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Upcoming changes to the Mondoweiss site

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We hope you and those close to you are doing well during this difficult time. While the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to impact all of us, Mondoweiss will continue to work and provide important coverage that you rely on.

We are excited to share with you some of the big changes coming for the Mondoweiss website. In the first week of April we will roll out a new, streamlined website. As a member of our website and a loyal reader, we wanted to give you a preview of the new site and share with you some of the factors that are driving our online development.

We are eager to hear your feedback! Please send us a message through our contact form, or email [email protected], if you have any thoughts you’d like to share with us.

Reasons for a change

The current version of the Mondoweiss website was designed back in 2012. It was a huge step up for us, but the site design is showing its age in design and the technology is falling behind. Last year we began working on a new site that will incorporate the refreshed identity design we adopted, bring the site’s software up to contemporary standards, scale better for visitors on mobile devices, and give us greater flexibility in how we present articles, images and video.

Refreshed Identity

The new website will carry our newly refreshed identity design. Gone are the rounded letters! In its place we have a unique wordmark based on a classic serif font. You may have already seen this wordmark in our email newsletters, now it will be found there, on the website, and across our social media presence.

Mondoweiss began its life as the blog of an individual. It eventually grew to host multiple writers and today it is a robust news and analysis publication with dedicated staff writers. The new wordmark reflects a maturing publication producing original journalism.

Site software

Mondoweiss runs on the popular WordPress content management system, along with a number of plugins that add functions. The new site will add some new functions and remove some old ones. You’ll find them below with a brief description of why we’re making the change.

Mobile first

Over the last year, our visitors are coming to us in new ways. Over 60% of our website traffic now comes consistently from mobile devices. There are periods when up to 75% of our traffic is from mobile devices. The new site is fully responsive to different screen sizes and will provide a consistent appearance and functionality to our visitors on all devices. We believe this will help increase our traffic as the site will be more easily navigated on mobile devices.

Storytelling tools

In the past year WordPress developers introduced an entirely new editing system that gives publishers like us an expanded set of tools to create and present articles and content. The new editing system is amazing and will let us present much more engaging stories, full width photo essays and properly integrated video content. The new site will be able to take advantage of these new tools and we’re excited to develop our multimedia storytelling capacity.

What is changing

Removing: User profiles

We know that some of our most loyal readers and commenters enjoy the user profiles, however because of their maintenance costs, low usage, and software performance we are removing them. For context, the user profiles receive about 1/10th of 1 percent of our overall site traffic. With software and staff time costs considered, they are one of the most expensive features on the site. Please note that none of your data (comments and profile information) will be deleted.

Adding: Expanded commenting

Our community of commenters is a core part of Mondoweiss. We are adding new tools to the commenting section to make it more usable for our members.

Some of the new features include:

  • You will be able to react to a comment with a thumbs up or down.

    • Comments will be sortable by date, reaction, and reply activity.

You can choose to receive notifications when someone replies to your comment.

Comments now have basic formatting options such as bold, italic, links, bullet lists, and more.

You will also be able to subscribe to the comments on an article and receive an email notification when new ones are posted.

You will be able to search the comments on a particular article and filter for author name, content, or email address.

Improving: Expanded search

Mondoweiss has published nearly 30,000 articles since it started in 2006. That’s a lot of content, and it can be difficult to sort through when looking for a specific item. In the past year we have greatly upgraded the search engine on the site. In the coming months we will roll out further upgrades to the search system that allow for filtering based on multiple criteria to help narrow down the returned results.

Improving: Site performance

The new site will load faster and provide a consistent appearance across devices. It will allow us to roll out more email newsletters, photo essays, and other media publications.

Improving: Lots of back-end systems

In addition to the changes that our visitors will see and interact with, we are making big changes to the back-end of the website that we, as publishers and writers work with every day. You may not see these changes, but you will experience them by visiting a better running website.

Preview of the new Mondoweiss

Preview of the home page

Mondoweiss home page preview

A section listing on the home page

A section listing on the home page

An article layout

An article layout

Related articles are displayed with images

Related articles are displayed with images

Dave Reed

Dave Reed is the Community Engagement Manager at Mondoweiss. He's been involved in the Palestine Solidarity Movement since visiting Occupied Palestine in 2004 and 2008.

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17 Responses

  1. Brewer on March 16, 2020, 3:25 pm

    Sounds good. Particular thumbs up to the “thumbs up” feature for commenters. My mouse finger has itched for this.

    • oldgeezer on March 16, 2020, 9:50 pm

      Me too. I don’t find the counts meaningful in terms of judging the contents of a post. It can be easy to overwhelm one or the other by piling on. But sometimes I read posts that I think deserve a well done to the author. Or even just mild support. Whatever!

      • Brewer on March 17, 2020, 3:57 am

        I look forward to upvoting you OG

      • davemreed on March 17, 2020, 10:42 am

        @oldgeezer – To be clear, this voting tool is for the comments, not the posts.

      • oldgeezer on March 17, 2020, 11:28 am


        Yes, I got that, thanks! Sorry,perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. In my head i think of comments as posts as they are submitted using the post function.

