Tuesday, March 26, 2019

087. B’Ware of W-Beginning Writers’ Publishing Platforms? P S Remesh Chandran


B’Ware of W-Beginning Writers’ Publishing Platforms? P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 01. Article Title Image By Pasja1000. Graphics: Adobe SP.

First published: 26 March 2019

Good things saying farewell to the world is something which saddens us. Author-friendliness is a good thing about not a few publishing sites. They provide authors with good publishing interfaces and provide many other supportive things like lengthy and links-rich author bio pages. In return they get data, information and pages which no other way they will get except by employing highly paid staff. But when enough data has been accumulated, there is a tendency to oust writers from those sites and escape with the materials contributed by those writers.

Google’s Knol and Yahoo’s Associated Content and Yahoo Contributors’ Network.

Google has been famous for retiring its many famous services, caring nothing whether they are good to the world, but only caring whether they provide good and steady revenue resources. Their Knol, abbreviation for Knowledge, was a very good writing platform at which one could write and article in any language and publish it in multi languages simultaneously. It disappeared one day. Not that they escaped with the content; they of course provided time for authors to download their contributed content from their archives. Google Plus which also served as a fine publishing platform for articles, notes, images and videos was the last to go. Still they provided authors with an opportunity to download their content from archives as ZIP files. Knol and Google Plus did not pay authors. Their Blogger platform still remains and no one knows when and whether it would go.

Yahoo’s old Associated Content was renamed as Yahoo Contributor Network. Because they paid, unlike Google, they also held control over articles to ensure good content. For this, they evaluated and checked articles through supervisors before they were accepted for publishing in their platform. They paid according to a system based on Payment Per 1000 Impressions and also provided writers opportunity to take up writing assignments for payment and even showed them what assignments were available based on their experience and portfolios of interest. They even ran an online university to coach writers and even awarded degrees and diplomas! It was an excellent system for coaching writers- their writers and free of course. Anyway, Associated Content and Yahoo Contributor Networks have gone and they have not come with something new. Only the Yahoo News remains which is, it is assumed, invitees only.

Wiki Answers did this and Wikinut may do this.

What will happen if a good publishing site turns sour, angers its contributors and gradually begins to fail in fulfilling its responsibility to writers and regular readers? Such things usually happen- though not rarely- in the publishing world. ‘Publishing world’ here means digital publishing platforms, not traditional book-publishing companies. Because the last to come into this field- Writerly Words- also has its name beginning with a W, I think I have to mention by name two fine publishing platforms which recently either turned hostile to writers, or ultimately closed doors to them. They are Wiki Answers and Wikinut.

First step is providing writers with good intellectual challenges and keeping them writing.

Wiki Answers, or Answers Dot Com, was once described (by themselves?) as the fifth-largest website as regard to accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. Formed following the patterns of the famous and now indispensable Wikipedia, ten thousands of students asked questions and thousands of contributors answered them, all going to a digital data bank. Contributors worked on a voluntary basis and were not paid for their time and services, but were allowed a Profile Page in their site. There they could display a few lines about themselves and provide links to their sites, blogs and portfolios. Many of these contributors worked as Supervisors also, devoting their precious time to enlarging and refining this useful and unique answer bank. There were also Halls of Fame- monthly, yearly and all-time- where the names of the foremost answerers in each category were displayed. In place of an incentive, and also as an encouragement, supervisors were sent gifts each year. Sometimes it would be a bag, and sometimes it would be a blanket. I don’t know about Category and Higher Supervisors: I was only a Floating Supervisor and a long-standing contributor.

Second step is kicking writers out and escaping with their contributions.

All things were going well till some changes in policy took place. This may have been due to new brats entering the Board. Old Hats won’t do such rash and ugly things. Or, some large corporation which is the least concerned about free knowledge gathering and free dissemination of it may have taken over. Anyway, one day, the contributors and supervisors were told by e-mail that they were not any more contributors and supervisors, they were not to log-in anymore, and that their profile pages have been taken down. So also were their names removed from where they appeared alongside the answers they contributed. So, this once-prestigious knowledge bank and free answering platform escaped with everything contributed by thousands of writers, to merchandise these writers’ creations at will at wherever they choose. Today they have all the answers and questions but no names or profile pages of contributors. It was plain piracy. [I do have files of what I contributed and emails of their notifications of publishing. I may someday publish it as a book for the student community to use free].

