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posted by martyb on Friday December 18 2020, @06:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

The year is winding to a close so I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up on a few things:

  1. Milestones
  2. Community questions answered
  3. Background on site operations
  4. Story Cadence
  5. Site finances

For details, read on below the fold.

Milestones

First off, I'd like to acknowledge an amazing milestone: Fnord666 has now edited and pushed out over 6,000 stories Thanks, Fnord666!

Another milestone of note: our Folding@Home team just reached 2.3 Billion points. Here's a different view of the stats. Out of all the teams in the world, we are in 348th place! And our very own Runaway1956 is currently at 2,077th place in the world with over 630 million points! Go Team!

We had a couple story submissions by Anonymous Cowards that raised some concerns about SoylentNews. I see some misunderstandings here, and wanted to address them publicly.

Story Submissions Queue

The first one concerns the story submissions queue:

upstart hogs the subs queue. Perhaps there should be a way to filter out the subs queue by name so that I can either omit or include specific names and scan through stuff that's not by upstart. Especially since this seems to be 'generated bot-o-matically!', maybe I want to see articles by non-bots without being overly cluttered with bot generated submissions.

Interesting suggestion. Editors also see the — complete — list of story submissions: Nexus, Date/Time Stamp, Title, and Nickname. We, too, have no mechanism for filtering based on nickname. (There are, of course, some additional controls provided us for processing story submissions.)

From the Create Account page:

(Note: only the characters a-zA-Z0-9$_.+!*'(),-, plus space, are allowed in nicknames, and all others will be stripped out.)

It seems far from trivial to design a clear interface for enumerating nicknames to include or exclude. Said UI would need to be designed, implemented, and tested. It is an interesting idea and will be considered when we have freed up some time for development in the future.

It should also be noted that perhaps the massive number of submissions by upstart shouldn't reduce the number of listed submissions at any given time by others because upstart 'bumped' them off the queue list. If the queue list has a max queue count (and not a max number of days before being bumped off) then upstart probably shouldn't contribute to that max count and it should have its own separate max count allowing for the submissions of others to persist on the subs queue even if those submissions have been there before some of upstart's prior posts.

See above, no stories are omitted from the subs queue. If it's in the queue, we see them!

Here, I'm speaking only for myself (but I invite other editors to chime in if they do things otherwise). The first thing I do is scan the entire subs queue. I look specifically for non-bot submissions and also to get a feel for the current zeitgeist. Only then do I select a story to open for consideration. If someone made the effort to submit a story, I believe it is incumbent on me to respect that effort and give it a priority. Having reviewed the entire queue, I've also noticed if the same story has been submitted by someone else (human or bot). A bot sub is often the source for the "See also" links you see in a story.)

Oh! Bot subs still require a person to submit them. But, instead of using the Submit Story link from the "Navigation" Slashbox, they've provided a link in IRC to one of the bots that are resident there. In all cases, an actual person had to manually initiate the submission.

Soylentnews, Timestamps, and Timezones

Next up is a question about time on this site.

Soylentnews posts the timestamps of articles and comments but it doesn't post the time zone. So when I submit a comment or read an article it says 5:34 PM for example but that doesn't really mean much to me if the time zone isn't mentioned.

I suggest the time zone should be next to the comment or article. 5:34 PM PT or 5:34PM UTC or whatever. That way I (anyone) can conveniently stick that into google and have it translate what that means in my time zone without having to think/jump through hoops to figure it out.

This one is easier to address. If you have created an account, you can select what time zone you want used as the basis for the time presented throughout the UI. In no case does SoylentNews explicitly state a time zone; it is implied. So, if you are accessing the site without having logged in (i.e. an "Anonymous Coward", aka "AC") it defaults to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). NB: Occasionally that is (incorrectly) referred to as GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Read the link for details.

tl;dr: The time zone is always implied and never made explicit in the site UI. Either it is UTC (the default), or what you set it to in your account preferences.

What do you guys DO, anyway?

