Re: Proposed release cycle

Hi, Paul!

When I started organizing the GJ releases, I made a near identical plan. So identical, in fact, it's kind of strange. ;-)

I just had a higher minimum article count for each edition, I believe. But I dropped this soon.

To answer your question: Yes, It's doable if you are willing to make things get done and/or you have a team you can rely on. The second part is the tricky one. ;-)

Otherwise, it's starts to get stressing rather quickly. 8 Weeks seem like a long time on the paper but in reality, you may get the impression, there's no rest for you. You've just had a release out and it all starts over, again. In the beginning, that will be no problem but it starts to build up over time.

You can see that in the archive: My first edition was July 2005. 4 editions were released in time. But the March 2006 edition was late, already.

Writers will be the most critical part of the team, obviously.

A writer may get the impression, he or she just had his or her article published and there you are, again, asking for another one. Our writers are no professionals -- even if they think they are since they have a blog.

Blog publishing is on your own time, mostly impulsive, about a familiar topic and often just mere opinion piece. You just have a thought, then you sit down a few hours and you write 600-800 words. No problem and that would be a rather long post.

Writing for a scheduled journal like GJ is different: Even regular blog writers may ask you what to write about! If you give them a topic, they may sit in front of their computers and have a sort of writer's block. So you may get an email asking what they should write. If that happens, general advise and encouragement does not seem to work. Try to be specific as possible. Maybe that will do the trick.

Even writers with lots of ideas and experience often seem to get stuck somewhere in the middle of the article; probably, because people like this have lots of ideas about other stuff, too. They work on lots of things and simply find no time. Ken VanDine and Davyd Madeley are both prime candidates, here. :-D

I never did but you may try to find them a co-author, in such cases.

Even finding editors to support Jim may be tricky. They, too, seem to need some time to get used and comfortable with editing. Get in touch with John Williams and Laurie VanDine and ask them for help. I really can't tell you how relaxing it was for me to know, they and Jim will be able to just edit the articles, no questions asked. You just need to sort out who's editing what.

Of course, if you're a native speaker you may also help editing. But try not to do it. You will have lots of other things to care about.

Looking at your detailed schedule, these things are most likely to break:

 * One week for the article list.
 * One month for writing.

You simply won't get that much article ideas and writers being committed to the idea just one week after publication. Yeah, I know it's just 3 articles. Doesn't matter. It works for the first and second edition because people build up ideas and commitment over the last few months but these resources will soon be empty.

You can make one week if you come up with article ideas yourself. In that case, you need to find writers who are willing to commit to your ideas. But the longer you need to find one, the less time will be available for the writer to write it.

And, of course, writers are nearly always late no matter how much time they have for writing. In fact, the shorter the time period, the better. So, maybe you would like to include two weeks rest after publication, one week for article ideas, and two weeks for writing. Or maybe a 1-1-3 split.

If that doesn't work, maybe you have to go up to a three months schedule.

Also note that you'll probably be the only person who has the GJ release in your personal schedule. You will have to remind everyone else in which cases, it's often a surprise for them -- kind of: "Gosh, yeah. I wanted to do that, too. Wow, there's so much stuff to do right now. Dunno if I'll be able to make it." ;-)

Hope I could help.

Best regards,

On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM, Paul Cutler <pcutler foresightlinux org> wrote:
I've been debating the best way to propose a release cycle for GNOME
Journal, and I would love some feedback.

Here is where I'm at right now:

Proposed 2009 Release Dates:

May 15th (Current edition, 6 articles, 90% chance on current CMS.
Referred to as "Release" below)

July 15th (Release +1)

August 15th (GUADEC Special Edition) (Release +2)

October 15th (Release +3)

December 15th (Release +4)

As we discussed last week, if we get more contributors as we build
momentum, we can always increase the number of editions published.  I
like the idea of a 60 day release cycle, and I think if we try hard we
can have 3 articles every 60 days - one interview / Behind the Scenes,
one application review, and one other article.  If we have more,
great, but I think 3 is probably the minimum per release.

I would also like to see one of those three articles over the next
year have something to do with GNOME 3.0.  I think there is a lot we
can do with that idea.

I think an 8 week release process might work, though the GUADEC
special edition might throw a kink in it.  Claus or Jim, I'd love to
hear your thoughts of what's worked in the past.  Here's an example,
for release + 1 (July 15th) and release +2 (GUADEC), which is a
special edition.  Assume that release +3 (October 15th would be on the
same 8 week cycle as release + 1).

+0 - Release!  (July 15th)

T -1 CMS prep (July 8th)

T - 2 : Editing (July 1st)

T - 3 - Articles Due (June 24th)

T - 7 - Article list finalized (May 27th)

T - 8 Call for Articles (May 20th)


+0 Release (August 15th)

T -1: CMS Prep (Aug 13th)

T -2 Editing (Aug 1st)

T - 3 - Articles Due (Aug 8th)

T - 7 - Article list finalized (July 20th)

T - 8 Call for Articles (July 15th)

Things to think about:

* 1 week to edit - some extra time is built in to that as we have 1
whole week to get it formatted in the CMS or Wordpress once that is

* Writers have a month to write their article, once the article is
accepted.  Is that enough time?

* GUADEC is July 1 - 13th.  This gives us about a month to push a
whole release.  I've tried to give authors enough time to write
articles, and compressed the call for articles and selection, editing
and publishing.  I will personally sign up for editing and publishing
to meet those timeframes.

* Release + 3 is October 15th - I chose 60 days after the GUADEC
edition to get us back on an 8 week schedule, as well as the GNOME
2.28 release is September 23rd.  This way we could have articles in GJ
about new features, applications, etc in GNOME 2.28.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.  Once we are in
agreement, I will update the planning pages on LGO to reflect the

Also - are there any opinions in having another follow-up meeting in
the near future?

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