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An apocryphal retail-store study recounted to me once by a professor supposedly found that any revamp of a grocery store lowered sales. No matter how the aisles were reconfigured, the mere fact of switching things around left shoppers confused and prone to buy less. I worry that my publisher's fixation with frequent redesigns may have much the same effect on you, gentle readers.

That's a business concern, of course. Aesthetically, I'm quite fond of this new design. You'll notice first a change up top: Valleywag's logo has been given more room to breathe, and our RSS feed has been made considerably easier to find. As well, you'll see some of the key tags we use. A word on those:

  • Top Our biggest stories, featuring essential reading, important news, and original reporting and scoops.
  • Feature Longer stories, including humor from special correspondent Nick Douglas and helpful Silicon Valley Users Guides by very special correspondent Paul Boutin.
  • Clips The best video we can find on the beats we cover, from TV and the Web.

In addition, we'll have a rotating list of tags, based on the stories we cover most frequently. You can subscribe to any of those tags individually as an RSS feed. Just follow the link to the tag page, and copy and paste the URL into your feed reader.

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On top of that, we've made our story-sharing features a bit easier to use with icons. The "heart" icon is perhaps the most perplexing. If you've signed up as a commenter on the site, you can use the "heart" icon to mark a story as a favorite, what we used to call "clipping." Stories you mark are then displayed on the friends page of everyone who's signed up to follow your comments. In other words, you don't have to comment to tell your Valleywag followers you like a story. All you have to do now is "heart" it.

To share a story with friends not on Valleywag, you have the predictable choices: Digg, Facebook, and email. Those are the means by which we typically find ourselves, against our better judgment, engaging in acts of shameless self-promotion. It only makes sense to offer you the same tools to do our work for us without the burden of any shame whatsoever.

I can't say that I welcome your feedback while keeping a straight face. To tell you the truth, I may laugh a little, especially if your complaints are self-righteous, strident, or pushing an agenda. But go ahead and leave a comment. You may at least provide some other readers with entertainment. Saves me the trouble.