Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

This shouldn't come as a shock to anybody who spends any amount of time in the catbox - six years on this site and I still manage to mis-message things better kept quiet - but I'm stepping down as Editor-in-Chief.

It was a practical decision. The EiC position was one born out of necessity - managerial responsibilities on E2 were traditionally split between Vision and Day-to-Day Operations with the latter taking cues from the former and generally trying to keep things running while the brains of the outfit worked on the big picture, a scheme that worked perfectly well when the various Directors spent most of their time scheming up new ways to make E2 awesome and less of it keeping the place running.

That system worked perfectly well until Katherine and Alex went through the administrative revolving door - Alex's managerial style is hands-on in a different and, I think, exciting way, and his presence puts the Editor-in-Chief position in an uncomfortable sort of limbo. E2 doesn't work too well with more than one person calling the shots on a day-to-day basis, and there was a danger of the lines of communication getting crossed.

And on a personal level, I have to admit that the administration of this place got in the way of me actually writing for it. I can't promise myself I'm actually going to write more, but I hope that it happens.

I'll still be here, of course, getting back to the janitorial work I think I'm best at as well as in an advisory capacity, and I plan on taking an active role in some of the multimedia stuff we have tentatively planned. I think this is an exciting time to be a part of E2, and I plan on sticking it out.

It was a fun few years.

Be kind.


Happy Biiiiirthday tooo uuus

So E2 turned nine today. I'm not going to go into retrospective mode but rather would like to say that I'm more optimistic about the next anniversary than I've been in a long time and look forward to it. As this is also the date that spells one month of my formal assumption of duties as E2's court jesterchief operative, I'd like to say that I'm pleased with the support and encouragement that I've received from both the staff and the noding public. We have gotten some things really moving. As this takes more than just political will but real time and work, little of it would have been possible without the long hours and effort that Oolong and his coding crew have put in in the engine room.

Here's to a year of the future. Here's to all of us being here a year in the future.

The editor-in-chief

As Jack posted above, he has resigned from the EIC position. I have decided not to replace him in that position and to leave it inactive. The position was created about five years ago. For those five years it was useful and necessary while the nominal head of the collective was not as active in editorial, content, and staffing decisions as in earlier years. Jack is correct in pointing out that my management style, though not substantially different from the way I've always worked here, is more hands-on than that of my predecessors and would result in two people doing the same work. Since 2003 we have made such progress that I do not feel the need to have someone specifically tasked with supervising all or part of the staff. The number of complaints regarding the conduct or attitude of staff members is negligible compared to 2003 or earlier. I know I have little to worry about when it comes to the staff knowing what they do.

XP/level transition

The transition to the level/xp/gp system that we worked out earlier this year has had few hitches, none critical. Some people seem to have been surprised by it. I would heartily recommend that these people devote a few minutes every month to reading the editor logs (there's a link on the front page, right next to day logs). Since I was the public face of the project on behalf of the administration, related news was posted by me in the ed logs for January, March, May, and August of this year, and the discussion archives have been open since May.

Objections to the new system, though few, have come mainly from a particular group of high-level users. In designing the system, we aimed to do the best for the majority--that is, low and mid-level users. Most higher-level users have not voiced any objections. However, the new system has had a big impact on those who, be it in terms of writeups posted, C!s given, or votes cast, are statistical outliers. One of them was even very offended by the term. I'm talking facts here, not calling anyone names. Three of the protesting users account for 7% of all C!s ever cast. In mathematical terms this makes them so far removed from the mean that it is next to impossible to automatically provide for them in a model optimised for consistency over continuity or inclusiveness.

Very little is set in stone. The system is a starting point and is designed to be flexible. As we ("we" currently being Oolong, in10se, mauler, and I) evaluate its functionality in the field, we'll see what sort of adjustments are necessary and desirable. This will include accommodations for some categories of users who are not served well by the new system. At this point I would like to thank the folks who took part in the tfxp group for their many valuable ideas and insights, and adjourn the group permanently. A new body to monitor and adjust the system will be activated once things have settled down.

How we see E2 these days

The response to the your input is needed post was very satisfying and helpful. There are far too many individual points to go over one at a time, and many got replies from me or from other users as the threads developed. I agree with many of the points made, even some that are in direct conflict with each other. I understand those that that I disagree with. The most salient aspect of the whole discourse is that opinions and visions remain as diverse as they have always been. With this in mind, we move forward cautiously but confidently.

The discussions also reminded me that we have many people with special skills and in fields of knowledge who are willing to contribute to the future of E2. While we are currently not hiring any editorial staff after reducing the numbers to the lowest level in many years, we are still in the market for Perl-literate coders. I also have a few projects in mind where specialist knowledge could benefit us in examining the present and future of the way in which the site operates. Right now there might be some low-intensity work for people with a background in political science, economics, and related fields. Let me know if you want to make yourself available. We got the input, now let's work on producing some output.

Say hello to...

...Swap, our (second) newest staff member. He has kindly consented to join our coding team, which means he'll be launched into space to work interminable hours under a Scottish chief engineer. Sound familiar?

...Dreamvirus, who continues the invasion of assorted Celtic and Britannic tribes in the E2 coding department. We expect to save a bundle seeing that this one has agreed to be paid in whiskey and potatoes.

Peace, love, and fake crab meat,


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