How to Read Sugarbutch

December 22, 2008  |  miscellany

Welcome to Sugarbutch 4.0! I’ve made some changes around here in the past two months, and unless you’re a purely RSS reader who never comments, you’ve probably noticed. It’s no longer a typical blog layout with the recent posts displayed chronologically on the front page of the site – the layout is more magazine or newspaper style, with the most recent post for each of the categories displayed in different sections.

Here’s a breakdown of how to navigate through the front page of Sugarbutch Chronicles 4.0:

ABOVE THE FOLD:

First & foremost, there’s the heading, search box, and the top navigation. This is part of the grey site navigation areas and is included on every page and post within this site. It includes About, Archives, Community, Contest, Definitions, and the FAQ.

The featured post will now be the first thing you see when you visit Sugarbutch.net. This is a weekly (or so) polished piece that I am particular proud of, or that I want to get maximum exposure, so it gets top billing until I write the next featured piece. This could be from any of the categories, but will probably most often be gender theory. The featured post area also includes tabs you can navigate through the most recent smut, In Praise of Femmes, or On Butches pieces of writing, which are my personal favorite categories on this site, so I decided to give them a little extra exposure by highlighting them “above the fold.”

FULL RIGHT COLUMN:

Areas shaded in grey are for site navigation, and this includes the bar at the top of all pages. In the right-hand sidebar, first there is the greeting, then – after you skip that green stuff – comes the links that will help you navigate the site. This includes a list of recent posts, most popular posts, recent comments, and tags, as well as the et cetera which includes RSS links and a space for you to sign up on the mailing list.

Ads & affiliates areas are shaded green. This includes occasional sponsors, and my affiliate programs, which are websites whose products & services I recommend highly enough to give them advertising in exchange for a tiny kickback when my readers sign up or purchase products from their site. Explore them all in the affiliates area.

The leeeettle green area at the very bottom of the right-hand bar is (well, currently) a place for you to order the Sugarbutch Star chapbook or donate to my “send Sinclair to Dark Odyssey!” fund. Support and donations are greatly appreciated. (Plus, don’t you want to read about my stories of fisting girls in the woods at winter camp? I thought so.)

LOWER LEFT COLUMN:

Stories to turn you on is the entire tan lower left-hand column. This is either fiction stories, stories from the Sugarbuch Star Contest, or aspiring stud stories from my personal life. The most recent 5 hot smutty stories are displayed here.

LOWER CENTER COLUMN:

Product reviews are pretty straightforward; the most recent product review is contained in this area. I review sex toys most frequently, but also films and books, and who knows, maybe occasionally other stuff.

Semantics is the category for exploring language, words, and definitions. We are not necessarily taught the language of marginalized sexualities, so a lot of language we have to either make up for ourselves, appropriate, or reclaim through linguistic techniques and word explorations. Using a common language is a huge way to build community, too, by creating a common dialect. I love exploring this stuff.

The community category includes Public Service Announcements, events, activism, guest posts, interviews, and then all sorts of other random miscellany, including contests and give-aways.

The aspiring stud stories are from my dating life; it’s kind of the “Mr. Sexsmith’s reality show” category, and often includes recaps of dates or sex play, musings on

The writings I include under the orange personal category are often password protected and under the category of “omphaloskepsis,” aka navel gazing. Not that this entire site and every category could also serve as naval gazing – certainly they could. The personal category also includes occasional poems or prose-poems.

Last, but not least, in the center column, is colophon which is a word for the pages in books with publication information on it, such as the number of copies printed, printing or type information, and copyright information. I use it to gather things about the site. The main thing I post in Colophon these days is the monthly roundup, which highlights the important writings each month.

Okay, that’s it!

If you wish you could see a list of what is most recent, I’m working on a tab in the featured area at the top which will display the most recent posts, but am not finished with the coding yet. For now, check the sidebar (in grey) for a list of the most recent posts by title, or subscribe to the RSS feed and read Sugarbutch in your feed reader.

If you’re looking for the category or monthly archive list, those are under “Archives” on the top navigation bar. I’m trying to figure out a way to put them back into the sidebar, but still working on that coding as well.

Any questions? Does this breakdown help? Are there features that you are missing, and you wish I’d bring back? Do you like this new navigation, or hate it? Is it easier? Are you wondering where something’s gone? Ask away.

 

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8 Comments


  1. THANK YOU for this! I have been relying on the RSS to tell me what's new because the organization wasn't make a lot of sense to me. This is really helpful!

