Site Updates Pt. 2

Since the size limit of the first thread has been reached, I’ll continue the listing of the changes of the site in this thread.

Comments, requests and bug reports can be posted in this thread or in a separate thread.


  • Improved story/series lists on mobile phones:

    • Title row is now using the whole width of the display
    • Tag list is limited to three lines now and can be “unfolded” with a button
    • On the lists where series are shown together with the latest chapter (like on the home page “Latest” tab) only the series title is now shown, a button “unfolds” the rest of the series details
    • Improved the design slightly
  • Fixed the rating rankind display for authors (the ranking was showing way too high numbers)

  • Opening up the “hamburger menu” on mobile phones no longer scrolls the screen to the top.

  • Sponsors whose payments are not going through are no longer counted for the current site sponsoring progress bar

  • Bugfixes

  • Improved protection against bots and DDOS attacks


  • Added “Search disabled” message for cases where the search feature is down or while the search index is recreated.

  • Updated to ElasticSearch 7.4 and the ESS plugin to 2.7.x (customized by myself)

  • Added highlighting of search hits in the story titles, summaries, and authors. Added a display of the number of hits in the story text itself. And also added highlighting of tags that triggered a hit.

  • The standard category filter and blocked tags filter have been added to the search dialog. The blocked tags filter has always been honored by the search already, but that wasn’t apparent to the user.

  • Removed category selection from the search dialog, its functionality is now covered through the category filter.

  • Added a warning to the user if there’s a global category or blocked tags filter set.

  • Search generally improved, prefixes (like “author:” etc.) finally working properly. Better handling of iOS quotation marks to cause fewer problems.

  • Improved help text on the search dialog

  • Reworked the “list stories of a given category” function (when clicking on a category). It used to be handled by the search dialog, which can’t do this anymore. Now it’s handled by the “List all stories/series” dialog which now uses a temporary category filter for that purpose.

  • Sanitized URL parameters to cause fewer exceptions caused by bots and attackers

  • Comments created without entering the poster’s name are now listed as written by “Anonymous”

  • Redesigned the admin page

  • Fixed problems with the “Delete user account” function


  • Added “Reply” feature to comments:

    • Comments can now be replied to
    • All replies are listed under the original comment (just a single thread, no reply-tree)
    • The name of the person you reply to will be added to your reply by default (like @Martin)
    • A notification email is sent to the person you reply to.
  • If the author of a challenge story adds a comment to his own story, his name is now automatically hidden in the comment as well. The same is true for all notification mails.

  • The rating badges (hot, idea etc…) are now hidden for stories published in the last 20 days. This has been done to avoid people just reading badged stories which is unfair to other, new stories.

    • Added new icon created by Asnir to indicate those new stories
    • Replaced the ugly old “not enough ratings” with a new version created by Asnir
  • Rating system completely redesigned to allow dynamic rating categories (in preparation of the additional “GayXXXStories” sites)

  • Bugfixes


  • Redesign of ownership of stories and series, targetted to improve the handling of Community Series:

    • A story now has one primary owner, which determines the avatar icon and author link (before it was an unordered list, which could cause the wrong avatar to be shown).
    • Additional owners of a story are listed in the author panel of a story.
    • A series now also have managers and a primary manager.
    • Any series manager can now edit and publish any story in that series.
    • All series managers are listed on the series overview (with the primary manager being highlighted)
    • Series managers can “promote” other authors who have contributed to it to become series managers themselves. You can do that on the series overview with the “Administration” button.
    • All managers are informed by mail if a new chapter has been added to a community series
  • An all-new dialog appears when an author is logging on in case there are unpublished or unapproved stories. This dialog appears once a week at most. If there are unpublished stories in a community series the author is manager for (i.e. written by other people as a contribution to that series), the dialog will pop up every day.

  • A new menu item “User->Your Unpublished Stories” has been added to list all stories which have never been published or are yet waiting for approval. This also shows stories submitted by other authors in one of your community series.

  • The story challenge banner on the main site is now clickable as a whole (instead of just certain parts of it), improving the handling especially on smartphones.

