Site Updates

Whee, isn’t the site nice and shiny now? Notable changes:

  • General redesign to make things less squashed.
  • Added new pages where you can find links to other pieces I’ve written, as well as talks and interviews I’ve done.
  • Ditched the Google ads because they were dumb and not particularly profitable.
  • Added a subscribe page, so you can get my posts via RSS or email.
  • (Temporarily) removed the tagline because I am sort of rethinking how I use the word “gay”. Or maybe I’ll just put it back how it was, I dunno.

Aside from a few more design tweaks and general tidying up, that’s it. What do you think? My roommate says it looks less friendly than it used to but I told him he’s not the boss of me.

24 Comments on “Site Updates”

  1. M says:

    Of course there are all sorts of good arguments for why you might use SSA or something else instead of Gay. However, from the standpoint of someone who is hurting and alone and afraid and hasn’t run into those arguments yet, the more readily understood, more conventionally significant word “gay” posted right at the top is a very good way to get someone to keep reading and find the compassionate understanding they are so desperate for, and which you, Steve, dish out in torrents. I vote to keep the word at the top, and argue the subtlties in posts. It’s how I found your blog.

  2. Rose says:

    S’alright. Personally, I don’t like that the column of written words is wider on the screen. Maybe a narrower column is easier to read or something. It’s also rather white, which right now I find blinding but could bring a focus to certain elements. My suggestions, take them or leave them, are to make your header a considerably bolder and also make the link titles a little more bold.

  3. Tammy says:

    Change is always fun and refreshing! I do agree with Rose though, her suggestions were excellent!

  4. David says:

    My only comment is that I preferred the “read more” option on the landing page. That way you could see several posts, get a few teaser lines, and then click through to the full post. The new way is a little too much text in my opinion.

  5. Loretta S. says:

    Your tagline is the reason I started reading your blog (after being directed here from Jennifer Fulweiler’s one.) It gave me a very clear idea of what point of view was being offered here – pithy, funny, perfect. Bring it back!

  6. Vanessa says:

    I like the new set up a lot. Thank you for all your posts! I look forward to reading more throughout 2013.

  7. Rivka says:

    I like the former way better. This way just loses something.

  8. Rivka says:

    “squashed” was warmer and nicer. Now it’s inhuman.

  9. Vincent. P. says:

    It will take awhile to get used to it. As Rose commented above, it’s too white for me. At first, I thought it didn’t load properly on my browser that I refresh it a few times.. I definitely agree with Rose’s comment about changing the header. =D

  10. Christine says:

    It’s funny, I was actually going to say I liked that you got rid of the “read more” buttons. I like to be able to read posts without having to do the extra click. I do think there is an awful lot of white space.

  11. JenF says:

    I liked the original tagline as well- it definitely drew me in when I first read it.

  12. ARM says:

    I’m sure the new features are great, but I agree with some above that visually it’s somehow less human and warm. One way or another, it’s less visually attractive, anyway. One concrete thing: could the picture go up in the header with the blog title. Or failing that, could it at least get un-boxed? I think that would help.

  13. Rivka says:

    It is actually harder to read now.

  14. Sarah says:

    I like your tagline. I remember once I linked one of your posts to my facebook and one of my ultra-conservative friends saw it and at first I think she was turned off by the tagline which came up in the preview (she didn’t bother reading the post first). But it opened the door to a conversation of, “Yes, gay people do exist in Catholic– even very traditional Catholic– communities. I think a pretty big number of people (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) don’t realize it. I certainly didn’t until I somehow managed to land in this awesome corner of the web.

  15. Gabriel says:

    The tagline was exactly what drew my interest in the first place. I probably wouldn’t have been hooked by a reference to SSA, or some other polite Catholic circumlocution for homosexuality; perhaps more importantly, I know none of my friends would either, except the ones who believe Catholic teaching already. So if hook and/or potential outreach to non-Christians is something you’re after, I’d definitely say keep the tagline.

