Agonist Going Forward

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Images: WTF?    Stay Cool    We’re all in the same boat

Now that the dust has been stirred up and most of it has settled, I would like to solicit ideas from the entire Agonist community, from the top to the bottom.
I am seeking thoughts on how best to administer the site, keep posts flowing and serve both our writers and our readers going forward.

If the thread gets too long it will be closed to comments and new thread started, so feel free to let your creative juices flow.

Thank you.

BTW: With a Nor’Easter headed my way, my access to the ‘Net might be interrupted, so don’t panic or be offended if a response is not immediate over the next couple of days.

 

37 comments to Agonist Going Forward

  • readr satx

    Probably everyone else knows this stuff, but I found some information on this site:
    http://mcjonline.com/www/agonist.org
    Website worth and traffic analysis
    Registered: 2002-09-16
    Last Modified: 2010-04-30
    Expiration Date: 2013-09-16 (Play ominous music here)
    I don’t know anything about which sites that rank websites are good, up-to-date, reliable, but I do know that it’s not good to let a domain registration expire. If this is a valid expiration date, this may be the reason for the owners’ quiescence. (Play ominous music again, here)

  • dk

    Is there an owner other than J Richards?
    Wouldn’t the deicision of site administration be his?
    Has there been any communication?

  • nymole

    Low level question….

    Do current Agonists have suggestions for a not so serious Friday- into- weekend thread for this weekend ?

    Continuation of Music faves? cats?,zombies?,general open thread?

    I would imagine links would have to remain links for now, given the time necessary for someone with editor permissions to convert into YouTube embeds or images.

    – mole

  • @dk:
    JR says he has partners.
    He’s okay with me temporarily administering the site – actually grateful to have anyone do it. He is certainly entitled to change his mind and give someone else that rather thankless task down the road. Meanwhile, it’s me.
    Last contact was Monday, 02/04/13. One of his partners was abroad at the time. I have no idea what they are considering at this point.

    @nymole:
    We’ve always done Friday Catblogging – first post sets the theme.
    We’ve recently started Saturday Jukebox music videos – first post sets the theme.
    We started Open Horizons on Tuesdays, non-newsy, non-political, off our normal path, cultural, sort of like the ‘Human Interest’ sections in old newspapers (remember them?). This posting was rotated among 4-5 of the editors. It sort of got lost when the storm broke with Steve & Matt departing; some of the editorial crew got understandably demotivated. I will try to resume this feature next Tuesday if I don’t get too bogged down in Admin.

    Post the links, I will embed images or videos- assuming the Nor-Easter doesn’t take down my power. :-)

    • nymole

      Steeleweed –

      Thanks for response. Also probably for this weekend a “Let it snow”(duh) thread for anecdotes.

      Since I can no longer start threads, assume you or Mike or Raja (haven’t seen him) or some other editor start the “lightweights”.

      I will look for basic start material in case you are too busy (or too unconnected) to do any searching. If you already have ideas please ignore.

      mole

  • I agree with the above.

    Get 5 editors of the day and any other volunteers to run the place.

    Seek out some new content, probably reposting someone first rate. I have permission of a couple of talented authors with high profiles to repost here. I’d need to renew those and we’d be in good shape.

    • Thank you Michael. I appreciate your thoughts and efforts.

      I don’t mind the housekeeping functions but really don’t want to run the site as a manager type. I turned down numerous management offers over the last 50 years to stay a techie because I was afraid of being corrupted by power – it would be so easy to become a dictator that it scares me and I don’t want to go there.

      I’m trying to set up a new listserve for the editors but I’m not sure if the invites went out – will look into that when I get time.

      Thanks again.

  • Doug Richardson

    Will the ability to post be opened to all registered members again or remain in the hands of a select few?

    • @DR:
      With the old Drupal site, members could post.
      With the new WP site, the classes are (from least powerful to the most powerful):

      Subscribers – can comment
      Contributors – can post but posts need to be approved by an Editor or Administrator
      Authors – can post but cannot edit or do anything with any posts but his/her own
      Editors – can post and can edit & tweak any post.
      Administrators – can post, edit, control user level, generally play God.

      I started as a Contributor until I learned how to write posts acceptable to the Powers That Were; was then promoted to Author and eventually to Editor.

