Jun 20

Do you like the new theme (and a delayed update)?

Written by admin on Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 3:50 am
Filed under:General | Tags:, ,
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It has been almost 3 weeks since we moved and I promised to post an update. Better late than never. 😉

As I mentioned in a previous post, the purpose of the move was two fold. One is to bypass the GFW blocking for readers in mainland. The second is to change our previous domain name speak4china to a meaningful but less overarching one.

Most readers liked the name foolsmountain. For Chinese readers, 愚公移山, 精卫填海 are well known stories. For non-Chinese, a quote from Sydney Smith may carry a similar spirit, “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.”

I am also glad to report that based on readers’ feedback and site log files, people in China can access our blog without a proxy.

The downside, as MutantJedi pointed out, our page rank dropped like a rock. If you type “China blog” into Google, we are nowhere to be found in the first 10 pages. Fortunately, our blog and our readership continue to grow. We now have over 100 posts and 2,000+ comments. Moreover, kudos to our editors (esp. Buxi) and readers, we are able to represent a wide spectrum of opinions while being civil and respectful to each other.

Finally, I owe a big thank you to people who offered support, tips and suggestions during this process. They include many fellow bloggers, such as Dave (Mutant Palm), Dan (Chinalawblog), Charles (China Environmental Law), and Max (maxiewawa),  as well as many kindhearted people, Zola, Haidong, Grace and Kathy.

I got this new theme from N.Design Studio and modified it a little bit to suit our blog. Although I am not a Mac lover, I really like its clean style. Moreover, as a visitor, now you gain control to the sidebar. You can collapse an item to hide it or you can rearrange the sidebar by drag and drop. I also enabled WYSIWYG editor on the comment field. More power to readers. 😉

So please give me your feedback on the new theme and other site related issues. And as I have said before, whether you want to contribute as an author, or want to help on the technical side, you are always welcome to join our team.

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35 Responses to “Do you like the new theme (and a delayed update)?”

  1. admin Says:

    I also like to ask readers a question on fighting spams.

    Currently, we use a spam filter that takes suspicious comments (usually a comment has many links) into a spam queue so your comments may not show up until an editor de-spams it.

    There is a plugin that eliminates automated comment spam, which we had used before. However, sometimes you may get an error message and you have to refresh the page in order to post a comment.

    So which way do you prefer?

  2. yo Says:

    WHAAOOOOO!  The site looks nice.  Good work.

  3. AC Says:

    I love the new look. A few suggestions if you don’t mind. 🙂
    1) The time stamp on posts doesn’t look right to me, which time zone are you using?
    2) The page should take up the entire width of a 1024×768 screen (12″ screen), take a look at Yahoo’s main page.
    3) The font of the message body can be slightly larger. I have 20/20 eyesight, but I still find it hard to read. 
    4) Add a Preview button or function  (next to Submit)
    5) It would be cool to show a national flag next to the name of the poster so we know where the poster is from. I’ve seen that feature on some blogs.

  4. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Admin:
    great new look!  I’m sure your page rank will come back up once the word gets out.  I thought you were using GMT before, is that the same time stamp you’re using now?  Ever since you went to the new domain name, I’ve had to hit refresh to see my comments posted, so that’s not a change for me.  Keep up the great work!

  5. davesgonechina Says:

    Forget pagerank, it’ll come back around. The China blogosphere knows where you are, that oughta take care of things.

  6. Buxi Says:

    Me likey, much. 🙂 The edit window is also very nice!

    Page rank? Psh, we don’t need to be popular (yet), we just need to be right.

    but still looks to me like the cache problem exists. I’m still having to refresh after logging in, and in some cases, even after I make a comment to see the new page.

  7. Dan Says:

    Nice job, all around.  As DGC points out, “forget pagerank, it’ll come back around.”   The key is your readers and I’m betting most are already here with more to follow. 

  8. admin Says:


    Thanks for your suggestions.
    1) GMT time
    2) Done, please see if it’s OK.
    3) A quick work around is to use Ctrl+ to increase font size (works for most browsers).
    4) Will work on that. May take some time.
    5) It can be done if more readers request this feature. However, it may not be accurate; esp. if someone surfs using a proxy.

    @SKC and Buxi
    That baffles me. You may have to clean your browser’s cache or adjust settings. Can you see the favicon I just added?

    @Dave and Dan
    Thank you very much for your continued support.

  9. Aorijia Says:

    Greetings from Norway! I usually don’t comment but I am a faithful reader; in fact, “Fools Mountain” (to use the new name) quickly became one of my fav blogs about China after it appeared. I’d say it’s in my top 3. And yes, me likey both the theme and name. Well, enough praise for today 😀
    Good luck!

  10. admin Says:

    Preview function enabled. Enjoy 🙂

  11. BMY Says:

    Good work, Admin!
    I like the new look. Blue is my favorite color

  12. AC Says:

    admin, Very nice, thanks!

  13. admin Says:

    I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage frequent readers to register for this site. If nothing else, it makes following comments much easier than, say, using RSS.

  14. hotshotdebut Says:

    I have to say this is kind of theme is really out of date.

  15. MutantJedi Says:

    Indeed, don’t worry about pagerank, it will come back.
    The theme is nice and readable. 🙂

  16. admin Says:


    Care to elaborate a little bit more? Could you please point out some up-to-date themes for me? Thank you.

  17. Opersai Says:

    Great! Nice changes. The new name is a smart change. =) Thanks for working a lot on this. This is one of my favorite blog.

