Meta derbylife2-welcome

Published on August 19th, 2013 | by Em Dash

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It’s A Whole New Site

Two years ago, when we launched Derbylife, I was pretty sure nothing could have made me more proud. I had helped birth a place for derby people to gather and share their stories—their successes and failures, loves and pet peeves, triumphs and heartbreaks. And you responded! I had a chance to meet (er, “meet”) so many of you through your writing, comments, photos, and interactions on Facebook and Twitter.

But despite my love for my baby, I realized there was room for improvement. The site was clunky to use and there were so many features I wanted that it just didn’t have. I’ve been making a wishlist since we launched, and it seemed like something we could do one day way in the future, when we had time and money. I kept diligently adding to my list while realizing it was probably going to be a long while before I could do anything about it.

But a conversation I had with the peerless Lex Talionis and the fantastic Fox Sake somehow turned into a completely new site concept overnight. We’ve all been working like crazy to make this shared vision a reality, and I hope you’ll agree that the results are pretty impressive!

There are so many exciting new features, but some of the ones I like the most (other than the spiffy redesign) are the image galleries, the interface for categories and subcategories, the searchability and tagging, the author boxes, and many many more things! Photographers and photo lovers, you’ll probably notice that the images on the site are displayed in a much more visually pleasing way.

We have also designed the site from the ground up to be friendly to read on mobile devices. We’ve noticed that more and more of you are browsing the site and reading articles from your phones and tablets, and that experience should now be much more pleasant for you. It should also be easier for you to share the articles you love through whatever platform you like–there are buttons at the bottom of every article for you to post things to Facebook, to Twitter or even to your Tumblr with minimal effort.

Commenting has evolved a little too. We’re still using the Disqus system that we switched to on the old site… but now you can use a site log-in too. You’ll need that log-in later in the year to vote on our photo and writing contests, and you can merge it with your Disqus account. If you happen to be an author, you’ll already have an account–you can reset your password when you try and log in by supplying the email address you previously registered with.

That said, this is not the finished product. It’s Derbylife 2.0, but we expect that a Derbylife 2.1 (and 2.2…and 2.3…) will follow fairly quickly. For the more technically inclined among you, we have moved the site from a Drupal backend to a WordPress one, and the options are truly staggering. It’s going to take us (me in particular!) a while to get up to speed on all the features, so if anything is wonky, please forgive me, and then let me know. We’ve created Bugs@derbylife.com so you can tell us if you come across a broken link, a page that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, a missing image, or an image without proper photographer credit. We’ll work to fix them as fast as possible while still providing new content! [Note: give us a while on the images, they haven’t all moved over from the old site as seamlessly as we hoped!] And let us know what you like, or want to see more. We love feedback.

If you’re as psyched as we are, please share this with your friends and enemies, or consider sharing your story with us. We’re always looking for new writers, and right now we’re looking for a few good editors and an Associate Photo Editor. More details to come, but if that has your attention, email me at emdash@derbylife.com to get the ball rolling. In case you want to offer additional support, we’ve also added a button on the front page which will let readers support us with a contribution while we continue developing the site.

We hope you like the new site, and can’t wait to keep making it better.

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Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/

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About the Author

Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/



  • http://www.tammygrrrl.com/ Tammy Perlmutter

    The site looks fantastic! Thanks for your commitment and creativity!! I’m starting Derby Lite next month, and the articles on here have been SO good, they’ve helped alleviate fear and get me excited about the possibilities. Keep up the GREAT work.

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