Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Dec 2008 16:07 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Consider the following a little Christmas gift. Some of you may have already noticed, but for a few months already OSNews has seen a shift in content. Not necessarily in the subjects we cover, but more in the way we present our news. We've experimented for long enough now - we have settled on a definitive change in our content type. Read on for the details.
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RE[8]: Regular posts
by joshv on Sat 27th Dec 2008 19:56 UTC in reply to "RE[7]: Regular posts"
joshv
Member since:
2006-03-18

Thom, sorry, this is a meandering post with no clear structure which does poor job of actually conveying the nature of whatever changes have taken place - let me demonstrate:


First para - introduction. Nothing specific said about changes made. But read on for specifics.

Para 2 - Page 2 is here (never mind the fact that there's no link to it anywhere I can see). Talk about the fuzzy criteria for page 2 - gut feeling - but this has changed - more about that later.

Para 3 - "long items" - of which this paragraph appears to be an example. Something about input/output posted on the "crew mailing list". No idea what the crew mailing list is. No idea how longer items are a new/novel feature.

Para 4-6 - History of "my take" - much hated. Extended exegesis on "neutrality" which manages not to convey much about your actual position other than an insider post from the crew mailing list.

Para 7 - Wow - a real feature. Links in the summary. Hosanna. Welcome to 1999 Slashdot. But of course you feel the need to qualify this and divert into a non-sequiter about pompous/clever headlines.

Para 8 - Finally back to page 2. 200 words to say short items go to page 2. So I have to read to the middle of the darned post, and then consume 200 words of fluff to learn about probably the biggest major change. But then again, I still can't find a link to page 2.

Para 9 - More talk about Page 2 criteria.

Paras 10-13 - OS news is not Thom's blog, need for more editors/writers This apparently requires 4 paragraphs of exposition.

Para 14 - What you can do to help - write longer submissions.

Para 15 - Merry xmas.

Para 16 - Please provide constructive commentary.


So let me summarize the changes for those who didn't take the time to wade through your 16 paragraphs of dense prose:

1. Main page will concentrate on longer summary articles.
2. OSNews is trying to grow the writer/editorial staff to support #1.
3. Shorter items will be moved to the mysterious page 2 (which I can't seem to find).
4. Links will always appear in summaries.
5. You can help with #1 by submitting longer/meatier summaries.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[9]: Regular posts
by sbergman27 on Sat 27th Dec 2008 20:04 in reply to "RE[8]: Regular posts"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

3. Shorter items will be moved to the mysterious page 2 (which I can't seem to find).

http://www.osnews.com/page2

One thing that OSNews does well is maintain an aesthetically pleasing , logical, and easy to remember link structure.

Edited 2008-12-27 20:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Regular posts
by joshv on Sun 28th Dec 2008 13:44 in reply to "RE[9]: Regular posts"
joshv Member since:
2006-03-18

Excellent, I'll bookmark that, because well, the site maintainers can't seem to put a link to a major portion of the site in the title bar. How user friendly.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Regular posts
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 27th Dec 2008 20:05 in reply to "RE[8]: Regular posts"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So let me summarize the changes for those who didn't take the time to wade through your 16 paragraphs of dense prose:



So you did understand it.

Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean it's bad. It just means YOU didn't like it. Everyone else here seems to be perfectly fine with it, so I'm assuming you are a statistical glitch.

In any case, the the article wasn't fluff, it was context. The moment YOU run a website like OSNews is the moment you will also understand why it's necessary to be so descriptive when it comes to policy changes.

Edited 2008-12-27 20:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[10]: Regular posts
by sbergman27 on Sat 27th Dec 2008 20:30 in reply to "RE[9]: Regular posts"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean it's bad. It just means YOU didn't like it. Everyone else here seems to be perfectly fine with it, so I'm assuming you are a statistical glitch.

Well... so far, few seem to be strongly against the plan. Not that it would make that much difference if they were. Consider it constructive feedback when I say that if I knew of a site of similar orientation, and which had as high quality a user community I would likely move to it. It is the user community and not so much OSNews itself which makes it worth visiting, IMO. In fact, I suspect that if another similar site did get started, and gained enough momentum to get noticed, you might be facing a mass exodus. The attitude of "this is a done deal, and you guys really have no choice" is a recurring one here are OSNews. One which has never sat very well with me. But for the moment, I don't think I would want to sacrifice the conversations I have with my friends (and foes) here.

Which does bring to mind a suggestion that I have actually made here before, but only in jest. But I ran into a site which actually supported it, and decided that maybe it might be worth seriously discussing. I'm not sure I'm actually recommending this. But I ran into a site the other day which had a "Friends" system, similar to here at OSNews, to allow one to explicitly organize their "Friend/Fan" relationships. But they also had a complementary "Foes" system to allow users to explicitly organize their "Foe/Enemy" relationships. At the very least, discussion of this might be entertaining. :-)

Edited 2008-12-27 20:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[10]: Regular posts
by joshv on Sun 28th Dec 2008 13:42 in reply to "RE[9]: Regular posts"
joshv Member since:
2006-03-18

On the actual changes I don't really care much either way. I like longer commentary, but I tend to find the longer articles here are of a lower quality than say Ars Technica - but I will grant that they are getting better.

What I was trying to get through your head is that your long winded post didn't do a very good job of communicating those changes in a clear manner. You buried most of the major changes in the middle and end.

This appears to be a common theme with you Thom, you like to force people to read all the way through something (by for example burying the links in the "read more" section, a practice now finally abandoned, but originally heavily defended by yourself).

You will become a better writer if you learn how to summarize at the top, and leave detailed expository for the end. You might not like that style, but it's the way things a best done on the web. I am a busy person. I want to be able to decide if I want to read on into the detail quickly - and if I don't read on, I want to at least come away with some useful information.

Take for example Kroc's post on Ruby. I had no idea what the hell it was talking about until I read 4 paragraphs into the "read more" section. That's just broken. To be honest I wouldn't have read the article if it had been properly summarized. But I read it just to figure out what the hell it was about.

If this is by design, it's extremely wrong-headed. Don't coerce your readers into reading things they wouldn't have otherwise - use your noggin to succinctly summarize the story well enough that the discerning reader can decide for themselves.

Reply Parent Score: 3