One of the long-standing frustrations with writing on the web - especially for for those of us who occasionally write in situ - is the horror of accidentally hitting the back button, left-arrow key, or swiping left on our track pad. Even worse are "accidental exits" from Drupal's infamous Preview mode, an eerie netherworld where you think, maybe, you might just be safe from purging your browser's form-cache and losing that post... but you're not. To protect us all from ourselves, we've recently deployed a draft-saving utility here at HASTAC.
Making a simple mistake or accidental gesture can be much more than just frustrating. When a writer is in the swing of things, head down, typing away, and the work is suddenly gone, it can cause a loss of momentum, a failure to recall particular wording or phrasing, loss of ideas, and dimming of inspiration. And, it certainly diminishes the will to even bother trying to post again. We've all been there. It's decidedly not-good.
In the case of HASTAC, helping our users have this Not Ever Happen has been one of the most common requests on our feedback and ideas page. Our advice thus far has been limited to "don't compose in the WYSIWYG editor. Pre-write in plain text, then paste it in and style it." But we also acknowledge that, when inspiration strikes, sometimes people just want to write what they're thinking in the moment. And we want that to happen on HASTAC as much as possible, without the risk of failure and frustration.
On the older version of the site, by the time this issue came up, we had couple of roadblocks stopping us from proceeding: 1) we knew we were retiring the Drupal 6 site soon, and once we acknowledged that internally, fixes and upgrades were minimized to save time and budget for the new site effort, and 2) there was no simple and direct way to offer this utility while also giving secure and easy access to the unpublished material for the content authors only. What's the point in saving a draft if it's nigh on impossible to find, or if it's too easy for the wrong people to find? There were ways, of course, but not ways that we could deploy without spending lots of time and effort that we'd hoped to devote to the new site dev.
On the new HASTAC site, which is now nearing a year old, we anticipated this need from the outset and accounted for eventual implementation of a utility to support it. However, with a build the size of HASTAC, and the large scope of our project bumping up against our budget, draft-saving was one of the many important-but-not-urgent items that were lovingly placed in our to-do list. The good news is that we've been rather busy, working all year to clear many of the issues ahead of it. After a year's worth of work on the more critical site improvements, and lots of fine tuning along the way, important but less-critical work ia now getting done and coming online soon. Draft-saving is among the first to go live - it's done now and it's at your disposal. We hope you enjoy it and put it to good use. Read on to learn how.
Using the Save as Draft functionality on HASTAC - Now updated with new features:
This feature update applies to all standard user content types: Blog post, Opportunity or Event, Group, Organization, and Wiki.
- Click the "Post Content" button to begin to compose new HASTAC content, just as you normally would.
- At the bottom of the create-and-edit page that opens you will see a new button called "Save as Draft" has been added to the previously existing options of "Publish" and "Preview."
- To save your work at any time, you may hit the "Save as Draft" button. This will post your work as unpublished content. Doing so will bring you to a saved version of the content you just created. Note:
- The content is not public at this stage. Only you and the HASTAC site admins can see the newly-created draft post.
- You will notice a pink background - this is an visual hint, a clear indication that your saved draft is private and your work is not visible to other users.
- You may then hit the edit button to continue working on your content.
- To update and save any changes, hit the new button marked "Save" which now appears (replacing the "Save as Draft" button).
- Be sure to save before leaving the page or closing your browser.
- If you step away for a time, shut down, or otherwise log out, any already-saved / unpublished drafts can been found on your profile page below Recent Content. We suggest you manually save periodically, as you work. There are auto-saves are not available at this time.
- Your saved drafts are contained in a special block visible only to you. It is located below the Recent Posts area on your profile page. The saved drafts retain the pink background coloration to indicate their draft status.
- We have removed HASTAC's auto-flags for possible spam pasts since the inceptions of a new, more rigorous user approval process. The struck text below is no longer relevant but is being kept for reference and for historical purposes.
If any of your posts are flagged or moderated (held or unpublished) by our anti-spam system (Mollom) or our staff, they will also appear in this area. We will do our best to mark the items as "flagged" as soon as possible. Contact us to discuss the hold / flag and how to release it - often these are false-postives.
- Saved drafts will be kept indefinitely. You may continue editing and saving as described above until you're ready to publish your work for all to see on HASTAC. To do so, just hit the "Publish" button.
If you'd prefer to not see your Saved Drafts & Unpublished Posts block, you may hide it. Do so in your profile edit area under "Personalize blocks > Unpublished User Content." The default setting is "visible."