When Wikinut kicks out writers, they will escape with the full version of all articles free.

The same kind of brats-take-over is happening in Wikinut too. It was considered one of the finest writers’ publishing platforms in the world. In fact, as regard to web resources offered to writers, theirs were excellent. Their publishing interface also was one of the finest in the world among those freely accessible to writers. For years they paid writers in proportion to the advertisement revenue their articles generated. I don’t know how much, because I never even once clicked the ‘Your Payments’ link during my years writing there. (I enjoyed writing there till recently, and the best of my writer-friends were gained from there). In 2017, they stopped paying writers, saying they were thinking about shutting down unless paying writers could be stopped. They lost hundreds of fine writers as a result, along with thousands of articles they contributed through years. A few including me remained, for the sole reason that all articles were open to everyone including students and teachers free. Then they limited Author Bio to 400 characters which meant just two, at the most three sentences. It was like ridiculing writers and challenging them to leave. Then they introduced another change- writers could no more include their names in the titles of their articles- a change which achieved nothing and pleased someone in the board who never in life has been able to put down in words in the form of an article what he or she has in mind. That means, if I intended to publish an article titled ‘New Books From P. S. Remesh Chandran’, I had to title it just ‘New Books’ which would be meaningless anyway. More writers are sure to leave Wikinut, but not me, yet. The meanest thing about Wikinut is, though they allow contributors to download all their articles from archives, they will not allow complete delete of any article; you can edit and shorten the articles but they will keep all previous versions in archives. You know what this means- when they kick out writers finally and escape with their contributions like Wiki Answers did, they will use the full versions free.

Will the new Writerly Words also go the same way?

The point is brats may come to the Board, and the Administration. Uncouth changes may be introduced by the unripe people who somehow got into the information and publishing field. Larger corporations and companies may come with takes-over or mergers. Policies may change. History shows every such thing have only been discouraging and disappointing to writers in those platforms. The last to come to the publishing world is Writerly Words with its comparatively good web resources and supposedly assured writer-friendliness. But ‘Writerly Words’ also begins with a ‘W’ in its name. What will come of it in the future?


Content Writing, English Prose, Free Student Notes, Indian Writers, Literary Articles Essays Reviews, Online Publishing, Prose Reviews Notes Appreciations, Prose To Poem, P S Remesh Chandran, Publishing Industry, Publishing Platforms, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, W-Beginning Writers’ Publishing Platforms, Wiki Answers Wikinut Writerly,

Link: https://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/2019/03/087-bware-of-w-beginning-writers.html 


About the Author P. S. Remesh Chandran: 

02. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran by Sahyadri Archives.

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan: The Intelligent Picture Book. Born and brought up in the beautiful village of Nanniyode in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Trivandrum, in Kerala. Father British Council trained English teacher and Mother University educated. Matriculation with distinction and Pre Degree Studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship. Discontinued Diploma studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single. 

Author of several books in English and in Malayalam, mostly poetical collections, fiction, non fiction and political treatises, including Ulsava Lahari, Darsana Deepthi, Kaalam Jaalakavaathilil, Ilakozhiyum Kaadukalil Puzhayozhukunnu, Thirike Vilikkuka, Oru Thulli Velicham, Aaspathri Jalakam, Vaidooryam, Manal, Jalaja Padma Raaji, Maavoyeppoleyaakaan Entheluppam!, The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazals, Doctors Politicians Bureaucrats People And Private Practice, E-Health Implications And Medical Data Theft, Did A Data Mining Giant Take Over India?, Will Dog Lovers Kill The World?, Is There Patience And Room For One More Reactor?, and Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book. 

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PSRemeshChandra 

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos
Blog: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/
Site: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/
E-Mail: bloombookstvm@gmail.com
Post: P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books, Trivandrum, Padmalayam, Nanniyode, Pacha Post, Trivandrum- 695562, Kerala State, South India.

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