September 19, 2009, other Advance Internet sites roll out community features

There are non-working bells and whistles - links, too - but Advance Internet rolled out its community-building  upgrade on its sites this weekend on, and eight other sites.

You - you being anyone who contributes words, video or photos to a site - can create profiles, follow people, recommend a post (see the illustration below).

Plus, comments are now threaded so you can directly reply to one in a long list.You can even subscribe to a profile or  the comments.

There are also "Popular Tags" boxes on many blogs, like the one I show that came from Runners Finish Line.

You  possibly use an Open Id account to log-in. (Updated 9/21/09 - You can.)

Technically, the upgrade is a move to Movable Type 4.2. I thought we were moving closer to the unveiling, once expected in Flint in June, because of a recent column on

Joey Kennedy, who has tackled  the roughness of anonymous commenting recently, shared some of the social networking features coming to and the rest of the AdvanceInternet sites.

Actually, most of the detals come from Matt Cuthbert, a web producer for AdvanceInternet. He had offered up some smart advice earlier:
"I try not to let dumb comments get to me. It's hard to weed them out, but in my mind, the smart commenters recognize the dumb ones for what they are."
Alabama got  peak at the new tools  in late July.I got a peak when a potential employer found my name attached to some community-building tools at, one of the sites in the Advance family. We correctly guessed the work was left from my years of work via The Flint Journal.

Cuthbert expects the ability to create profiles  and the ability to display your real name will improve comments.
We hope, too, that the changes will help dissuade some of the spammers and trolls (though we're not foolish -- we know they'll always be there) because the user profiles will build reputation. If you're always a loudmouth jerk in the comments, people can see it on your page. If that's the sort of reputation someone builds, they won't find themselves with many people listening
Plus, you may discover new things.
"By following the activity of your favorite people, you'll be able to weed out some of the garbage. You'll discover new things that you might not otherwise have seen, based on the recommendations of your peers."
Here's more of his explanation from that column:
"A simple way to explain it is that we're adding social networking to the site. In that sense, we'll have features similar to Facebook or Twitter where you'll be able to follow the activities of your favorite newspaper columnists, beat writers, photographers, etc., and also other users. So if you think AcidReign is a sharp commenter, you can keep up with everything he/she says. Likewise, other users can follow your activity as well."
"But we're not trying to be Facebook. Far from it. We're simply adopting elements of social networking that will hopefully make your experience on better."
I wanted to see if the same user name will work across all of the sites. Unfortunately, I don't remember tge password for the login Advance chose for me and the password recovery system wasn't working Saturday night. I've got two other user names, but both only get me errors. I also wanted to see about using my Google, AIM or Livejournal accounts, options explained in the Frequently Asked Questions.  section.

The upgrade is started at the following Advance Publications Advance Internet sites,,,,,,,,, 

So, I'll try to be patient as the sites hurry to change the generic links to the site links in the how-to pieces and get the rest of the updates pieces working. It's a long overdue improvement.

Anyone want to guess which print-affiliated staff person will put up a photo with their profile first?
(let's make it more of a challenge - the first print-affiliated staff person who is NOT the online person too. That leaves out Bernie Eng in midMichigan, and and Brian Cubbison  (with his two profiles) in Syracuse and Jerry Casey in Oregon and Lynn Cunningham in New Orleans, among others.)

You will find  Donnie Webb and Dave Rahme over at


  1. great. advance is soooo open. it's hilarious that i found out about the new features on your site ... and i work for advance!!!

  2. Happy I could make your day a little funnier. Plus, it is good to know that communication is still a high priority.

    I stumbled across the changes while putting together a post on why some anonymous comments just don't work. In your case, anonymous is good 'cause having a job is good.

    Did you post a photo on your profile?

  3. Epic Fail. (And frankly, I expected nothing less from anything the FJ is connected with of late.)

    For two days now I haven't been able to get in to MLive under my old name or new variations I keep creating.

  4. I know. I had to ask if I was banned I had so much trouble trying to log in. I'm told I'm not and to be patient.

    There are problems everywhere. The Oregonian wrote a post about the site being finicky in the Editors' blog.

    Stay tuned.

  5. now has a place to record the problems, challenges, issues, etc.

  6. Thanks, Mary Ann, but in perfect consistency with the problems of the last few days, I can't post at that 'place' either. We're into day four here so let me ask -- is it too early to call these folks inept?

  7. And another thing: The new, improved MLive massively screwed up reporters' bylines -- replacing them either with generic tags ("The Kalamazoo Gazette" or whatever), or with the name of the copy editor who posted the story. And not just on stories filed since the "upgrade" -- but even on old archived ones going back many months. Check it out.

  8. There's not much good to say about the site's update yet. There's nothing good to say about the way it was executed. I'm grateful to be gone.

    The byline change you're seeing is a result of who posted the content online. In most cases, newspapers limited who could be "trusted" to post. I think the newspaper name is better then the poster's name if that person didn't write/report/contribute the.

    I didn't write 2,420 items (see box above). Still, I don't really want to see my contributions disappear in a quick fix.

  9. Every day, it's getting better. Have you been able to sign in yet?