      The upside of restricting posting is some control over the general direction of the site: Numerian posting on financial issues, Adrena running a Mid-East news thread, Raja a general news thread, someone keeping tabs on crime, another on politis, etc. It kept the site focused instead of being scattered across so many ‘genres’ it had no definable character.

      The downside is that not everyone can be heard as widely as they like, comments getting less exposure than posts.

      The WP version is not as much a completely open forum as the old site was. 100% democracy allows Good to arise from anywhere, but also allows Bad to arise equally. We want to maintain the quality of the posts and writing. If we open it up to everyone, policing the content would be a nightmare. My thoughts were inclined to giving Contributor status selectively on request/recommendation until we see the quality of the posts and writing, then either promoting to Author or demoting back to Subscriber. I will run this by the Editors offline and we’ll see what develops.

      Meanwhile, we have sometimes posted an ‘open thread’ whereon anyone could comment, those comments effectively being equivalent to letting all members ‘post’. If the editors think it’s a good idea, I’ll keep an ‘open thread’ going, probably limiting it to a readable number of comments/posts before closing it and opening another one. If it turns out that the comments are not up to snuff, it indicates the posts wouldn’t be up to snuff and we throttle back (or throttle the offending members LOL).

      You have a valid point and a good idea. This is the kind of feedback I was looking for – thank you.

  • Arnie

    Can someone help Celsius 233 regain access. With the change to the new format their password no longer works. Please leave instructions and a knowledgable contributor can regain their voice in these parts. Thanks and appreciated.

  • @readr satx thanks for the PM but unable to reply to you via messaging I get an error. email me upshallg@gmail.com and I will respond.

    • readr satx

      The site needs for one of the gods to open a thread that explains what WP steps a user can/should take to get messaging set up for any such user that wants it. Not a comment, a thread.
      Then the thread should ask users each to set that up for themselves — esp. the demi-gods, er Editors, and the main god(s), er Administrator(s).
      I’m putting my name at the bottom, as it used to be. I like it at the top, and I like it at the end of the article, also. So wtf?
      readr satx

      • I’m looking into the best way to have such useful information available without cluttering up the front page. Stay tuned.

        • nymole

          I would suggest a site FAQ that can be added to as necessary, and made into a featured post.

        • readr satx

          “Stay Tuned,” is very cordial, but no one can message anyone else, now.
          Tina is available this weekend; can you possibly have the time to ask her to write out a thread and explain to everyone how to set up their messaging, so that it all does get done?
          It’s really been good that the Editors can talk back and forth; I see evidences of it in the comments. But it’s possible that maybe some of the other members might want to message either each other, or an Editor, and are embarrassed or otherwise to have their msgs show up in the comments section for all to see. I, myself, am such an amateur that I hate putting my questions out there for all eyes.
          Yes, I know, storm, avoiding site breakdown, admins leaving spur-of-the-moment, etc., but messaging is possibly a part of the site’s functioning, right?
          No apologies for my assertiveness; if you haven’t got time to do it, and thanks for the work you are doing, can you possibly have time to get someone to help? There are possibly others that know WP; it seems like I may have read some comments entered by a few who had possibly worked on the changeover from Drupal.
          readr satx

          • I understand your frustration and you’re not alone. We are all frustrated with the situation and trying to cope with unfamiliar circumstance.
            Most of us also have lives outside Agonist; jobs, families, responsibilities. Unfortunately, we don’t have folks who can be fulltime troubleshooters.
            I’m unusual in only working part time and remotely, so I have more time to spare than most.

            We are discussing changes to facilitate improved response and resolution of common problems, including the issue of in-house messaging.
            There are severa; options; we need to find the best, find time to implement and have someone competent and willing to implement it.

            The issue here is responsiblity. I’ve done some WP work but am not an expert and certainly would not tinker and risk crashing someone else’s site.
            There are thousands online with the WP expertise, but without demonstrable proof, I won’t give someone Admin access based simply on their claims.

            We have one Editor with professional WP skills. He helped the migration from Drupal to WP and is still helping – when his circumstances permit.

            “Patience is a virtue.
            Possess it if you can.
            Seldom found in women
            And never found in man.”

