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Feature Request: Do not show (or mark) redirected URLs in List of URLs in Design -> Blocks

Robert Dundon 2 days ago in BLOX CMS 0

It gets a little confusing at times 😀

Under review

Notifier: Push the message out when story goes live

Say a reporter is completing his/her story. They've added the photos, gallery and any other assets. Next they move over to "Notifier" and create a tweet and FB message and hit "Save and Send." By default, since the story isn't "live" on the website yet, it goes into "draft" mode. Next, they'll promote the story for the editor to read. He/she reads it and promotes it to the web. Shouldn't the tweet and FB post go live at that time? 


piano.io or similar

Kevin M. Cox 2 days ago in BLOX CMS 0

We've got piano.io pitching our publisher:

a SaaS platform helping media companies convert anonymous web and APP visitors into registered subscribers, combat ad blockers, as well as customize newsletters and user site experience according to their content affinities. Some of our clients include: Chicago Sun-Times, Hearst, Bloomberg, Gatehouse Media, The Economist, and Business Insider.

Anybody using this or something similar with Town News? 


Allow users to register while creating a new subscription

Rob Weir 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 4 days ago 13

Hi there -- our newsroom has been frustrated for awhile with the logic in the subscription module that requires users to register for the newspaper's website before buying a subscription. It's creating a bit of friction when e.g. we want to give out a complimentary subscription to an advertiser or other user, and is also a difficult workflow for some of our users if they don't get a confirmation email for registration. 

I understand the logic of registration being different from subscription status; and I also understand the internal logic of someone needing a registration before they buy a subscription. However, I'm wondering if the subscription page could be streamlined, either to allow people to register while buying a subscription or to create a user registration record as part of a new subscription (that is, prompt for a username when purchasing a subscription). 

Thoughts on that? 


Option to show number of times an article is viewed

Linda 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kim Mason BGDN 1 week ago 3

Dear Town News, currently we have the option of showing how many comments an article receives, would it be possible to show how many times an article has been viewed? We have the block that shows most popular, might be a nice option to show how many people read a story. Many thanks


Facebook comment plugin

Dave Von 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Jack Donaldson 2 weeks ago 13

In the event that anybody else runs into this problem, we identified an issue a few weeks ago where the Facebook comment plugin on our website, GazetteXtra, developed a bug that prevents users of iOS mobile devices from posting comments.

I filed a ticket with Facebook development and was told they have no plans to fix this bug. There is at least one other Town News site, stltoday.com, who identified the same issue as us.

We're going to look at other options for commenting on articles.



Notifier Feature Request Ideas

Allie Peters 3 weeks ago • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 weeks ago 2

1. Is there a way to trigger repeat notifications on the same asset? This is a fairly big deal, as breaking news stories are constantly updated as more details are available. The same story could be sent out 3 or 4 times.

2. Is there a way to define custom Facebook preview text? Currently, it seems Notifier grabs the story lede. Could, perhaps, the ‘Summary’ area on an article asset to define custom preview text? Of course, if no Summary text exists, it could default back to the story lede.

3. I’ve attached two images – one shows a Twitter post via Zapier/Buffer; one shows a Twitter post via Blox Notifier. You’ll notice some repetition with the lead text, as it’s also in the story link preview. Ideally, we would like tweets could be structured more like the Buffer version that is a photo post. That means: Structured as a photo post (<Raw Enclosure @URL> element) Text (<Title> <Raw Link>)


    Hi Allie!

    I'll go through each item step by step:

    1. Currently, you can re-notify a message by just posting an additional manual message. You can do this ahead of time (one post today, one post tomorrow) or when needed for breaking news. The automatic trigger will not re-trigger (which is good, because you wouldn't want that) - but if you create a new message for breaking news, it will re-post it.

    2. To define a custom Facebook message, you can type the message in the notifier message area. I believe that it will also use the Summary text as well.

    However, you may be talking about the summary that is in the news "card" area on Facebook, which is scraped from the page itself. See my docs here:


    3. What you're describing here is the "Twitter card" layout, which is specified on the page that is scraped by Twitter. For the example you have there, Butter is overriding the card type through their API.

    Usually, this is something we have by default as part of Flex templates. We have built-in logic that will specify a large photo in most circumstances. For some reason, this isn't showing on pantagraph. If you could submit a CRM ticket to see if there is something custom on this site or why the Twitter card logic isn't displaying for you.

    Let me know if you have more questions!


    Feature Request: Require active subscription to post comments

    Kevin M. Cox 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ian McPhee 2 weeks ago 11

    We're seeing a large increase in comment spam lately so I'd like to formally make the feature request for something that I know I talked to support about in the past. We require email confirmation when new accounts are created but obviously the spammers have automated their way around that.

    I'd like an option to require an active subscription to post comments on the site. This offers numerous benefits to all Town News customers:

    • Provides another perk or subscriber benefit to paying readers.

    • Potential to increase Day Pass sales for those who aren't subscribers but really want to share their opinion or comment.

    • Reduces comment spam to virtually zero.

    I could see it being useful to allow this setting to be toggled per URL/section so that for example you could allow anyone to comment on obituaries but not news stories.

    1. All of the items listed above.

    2. Every day.

    3. Every reader.

    Please let me know if anyone has thoughts or questions!




    Preventing Spam / SEO Abuse User Accounts?

