The Blog Update

+49

Introduction

Since its introduction in June 2019, user blogs on JetPunk have been a way for many users to share thoughts, ideas, puzzles, stories and more in the form of a blog, rather than a quiz or comment. After almost 2 years, it is finally time to give blogs the update it needs and deserves. 

With this update comes a whole plethora of new features, not just for blog creators, but for blog readers too. Even those who have not previously interacted with the blogs section on JetPunk might enjoy what we have in store for you. 

New Blog Editor

By far the biggest addition in this update is the brand-new Blog Editor. This comprises of a fully-comprehensive editor, with drag-and-drop capabilities, custom styling and a "see it as it is" feel to it. 

But first, here's where we came from:

The entirety of the old blog editor, in one screenshot

As you can see, the old editor was very simple. When user blogs were first created, this was fine, since we had no idea how much this new feature would be used at all. We certainly didn't expect to get a dedicated blogging community here on JetPunk, with several new blogs every single day. So, what was wrong with this old editor exactly?

  1. It was too simple that it required knowledge of HTML to make a blog look half-decent
  2. Adding images to blogs was difficult for beginners, and again required HTML knowledge
  3. It was all on one screen, and it was hard to see what the blog would look like without preview

So, how did we go about fixing these issues? Well, first we had to add a bit of complexity to the editor, and this was done in the form of tabs between 3 steps, similar to the quiz editor. We also thought that splitting the editor into 3 steps made the most sense, as you could have Step 1 for initial details, Step 2 for the actual blog itself and then Step 3 for submission / preview / errors. In fact, this is exactly what we went with, as you can see from Step 1 of the new editor below:

Step 1 of the new blog editor

With this modern appearance, and easy-to-use interface for options, it is now much more intuitive to use and set-up the basic information of blogs. As you can see on the right-hand side, we added Languages, Blog Tags and even Private Blogs! These were all highly requested features, and will allow for creator flexibility and usability of the blogs section on JetPunk in general. 

Creating a Blog 

To access this new editor, simply go to Create / Edit Blog under the user drop down to create a new blog. From there, all your previous blog creations will appear as well. 

So you may be wondering, what does the new blog creation look like? I hear you screaming "You haven't shown us Step 2!" Well, here you are, a screenshot of this update blog currently:

Step 2 of the new blog editor, where dreams are made

As you can see, the blog is "see it as it is", this means that the blog appears in the editor almost exactly how it'll appear on the blog page itself. This fixes problem #3 from the above list, since it is now on different screens (steps), and it is much clearer what your blog will look like without having to check in preview constantly. 

The other feature you will notice is the fact that you "build" the blog using drag and drop. You can click and hold to drag one of the 6 components on the right to the main blog content, where you can insert it into the highlighted position like so:

Inserting an image into the shown location

This handily brings us on to fixing problem #2 from above. Adding images now is as easy as dragging and dropping the image component into your blog, then selecting an image from Pixabay directly or by pasting a link to an image on Wikimedia Commons. This is the same system that we use for our Picture quizzes and thumbnails too.

What's the advantage of using the image component?

Well, thanks for asking. The advantage is that you can more easily select an image, add a caption, stylize both of those as well. But by far the best feature, which you can't replicate using HTML on JetPunk, is that all images inside image components will be clickable on the blog itself. This will bring up a popup with the full size image inside it. So, if you're struggling to read a small image at some point, you can easily click it to view the full size we have for it.

I want customization in my blog!

Well, I'm glad you asked! For those users who wish to explore and push the limits of the new editor, thankfully you can do everything you could previously in the old editor using the new HTML component. This takes pure HTML, and renders it as such. It has some limitations, as is expected, but it means if you want to add a table to your blog, or maybe a list (as I did above), you can do this with the HTML component. And since this is a component like the other 5, it means you can easily place it wherever you'd like!

