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Posted on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 9 a.m.

An tutorial: Learn how to use our site

By Tony Dearing


Chris Blackstone

Sun, Dec 6, 2009 : 6:44 a.m.

Is there a way to add hyperlinks in comments?

Tony Dearing

Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 5:07 p.m.

Kerry, we appreciate the feedback. We're working on having a place on the site where this tutorial is easy to find, and where we also offer answers to a variety of questions people may have about how to use the site. We hope to launch that in the next few weeks. When you vote on a story, you're saying that you like this story, and that other people might want to read it, too. On the home page, and on each topic page, there is a "Popular'' tab, and if people click on that tab, they get a list of the stories that have the most votes. We've also gotten some feedback from people who think the gray type is hard to read and who have asked us to use black type. The gray type is the standard font that comes with the blogging software we're using. It could be changed, and we're in the process of looking at what it would take to make that change, and where that work might fit in with other improvements we're currently working on.

Kerry Novick

Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 12:08 p.m.

Please put the tutorial on the home page - it is buried in the 'about us' section. And what is the vote thing about? Older readers would also very much appreciate not having gray text -- much too hard to read and that will turn us off trying to get comfortable with the endeavor. Thanks.

Cindy Heflin

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 8:29 a.m.

Also NMSaline, I wanted to let you know that we plan to add some features in the future that will make it easier to link to information in the "Start a Conversation" and commenting boxes. These features will also make it easier for people to add photos and videos to their posts. We will also be adding fields to our profile pages so that users can add contact information and biographical and background information about themselves. Thank you for your interest.

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 10:38 a.m.

NMSaline, you can make a link in your comment by using an HREF code. This site has instructions on how to do that.


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 10:11 a.m.

I would like to know how to include a URL in my post but not have it appear on the post itself. I see that others have done this but do not see how I can do it (that is, no "tools" appear that would enable linking text in a post to an email address, web URL, etc.) I hope that someone at the site can address this. One poster in a story I am following stated that he would like to have people respond to his post so that he could contact them, and I would like to do so, but don't want my email to appear on the page.

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Jul 30, 2009 : 1:26 p.m.

FYI, Tony... still not fixed. Is it really that onerous to change one value in the database?


Tue, Jul 28, 2009 : 9:19 p.m.

I clicked on the tutorial but it didn't come up. Have you looked at the New York Times info on-line. It is well organized with headlines and subjects.

Skyler Willett

Mon, Jul 27, 2009 : 1:53 p.m.

I like the overall direction of this new site, though I'm not entirely pleased with how things are laid out. All the larger text on the site blends together and I'm not keen on how articles are listed out on the mainpage... perhaps a blurb of the article text under the titles? Hopefully we'll be seeing some design enhancements in the coming weeks and months.

Susan Montgomery

Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 5:20 p.m.

This site is not intuitive at all. I can go to or and know where things are, find lots of options to quickly scan through to see if I'm interested. With if I click on news I see ONE article in the whole screen, with 3/4 of the screen being headers, etc. and I have to scan one by one through articles I'm not interested in to see if I see something I want to read further... I then look for the comics for my kid, which I now realize aren't going to start up until Monday, but one long line of Sudoku.. scan down... horoscope... scan more... header from Gott column... crossword puzzle... really poorly laid out. How about buttons on the left (Caroline, Dr. Gott, Dear Abby, Horoscope, etc.) for each type of column we could link to? This is analogous to a one column newspaper that is just one thing after another, with no layout whatsoever vs.a layout that helps orient the viewer... You're making it hard to find what one is looking for. All those consultants, all those promises about how wonderful this was going to be and I have to look through a tutorial to figure out how it works? You can do better...

Tony Dearing

Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 12:34 p.m.

EMUtalk, thanks. We appreciate the feedback. And Some guy, no doubt, having "none'' be the only other option if you don't live in an Ann Arbor neighborhood has really rubbed people the wrong way. We need to change that, and we will.


Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 12:13 p.m.

Just a little tip from me to you: if you have a web site that requires a tutorial to understand how to use it, then you may have some usability problems. I don't think the people who are used to paper and don't know about these Internets are going to watch carefully on the YouTubes.

