August 12, 2020

Comments and More: I Want Your Feedback


We have a lot to discuss. I hope that you all will be patient with EC and with me. I’m working very hard to improve the site and reader experience. Enchanted Conversation is my job now.


Before I go any further, I hope you’ll all take some time to read Kitta MacPherson’s fabulous post. I posted it yesterday, and wasn’t planning to post for another day so her work could have pride of place. So please go read her post. It’s the one with the sheep directly below this one, called “The Other (Better) Beast Story.”


Issues with comments have been popping up. The following issue was not a serious one until recently: If you are commenting as a Google user, you will very likely be asked to sign into your gmail account. This makes it seem like I’m asking for a password. I’m not. It’s Google! They want you to log in to your email so you can post as yourself, as the email account holder. If you don’t want to do that, you can use the anonymous option. If you want to make sure readers know it’s you, just add your name at the end of the comment before submitting. There is a post as your website owner option, but not many people use that one.


No comments are posted until I approve them. There are many reasons, but the most recent one is that I receive between three and 10 absolutely filthy comments every day. I wake up to them each morning. I’m sure it’s a bot, but it’s bad enough that I have to see them, I don’t want you all to.


I’m aware of the irony of me asking people to comment a lot, then having to post about how to comment, which should be a seamless process. I get it.


Why don’t I get off of the Blogger platform? After all, it’s a relic, and is very rarely updated. It’s also poorly supported. It’s old fashioned looking. So many things are wrong!


So here are some reasons why I’m still here: 


Wordpress and I have some star-crossed, weird mojo that makes every attempt a failure. And, even when people who are really sophisticated in all things website-related try, something always goes wrong; please don’t try to convince me that Wordpress is better than Blogger. Of course it is!


There are other issues with other platforms, and they often go back to the following: I don’t want to leave this huge treasure trove of stories and poems and essays and art behind. Making it an archive will force readers to toggle back and forth, which could cause them to bounce away forever. (You really have a fraction of a second to grab potential readers. Everything must be easy.) That will be bad for the site, its fans, and its content creators. Attempts to merge this present site content with a newer platform have been failures (and far more skilled people than I have tried). Also, as much as the new content is important, the older content also drives a lot of traffic.


Okay, so enough about the issues. Just know that there’s a lot of trouble. 


Now, after all of that business about comments, I’m about to ask you for your comments. If it’s easy for you to comment below, please do so. Or, you can email me at katewolford1@gmail.com.


In order to prioritize, and manage time and money, I’d love to have your feedback on the following:


  1. How comfortable are you with EC in its current format? Does it work pretty well for you? Can you comment easily?

  2. When I hold a Patreon campaign, would you be interested in giving small monthly donations, like $7 per month? Or would you prefer a one time, larger donation? (I’m working on rewards I think you will like in either case.) 

  3. When I expand EC into some bigger form, and that will happen, would you rather see a small press develop or make EC into more of a real digital magazine? The latter would have flippable pages you can read on your device. Once a year, an actual paper, printed yearbook would be published. The press would have anthologies published in ebook and print form, starting with two the first year, then scaling up.

  4. I know a lot of you detest social media and want nothing to do with it. It’s hard to dislike it more than I do, but there is no way around it: If EC is to survive and thrive, the social media presence has to increase dramatically. So, would you join a Facebook group just for EC fans? Would you follow us on Instagram? Any ideas of your own you’d like to share?


That’s all for now. I hope to get your feedback. And, despite the troubles EC has posed lately, I deeply enjoy the work I’m doing. It’s important that you all know that.


***


The image is thought to be by an 18th century Irish painter. It’s weird, and reflects my frustration with EC technical issues.


15 comments:

Kitta MacPherson said...

Hi Kate:
Thank you for giving us this forum. I would most likely contribute through a campaign as a one-time donation. I love the idea of a small press and the creation of anthologies. Thank you for the countless hours you put into this enterprise. It’s an incredible, high-quality effort.

AMOffenwanger said...

1. For me commenting is very easy, but I'm permanently signed in with my own Blogger account. I could see how annoying it would be to have to sign in separately; I don't think I'd bother to comment if that was the case.
2. $7/month is not a small amount. $1-2, maybe.
3. digital mag.
4. I don't detest social media at all, but I also don't interact much with public groups or accounts. I'd probably join/follow.

Katew said...

This is all good info. For me, the comment situation is most important. You’re a Blogger user, but almost no one else is. I also need to be realistic about money. To me, $7 is small. It’s the cost of a whole wheat loaf of bread at our fabulous local bakery. But it’s $84 in one year. That’s different.
Thanks for all of the commenting. I appreciate all of your response.

Katew said...

Thank you! I’m so glad to read this. I think for a testing campaign, one time donations would be the way to go, then try a monthly campaign next year.

Kelly Jarvis said...