Blog Languages

Another major addition of this update is the introduction of languages to blogs. This means that many of the blog pages on JetPunk can now be filtered by language, and means if you're on a French page, your default link for "Recent User Blogs" will actually be "Blogs récents des utilisateurs", a page filled with French - and only French - blogs! All we need now are some willing victims, or rather volunteers, ready to produce some top-notch blogs in French (and all other JetPunk languages). 

Personally, I am excited for what the non-English community has to offer on JetPunk. With such amazing diversity among our quizzes, I hope this can also hold true for the blogs side of JetPunk.

Blog Tags and Series

As eluded to above, you now have blog tags on JetPunk! Currently there are only a handful to choose from, but these give you the opportunity to get your blog read by those who want to read it. There are pages for all blogs with a given tag, and so if you're looking for History blogs, or perhaps a Story blog, you can find them all under the relevant tag. The current tags available are:

All tags available on JetPunk for blogs

Note that "JetPunk Update" is a tag only available to myself and the Quizmaster, since nobody else has the power to make an update to JetPunk itself.

Another addition, which was also highly requested, is Blog Series. This allows you to group together all blogs in a given series, so that they may be easier to find. One such series might be the Interview of a JetPunker series by baptisegorce, linked is the one they did with me to commemorate their 10th interview! I'm sure series will be of great benefit to blogs and users such as those. 

Blog Collaboration

A highly requested feature to add to blogs was the ability to collaborate with others. This works the same as quizzes with a locking mechanism to stop two users overwriting each other's changes. This is a simple implementation of collaboration which is within the possibilities of JetPunk. Anything beyond this, such as that of Google Sheets or similar, is simply not feasible on JetPunk.

Blog Feed and Subscriptions

The final major addition to this update is the inclusion of the blogs into Subscriptions. This means you can now subscribe to individual users for their blogs, quizzes or both. These options will be reflected in the daily or weekly subcriptions email which highlights the recent updates from users you are subscribed to. This means you can get notified within a day of a blog being released by your favourite blogger. 

Along with this, we have a new page (found under your user dropdown) which is Blog Feed, this page compiles together all recent blogs from your JetPunk Friends, and your blog subscriptions, in one handy page that makes it super easy to find all your favourite bloggers in one location. This means that if, in the future, 10s of blogs are made a day in Recent User Blogs, then you can easily filter out ones you don't like by visiting your personalised Blog Feed. 

Everything Else

Now there are a number of other, smaller changes included within this Blog Update, of which I will explain them now.

Blog Likes

This small addition allows any user with a minimum level of 5 to like a blog. Currently, this is just a show of good will, with the number of likes a blog has being visible on the top-right corner of their blog. All blogs start with 1 like, since why would you dislike your own blog?

Recent Blogs Redesign

By popular request, we have expanded recent user blogs to include 5 pages of blogs, rather than a single page. This means you can see more blogs than ever before, and sort by language, and view further back in time!

Blog Navigation

Blogs now have a more prominent feature under the "More" dropdown on Desktop. But also, on the top-right of all blog pages on Desktop (or at the top and bottom of each page on mobile), we have a navigational system to make it easier to navigate between relevant pages whilst in the blogs ecosphere. For example, this blog's shows this: 

Navigational hierachy shown on the right-hand side of each blog-related page on JetPunk.

Blog Moderation

To ease the flood of new blogs, and to crack down on pure spam blogs (e.g. someone copy-pasting a whole wikipedia article in two minutes), we have introduced moderation on blogs. This means if you fulfil the criteria for auto-submission, which most bloggers will, then your blog will be automatically submitted. However, if you fail this criteria, then your blog will be pending for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours it will be automatically approved. 

Some of the criteria relate to blog reports, so if you see a blog which doesn't belong, please do report it to us so we can handle this. Remember this is not a disagree button though, and the report will only take effect in moderation if the report is valid.

Blog Search

Another popular request was for the ability to search for blogs. This is now possible through the new User Blogs portal page, this page has recent blogs, a link to tags and, most importantly, the ability to search blogs by language at the bottom. 