I invited TMB (The Mighty Buzzard) to write in with some info on what the site sysadmins do here. In his own words:

So, martyb wants me to let yall know that us admins actually occasionally do stuff around these parts. The thing is, if you do your job well as an admin, you end up not having to do a whole lot of day-to-day stuff. So I'll just tell you about what I've done this past week since it's not a blank page or "everything's working fine". Gentoo system updates and firewalling off the IP addresses of automated hack attempts on our email server.

Firewalling first. Been seeing a lot of identical SMTP attempts from some script-kiddie noobs. Audioguy was forward-thinking enough to write us a just-add-address blocking script so it's just a matter of grepping the logs, doing a little awk to snag the addresses, piping through uniq, and running `lockout 1.2.3.4` or `lockout 1.2.3.0/24` or what have you. Yeah, we could do the same without even having to pay attention via snort but I can't currently be arsed to set snort up and I kind of like paying attention.

Gentoo system updates are pretty routine if you don't get lazy and let six months of them build up. We use a chroot environment on our dev box as a build box for all the Gentoo boxes so we don't have to have the CPUs pegged for extended periods on production boxes or have to install every package on the real root of the dev box. Which means we set it as BINHOST, compile world+dog just once in the chroot environment, and let all the Gentoo servers pull the binary packages they need from it over rsync.

Well, that's all you generally have to do right up until you get one of those fun days when they decide to deprecate the profile you're using and force you to update profiles if you want stuff to keep building correctly. That's what I've been monkeying with the past couple days. On and off, mind you. It doesn't take days to do if you're have time and are willing to sit in front of a terminal emulator the whole time. This time around that means you get this message and have to back up each server and do an annoying extra rain dance:

!!! Your current profile is deprecated and not supported anymore.
!!! Use eselect profile to update your profile.
!!! Please upgrade to the following profile if possible:

default/linux/amd64/17.1

...

The amd64 17.1 profiles switch to a more standard 'no SYMLINK_LIB' multilib layout, and require an explicit migration. The migration is performed using the app-portage/unsymlink-lib tool.

Basically that means you get to cross your fingers, run their tool, recompile gcc and any 32bit libs you have on your system, switch profiles, reboot, and test everything you want running correctly to make sure it still does. So far we've lucked out and had no issues but I still have the least likely to go smoothly box to go. Luckily it's also the one slated to replace our IRC/mail/etc... box and not yet any form of critical since it's not set up to do those jobs singlehandedly yet.

Anyway, that's today's peek into the exciting and glamorous world of an admin. We now return you to your regularly scheduled arguments.

Thanks, buzz, for the info and for all the work you do behind the scenes to keep things running! Also, a shoutout to Deucalion, mechanicj, and audioguy for all you do to keep us going!

Story Cadence

It has been a pleasure working with our editing team. They toil many hours 24/7 to keep the stories coming. One of our staff has experienced reduced availability taking care of a loved one who is ill. And, well he should! With the reduced staffing, it is increasingly obvious that something has to give. I have invited a member of the community to join our ranks as an editor, but this will take some time. In the interim, we have moved to a reduced story cadence. Story spacing going forward is approximately 4 3/4 hours on weekends and 2 1/2 hours on weekdays (UTC). Please join me in thanking Fnord666, chromas, and takyon for their continued selfless service to the community! Teamwork++!

Finances

This is not a topic I like to discuss, but it needs to be done, so here goes.

At last check, we had raised $1,317.17 towards a goal of $3,500.00 for this half of the year (July 1 through December 31). So, that puts us at 36.6% of our goal.

We realize times are tough for all of us. If your finances are tight right now, please take care of yourself and your loved ones, first. But, if you find we provide a useful service, we'd very much appreciate any help you can provide. Go to our Subscription page and whatever amount you can offer will be most appreciated! We had a successful drive in the first half of the year which helped make up for a running deficit, but we're still down from the initial amounts put in to get the site off the ground and incorporated. Every bit helps. FYI: we do not see your account information. You choose PayPal or Stripe as the payment processor and then you are provided a form on their service. They handle all the processing and deposit the net amount in our PayPal or Stripe account for us to then deposit in our bank account.

