And Now A Few Words from the ‘Editors’

I want to address you as the co-founder…wait…is that too pompous?

I am not even completely sure about what my title is. Sure enough, I own this website together with my partner  Robert Pannier, but I don’t recall whether I am supposedly the editor in chief or the managing editor.  Owner sounds too crass. Executive director sounds too pretentious.

So, let’s just say that, as the co-founder of BindleSnitch, I would like to direct a few choice words with our contributors and readers.

I have recently been accused of running a crooked game here by not publishing articles that aren’t sufficiently leftish for my tastes.

This is rather funny, because I don’t publish anything on BindleSnitch myself except for my own articles. BindleSnitch uses an autonomous content management system that Robert and I adapted to be completely automatic.  When you click on the publish button, you are the ones who are publishing your articles on BindleSnitch, not us.

It is also funny because we want controversy. Controversy attracts readers. It would be against our best interest (and yours, as contributors and readers) if we were to exclude right wing bullshit from our website. We want your right wing bullshit just as much as we want the left wing bullshit, as long as your bullshit does not violate our community guidelines.  Since you probably won’t bother to trigger the link, our community guidelines ban hate speech, incitement to riot, calls for violent revolution (however, if you want to start something, give me a call to see if I’m available that week) as well as copyright violations and libel.  The usual stuff.

Let’s be 100 percent transparent about this. We do not preview, edit or review articles posted on BindleSnitch for content. That’s not our job and, if we were to do that, it would make US liable for the acts of omission and commission that you might perpetrate in your articles.

Let’s be even more clear. If we were previewing, evaluating, editing, accepting or rejecting articles, we would then be liable to prosecution for everything from treason to copyright infringement, and that’s a level of bullshit we don’t need in our lives. It would also shut us down since we couldn’t afford to fight back. (Listen, I was once ON the HUAC LIST, but that was then and this is now, okay?)

Every now and then, I will admit that I see shit on our website that makes me want to tear someone a new asshole, but that’s just me, in my private capacity as a BindleSnitch contributor…but neither Robert nor I spend our days and nights with our noses glued to the BindleSnitch home page.

If we read an article that we think is full of shit, we will write a comment to that effect, but we won’t change a word of your articles. This in no way affects our  status as an impartial publisher of the website.

We do occasionally “fix” certain technical problems.

These include:

  • Removing pornographic images (actually, we’ve never had to do that. I think most  of our contributors are past the age at which pornography is still interesting. I have, anyway.)
  • Fixing pictures  that are not in the right dimensions (640 px W by 480 px H, or in that neighborhood) because if we don’t fix them they screw up the home page.
  • Fixing headlines that are too long or too short for our home page  format (at least 44 but not more than 70 characters)
  • Removing articles that have popped up in the wrong categories (when we actually notice them)

Robert will add a note in the comments if I missed anything.

There are also some things that we don’t fix but they really piss me off (Robert much less so.) Let me get these off my chest.

  1. VERY VERY SHORT ARTICLES:  We originally intended to set a minimum length of 500 words for an article.  We abandoned that rule because we thought we would be getting a lot of posts from poets and visual artists that wouldn’t come close to that minimum. HOWEVER, THIS AIN’T FACEBOOK OR TWITTER. This site was designed to publish articles not Facebook links or Twitter Tweets. Get with the program.  If it’s under a hundred words, well, it will be published but you will also be pissing me off.
  2. MEMES OF ANY KIND: This is a meme free environment, or at least we designed to be a meme free environment. I wanted to scream when a certain contributor who decided to ask other contributors to post pictures of their favorite books or something like that. Seriously, who the fuck cares?  Pictures may speak a thousand words, but they say something different to each person who looks at them. This is a literary environment.
  3. USING THE SAME FEATURED IMAGE OVER AND OVER AGAIN:  Again, this violates our basic design concept. Each featured image is supposed to be unique and specific to subject of the article.  Using the same image over and over again confuses visitors, and makes us look like idiots.  The featured image is different from your profile picture. (Profile pictures appear by default on the comments, not on the articles.)
  4. POSTING LINKS TO ARTICLES THAT ARE BEHIND PAY WALLS:  This really infuriates me because doing excludes everyone from the conversation who doesn’t subscribe to that site, and Jeff Bezos  already gets way too much of our money every month. It is perfectly legal for you to excerpt the relevant sections of an article (as long as you put those sections in quotes and include a citation indicating the name of the author and the publication.)

Okay, I don’t know if you feel better now, but I certainly do.

People have asked me what we’re doing to promote the website and generate traffic.

Seriously?

That’s not our job. THAT’S YOUR JOB.

We have provided a working environment. It’s not perfect. It will continue to change and improve until I either come down with Alzheimer’s or drop dead.If I drop dead, the site will remain as is forever. (I have set it up so that it will stay up forever. If I come down with Alzheimer’s, there’s no telling what might happen.)

If you read the marketing plan, in the About Us section, you will see the model we are trying to use here, and that model calls for you, as contributors, to do a certain number of basic simple things.

  1.  Have you sent out mailings to your personal directories asking them to visit Bindlesntich to read your articles.  If not, why not?
  2. Are you posting stuff on Facebook that you could publish here and then post on Facebook? (Wait. Never mind. I do that too.)
  3. Are you inserting hyperlinks for your articles into your social media accounts? If not, why not?
  4. Are  you posting hyperlinks to OTHER BindleSnitch articles written by other contributors to your social media feeds.

There are other things you could do, but these are the baby steps. Recruiting other writers to join us.

We can’t do this alone. It would take millions of dollars to market BindleSnitch properly through any other mechanism. If we had millions of dollars, we wouldn’t put that money into BindleSnitch anyway because BindleSnitch was designed to be a bootstrapping project. We will put all of the revenue we receive – if we ever receive  any revenue – back into the site, but we have always intended this to be self-supporting, grass roots project.

All of the sites that we are “competing” against (they don’t even know we exist and wouldn’t care if they did) were built on a combination of government funding and private equity investments. We don’t want that kind of money, which works perfectly, because they are not about to give us any.

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