Copy Blog

Bloggers now have the ability to copy their own blog on the Create Blog page. This allows you to easily reuse another one of your blogs as a template.

Final Thoughts

After all this, I am glad to say that the blog update is finally live and done. This has been something I've wanted to do for a long time, but have never found the time, motivation or ideas to be able to execute it effectively. 

After a solid two months of working on this update, I am proud to say it is finally finished and can finally be enjoyed by the community. I would like to remind everybody that these changes don't happen overnight, and take literal hours and hours and hours of hard work to actually complete. Not to mention the hours spent testing and fixing problems encountered. This doesn't happen with ease! 

That said, if you do find any issues, let me know and I'll try my best to fix them. If you have suggestions, you're welcome to share them but don't expect them to happen overnight, because they won't. 

Thank you to everybody for being so patient, and I hope you enjoy your Blog Update :)

+6
Level 51
Apr 5, 2021
Amazing. Thank you, Stewart!
+4
Level 51
Apr 5, 2021
Also, thank you for increasing the character limit to 50,000! :)
+6
Level 53
Apr 5, 2021
Well Done again Stewart!
+2
Level 57
Apr 5, 2021
Amazing! I love this update!
+2
Level 52
Apr 5, 2021
Ayy, thanks for your work on this update Stewart!
+7
Level 30
Apr 5, 2021
Thank you so much Stewart! Thank you for putting in all this effort for us! I don't think we can thank you enough for this!
+2
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Wow! Thank you Stewart! SOOO MUCH STUFF NOW I CANT TAKE IT ALL IN!
+2
Level 67
Apr 5, 2021
Thank you :)
+2
Level 67
Apr 5, 2021
Thanks Stewart for yet another great update! I'll be sure to make some blogs from now onwards.
+4
Level 52
Apr 5, 2021
WOW, I believe this is the secret update, Am I correct?
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
You are correct :)
+1
Level 52
Apr 5, 2021
Thanks for reply, I think it would not be bad if you add some features of editing blogs in comments.
+5
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
What a great update. Things like me remind me why I stay on JetPunk.
+2
Level 63
Apr 5, 2021
Wow! I rarely make and read blogs, but this is amazing! Thanks for all your hard work, we now have an amazing blog update!
+5
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
JetPunk is renewed every day. Our happiness for this site has just been renewed with the Great Blog Update. I've always been looking forward to blogging autonomy, and we have it now. I am amazed, speechless. How much "bread" Stewart and Quizmaster had to eat to reach that level of excellence, and how much they worked to do all of this for us. Words of thanks are not enough for this. I'm thrilled, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Every year that happens at JetPunk, it's a journey. It is fantastic to have everyone here together. This update is wonderful, and it arrived on time. Thank you very much Stewart and Quizmaster, not only for the update, but for absolutely everything. Everything you did for us.
+5
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
I'm not a massive fan of bread, but thank you MG :)

I should mention that like 99% of this update was me, with Quizmaster helping to test and smooth things out towards the end.

I'm just glad it's finally done.

+1
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
Well, "the bread of every day" is just an expression we use in Brazil, but that's ok! LOL!
+4
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Just a reminder, but do not start commenting about what type of bread is your favorite.
+1
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
Something like this lol
+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Not to be that guy but... did you take in my blog search proposition?
+1
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
Look at the end of the "User Blogs" section
+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
:o YAY
+5
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
No, 90% of these ideas have been planned for well over a year, just gradually accumulating dust until the time, opportunity and motivation came to finally do them.

The only one that wasn't thought of when I started doing the blog update in mid January was Blog Feed, that was all Malki's suggestion - so thank him for that :)

+1
Level 22
Apr 5, 2021
Great Update. However, Stewart, was this your blog idea or Quizmaster's?

If, it is yours, well done!!

+4
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
As I mentioned in my reply to MG17 above, 99% of this update was all me :)
+2
Level 56
Apr 5, 2021
Cool Update. I think I'll author some blogs soon that the jetpunk community might find interesting.

