Board Business, November 7th, 2013 – (Should we still have a “This week in the Slacktiverse” post?)

(posted by chris the cynic)

Irregular Business

So, here’s a question I never thought I’d ask: Should we have a “This week in the Slacktiverse” post?

When the typepad site was closing down and it was a question whether we should continue on at all the weekend “This Week” posts were cited by multiple people as the most useful thing to them.  Now… now submissions range from non-existent to nearly so.

Initially it seemed like the reason might just be timing.  That was why we switched the deadline from Greenwich Mean Time to US Eastern Time, the additional hours were apparently quite helpful to some people.  Sometimes if there were no submissions I’d decide to just give in to all/any of the things saying, “I don’t have time for this right now,” and in the resulting delay there would be submissions.

Lately, not so much.  We’re just not getting things coming in.  At one point I solicited submissions from people in hopes that having a less empty post might encourage people to submit themselves.  That didn’t work.

My submission obviously never gets left out because I compile the post.  I can, and do, ignore submitting entirely and just write my contribution when making the post.  But (conjunction at the beginning of the sentence, must be important) if the post is just, “chris the cynic self promotes,” then the post is kind of pointless.

Plus, as someone with a history of serious problems with depression, I’ve kind of cut news out of my life which means I almost never know of anything to contribute to “In Case you Missed This” or “Things you can do”.

So the question is, where do we go from here?

We can drop the post entirely, we can go on as usual (Saturday will have “These two weeks in the Slacktiverse” and after that a regular schedule) or we can try to change/fix things.

I didn’t want to open this discussion with no ideas, so I fished around for some first, in no particular order, here are some suggestions that have been made:
– Make the blog-around like the decon round up: links to posts made since last time on a given blog are simply grabbed and posted, no submission needed.
– Make the post less frequent, for example: This month in the Slacktiverse
– In addition to the existing “anyone can submit” system take on volunteers (if they can be found) to watch for and submit things that would make good additions to In Case You Missed This and Things You Can do.  (For example “My job is to pick three news stories* from the week that I think everyone should know about them and submit them to “In Case You Missed This”.)

One thing pointed out regarding “In Case You Missed This” is, “To get news items in, you need people (a) to read them and (b) to forward them. Perhaps one might try to find out which of these things is missing?”

I think that applies to all sections:
The Blogaround:

Someone who doesn’t have a blog generally can’t contribute.  Is that the problem?  Or is the problem that people are blogging but not sharing?  Whatever the problem is, what, if anything, can we do to fix it?

In Case You Missed This

People who don’t read(hear/watch) anything worth sharing can’t contribute.  People who do but aren’t submitting aren’t helping.  Is the lack of submissions because of thing 1, thing 2, or both.  Whatever the answer, is there something we can do to change things so we do get submissions?

Things You Can Do

People who don’t encounter causes that can be helped via the internet (generally via petition signing or donation) can’t contribute.  People who do encounter them but don’t submit them aren’t helping the section.  Is the lack of submissions because of thing 1, thing 2, or both.  Whatever the answer, is there something we can do to change things so we do get submissions?

And in the end, the question remains, should we have a “This week in the Slacktiverse” post at all at this point?  I, personally, want the answer to be yes.  But that doesn’t mean it is yes.  If it’s just going to end up the, “chris the cynic wrote this since last time” post then it’s really not worth keeping.

So, please, share any thoughts you have on the subject in this thread.



*  To make sure I don’t misrepresent things here, an “In Case You Missed” this doesn’t have to be a news story.  A really good article on a blog is fine too.  Video too, but that seems like it would be less frequent.  (Though I could definitely see “The latest edition of ‘Tropes vs. Women’ is out!” being a submission.)

It’s just that if someone’s job is to find “In Case You Missed This” stuff for the week I think they’d have better luck with that job if they were following news items than if they were reading ALL THE BLOGS and watching ALL THE VIDEOS in hopes that one had a non-news related but still well worth sharing item.

Regular Business

There is no submission deadline for articles and open thread suggestions.  Send them any time.

The Submission Deadline for the weekend post is 20:00 (8PM) US Eastern Time Saturday.

Anyone who has submissions for the weekend post should send them in.  Some people wonder if they really deserve to be in the post.  The answer to that is always the same: You do.  So try not to be afraid and do try to send in submissions if you have them.

