Questions for JapanSoc Users #1

If you haven’t yet registered for the Japan-related social bookmarking website, JapanSoc, please sign up! This is a new community which is growing quite rapidly thanks to some wonderful support from my fellow “Japan” bloggers.

A few questions for JapanSoc users

Since I’m at the helm, I’d like to get some feedback from current JapanSoc users so I can go about making improvements. Here are some questions to consider, but please feel free to voice your opinions in the comments section.

  1. Was registration smooth?
  2. Is the FAQ okay, or am I missing anything important?
  3. Do you think all the categories hog the sidebar? Any suggestions?
  4. Is the site too slow? (This will be my biggest headache!)
  5. Have you experienced any technical glitches worth reporting?

Get your blog reviewed on LongCountdown

If you blog about Japan, here’s a deal for you. I will write a dedicated review of your blog here on if you do the following:

NOTE: This offer has now finished. 

  1. Register at JapanSoc.
  2. Add the JapanSoc FeedBurner FeedFlare to your blog feed.
  3. Link to JapanSoc (from either your blogroll or a blog post).
  4. Subscribe to this blog’s rss feed.
  5. Let me know you’ve done 1-4 in the comments.
If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

30 thoughts on “Questions for JapanSoc Users #1

  1. A quick review:

    “Published Stories” should really be “Top Stories” or whatever digg calls their front page.

    You need a cool word for voting – we have diggs, sphinns, stumbles, and… JSocks?

    I’d move latest comments to above the categories, and drop a few of them too – could you display just active categories, for whatever definition of active you wish to use?

    PS: You have two check boxes on your comment form here, one “Subscribe to comments via email” and another “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”. I’ve checked both just to see what happens!

    1. Thanks Ken. Those are good suggestions which I’ll implement soon. I don’t think I’ll be able to manage the “active” categories idea, but I’ll certainly move them below the comments. I’ve also fixed the double subscribe problem with some help from these tips. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Here are my thoughts:

    I think the FAQ is a good overview but I don’t see anything about the following:
    How to bury a story (even though you have a bury button)
    A statement on offensive content – is there a policy?
    I would suggest that you include a contact form in the FAQ so that people don’t have to make the extra click (unless that was the plan).

    The size/position of the categories don’t bother me but maybe one for tips/hacks or living in Japan type items. Also, I was thinking about arts & crafts (origami, amigurumi, ikebana, etc.) as I am not sure if that would go under culture or??? This is a niche that that doesn’t seem to well covered but I hope to start exploring it on my blog soon.

    The site can be a bit sluggish to load (not to add to your headaches) but it’s not too bad.

    Following up in Ken’s point I like “Soc It!”

    Blog Review – I took care of items 1, 3 & 4 before you even asked. I have now completed #2 – not as easy as you might think for a new blogger but I learned something new – thanks for the push! Can you contact me about the review? I have some neat stuff that I am planning and would love to share it with you so you could include it in the review (if that’s possible)

    Thanks for working on this….

    1. Thanks Shane. I’ll make those additions to the FAQ soon, and I’ll see if it’s possible to put a contact form in there, too. I really don’t want to add any more categories (I think there are too many already), and an arts and crafts section by itself might be a bit too thin. For now at least, Japan Culture would be the best place for those kind of articles.

      I’d also like to change the wording for “vote”, but what should it be? I’d need to replace: vote, voted and votes. So using your suggestion, that would be: Soc It!, Socked, and Socks? Hmm… J-Soc It!, J-Socked, and J-Socks? Should we use “J”? Should we use a hyphen? Should we say “socked” or “socced” or “soced”? Hmm.. tricky! 😕

      Regarding the review, email me a blurb which I can quote and write around.

  3. Once you get past Soc It! the others sound funny. It only seems to work in the present tense even with the hyphenated J. Let me ponder this a while longer…it is a tricky one!

    I’ll work on the email – thanks again for pulling this and all the J-bloggers together.

