Blog Post

Getting started on the new

Welcome to HASTAC's new web site. It's been in the works for some time, and it hasn't reached the finish line yet.  We know it needs more work to fully realize the participatory vision of HASTAC. That's where YOU come in.

The site is ready for user testing, and rather than doing it behind closed doors, we're opening up the process to ALL of our users so that you can start enjoying the new site while also helping us make it even better.  As you start browsing and creating content on the site, we'd love your feedback on how we can improve  We hope you will post your suggestions in this public forum or using our private contact form.

While we have retained all of the functions, content, and accounts from our old site, we have made some significant changes that we hope translate into an even more robust and energetic HASTAC community. We will be adding new features and functions (our revamped News and Opportunities hub is coming soon!), and also hope to create tutorials on how to use the key features. Stay tuned to my blog to learn more as we roll out these new features. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for how you can use the new right now.

Your profile.

As with other social web sites, your online identity is the building block for engagement with others. Register or login if you already have an account, and you will see a new menu called My HASTAC at the top-right of the screen.

    [My HASTAC menu]
  • My profile
    Once you have logged in, a set of links will appear on your profile page. Select "Edit" to upload an image, indicate your location, write a short bio to introduce yourself. Associate yourself with projects and institutions that are in the HASTAC network. Configure your communication settings. Users can also post messages on each other's walls, which is displayed on the profile.
  • My bookmarks
    As you browse the site, click "Bookmark this" on content that interests you, and you will find links collected here on your profile page. Your bookmarks will be visible to other site users to facilitate networking around similar interests.
  • My events
    On every event page, you can click "Attend this event" to add it to your personal calendar. All registered users are encouraged to submit events to the HASTAC calendar.
  • Add new blog and Add forum
    Every registered user can publish blog entries and start forum topics on the site.  We invite any contributions related to HASTAC's work, broadly interpreted. Longtime HASTAC bloggers will be happy to learn that your user profiles and blogs now have URLs that include your profile name, instead of user number.
  • Groups
    Get more involved with a project and network with other project members by joining the associated group and you will receive periodic updates and permission to post to that project's page on the site. There's a link to "Join this Project" on each project's details page. Some projects have open membership; others are moderated. Click My groups to see projects you have joined.


I think the new site looks great!


I concur!! It is great!!


Thanks so much, Ruby, for all you have done to help Mark Olson and Mandy Dailey, the masterminds behind our new site.  It's fabulous.  And of course I should have guessed that our very first comment would be left by our friend Steve Burnett, who is the person beyond our new motto, "Learning the Future Together."  When our Acknowledgments page is finished, we'll thank Steve permanently for this nice contribution and for his early comment.  Everyone, let us know what you think!   We need your help to make this a great site for all of us to use.  HASTAC 3.0


the new site looks great!!!! I'm a novice user and can't wait to dig in. 


The site looks great!  Congratulations on a wonderful redesign.  I think you've done a very nice job of managing complexity within a very usable design; at first glance, this feels like a site that has layers and depths that can be explored, but that are not overwhelming.  I'm looking forward to seeing how you continue to refine this space.


You all have done a fantastic job with the new site - it looks great!   I know how difficult it must have been to corral the multiple layers of content into a well organized environment: I look forward to delving into it more.


The new site is as difficult, and perhaps more difficult, to negotiate than the old one.

For instance, if I want to find a post that Cathy Davidson made ten days or so ago...  how do I go about doing that?  Individual blogs seem to have no archive, and all I can see is that last five or six posts she's written.

Meanwhile, this comment box is far more complicated than it need to be.  Why on earth am I given options such as choosing a font, a calculator, something with an omega sign, and goodness knows what?

It could all be much simpler and more user-friendly.



There's a sidebar, ungrammatically title "Other Post By This Blogger," under which there is just one post.  Is that the entirety of what you've written?  If not, how do I find the rest?


Though I can choose my font, and to justify this comment or add a background color, and goodness knows what else, there's no option to be informed by email when this comment receives replies.  The basic functionality is missing, while a whole lot more crud has been added.


Thank you for the feedback, Jon. I share many of of your frustrations with the site. We went live knowing that there were many more issues to resolve, but with the desire to make the leap away from our old web site which was getting quite stale. This is why I framed this launch as a "public beta."

As for users' blog archives, I think you'll find we've fixed the link on user profiles, and you can find Cathy's blog directly at In a future iteration, her writing will be made even more prominent and easy to find.

Thanks for your patience and for detailing your suggestions. It really is useful, even if we can't act on all of them immediately.


...many thanks for fixing the link to individual blogs from profiles (and for making the wording clearer).  It's a great improvement!

