Change

The new Common Dreams beta website has launched! Please be patient with us as we work out the glitches, tweaks and redesign. We are working hard to get it all right. We welcome your feedback! Email us at: webmaster@commondreams.org

FAQs on our evolving website

  1. "Why? If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Our old website was very broken and on the verge of collapse. The "front end" - where all our content was displayed - was dated but operated reasonably well. But the "back end" had long-standing and rapidly deteriorating structural problems. The "back end" does all the heavy lifting - it is where the database of hundreds of thousands of articles and images going back 17 years were stored, searched, manipulated and sent on to display in the "front end."

    Both the "front end" and "back end" are built within the same software CMS platform (content management system). Our old site was built in 2007 on a 2005 CMS platform that is no longer supported with security or programming updates.  This made the "back end" perform poorly and extremely vulnerable to attacks. Over the last year we've been hit by repeated malicious breaches and massive, coordinated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from unknown perpetrators. These attacks cause our servers to repeatedly overload and crash—often taking us many hours to get back on-line.

    Consultants have been telling us for several years that our server was a "house of cards" that could come crashing down for good - probably taking us off-line for months.

    It was broke. It was time to fix it.
  2. Why didn't you warn us that change was coming?

    We did. Via our email list many times over the past year - we wrote that our site was broken and in need of an urgent overhaul.
    Not receiving our emails? Be sure to sign up here.
  3. Why are the "Views" displayed way at the bottom of the Home page?

    That's where they display on the "mobile device" version of the new website. But - on your desktops and laptops - the "Views" should display in the right hand column as in this screenshot below:

    Screen Shot

    The new site is "responsive" - which is a newer website design that helps the page display lay out change automatically according to the reader’s computer screen resolution. It makes the site work much better on smartphones and computer tablets - where over 20% of our site's visitors come from.

    When we launched, an incorrect setting caused many readers on desktops and laptops to see the "mobile version" display. We think that glitch has been resolved and the site should now display as pictured above. Please email us and let us know if it doesn't: webmaster@commondreams.org

  4. Is all new content on the home page or do I have to search for it?

    Yes.

    As before, all new content is available on the homepage - www.commondreams.org. We produce a lot of content every day and it can quickly scroll off the home page as newer content is added. The toolbar in the header and the "trending" bar are a feature added to organize all our most recent content by topic - we think it's a much better solution than doing a search by topic.

    To view all the most recent headlines, you can go here: www.commondreams.org/news
    To view all the most recent views, you can go here: www.commondreams.org/views
    To view all the most recent news releases, you can go here: www.commondreams.org/newswire
    To view all the most recent furthers, you can go here: www.commondreams.org/further
  5. Is there a print-friendly option on articles?

    Yes. This icon  can be found above and below all of our articles. Click the icon and a pop-up page will display the article in a print-friendly format; check the "Remove Images" box in the upper right to hide images.
  6. Is there a "Search" function?

    Yes. There is a search box located in the upper right header of every page.
    We had to turn off the "search" function on our failing site several years ago because it would use up all of the server's memory and crash the site.
  7. Is feature ____ coming back?

    Yes. As time and funding allow they are all coming back: links to other media/progressive groups; videos; full archives etc.
  8. When will your new site design be done?

    Never.

    This is the 4th major site overhaul we've been through over the 17 years we've existed. The internet - and how people are using it and accessing it - is rapidly evolving. We must evolve too.

    Please keep giving us feedback: webmaster@commondreams.org