Welcome to the New Opinio Juris!

by Peggy McGuinness

In conjunction with the announcement of our new partnership with Oxford University Press, Opinio Juris is pleased to roll out our redesigned site. A lot of hard work has gone into the redesign and we want to thank Seth Elalouf of Spacesuit Group Design for his technical and design support during our migration to a new hosting platform and graphical interface, and Amy Moore for her invaluable assistance troubleshooting links and content. The entire Opinio Juris crew also thanks Ninell Silberberg and Niamh Cunningham at Oxford University Press for their tremendous support and dedication to this project.

Please note that all longtime readers who subscribed to digests or email notification through our old Powerblogs platform will no longer receive those email notifications. Of course, it is now easy to subscribe to new postings through RSS feed or any of the other excellent blog delivery services available.

Check out our new features and links and let us know what you think. We intend to keep evolving and adjusting the new site in the coming weeks, so we appreciate any feeback and input from our readers. Enjoy!


14 Responses

  1. Wow. I love the new look!

  2. Wow is right. Just wow.

  3. This is just so cool……i like the color frame….and would be looking forward for more content as was in it so far…..U Rock!…

  4. Response…

    Wow! I’m so happy you are back. The website looks very cool. I love reading your commentaries; and have learned a great deal from them. Thanks!


  5. What a beautiful new website. I stop by most days to see what’s up in this world, and really enjoy what I read here.

  6. It does look very nice.

  7. Very impressive. Nice job.

  8. Congrats! We’ve made the announcement at AIDP. Love the new site.

  9. The new design clearly took much thought and effort, but it appears that this once pleasantly-open blog has now been replaced by a tightly-controlled website. That may be intentional. I hope it does not stifle what made Opinion Juris so successful.

    The affiliation is prestigious, and I begrudge no one a few ads. But a good blog is fresh and easy to read or skim; quite different than an academic journal. This new look and feel may impress tenure committees (which is important) but it does not serve readers. Even the font itself sacrifices readability for modern appearance. I waited a day to see if the redesign would grow on me. It didn’t. I hope the statistical measures of readership will demonstrate that my concerns are misplaced. I would encourage you to openly discuss them in a few months.

    As I go to hit ‘preview’ and post this comment, I see there is an unannounced policy change prohibiting ‘guest’ commentary. The previous policy of allowing anonymous posting had been debated openly, with no evidence provided of any real problem here at Opinio Juris.
    And now as I even try to search for these past debates, using both the ‘search’ button and independent search engines, I also discover that the past has been aggressively scrubbed and deleted.

    You may have noticed, as have I, that ‘prestigious’ organizations tend to have little appetite for risk (whether they be universities, law firms, governments, MNCs or university-affiliated publishing houses). They shudder at the thought of hosting anonymous commentary which might criticize their interests (or their clients’ interests, see the real reason for Akin Gump’s closing all comment from SCOTUSblog–and it hasn’t been as interesting since). Yet lively open discussion is one of the reasons in favor of blogs in the first place. I don’t know why the policy was changed now. The coincidence of the unannounced policy change and the new affiliation does make me wonder, and makes me wonder what else is changing here.

    Opinio Juris has become known for its fascinating commentary and also for hosting spirited (and indeed generally good-natured) comments that give room to many views, often presented intelligently, with conviction, and without excessive ego. You have succeeded in building and fostering such a space, which is rare and impressive.

    I am confident that the esteemed Opinio Juris contributors will work to mitigate any ‘ungood’ consequences of this migration, and I hope you are as successful in that as you have been overall. I would humbly suggest restoring the past-–the full site archives-–as a first step. Perhaps in the old format–-you could even put up a disclaimer that Oxford Univ Press is not responsible for the shenanigans and hooliganism tolerated by Opinio Juris in its youth.

    So, do we still get to say ‘organ failure or death’? The libel laws of other countries may be onerous, but c’mon, he did write it. Or at least I thought there was a website that said he wrote it. Funny, I can’t seem to find it now.