    The new theme though, I’d have to say I liked the old one a little better. The new theme’s functionality is great, but it’s a little hard on my eye with the bright color. Also, this style is used very commonly, so it’s not very unique looking.

    For the spam, I have to refresh to see my comments too, and yap, I can see the new favicon.

  18. yo Says:

    I think I found a bug.  When you type something up with carriage returns in the text box, and then hit preview, the preview is okay BUT the text in the text box is changed such that all the carriage returns are removed.  Therefore, when you post your message, everything is in one paragraph.

  19. hotshotdebut Says:

    A mac-themed blog doesn’t look very professional. I understand that a lot of people use this kind of theme, but they are just amateurish. Any efforts to emulate Mac system only indicate the poor aesthetic judgment and the lack of independent pursuit of beauty. I don’t mean that you should design a theme by your own. Just try looking at other blogs (not Chinese, which are quite poor in web design and layout), and choose a theme which is not amateurish, but professional and appropriate. But this looks like a high school student, who cannot afford a Mac, but just simple downloaded a theme for his computer and let it look like a Mac. I know that is not what you intended. Simply put, no professional, serious blog would ever use this kind of theme. There are thousands of WP themes out there. But when choosing one for your blog, please pay attention to the color and layout. It doesn’t have to be complex. And by the way, using Ariel through out the blog? I don’t think that’s a good idea.

    Anyway, it is just my opinion from a graphic aficionado’s perspective. At the end of the day, I am still more interested in what you say than the blog layout.

  20. admin Says:

    That’s strange. Can’t really put a finger on it. I will investigate and get back to you.

    Thanks a lot for your input. I will continue the quest for new themes. It takes time to select, test and tweak a WP theme, so please bear with me for the slow process.  So do you like the previous theme better? By the way, which font do you prefer for the blog?

  21. Buxi Says:


    On the cache issue, I just published a new post, and then clicked on “View Site”… and the new post didn’t show up.  But as soon as I refreshed, it was there again!  Something is still going on with the cache.

    I personally think the new look is MUCH cleaner and better than the last. 🙂  You’re doing great.

  22. hotshotdebut Says:

    Even though your previous theme is not as fancy as this one, I still like it better because it’s more original.

    As for the fonts, it is well considered that Georgia is the one of the best choice for web since not every user has designer-made fonts in their computer. In my opinion, Lucinda Sans is another good choice due to it’s wide availability and it’s gorgeous design.

    I am looking forward to your next overhaul.

  23. hotshotdebut Says:

    By the way, in the next couple of years, Calibri and Cambria will be a hit because they are the default fonts in Vista and it’s applications. They are the next Ariel.

  24. opersai Says:


    not Chinese, which are quite poor in web design and layout

    I beg pardon, how much Chinese website have you surfed for you to have landed in this conclusion?!

    I registered for this blog, and it seems that I am able to make post, manage comments, and quiet a lot administrative stuff. Is that intended?! Making me worry a little.

    On another note, I do agree with hotshotebut that the previous theme looked more original, and for default font, Helvetica isn’t a bad choice either – it’s the default on Macs.

  25. FOARP Says:

    I have to say I preferred the previous look, it was cleaner, and somehow fitted the subject matter better.

  26. admin Says:

    @hotshotdebut and opersai,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I tried several fonts and found that Verdana looked better (at least on my computer) and it also appeared slightly larger. So here is the CSS font-family lineup for now: “Verdana, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial,Geneva, sans-serif.” Please let me know how does it look on your screens.

    Yes, it is intended. I set the default role for registered user as Contributor to encourage readers to write and manage their posts. But they need an editor’s approval to publish posts.

  27. yo Says:

    Here are my two cents about the design/theme:

    Perhaps a new graphic on the top would be better as opposed to just a text header “Blogging for China”.  Also,  you might want to change the title to incorporate the name “Fools Mountain” on the top. 

    I think I see what some other people are saying about the theme not matching the topic because now when I come to think of it,  it does look like a tech blog 🙂   But I feel once you customize it more, it will match the topic.  I feel this blog got a much cleaner feel to it after the changes, so you guys are doing great and the site is getting better and better.

  28. admin Says:


    I found out that it was the WYSIWYG editor that caused the problem. On top of that, it also makes things more difficult for people who like to type in their HTML tags. So I just went ahead and removed it.

    As to graphics, I came across a drawing by Xu Beihong (徐悲鸿), but not sure if it’s a good fit for the blog.

  29. yo Says:

    I would personally take a pass on that. A little too much information if you know what I mean.

  30. Buxi Says:

    I just noticed that the site has a ‘shan’ logo. Awesome. 🙂

  31. Buxi Says:


    How about this drawing as a logo? Just a little Photoshop work to erase away the wrinkles…

    This is also nice.

    Or if we’re feeling heroic, how about this?

    Or, if we’re feeling whimsical… how about this series of pictures.

  32. admin Says:


    Thanks so much for collecting those drawings. I will need some time to digest all of them. 😉

    BTW, I think I finally fixed the cache issue. If any of you still experience the problem, please let me know.

  33. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Hi Admin,
    Don’t know what you did, but you’ve definitely fixed something. My “posts” now appear as soon as I hit the button, without having to refresh. This is how it was before you switched domain names. Thanks!!

  34. admin Says:


    Sorry about taking so long to fix the problem. Glad to know that things are back to normal for you. 😉


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