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My article-writing career and other stuff

I’ve been occupied with getting my mind into nonfiction mode, and setting up the resources for some articles for Digital Journal. I’ve had some interesting conversations there, mostly on other people’s articles. I’ve also been tracking hits and finding that it takes very little effort to climb the leaderboard, which is mostly about picking up points, which have nothing to do with earnings.

Things were looking pretty good until one of the site’s anonymous conspiracy theorists decided to visit my second article and start spouting irrelevancies. A plea to stick to the subject has escalated to the point where I’ve started deleting his comments — after warning him — and to his going to the staff to complain about about being censored. So, my career on DJ is now on hold because if the powers that be find in his favor, I won’t be writing any more articles.

I have a habit of ticking off people who are bound and determined to keep yelling the same nonsense from their soap boxes, no matter how many times they’ve been told off by various annoyed others.

Meanwhile, development of The New Serfdom is proceeding apace. I could practically sit down and write the first chapter right now, and it’s tempting. But I’m resisting. I haven’t made much progress on the mother’s character, but I’m thinking that maybe I need to have the plot more in hand so that I can see how she fits in. Once I know what she’s going to do, I can start digging into why she does it. I’m pretty sure that’s not an orthodox way of developing a character, but it seems to work for me.

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8 Comments

  1. Catana, I’m confused about your having to delete comments on DJ. Would the management of DJ have just let him go on and on? Do they like controversy? (I’m not familiar with the journal, only visited twice to look at your first article.)

    • The general position of the management is that they keep hands off. They don’t censor articles, so I presume they don’t try to control commenters unless they get out of hand. Yeah, controversy is good, and I enjoy it when it doesn’t get stupid. This guy just comments. That’s his only input on the site. Other journalists ignore him or make fun of his rants and the way he loads his comments with links to obscure sites and long quotes about evidence of world-wide conspiracies. I decided that I wasn’t going to put up with it because it rarely has anything to do with the article under discussion. So he whined and threw out more quotes and finally went to complain. So he says. Now I’m waiting to see whether I’m going to be accused of unfairly interfering with his free speech. There are a few others like him, conspiracy nuts, and also a few trolls.

      It really comes down to my no longer being willing to put up with idiots. He’s free to blog about conspiracies, because all members can blog there to their heart’s content, but he chooses to be in-your-face. I think he craves attention, and he certainly can’t mount a logical argument, so he’s become one of the site’s crazies. It isn’t really a big deal. I could ignore him like almost everybody else does, but I’m too stubborn for that. So, we’ll see.

  2. I have the same problem with some of the comments I get on websites or facebook. I don’t suffer fools gladly. I really hate when I get a comment that seems to be posted by someone who either didn’t read the original post, didn’t understand it, took something out of context, or simply had their own agenda and didn’t give a crap about what I wrote. I was thinking about trying the digital journal thing, now might have to rethink that.

    • For the most part, I’ve been enjoying DJ. There are a lot of bad writers and worse thinkers on there, but there is constant turnover in news articles, so you eventually wind up following the writers you find interesting. I’ll let you know how the little tempest turns out. If the staff decides to ignore him, then maybe that will encourage other writers to tell him to go peddle his conspiracies somewhere else. If they decide I need a slap on the wrist, I’ll have to decide what to do. I might continue to blog because it’s useful to have a presence on a site with a large readership.

      To give you an idea of the exposure, my first article, about 50 Shades of Crap, has almost 600 views. The one that’s stirred up the hornet’s nest has just over 300, and I’m sure the controversy helps. Blog posts don’t normally get anywhere those numbers, and you don’t get paid for them, but they’ll allow me to keep writing about topics that I think are important.

      If you’re thinking about doing it for the money, you might want to reconsider. Almost 900 views on two articles and I’ve earned $2.25. But the articles do stay available and if they’re evergreen subjects, they can keep pulling in the views. It’s something you have to work at over time — number of articles, and people who start to follow and read you. Basically, pay per view, like so many sites that have come and gone, but with a better reputation and a huge readership.

      Almost forgot. Pay is based on “likes” as well as views.

  3. That sounds frustrating – not sure why they would give you the power to delete comments on your articles if you’re not allowed to use it at your discretion. Having nonsensical ramblings attached to your article and their site lowers credibility so they should be happy that you are exercising this quality control.

    On the sites I’ve written for, one is entirely at liberty to approve comments or not which is just as well as there is an awful lot of spam and nonsense. Hope they see the sense of your actions.

    Glad The New Serfdom is going well. It makes sense to me that you would get more of an idea of a character by seeing them in context and working out how they’re going to react to events.

    • Considering their hands-off position, even about quality, I’d imagine they’ll ignore the complaint. At least I haven’t heard anything so far. In response to my blog post about returning to DJ, the managing editor welcomed me back, so it’s not an absentee ownership kind of situation. He posts article and leaves comments, so he’s probably well aware of the few members who are pushing their own kooky agendas.

      I’m posting another update on TNS today (Wednesday).

  4. The rabid commenters are always a problem. I don’t get them on my blog, but the newspaper I work for does. It’s just a peril of the digital age. We don’t usually moderate them unless they violate TOS, mostly because ignoring them seems to be the only way to keep them from getting more riled up.

    • Any site that deals with the news gets this kind of commenter. They’ll find or create controversy where there isn’t any, as far as anyone else is concerned. Sometimes I like to see the reactions to news articles on the sites I read regularly, but the “conversations” almost always deteriorate into arguments and name calling within the first few comments.

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