Please accept my deepest thanks for anything you can contribute. NB: The amounts indicated are the minimum for the stated duration. For example, $20.00 for a one year subscription. You can increase that suggested amount to whatever value you'd like. Gift subscriptions are also welcome!

The largest portion of the funds go towards the cost of our servers. Next up are required fees, taxes, and the cost of a CPA to do our taxes.

It bears mentioning that nobody at SoylentNews has ever been paid anything for their work on the site. Everyone on staff are volunteers and freely give of their free time and energy to keep things running. It's also important to note that we have never run advertisements of any kind, nor has any user information ever been sold.

There are some downsides to this. Should the site go down for any reason, we do not have things staffed 24/7/365 constantly monitoring all services and poised to leap at a moment's notice should anything go toes up. We did have a couple periods of downtime this half. First, when our redundant servers got out of sync and brought things to a halt. Which is good, because when things started coming back up, the older copy of the database was trying to claim it should be the primary. Thanks, TMB, for sorting things out so we suffered no loss of data! A few days later, our site certificate expired and had the site unavailable for a few hours. It's a Catch-22 situation. How can you use expired certs to get access to a site so you can install new certs? I've done cert updates a couple times on SoylentNews, but this had me baffled. Thanks TMB for sorting things out!

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Related Stories

Happy Holidays! And... an Introduction and an Update [Updates 2] 97 comments

[2020-12-25 22:18:22 UTC -- Corrected typo (with thanks to maxwell demon) --martyb]
[2020-12-25 21:32:03 UTC -- Updated with staff info and reformatted the story. --martyb]

First, on behalf of the staff at SoylentNews, please accept our best wishes for a happy (and safe and healthy) holiday!

Next, here are a few quick items of note that bear calling to your attention.

Please join me in welcoming requerdanos to the editorial staff at SoylentNews! He has already jumped in with both feet and had stories appear on the main page. Welcome aboard requerdanos!

Of note, as well, takyon has not only posted 1364 stories to the site, and he has submitted just shy of 6,100 stories (as I write this it stands at 6,097 submissions... there's more(!) how about posting over 20,000 comments! Thank you SO much!

I always feel reluctant to mention anyone specifically as running this site is a team effort. I sense there are some staff who prefer to work in the background and shun the limelight. We appreciate their efforts nonetheless! Recall the early days when site crashes were a request frequent occurrence. We've come a long way from then and I count it a privilege to have worked with such knowledgeable folk who have been so generous with their time and energy!

Lastly a huge thank-you to those who responded so generously to our end-of-the-year fundraiser! As of this writing, we have had 21 subscriptions totaling $567.40 since our request went out a couple weeks ago.

In this second half of the year (July 1 through December 31) we have raised $1908.15 from 85 subscriptions towards our $3,500.00 goal. THANK-YOU!

We realize it's been a tough year for everyone; take care of your friends, family, and community first. But, if you do have the means, we'd really appreciate your subscribing and helping us to keep things going for you and our community! Please see this comment to our previous story for step-by-step instructions on how to subscribe.

Why subscribe? Why not? Besides, you'll get all the benefits listed on the "SoylentNews - Why Subscribe?".

NB: If you'd prefer, you can subscribe anonymously. There's an option to make a gift subscription, as well. For any questions or difficulty, please reach out on IRC, send an email to admin@soylentnews.org, or just post a comment to this story.

Thank you!


Original Submission

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 18 2020, @06:15PM (6 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @06:15PM (#1088952) Journal

    I want to thank the editors and devs for keeping the site going, and Soylentils for keeping it lively and interesting.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by martyb on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:29AM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:29AM (#1089111) Journal

      I want to thank the editors and devs for keeping the site going, and Soylentils for keeping it lively and interesting.

      On behalf of the SoylentNews staff, thank YOU!

      And let me join you in thanking the community:

      YOU are the reason we do this. YOU submit stories. YOU write the comments (and moderate them, too!)

