Welcome to TownNews.com's customer community! Connect with other TownNews.com customers and with us to suggest features, share best practices and ask questions.

Though TownNews.com representatives often participate in discussions, this is not a customer service site. For immediate help, call 800-293-9576 or submit a support request via our online ticketing system.

Alignment for Related Assets needs to be fixed

Nathan Bechtold 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Dustin B. 1 month ago 2

When I add a Child Asset to an article, but do not actually drop the Child Asset into the body of the article, I don't like what it does to the alignment of my page: it actually ADDS a "left rail" and shifts the entire text of the article to the right. But the only thing in the "left rail" is an image of that asset I added... so it looks really odd.

This is only an issue on desktop, not on mobile.

It creates an additional problem when I add an Article as a Child Asset to another Article. Now, since I'm in the Parent Article, it's not too much trouble to simply place each Child Article into the body of the Parent Article. But it has now affected the alignment in all of those Child Articles -- because it added the Parent Asset to the "left rail" for each of those Child Articles! So now I have to go back into each of the Child Articles and drop the new Parent into the body of those articles, to fix that alignment.

This is terribly cumbersome and awfully time-consuming, but it's necessary if I don't want most of my articles to be misaligned on desktop view.

The easy fix is to create a default that adds all Related Assets into a horizontal "block" at the end of each article.

Under review

New BLOX UI: We like it -- with one caveat :)

Kyle Whitfield 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 1 month ago 4

Refreshed blox UI really taking off here. One thing bugging us a bit.

-- Searchable assets aren't color-coded anymore

It's just tough to scan thru and easily distinguish, esp pdf vs. img

See attached screenshot. Any suggestions or consideration to reverting back or adjusting?


Infinity Scroll Limintation

Kevin M. Cox 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 4

After a lot of back and forth with support we finally figured out why Infinity Scroll was not working on our main section pages:

"Blocks with infinity scroll enabled won't work with a dynamic setting (section tags set to 'Matches current URL or descendant'). There will need to be a hook set (setting a section, keyword, flag, etc.)."

This limitation does not appear to be documented anywhere at the present time.

This means Infinity Scroll will not work at all on the default Town News blocks that get assigned to every top level URL and all sub-sections (through inheritance) in the system. I assume most customers are using these across most areas of their sites.

Having to work around this will greatly increase the number of blocks needed for a site if they want to use Infinity Scroll on every section front. It could easily scale into the hundreds of blocks needed for a site. Then every time a style change is desired, such as showing the comment count in the summary block, it'll require editing each of those hundreds of blocks instead of the standard dynamic one.

Every single sub-section URL will need it's own block created instead of being able to inherit the blocks from the parent URL.

With this limitation Infinity Scroll is basically dead in the water for large scale deployment.

I really hope Town News is working to fix this but I wanted to post it here for wider awareness because before the answer came back the template developers I was told that there were other sites having the same trouble I was.


Feature request - infinite story scroll

doug nelson 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 6

I would like to request an infinite scroll feature. When you get to the bottom of one story the next story published in chronological order shows up on the same webpage. This goes on for ever. 

Under review

Apple News Format

Kevin M. Cox 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 2 months ago 8

Apple is finally opening up ANF to everyone. We've been pushing an RSS feed to Apple News for a while now, but publishing in ANF will over a more robust experience to readers.

Information on integrating the format here: Use a CMS with News Publisher

Any thoughts on getting BLOX to push out in ANF? There are already WordPress and Drupal plugins available.

Under review

Users bypassing paywall with timing trick

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patrick O'Lone (Director of Software Development) 2 months ago 12

It seems an enterprising non-subscriber has found a little glitch to access articles behind the paywall and his instructions are now making the rounds on social media.