  10. DG:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I’ll post some quick responses here and one or more of us may respond at greater length, as well.
    In anycase, I wanted to assure you of a few things:

    First, there has been no “scrubbing” of the the archives. They all still exist. We have gone through and done spot checks to see if everything, including comments, has been moved to the new site. If there is anything missing, then its because of a problem with the migration. However, all that data still exists on the old server and we can get it migrated onto this site. If there are some specific holes you have spotted, let us know and we’ll get to patching them.

    Regarding searches, we know that there is currently a problem with the search function but we are working on getting it fixed. Once again, the data is there, its just a question of pointing to the right URL.

    I am not sure what you mean about a change regarding “guest” commentary. You should still be able to post using a pseudonym, as from the old site, and as you have done here with your recent comment. We meant to keep the same comment function as the old site. If there is something different, just let us know.

    And, one thing I really want to emphasize: OUP has no say regarding our content and there is nothing we are changing in regard to content due to the OUP partnership (or any other reason). Actually, to make this as clear as possible, I should just say there is nothing we are changing in regard to content, full stop.

    I hope you will fine this site even more welcoming, easy to use, and with a broader range of useful functions than the previous site. Believe it or not, those are our main goals.

    Anyway, we are actively putting together a “punch list” of fixes and tweaks so please don’t hesitate in letting us know what you do and do not like and we will do our best to adjust the site to make it as responsive to the likes and dislikes of the broader Opinio Juris community as possible.

    I use the word community deliberately. We think of Opinio Juris not so much as a specific website architecture, but as a community that enjoys discussing (and arguing about) issues of mutual interest. This site is just a means to that end. We are always interested an open to your suggestions as to how the site can better achieve its purpose.

    All the best,


  11. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I also appreciate the kind email I received from one of the webmaster contributors.

    An email address is now required information, which is a change. Perhaps one could use a fake email address; I did not. For various reasons I would ask you to consider bringing back the ‘forget your personal information’ button, even if you keep the email requirement.
    And how about the ‘preview’ button? Unless you like our typos.

    But foremost, I appreciate your assurance that my history-scrubbing concerns are misplaced. I had searched variations of ‘pseudonym gunboat opinio juris’ using your search feature and also the usual search engines, and found only dead ends. I tried again more extensively after your reply, and I see that yahoo has a cached version of one such vigorous discussion–the comments to Duncan Hollis’s January 4, 2008, Padilla versus Yoo post–showing http://www.opiniojuris.org/posts/1199481954.shtml as the source (a dead end). After learning the date from the cached version, I was able to go through your current archive feature to locate that post and thread, and gladly report that it is indeed fully intact, at http://opiniojuris.org/2008/01/04/padilla-versus-yoo/#comments. Via google cache I located another from May 24, 2007, likewise intact in the new archives.

    I look forward to using your robust new search feature when it is up and running, and/or once the search engine crawlers have found your migrated archive.

    And I do congratulate all on the new affiliations, and for maintaining the full editorial independence of Opinio Juris. I can certainly understand why both entities would be interested in the connection, to advance the purpose and voice of each. I value the space to have a meaningful argument. My sincere thanks to the Opinio Juris contributors for building and fostering that space.


    Diplomatic Gunboat

  12. I have been trying to log on, but it does not recognize my name. Maybe that is only for contributors, in which case, is it possible to create a “remember me” box? (very annoying when you have a long name!)

    The site looks great, and love the world map!

  13. Sorry, but this is a terrible “cutesy” template. The old site was plain, not particularly easy on the eyes because of the text-based layout, but it wasn’t cute. I suggest changing the generic banner and the mosaic background.

  14. Great work with the new desing, I quite like it.

    Two critiques however:

    1) Is it possible to either to install the subscribe to comments plugin so that when I comment I get an e-mail if/when someone responds or enable RSS feeds for comments on individual posts? This would make tracking discussions much either.

    2) Probably not possible, but the new design just killed all the links to your past content that I’ve made previously, is it possible to set up some sort of referral system for old links?

    Good work otherwise!

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