  2. Peter in SF on March 17, 2020, 1:04 am

    Thanks for posting this and allowing commenters to discuss it.

    I read here that “The new site is fully responsive to different screen sizes and will provide a consistent appearance and functionality to our visitors on all devices.” I’m not sure what the first part about responsiveness to different screen sizes means, but if it’s going to appear on my smartphone like the main image here, the only word that will be legible is “Mondoweiss”.

    I never look at the main page, anyway, because it’s hard to see what’s new. Instead, I’ve bookmarked so that I can see the most recent articles, newest first. I hope this capability will be retained.

    As for “Removing: User profiles“, it needs to be stated more clearly that this is about removing the ability to list all comments posted by a specified user. This has been broken for some time, anyway, as only the 10 most recent comments for each user are listed.

    • davemreed on March 17, 2020, 10:45 am

      Yep, the user profile system is just not a solid performer, thus the change.

      The new site is much better in terms of readability on mobile devices. This was a key point in our “mobile first” approach.

      I think you will also appreciate the new home page layout more than the current one. It will be much more clear what new items are and it’s much easier to navigate both on desktop and mobile devices.

      • annie on March 17, 2020, 11:48 pm

        once the search function was stripped from the user profiles they became a useless resource. before that they performed superbly.

  3. CHUCKMAN on March 17, 2020, 6:41 am

    I’ve always liked the appearance of the site. It’s “calmer” than a lot of other sites, and that’s a good tone to have.

    But the new version looks good too.

    One small suggestion.

    On the comments, it’s good to have “approval” votes, but “thumbs down” votes are not helpful.

    Some pretty good sites have dropped them. Too visually negative. They attract people with the wrong motives, I think.

    By the way, you do a very fine job with Mondoweiss, and it’s important work.

    • davemreed on March 17, 2020, 10:46 am

      Thanks Chuckman, we’ll take that under advisement. We do have a few options there, but we all sort of like the thumbs up/down option the best.

    • eljay on March 23, 2020, 1:22 pm

      I like:
      – the new, clean/uncluttered look;
      – basic editing options (very useful); and
      – improved search functionality, especially if it actually works and enables us find specific comments, each with a hyperlink to its original location, fairly easily.

      A “thumbs up/down” counter that also identifies each contributor to the count might be useful. (Presumably its use will be restricted to registered members.)

      Keep up the good work, Dave (and the rest of the MW team)!  :-)

  4. echinococcus on March 17, 2020, 8:00 am

    To be very frank, I don’t give a rodent’s bottom for the exciting, new and improved, etc. features.
    The only 4 things that made this site somewhat interesting for me, and I imagine for many others, were:

    1. little censorship on comments, which attracted interesting people to discuss with, so as to evolve and refine one’s ideas;

    2. a good, easily searchable record of the various discussants’ posts;

    3. in the absence of 2, in the last couple years, a possibility to access recent posts by discussants to continue the discussions.

    4. Kate, Kate and Kate: the essential chronicler.

    All four of these are now gone, or almost.

    The articles in themselves are only occasionally of real interest, the rest of the site being an extension of the run-of-the-mill Demolican-liberal conventional wisdom floating most anywhere. The most interesting and stimulating among them are reproduced from other sites, with some important exceptions, like Ofir.

    Not much to keep me, and some others, coming back here, isn’t it?

    • Mooser on March 17, 2020, 1:17 pm

      “Not much to keep me, and some others, coming back here, isn’t it?”

      You may think differently during long stretches of self-isolation.

    • RoHa on March 18, 2020, 1:06 am

      “Kate, Kate and Kate: the essential chronicler.”

      Usually too painful for me to read, but a record that should be kept.

  5. RoHa on March 18, 2020, 1:05 am

    “You will be able to react to a comment with a thumbs up or down.”

    Pointless. But the Zionists will love it. They’ll get their rent-a-Zionist-mob onto that.

    I open the MW site at the 100 latest page. Usually the comments are more interesting than the articles.

    They also used to be a valuable resource. Hostage and some others had detailed knowledge of the whole business, and were able to shoot down the Zionists with facts. When we lost the ability to access the archives of comments, MW lost half its value.

    • andrew r on March 20, 2020, 2:01 am

      You can still find the old comment profiles on the Internet Archive though the search feature doesn’t work.

  6. dowlass on March 23, 2020, 12:35 pm

    8 years is a long time in the web design world! So I guess it’s inevitable that change had to come, and there is some good usability as well as technical ‘raison d’etre’ for it.

    Personally, the new look, in as far as I can see it, mimmicks any number of other WordPress magazine themes flooding the market at the moment – it looks functional but hardly distinctive. Maybe the current wordpress theme has had its day, but I still feel it make Mondoweiss distinctive and different – and, importantly, eminently readable and ‘navigatable’.

    I’m actually curious to know which WordPress theme is currently used? and which theme will be the basis for the new site – although I do recognise that both are/will be modified ‘child’ themes rather than out-of-the-box standard themes.

    However, onwards and upwards!

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