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Changes on the Patch

Is Patch heading in the right direction?

I thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about something other than the weather since that is too boring at the moment!

As many of you are aware, the Patch website has been undergoing some changes lately, and in my opinion, are not changes for the better. You've probably noticed that the section for "What People are Saying" is now down to displaying one comment versus the eight or so we use to see. Instead in it's place is an ad, not exactly what you came to read is it? Why would the Patch reduce the space to one comment? And to make matters worse, a bloggers comments will no longer display on the main page. If I wanted to update you on a post I made, you would never see it by going to the main page but instead would have to go to the blog post.

At this point I rarely waste my time making a comment because most of you won't see it anyway. So my question is why did they move this to the top but only give it a very small area to view when there is a whole column on the right to display it in? Another issue is that I can no longer see images when I try to preview my blog post which makes it hard to determine what's been added and what hasn't!

All in all, I've been posting less due to the issues that make it more difficult to post and make updates. I've sent several emails with suggestions such as requesting that the bloggers have additional features such as inline images in order to provide richer content, add a way for users to subscribe to bloggers and be notified via email when a new post is made, and provide statistical information regarding blog traffic, not to mention all of the "fixes" that need to be made.

These are just several items of improvement I've requested. I've sent many emails to the Patch support people regarding these and other issues that I'm having as a blogger, but I'm sure you have an opinion of the direction the Patch is headed also. As a group, we can provide input for the developers of the Patch by providing feedback and suggestions, and you can do that by sending an email to feedback@patch.com. One voice isn't usually heard, so please let them know what you think.

Now is your chance to take ownership of the content on the Patch. It's now time for the Patch developers to start listening to our ideas and suggestions in order to help take the Patch to the next level. Are you in?

Speak up, let's hear your feedback!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

