[announce] Website and FAQ changes

Solderpunk solderpunk at posteo.net
Sun Feb 28 10:52:47 GMT 2021

Greetings Geminauts!

Last weekend I made a change to the https://gemini.circumlunar.space
website setup.  Rather than being comprised of static HTML files
generated (somewhat inaccurately/unreliably) from the text/gemini
originals, the site now uses Drew DeVault's "Kineto" proxy to serve a
live and direct mirror of the Gemini version of the site.  The new
ability of the website to accurately render text/gemini syntax features
which aren't also park of Markdown (which is how the original
translation was done) allowed me to finally make use of actual Gemini
links in the FAQ and other documents, so I did a bit of an overhaul of
the FAQ, arguably long overdue.

(yes, this change may have slightly reduced readability of the Gopher
version of the site, and I do plan to improve that in future)

I wanted to draw attention to three things in particular:

Firstly, I have removed, for now, the offer of free hosting at
gemini.circumlunar.space from the FAQ.  This is mostly to spare me the
time of dealing with account requests, but also to stimulate the
creation of more hosting services and the development of a decentralised
Geminispace.  I may reinstate hosting in future if I find the time to
come up with a more automated signup process.  I will still create
accounts for people who sent requests before I made this change - sorry
for the delay!

Secondly, the FAQ now includes detailed instructions on how to submit
patches for translations of the documentation into languages other than
English.  Dutch, German and Porgutuese translations have already been
merged into the repo, which I am very happy about and grateful for.
With the workflow for translations now established and publicised, I
would like to repeat my call for people to volunteer translation efforts
into additional languages.

Finally, as of quite recently, Kineto now has support for custom CSS to
control the appearance of HTTP mirrors of Gemini sites.  It should come
as no surprise to anybody that I don't have strong skills in this
department, nor do I consider the design of the website to be of
tremendous importance.  But there was discussion on the list in the past
about the accessibility issues of the then-current website, and I do
take that concern seriously.  I'm happy for the site to look pleasant,
but my number one priority is that it is easy to read for the widest
possible variety of users and on the widest possible variety of devices,
screen sizes, etc.

I don't think this is worth the time and energy of a big formal
design competition/selection process with rules and voting, etc.  But if
people want to send me proposed new stylesheets sometime in the next,
say, two weeks, I will consider them for adoption and will make a
unilateral decision at some point based first and foremost on how the
design is rated by various automated accessibility scoring tools and by
how it performs on the widest variety of devices I can manage to test it
on.  Just save https://gemini.circumlunar.space/docs/faq.gmi to a static
file, edit the in-line CSS and send me the result.  Please don't submit
any designs which pull in external resources, and please do not use
browser-specific CSS hacks.  All else being equal I will strongly prefer
shorter and simpler stylesheets using only basic CSS properties.


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