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XHTML Compliance

Although for the most part you won't notice any effects, the biggest change is that the site should now be XHTML compliant. This means the syntax of the HTML for both the web pages the site generates and the stories you upload is checked to a more rigorous standard. The benefits of this are that there should no longer be any run-away bold/italics tags at the end of stories, better browser compatibility, and it was also necessary to do this for some of the other changes to work properly.

It does, however, mean that every story on the site has been re-parsed by the new upload code and it is possible that there have been unexpected side effects. Please check your stories and see if the formatting still looks okay.

The following changes have been made to stories to support this stricter syntax which will have a minor effect on formatting:
  • Missing closing tags are inserted into posted HTML.
  • All images are given an alternate text of 'Illustration' if you don't provide one.
  • border, hspace and vspace attributes are no longer supported on images. Spacing is now set automatically based on the alignment used.
  • Hyperlinks are not permitted to cross horizontal rules.

Improved Mobile Support

Thanks to all those who completed the mobile device survey a few months ago. Based on the feedback obtained, there are now a number of improvements when the site is viewed on a mobile device:

  • Many hyperlinks now contain an in-page target position in handheld mode to reduce the amount of scrolling required when arriving on a new page.
  • A new much smaller homepage in handheld mode with links to the individual sections of the normal homepage.
  • Viewport scaling information is included for browsers that support it (iPhone & Opera Mobile) to make pages open at the screen width rather than as a much wider page that need horizontal scrolling.
  • Long lines of punctuation characters that look like a divider will be replaced with horizontal rule tags. In the future we will make this more visually appealing - its just a simple line for now.
  • Improved the layout of author profile page in handheld mode to fit a narrow screen.

New features for challenges
  • Challenges can now be placed into any category that you can put stories in; you are no longer restricted to just the top level categories.
  • The list of challenges now reloads immediately when filtered if javascript is enabled.
  • Bug fix: Editing a challenge did not force the removal of the old version from user's Temporary Internet Files.

Improved Navigation
  • There is now a link at the end of each story to return to the last page with a list of stories on it that you viewed. You will also be scrolled straight to the next story in the list from the one you selected.
  • If you have tracked stories that are unread, you will see a link to the next unread tracked story link at end of story.
  • Community menu items no longer open in a new window (needed for xhtml compliance)
  • Links to privacy policy added to home page (which always existed but was burried on the old site) and information menu and policy updated to reflect current reality.
  • When selecting a Random fic, you can now choose unreviewed stories or short stories.
  • Added an 'All fandoms' page that lists all categories that represent a unique fandom.

Read in more formats

You can now download stories in the EPUB e-book format, supported by most hardware e-book readers (except Kindle). There is also reader software available for most desktop operating systems and mobile phones.

You can also now view stories in a simplified HTML format suitable for printing or reading offiline.

Other changes

There have also been some miscellaneous fixes and improvements:

  • Bug fix: The link "Read Reviews" didn't include the chapter number in the link so if you then went to add review afterwards it added the review for chapter 1, not the final chapter.
  • Simplified the forgotten password processes for using real name and for using using email address into a single form.
  • Y-axis of all line graphs now has a minimum value of zero.
  • Number of recommendations made and your limit listed in profile and recommendations limit explained in faq.
  • You can now change the maximum rating properly with javacsript disabled.
  • Viewing a chapter higher than your maximum rating now has show/skip buttons rather than a big space that you have to scroll down past when javascript is on. The old method still works when there is no script available.

Changes to the Site Rules

As well as technical changes to the code, we've also updated a few of the site rules:
  • We have relaxed our ban on using real people in stories. However, there are still restrictions - see the new Rule 2 for details.
  • We've reworded rule 6 to explicitly mention that very extreme FR-21 fics may be removed if the moderators feel they are unsuitable. Note: this is not a change in policy, just a clarification, and it's only happened twice that I can remember.
  • We've also made it explicit that stories have to be written in English.
  • We've tightened Rule 4 of the challenges rules to reduce the number of boilerplate challenges. In additional to not allowing challenges that merely consist of a crossover or a requested pairing, we are now also banning challenges that only ask for a specific Halloween Costume, real parent or reincarnation.

Anything I should do?
  • If you are an author, check your stories are still formatted correctly, especially if you used lots of HTML formating.
  • If you have written any challenges, please edit them and move them into the correct category.
Posted 10 Jan 10 • (Moderator)jrabbit • Comments
1. Click
2. Read
3. Review
Posted 13 Nov 09 • (Moderator)jrabbit
If you have a phone, PDA, games console, webtv, ebook reader or some other device that uses a low screen resolution to browse the web, can you complete a quick survey using the device at:

This will help test how well the site works on such devices. The are 5 pages and it should consume less than 100K of bandwidth - much less if you already have some of the TtH files cached on your device.
Posted 3 Oct 09 • (Moderator)jrabbit • Comments
Well for the August Fic a Day challenge we had an absolutely fantastic turn out this year. We had 27 people participate, with a great daily turn out. And in an impressive tie for first we had seven - yep seven! - winners! In no particular order:

KoohiiCafe, Ramenth, DennSedai, Snag, Beriaearwen, SilkenSky, and Manchester

Congratulations you guys! 31 days of fic is most wonderful. All the stories for the challenge can be found in the Twisted Shorts livejournal community

September's challenge: To Boldly Go...