    Ian McPhee 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 3

    Hey ya'll,

    Yesterday, I noticed that a person named xxxx Hairdryer made a User account. Their email address was "xxxx@yeah.net" and their bio, while hilarious: 

    "What is going to be open today is a hair dryer, a hair dryer that all the girls love, a hair dryer that initiates innovative revolution, a hair dryer of four hundred pounds, and that’s right – it’s the xxxxx Supersonic hair dryer."

    ("xxxx" instead of the company name, as to not SEO them here too)

    ...confirmed to me that this was another account made to boost some SEO off of our User system. Usually these accounts have something listed in the "Home page" field, which as I understand it, is essentially like us having a link to their site from our site (a coveted opportunity, if I'm not mistaken). I think you can see the ones that are doing well for themselves if you parameter your Analytics to /user pages. Sometimes these are easy to spot at a glance when looking at your Users, as many are pretty foreign sounding names, or email accounts like @robot-mail.com but sometimes are names like Dallas Moore, and you don't realize until you open their bio and see whatever bogus link / info they've got. Calendar spammers typically leave their bios blank and instead, try to submit events for medical conferences in Dubai or Spain with a link in the website field.

    The reason I'm worried about these (they are easy / entertaining enough to ban manually, but that's not ideal ) is that they are auto-opting into my Email Reach as well, effectively messing up my Open / Bounce rates. My intern is "bot-hunting" this stuff right now, but I could see there being more problems in the future.

    I'm wondering how these accounts are getting past the email verification step? Also, kind of related - it sucks that the email verification goes to so many folks' spam folder. I probably tell three people to check it a week.

    What does everyone else do to combat this stuff?

    Under review

    Why is "NOT" so hard for searches

    Mike Stickler 2 months ago • updated by David Dierker 2 weeks ago 4

    You know on any given day that I spend using blox (or nep for that matter) I run into at lease one instance where my life would be easier if I could specify "Not" for a search option.
    For example show me everything that's not wire... show me everything that's not sports... show me everything except breaking or developing. 

    I understand your UI design goal is to make it so easy a trained monkey can do it but how hard would it be to modify check boxes... 
    Empty (not selected)
    Click - Checked (selected)

    Click - Red X (search excludes this item)

    Under review

    Customization options needed for automatic emails

    Kevin M. Cox 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated by David Dierker 2 weeks ago 6

    I've had a feature request open about this since last May (Ticket 666975) but wanted to get some public visibility on it as well. The addition of BLOX Notifier actually makes the situation worse and I have some good example images to share.

    There are now two different ways to automatically send emails upon specific conditions in BLOX and both of them lack the customization ability needed to maintain a newspaper's brand and achieve specific goals.

    First are examples of what our current breaking news emails look like, but they have to be sent manually through Email Reach's "Single Run." They maintain the style of all our other email newsletters and meet branding goals at the expense of being a manual process that gets forgotten at times.

    Automatic Alerts for BLOX Email Reach


    This option has been around for a couple years and allows filtering that most papers would need, however there is no ability to customize how these emails look. You are stuck with the examples below.

    BLOX Notifier


    I was hopeful the newly released BLOX Notifier would bring some improvements but unfortunately it is even worse. Emails produced by it are completely void of branding and most other useful information.


    A few quick things:

    1. The BLOX Notifier alerts should look like the BLOX Email Reach alerts. This is something we're working to fix.

    2. We can make changes to the asset page "email" mode design in a generic way, so let me know what type of thing you'd like to see there.

    3. We are working on a new way to be able to send better branded emails of all kinds... email alerts and reset password, etc. We are building a "Site Branding" panel where you can set your colors and your logo, etc. That way we will be able to use your logo and colors in a standard way on system-built items such as this.


    Access problem with mobile interface

    Jesus Sanchez 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 2

    Hello. I set up group access rules that gives users the ability to only create and modify editorial assets within a certain section. Upon testing this, I discovered that the access restrictions do not apply if the user switches to the mobile interface. That means the user could modify as well delete any article no matter what section. Is there a way to make the group access rules apply to the mobile interface? I love the mobile interface -- very clean and easy to use -- and was going to recommend it to my writers. But I'm not so sure I want to give them across the board access.

    Under review

    Adding a date to social share images to indicate age of article

    Beth OMalley 3 weeks ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 2 weeks ago 2

    The Guardian is adding a year on their social share images, which is a genius idea.

    We've seen several articles that are years old get lots of traffic through social shares that don't indicate that the article is old. Generally, it's not an issue (one that comes up every summer is a guy who died about 4 years ago from a snake bite), but one that resurfaced was about a girl who reported an attempted kidnapping, and people were sharing it like it was new. To the point the PD had to post to Facebook about the issue (they were getting calls). 

    Here's why they're doing it: https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/guardian-fake-news-bid-timestamps-social-sharing/

    Here's how they're doing it (github): https://github.com/guardian/frontend/pull/21306

    I'm going to talk to internal developers about this, but it would be something I'd hope Town News could look at implementing as well. 

    Under review

    Blox Commenting system

    Thomas Martinez 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 2 weeks ago 6

    I know this has been asked in a similar post a couple of years ago, but ....

    We just switched to Blox commenting from Facebook. A lot of commenters immediately complained they didn't have the ability to edit their own comments. Most other major commenting platforms have the ability for users to edit their own comments.

    Do you all think this would a useful change for TownNews to make?