Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekend Site Upgrades

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for being so patient, first with the extended vacation and now with the weekend updates.

Due to career-related developments, particularly over the summer, its become pretty hard for me to sit down and write drawn-out analysis pieces. These pieces have formed the central characteristics of this blog and were the primary drivers for its creation - thus making this turn of events that much more difficult for me and the Blacksmiths of Lebanon blog's continued existence.

The updates implemented over the past weekend (and which I will continue to work on throughout the coming weeks) are therefore meant to allow for a bending - as opposed to a breaking - of the blog under the strain of my altered schedule.

The most distinctive feature of these updates is the creation of the READER sections: THE BLACKSMITH READER; and, THE BLACKSMITH BUSINESS READER. These two sections will allow the blog's visitors to access interesting articles pertinent to the political, social, and economic situation in Lebanon from sources from around the world. Posts in these sections will contain direct quotes from articles referenced, with minimal commentary from myself.

Both for practical and aesthetic reasons a menu bar was created just below our blog's header. This menu will allow the reader to gain quick and easy access to the READER sections mentioned above, as well as a new MULTIMEDIA section, older ANALYSIS and POLL sections, and the newly created GUEST POST section.

The blog's main page (HOME) will continue to simply show the newest posts put up, no matter what the category.

Ultimately, the idea is that we'll eventually be able to steer back towards more analysis posts as the situation in Lebanon develops (currently the country is embroiled in election-politics with few real developments on the long-term, strategic front).

The GUEST POST section is of particular importance in that it is crucial to us that this space be interactive, providing a voice to all those following the situation in Lebanon and the broader Middle East from within or abroad. Anyone interested in posting here is highly encouraged to get in contact with us.

Finally, an upgrade that I hope to eventually get to (and complete) is the complete overhauling of our tagging/categorization system for our posts. The current system, created back in the day when this blog hosted a large number of contributors, will be replaced with a topics-centered system.

As always your feedback is always welcome.

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