(There are three writeups.org donation drives a year – February, June, October.)
Let me tell you how the writeups.org (worg) project is going. No, no I insist.
The good news is, writeups.org still exists. And there’s no bad news, which is nice. But the continued life of the site was in question for a while.
I’ve been slowly gravitating out of geek subcultures for a while. But it wasn’t significant, and compensated by the increasing quality of comics, games, etc. over the years.
However the last 6 or 7 years have seen a loud, dedicated and fairly successful movement to make these subcultures even more misogynistic, racist, queerphobic, entitled, xenophobic, authoritarian, ableist, callous, paranoid, juvenile and so on and so forth.
As the stink seeped, it has markedly diminished my enjoyment of comics, rpgs, video games…
But… still around. Writeups.org will not pivot to Latverian political news, tampon reviews, or artistic chainsaw carving video tutorials. If only because I’m lacking key qualifications for most of those.
I also was immobilised for a good while by bad kidney pain. This didn’t impact publication. Well, I was late by one day (twice !), but otherwise we’re good.
I had written a bunch of articles at the close of 2018 to serve as a buffer. Though I didn’t expect to be that sick for that long, and that soon.
Our contributor Ethan also started wrapping up his big Masters Of The Universe series, and a few others pitched contributions in. So the line held.
On the other hand, it did considerably delay the Big Sweep. A bit less than a sixth of the site still need to be brought to the current set of feature. And this delays continues, since now I need to write articles to refill the buffer for the next time I’m down.
The Big Sweep is a years-long grind that has had to pause for months on several occasions. But it does produce clear results as to the median quality of the site’s articles.
Recent Big Sweep upgrades have made me realise that these quality gains have been more continuous that I realised. Even when I go over an article that was revised but one year ago, I make a number of improvements based on what I learned since.
But of course, this sort of slow and painstaking improvement work usually has zero effect on growth. Good thing we’re non-commercial, I guess.
2/ Video games
Playing a bunch of Warframe sure helped when I could barely move from my chair. Which led to articles. To have #content to keep the site going, I have to write about almost everything I play, watch or read.
Now, the problem with Warframe is that there’s a *lot* of stuff. It’s a game-as-a-service thing. And a good percentage warrants a short writeup. So I could basically churn Warframe entries forever.
Therefore, by the end of June I will drop my Warframe schedule to log-in-plus-two-missions, so as to be able to work on other video games. This’ll allow for variety in the video game articles. But the downside is, like with XCOM, that we have half-finished writeups arcs.
2.1/ Video games too
Incidentally, video games still are lower-priority content, kept under a proportion of 20% of new and revised articles. These articles also do a bit less immediate traffic – which is unsurprising since comic books are what is core to our #brand #content #valueproposition #identity #topofmind.
Such articles are a way to expand the readership a bit. But “a bit” is the operational word here. There’s a jillion tonnes of video game content out there. And much of it is in video form, requiring less effort than reading.
So our video-games-related articles tend not to surface well on Google, whereas our comic book articles have a good amount of Google authority.
But anything that helps younger folks discover tabletop RPGs is good. And though the video game articles get fewer views from regular readers, over time they get more readers from search engines.
3/ For the ‘gram
I have stopped doing Instagram posts for now. I have a hard time using a smartphone, and the small hack to post from a PC is something of a pain in the keister.
Products with a deliberately degraded accessibility are shite.
4/ About “splitter” overhauls
In April of 2019 there was a notable Kotaku article about Bioware video games by Jason Schreier. The article itself isn’t important here. I’m mentioning it here because this good piece of investigative journalism clocked at about 11,000 words, due to all the quotes and context-providing.
Many readers had difficulties dealing with the length. Including *journalists*, who are expected to read a lot of information and whose job is writing. And even though to many people who read the piece, Bioware games (like Mass Effect or Dragon Age) are an important matter.
So, seeing these reactions means that our splitting of overlong articles shall continue. Editing lengthy articles for style, concision and so that they split somewhat gracefully takes time, but it is increasingly necessary.
(Incidentally, while you *are* being trained to mostly deal with shorter texts, reading longer texts is an important “muscle” to keep trained. Not doing so makes you, essentially, dafter.)
Have you noticed how many of the comic books and RPG sites of the 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s are dead ?
How many ended with a “it was a great ride, but this isn’t sustainable/takes way too much time” farewell post ?
How many were sold to a bigger site (the latest would be comicbookdb.com) ?
6/ Twentieth birthday
The earliest traces of writeups.org I have are from March, 1999. So we sailed past our 20th birthday since the last State Of The WORG message.
No special announcement, since I a/ don’t see the point and b/ we’re critically low on resources, and can’t crank out something extra.
But one of our FAQ pages is about the history of writeups.org, if you’re curious about a 20-years-old website.
So anyway, donations are welcome to keep the servers, the caches, the firewalls, the Photoshop™ subscription, etc. running. So we can keep developing and embettering this site.