Editors Wanted: a Contest!, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

Today's issue of the Gazette is a synopsis of what's been happening with our web site.

On November 25th, I wrote an article which asked for volunteers to edit article submissions from our team of Bloggers. The response to that article was so strong (with over 120 candidates volunteering to lend a hand), I decided on November 30th that it would be best to host a contest for a seat in our Editing Team.

The contest was simple enough: edit a sample article and correct it to the best of your ability. The contest deadline was very brief and ended December 5th (lasting only 5 days); as expected, the second-wave of responses was only a fraction of the initial call for help (with only 40 editorial proposals).

Over the weekend I went through the submissions. Some of the articles were extraordinarily well-written, while others demonstrated minimal corrections with respect to the contest requirements.

At the same time that all of this was going on, I needed to make some major changes to the publishing platform system. The new changes would allow contributors to submit editorials as "drafts" and remain unpublished ("locked") in the publishing system; only when the team of editors would approve the submission would it appear live online our site.

Once these changes were made to the system, however, I was faced with another problem: how can the editing team be alerted that a draft has been submitted and is ready to be edited? The publishing platform (called "Movable Type") does not allow for this -- at least, not in an automated sense.

Needless to say, I've spent the last 72 hours (almost non-stop, with little sleep) searching for a solution based on my very specific requirements. I decided yesterday morning it would be best to write my own solution, and it is approximately 95% complete.

My solution was to write a "plugin" for the publishing platform, such that once a draft is submitted, the plugin is initiated and an RSS feed is generated. The RSS feed contains information about the draft, including: who wrote the article, the title of the article, when it was submitted, and a link to login to the publishing system to edit the article. The RSS feed is self-tailoring and will contain only 50 of the latest draft entries at any given time.

Because RSS is faster than email messaging, our team of Editors can use an RSS Reader and subscribe to the "Draft Entry News Feeds" and be updated regularly -- and without having to clutter an email inbox with similar "alert" messages.

With that said, I will be announcing the winners of our Editorial Contest (hopefully) this week. I still need to make some adjustments to the plugin program that I wrote before adding new members to the Editing Team / Blogging Team.

Stay tuned!

RE: Contributors Wanted

On a related note, I'm still looking for Contributors. If you think you have some interesting content to share with our audience and are interested in joining our team of Bloggers, please send me a quick note using the link below. All bloggers will be rewarded with a link back to their site for their submissions ... and with the size of the infopackets audience, you're guaranteed lots of traffic!


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