      Without the SoylentNews community, SoylentNews might as well be just an overblown RSS news feed. Thanks everybody for making us what we are today!

      Oh yeah, one more thing: Buck Feta! ;^)

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @03:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @03:54AM (#1089150)

      I want to thank the editors and devs for keeping the site going, and Soylentils for keeping it lively and interesting.

      The best part about SoylentNews, is that unlike Slashdot, it doesn't attempt to load several hoe-jillion third-party scripts.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by dltaylor on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:41AM (3 children)

      by dltaylor (4693) on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:41AM (#1089172)

      I can put off a new Ryzen for a while; much more than I can do without SN.

      There's not a good way that I can find on the "Subscriptions" tab (I do have one) to make a one-time "subscription", even as a gift. I'd rather not have to go through the "make a subscription", "cancel a subscription" dance if I can help it.

      Have I missed it, or is it just not there?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @07:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @07:48AM (#1089206)

        The subscription is always one time. Calling it a "subscription" is somewhat misleading, but I don't know that an equivalent term exists for how SN operates.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Saturday December 19 2020, @02:12PM (1 child)

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @02:12PM (#1089249) Journal

        There's not a good way that I can find on the "Subscriptions" tab (I do have one) to make a one-time "subscription", even as a gift. I'd rather not have to go through the "make a subscription", "cancel a subscription" dance if I can help it.

        Each subscription is a one-time deal. There is NO auto-renewal!

        Pick a duration[1] and a subscription amount[2]. That's it. One and done. When that duration has elapsed, your subscription has run out.

        [1] Choices are:

        1. 30 day
        2. 180 day
        3. 365 day

        [2] Default (i.e. minimum[*]) choices are:

        1. $4.00 USD
        2. $12.00 USD
        3. $20.00 USD

        [*] NOTE: The amount of the subscription presented is a minimum — it is a text-entry field. Feel free to change the minimum to any larger value you'd like.

        Example:

        Fill in the amount and select the duration:

        ( )  30 Day: [  4.00] USD
        (*) 180 Day: [100.00] USD
        ( ) 365 Day: [ 20.00] USD

        Then click the [Continue] button.

        A new form will then be presented where it presents your subscription duration and amount (as confirmation) and you can select a payment processor choice.

        Important:
        If you run with an ad-blocker or noscript (etc.) in your browser, you may need to temporarily allow Stripe, and then resubmit the form so the Stripe payment button will appear.

        We then submit the payment amount entered to the selected payment processor; all subsequent activity is then conducted on their site. SoylentNews does not see any of the info you enter subsequent to your clicking the payment button. When the transaction is completed, we are provided (from memory) gross and net payment amounts, confirmation code, date/time stamp... we do not see your account number.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday December 19 2020, @03:56PM

          Actually, there is the option to have a self-renewing subscription through PayPal. It's the lower of the two PayPal buttons on the subscription page. Each of the three options explicitly states whether it automatically renews or not beside the button.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Valkor on Friday December 18 2020, @06:27PM (3 children)

    by Valkor (4253) on Friday December 18 2020, @06:27PM (#1088963)

    it's been fun growing with SN, and i hope for many more years with ya'll. even our shitposters have aged nicely. thank you, everyone, for making my morning grind that much more entertaining 3

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:10PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:10PM (#1089012)

      Aged nicely? I was shitposting before you were in diapers.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:58PM (#1089037)

        Now the diaper is on the other ass!

    • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Friday December 18 2020, @09:02PM

      by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @09:02PM (#1089039)

      Seconded!

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @06:57PM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @06:57PM (#1088982)

    1) A redirect from soylentnees.org, this is a common typo.

    2) A section dedicated to spam. I spam every site I visit but here it gets downmodded too quickly. If there were a section dedicated to spam, or perhaps a daily spam story, then everyone can be happy.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:16PM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:16PM (#1088992)

      1) A redirect from soylentnees.org, this is a common typo.

