Monday, 1 January 2001

About the SA4QE website

Taking part in SA4QE involves writing a quote from the work of Russell Hoban on a piece of paper and leaving it in a public place on 4th February. This constitutes a 'yellow paper drop' (regardless of the actual colour of the paper!) or a '4qation' (pronounced 'fork-you-ashun'). (For full details, see About SA4QE and How to contribute.)

When this '4qater' contributes their drop to the site, a new 'post' is created to contain the details of the quote, the location and any other information the contributor has provided. That post is dated 4th February of the year in which they made the drop. This means that if you browse through the site as it stands without refining your search, you will see all the drops by the various 4qaters gathered together on the relevant 4th February each year.

The post is also categorised (or 'labelled') with several other criteria, including the year the drop took place, the contributor's name, the titles of the books they quoted from, and the location (country/city/town) of the drop. If the drop includes photos, videos or animations, the post is further labelled with the relevant media used. All of this means that you can browse the various drops by all of these criteria, so that for instance if you want to see all the drops made in 2008 you can click on the '2008' label either in the sidebar list or at the bottom of the post, or if you want to see only drops made in the United Kingdom you can click on that label, or if you want to see only drops which quote from Riddley Walker you can click on that label, and so on. Links to all years, book titles, contributors and media are included in the sidebar of every page of the site, while a full list of locations that have been '4qated' can be found on the SA4QE around the world page.

You may also spot some other labels as you browse the site, such as SA4QE info, which is applied only to posts by the webmaster about site updates, Hoban news and anything else of general interest to users. Clicking on the label (or the link above) will usefully display all of these posts in one list.

Converting the site from a series of static pages to a 'blog' format has had one slightly weird side-effect. Although the majority of the content works perfectly well in the form of blog posts, the informational or 'static' pages such as about SA4QE and SA4QE statistics (and indeed the one you are now reading) have had to be dated 1st January 2001, before SA4QE actually began, in order to avoid these pages either coming up for users while they browse the actual quotes, or cluttering up the front pages. Equally, most contributors have a short profile 'post' which is dated at least a year before they ever actually 4qated, in order that the profile appears at the bottom of their list of 4qations when users browse by contributor. The webmaster has experimented with removing the date from all the posts to avoid these dates distracting users, but this made the posts confusing. All of this is a consequence of using the otherwise excellent Blogger service, which doesn't offer undated static pages at present. A future revision of the site may move it to something more sophisticated such as WordPress, where this issue will be eliminated.

Other site features meanwhile include a slideshow displaying selected photos of yellow paper drops submitted over the years. This works by searching Flickr for all images tagged 'SA4QE'. Further down the sidebar is another widget displaying video clips uploaded to YouTube which have been tagged 'SA4QE' or 'Russell Hoban'. SA4QE participants and other Hoban fans can therefore quite easily add their own photos to Flickr or videos to YouTube directly and these will automatically appear in these widgets.

Users can keep up to date with content added to the site either by subscribing to the RSS feeds for posts and comments, or by entering their email address into the FeedBurner box to receive an email every time a new post is added. Both of those are again available in the sidebar. Users can also follow SA4QE on Twitter to receive short bursts of general news and reminders about the event and the site.

Finally, the sidebar also contains a blog feed, bringing in links to any blog posts from around the web which mention Russell Hoban, and a news feed, which does the same sort of thing except from official news websites. The SA4QE site is not responsible for any content that comes in via these feeds.

The webmaster is open to suggestions for improvements, additions and updates. Please send your feedback on the new site using the comment facility (another new SA4QE feature!) below this post.

See also: A brief history of the SA4QE website

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