Some Guy in 734

Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 10:36 a.m.

Tony--I can't speak for anyone else, but what stings me is the apparent tone deafness of the "None" neighborhood tag. It would be marginally better to me if the tag were "other" or "not specified". Surprisingly enough, neighborhoods do exist in places that have zip codes higher than 48109. It's this variety of Allenrumseycentrism that sent me east of 23 after three and a half decades in Burns Park, Stone School, and my native Eberwhite neighborhoods.

Mary Ann Chick Whiteside (mcwflint)

Sun, Jul 26, 2009 : 12:06 a.m.

Are the stories posted before this launch permanently gone?

Tony Dearing

Sat, Jul 25, 2009 : 12:23 p.m.

Mark and Diane, from the start, we've been very honest in saying that we're a new organization starting small, and that we would not be able to offer much coverage to communities like Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter or Brighton. Our goal is to grow quickly and expand our reach. In the meantime, we are offering some coverage of Ypsilanti. For instance, we had a sports reporter at the Sliders' game yesterday, and we're covering the Sumer Beer Festival today. Ypsilanti is fortunate to have the Ypsilanti Citizen and the Courier to provide the level of good, local coverage that we can't right now, but we will expand our coverage of Ypsilanti as soon as we are able to, and we look forward to that.


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 10:07 p.m.

hello??? Did you forget that the Ann Arbor area includes the surrounding area? Ypsilanti is my home and that is what I would like to be able to learn about under neighborhood. Sure we aren't the big AA, but we can read too. Good luck on the new format, hope you get things working well. I sure hate the idea of no newspaper, but I have to adapt. Will we have any columnists left to read? I don't want to just read ametuer posts/blogs or whatever you want to call them. I want real professional journalism.

Mark H

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 9:29 p.m.

your site starts out being so darn exclusionary, it already exemplifies the worst trait of a lovely town, namely the tendency of some Ann Arborites to assume that all things interesting are in Ann Arbor. You want people to sign up and you tell people who are signing up to identify their neigborhood, yet in so doing the only neighborhoods you permit to be designated are ones in Ann Arbor! I can't even type in "Ypsilanti" as some "other" neighborhood -- instead, your drop down menu permits only one of a specific set of AA neighborhoods, or "none," to be selected. The narrow choices permitted by your software reflects the narrowmindness of, and categorizes my neigbhorood/city/community, along with countless others, as equal to "none", making most of the people in the county equal to nothing that need take notice of. THANKS FOR THAT SLAP IN THE FACE! Well done! Your message couldn't be made much clearer! Will soon be decorated with "I'd Rather be in Ann Arbor" e-stickers? What other put downs of your fine city's neighbors in the county do you plan to undertake? Or do you simply plan a quiet exclusionary route for this -- seeking want non-AA readers/site visitors in order to drive up ad revenue, while planning to devote no resources to the non-AA communities once covered by the AA NEWS? Which is it? Either way, your initial choices diminishes the chances of thousands of people ever looking at your site.


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 3:52 p.m.

I can't find a link to e-mail stuff, this seems to be the closest place to voice a "complaint"- I logged in earlier today (Friday), found a few articles that were interesting- to show my wife. But when I got home, the additional articles buried, and were quite hard to find, since the format is a streaming blog format. I don't have time to continuously monitor this website for news, and based on day one, it's pretty apparent that I'm going to miss a number of articles. Some of the new "news" seems to be more stream of basic info vs. real news that was posted earlier in the day. While the concept of news postings in time order is reasonable, the fact that minor blogish stuff quickly buries real news isn't a good way to manage news and how it's presented. I hope the format you have is flexible, else this will be a pretty short experiment for me....

Irwin Martin

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 2:25 p.m.

comments seem to vanish within hours. Links that I was reading this morning are no longer there.

Chrysta Cherrie

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 11:53 a.m.

Diane, do you own headphones? Depending on the type of terminal you're on at the library, you can plug the headphones in either in the front or back of the computer or in the monitor. I'd be happy to walk you through it via email (


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 11:40 a.m.

