By now, many of you have already read this post from long-time contributor Mike Dwyer. In it, Mike writes from the heart about the reasons why he has chosen to be absent from Ordinary Times. It contains some criticism, but at least to our eyes that criticism seems to come first from a place of love and we take that criticism as intended: constructively. We thought it prudent that we respond in brief to Mike’s letter; consider this post the public part of that response.
First, know that we believe that most of Mike’s criticisms are spot on. Moreover, they have been concerns of ours for some time now. Late last year, we put together a team of editors, writers, and commenters to take a hard and often painful look at what this site does well, what it does poorly, and most importantly, what it could do better. In addition, we asked all of you to let us know what you would most like to get out of an improved Ordinary Times. After about a six month process of getting a better big-picture idea of what would be best for the site and its readers, the current editors began working in earnest on strategies to implement the myriad of changes and improvements we felt were necessary. You have likely noticed many of the technical improvements executed by the fabulous and invaluable CK MacLeod, without whom I can tell you much of our desires could never have come to life.
Second and more complicated have been those changes that involve staff, content, focus, and vision. We are at what feels like the tail-end of that process of hashing those things out now. I’m not sure if we will announce the coming larger changes piecemeal or all at once. If the former, the first will likely come sometime later this month; if the latter, by the end of 2015 at the latest.
The good news for those that found themselves nodding along to Mike’s post is that most of his complaints are, we believe, already being addressed behind the scenes. The bad news? There are still some that are not.
Because of this, we have reached out to Mike and asked him to give input and feedback in the ongoing process. Though the extent of his assistance is still somewhat up in the air, he has graciously agreed to give up his time and sweat to pitch in. For this, we thank him.
Third, we also wanted everyone to know that Mike is a pretty stand up guy. He actually sent us a copy of his post in advance, and gave us the opportunity to ask him not to post. Which, considering the degree to which posting it was important to him, was much appreciated. As much as we appreciated his professionalism in doing so, however, we also agreed that telling him not to post criticism ran counter to our vision of what Ordinary Times should be: a place where people speak their minds.
Lastly, we would be remiss not to once again thank everyone involved in OT for their efforts. Writers, commenters, and silent readers alike. We would be nothing without y’all.
We’ll let you know about the upcoming changes soon. Stay tuned. Until then, consider this an open thread.
— Tod & Burt
[Image: RCA Indian Head Test Pattern, via wikipedia]