          • readr satx

            Measure twice;
            Cut once.

            The site does seem quite fragile. readr satx

  • scrat242

    Get Numerian, Ian Walsh, and Stirling ……back and posting\commenting.

    • Numerian posts here when he has something significant to say, including this recent article.

      Both Ian and Stirling are Subscribers – they can comment but not post.
      HuffPo says Ian was a Managing Editor here, but that would be before my time. I think I’ve seen a rare comment from him but don’t recall any from Stirling.

      If I get a request from anyone with serious credentials in the blogsphere, I will take that to the Editors and as group we will say yes, no or decide not to decide.
      While I am happy to see suggestions as to the bloggers you’d like to see here, you should remember that expanding/reducing the membership in the various privilege categories is a EIC decision. I am not the EIC and I will not take on that role.

    • Raja

      One of Ian’s latest The coming catastrophes and the Rawlsian veil of ignorance, as redacted:

      The great problem we have today in improving our society, in fixing our economy, is that so many people don’t want to give up what they have. If you work in the health insurance industry in the US, an evil industry whose job is to [not] deny care in exchange for money, for example, your job needs to go away. It is a job which does more harm than good. If you work in peteroleum extraction, well, most of those jobs need to go away. If you work in a large bank or brokerage, well, your job needs to change in a way that will deprive you of your high bonuses, and which will leave many bankers and traders unemployed, because banking done in a way that build society rather than tears it down probably doesn’t need your skill set. We need a lot less [fewer] accountants, a lot less [fewer] administrators at universities, a lot less [fewer] soldiers, a ton less [fewer] spies, far fewer people working in the military-industrial complex, and on and on.

      • Posted earlier.

        We have built an entire society – I hesitate to call it a civilization – on all the wrong values; placing humanity at the bottom.
        I posted/commented recently, to the effect that we have made a world where you can’t live without money.
        You might have all the natural resources: land, water, crops, livestock, communities, etc – but if you don’t have money, you die. Why?
        Because someone is going to take everything away from you and give you money.
        And if that money ever becomes worthless (as it will), you’re screwed.

        • Celsius 233

          Thank you so much; I’d given up after so many tries and subsequent failures to log in.
          Nice to be back.
          Good luck with your daunting task; The Agonist is worth saving.
          Cheers

          And a big thanks to Arnie for his help.

          • Hey Celsius 233…, great to see your by-line here again. Been a while…, and you haven’t been on over a Ian’s either. Seems that last I remember your sister was planning of joining you over there. I often envisioned you living in a grass hut on a beautiful beach with a gentle breeze and the waves gently lapping on shore. Don’t spoil my imagery…, but hope the life is close to that. It would be nice if we still had the old Dupaul system and I could check back to make sure I hadn’t missed any updates or posts of yours. The Agonist was the only blog I ever found with that capability…, and quite sadly…, it may never be again. But maybe something will get worked out here. What I miss here is the real community spirit we once had. Maybe we will get it back. I sure hope so.

            Right on partner…, write on.

          • @ Scott R. I think the community spirit is returning. If updates to buddypress work then we will be singing, screaming and shouting!

            And even though it all went wrong I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen

          • Celsius 233

            @ Scott R: I’m still posting over at Ian’s (got one or three there now).
            Sis is here and teaching; she hit the ground running, so-to-speak. Cheers.

          • I’ll have to check it out Celsius…., that’s what I mean about not being able to “track” commenters. I don’t spend much time on the ‘Net during the week and have to catch up on the weekends. Makes it easier if I can just check the folks I am really interested in…, rather than wading through the hordes !!!!!

          • Celsius 233

            @ Tina;
            Hi there Tina, nice to hear from you. Cheers

  • @ ScottR Click on the commenters name and voila!

    • Not so over at Ian’s…, and not so with me…, or a lot of others…, here now. Been going to see if your earlier “profile” hint works. The Dupaul thing was cat’s meow for tracking. And for following comments if you have catch up on a weekly basis.

  • Some ideas gleaned, some problems solved, some dust settled.
    This post’s work here is done.

    Rest assured we are still actively working on how best to advance the site and – more importantly – the interests of our Agonist community.

    I’m going to ‘unsticky’ this post and let it ride off into the sunset of the archives.

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