Commenting is easy for me, though I do have to comment through my laptop because it does not always work with my phone. This means I usually read the posts first on my phone, and often comment a little later, which is not a bad thing as it gives me a moment to react and often means I re-red the story when I logon to my computer! I can't believe you get so many unusable comments, but I am new to the world of online platforms; so sorry you have to read all of that!

I would absolutely join a facebook group for Enchanted Conversation users and think it would be a fun way to build a community!

I like the magazine as it is, but think something published in print form at the end of a year would be really cool (I love holding a book in my hands). And in terms of giving, I think options of one time or monthly donations would be best because different people prefer different methods, though that may make things more difficult for you.

Thanks for all of the work you do for the site; I would not want you to abandon your archives either, and, since I am new to the site, I enjoy your throwback Thursday posts which share stories and poems and articles I have not seen. I struggle to find older pieces by navigating the site on my own.

Kim Malinowski said...

Hi, I would contribute one time. The monthly Patreon gets confusing. But, instead of monthly—is it possible to be quarterly? That would be similar to purchasing a magazine. It’s something to consider anyway. I love the idea of a printed magazine as well as an ebook. I was just published in AHF Magazine and found out through this that they have 3 ways for readers to get access. Print, sold on Amazon too, ebook I know kindle and believe a b&n sort of platform, and on the website there is supposed to be a computer version to buy. (I used my free pdf for that one). I’m sure if you are interested, they would talk process and details. As to the platform, I’m fine with it. If you find something better that works—great. If you don’t—there is no need to fix it. My piece would be archived! But that wouldn’t be terrible either. Also, comments aren’t a problem for me. Good luck. Let us know what keeps happening! I love hearing updates.

Katew said...

I know the platform, that’s huge, and I would hate leaving this body of work behind. I will definitely look up AHF Magazine. Thanks for the tip. I don’t think Patreon does quarterly, but I might try a platform that encourages small donations and takes a smaller percent than Patreon.

Katew said...

I hate that you have to switch devices. I’m sorry! You are right about what appeals to different people in terms of ways give. Do you find the “Past Issues” under the masthead (roll down on phone) hard to navigate? Are you able to click through?

AMOffenwanger said...

Wow, that's expensive bread; have you considered baking your own? ;) But yes, it adds up over time. So the one-time donation would probably be a better option.
And I agree, the sign-in situation is annoying. I wonder if there are alternatives. Your solution of getting people to sign their name to the post if they post anonymous sounds sensible.

Katew said...

šŸ˜† We don’t buy there all the time! It IS very expensive. But we go pretty often. I think I’ll push the anonymous comment solution. Thank you for your feedback!šŸ˜Š

Kelly Jarvis said...

oh! I just found the past issues on the phone! But I can't find them on my computer (honestly, it is probably just me--I am not great at all this stuff). I am so happy to be able to read all the past stories on my phone!!!

Wolfchick3 said...

Kate, this is amazing and your vision for the future of EC is great! Thank you for taking your time on EC.

As for commenting, I don’t have a Blogger account, but it works fine with just my gmail account.

Donating wise, would $5 be okay? And would you only accept donations through Paetron?

Though I prefer something physical in my hands, I think a digital magazine would make it easier to spread and give EC a social media presence.

And I would join and share the Facebook group if one was made.

Thank you again, Kate, for all your hard work and for seeking our input!

Katew said...

Any donations, at any level, will be gratefully accepted. I’m almost certainly going to do a short term fundraiser initially, rather than ask for monthly donations. Also, I’m going to be mindful of the economic mess we’re all in these days. Thank you for all of your feedback! I appreciate that you enjoy EC!

Teika Marija said...

Hi Kate, though I'm late to responding to this post, I thought you may like to know that right now I think commenting is working okay for me because Google seems to recognise me now (though in the past I have lost comments because Blogger didn't seem to like my username, or whatever). I think yours is the only Blogger blog that I still comment on because it is a bit of a clunky blogging platform and you're right - unless the reader is really invested in leaving a comment whatever the hurdles, even a small hurdle can discourage people. Being the owner of various websites I have used both Wordpress and Joomla! and each of them have their pros and cons, but I genuinely appreciate the various plugins you can get to recognise spam/bot comments. It's so time-consuming having to delete those manually (which I used to do) so I feel for you there! But equally, I know how difficult it can be to move to an entirely new CMS.

Anyway... yes, I would give a one-time donation and I would love to see you work on anthologies... as the editor of 'The Forgotten and the Fantastical' series I love paper books and gorgeous illustrations. (Let me know if you want a copy and we'll work something out...)

Lastly, I'm not a big fan of social media but I do like to get involved in Facebook if I feel the group to be warm and positive - which yours is. :-) Thanks again for all the time you put into this. I, for one, appreciate it. I just wish I had more time to read older posts... speaking of which, I am finding it hard to navigate to older stories, but I guess that's an archival issue (and probably not easy to fix, I know!).

Katew said...

Hi Teika. Thank you so much for this. It’s detailed and thoughtful. It actually had a big influence on my post about supporting EC I put up Aug. 19. So double thank you!

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