  • The story submission dialog has been improved a lot to avoid people losing their stories when something goes wrong:

    • If a field is not properly filled, it’s marked way more flashy now. Errors in the tag and category selection are now also marked properly.
    • In case something is wrong when submitting a story (field missing etc.), a clear error message will pop up informing the user that the story has not been submitted yet.
    • The actual story text is now always stored in the browser’s local storage, so in case submission fails, your last version should be preserved if you start your submission or edit again. That only works if the browser is not in “incognito mode”.
  • Various Bugfixes


  • Fixed a very old issue with the search function. The results were always sorted by the “publishing dates”, which is really stupid, as the engine would normally list the best hits (i.e. stories which matches the best to the search term) first. And forcing a different sort order was plainly stupid. This has been fixed, and the results now list the best matches first.
  • Many IOS devices use typographic quotation marks (the ‘curly’ ones) instead of the regular ones. The search engine only works properly when using the regular quotation marks. So to make it work on IOS devices, the marks are automatically converted now.
  • Updated and extended the help dialog (“Hints for Searching”)


  • Safe Mode will no longer hide potential offending stories, they will be listed together with a mark and the offending tags. But the story text itself will not be displayed
  • Added Safe Mode explanation to the story display (so the user gets to know why he can’t read the full story)
  • Commissioning Authors now get a special icon (a diamond)
  • Commissioning flag will be reset correctly if an author does no longer have the adequate sponsoring level.
  • The name of a person commenting on a story will now link to his profile
  • Added monitoring tools to be able to diagnose the intermittent hangups


  • Some long overdue bugfixes:
    • Editing a comment would sometimes fail and delete the Commenter’s name from the comment
    • Paging in the Author/User profile list wasn’t working properly when a letter had been selected
    • List of an author’s series (as available on the author’s profile page) would display unpublished series for that author himself, which resulted in a confusing, irregular listing. Now unpublished or deleted stories are only shown in the story list, not in the series list.


  • The “anon access” to the forum has been removed as it kept causing problems. Now you need to have an account and your email has to be validated to be able to write in the forum. It will remain open for reading for everybody of course.
  • Fixed problems with the “edit comment” feature
  • Added “clear all bookmarks” button to the “Your Bookmarks” page
  • Improved the integration of the forum with the main site account system
  • Improved the loading time of the main page
  • Improved internal caching and performance
  • Bugfixes


  • The number of entries shown on the search list can now be configured
  • Medals, rated, favorite- and bookmarks are now also shown on the search results
  • Tried to make the rating panel more eyecatching again.


  • Logo animation speed reduced to reduce load on browser
  • If “Theme->Disable pusling” is active, logo animation is reduced even further and will stop after a short while
  • The list of stories for authors (available through the author’s profile) will now show series first and also uses the usual filter for categories and blocked tags.
  • Various bug fixes


  • Added tab for latest comments to the main page (endless scrolling)
  • Added tag with the list of authors who offer commissions to the main page
  • Respective tabs on the main page are highlighted if there are new stories, comments, or commissioning authors
  • New story or comments indicators (star or tab flashing) now also works with disabled cookies, if the user is logged in
  • Finetuned bookmark settings on touch displays
  • Finetuned pop up display to remind to rate a story
  • Added a “Deny Approval” button to the admin dialog including a message to the author why his story has been denied.
  • Various fixes and improvements


  • Disabled the logo animation (spiral) for all browsers except Chrome >= 80 and FireFox >= 80 (as I could confirm it’s working there)


  • Replaced the logo and lettering with a completely new design made by JoahTheo! Check out his twitter account here:
  • Comments can now be reported and admins can take care of reported comments
  • List of “top rated” list will now properly reshuffle when the page is reloaded. The algorithm for the list has been tuned, too.


  • Redesign of the main page
    • The paging has been replaced with endless scrolling
    • The “Top Rated” tab now displays the usual 5 featured top stories (which are replaced every other Saturday) but after that, an endless list of the top rated stories is now shown. This list is now adhering to the category selection and blocked tags setting.
    • The “Random” tab now shows an endless list of random stories taken from the whole archive. The previous “random selection” that changed once a week is no longer available.
    • More discussion about the changes on the main page: Main page redesigned and changed to "Endless scrolling"
  • Also redesigned the old “All stories” page into a new “All series & stories” page:
    • As the new page name implies, the page now lists series, but it can still be switched to the old list of individual stories.
    • The list adheres to all filters and selections
    • The table can be sorted by Author, series name and publishing date (the default).
    • It’s basically offering the same functionality as the old main page (and more) for everyone preferring to use paging instead of endless scrolling.
  • Many new and improved caching mechanisms to speed up the site and bring down the server load (which increased a lot due to the increased number of people visiting GSS).
  • Loads of internal refactoring, cleanups, bugfixings and optimizations.


