As you use Sphinn today, you’ll probably notice several changes we’ve made to the site — not enough to call this version 3.0, but enough to blog about the updates and call it Sphinn v. 2.1. Here’s a guide to what’s new on Sphinn:
Navigation: We’ve added a new tab to the top menu called “Getting Hot.” This page will show submissions that have the most Sphinns but haven’t reached the home page yet. The old “Upcoming” tab has been renamed “Hot or Not?,” and this is where you’ll find the most recent submits. There’s also a new “Tools” tab where you’ll find links to the user directory, the Top Sphinners leaderboard, Sphinn search, and the Sphinn Live activity board.
Goodbye Members section: We experimented with the idea of having special, private forums and content areas for paid members, but there wasn’t much interest in the idea, so we’re discontinuing Sphinn memberships. Existing members with up-to-date accounts will be refunded over the next week or so. Member badges on icons will also go away soon, but mods and admins will continue to be distinguished with badges on their avatars. With the end of the paid memberships, we’re making the Sphinn leaderboard and user directory available to all Sphinners again, as described above.
RSS Feeds: If you’ve previously subscribed to the “Upcoming” feed, you’re now subscribed to the “Getting Hot” feed, which matches what’s on the Getting Hot tab. The “Hot or Not?” page has a new feed. You can see all of our RSS choices on the Feeds page.
Twitter & Facebook sharing: We know that a lot of our users are active on Twitter and Facebook, and like to share the Sphinn stories they find and submit with followers and friends in those communities. We’re making that easier with buttons that will let you share stories and/or comments from Sphinn on Twitter/Facebook. You’ll find the new sharing buttons across the site, including on on individual story pages (see below). There are also links to share comments on Twitter and Facebook.
More Editorial Picks: As Sphinn’s Editor, I occasionally promote submissions to the home page that I believe are noteworthy, even if they haven’t received the minimum votes. You’re going to see more of that from this point on, and it won’t just be stories that I choose. A handful of our moderators will also take a more active role in promoting deserving submissions to the home page. Our goals are to make sure Sphinn users see the day’s most noteworthy stories on our home page and to help good content get the visibility it deserves.
First-Post Moderation: While making sure good content is more visible, we also want to make sure spam and off-topic content is even less visible. When we relaunched Sphinn last summer, we made several changes that have helped cut down on spam — like forcing all users to upload a custom avatar before they can post a news story. That’s helped, but some spam still gets through — and about 90% of it is from new users.
To fight that, we’re instituting first-post moderation. The first submission from all new users will be moderated, and won’t show up on “Hot or Not?” until a moderator has reviewed and processed it. Once a new user’s first submission is processed, his/her future submits will show on “Hot or Not?” as soon as they’re submitted.
So there you have it — a roundup of all the changes that are in place now. We’re excited about all of these changes and we hope you enjoy them, too. Feel free to share any feedback or questions you have in the comments over on the Sphinn story page for this article.