      PEBKAC. NOTOURBUG:WONTFIX

      I spam every site I visit

      Fuck you asshole.

      but here it gets downmodded too quickly

      NOTABUG:WONTFIX

      If there were a section dedicated to spam, or perhaps a daily spam story, then everyone can be happy.

      Go be a precious snowflake spammer somewhere else.

      KTHXBAI!

      • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:23PM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:23PM (#1088996)

        Spam is a healthy part of every discussion group. Many discords have dedicated spam channels for this reason. This site needs to modernize and get out of 2005.

        • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:26PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:26PM (#1088999)

          We have a dedicated spam channel. It's called Slashdot.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:11PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:11PM (#1089013)

            Fuck you. Nobody says that word around here. *spit*

            • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @09:12PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @09:12PM (#1089043)

              Hey AC.

              Slashdot.

              ...Slashdot.

              Slash. Dot.

              slashdot

              SlAsHdOt.

              Slashdot Slashdot Slashdot!

              Did I mention Slashdot?

        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday December 18 2020, @07:51PM (1 child)

          by Freeman (732) on Friday December 18 2020, @07:51PM (#1089002) Journal

          That's like saying the people who sift through their bag of dry beans to remove the rocks are dumb. Eat the rocks!

          --
          Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @10:24PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @10:24PM (#1089061)

            Wasn't that a song?
             
            (RandomFactor, too lazy to log in)

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:56PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @07:56PM (#1089004)

          Spam is a healthy part of every discussion group.

          You keep telling yourself that, spammer. If it really was a healthy part of a discussion it wouldn't get shoved into a pit like the toxic waste it is.

          Many discords have dedicated spam channels for this reason.

          Many discords are shit, but we already knew that. HEY! Here's an idea: go spam those discords. It sounds like they actually want your spam.

          This site needs to modernize and get out of 2005.

          There's nothing wrong with this site. You need to go be a precious snowflake spammer somewhere else.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:04PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:04PM (#1089008)

            If it really was a healthy part of a discussion it wouldn't get shoved into a pit like the toxic waste it is.

            This is like trying to get a child to eat their vegetables, they always try to shove them into the trash or to the dogs.

            Spam is good for you, eat your spam.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @10:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @10:07PM (#1089056)

        NOTABUG:WONTFIX

        Hey, Poettering, welcome to the site.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 18 2020, @11:51PM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @11:51PM (#1089093) Journal

      1) A redirect from soylentnees.org, this is a common typo.

      My most frequent typo is spylentnews.org.

      Maybe we should create a poll?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:16PM

        by Gaaark (41) on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:16PM (#1089302) Journal

        My most frequent typo for soylentnews.org is pornhub.com

        ;)

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @10:45PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @10:45PM (#1089417)

      For 1) - doesn't that have to do with the eighth layer of the OSI model?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Friday December 18 2020, @06:58PM (7 children)

    by NotSanguine (285) <NotSanguineNO@SPAMSoylentNews.Org> on Friday December 18 2020, @06:58PM (#1088983) Homepage Journal

    You folks are doing great work and I, for one, praise our SoylentNews Admin/Editor overlords!

    It's often a thankless job, and even though no one *needs* to do it, you use your precious time to do so.

    Thank you!

    I was hoping to get at least one more tired cliche into this comment, but I got nothing. Sigh.

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by acid andy on Friday December 18 2020, @07:15PM (4 children)

      by acid andy (1683) on Friday December 18 2020, @07:15PM (#1088991) Homepage Journal

      I was hoping to get at least one more tired cliche into this comment, but I got nothing. Sigh.

      Something about going the extra mile and working tirelessly, having given it 110%?

      --
      Where did that thought come from? And that one? What about this one? Woah, man...
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Friday December 18 2020, @07:35PM (3 children)

        by NotSanguine (285) <NotSanguineNO@SPAMSoylentNews.Org> on Friday December 18 2020, @07:35PM (#1089000) Homepage Journal

        That's what I love about this place.

        Someone's always ready to jump in and push us across the finish line.

        Because we're all in it together and we'll run it up the flagpole and see who salutes!