The sections of the post are as follows:

The Blogaround

Any denizen of the Slacktiverse who has posted an article to their own website since they last submitted to a weekend post is invited, enticed, and cajoled to send a short summary of that article along with its permalink to the group email. That summary and link will be included in the next weekend blogaround. This will help to keep members of our community aware of the many excellent websites hosted by other members.

Remember, this is since you last submitted to a weekend post, not since the last weekend post. For example, if the last time you submitted was a month ago, everything you wrote since then is fair game.

In Case You Missed This

Readers of The Slacktiverse can send short summaries of, and permalinks to, articles that they feel might be of interest to other readers.  These should be sent, as you might expect, to the group email.

Things You Can Do

Anyone who knows of a worthy cause or important petition should send a short description of the petition/cause along with its url to the group email.

Deadlines
Again, none for articles and open thread suggestions, 20:00 (8 PM) US Eastern Time Saturday for the Weekend post.  Also, if there’s a deconstruction you feel should be in the roundup, you can suggest that at any time.
In case the links don’t work: the group email is SlacktiverseAuthors (at) gmail (dot) com.
Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Board Business, November 7th, 2013 – (Should we still have a “This week in the Slacktiverse” post?)

  1. Ana Mardoll November 7, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I really like the idea of community volunteers rounding up news, but I also say that as someone who wouldn’t have the time or spoons to put in a stint, so I’m basically saying “I’d like other people to do work for me!” Which seems like a shitty thing for me to say, so there’s that. 😦

    I apologize for not sending in more submissions — the Wendy Davis transcript thing has been absorbing all my everything. Sigh.

  2. christhecynic November 7, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Regarding existing suggestions:
    – Make the blog-around like the decon round up: links to posts made since last time on a given blog are simply grabbed and posted, no submission needed.

    In part because I am not mmy*, I don’t really support this. I mean, if it’s the will of the group then I’ll do it, but the thing is that a submission to the blogaround consists of two things, a link to the post in question and a description of that link. I don’t really feel comfortable or qualified to make those descriptions. Also post grabbing fails to talk into account the quality of the post in question. Maybe we end up linking to posts the author would never have shared.

    It definitely takes a load off the authors if they can just say, “My blog is in the slacktiverse, include me in the blogaround,” and then forget about it, but I think it has too much cost in terms of quality.

    *Who took time to read every submission to see if any additional trigger warnings were necessary (most came from the authors, I think, but sometimes one or two needed to be added, or the author said, “I know this needs a trigger warning, but I don’t know what.:

    —-

    – Make the post less frequent, for example: This month in the Slacktiverse

    I like having the blog run on a weekly schedule. Not so much that I’m going to argue that we shouldn’t have a “This [something] in the Slacktiverse unless the [something] is “week”, but I do prefer a weekly schedule.

    —-

    – In addition to the existing “anyone can submit” system take on volunteers to watch for and submit things that would make good additions to In Case You Missed This and Things You Can do.

    If there are people who would volunteer to do this I think it would be good. I’d prefer if the sections would just get their content organically by people coming across things that belong and submitting them, but first that isn’t happening much and second this wouldn’t prevent people from doing that.

    First off, I simply disbelieve that people are encountering things that would go in these sections as infrequently as submissions suggest. If someone has volunteered to make sure that there are submissions that gives a powerful impetus to submit something that belongs when they encounter it that would otherwise be lacking. Second I wonder if people might be encountering things that they would submit but then not thinking about them when they decide whether or not they have anything worth submitting to the weekend post. Any volunteers would have a reason to either submit immediately or keep track of appropriate content,

    —-

    And that’s all I have to say for now.

  3. Firedrake November 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Going less frequent, or only posting when there’s something to post, runs the risk of letting the post fall into desuetude because people simply don’t remember that it exists. Whenever I see something that might be relevant, there’s a Slacktiverse post less than a week back in my memory to remind me to send it there straight away.

    Not that this happens often at the moment. I’m trying to send more stuff — I reckon if it’s not relevant the Powers can reject it or ask me to be more on-topic.

  4. Brin November 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Chris: Someone who doesn’t have a blog generally can’t contribute. Is that the problem?

    I don’t know about in general, but it is with me. My Tumblr is almost all reblogs, and even the occasional OPs are not exactly articles. (“Trouble initiating conversations” is a common problem among people with my neurotype, and one I have like whoa.)

    Ana: I really like the idea of community volunteers rounding up news, but I also say that as someone who wouldn’t have the time or spoons to put in a stint, so I’m basically saying “I’d like other people to do work for me!”