  4. 1. No problems with registration
    2. The FAQ covered everything for me.
    3. Sidebar seems ok to me. You could try using a category menu under the header similar to digg or a javascript toggle to show/hide the category list in the sidebar.
    4. There have been a couple of times where I’ve needed to wait patiently for the site to load, but nothing too bad.
    5. No technical issues.

    I like “Soc It!”. Maybe “Soc’d” and “Socs” would work.
    Or “J-Soc It!”, “J-Soc’d” and “J-Socs”, I prefer the first 3 though.

    1. Thanks Chris, I’ve taken Ken’s suggestion and moved the categories down below the comments for now, which is a step in the right direction. I also think your “Soc It! Soc’d and Socs” suggestion is the best one so far for renaming the voting. I’ll start making the changes soon.

    1. Yep, just hit 30 registered users. I know that’s still tiny, but there were only about 10 a week ago, so the ball is rolling. You’ve done 1-5 now, so you’re on my review list, Thomas. 🙂

    1. Good point. I was about to say that Pligg doesn’t offer it, but I see Blogging Zoom also has hard links, so there must be a way. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Edit: Done! It was easier than I thought (just a simple option in Admin). Come and get your backlinks bloggers! 🙂

  5. Someone mentioned “offensive” content?
    That is a very slippery slope Nick! I think we can ALL agree that C.Porn or the ilk is not acceptable.

    But points of views and opinions from all and any sides about most anything should be allowed to sink or swim on their own merit.

    I have done 1-4 and would like a Blog review down the road!

    Props for all the hard work your doin’!!!

    1. I’m going to agree with you on this one and leave out any mention of offensive content from the FAQ. If I have to make a terms and conditions page I will, but for now, I’ll delete anything blatantly offensive if other users haven’t buried it before I see it. Incidentally, for an article to be buried, it needs to have three times as many “buries” as votes/socs.

  6. A couple of questions.

    1. How can I search to see if an article has already been listed? I tried searching for but it didn’t work.

    2. Profile Pictures and “Posted By” are linked to javascript:/// which doesn’t do anything for me. I thought it would link to the person’s profile. I’m using the latest FireFox.

    1. 1. Quite honestly, it probably isn’t possible to see if an article has already been listed if the submitter changed the article’s title. The quickest way to check, is to try submitting the post yourself. You can always cancel the submission if you don’t want to continue.

      2. That javascript:/// is confusing, eh? It took me a while to figure out the point of it. If you click a profile picture or “posted by” link, a gray “View Profile” link will fade in at the end of the “posted by” line. It’s so subtle that it’s easy not to notice.

  7. I noticed that if I don’t search for my domain but I submit an article already submitted it’ll say ‘WHAT WHAT! Duplicate content etc etc!’ (that’s not a direct quote) so that’s cool. I had to click around to find alink to a profile. I notice that there are two links pointing to the same page. Not sure if this is on purpose or accdient. All tabs clicked on the profile page end upon /something/login/user instead of /something/user
    Link 1: Link 2:

    Completed steps
    1. Register at JapanSoc.
    2. Add the JapanSoc FeedBurner FeedFlare to your blog feed.
    3. Link to JapanSoc (from either your blogroll or a blog post).
    Complete here and here
    4. Subscribe to this blog’s rss feed.
    Complete (iGoogle homepage)
    5. Let me know you’ve done 1-4 in the comments.
    Complete when I click “Add Comment”

    1. Cheers Smoother, you’re now on my review list along with Ken, Shane, Thomas and Chris B. As for the double url issue, I’ve posted about it on the Pligg forums to see if there’s a fix.

  8. I was thinking along the lines with someone above – eventually there’s going to be some spam or not related stuff submitted, and it already looks like the site is growing (which is great!). Something like a ‘negative vote’ might be good, almost how YouTube does their comments now. You could set it in your profile so that something below a certain threshold just doesn’t show…

    1. I know what you mean, and I agree it would be very effective. However, I don’t really want to hack the core Pligg files too much, otherwise it will be a nightmare upgrading. Currently, spam is kept off JapanSoc by Akismet, and if there are 3 times as many “buries” as “socs” a submission will be deleted. I can make this formula stricter if spam becomes a problem. My last “anti-spam” measure is to manually delete users, which shouldn’t be too often if the formula is changed to “1 bury deletes a submission”. I’ll play it by ear for now.