  2. i'm sorry to complain (again) especially since i hardly ever comment, but: from a design standpoint, it's never a good sign when you have to explain how to read a site. getting around any site should be intuitive. one specific problem that leaps out at me is this: too many different *kinds* of organization going on: the (also too many) divisions of the grid, plus tabs — 2 different sets of them at the top!, plus tags & lists…

    thank you for trying to help us navigate, but i still feel like it's crowded, jumbled, not working for me.

    & since i'm overdue on praise: unlike some, i came for the theory & stayed for the smut. your writing is really great & your brain is a pleasure to peek into. you're doing important work here. keep it up… so to speak ;)

    [FIBC, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear the new navigation isn't working for you - I know there's a lot going on on the cover page, here, but there's a lot going on on this site! I know it's a bit out of the ordinary to have a writing-based online project like mine in a magazine/newspaper format like this one, but it is greatly improving my ability to write on this site, organize the archives, and keep a nice rhythm going, while highlighting the posts & content that are more important and more valuable to me (and hopefully to readers, too.) I understand that you're not supposed to explain layouts, that they should be simple and intuitive to navigate, but I think it *is* actually intuitive, it just might take a little getting used to. Many sites operate in a newspaper/magazine format, and blog readers are getting more used to negotiating these layouts. Also, if you prefer to read it in the former date-based, traditional-blog-style format, you still can - via RSS. - ss]

  3. Just on a note of organisation, there's something I've been meaning to ask for a little while. When I first landed at Sugarbutch (writing an assignment about strapping-on) I went on a binge and devoured almost all of the available theory posts. There were posts on butch, femme, and butch-femme dynamics, binaries, self-presentation and other fascinating bits and pieces that I remember reading back then, and haven't been able to find since. I can barely recall the actual content now, but I could about a month back when I was trying to find them. I have a feeling I was crossing between this .net site and the .blogspot.com site which may have still contained readable theory at that stage. Anyway, I read some really cool, thought-provoking stuff. I don't know and I may be wrong – I've only dashed around the site this morning to check again since my last search – are there posts that you've discarded in the move? Because that would be a pity – there isn't enough gender theory written in accessible language and linked to real life experiences ANYWHERE, and your writing flies with clarity and passion.

    Regardless, thanks for writing one of my favorite blogs. Obviously I love the queer/gender/sexuality theory – but also the smut, the politics, the insight on people, places, relationships et al. I really appreciate the opportunity to read, definitely a worthwhile project. Please keep it up :)

    [I'm guessing, but I think you're talking about the theory category ... on the blogspot site I think it was it's own category ("what we call ourselves") and then when I expanded to the .net it became part of "ssu" as "theory." This new layout was really meant to highlight those posts *more*, but actually, it has ended up burying them in some ways. thanks for that - I will tinker around and see how I can't fix it. ps, you can get to the whole list of categories & monthly links through the archives (on the top bar): -- ss]

  4. I'm a google reader reader, but I do like this layout. Thanks for the tutorial. LOL

  5. Love it! It flows smoothly and as a newbie reader, I appreciate that you've broken things down into categories. Besides, I'm an organization freak!

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  6. I, for one, am a big fan of the new layout. As a person who tends to get bored of things that are too straightforward (and, well, straight ;)), I like that there are all these different categories and things to look at, areas to navigate. Like browsing a newspaper or magazine, which (I gather) was your intention. Bravo, it looks amazing!

  7. Another long-time reader and I hate to say it, but since the redesign my frequency of reading the site has dropped dramatically. I don't use RSS and I'm having a very hard time keeping track of the narrative thread here – which is what has always drawn me, the back-and-forth between theory and life stories and smut – and even after reading the tutorial I'm still missing the point here. I agree that many other sites have newspaper-type layouts but those other sites are usually not written by one person – as in, not personal websites but sites that report…news or something like news. I'm thinking of here Gothamist, any of the political sites, author sites, actual news sites, etc.

    I appreciate the new layout in terms of the actual design, but when applied to this particular site I don't like it. I've enjoyed Sugarbutch since the early days and hope that I'll figure out how to navigate it in a way that works for me. I'm sorry to be so negative!

  8. I like the layout, but am glad that my regular reading is in RSS, if that makes sense. I think the layout is pretty and also easy when I'm coming back here to look for something I want to share with someone, but can't entirely remember how long ago it was posted. But like m monkey, I like the narrative thread/back-and-forth.

    For those of you who miss that and aren't using RSS because you don't know how or don't quite get it or aren't sure it will work for your needs, I recommend this video by Common Craft; it's a very low-tech explanation: http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english

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