  • If someone chooses to sponsor a custom amount on Sponsus instead one of the predefined tiers, he’ll now get the appropriate exclusive functions enabled depending, too
  • New link “Rating categories explained” added to the rating panel. The text shown there is based on Mr. Sandmans recent posting.
  • Bugfixes


  • Integrated Sponsus into GSS
  • Added a special funding page to explain the motivation and mechanics of sponsoring
  • Added subscription option for Authors and Series, email notification and a filter option (for “Special Features” sponsors only)
  • Added option to allow authors to promote their service to write stories on commission on their profile page. Also added a list of these commissionees.
  • Added new main menu item “Authors” which now contains all author-related functions.
  • Changed user icons: Author icon changed (pen in a square), added special icon for “Commissionee” (golden pen) and added icon for Special Feature supporters.
  • Many bugfixes and smaller changes.


  • Ratings from logged on users count 5 times as much as those given from anon users. The reason for the change is that I’ve seen obvious attempts to “up-rate” certain stories using anon users.### 2020-07-15


  • Removed Patreon from the site
  • Fixed serious bug which could swallow a submitted story text if there was some other field wasn’t properly filled. Now the text will show up again as submitted in that case.
  • Minimum number of tags raised to 4, one of the tags “1st”, “2nd” or “3rd person” now mandatory.
  • Story submission page does almost all checks client side now, i.e. the user gets feedback if something is missing even before the page is submitted.
  • Bugfix in handling story edit revisions (the Base version got updated even though it wasn’t supposed to).
  • Many optimizations for memory footprint and caching
  • Honor browser or OS setting to reduce animation (pulsing disabled if accessibility setting to disable animations is set).


  • “List of favorite stories” (from a user’s profile or the user’s own list) now lists series with at least one story marked favorite, instead of listing the stories themselves
  • “Favourite” renamed to “Favorite” throughout the site
  • Favorite stories are now marked with a :+1: symbol in all lists
  • Rating markers (medals) and bookmark markers fetched asynchronously
  • Word counter now reflects the currently displayed revision
  • Reorganized code and other changes to improve performance
  • “Statistics” and “Admin panel” separated
  • “Active filter” message pop up reduced to once a week
  • “Safe mode” message pop up reduced to once every 3rd day
  • Updated to GORM 7.0.3
  • Various Bugfixes (for hidden authors and other stuff)


  • Story Challenges now have the option to “hide authors”. Using that, all authors are hidden, until the final standings are available and shown.
  • Also, when this mode is active, each author can only submit a single story.
  • On the profile page, panels set to “private” don’t show up at all anymore.
  • Bugfixes


  • Stories you’ve already rated are now marked with a blue checkmark (only when logged in!).
  • Added Amazon as an external link on the profile page.


  • Redesign of the home page story list. For series, the latest story entry is now listed completely with summary and title, additionally to the series data.
  • All story listings now include the word count
  • On all places where single stories are listed, the series it belongs to is now also shown.
  • Direct links from third party sites (Discord, Facebook, Twitter etc.) to GSS’ stories and the personal user pages now include the author’s avatar picture.
  • The pulsing of the buttons for “Top Stories” and “Random stories” has been removed. An update of those contents is now shown using the usual green star.
  • In the User Profiles, most of the lists (top rated, most favorite etc.) now show the series, not the stories. This way, repeated listings of stories of the same series are avoided.
  • The list of bookmarked stories is now sorted by date of the bookmark (latest on top) by default.
  • The author name can now be changed directly on the user profile page (click the name)
  • Removed ‘Google Analytics’ (was used to collect usage statistics)
  • The site is now protected against attacks using CloudFlare
  • Bugfixes:
    • “Overall” ranking in the author’s ratings panel was showing wrong numbers.
    • For community series, the actual author of a chapter is now properly shown.
    • Menu bar is no longer obscuring the title of pop up modal dialogs on mobile devices.
    • Improved caching

Unbelievable good improvements.


Just awesome work making the site even better.

I love the series description being listed with individual chapters. That makes things less confusing.

