Potential future website (split from What`s everyone up too?)

Discuss the society, wargaming, and other topics of interest
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Russell Phillips
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Russell Phillips » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:46 am

First, if you want the team to actually do anything, mentioning it in a completely unrelated thread is a really bad idea. It's only by sheer coincidence that I saw these posts, and that some time after most of them were posted.

To answer some specific points:
Seret wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:13 pm
But since you're asking; what I would do is:

Set up a "magazine" style site using a good CMS that allows collaboration. Personally I would use Wordpress (a proper install of it hosted on sotcw.co.uk), but that's just me.
I like WordPress. I run several installs of it. If you want to do this, actually talk to us (Andrew, Pete, Phil, me).
Seret wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:13 pm
Transfer the existing archive of articles into the site. This would be the lion's share of the work, but it's a one-off hit.
The SOTCW doesn't currently have permission to do that, so you'd need to get permission from each contributor. That's not a small job - I did it for one Journal (53). It was a pain, and I didn't manage to contact a couple of the authors, so a few articles aren't in the back issue PDF.
Seret wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:13 pm
Set up a "leaky paywall" for it. This would allow search engines to index the content so that people searching for things like "spearhead scenario" would find our content, which presently they don't. At the moment the SOTCW is almost invisible.
You could set it up so that visitors had whatever level of free access to the archive you liked. Not at all, one article, whatever
What do you mean by a "leaky paywall", and how would you set it up?
Seret wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:13 pm
Members would be authors in the CMS, they could submit reviews or articles straight into it, and then the editor(s) could review, edit and schedule the posts for publication at whatever rate match the number of submissions

The result would be that the archives of the Journal would be visible to everybody on the internet and search engines, but to actually read them folks would have to join the society. Membership would be a small fee for "consumers" and free for "producers".

Setting up that kind of site wouldn't be hard, like I said, the majority of the work would be in transfering the archives over to a web format. Running costs would be negligible, and workload for the editor(s) would be reduced, and they'd no longer be working to deadlines. Publication of new content could be paced to match the rate it came in at. We'd have a platform to allow collaboration, rather than the poor old editor beavering away in isolation.
I'm not wholly against the idea, but I suspect you've underestimated the work involved in securing permission to put articles on the website. The other point I'd make, though, is that some people don't bother sending stuff to the Journal because they can simply put it on their own blog. Do you think your idea would change that? If so, why/how?
Russell Phillips
Shilka Publishing

granty101
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by granty101 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:48 am

hammurabi70 wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:13 pm
All magazine production is under pressure.
I know it is...I've been in this business 33 years.
Richard B. wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:11 pm
Well this forum has failed -
Like the Journal, the forum will only work if people use it and contribute to it.

Grant
Vot is your Name? Don't tell him Pike!!!

Seret
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Seret » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:12 am

Russell Phillips wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:46 am
The SOTCW doesn't currently have permission to do that, so you'd need to get permission from each contributor.
Would we though? Our submission guidelines state:
In submitting an article you agree to let the Society reproduce it in any medium it chooses (hard copy, PDF, as part of its website).
A "leaky paywall" is one that lets people see a limited amount of content before they hit the paywall, and which lets spiders crawl the site.

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Russell Phillips
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Russell Phillips » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:55 am

Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:12 am
Russell Phillips wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:46 am
The SOTCW doesn't currently have permission to do that, so you'd need to get permission from each contributor.
Would we though? Our submission guidelines state:
In submitting an article you agree to let the Society reproduce it in any medium it chooses (hard copy, PDF, as part of its website).
That's what the website says now. Looking back through old emails, it appears that it first said that in May 2015. However, the most recent Journal says "We reserve the right to reproduce any material printed in the Journal in future compendia, which may be in electronic formats." That's much less clear-cut. Personally, I'd say that it doesn't cover putting articles on the website, but I'm sure others would argue that it does.