Here are the instructions:

"I'm not too sure if I should be posting this. However, as someone who does PC/IT work and repair, I figure I could let some of y'all in on a way to read most of, if not all the article's without paying. (On Android using Chrome) Basically, I go to the article I want to read that is not free. Then I select "Request Desktop Site" in the browser settings. (the three dots on the top right)  Once that loads, (it puts a minor delay on the article loading) all of the article is displayed in its entirety for just a moment or two. A few seconds later the pop up to sign up for a subscription block's it all out. Now it's that small delay, prior to the subscription pop up, that we are after. In that delay, I do a screen shot of the article. (You might have to refresh the page and try again if you weren't quick enough the first time) After I successfully capture it, I then just read it via my picture gallery. If it's longer than my initial screen grab, 

I try a second time and scroll really quick to encompass the remainder of the article with another screen shot. If it's too long for those methods, I do a complete screen record. (video recording of your entire screen) then I go back through the recording and look frame by frame. Hope this helps some of y'all. You're welcome."

We've tested it out and have been able to confirm it works. While it isn't easy enough that I think we'll start losing subscribers over it, it also isn't that complicated to pull off.

I'm actually seeing it pretty consistently even on desktop browsers right now. It seems that the delay before the paywall message appears is much longer than it used to be. It looks like Town News might need to adjust the timing of how things are rendered so the full article isn't displayed until after the user has been evaluated as having an active subscription.

Have any of y'all come across readers doing this or something like it to bypass the paywall?


Batch edit utility - change more than 25 at a time

Sara Hardison 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 19
We have a lot of section tags with hundreds of assets assigned that we are moving around and do change from time to time. The batch edit tool is great, but the limit to only changing 25 at a time makes it quite difficult when we are dealing with the number of assets we are. Would be great to have option to change number of assets you want to change at a time, so 25, 50, 100..etc.

There are several different requests in here:

  1. A "mass" batch edit. We are working on this currently... it should be available in Q2 of this year. It allows you to create a search and then apply batch edit to that entire search results, even if it affects thousands of assets. There will be an extra confirmation process where you must type in the number of assets so that you are sure that you know how many assets you are affecting. The task on large amounts of assets happens as a background task (so it can take as long as it needs) and then sends you an email when you're done. So, for Nick's needs, this would definitely work).
  2. The ability to see more assets on a search results page in the BLOX admin. The solution for this will likely come as part of our new backend UI, which will likely end up being some kind of infinity scroll.

Lastly, there is the request for a batch edit function to change headlines and captions. To be honest, we are worried about allowing content to be changed in a batch editing process. Firstly, it's considered bad SEO to have similar titles on multiple pages in your site. Secondly, having all headlines (such as on a vertical gallery) is kind of annoying and repetitive to the reader.

On the other hand, I of course realize that if you don't add a title, we'll use the filename instead. And typing 200 unique, accurate titles is a very time-consuming task to say the least! Also, the only thing worse than a vertical gallery with repeated identical headlines is a vertical gallery with filenames as headlines instead! And, we currently provide no mechanism for them to be hidden as an option.

However, maybe we can fix some of those underlying problems instead. Basically, we're thinking that batch editing headlines and captions is a symptom of a bigger problem rather than a problem in and of itself.

What about something like this:

- A collection asset has the option of not showing photos and captions, even if they exist.

- In places where we have to show some kind of title (such as search results) maybe we show the parent's title instead?


- A way for the photo itself to know whether or not it has a unique headline, and if it does, display it. If not, display the parent (unless on a collection page). I would have to think more on how it can know it is a unique title... 

    Under review

    Form submissions into Editorial app as article assets

    David Marsters 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Jesus Sanchez 2 months ago 7
    We use the forms platform for a lot of things, and in many cases, the submissions we get ultimately have to get put into the form of article assets into the Editorial application. It would be great if there were a way for this to happen automatically. An example would be a candidate questionnaire form for elections - ultimately the text is going to get used as an article asset, and right now we have to manually paste it in and format it.

    I recognize that not all forms are soliciting information that we would want in our Editorial assets, even if they came over with "Do Not Publish" checked, so perhaps this would be a setting on the form that you could tell it do export to Editorial on a case-by-case basis.

    Thanks very much.
    We do this for some things now - like Letters to the Editor can be submitted through the User Dashboard, and those will automatically become assets.

    But, for fielded data that becomes more difficult because we don't always know the format that the resulting asset should have.