        --
        No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:12PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:12PM (#1089015)

          Kneelers will be executed.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:43PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18 2020, @08:43PM (#1089029)

            Y'all Qaeda everybody ^

            They even get pissy about blowjobs now! Incels rise up? Lolkek

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @04:22AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @04:22AM (#1089514)

            If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

            Beggars can't be choosers.

            Treat others as you'd like to be treated.

            Waste not, want not.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:47AM (#1089119)

      Second this. THANK YOU! :)
      I don't have an account, but I read this site almost every day. This site is greatly appreciated along with all all the hard work the Admins and Editors do to keep it going.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:18PM

      by Gaaark (41) on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:18PM (#1089304) Journal

      Could you thank them with a car anaolgy? Something about them always going the extra mile? :)

      I call shotgun...

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tekk on Friday December 18 2020, @09:39PM (1 child)

    by tekk (5704) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @09:39PM (#1089050)

    Y'all are doing great. Just doubled up on my subscription for the year c:

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Saturday December 19 2020, @01:37AM

      by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @01:37AM (#1089129) Journal

      Y'all are doing great. Just doubled up on my subscription for the year c:

      Thank you!!!!!!!!

      At this very moment, we have now reached $1,460.32 (which is 41.7% of our $3,500.00 goal... that includes the 7 subscriptions made today. YAY! Every bit helps!

      Thanks everyone!

      --
      Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by requerdanos on Friday December 18 2020, @10:27PM (14 children)

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @10:27PM (#1089063) Journal

    Bot subs still require a person to submit them. But, instead of using the Submit Story link from the "Navigation" Slashbox, they've provided a link in IRC to one of the bots that are resident there. In all cases, an actual person had to manually initiate the submission.

    In seeing people gripe about "bot submissions" and about upstart, it seems like they perhaps don't understand that via the IRC bots is a method for submitting stories, not a mechanical person submitting mechanical stories.

    So, when someone submits a story via the web interface, the story shows as being from that person. When the same someone submits a story on IRC, it shows as coming from one of the bots, such as upstart or mrplow.

    When "upstart hogs the subs queue", it just means that more living, breathing people have been manually submitting stories over IRC than via the web. When those stories get posted, it means that another set of living etc. people edit them to some semblance of order and publish them. Sure, the bots do some of the drudge work the submitter and editor would otherwise do, but it's still people, like it says on the tin.

    There are some other differences to the story submission methods... Submitting via IRC requires near-zero effort (just hand the bot a url), takes almost no time (one line of command on IRC), and prepares a bot-processed submission in a format that (I would assume) the editors are familiar with and ready to work with. It's little wonder that so many stories bear the mark of being IRC-submitted: Showing up as coming from one of those darned bots.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 18 2020, @11:23PM (8 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @11:23PM (#1089080) Homepage Journal

      Allow me to add a bit.

      There are pretty obviously 2 bots. The editors prefer that we use =submit for upstart, instead of #submit for mrplow. Upstart does a more thorough job, leaving less work for the editors to do.

      However, there is some value in using the web interface to make your own submission. You can include multiple links, do a touch of editorializing if you are so inclined, or make informative comments if you have additional information. The bots can't do all of that.

      For that reason, some of us mostly use the IRC bots, but occasionally go to the work of making a sub manually.

      No matter how the sub is submitted, someone has to browse an RSS feed, or browse the web, or browse through a mailing list, to find the stories worthy of consideration.

      Which leads me to this observation: The more people we can get to contribute stories, the less likely you are to see a Runaway sub in the queue! Think of the children, and make a half dozen subs every week, so the kiddos don't have to read Runaway's subs!!

      --
      Let's go Brandon!
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday December 18 2020, @11:55PM (3 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 18 2020, @11:55PM (#1089097) Journal

        The more people we can get to contribute stories, the less likely you are to see a Runaway sub in the queue!

        Pinky promise?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 4, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:28AM (2 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @12:28AM (#1089110) Homepage Journal

          Ask Pinky, I'm The Brain.

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @08:48PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @08:48PM (#1089379)

            Explains why the plans to take over the world keep failing!