Edit: Can a tag for sports blogs be added? Thanks!

+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Yep there's been a couple other tags suggested as well, Sports is another obvious one I missed! I'll get it added soon

Edit: Sports is added now!

+1
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
A small error that can be fixed quite easily...on the "Manage Blog Series" page, it says "Simple click a series"
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
nice catch, thanks
+1
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
I'm just with doubt in the split view. What exactly is this?
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Split View is the most complicated addition to the editor. Every component by default is 100% of the width of the blog, and so if you want something like an image on the left, with text on the right, you can't do this without the Split View.

Split View allows you to split the 100% width to have multiple components on the same row.

I plan to make a blog explaining this further.

+1
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
The problem, is that I don't know how put an image of a side, and a text of the other. By the way, I saw three points in the side of the Splits, but I don't know how use them. Maybe I'm stranged with the update, but with the time I accostume... :)
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
The three dots you can click to access options about each component (like styles). Or you can drag them (on computer) to reorder components. So to put an image in a split, simply click and drag the three dots of the image into the correct half of the split component. Or drag a new component into one of the halves.

On mobile you can click the components to add them to the end of the blog, then insert them into the split component using the selectors when tapping the 3 dots of the split component.

+1
Level 28
Apr 5, 2021
Understood, thank you!
+1
Level 22
Apr 5, 2021
To add tags to your blogs, do you need Jetpunk Premium?
+2
Level 57
Apr 5, 2021
No, you don't need premium to attach tags to your blogs.
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Correct
+2
Level 71
Apr 5, 2021
Epic update! Great to see that blogs have become more and more relevant on the website :D
+2
Level 46
Apr 5, 2021
i knew something was up when the buttons for everything were moved. this will take some getting used to. good update!
+2
Level 57
Apr 5, 2021
WOW! OMG THANKS SO MUCH STEWART!!!
+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Do you need to update the format for the "Jetpunk Blog" section?
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Nope the featured blog section has remained unchanged for now. It has the navigation on the right, but that's the only major change to it
+1
Level 22
Apr 5, 2021
In the future, will there be featured blogs?
+1
Level 52
Apr 5, 2021
User blogs can already be featured on the 'Blogs' tab under certain circumstances.
+1
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
There already are. Features are awarded to especially well-designed and written blogs.
+1
Level 22
Apr 5, 2021
I didn't know that.
+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Look in yesterday's front page. You can see he "featured" Gassu's New Zealand blogs.
+9
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
For now, don't expect much more than there is currently. You should make blogs for yourselves or others, not with the purpose of being featured. It's actually an issue with quizzes that I don't currently want replicated in blogs.

That said, if there is a truly exemplary blog which is suitable for featuring (like CringeDragon's one about the difference between Metro area, urban area and city proper), then it may be. Otherwise we may also grey box exceptional blogs like Gassu's received yesterday.

+1
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
I LOVE THIS! I NEVER NOTICED THIS OH MY GOSH HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SAY I LOVE THIS!
+8
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
caps lock intensifies
+1
Level 50
Apr 5, 2021
the story about how caps lock took over the world
+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
the fact that lowercase italics are now taking over...
+1
Level 60
Apr 5, 2021
compulsory change of font style
+2
Level 57
Apr 5, 2021
I like everything about the new update, except now it is harder to view the blog content. If, and only if this is easy, do you mind creating a pop up button where the content itself can fill the whole screen until we hit X?
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
I don't understand what you mean. Why is it harder to view content?
+1
Level 57
Apr 5, 2021
When you edit the blog, the blog content box is much smaller than before, but now I realize I can just use the bottom right corner, so nevermind ;)
+2
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Yeah the content box is no different to the default size. But also it's the size the blog will actually be, which is much better than having it too wide or too big compared to what it will actually look like.

Note that resizing the html component is fine, but it gets reset when saved as the blog is redrawn when saved. Also, HTML components are supposed to be a back up option now, you should use the other 5 components to achieve desired outcomes where possible!

