granty101 wrote: ↑
28 Mar 2018, 13:32
Not everyone has time to write Andrew.
I don't blame anyone for not writing for the Journal, for whatever reason. Personally I felt it was largely futile and almost completely lacking in any sense of achievement, given the (almost) complete absence of any evidence that anything I did was actually being read and/or used (honourable exceptions here for Mr B Bhoy, Panzerman, Carl and Richard -thanks for the nice comments and sorry for anyone I missed). Again, personally, I think that sense of simply shouting into a bucket, feeds into a lack of submissions. The Society ate itself - it consumed material silently and rarely showed evidence of building on or developing its body of work.
I wrote around 100,000 words for the Journal over 5 or so years (about one in six of every page you read) waiting for someone else to use the breathing space I was helping to create, to submit something. It didn't happen. We all had our chance but collectively, for whatever reason, we didn't care enough to submit articles. Those reasons are largely immaterial. What is
material is the straightforward fact that people don't write. Indeed, they haven't for years. On another forum I remember seeing posts from 2007 (or earlier) from Richard, relatively early in his editorship, saying that, unless he received more submissions immediately, he expected the (then) current subscription to be the last.
Look back to the old forum at the first post I made when Pete took over the editorship (somewhere around winter/spring 2015, I think). It said the same thing very clearly. People still didn't write - doesn't matter why. Skip forward from that date to a time about 18 months later, at the end of that first sub with Pete editing, and you'd find Pete, Russ and I in a pub in Stoke discussing the future, when we had 40 pages of material on hand (i.e.less than a Journal's worth). That meeting started on the premise that the Journal would have to fold. The Journal only continued after we wrangled some changes over two hours and after the three of us decided we would each have to
write a few pages for every edition, which might be enough to hold it together whilst we again pointed out the parlous state the magazine was in.
And while I am here let's put to bed any suggestion that the changes to the Journal were about competing with the monthly glossy magazines and that somehow they undermined some sense of the 'purity' of the Society as some family-like benevolent collective. We made changes to the magazine because we wanted to make a better magazine, because we thought members might like
a better magazine.
People still didn't write, anyway. Then we (by which I mean 'some members of the Society' - just to cut off your comeback) had a futile attempt at an online conversation about what the Society might be or do, when the Journal folded (as we (the editorial team) had repeatedly and clearly stated would happen). This largely amounted to most people simply saying that they wanted the Journal - conveniently ignoring the fact that it was effectively dead. You can try pumping as much adrenaline as you want into the corpse but she's not getting up and dancing again.
So what's the point of my (admittedly) negative and off hand comment about people not writing for the Journal. It is this: If someone tries to start a conversation about what other ways the Society could share its knowledge and interest and anyone is tempted to say 'it won't work', 'let's have the Journal' or 'what are you doing to make it happen?' then please don't post anything. Don't contribute to the conversation because those sorts of comment are not helpful or constructive. All of us would love to have the Journal drop, regularly or irregularly, through our door (and it may yet have one or two issues in it over the next two years) but it is not going to happen. It's been a long, slow decline but promising repeatedly to write something or repeatedly wishing the facts to be otherwise will not change the flight path.
The Journal is dead. Mourn it by all means, but don't use that grief to block any consideration of other ways the Society might work, by saying, basically, that any other proposition is 'not the Journal'.
Personally (and all this is personal, I am not speaking as part of the editorial team here) I think the Society is also terminally ill. I think this forum is considerably less interesting and amusing than it was 6 or 12 months ago. I see nothing else which we do which makes us a Society and I have seen no evidence of any enthusiasm to try anything else. That is not a thriving, healthy body.
And before you ask (again) what am I
doing about it, I'm still reading, correcting, redrafting, formatting and filing every submission that does come in. Beyond that I have one idea for a 'final hurrah' for the Journal involving a Society meeting (I know - 'it won't work') and a last bumper edition. More of that in a future post - perhaps a month or so's time.