    As for the new look, I admit I liked the narrower layout better; but as others above, I’m sure I’ll get used to the new one. (Just don’t go all Zuckerberg on us and change it seven times a year for no reason 😉 .)

  16. Dave Mc says:

    It is a little white and I agree that the original tagline draws in the person who is searching. People searching may not be familiar with the acronym SSA.
    That being said, you’re right your roommate is not the boss of of you, and neither are we! The important thing is content, and you and your readers who comment do an insurmountable job!

  17. K.D. says:

    I’m lost and scared.

  18. A little too clean and shiny. The good suggestions have already been written, so I won’t waste space repeating them. As far as the old tagline goes … I don’t know; there are arguments both for and against. I think, though, that if your apostolate is to the SSA-afflicted, you’ll pull more people in with “gay” than with anything else; you could set up a separate page where you discuss your reasons for doing so.

  19. Mark from PA says:

    Have mixed feelings on the new format. Mr. Layne, your crack about the SSA-afflicted is odd. Do you consider gay people to be suffering from an affliction? I have never heard the term SSA where I live. This term isn’t in use here. In fact I never heard this expression before I was on the internet It seems to me that it is a term used by people that dislike gay people and also dislike the term gay. It is an odd term also because I think that most people do find some people of the same sex to be attractive. So in my mind “same sex attraction” is something that most people experience in some way in varying degrees.

  20. Sarah says:

    Hm… I’m no big fan of the term “SSA,” but I would not say that “most” people have same-sex attraction, at least not in the way ‘attraction’ is meant here, i.e., sexually. I can acknowledge that another woman is attractive beautiful (There are many women who I think are beautiful) but it doesn’t mean I am attracted TO her. I have no desire to have sex with her, which is what sexual attraction means.

    There are other ways of attracting people… There are women who I like to be around because their personalities and friendship attracts me. But that’s not the same as sexual attraction, either.

    I also use the term SSA sometimes (though probably ‘gay’ more often) but it’s not because I think SSA/homosexuality/gayness is shameful and needs a euphemism. It’s because of what I read on Steve’s “About” page where he said he prefers that his homosexuality doesn’t define him as a person. It’s something he HAS, not something he IS. That makes sense to me. Though I still think having the term “gay” in the tagline is useful for the purposes of this blog, for reasons mentioned above.

    Basically, Mark from PA, I think you’re taking this all a little too personally.

    1. Rivka says:

      Maybe we should use the term SSSA: Same Sex Sexually Attracted

  21. Gavin says:

    Hi, Steve:

    I think it’s kind of a tough call. I am not keen on “SSA”, even though I know what it is trying to convey: that people are not defined by their orientation and it tries to avoid locking oneself into an identity. But it ends up being a label of its own kind, it has a kind of euphemistic odor to it, and it’s yet another acronym to boot. In some ways it seems like a conservative mirror image of the acronym LGBTwhatever used in progressive circles. At least it has fewer letters in it!

    “Gay” has the virtue of simplicity: three letters, one syllable; and it’s a real word. Including it in the tagline does bring about a whole set of identity-political connotations, but then so does any other term one may wish to use. In any case, I tend to agree with some of the other commenters that the old tagline (and layout) are somehow warmer, welcoming, and non-threatening.

  22. Heide says:

    Hi Steve,

    I love using your site as a resource for my Catholic and non-Catholic friends alike who struggle with the church’s teaching on homosexuality. When I first describe your site to them, I use your tagline. It’s provocative in a good way. It gets people interested, especially since I’m 23 and an assistant campus minister, so my crowd is young and thoughtful.

    Overall, your new layout seems cleaner but not as comfortable. It’s like sitting in a dentist waiting room. … for some, that might be what they generally like but for others it’s a little bit of a turn-off though (to take the metaphor a little deeper) we all know it’s good for us to be here. 🙂


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