last name), courtesy of Gmail, to work out details.

        I’ll be traveling over the next couple of weeks with spotty Internet access, though, so I probably won’t be able to actually help with this for a couple of weeks, by which time you may well have figured it out already. Still, the offer’s there in case it might be useful.

        1. Thanks, Robin. I may do that. I will look at the CSS and check with the theme designer first. The joys of WP is that sometimes simple stuff simply can’t be done and, on those days, I long for the days of hand-coding websites.

  3. Okay… this new skin has some problems. It doesn’t “float” properly at different window and font sizes (try it with your browser window smaller than 1024 wide and/or your font enlarged to 120% or more — requires sidescrolling to read each and every line). And if it’s supposed to be anything other than plain white, I’m not seeing it. Same issues in both SeaMonkey, and the Hated Chrome.

    I also dislike the technique of “force everyone to come to the blog by only sending four lines in the email”. One of the reasons I prefer RSS is because it makes for easy sorting and searching of blogs (also easy to see which issues I’ve missed reading, or have flagged) without losing track of back issues when I archive off old email, and the teaser-only method renders this useless.

    Ah, just found two more problems. Making a comment now requiring me to have an actual WordPress login (as in, signed up for a WP site; Google login doesn’t work), and it hides the comment-form resize widget.

    I can break anything…

    1. Weird. I’ve tried it on different devices, different browsers, different sizes without the problems you seem to be having. But, as I said, it is a work in progress.

      Sorry you don’t like the email format. I can see if we can change it but, to be honest, most of our readers aren’t coming to us via email so that will be down the list of things to look at.

      I will check the login in — hadn’t thought to try it. Now, will you please stop breaking the blog? VBEG

      1. Log out, then look at it. It showed me a properly-floating layout after it decided I was logged-in-via-wordpress, but NOT when I wasn’t. (And now I can’t see how to log out. And I don’t know why stupid WP decided my name needs no capital letter. WordPress delenda est.)

        The very light yellow for selected text is almost invisible against the white background. And doesn’t show up at all with site colors disabled. (As I usually do, because the typical glare-white background hurts my eyes.) This is a problem with the CSS, as demonstrated by that if I disable CSS, lo and behold, selected text shows up again.

        Sorry, but IMO all these improvements are a Great Leap Backward.

        1. For your name, try changing your settings (there’s a section for display name). Mine was an unreadable string of characters until I figured that out.

  4. And then I had to reload the page before the Post Comment button would work.

    I wouldn’t go to this much bother for 99% of blogs; what I’ve got to say in reply isn’t worth the effort.

      1. I think its root problem is that it’s got a Stupid stuck somewhere between internal WP and external-anyone-else commenters.

        The invisible text-select seems to be fixed now, anyway.

  5. I started a whole Farcebook account to follow Mad Genius, it is Jackson Jones. Let Mr. Zuckerberg collect data on that. As to Twitter, I don’t twit. With any luck it will go bankrupt this year anyway.

    As I said at Farcebook, I am not generally a fan of change. I don’t really care what web pages look like, and the way Google/Apple etc. constantly “update the look and feel of your device!!!” meaning f- around with my settings and move shit without asking drives me to buy a Blackberry this year. (And yes, I know that Blackberry is nearly defunct and they don’t make their own hardware anymore. I’ll jailbreak it and run some hacker OS on it anyway, I just want the keyboard for my fat arthritic fingers.)

    However, old-man rant aside, I do like the new list-style posts. It makes it easier to scroll down the list and find what I want. Good effort, well done. ~:D

  6. Don’t like how tiny the print is on the ‘droid.

    Same problem as ATH after the changes, but here it’s worse. Maybe 6 pt when I zoom in as tight as I can and still see the whole width of the comment thread.

    I mean, I know my eyes are amazing, but . . .

    1. Holly, thanks for the info. I didn’t have that issue on my phone but will look into it. It may mean tweaking the mobile site a bit more.

    2. Holly, which browser are you using on Android and what version of ‘droid? I just checked again using my Note 4 and had no issue with changing the size and when I said to go to the mobile friendly version, it was even better.

      1. The chrome that ships with, Android 6.0.1 on a Moto G.

        That may be part of it: the site used to come up mobile friendly. I’ll have to figure out how to change it.

        Also, it doesn’t remember who I am anymore, and I know I didn’t change my chrome settings overnight.

        1. Never ever say that you didn’t do it. You didn’t, but experience has taught that Chrome or Android do weird things on their own. 😉

          When I brought the site up on my phone, once I started scrolling, it asked if I wanted to use the mobile friendly site. I’ll look at the mobile end of it tomorrow. I’m not too proud to admit I’m to the point of being too tired to do it today and I still have a blog post for VG to write for tomorrow and my own work to do.

  7. You could tell John he is to post on alternating Thwonklesdays and then make up an elaborate set of rules to explain exactly where Thwonklesday is on a normal calendar.

  8. It works for me with javascript turned off. Not wild about the threading, but I’m a complainer, and I’ll cope.

  9. Since you’re updating the site, would it be possible to add a contact page so people can reach you? (I had to connect with Amanda via Twitter.)

    Also, it’s great that you’re using images with posts now, but would you mind centering the image rather than putting it to one side? I ask this on behalf of smartphone users who would be struggling with a narrow column of text beside the image.

  10. Request: could we have bylines in the blurbs? (For that matter, today’s essay has no byline.)

    I’m not a writer (my muse points at things made of steel and wood), but like to read the essays, and it’s nice to know who’s writing what.

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Ah yes, I see it now with it open (I’ll blame Trump Bush post-operative eyesight wonkines.) I’m only seeing author’s names occasionally on the thumbnails; Laura Montgomery’s and Christopher Nuttall’s show, but no others. I get this on both Pale Moon and Firefox, both on LInux. If it shows up on other browsers, I’ll chalk it up to the quirks of the system.

        1. On the main page snips, you won’t get the author name. You will if you click through to the full article. It’s an artifact of the theme being used.

  11. Getting more and more irritated with the New! Improved!! model. Cannot post at all unless I’m logged in with WP. Once I’ve forgotten that and tried to post in the normal way as name+email, I have to reload the page (and reclick the form) to get the Post button to work. When WP login isn’t responding, as happens regularly, naturally I can’t comment. (And it won’t keep me logged in, either, tho it’s supposed to.)

    I’m wondering how many casual commenters are locked out and can’t figure out why. WPDE.

    1. Sorry you’re having issues. When I’ve checked, you can post via WP login, Twitter or, iirc, FB. No google login for this theme is available. In fact, more and more of the themes appear to be going away from google sign-ins.

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