+2
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Thanks for the information Stewart! The changes will take a little bit of time to get used to but other than that, it's great! Also, is there a way you can put blogs in more than one tag because I have a blog series which is about old empires reunited today and I am giving facts about what would happen if they did. E.g. GDP, Religion, Capital City, Population etc and I want to put them in both the History and Geography tags. I Hope this makes sense.
+2
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
That's too complex for now, since we've implemented tags in a simplistic manner to make them fast and accessible on the website. If we allowed multiple tags this would cause lots of complexity, and also at what point do you stop? If you allow 2 tags, then what about 3? What about 4 tags? How about every blog just gets every tag?

You can see the idea gets quickly out of control, and could very easily lead to abuse. For now one tag stays, I'd say yours is more History than Geography personally. But pick whichever you think is most suitable :)

+1
Level 49
Apr 5, 2021
Thanks for the advice.
+1
Level 70
Apr 5, 2021
I've just had a look at this briefly, and I really love the look of this (great job with the update, Stewart!) Hopefully, I will continue with the blog I'm writing once I get a little bit more motivation.
+2
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Thanks Fuse! Good luck on your blog :)
+1
Level 62
Apr 5, 2021
Right now, the live blog series pages look weird. But maybe that's for mobile.
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Hmm yeah only happens on some devices. I found a work around, let me know if it's fixed for you in a few minutes.
+1
Level 30
Apr 5, 2021
Is this about everything "going bold"?
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Nope, it was the title and tag being really tall, like 5x the size they should, because of thumbnails being weird. Should be fixed though. What's this bold issue?
+2
Level 51
Apr 5, 2021
The titles of every blog in the RUB are in bold except for the first one on the list (by @MrBlogger)
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
That's because that person abused html and didn't close the bold tag in their blurb... I'll find a way to force that to be fixed.
+1
Level 68
Apr 5, 2021
Okay this problem should be prevent now
+6
Level 56
Apr 5, 2021
Amazing update!!! This makes blogs so much more accessible and easy to make! Thanks for all the work you put into this site.
+1
Level 60
Apr 6, 2021
This was one of the most needed feature...

Really happy to have it as I hope It'll inspire and motivate me to finish all my incomplete blogs I've been writing for years now

+1
Level 28
Apr 6, 2021
Well, the image caption is broken for me. I can’t type nothing there...
+1
Level 28
Apr 6, 2021
At least in Mobile
+1
Level 68
Apr 6, 2021
Yep seems I've got the same issue on tablet! I'll get it fixed, thanks.

Edit: I think I fixed it, let me know!

+1
Level 28
Apr 6, 2021
Ok. I'll take a look!

Edit: IT WORKED! Thank you a lot!

+1
Level 52
Apr 6, 2021
Awesome! I can finally fix my old blogs and make sure that they are used to help people with questions. If I made a blog in the past, it would just get buried in a couple days, but now people can search for their issues(EX: Inkscape or SVG help, help making quizzes, ect) and find a old blog detailing how to help.
+1
Level 52
Apr 6, 2021
This is a really amazing update, but I was wondering if you could also add scheduling blogs as well?
+1
Level 68
Apr 6, 2021
Thanks. It'll come eventually but first need enough engagement with blogs to justify adding minor details like this.

After all scheduling quizzes came 10 years after quizzes did!

+1
Level 28
Apr 6, 2021
I think unnecessary, because very few quizzes are scheduled. Less people use blogs, so basically the Schedule Blogs Feature won't be used.
+1
Level 62
Apr 6, 2021
The schedule feature is quite useful. There are times that traffic is high and manually releasing it at a specific time is annoying.
+1
Level 49
Apr 6, 2021
One thing, could you make it so you can change the size of the text?
+1
Level 68
Apr 6, 2021
For paragraphs this was purposely not added so that all blogs look and feel distinctly "JetPunk" like. It helps for identity and familiarity. Also stops abuse.

