We spend a lot of time seeking the open source stories that you enjoy—which doesn't leave much time for site enhancements. But we're always looking for ways to improve our communities' experience. And we're happy to provide a brief update on a few things recently implemented.
Changes to our home page
The first change we made was to add more content to our home page. Even though it looks the same, there's more--we converted our 'featured content' river of news into a three-tab structure. In Drupal-speak, we used the quicktabs module. We continue to include our featured content--ten of the latest articles that we want to highlight. We've added two user-influenced tabs: most comments and most popular.
Our most comments tab is a listing of the top ten most commented articles from the last 30 days. The listing is refreshed every few hours, and is a way to highlight the hot-topic current content. Go ahead, join a conversation today.
Our most popular tab is a listing of the top ten articles that readers are rating, commenting, and of course, viewing. Behind the scenes, we're using the Drupal radioactivity module. Originally, we wanted to promote the top ten most viewed articles from the last 30 days, but after experimenting with radioactivity, we have a more fluid popular list that reflects what our community finds most interesting.
We're still experimenting with radioactivity, but as of this posting, we are using a decay profile that updates every 72 hours. As users, rate, comment, and view the site content, it builds up energy. Every three days, the energy is cut in half (using a half-life algorithm). So that mathematical dance is how the most popular list is generated.
More social media
Whether you love or hate social media, it's a great way for our community to share the content they like. We added a small social media widget to our side menu to make it easier for new users to find us on Twitter, Facebook, Identi.ca, Flickr, and Linked In. We also included an RSS feed for those of you that like to scan our latest additions in your favorite reader.
In addition to the social media icons, we added a link to make it easier for visitors to subscribe to our weekly highlights email. If you don't come to the site that often, you can get a once-a-week update, including a recap of the previous week's articles, as well as information about upcoming webcasts and events.
Of course, our friends at Acquia have helped us get these new features on the site. A big thanks to their talented team.
Are there other features or functionality you'd like to see in place on opensource.com? Tell us about it.