If you’re a loyal reader of DargonZine editorials (and I know you are), you probably realize that they fall into two styles: me telling you about recent events and improvements in the magazine, or me pontificating at length about some esoteric aspect of what we do.
After two consecutive issues of the latter, I think you’ll be pleased to know that today I have a lot of great news to relate, and won’t have to resort to the angry old man schtick that encouraged our writers’ sprichwort: That’s just Orny — don’t encourage him!
The first bit of news is the debut of our first new writer to appear in 1999, Rhonda Gomez. Her “Cords that Bind” appears in this issue, and is a delightful short piece, written with sincerity and a wonderful tone. If this story is representative of Rhonda’s work, I’m sure there’ll be many folks out there who’ll be anxious to see more from her!
The second bit of news is that we’ve made more than *thirty* more back issues available in HTML format on our Web site. Previously, any issues prior to 1994 were available only in ASCII format via ftp. Today our HTML archive goes as far back as mid-1988, when FSFnet became DargonZine. Although we have not yet converted our fifty FSFnet issues to HTML, it’s definitely in the works for later this year. All can be found on the “Back Issues” page of www.dargonzine.org.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s still another big announcement; but this one will take some explaining.
If you receive your issues via email, you know that about a week before each issue comes out, we send out a brief email announcing the coming issue. For the most part, we do this so that we can identify subscribers whose accounts have expired, so that we don’t get a lot of bounced email when we send the huge issue out a week later.
As you know, we’ve been gradually putting issues out more and more frequently lately. And since there’s less time between issues, there are fewer accounts expiring and less need to send out that preliminary mailing, because there will be fewer bounces. Because of that, we’re toying with the idea of eliminating that announcement, or only sending it out when there’s four weeks or more between issues.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to do two things: send our next issue out *without* the usual pre-issue announcement, and conduct a poll of our readers to find out whether they want to receive pre-issue announcements or not.
If you receive full issues via email, DargonZine 12-5 will arrive in your mailbox just three weeks from now, with no pre-issue announcement. For us, this will be something of a test run to see how feasible it is to distribute issues without a preliminary mailing. If you don’t receive full issues, but only a brief announcement of the issue’s availability when it is distributed, you will receive that mailing just as you always have.
In addition to this, we would like to hear your opinion about the pre-issue announcements and whether we should keep them or not. We originally thought we’d just stop sending the announcements until we heard that some readers like to receive them so that they know what’s coming.
To facilitate this, we’ve put together a Web page which will allow you to quickly and easily express your preference. We’d really like everyone who receives full issues via email to cast their vote, even if the question doesn’t matter to you (yes, that’s one of the possible ways to vote), so that we can get an accurate idea of what our readers want us to do.
So please take the time to vote; it’s quick and painless and will help us better understand what you want. The voting page can be found at <http://www.dargonzine.org/ping_vote.shtml>.