You can change the font size of image captions and headings by clicking the three vertical dots on the left of the component.

+1
Level 56
Apr 6, 2021
I did not even know we had blogs here! Thank you for your hard work Stewart!
+1
Level 49
Apr 6, 2021
Hi Stewart, I would like to point out a bug about the new update. When you gain a subscriber after the update has come out, when you go onto the "Your Blog" section, the count does not update. Please correct me if I am wrong or if it just me because today, I gained 1 more subscriber giving me a total of 10 but when I checked on my Blog Feed the same day, it still said I had 9 Subscribers.
+1
Level 57
Apr 6, 2021
It's because you now have "subscriber settings", so you may have people subscribed to your quizzes but intentionally not blogs.
+1
Level 68
Apr 6, 2021
This, but also your subscribers are unrelated to your blog feed. The Blog Feed is from people you are subscribed to, not people subscribed to you.

But yes, the count on Your Blog and on Your Live Quizzes is now different, and only reflects whether people have subscribed to your blogs, quizzes or both. All previous subscribers were migrated to apply for both.

+1
Level 49
Apr 7, 2021
Oh ok. Thanks for telling me.
+1
Level 52
Apr 6, 2021
I don't know if I found a bug or not, but when you add a heading to your blog with the new feature and try to italicize it it is fine, but when you save your blog it turns the italicization back to normal font, I haven't tried this out yet for bolding, but I think it will have the same issue.
+1
Level 68
Apr 6, 2021
Because Heading's can't have formatting on them. They can be made bold or unbold using the options in the component options (click the three dots on the left). Headings are not allowed strikethrough, italics or anything like that. You only have the option to make it entirely bold or not.

The reason it updates when saving is because the html we use for text and heading components can be manipulated and edited directly, so we get around this by parsing and correcting all the blog when you save it.

+1
Level 70
Apr 6, 2021
Not sure if it is a bug or just me, but I keep having problems inserting hyperlinks (using the chain icon) in text components. (This is on tablet btw). I paste the URL and put in the name to display, then when I press the "Add" button it doesn't add the hyperlink (the button only gets a blue border to say that I've pressed it)
+1
Level 68
Apr 7, 2021
Hmm I'll take a look, I suspect the selection is being lost somehow
+1
Level 53
Apr 7, 2021
I don't know what the other users think, but I feel that the new editor is really(I cannot overstate this enough) REALLY driving up the quality of blogs. Looks like this update has been really successful!
+1
Level 68
Apr 7, 2021
This was exactly the intention of it :)
+1
Level 49
Apr 8, 2021
I love this update! Although I have another suggestion. Would it be possible to insert 2+ images into the same row?
+1
Level 68
Apr 8, 2021
This is already possible!

Drag a split view where you want two images, then drag an image component in each half - you then have two images side by side!

+1
Level 49
Apr 8, 2021
Yeah, but it doesn't work.
+1
Level 49
Apr 8, 2021
Nevermind! I'm just dumb.
+1
Level 49
Apr 13, 2021
lol
+1
Level 49
Apr 10, 2021
Stewart, Can I give a suggestion to add to the new update? Can you make it so we can schedule blogs?
+1
Level 68
Apr 10, 2021
Someone else asked this on the change log, basically it requires having a script that runs hourly, and right now there is so little usage of the quiz scheduling that it's hard to justify adding it to blogs for now. It'll probably happen eventually, but right now there's other priorities
+1
Level 49
Apr 10, 2021
Ok, that's fine.
+1
Level 74
Apr 10, 2021
It's been great to see the instant proliferation of high quality blogs since this update. I'd say it's been a big success. Great job Stewart!
+1
Level 61
Apr 15, 2021
Well I have to admit that I only read a few blogs every now and then, and I never even made an entry ...

But I'm very happy to see that this huge update will keep increasing the global content quality offered on JetPunk.

Another step towards excellence!

Congrats Stewart!