September... the Final Frontier. These are the stories of the website Twisting the Hellmouth. Your thirty day mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new characters and new civilizations; to boldly go where no author has gone before.

Your challenge this month is a simple one - write something in a fandom that has not already appeared on the site. Bonus points for finding something that *isn't* obscure - a mainstream fandom that we've somehow collectively overlooked.

This challenge also applies to those responding to FFA's. When you request a pairing this month, choose a pairing from a fandom that is new to the site.

Please list all challenges as a response to the official site challenge here, and remember to state clearly what it is you are crossing over with (at the end if you want it to be a surprise) as the moderators are going to have to sort these into new categories.
Posted 1 Sep 09 • (Moderator)Demona
We have made changes both to the main categories on the site and to the site code today. Code changes:
  • The site now supports category aliases. These are links from one category to another, so, for example, "Television -> True Blood" will take you to "Literature -> Southern Vampire Mysteries".
  • The drop-down lists used to choose a category when adding/editing a story have been rewritten to use ajax, resulting in smaller faster loading pages and shorter lists to scroll through to find the category you want.
  • Subcategories with stories newer than 14 days now have a "new" icon to help those who have been away from the site for a few days to easily find updated items.
  • The top 15 stories in long categories are now displayed in a single column in handheld mode.
Category changes:
  • "Comics -> Marvel" is now a top level category "Marvel Universe".
  • "Comics -> DC" is now a top level category "DC Universe".
  • "X-Men" has been moved inside "Marvel Universe".
  • Movies/Cartoons/TV programs based on comic book characters now link to the appropriate comics category using the new aliases feature.
  • Movies/Cartoons/TV programs based on games now link to the appropriate games category using the new aliases feature.
  • "Miscellaneous -> Comic Strips" has been moved into "Comics -> Comic Strips".
  • "West Wing" and "Roswell" have been moved inside "Television", as they no longer attract many new stories or readers.
  • "Literature -> Twilight" has been made into a top level category.

If you have written a story that is set in a DC/Marvel/Comics world, please check if it's in the right place. If you think we need a new sub-category for a particular comic, please post to this forum's thread. Also, if you've posted Marvel/X-Men crossovers under multiple crossovers, you may now be able to move them into the Marvel Universe category.
Posted 27 Aug 09 • (Moderator)jrabbit
I have accidentally run a database restore script I intended to run on the test site against the live site instead, which has resulted in any changes made to the site between approx 8:20am and 4:30pm GMT (4:20am - 12:30pm EST) this morning being undone, and the whole site being reverted back to how it was at 8:20am.

This means that:
  • New stories/chapters/challenges/reviews added during that time will have to be re-uploaded
  • Any changes to your tracked stories and profile settings will have reverted, so you may need to track stories again or mark chapters as read.
  • The accounts for users who registered during this time no longer exist - please register again.
  • The hit counts on your stories will be missing 8.5 hours of hits.
  • If you have edited or deleted anything during this period, you will need to do so again.
  • You may have received notification emails about new stories/chapters/reviews that no longer exist.

Please let me know of any further issues you spot here

I've now made the changes I was trying to make to the test site when things went wrong. Please take a look a for a preview of the new features and category changes that will soon go live.
Posted 23 Aug 09 • (Moderator)jrabbit • Comments
Once again it's almost that time.

The annual August Fic-A-Day Challenge over at Twisted Shorts is about to start.

The Rules:

1. Write one fic per day during August. Stories should be BtVS/Angel Crossovers of any rating with any fandom, minimum 300 words.
2. Entries must be posted in the Twisted Shorts Livejournal to be counted.
3. Post more than one a day if you want, but only one fic per 24 hours counts toward the challenge. Backdating fics are not allowed for getting a fic to count within a 24 hour period.
4. There's no 'miss a day and you're out'. If you can't post one day that doesn't mean you're out of the running. Keep posting when you get a chance.
5. Winners will be decided by who has posted the most during the month. I.E. If Author A posts 28 fics on 28 days, Author B posts 31 fics on 31 days, and Author C posts 25 fics on 25 days, then Author B wins.
6. Regular posting rules apply: proper header, fic behind cut, adult rated fic comm-locked, disclaimer, etc.
7. Have fun :)

Prizes will go to first, second and third. This year we will be offering fic. The following moderators have offered up one piece of fiction as prizes: Ava, Malana, FaithUnbreakable, KaylaShay, and Demona.

The winning author gets first choice out of the pool of mod-authors for their story, then second, then third. At the halfway point, the front runners will be notified so they can get into contact with the mods they are interested in to discuss what the potential prize will be.
Posted 16 Jul 09 • (Moderator)Demona • Comments
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