Beta-testing a new feature.

I’ve had the plugin that I’ve been talking about for Freethought Blogs mostly-done for a few weeks now, and I’ve had it installed on the live server for that time with no ill effects. Tonight, I managed to get the final pieces of the puzzle out of the way, and it’s ready to go live.

However, I never like to go into production without a slow rollout, with only the bravest of the brave testing out the features and making sure things are kosher. So, here we are.

I hate ads as much as the next person. More, maybe — especially given some of the odious ad buys by terribly misogynist browser-based RPGs I’ve seen as of late, which we keep trying to stomp but keep springing back up despite our efforts. But we have to keep our lights on. Those of you who are regulars, those of you who enjoy the free content that we produce on these blogs daily, if you want to support the site to keep our server running and our web guy fed, you now have an option to subscribe to the site and get something back other than just that warm glowing feeling of supporting the community you love and the writers you enjoy.

If any of you are brave souls and have a little bit of money to spare, we now have a Paypal-based subscription service where you can subscribe to Freethought Blogs for 30, 90 or 365 days, during which time — if you’re logged into a valid account against which you’ve purchased time — you will no longer see any ads on the site. Not banner ads, not popups, nothing. A few lucky folks got some free subscription time already, so I know the ad-free portion of the plugin is working quite well.

To subscribe, go to the site’s WordPress Dashboard. This should work to get you there, or you can click the blue and white WordPress logo on the top bar, next to the search box. Log in however you normally do — you can either sign up for a local user account, or you can use Facebook, Google or Yahoo’s OAuth to sign into their account to validate your identity here. Once you’re logged in here, you should be greeted with a Network Subscription box, which provides a link to get to the Subscribe page. There’s also a link at the bottom of the lefthand menu called Subscribe, that looks like this:

subscribebutton

Or, you could bypass that and click here instead.

At the moment, Paypal is the only gateway I have set up. I’m looking into other services, like Amazon, Google and Authorize.net, but for now, Paypal’s what we’re using. Sorry if this excludes anyone.

Once you’ve chosen how long you’d like to subscribe to the blog, click on the “pay with Paypal” button, and you’ll be taken through Paypal’s interface. You should get a message in that popup that you’ve successfully registered for the blog, with a confirmation of how many days you’re now subscribed. Any time you want to check on how many days you have left, you can check back on your Dashboard. When your time is ticking down to its last few days, you’ll start to see a little yellow (unobtrusive, I promise) nag screen once a day until your ad-free time runs out, at which point you’ll start getting ads again.

We should get full records of all transactions that are processed on Paypal’s end, so if somehow something goes squirelly, let me know here and I’ll try to set things right.

Beta-testing a new feature.

52 thoughts on “Beta-testing a new feature.

  1. 51

    Dumb question – for any given author, if I click their link, I can see all posts by them in reverse chronological order. Is there any such feature/page that works like this for all of FTB (e.g. I click the link and see all posts from all authors in reverse chronological order)? Right now, I pretty much rely on “last 5 posts”, which is worthless if I’ve been away from the site for any extended period of time.

    Something like, I take a 3-day camping trip from 11/3 – 11/6, open freethoughtblogs.com, go to this cross-FTB link, see all posts starting with 11/6, and just click “older posts” until I get to posts from 11/3. Then I grab some popcorn, and start catching up.

    Currently, this scenario amounts to doing the above operation for each of the 8 – 10 authors who’ve posted during that 3-day gap… way more work and incredibly error-prone.

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