North Georgia Weather May 01, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Thanks for the response Mitch! I agree, I'm still here and will be but I hope they listen to their audience to help prevent future issues like some that we're having now. I think many people come to the Patch to see the comments and blogs, it's just ashamed the comments aren't more visible on the main page like they use to be.
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Maybe we'll get some Romney ads soon ;)
Jimmy Orr May 01, 2012 at 09:26 PM
NGW, keep in mind that Kristi's directives come from, I suppose, the home office. No, I do not like the current format but Kristi has done an excellent job in ascertaining that Dacula Patch has not, given the circumstances, lost its "hometown flavor." I will send a comment as per the feedback site you mentioned and hopefully the folks at the home office will return the leeway to Kristi that she had when Dacula Patch first came on line. However, make no mistake about it for as long as Kristi remains as editor, I am in her corner win, lose, or draw.
North Georgia Weather May 01, 2012 at 10:11 PM
No Jimmy, don't get me wrong, this has absolutely nothing to do with Kristi. This is all corporate IT directives. I'm not talking about editorial issues, I'm talking website issues. I actually had something in there about Kristi (but she blushed and took it out!) being a great editor. No, this is bigger than she is. We've been fighting this ever since the problems arose, and we're still fighting it. I've sent many emails and gone back and forth.No one sees the posting and comment issues that bloggers have to content with. And this not only effects the bloggers but the editors too and I understand they are all upset about the issues. Keep in mind many of the comments that are made are made by the blogger. Those are not being seen on the main page. I remember making comments (or trying to) during a not so recent storm, thinking they would show on the main page where people would notice them, but no, they never appeared, you had to go to the post to see them. Did I mention that even at one point, each of my comments to my own blog required editorial approval? :-))
Sharon Swanepoel May 01, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Rumor is, the complaints have been heard so hopefully the right fix is on the way. We really appreciate so much of what you guys contribute to our Patches and I believe "the powers that be" do as well. With a little luck we will be back in business and debating the world's ills from back in the sunlight again soon.
Perry Parks (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Folks, Word from our HQ is there is movement afoot to return bloggers' (and editors') comments to the stream on the homepage. There also are plans to move the "What's up with you?" buttons to deepen that stream a little. Can't promise when, and I know it can't happen fast enough for a lot of our best users, but they're on it. Thanks for the feedback.
North Georgia Weather May 02, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Yes, I've heard the same thing... twice! We'll see if they get it right! :-)
Jim S May 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I don't have the depth of knowledge of a long time reader, being that I only started reading the Patch about 2 months ago. I will say, however, that I appreciate the fair and honest reporting I am reading in the Patch. Kristi does a wonderful job bringing both the good and bad that is happening in our area without spin or personal agenda. Kristi, keep up the good work, and know that you are getting new readers all the time! Jim
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Thanks Jim - I appreciate that and am glad to have you as a reader.
Jimmy Orr May 03, 2012 at 12:47 PM
NGW, I fully understand you were "venting your spleen" at the corporate office. I well remember that when Dacula Patch came online I often advised those in my e-mail database to go online and read Dacula Patch each morning as it had the flavor of a small town newspaper. Alas, corporate far removed from the people who read Patch daily made some bad decisions. Especially when it came to those who make viable contributions, such as yourself, in blogging. I always looked forward to the various bloggers and the opportunity to comment. I trust that Sharon knows something we don't know and that the corporate office will let each editor on the Patch sites decide how their online newspaper will best serve the local populance. If not, maybe corporate should read what happened in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" when decisions were made by those far removed from the scene of the action.
Jimmy Orr May 03, 2012 at 12:49 PM
P.S. Forgot to add that Kristi is my most favorite editor in all of America. :-)
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Oh Jimmy! You do know how to flatter an editor ;) I hope you know how much I appreciate your encouragement and support.
North Georgia Weather May 03, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Yes, I want to be sure everyone understands, it ALL has to do with website design and function, not Kristi or ANYTHING the editors are doing. I should have been clearer about that. Kristi has bent over backwards to help promote my blog and my website, and I am extremely grateful for all she has done. But yes, corporate is far removed from the daily happenings on a Patch site and particularly what bloggers have to contend with. I think they sometimes forget, the bloggers are providing a large amount of content and many people come to the Patch just to read what people have to say. I think it's important for the general reader to provide feedback, good or bad, as to how things are working and what they'd like to see. This is a collaborative process, we all work together like a team and when things aren't working like they should, it makes it difficult provide information that's readily available to everyone. I've been actively involved in sending emails, talking with Kristi, and providing my own feedback to corporate. Kristi has been in the loop completely (I even asked her if this post was ok before I ever started writing). I guess I see things a little differently as a blogger and someone that does website design. It's my hope that corporate will start to listen more to the feedback of the contributors.
North Georgia Weather May 03, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I just realized that I get an email when someone comments on a blog or story that I've commented on, but when someone replies to MY BLOG, I don't get an email and therefore never even realize anyone has responded unless I notice an increment in the comment count. So sorry if I don't respond to a comment for a while... I'm not ignoring you! :-)
Mitch May 04, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Also, do I really have to get an email after everytime I post a comment? I noticed that has started happening recently and it's pretty annoying.
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Hi Mitch - When you leave a comment, you'll see a box underneath the text box. That box is next to the statement: "Send me email updates for this article." The system automatically checks off that box. If you do not want to get emails when someone comments, just unselect that box. Also, at the bottom of the email you'll get when I post this, you should see an option to unsubscribe from future updates to this article.
Mitch May 04, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Yes, I always uncheck that. And in my account setting I have unsubscribe to everything. The email I get after every comment I post is as follows: "Your comment is now live on Dacula Patch. Thanks for your contribution. To continue the conversation return to Changes on the Patch. You received this emal because you contributed content to Dacula Patch. This is a one-time notification." That's it, nothing on how to opt out of this notification. And I get this email for every comment I make. So I'll be getting the exact same email again for this post.
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Hi Mitch - I don't get those and didn't know that happened. I can certainly see where that would be annoying! I'll pass this along to product and I encourage you to email them as well at feedback@patch.com. Sorry about that!
North Georgia Weather May 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
These are just a few of the not-so-well thought out things they've done. Kristi, you and I both don't get those for the same reason. I've also suggested that they have a way to "subscribe" to a blog. That way if you have a blogger you like to follow you can get notified when they make a new blog post.
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I think the subscribe option would be a great one - for articles and blogs.
North Georgia Weather May 04, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I even have an Admin button... :-)
David May 06, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I like the Patch. Short, concise LOCAL news. The format changes aren't so bad. At least its not boring with the same things over and over. But I have run through a few laptops because of the Obama ads. I keep stabbing the screen.
Jimmy Orr May 06, 2012 at 06:21 PM
David, your comment on stabbing the screen was a "good'un." Just remeber to do likewise on the touchscreen Tuesday, November 6, 2012, except stab the screen for Mitt Romney.
Kristi Reed (Editor) May 06, 2012 at 07:23 PM
David - I feel your pain ;)
Fortune May 07, 2012 at 02:39 AM
You're not a paid writer, so "taking ownership" of the content on Patch really isn't an option for you.
North Georgia Weather May 07, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Again... I'm not talking about content. I'm talking about design and function. I'm talking about problems and issues you don't see that effects the content that appears.
Perry Parks (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 09:07 PM
All, Some of the changes we've been promising happened today. You'll notice the comment stream has been deepened on the home page -- and, bloggers, the next time you comment, you should see yourself there. Thanks again for the feedback.
North Georgia Weather May 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Great! :-)
North Georgia Weather May 10, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Still issues though. When I make a blog post and add an image, I can't see the image in a preview. Nothing shows.
Perry Parks (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM
We might be stuck with that one for awhile, but at least the preview page should be warning you now that this is what happens.

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