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And now for Something Completely Different

by Christian Hennecke, © October 2007

The Editor in ChiefChristian Hennecke is the Editor in Chief of the VOICE Newsletter. While being a geographer originally, he runs an IT consulting and service company.

For a while, the editorial staff has effectively been consisting of Mark, William D Loughman, and me, plus James Moe who helps a lot with formatting and proof-reading. Mark isn't able to work on the Newsletter as he used to which is why he stepped down from his position as Editor-in-Chief in 2004 in the first place.

Our Tips Editor, William D Loughman, had to retire from his position several months ago. Last year, I decided to cut down on translations and proof-reading to avoid burn out. However, real life issues have further reduced the time that I can donate to the VOICE Newsletter to a considerable extent several times. Since contact with authors and the first preparation of articles has almost exclusively been handled by myself and nobody else builds the final issue, issues have been delayed—by several months.

Open positions

Earlier this year we published calls for new Associate and Tips Editors, but we haven't received a single response or offer so far. So we are asking you once more:

We are looking for a new Associate Editor who can help with the communication with authors, preparation of articles, and coordination of the team on a regular basis, and who builds an issue in case the Editor-in-Chief is not available.

Also, a new Tips Editor is needed who creates the tips page from tips found on the Internet or submitted to VOICE directly.

Detailed descriptions are available below. If you are interested, please contact us at editor@os2voice.org.

The bottom line is:

  • No Associate Editor: more delayed and even cancelled issues!
  • No Tips Editor: no tips!
  • No submitted articles: no new issues!
  • No translators: no German issue!

An Alternative?

What if the situation does not improve or gets even worse? Close down the German edition completely? Switch to a bi-monthly or quarterly schedule? Shut down the whole Newsletter?

This has stopped being fun and become a burden due to the changes over time. I've been thinking about handing the job to someone else but that would be merely treating some symptoms and not cure the disease, of course. Chickening out is not an option, so let's give this another try:

If the community is not willing to invest the time and talent required to support itself by keeping this information resource survivable, it may be time to consider an alternative approach similar to the one Pete Grubbs of the former OS/2 e-Zine brought up a while ago: invest money instead.

Essentially, the editorial staff—including translators and proof-readers—would receive an allowance as compensation for a defined monthly work schedule. Nothing to make a living but at least something to help justify spending all that time on the project.

Authors would remain unpaid. As a motivation, there could be a vote for the best articles once a year with prizes for the top three. The prizes could consist of, e.g., software, hardware, gift coupons for books, audio CDs, video DVDs, or money.

Maybe even a printed version could be created.

Funding would have to be provided by vendors, user groups, and individuals. Certain amounts could entitle the donor to place ads in the Newsletter or the VOICE web site. VOICE could handle the collection and management of financial resources, and act as a directorate.

An important issue is how access to the Newsletter would be handled. On one hand, free access for everybody wouldn't exactly help with collecting funds. If VOICE members got free access and everbody else would have to pay a small amount, this would encourage people to join. Restricted access could also be a motivation for authors: A published article could be worth a certain access period, e.g., six months. On the other hand, people might perceive this as monopolization of information.

We are eager to know our readers' opinion. What do you think of the approach? Would you be willing to pay to secure the future of this magazine? Send your comments and suggestions to editor@os2voice.org.

Job Descriptions

Please see the following for detailed descriptions of the open positions.

Associate Editor

The requirements for the position are as follows:

The job consists of:

Tips Editor

The requirements for the position are as follows:

The following is desirable but not required:

The job consists of: