May 21, 2012

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Improvements

We'll be implementing some improvements to s0rce in the coming weeks. Here's the overview of the changes:

A slider will be added to issue/event pages that lets users select the span of time they'd like to see on the topic. The slider will also function automatically based on your visits; if your last visit to the Republican Primary page was two weeks ago, the slider will default to showing you the last three weeks - two weeks of new information plus 50% (the third week) for context/reminders. Furthermore, the "last visit" check will be done per issue/event, so that if you visit a couple of articles every few weeks and decide to look at one you haven't before, you'll see its full time span for your first visit to that page.

Naturally, if the automatic time selection doesn't meet your needs, you can adjust its scope easily, and even narrow the scope to a past time segment for detailed information on what happened then. We're hoping this kind of flexibility and power will give our users better ways to access the information they want.

The second major change will be to remove comments from their current place, which is a tab below all the content on the issue/event pages. Instead, comments will be attached to each informational element individually; that is to say, it will be possible to comment on a specific chart, map, fact or video.

In tandem with this change, we'll be removing the analysis sections where the writers of s0rce provide some insight into the facts and data. Instead, our analysis will be posted as comments with a special signifier. This will allow us to clearly separate the data and facts from anything that could remotely be constituted as opinion, as well as giving us more leeway in writing the analysis. It also places our thoughts on more even footing with that of our users; while we are often immersed in the data and information to a degree that most readers won't be able to afford the time to do, insight can come from anywhere, and user comments are more important than our current design allows for.

There will be further changes and new elements as a result of these, but we'll be keeping those under wraps for the time being.

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