An Open Letter to the 'Chief Nut'

Peter B. Giblett By Peter B. Giblett, 20th Dec 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1r.ptegl/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Wikinut is a thriving community, yet it also needs to grow in order to serve the needs of the writers and equally importantly the needs of Wikinut as a corporation. Growth needs to be in the minds of both the writers and of the owners of this community as a partnership.

Dear Mr Nut!

Before saying anything else I would have to say that I am proud of where Wikinut is today. My comments here are meant to both enhance the community and enhance the power and reach of Wikinut.

As a reader I always like to see articles of good quality. As an author I would like to earn more and be paid more frequently. Generally speaking that Wikinut articles are seen as good quality overall and in part this is because of having human mediators, yet there are still occasions where quality could certainly improve and writers need to recognise that they must process and edit their work before submitting it for publication. Personally I always finish writing, then go into edit mode before submitting articles for publication, yet at the end of the day even I make errors that make it through to the finished article.

We need to ensure that contributors have a commitment to excellence over the next year or two.

The Importance of Good Writers

In a community like Wikinut then writers are the lifeblood and without the new contributions the site will ultimately fail. Yet good writers are at times forged with experience - we cannot all be great at the time we start and for many online article writing is the only start they can get. Writers need to provide articles that are of good quality. To me it is clear that quality is always more important than quantity and I hope that you agree.

Yet at the same time not all writers know how to use all of the elements of Wikinut, its editor, how to embed links etc. and this can both reduce the power of their article and the influence of the whole site, because as we know Google rewards originality.

Tools for Writers

The existing editor needs to be improved in order that writers can utilise more advanced features such as bullets, numbered lists, block quotes for text, insert custom characters, align centre, align right in addition to existing align left. I am not suggesting that we over complicate the editor, simply that Wikinut supply a few extra options to make the life of the writer simpler.

In the editor section there is one further improvement required, this is in how we manage images. These should not be limited to one per section that can only be placed at the top, or side of the section it is wise to be able to add pictures part way down the section and have more than one in a section. This the pictures flow in relation to the text.

Improving Reach and Generating Income

According to statistics available on compete.com it is clear that the readership of Wikinut is growing having grown from 38,000 readers one year ago to 88,000 last month. We should be aiming for similar growth during 2012 - e.g. more than doubling the readership on a regular basis; and ultimately having readerships in the millions.

There are two elements here:
* Having a good flow of interesting articles
* Having advertisers to fund pages

It is the writer that provide the former, but it is the duty of Wikinut to source the latter. There should actually be more sections for advertising without breaking the flow of the article. The right-hand sidebar is often shorter than the published article and could be used as advertising space. There is a partnership here Wikinut makes money when the writer makes money and visa-verse. New writers need to be educated of this fact when they join the community.

Clearing the Spam Comments

We are still receiving too many comments that are intended as spam that tend to ruin the published page. These are the comments that typically start like...

"Hello, everybody, the good shoping place, the new season approaching, click in.
Welcome to ==== http://www.fa***.com..."

As a person who has a background in programming, project management and application development I appreciate the fact that not every problem we set out to programatically resolve can be solved. If you are unable to provide a mechanism to have these removed automatically then you should at least allow authors the ability to remove comments that have no relevance to the article published. Authors could submit offending comments and have Wikinut staff remove them.

Lets be clear authors should not have the ability to remove comments simply because they disagree with the content, but spam is never welcome.

Keeping the Stars

Writing for Wikinut has a great system of awarding stars for good articles, yet I spotted an error in an article that had originally been awarded a star, and proceeded to edit it in order to correct the piece, sadly when it was available again there was no star on the article.

To this writer a star means that it has been appreciated by the moderator, who has taken the extra step of marking the item as special. This is an important aspect of publishing on this site.