I suspect everyone will be happy now that the pulsing is gone entirely. I personally liked it and thought it was useful, but I think I was in the minority.

Showing the word counts everywhere, and the different colours for the badges, is really nice.

1 Like

This is great Martin. Feeling inspired to go pick up an old series now.

1 Like

I really like all the changes in this update. (As an amusing note when I popped onto the site and didn’t see flashing I thought something had broke, haha.) Seeing story and series descriptions is awesome, as is word count. So yeah this was really cool. Thanks Martin, awesome job!

PS. As an idea I could see a locked to only you thread where all the updates are posted and then a commentary thread where comments are made. Though this might not be necessary and such. hehe

1 Like

What do the color backgrounds with the word counts mean?

It goes from green for low word-count stories to red for stories with high word counts.

1 Like

Another update, by request of myself:

Stories which are already rated (in at least three categories) are marked on all lists with a blue checkmark like this:


That way you can easily see which stories you’ve already read (at least if you’re having the habit to rate the stories you read).



  • Story Challenges now have the option to “hide authors”. Using that, all authors are hidden, until the final standings are available and shown.
  • Also, when this mode is active, each author can only submit a single story.
  • On the profile page, panels set to “private” don’t show up at all anymore.
  • Bugfixes

Just uploaded a new update. The main focus for this update was performance.

Especially on the main page, switching pages or increasing the number of entries to 30 or 50 (at the bottom of the list) should be working much faster now, as some time consuming elements (like the rating medals) are loaded after the list is shown. As well as other performance increasing measurements.

And some small improvements here and there:


  • “List of favorite stories” (from a user’s profile or the user’s own list) now lists series with at least one story marked favorite, instead of listing the stories themselves
  • “Favourite” renamed to “Favorite” throughout the site
  • Favorite stories are now marked with a :+1: symbol in all lists
  • Rating markers (medals) and bookmark markers fetched asynchronously
  • Word counter now reflects the currently displayed revision
  • Reorganized code and other changes to improve performance
  • “Active filter” message pop up reduced to once a week
  • “Safe mode” message pop up reduced to once every 3rd day

Favourite was probably as a result of my British/Canadian heritage way back when. Plus auto-correct forcing me to write in Canadian. Same thing happens with colour, although I always try to write color.

1 Like

Wait until her Majesty the Queen hears about this!

1 Like

I will no longer be her favourite I guess :slight_smile:

Okay, so I have to post this as I think its really hilarious. So since the update that added the notification I have had a 1 under my icon. I opened the tab, I looked around, I didn’t see anything that would indicate why it was there.

Well, I just decided to look deeper leading to me clicking the ‘view all’ button in the icon and then scroll down, and down, and down (since I have been a part of the forum since it was made) and then, there it was, an ‘announcement’ that I had not clicked on. Clicked on it and now my number is gone. lol

So yeah, just figured I’d share this bit of personal derp! :slight_smile:

1 Like

On a completely unrelated note, hence me putting it in its own post, but I was wondering if maybe there could be a keyword based on pov in the story, like dom or sub or whatever words we want to use. I ask because its kind of getting frustrating to read a synopsis and think ‘oh this is gonna be cool’ only to realize almost immediately that the pov is from the character who I don’t want to follow. And while I mostly back out and go on when it happens a lot it starts making it frustrating to surf the site.


You can always add tags yourself, but I rely on the author (abd the readers) for proper usage of tags.

If you want to add some tags like pov-sub or pov-dom (I wouldn’t use more than that), that’s fine with me.

But I guess we’d have to establish them in some existing stories as well, so they get some useful usage.

I was thinking the same thing recently, Heru_Kane, even though I’m pretty sure I have opposite tastes from you. I don’t really think in terms of “dom” and “sub,” but even when I’m reading stories with themes I love (like mass recruitment), it makes a HUGE difference to me whether it all comes from the perspective of the Master (usually boring as hell, IMO) or whether we get at least some of it from the perspective of the MC victim (which can be done even if the story is told in 3rd person narration). I know I recently read a story that sounded like it would be great based on the tags and summary, and then I was bitterly disappointed when it only focused on the Master’s POV (and I think I unfairly took some of that disappointment out on the author in the comments section).


Ok, then any better suggestions for the tags for pov-controller and pov-controlee?

Maybe pov-controlled instead of pov-controllee.