Update on the changes at Wikinut

Sam WormleightonStarred Page By Sam Wormleighton, 24th Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2frs4vq1/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>About Wikinut

December 2015 has been a month of change here at Wikinut. This article gives a quick update on some of the progress we've made.

Site Activity

I'm going to start the update with the bad news - the number of new articles being published on the site has dropped significantly. If I compare the first 10 days of December with the 10 days from 12/Dec the drop is 80%.

Obviously this is not a good trend, but it is also not unexpected.

Wikinut was always promoted primarily as a platform to make money on, removing the payments was always going to dissuade many of the members from using the site. The drop in distinct authors over the same periods was 64%, also disappointing but not as dramatic as the drop in articles. It looks like the authors who contributed multiple pages a day are more likely to have left than those who wrote less.

Improvements

You may have noticed that the site is feeling a lot faster this week. Pages are loading more quickly and I have disabled some of the more intrusive "in page" text adverts. In addition some improvements have been made to the code running the site -

  • Faster editor save.
  • With the removal of some of the payment tracking features I have been able to simplify some editor functions. This has resulted in an approximate 10 fold speed-up for saving article drafts and final publishing.

  • Faster tag suggestions.
  • We store approximately 5.5 million relationships between article versions and tags, and the system supporting this had started to creak. Tags were slow to edit, slow to save and computationally expensive to handle. I've made changes to the way tags work and simplified things somewhat. The editor's tag suggestions are no longer as comprehensive as before, but the overall server load is dramatically reduced and this is helping the rest of the site run more smoothly.

  • Disappearing pages when editing.
  • There has been a long standing bug which could cause all versions of an article (including the draft being worked on) to be marked as superseded in the database. This is a complex bug but I have put live the first part of a fix to eradicate it. I hope this first fix will stop anyone encountering the bug as it now a lot less likely to occur, but I will also be making more changes soon to stop it completely.

  • New user sign-ups.
  • I have re-enabled new sign-ups now that our pages have been updated to remove references to the revenue share scheme. Welcome to the 10 new users that have signed up today already!

Feedback Survey

  • 52% of respondents agreed with our plan to keep the site active by cutting our costs (primarily stopping payments). And 20% said we should do that and also accept donations. This is very encouraging and has really enthused me to keep working hard behind the scenes. Knowing there are people out there that want the site to live on means a lot.

  • 64% of respondents said they felt they were being treated "somewhat fairly" or "very fairly". Again, this is very heartening. We took a long time to carefully and honestly explain the situation in our message, and we tried very hard to avoid corporate language or political weasel words. A lot of people did not like the changes but I think our personal and honest explanation has helped people understand and empathise with our position.

  • 67% of respondents said they're going to keep their pages on Wikinut. Hopefully we can also keep a lot of authors active on the site, contributing new content and discussions as we go forward.

  • There were a lot of comments on the survey and I have read them all. A small number were dissatisfied, and an even smaller number were simply abusive. But the vast majority were very kind and telling us how much they want us to continue and how much pleasure the site has bought people. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments, and if anyone hasn't had their say yet - the survey is still open.

Medium term viability of Wikinut

I can confirm that I am committed to Wikinut remaining open and giving the new direction a good length of time to prove itself. The site is absolutely not going to shut any time soon, and will never simply "disappear" overnight. I am committed to open communication and honest discussion of site funding options.

I have plans for site improvements for 2016 - starting with adding a lot more community features and improved ways to discover and share articles. I will be seeking input and ideas from users to help with this when the time comes.

Moderator changes

Steve Kinsman has decided to step down as a Wikinut moderator. I'd like to thank him for his support and dedication during his 4 and a half years as a Wikinutter.

Merry Christmas

Here in the UK we are celebrating Christmas this week. I'd like to take a minute to offer all our members my best wishes for this holiday period and the coming new year.

Tags

Wikinut, Wikinut Community

Meet the author

author avatar Sam Wormleighton
I am Wikinut's top technical author and advisor, which makes me a pretty big nut when you think about it!

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Comments

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
24th Dec 2015 (#)

Thank you Sam for this update. Speaking personally I have not been actively writing over the last few weeks because I am busy on other projects that have slowed down the pace of my writing. I moderate daily and have to say that of late have seen a return of some writers who initially left the site.

Thank you for giving us an update on the bugs. The faster save was certainly evident with the last article I wrote.

I must report that my readership levels have remained reasonably constant during December, the reason because I regularly post link on social sites.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
24th Dec 2015 (#)

Thank you, Sam. I think the changes in general are for the better. I really have enjoyed overall at Wikinut.

I do think a donation (or 'tip' link might be a good incentive for contributors.) On the website thetoast.com, they have a link at the end individual pieces, whereby one can "tip" the author (and presumably the site) via PayPal. I loved one article, so much, I gave $2. It was nothing much to me, but I know it means a lot to the contributor.

The only caution I have is when I saw my Wikinut page on my mobile device, I saw a link for a pornographic website. I hope that was an aberrant link. I don't mind adult chat sites (or the occasional Viagra advert), but I do mind direct pornography, as the associations with that can be rather unsavory (and indirectly illegal).

But thank to Wikinut for righting the ship.

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author avatar johnnydod
25th Dec 2015 (#)

All the best for Christmas and the new year Sam sad to see steve has deceided to give up being a mod but as we have now less writers I am sure we will cope OK
Also all the best and a Merry Christmas to all the Wikinut writers

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks Sam for the update. I am sure many are like me waiting for good tidings along the way and you are making a sincere effort. Wikinut is a lovely platform and deserves to be alive and kicking. Best of luck.

Sad Steve has decided to step down as a moderator and I wish him well, but I am sure he will continue to contribute.