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @08:17AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @08:17AM (#1089544)

              The secret is that Pinky is the genius and Brain is the crazy one. Look it up, there is quite a bit of evidence behind it in the cartoons.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @02:38AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @02:38AM (#1089137)

        So why not encourage people to submit stories using the website and do the editing themselves? It's clear that SN doesn't have enough editors to post stories as frequently as in the past. Why not make it easier for the editors and contribute by doing the editing yourself before submitting the story? I have never submitted a story via IRC bots, but have always edited the stories myself. It makes their jobs easier if we edit our own stories more often.

        • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:03AM (1 child)

          by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:03AM (#1089170) Homepage

          So why not encourage people to submit stories using the website and do the editing themselves? It's clear that SN doesn't have enough editors to post stories as frequently as in the past. Why not make it easier for the editors and contribute by doing the editing yourself before submitting the story? I have never submitted a story via IRC bots, but have always edited the stories myself. It makes their jobs easier if we edit our own stories more often.

          This would be wonderful and is appreciated if people have the time. Not only does the community get to see the story but often why the submitter thinks it's interesting/insightful/meaningful. If you're not comfortable submitting under your username, you can submit a story anonymously as well from the submissions page [soylentnews.org]. If you've read something interesting and would like more information and/or have questions, that could be included in the submission as well. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here in the community who are willing to share their expertise if you ask. The bots simply provide a way for people to submit something that they find interesting but don't have the time to or choose not to write up an accompanying story.

          Regardless of whether you submit a story directly or you use one of the IRC bots, please keep the submission guidelines [soylentnews.org] in mind. There are usually a number of different sources for the same story. One that approaches the topic in a neutral or less biased point of view is preferable over one that is highly polarized. If possible, also provide a link for a comparable, opposing viewpoint.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by martyb on Saturday December 19 2020, @03:08PM

            by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @03:08PM (#1089260) Journal

            Thanks Fnord666 for that excellent advice!

            I'd like to offer one other suggestion. When quoting text, SoylentNews needs to quote it verbatim, retaining italics and bold text, as is.

            Most importantly: retain hyperlinks! Further, omitted text and paragraphs should be indicated, as well.

            [...] If there was some text omitted between the preceding paragraph and this one, this is how it should be formatted.

            Please make a note at the top of your submission if you are unable (or unsure of how) to do any of that formatting. That alerts the editors of what additional work is required.

            --
            Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday December 19 2020, @05:03PM

          Most of their time isn't taken up by creating a standard story layout of blah-blockquote-blah, that only takes a minute or three to do, depending on the number of html tags that didn't survive a copy-n-paste. It's burned up by verifying links, chasing down links to their original source, making the FA better by adding additional relevant information, and the like.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday December 19 2020, @04:59PM (4 children)

      Also, the subs queue wasn't publicized for news browsing purposes. That's what the front page and the #rss-bot channel on IRC is for. Our motivation for making it visible was entirely so you can check for dupes before hitting submit. If enough of yall want its purpose changed, speak on up.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @06:05PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 19 2020, @06:05PM (#1089326)

        An "upcoming stories" slashbox would be nice, if totally redundant.

        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday December 19 2020, @06:52PM (2 children)

          Actually, I kinda like the sound of that. Aside from the wrapping issues of long headlines and small a slashbox. Right now we don't have a highly visible way for folks to notice and let the eds know if the story queue is running dry. Could be handy.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 2) by martyb on Saturday December 19 2020, @10:05PM (1 child)

            by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 19 2020, @10:05PM (#1089403) Journal

            I keep a close eye on things and try to keep several hours' worth of stories queue up. Sometimes, though, there are other demands on my time which keeps me from pushing out stories. I'm relatively certain it is the same for the other editors.

            Stuffing our e-mail inboxes with messages from folk saying the story queue is running dry sounds good in theory, but ultimately ends up causing us more work.

            How about having a bot check the story queue periodically, and issue a message on IRC when needed? A simple notice on #editorial, for example, should suffice.