  9. Hey there – completed the steps above. Thanks for the offer.

    My only worry about JapanSoc is that it will go the way that so many social sites (Digg, etc.) / Japan-related sites do and end up with a group of adolescent “contributers” who have never been to nor intend to go to Japan, and whose interests are…well…adolescent, for lack of a better word. You know what I mean? The offensive content decision you settled on seems fine for now, though. I just remember someone saying that they hoped that the site didn’t become a grammar tips / kanji memorization techniques / how-to _(mundane thing here)_ in Japan guide in a comment thread earlier. I agree. There are other, weirder places it could go, too. I suppose the best way to fight this would be to encourage aggressive burial of junk stuff. And all I can really ask for is my own vote, right? 🙂

    Is it wrong that I may bury much more than I soc for a while? Ha ha – not to be a killjoy or anything. I just have an idealistic view for what your site could be and really hope it gets there. It’s got promise. Ha ha.

    Anyway, regarding the above points, sounds like you’ve got things covered (excluding a way to help avoid duplicate content). I’ll chime in again on the next go-round. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Deas. I’ve put your name on my review list, and I’ll make that the last one for now.

      There isn’t actually a duplicate content issue at all. If a url has already been submitted, it can’t be submitted again. The issue was that it’s hard to tell if a particular url has already been submitted unless you actually try to submit it yourself, in which case you’ll get a “Duplicate Content” message if it already exists on JapanSoc.

      I know what you’re saying about “junk” stuff, but some people love YouTube clips of Japanese game shows, others are mad about Gundam, and some just want to learn the language. JapanSoc will hopefully offer something to please everyone, but all we can do is vote for what we like and hope others agree with us!

    2. @Deas,

      Do you mean that you don’t think there should be any grammar/kanji/Japan-tips? Or are you just saying there should be a balance?

      I think categorisation may be the hardest part of running this type of site. The niches are nearly endless (and everyone has there own particular interests) but put too many categories and the site will probably suffer.

  10. A couple of further suggestions:

    The bamboo font “Japan Soc” is a bit cliched.

    In the Latest Comments section, it would be nice to see from which stories and/or which users the comments are coming from – at the moment the URL is just a number, so I can’t even see from the tooltip where it goes.

    1. You don’t like that font? You’ll have to take it up with my wife because she chose it! 😉

      I agree about the Latest Comments’ lack of tool tip / readable url. I’ll look into it. Thanks again.

      UPDATE: I was able to hack it myself and add the story title as a tooltip for each comment.

  11. I’d like clearer info on how to get visitors to my blog to “Soc” my articles. I can’t find info on how to do this. How do I add a text link or button? A link on how to do this should be on EVERY page of JapanSoc if you want the site to take off.

    Also when viewing the list of articles/posts, clicking on the post title should take the user to the JapanSoc page about the article not the original post. Instead make it take you to the same page that the “Read More” link takes the user.

    Sometimes I’m curious on the comments my posts get but I keep getting sent to my post, not the JapanSoc page. (I know that sounds confusing).

    This would also keep users on JapanSoc longer.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Brad. I’ve made some changes to the FAQ (which is already linked to from every page) to try and make things clearer:

      Question 8 on the FAQ, “How can I get my readers to submit my articles?”, has the code for Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, Typepad, and I’ve just added Javascript, too. There’s now a link to the video tutorial for WordPress I made, too. I’ve also added a link to this article which should helper Blogger users like yourself. Beyond that, I don’t know what more I can do.

      I hear what you’re saying about clicking the title and going to the JapanSoc page instead of the actual blog post, but I have to disagree. I think linking the title to the JapanSoc story page is an extra step between the homepage and reading the submitted articles. Why frustrate readers by making them go through that extra step? If they want to read comments or discuss the article they can click the Discuss/Comment link (just like on That’s just my opinion and I’d be interested in hearing what other users think.

      1. I agree about the link. I think it is better for users if it goes directly to the article. I click the comments link to see the comments or read more of the description.

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