    I do have the time to put in a stint. While I don’t have depression to amplify things, I have a pretty low tolerance for Look How Awful the World Is. I already read a lot of blogs, and could look at them with more of an eye to sharing.

  5. lonespark42 November 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Maybe a thing in between “submissions only” and “Grab ALL THE POSTS!” would be checking with community members to see if they want any of their posts submitted, or if they have any? Which would be more work for someone, but if you could have emails set up to go out maybe not too much?

    I am very bad on the technical aspects if computer anything. It takes a lot of explaining and a ton of practice for me to get comfortable posting pictures or anything else. But I read a lot, so I could look for things to submit and tell someone else about them… writing the little blurb things seems like a challenge, and I’m not sure that I could do it more than sometimes. Could someone else? Hello out there!

  6. lonespark42 November 7, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Also the thing I personally liked best about Slacktivist, Original Recipe was Fred sharing how his faith shaped his understanding of, and reaction to, different events, pieces of art, life experiences, etc… and then in the comments other people would share how their their identities shaped their reactions to the same or similar things.

    That obviously works better when there’s an original post, which has been a major challenge lately. But the “Art and Social Justice” post was great, so maybe it can be the start of a renaissance?

    And it seems like open threads could do similar things, except that usually having a few links thrown up gives people something to do and talk about. Maybe there’s something to having mini-posts? Because I feel like the investment is really high for a “proper” post, sometimes, when people are busy…

    Or maybe I’m the only one who’s not mostly here for the deconstructions.

    And one more thought occurs… Would it be easier for people to respond to questions about their posts than submit stuff? Like a mini-interview about what you wrote and why, and then that becomes the blurb to accompany a link, and it could be through email or instant message maybe.

  7. lonespark42 November 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

    So, Brin, if you are good with pictures, and I am…not…perhaps our powers combined could lead somewhere awesome.

  8. Ana Mardoll (@AnaMardoll) November 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

    @ Brin, honestly, I’d be just as happy with HAPPY “in case you missed this” news. 🙂

    Speaking of: Chris, I sent in that article about Sweden including a Bechdel rating, but now I can’t remember if we already posted about that.

  9. lonespark42 November 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

    YES, agreed. We definitely need happy news and ambiguous-but-hopeful news. Sometimes it’s in how you frame it, or which part of the situation you concentrate on…

  10. christhecynic November 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I don’t remember what it was now, but I seem to recall Brin sending something in for “In Case You Missed This” which was just of a “SCIENCE! it’s discovered a new cool thing” bent and I think that’s something a lot of us could do with more of.

  11. Brin November 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Lonespark: So, Brin, if you are good with pictures, and I am…not…perhaps our powers combined could lead somewhere awesome.

    What sort of pictures? Drawing pictures, Photoshopping pictures, hosting pictures? I’m not especially good at drawing (don’t practice that often), I have no experience with photo alteration, but I’ve done hosting.

    Chris: I don’t remember what it was now, but I seem to recall Brin sending something in for “In Case You Missed This” which was just of a “SCIENCE! it’s discovered a new cool thing” bent

    There were a couple. Science being awesome makes up a significant portion of what I read, and is the most likely portion to be worth sharing. (Though I’d probably try to take them from a variety of blogs. The couple I’ve already done were from Not Exactly Rocket Science. I doubt it would be too long before I’d convinced everyone who was interested that they should just follow that blog. (Which they should.))

  12. Silver Tyger (@SilvercatTyger) November 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I wish I could say I’ll contribute more, but I have long periods of not doing anything.

    Maybe compromise, and go to every two weeks?

    How old of articles can we submit? It seems like whenever I find something interesting, it’s months or years old and so I figure people have probably seen it before. Or it’ll be on a site I figure everyone is already reading (Shakesville, Skepchick, The Mary Sue…)

  13. Firedrake November 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    For what it’s worth, Silver Tyger, I don’t read any of those regularly.

    And unless the Powers object, it seems to me that they can decide what not to include, but only if we submit it in the first place.

  14. lonespark42 November 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Yeah, I don’t read those either. (Shakesville very occasionally because Ana Mardoll, mostly…)

    Yeah, maybe This Fortnight in the Slacktiverse could work. It’s a recurrence interval that works well for me with other stuff.

  15. christhecynic November 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

    It’s generally good to assume that not everyone is reading what you’re reading in large part because the internet is full of stuff and everyone has finite time. You simply cannot read all the things worth reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: