Sidebar Love & New Features SidebarHave I ever mentioned how dark winter is in Vancouver? Beyond being a wee bit North, although far south as far as the rest of Canada is concerned, the cloudcover is brutal. I think it's out to get me. I've had a bugger of a time getting work done today.

But I did tinker a bit with the site, and think it's about time I give you a tour of how you can maximize your fun with our sidebar widgets. You have to be a logged-in registered member of the site to use most of these (it's free!).

  1. Tag This

    You can label content any way you'd like! Not only will this help you categorize your own posted content so people can find it more easily, it also enables you tag any content on the site. And that makes all the content easier to find. Rad.

  2. Rate This

    Since the revamped site launched, there's no editorial vetting of content. Although this is a change it's taken a little while to get used to, it doesn't have to mean that the quality of content you encounter here has changed at all. Use the Rate This feature to mark content you think should be most visible (it's the best!) and not so visible (it could use some improvement). For now, the most salient result of content ratings is on the main Patterns and Tips pages, where there's a list of the top-5 most highly-rated posts.

    A related aside: Something that's very different now is that patterns are not tech edited and nothing is copy edited before being published. Certainly one shouldn't judge the quality of a posted pattern on the coolness of the finished object alone, but also on the clarity and quality of instruction in the written pattern. Since the beginning, I've had a slew of ideas for how to implement some community-based editing on the site, and I haven't been able to figure out a way to pick and choose. Got some ideas? Wanna help out? Leave a comment or drop me a PM.

  3. Blue links
    1. Add to Favorites

      Click this link to mark the page you're on as one of your favorites. On your profile page, there's a section that lists your favorites from different areas on the site (patterns, tips, forum posts, blog posts). So not only will you be able to find them easily another time, other people will find them, too.

    1. Print-Friendly

      Click the link for a printer-friendly version of the page you're on. No ads, no fancy formatting.

    1. Email This Page

      Click to bring up a page that will allow you to enter a friend's email address to send them a link to the page. Neither your own address nor the recipient's address is saved by us; it's just used to send a note saying you think they'll enjoy the page. Fun!

  4. Share This Page

    This is a new box in the sidebar. Click any one of the icons to add the page you're on to that service. If you hover your mouse over an icon a tip will pop up letting you know which service it's for. In most cases, you'll need to have an account on that service to use this feature. Spread the love!

  5. You Might Also Like

    This is another new box. It lists a recommendation of other content on the site you might enjoy if you like the page you're currently on. This is spreading the love just to you.

And there you have it. Are there functions you wished were there but aren't? Think something could use some improvement? Wanna help with the editing thing? Let us know.

PS You might also notice there's now (finally) a link to comments on the main blog page. Older posts are displaying just title and categories for now, but all posts from now on will show up in full on that main page. In case you were curious.

PPS (8 January) Note that around the time I posted this a few days ago, I managed to screw up the RSS feed for the blog. I've since fixed it (I think), which is why you might first be seeing this in your reader or inbox now. Oops.

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