I'm not sure which would have precedence if it came to a legal fight, and given that the SOTCW lost several prolific contributors when we breached their copyright by adding their articles to MagWeb without permission, I'm inclined to err on the side of asking for permission if we don't definitely have it.
Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:12 am
A "leaky paywall" is one that lets people see a limited amount of content before they hit the paywall, and which lets spiders crawl the site.
Thanks. Can you answer the second part of my question now, please. How would you set it up? Are there WordPress plugins to do this?
Russell Phillips
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Seret
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Seret » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:03 am

Russell Phillips wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:55 am
Personally, I'd say that it doesn't cover putting articles on the website, but I'm sure others would argue that it does.
I think we'd certainly be able to post anything submitted since that clause was added. For anything prior I agree that it would be a good idea to seek permission, but I don't think we'd need to make life too difficult for ourselves. If we compiled a mailing list of former contributors we could mail shot them and give them the option to opt out?

I think there's fundamental difference between republishing something through the Society's own channels and shifting people's content onto a different site entirely, like MagWeb.
Are there WordPress plugins to do this?
Yes, several.

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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Russell Phillips » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:43 am

Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:03 am
I think we'd certainly be able to post anything submitted since that clause was added. For anything prior I agree that it would be a good idea to seek permission, but I don't think we'd need to make life too difficult for ourselves. If we compiled a mailing list of former contributors we could mail shot them and give them the option to opt out?
I think you're too quick to exploit other people's copyright. If the notice was the same on the website and the Journal, I'd agree. Since they're not, I think we need to assume that people submitted articles under the terms of the more restrictive one, especially as that was the one in the Journal, and we can reasonably assume that every member has read the Journal. I don't think we can reasonably assume that every member has checked the notice on the website.

The onus is on us to ensure that we have permission, not on the copyright holders to tell us that we can't do what we like with their intellectual property. Oh, and we don't have a mailing list of former contributors. We could, of course, try and find their emails. That's what I did for Journal 53, and like I said, it wasn't quick or simple.
Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:03 am
I think there's fundamental difference between republishing something through the Society's own channels and shifting people's content onto a different site entirely, like MagWeb.
Fair point, but since the society has form in this area, I think we should tread carefully.
Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:03 am
Are there WordPress plugins to do this?
Yes, several.
I'm beginning to understand why tempers got so frayed in this thread. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

I'll try again. Which WordPress plugins would you use? Do you have experience with any of them? If so, which ones? Are they any good? Did you have any issues with them? Do they use the standard WordPress users?

Like I said before, I like WordPress. I use it for several websites. I'd really appreciate some detail on how you'd set this up. I don't want to decide that your idea wouldn't work because I looked at the "WP Bit Rubbish Leaky Paywall" plugin and decided it wouldn't work, if you're intending to use the "WP Super-Duper Leaky Paywall" plugin.

I'm trying to work out whether or not your suggestion is a good one, but right now, I don't really know what you're proposing, beyond "WordPress and a plugin or two". That could describe every WordPress website I've ever come across, and it doesn't help me work out whether your idea is a good one or not.

Oh, and could you please answer my other question: Some people don't bother sending stuff to the Journal because they can simply put it on their own blog. Do you think your idea would change that? If so, why/how?
Russell Phillips
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Seret
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Seret » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:16 pm

Russell Phillips wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:43 am
Fair point, but since the society has form in this area, I think we should tread carefully.
Fair enough.
I'll try again. Which WordPress plugins would you use?


Honestly, I assumed you'd just go look them up in the Wordpress plugin directory, since you said you were familiar with it.

At this stage I'm just kicking around the idea, I haven't researched a specific implementation in that kind of detail. Exactly which plugin to use would be a decision made further down the track, once priorities and constraints were established. I've not used any of them previously. Yes, it's possible that if none turned out to be what we wanted that it would throw a major spanner in the works. But I certainly wouldn't start the project saying "We must use Technical Solution X to solve problem Y" before we'd even started, that's putting the cart before the horse.