Helping Writers Whose First Language is NOT English

Whilst Wikinut is English owned it has a large body of writers from across the world. I welcome submissions from people across the globe, each has much to offer in terms of different views, perspectives, and approaches. Yet sadly there are many writers in distant parts whose level of written English leaves much to be desired. I am the first person to encourage everyone to write, but we must all be encouraged to improve as we write. Expect the first articles contributed to be low in quality, but if the quality does not improve by the time they have reached their tenth article then editors/moderators should be offering some assistance to encourage growth.

English is a powerful communications tool but it should be used correctly in order to write more effectively. In partnership with many of the better writers in each part of the world we should be encouraging improvements in understanding and prose.

Getting Writers On-Line

I have tried to convince traditional writers to get involved on-line, yet few seem to be convinced that it will reap rewards, yet the rewards must happen as readership grows. Having well researched pieces available about a wide range of subjects and being visible to Google and other search engines is ultimately what brings both readership and revenue therefore we must understand the needs of search engines better and become more visible.

Ultimately a part of getting better known is in publishing more articles but there is also value in building a network and it is the networking aspects of the site that need to be enhanced in the forthcoming period.

And...

Of course I am sure that many of my fellow contributors would also like to add their two-pence worth.

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Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Yes, I agree, there is a need for further growth for both writers and wikinut.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Yes, it would be great if there were more 'share' icons on Wikinut. It's a trial getting them shared on other sites - e.g. Facebook, Linked-in etc.
I commented on your Triond article too. Great article there too.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Great points. Right now we have 8 "share buttons" but people can share on other sites without the buttons.

I would like to see a few more ads, not too many, but a bit more so writers earn more.

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
21st Dec 2011 (#)

I'd like to see a discussion board for members only to brainstrorm. Great article!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Great, thoughtful, informative and very important article,with excellent suggestions. Thank you Peter.

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author avatar D in The Darling
21st Dec 2011 (#)

You took the words right out of my mouth. Beautiful and conclusive article. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar ittech
21st Dec 2011 (#)

thanks for share

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you Peter for a truly insightful article, ditto every single point you highlight. As for the spam blocking/removal, how easily can this be done?

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author avatar Buzz
21st Dec 2011 (#)

An immensely appreciated article, Peter. You've raised points worthy of preferential consideration by fellow contributors and the Chief Nut alike. Thank you for sharing.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Dec 2011 (#)

@Tranquilpen asks how easy is it to remove the spam comments. Prom a programmatic view it is best to setup a self-learning system, perhaps starting with an option that allows users to flag a comment as spam then building a database of types of spam, so that they can be automatically trapped.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Oops I meant "From a programmatic view..."

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author avatar Buzz
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Peter, I was sorry to poke you at Triond yesterday. What I meant by you being "like a sphinx" is that by once publishing your articles, you never bothered about the overall community spirit by commenting at least with those people who appreciated your articles.

Community spirit is give and take, and not only commenting on articles you feel like doing so like your favorites, and not commenting on others you don't like.. Just being honest.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Dec 2011 (#)

@Buzz, Thank you for the update. In some regards what you say is true, but then I have found it important to concentrate my efforts with what little time I have. I feel that comments should be worthwhile, not simply "Great article" - frankly that could be covered by the click of a 'I Like it" button. Networking is important and you are correct in this regard - I will try to do better.

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author avatar Buzz
21st Dec 2011 (#)

There's nothing compared to the human "touch" kind vis-a-vis the mechanical "I like it" button. You'll feel the warmth and appreciation more when people "touch" you more than machine do their thing for people.

People can be very demanding because they are human, after all. Happy Holidays, Peter!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Just published my first article today; also with two other sites for couple of years. Thanks for an article that tells what Wikinut is about, and should be to rise even higher. I feel blessed that I can read such an enlightened article from the day go! siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Love to see new people publish. Welcome aboard @Sivaramakrishnan A!

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author avatar Retired
21st Dec 2011 (#)

Great article...while I don't care for the spam on my pages, I do welcome comments because it helps me grow as a writer...thanks for sharing....