The tutorial might be good, but since I have to read at the library, with no sound, it is sort of useless.

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 11:31 a.m.

mnrod: See, I guess that's what gets me. Maybe I'm stuck on a moribund business model, but don't consultants generally get paid? I keep thinking, OK, you're getting my nine-buck-a-month, *you* sort out the problems! Next thing I know, you're going to start telling me that you expect readers to write the articles for you, for free. Oh, wait... uh...


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 8:39 a.m.

Overall, I'm really excited about this site. Yes, the layout and some design choices are rough around the edges, but I'm sure it will get better, that's what constructive criticism is for. What's wonderful about this setup is that, as EricSC mentioned, this is a much more personal format, more similar to other blogs than newspaper sites. That's a step in the right direction: Newspapers are not equal to websites! The staff is already clearly receptive to feedback and making improvements. If you don't like something and have a suggestion, great, but comments like from wendyo are unfriendly and unhelpful. You need to provide EXAMPLES, not say "I'm a so and so, and I think blah blah blah." Point us to some better online formats, gives some specifics about font sizes, etc. But please people lets try to not turn this new "paper" into a place for trolling and venting. p.s. jdh2550 the URLs a different, take another look


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 8:10 a.m.

Got it!!!! Click on you name in the sign-on at the upper right, and you can setup/edit your profile!! Fun!!!!


Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 7:53 a.m.

How do I set up my profile that is mentioned in the tutorial?

Eric S Chernenkoff

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 7:44 a.m.

Frankly, I like it. It's slick, easy to read and easy to navigate around and a bold step in breaking away from the "traditional" newspaper style websites. This is more personal, more "blog" like that internet users are becoming more and more familiar with and used to.

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 12:52 a.m.

OK, so... Option #4, then.


Thu, Jul 23, 2009 : 11:58 p.m.

The site has just started. Improvements to the site will I think be done day by day based on comments received... So keep finding mistakes which will be used to improve the site minute by minute Hooray!

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Jul 23, 2009 : 11:39 p.m.

The three things that pop out to me most... a.) Could you not afford a decent microphone? Even a $15 Radio Shack job, placed closer to the subject than to the camera, would have made a world of difference. b.) I trust I shall not have to watch anamorphic video squeezed into a 4:3 frame. Please, shoot it and cut it in the format you intend for distribution. c.) All the scripts in the world can be divided into two groups. There are scripts that were written for the ear. And then there are scripts that use phrases like "Top news will flow in a news feed on the home page of in time sequence order." Any script in the latter group shall not fit in the former. This is all basic, basic stuff, folks. I could accept it from some fella puttering about in his spare bedroom, but holey shinoley, this is what you DO now. (Or am I missing your angle entirely? Are you jockeying for "most improved" recognition down the line?)


Thu, Jul 23, 2009 : 10:18 p.m.

Interesting new site. I am eager to see if it works and hope it will. We need a great news presentation in the area. This brings up... Am I missing information about the surrounding areas like Chelsea, Dexter, Saline, etc. or are there plans for coverage in future postings.


Thu, Jul 23, 2009 : 9:37 p.m.

Hmmm - that's "interesting" the comments on this page are separate from the comments on the page you see before you click on the video link. Yet the URL's are the same. I'm not quite ready to condemn as much wendyo - but I do agree with her that the organization of the site is somewhat underwhelming. I'll stop reading pretty quickly if I have to scroll past stories of grease fires to get to other stuff that I find more interesting. By giving each story equal priority the "good stuff" gets pushed down really quickly. In a printed format don't the editors take care to lay out stories such that "important" ones stand out more than "less important" ones? How is going to achieve that?


Thu, Jul 23, 2009 : 8:56 p.m.

The newsfeed on the right is COMPLETELY useless. You need headlines as subheads or something. This reads like a horrible geek forum. If you click to the "new" heading, the first item is a sensational (and microscopic) story about a grease fire. Is this really supposed to replace the News or even the Chronicle? Context please! (I know this is early, but my initial impression is NOT good). I am a publicist so I read a lot of online publications, and this is structured in an amateur fashion (to my eyes). -w