I’m no longer an active member of the community I just use Ubuntu and Xubuntu to do whatever I need my laptop(s) to do. However, I contributed to over 150 issues of UWN between 2013 and 2017, mostly credited but a few anonymously where I thought my contributions were too trivial for a credit.
There have been many changes to the newsletter over that time but the most consistent problem has been the acute lack of contributors. Despite there being a short list of contributors at the end of each issue I can assure everyone that most issues of the past couple of years have been put together by just one or two people, one to find articles and write summaries, the other to edit and publish. Others have helped out on a casual basis to write article summaries but simply disappear after a few issues for reasons only known to themselves.
Anyone with an RSS Feed Reader can glean more Ubuntu news than they care to read and at a time convenient to themselves rather than having to wait for UWN to appear on Monday night or Tuesday morning. Apart from items initially posted to the official Ubuntu mailing lists, that’s how most of the articles selected for inclusion in UWN are found anyway!
As other prominent teams are now issuing their own newsletters should UWN now focus on the community and its users and be renamed the “Ubuntu Users [or Community] Weekly Newsletter”?
You think that way because you’ve stuck around and care about the project as do I but with little feedback from casual contributors and readers you have a point. If the very small number of entries to the quiz, held to celebrate issue #500, is indicative of the number of readers then it makes you wonder just how many people are still reading? However, there is an archive of past newsletters which is a useful resource of information relating to the progress of Ubuntu over the years.
Back in 2014 or 2015 I compiled a spreadsheet, for my own use, of people’s involvement in UWN on an issue by issue basis. Apart from a few regular contributors most summary writers stayed for one or two issues and then disappeared without a trace. They never gave a reason for their leaving and few came back. Some of those [summary writers] were very good and were missed when they left. Many more expressed an interest in contributing but never did. Not once!
Agreed. A decision was made to bullet-point sections such as “Canonical News” as the newsletter was starting to look like the “Canonical Weekly Newsletter” but at times of sparse participation other sections got bullet-pointed too. With a tight schedule at weekends there is little else that the editor/publisher can do.
In the main, “bullet-pointing” indicates a failure to produce what the team initially set out to do back in 2006. If it’s not worth summarising perhaps it should not be included?
Google Docs is open to everyone, even to those without a Google account. Other options may not be as open to everyone without “logging in” or users meeting certain criteria.
Hopefully readers to this thread will now have a better understanding of why we are where we are with the newsletter. However, a few points in closing:
- Summary writers and editors should be kept informed at times when issues are skipped due to a lack of content.
- There should have been more discussion amongst team members about content and processes especially in the weeks leading up to issue #500. Issues since then have suffered as a result.
- Implement a contributors mailing list to keep everyone informed of any changes.
- Documented production schedules need to be adhered to so everyone knows what is happening and when.
- Jobs should be shared and completed by all established team members. Share the load, responsibilty and skills.