Oh, and I also see there's an option to be notified when new comments are posted.  Did I somehow miss that before, or has that been added now?  Marvellous in any case.

Many thanks for the swift response.

And now, for the heck of it, I'm going to toggle the background color of this comment... ;)



So the background color option doesn't work.  As I suggested above, I really don't care if it doesn't.  But perhaps best not to crowd the comment window with options that aren't in fact available?

But again, many thanks for your quick response to my earlier comments.



Hi Ruby, I was trying to find the link twitter-fed on the hastac homepage about participatory chinatown.  When I clicked on it, I got to the "You are not authorized to access this page" notice and not the actual post on the site.  


Also, my problem with finding my own backlogged/archived blog posts is the same as HASTAC member JBMurray has recorded above.  Hey!  I'm glad I'm not the only person out there looking for my old posts.   (When we look at the numbers, we see that people read these blog posts all year long, not just when they are posted, and often get to them via google searches.)


Thanks so much for addressing both of these problems.   Sorry to be sending a comment when I am "off the grid" taking this day's writing retreat from HASTAC.  I'm still doing scholarship, though, and very much rely on our hastac archive, as do other hastac members.


Thanks for your attention.




Cathy off the grid in Bodega Bay


Hi, Cathy,

Thanks for pointing out the problem you had accessing the blog referenced in the Twitter feed. I believe you got the "Access Denied" message because you were not logged in. Once you have logged into the site, you will be directed to the blog without incident. Obviously, though, the "Access Denied" message is less than helpful. We will update the text to direct everyone to login to view site content. Thanks for the catch!






I'm not sure whether this is content that should require a login to view. (Although it definitely would require login to join the project or contribute to it, etc.)

Cathy is this ithe page you were trying to access? I don't see why that would be private - I'll have a look at it.


The blog entry was posted to a Group (Particpatory Chinatown) but also needed to be marked as "Public" for non-group members to see it. I've made it public and featured it on the front page to boot.


Hi, Ruby, I read your comment after responding to Mandy's and even better to make it public without log-in.  Which raises the issue of "culture":  will people remember to make their posts public?  Ah, yet another philosophical issue as well as an architectural one!   Thanks so much.   Best, Cathy


Hi, Mandy, Yes, you are right.  I must have tried when I wasn't logged in.  The link on the twitter feed works fine now.  And that's great to change the message from "access denied" to something like "you must be logged in to access this page."   I wish anyone could read it without logging in but, even still, with the new message, people will see they have the option. 


Thanks so much for your rapid response and for this public way of showing how a community develops a website together.  Of course, I could have written privately but the whole point of doing this beta version and inviting public comments is because we are all educating one another about all of the different kinds of decisions that go into creating architecture for web-based communication. A website is not just text but a system of decisions, interlinked architectures, and community practice materialized on screen.   We learn from comments and from solutions.   And "we" is everyone, not just HASTAC staff.


Thanks so much to you and to the HASTAC community for posting the problems they have so we can learn, so they can learn, so that we all do.



Best, Cathy


Hi, Ruby, Is anyone but me reporting problems with the "Share" function with Facebook ?  What about uploading images from Flickr?  I've not had success with either.  I might just be stuck in my old blogging ways, or this may be a problem, or it may be another one of those places where we need more interface help for our participants.  In any case, I haven't gotten it figured out yet so others might be in the same boat.  Best, Cathy


Hi, Ruby, Ken reports that he just tried to link to my most recent post, on scholarly publishing, on Facebook, and no matter waht method he tried ("share" or copying in the url), he kept getting the previous post ("Disappointed in the Internet") instead of "Scholarly Publishing. . . "   Thanks for looking into this.  Best, Cathy


Hi, Ruby,  I know we have the spam filters set to the max as we try to diagnose why, suddenly, spam is getting through no matter what Drupal solution we use---but I've been trying to leave comments on recent posts and they vanish into the stratosphere.   I'm leaving this here just to help in the diagnostic process.   Thanks, Cathy


The new site is great, but it'd be very useful to be able to link to comments (Blog or forum) directly, as well as have a tech support forum to discuss site issues. 

It's especially onerous to see an interesting comment header (Like Jentery's recent "Name of University") and then click on it only to find you have to dig through 100 comments and sub-comments to find it.  It's worth it (That is the strength of the HASTAC site: excellent content) but it's rather cumbersome.


Hi Elijah.  Your request is spot on, and it's even more frustrating when you know that there are anchors for each comment in the code, but they're just not exposed for users.  One thing I have done is change the default view to 150 comments per page, which means that the links to recent comments on our front page will now go directly to the correct comment (until there are more then 150 and it rolls over to the next page).  In the future you WILL be able to see and copy a link for each comment or forum reply on the site. 

Thanks for the feedback!