    For some simple submissions though, this could be done in the User Dashboard.
    Under review

    Subscriptions - "Upselling" without expiring current service?

    Ian McPhee 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 2 months ago 2

    Hey ya'll,

    We recently launched our Subscriptions (we call it Membership) and there are five different price levels, including the free trial. Yesterday we got a call from someone who signed up for the lowest paid tier for one year, about a month ago. They now want to up their membership to the top level - something hopefully everyone will want to do at some point! Unfortunately, they ran into issues, already having an "active" subscription. My temporary solution was to manually expire their service on my end and then have them sign up for the new one, but this is obviously not ideal. 

    I almost posted this as a "Feature Request," but figured it has to already exist, I must just be missing something. 

    Any ideas?


    Purchasing a different package is indeed possible when you have an active service. A Customer service ticket was resolved on the issue. There was apparently some miscommunication with the subscriber.


    Subscription reporting improvements - cancelled subscriptions and new subscribers

    Jay Allred 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ian McPhee 2 months ago 1

    Try as we might, we cannot find a report / reports that help us keep tabs on subscriptions that do not renew (a.k.a. lost customers). Here's what we suggest be either changed or added.

    1. Create a report that let's us track non-renewed subscriptions by customer name. For example, if Amy Jones' monthly or annual subscription is scheduled to renew, but does not - allow a way for us to get a list of those folks. We want to be able to contact them and find out why, win them back.

    2. Create a report that allows us to track first-time subscribers by name. Specifically, we are interested in the people that made the initial decision to purchase a membership. Currently, there appears to be no simple way to track this critical data.


    Webinar | Digital advertising 101: Optimizing your local and programmatic ad inventories

    Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 1

    Webinar recording now available.

    Digital advertising 101: Optimizing your local and programmatic ad inventories

    Navigating the ever-changing landscape of digital advertising can be a challenge. At our February customer webinar, Patty Bristol, Ad Ops program manager at TownNews, shared best practices to help you better optimize your overall digital advertising inventory. Using real-life examples and known challenges, Patty showed how using local and programmatic together can create the optimal digital advertising revenue stream.  

    Topics included:

    • An overview of digital advertising, including commonly used terms
    • Generating revenue from local and programmatic ad sales
    • Introducing eCPM—the key metric for revenue growth
    • Tips for packaging and pricing digital ad inventory
    • . . . and much more!

    Ready to get started? Watch it now.


    Ban commenting not user

    Nic Stevens 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago 7
    I would love to be able to ban someone from commenting without locking them out of their web site account. We have a column called It's Your Call and routinely we have people that push the limits and we have to determine if they are a subscriber BEFORE we can ban them because if they are a subscriber and we ban them, they can no longer get onto the web site. It's quite horrid to handle because you have to remember who you warned and once you banned them, you have to decide if you give them part of their subscription price back. We are on Facebook commenting for most things but this piece because we like the engagement it brings to the web site. Just sometimes don't like the comments. It's becoming weekly we have to make this call anymore. I also feel this would go along way to keep more and more pages with TownNews commenting instead of moving to Facebook commenting.


    Batch upload

    Jason Schaefer 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Maunette Loeks 3 months ago 24
    It could be quite useful for the batch upload feature to be included in the story asset (child assets).

    This would enable the copy desk to upload/attach photos to a story at one time instead of batch uploading separately then searching for files.

    This feature was released with our Tuesday update to the CMS.


    Online Merchandise Store

    Charlie Clark 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 5

    Hello everyone,

    We are wanting to set up an online store, selling merchandise such as t-shirts etc for a host of promotional items we run. Currently, we have a https://PRINTful.com account set up this, but it looks like there is no easy way to integrate the API with Blox CMS? 

    Does anyone have any other platform they may be using or work around without building out another site with a Shopify account or WordPress? Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 3.22.29 PM.png


    Report comment for "guest" users?

    Robert Armstrong 3 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

    It seems that right now, the only way to report comments is if the user is logged in. Is there a way to activate the report button for all non-logged in users? I understand that this may lend itself to abuse, so having an option to have a higher threshold for "guest reports" or even the ability to remove the report button on a specific comment could help curb that.