I will continue to be active and do hope those who have taken a hiatus for now will return with renewed vigor.

Wishing you and all here at Wikinut Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - siva

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author avatar spirited
25th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks for the update Sam.

I am still writing here, and will continue to write here from time to time too, and I have noticed the faster processing too. I have slowed down a bit on my writing, as I did join another paying site recently too, as well, mylot.

The thing is that a lot of us poorer writers really need some type of income to come from anywhere we can get it from.

I do not think donations would necessarily work, and they might even drive more people away, if you became beggars, so to speak, on the web.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
25th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks for the thank you Sam. I appreciate it. While I stepped down from moderating duties, I will continue to happily write articles for this site. For me, it's never been about making money. I write for the pleasure of writing. The sense of community that exists here is unmatched at any other writing site on the web.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
25th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks for the update Sam..with a lot of work behind the scene I still wish you to enjoy your wiki-Holidays and get cracking!

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author avatar Sam Wormleighton
25th Dec 2015 (#)

I was asked elsewhere if Mark Gordon Brown had stepped down too - he hasn't, and his previously moderated pages are still assigned to him. He has been a lot less active since the announcement of the changes but it's entirely up to each person how much they choose to do on the site and that's perfectly fine.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
25th Dec 2015 (#)

I believe that Mark has been much more involved with his music over the last 6 months

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
26th Dec 2015 (#)

I know at least two prolifc writers here who made a haste exit with her articles and another who post at a rate of two post a day suddenyl silence her pen since Dec 11...probably still shell shock from her experience with Bubblews.

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author avatar Susan Heney
26th Dec 2015 (#)

Appreciate the recent updates on Wikinut. Am a loyal reader. Mostly, I write journal style which is easiest w/out constraints on my disability. Am pleased that many familiar people remain here. Have found no equal to the quality, variety and sincerity of Wikinut and its writers. Wishing all an abundant season and going forward into 2016.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
27th Dec 2015 (#)

@Sam, So far my "emotional" concern was the sudden changes of not paying the easy £2.50 threshold that was given before...and since they cut-off the period on Dec 10 they should honor the £2.50 earned as goodwill separation pay so to speak as sign of goodfaith than firing a double barrel gun of stoppng payment and will only honor the regular auto £5 redemption for Jan 10 2016 payout. Point is am ok with the none continuation of payment but hey pls pay us those who made it to the minimum level at least that was granted to countless others. I believe its honorable for both payee and payor parties in to solidify patronage and continues referrals.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
30th Dec 2015 (#)

Thank you so much for sharing the updates. I've been so busy with the holidays that I haven't had a minute to spare but I did have a chapter published yesterday. It felt good to get back to writing. I for one love this site and all the friends I've made. I noticed my followers has dropped over the last month but hopefully I will add new ones as time passes by. I'm staying for sure and I wish everyone well.

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author avatar WOGIAM
2nd Jan 2016 (#)

Thank you for the update and i wish all the contributors here the best of all positive things in 2016 and beyond.
Happy new year everyone.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
6th Jan 2016 (#)

WOW! So sad, ah well, life is all about changing and adapting to circumstances. I cannot afford writing for free, being tied to a wheelchair, I shall off course keep posting here but less frequently. God bless one and all. I'm optimistic, that the stature and magnificence of this site will get a cash injection from a kindly philanthropist somewhere.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
23rd Jan 2016 (#)

hello Sam, today i put a new piece up on your great site and it worked so much better, faster and without the usual glitches...so i am well pleased...and will be writing more again here...all the best to you...

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author avatar spirited
23rd Jan 2016 (#)

Hi Sam,

I wonder if you are reading these replies. I notice you are still allowing that bogus flash update virus ad on your site.

Are you allowing more of these malicious ads through now, perhaps to raise more revenue?

Talking about revenue, when will you make the final payment for money's owing.

We thought this was to be made on January 10, 2016.

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author avatar Sam Wormleighton
24th Jan 2016 (#)

spirited - everyone who met the payment threshold (£5) was paid out on Jan 8th. Unfortunately a lot of authors had balances below this threshold - but the line had to be drawn somewhere and we felt that was a fair level to do it at as it was the value that has always been quoted in out terms of service. We couldn't pay lower balances because the administration and fees involved would quickly exceed the value of the payments. For comparison £5 is far lower than the minimum payment level set by most other website services.

There should never be any spam, virus or malware adverts on Wikinut. Whenever we become aware of a problem like that we remove the advertiser behind it. We are currently working to remove as many adverts as possible and to increase the quality of those that remain. We are aware that the current advertisers are not of the highest image / standing, and this is one of the issues we are addressing with the changes we have made to the site model.

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author avatar spirited
24th Jan 2016 (#)

Thanks Sam,

You sort of did tell us this, but from what you said earlier, it was not 100% clear to me either.

“We will be making the payment run on 10/Dec/15 as planned, and will be reverting to paying at a minimum balance of £5 as outlined in our T&Cs. We have been making payments at a goodwill level of £2.50 for some time to boost user engagement but won't be doing this going forward.

We will make a final payment run on 10/Jan/16. This will cover an extended period and will pay all revenue up to the final earnings on the 10/Dec/15.”

I was thinking that the use of the word “all revenue”, and “final payment” meant that you would pay whatever was owing for the final payment.

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

The flash player virus asks you, “if you want to install flash player”, saying that you need “flash player update to read this page”, when you click on the yes button, or even the no button, it installs some malicious program. The only way to update your flash player legitimately is to go to the Adobe download site.

Please remove this ad, as when you use your mouse to move over the page, sometimes it inadvertently clicks on this ad, and starts the install.

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