What I'm suggesting is in fact "WordPress and a plugin or two", but the point of that is that it shifts the Society's main asset and output (content written by wargamers for wargamers) onto a CMS that presents an attractive, easy to use, indexable front end to the user, and enables collaborative working by authors and editors. And yes, that means we could have more than one editor. We'd get to make at least some of our archive content "live" again, so that it looked like we were more active. Content could be pushed out to other platforms automatically, improving the Society's visibility and providing a more regular flow of content to keep the Society's "brand" (hate that term) out there and make us seem active and relevant. Publishing could be scheduled, so that the rate of release matched that we were receiving it at (and we could fudge this for the initial period by releasing some of all of the archive in a trickle). We'd no longer be tied to storing up a critical mass of content before releasing it. We could be making regular releases. Could we achieve something like one major article and 3 minor ones (eg: reviews, news updates, sale notices?) a month? If we did we'd be laughing, updating once a week would be plenty IMO.

It would also lower the amount of friction for people to post content. People happily post a few lines and a link to sales and bargains on this forum. They could either do so into the CMS themselves (set all society members up as authors) or one of the staff could do a quick copy-paste once a week to help out the less tech-savvy. Blam, you've now got a website that's getting fresh content regularly, which helps with page rank.

I'm not presenting a ready-made fully-formed solution here, as some people seem to assume. If we decided to do it it would have to involve buy-in from multiple people and the details would need to be firmed up. I would suggest that one person just dashing off and implementing what they thought was right would be a poor way to run a fairly major overhaul project like this. If we're a society, we should work as a society. Members should have input, and as much as possible the heavy lifting should be shared by those willing to donate their time and skills. If it's just run as one member's pet project it would probably fail.
Oh, and could you please answer my other question: Some people don't bother sending stuff to the Journal because they can simply put it on their own blog. Do you think your idea would change that? If so, why/how?
Honestly, I don't know if it would or not. People's reasons for posting stuff on their own blogs are their own. I suspect much of it is down to ownership, instant gratification and audience. Posting stuff to your own blog will go live immediately (instead of at some indeterminate point in the future), it's got your name/brand stamped on it, and reaches a wider audience than the Journal would.

So why do people submit anything to the Journal? Again, people's reasons are their own. But I imagine many people get a buzz out of contributing to a group, or of seeing their words given some kind of stamp of officialdom?

Open to suggestions how we'd address the "blog problem". We may just have to accept that we're always going to be competing against personal blogs, that it's just part of the landscape now.

dadlamassu
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by dadlamassu » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:02 pm

I was regular a contributor to the Journal over many years but recently I have stopped writing articles while this and similar threads run. The reason is that I wrote the articles after long research for the benefit of the membership of the society and not for the benefit of non-members. Now I get the impression we are moving away from being a membership organisation to something different.

If you do decide to commercialise or sell my work to non-members then it would be fair to expect that royalties are paid for each sale to each author.

granty101
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by granty101 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:52 am

Seret wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:16 pm

So why do people submit anything to the Journal? But I imagine many people get a buzz out of contributing to a group
I can't lie, it's nice to see an article I have written in print, but I don't do it for accolades or awards. I do it as a way of 'giving back' to the society. I joined the SOTCW not as a wargamer, but as someone who is interested in 20th Century military conflicts, (and I don't just mean the 'big wars').

I have enjoyed reading about things like the Riffi campaigns, and numerous civil wars and small scale actions.

I'm no professional writer, but I'll try to write something for The Journal.

Grant
Vot is your Name? Don't tell him Pike!!!

Seret
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Re: What`s everyone up too?

Post by Seret » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:23 am

dadlamassu wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:02 pm
If you do decide to commercialise or sell my work to non-members then it would be fair to expect that royalties are paid for each sale to each author.
Quite right. I don't think anyone is suggesting that. I'm certainly not. Any reference to a "paywall" just means that the site would have a "members area" that you'd have to pay to cross. Or whatever arrangement we decided to set up. I think the back catalogue should be available only to members, as a way of incentivising membership.

Cheers for splitting this thread out, Russell. We had gone well OT on the other one!

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