Monthly Archives: January 2015

Details on rules clarifications (24 Jan 2015)

Hi! In the previous Update post, I mentioned some of our Site Rules had been changed because I thought they were unclear in some cases and a little harsh in others and I wanted to clarify and soften them. To reiterate what I wrote in that post, none of the rules are changing their meaning, I’m just updating them to better reflect what I mean by them.

Below are the rules that have changed, and how and why I changed them.

1a. Do not link anything that is not an askblog or a roleplay account/blog.

Original phrase: For example, if your “OC blog” is 90% reblogs of funny cat pictures, we don’t want it here. No matter how cool cats are.
Updated phrase: For example, if your “OC blog” is 90% reblogs of funny cat pictures, it’s not  really an askblog and thus not really appropriate for The Askblog List. No matter how cool cats are.

When I first wrote this rule, I’d thought the ‘no matter how cool cats are’ part would negate the harshness of the ‘we don’t want it here’ part. Re-reading it, though, I’ve changed my mind – I can easily see how someone can get a bad taste in their mouth from reading that. So, I’ve changed the wording so it’s softer and less harsh.

1b. Don’t try and circumvent the voting system.

Original rule: If you use, say, your own personal botnet to vote up your link and we find out about it, you’ll be banned.
Updated rule: Getting all your friends to vote for your askblog is fine. Hey, we don’t even mind if you vote for your own askblog, or even if you use both your computer and your phone to do it! Voting for your own askblog demonstrates that you’re active, and not willing to give up without a fight. 🙂 But there are limits. If you use, say, your own personal botnet, or pay people to vote up your link, and we find out about it, you’ll be banned.

I thought  it wasn’t clear enough what didn’t count as ‘circumventing the voting system’ – I was worried someone might misinterpret the rule to, for example, not ask friends to vote for them, or not vote for their own askblog – so I decided to add a few sentences at the beginning about what doesn’t count.

3b. Do not add blogs that are mainly or wholly copied from other blogs.

Original rule: No one likes a copycat.
Updated rule: By this we mean actual content, not concepts or ideas. Unlike some people, we don’t mind if you’re the three-thousand-and-twenty-ninth Doctor Whooves blog – you might be able to make yours unique, and if not, at least fun! But taking content from someone else and claiming it as your own is a big no-no. No one likes a copycat.

I was worried ‘no one likes a copycat’ was too easily misinterpreted by itself, so I decided to make it clear that I wasn’t talking about ideas or concepts and instead actual content.

Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next time.

–Mark Kéy-Balchin

Update: Tweaks, fixes, rules clarifications and helpful information

Hi there! Today’s update is all about tweaks – small things that help polish the website off.

New ‘How do I?’ section and tweaks to the front page


I’ve added a new section to the home page with links to both Help and FAQs (for The Askblog List) and our list of Askblog Resources, Advice and Help (for all askblogs everywhere). I thought the later especially needed linking somewhere on the website, and so now it has a home.

Dates in the News section now use a monospaced font so that all the entries are better aligned.

Finally, the spacing between the headings for Fan Blogs and Original Characters and their subcategories has been tweaked.

Navigation menu links for Help and FAQs (and other documents)


Now you can browse Help and FAQs by a handy-dandy menu on the left of the screen.

Menus have also been added to other really long articles on the site (like our Rules page). Conversely, this means both I and others can link directly to a section in these articles.

Lastly, the page headings have been moved into the sidebar as well (so they fit in with other pages on the site.)

Section breaks (all over the place)

I’ve also added section breaks where appropriate for a nice visual touch (and to break up all the whitespace.) Here’s what they look like:


People on older browsers that don’t support the code I’m using will just see this:


Rules clarifications

Speaking of rules, I’ve updated some of the Site Rules to be clearer (and a bit friendlier in tone, too. ^^;)  None of the rules are changing their meaning, I’m just updating them to better reflect what I mean by them.

There are three rules that have been updated, and you can read about the changes in the Rules Clarifications post.

Behind the scenes fix – transparent proxies

Lastly, if you’ve ever gotten a “Sorry! You took too long to vote” error message almost every time you’ve tried to vote (and there should only be a small number of you), it’s because you’re behind a transparent proxy.

Some ISPs use transparent proxies to cache data so they don’t have to send and receive as much data – but as a result, the IP address the website gets will be the one of whatever proxy server is handling your computer at the time, which is usually different each time you load a page. This messes with how The Askblog List’s voting system works.

With this update, I’ve changed how the website talks to ISP servers so that it tells them to not use cache servers when dealing with the website. This should fix the problem for anyone whose ISP respects those signals.

Barring any emergency fixes, the next update will introduce at least one feature I’m really excited about. Until then!

–Mark Kéy-Balchin

Changelog for 24th Jan 2015 update:

[+] Added “How do I?” section to the front page with links to Help and FAQs and the
[+] Added navigation panel to Help and FAQs, Terms of Service, House Rules and Privacy Policy pages. Users can now link directly to a specific heading in these pages.
[*] Changed rules 1a, 1b, and 3b so they are clearer and more friendly.
[*] Changed HTTP headers so that pages tell ISPs to avoid using transparent cache proxies when visiting this website.
[*] Added section break lines (with pretty fading effect) to home page, Help and FAQs, Terms of Service, House Rules and Privacy Policy pages.
[*] Moved headings for Help and FAQs, Terms of Service, House Rules and Privacy Policy to the sidebar.


Update: Vote page shortcuts and News section

Hi thar askbloggers! Hope you guys had a great holiday! Today’s update is relativity small, but I hope you’ll find the changes helpful.

Shortcuts to Favourites and Edit Askblog on vote page


I’ve added a link to the vote page which will add the askblog you have voted for to your favourites when you click on it. If the page is already on your favourites list, it will be replaced with a “View other favourites” link.


Additionally, if the askblog is one of your own (:p), it will show an Edit Askblog link.

New News section on the home page

Until now, the only way to keep up with changes in The Askblog List was if you clicked on the tiny link in the footer reading “Blog” or if you stumbled across our Tumblr page.

No more! Now the front page has a News section, containing links to the last three blog posts, as well as a link to The Askblog List’s Tumblr page.

To facilitate this change, I’ve changed the layout of the front page somewhat so the Category links are closer together – this gives me enough room to add the News section without pushing down any of the other content – and the About section is flush with the left side of the page – this means that it won’t look out of place with the other sections with differing indentation.

I’ve also edited the text in the About section somewhat to improve the clarity of instructions there, and added in direct links to the Request Invite page where appropriate (nudge nudge!)

A huge thank you to everyone who’s signed up so far. I’ve got some neat things planned for 2015, so until then!

–Mark Kéy-Balchin

Changelog for 20th Jan 2015 update:

[+] Added “Add to favourites”/”View other favourites” link to the vote page for logged in users.
[+] Added “Edit askblog” link to the vote page for askblogs owned by the logged in user.
[+] Added News section to front page.
[*] Improved wording of About section, added links to Request Invite page where appropriate.
[*] Made spacing between category links smaller to fit News section on page.
[*] Aligned About section so that it’s flush with the rest of the page, so that it doesn’t look out of place with the News section.