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author avatar Denise O
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Peter, I do believe in putting out the best work you can. It only helps each and every one of us. The better the articles, the more people will return back to our site. We are all in this together. It is like I always say to my kids "Can you look in the mirror and say to yourself, you did your best?". It is taking pride in ones work. I like to comment on peoples articles because, I love to read, I love to support our community and I love getting to know people. Also remember, every time you put your name on some one elses page, a person visiting that page, just might click on your name. Well done. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar M G Singh
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you for an interesting post

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Dec 2011 (#)

Excellent article Peter! I have to agree with so many good points raised. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it is a really great share..

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
25th Dec 2011 (#)

Hello Peter: I must admit that I do not know how to use all of the elements of Wikinut, its editor, how to embed links etc. I love to write but I know I am missing out on so many of the opportunities to promote my work. I write as I feel and maybe my articles are not worthy of promoting. I really am a novice in this field. Thank you for giving me some direction but although I think I am of average intelligence, a lot goes over my head, or I allow it to.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
26th Dec 2011 (#)

@Ivyevelyn, We cannot hope to understand everything we use right away. One of the things that I do whenever I am using anything new is push all the buttons and see what they do, then seek to understand further.

Promoting your work gives a different challenge, and this is where telling people about the article on Twitter or Facebook can sometimes help. We are all here to assist though - this is an exciting community that is growing by sharing.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
26th Dec 2011 (#)

Peter: I wrote 5 comments to the moderators yesterday and failed to get one reply. I told them I would leave Wikinut - still no answer. I can handle criticism but when I am ignored, then I feel I am writing for the wrong website.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
26th Dec 2011 (#)

@Ivyevelyn, Part of the problem about writing to any web-site is getting responses. Some people feel that it is not necessary - when indeed it is perhaps more important than on any other medium.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
28th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks for responding, Peter. I will carry on regardless and am grateful for your support.

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author avatar Mavicity
9th Jan 2012 (#)

I got worried about that star page, I recently edited (minor edits, just an addition of one sentence asking readers to join wikinut) two of my star pages and now I am afraid it might lose the star status.

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author avatar Retired
2nd Jul 2012 (#)

Your article was great. Wikinut need to communicate with its writers. I signed up for wikinut over a week ago and never received an email to verify my email which I have to do so my articles will get published. I have requested an email be sent to me so I can do this probably over 20 times and I have not received and email or an answer of any kind. This is not good. A site need to communicate with its writers as this is very important.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
2nd Jul 2012 (#)

If you have not received the email then chances are you entered the wrong one. Normally this is automated.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
31st Aug 2013 (#)

Two years later, there are parts to your article that still need to be addressed. One example and idea -- I wonder if, as a step down from moderators, learners of English (which might include native speakers for whom writing is an unnatural form of communication) could submit to a pool of native speaking editors of a certain rank/belt who haven't reached moderator status but could do more. Maybe offer nutpoints for editing services, though hopefully adding followers would be enough among shared contacts. I often want to make mechanical comments in the comments, but I want those comments taken constructively by a learner who wants to get better over time. If a separate editing pool were created, and then edited articles went to moderators, perhaps it would help speed the growth of our English learners and improve relationships in our community.
Overall, though, what a great article. I'm really glad you are thinking about this. And I loved seeing Siva comment the day of his first published article!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
1st Sep 2013 (#)

I penned this article before becoming a moderator and it is certainly true that many of my original suggestions are outstanding, but of course I have plenty of more suggestions that have not previously been posted.

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author avatar bamgbalaot
3rd May 2015 (#)

My part to this is that, most then author's now a moderator find it so easy and fast to be threatening and close author's account unduly, if this not correct fast, it will go a long way derailing wikinut..just encountered some complaints through google search..

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th May 2015 (#)

bamgbalaot, sir, To my knowledge the only people who have had their accounts closed are those that persistently copy other people's work and Wikinut has to protect itself from such abuses.

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