            NB: at the time the last queued-up story goes live, there are still at least a couple hours until the next story is due out. The sky may be darkening, but no need to go all chicken-little until [much] later.

            --
            Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday December 20 2020, @03:46AM (9 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Sunday December 20 2020, @03:46AM (#1089502) Homepage Journal

    And by the way, Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer in Canada, really did recommend that people having sex wear masks.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday December 20 2020, @08:10AM (8 children)

      Nah, if they're that ugly, just drink more.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:50PM (#1089623)

        Of course flowers and lavender are at least as good as drinking more. But alas (a Jerry Pournelle reference) not as insightful.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22 2020, @02:18AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22 2020, @02:18AM (#1090100)

        Chauvinist pig.

        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday December 22 2020, @03:56AM (5 children)

          Nothing chauvinistic about it. Alcohol is an Equal Opportunity intoxicant. Works just as well for ugly dudes as for ugly chicks.

          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 24 2020, @04:09PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 24 2020, @04:09PM (#1091015)

            Male chauvinist pig.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @06:15AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @06:15AM (#1089529)

    At last check, we had raised $1,317.17 towards a goal of $3,500.00 for this half of the year

    Frankly, for a hobby site like this one, you're getting off pretty cheap.

    Maybe a Rolling Stones tribute site would do better. It would probably have more readers. And happier ones.

    Or you could spend the time rebuilding a '32 Ford Coupe, with greater satisfaction and something to show for it at the end.

    Maybe a Beach Boys fansite, then you could do Little Deuce Coupe references.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:30PM (#1089616)

      Maybe instead of pretending to be journalists, they could grow a garden.

      It's good exercise, gives you lots of Sunshine-Vitamin-D, and you can grow crops to feed the homeless in your neighborhood. Maybe some flowers and lavender, too, to brighten your outlook.

  • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:41PM (5 children)

    by Appalbarry (66) on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:41PM (#1089620) Journal

    OK, I finally signed on as a paying member. It took all of one minute. I'm unclear about one thing.

    I'm assuming that the $5 monthly subscription is recurring, and will keep going forever until I kill it off? The subscription page seems to suggest that a 30 day subscription expires at the end of the month, but that feels crazy.

    Thanks everyone!

    Barry

    • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:51PM (4 children)

      by Appalbarry (66) on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:51PM (#1089624) Journal

      Ok, on reading the comments above I see that incredibly the "subscription" is actually just a one time payment. I'm going to make suggestion.

      I spent decades in non-profit management, and the single biggest thing that I learned is that recurring monthly payments, even small ones, are much, much better than one time donations. Donors like it better too because $10 a month is painless, while $120 feel like a lot of money. Psychologically it just works better for everyone.

      I know for a fact that I'm really unlikely to come back every month and make another transaction. the barrier to doing that is just slightly too high for me to bother.

      I'm one of the people who has been burned by PayPal more than once, and there's no way I would trust them with anything recurring.

      I'd suggest looking at your "subscription" records and seeing how many of those people keep renewing every month or year, and how many drop off at the end of period. That's an easy fix, and you'll get almost no complaints about defaulting to recurring subscriptions.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:58PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @05:58PM (#1089627)

        When I canceled the newspaper, they stopped delivering the paper, but kept sending monthly bills. Luckily I paid by check, instead of letting them directly suck it from the bank forever.

        • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Sunday December 20 2020, @06:21PM (1 child)

          by Appalbarry (66) on Sunday December 20 2020, @06:21PM (#1089637) Journal

          "Check?" You must be American. I haven't written a check (or a cheque) in at least a decade.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @07:22PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 20 2020, @07:22PM (#1089655)

            "Cheque?" You must be French. I don't write cheques because, to be franc, I use real money and euro'll not.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday December 20 2020, @08:26PM

        I'll look into setting up recurring payments with Stripe but it'll be a month or two before I can poke at it still.

        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23 2020, @02:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23 2020, @02:55PM (#1090673)

    You set the clock back to a time before it expired, then do a replacement.

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