Welcome to Finley Experience

This website is dedicated to LGBT folks who are surviving in this crazy world.

What's good for one isn't necessarily good for another.

Attempting to control the hearts and souls of the masses through force and injustice only forces the seeds of dissension to grow. History has taught this lesson repeatedly. Perhaps, we'll learn the lesson this time.

27 October 2015

On Blogging

When I first started blogging, it was a way for me to network with other people interested in writing. In the early days of blogging, I'd search chatrooms for bloggers with strong voices. We'd support and promote each other's blogs. Soon after, what would become known as "content mills" popped up on the web. These content mills provided bloggers with easy to use platforms for creating content and sharing in the revenue received from advertisements plus much large audience reach. I loved these sites and never thought of them as content mills (a derogatory term created by mainstream media). These sites helped people whose voices would otherwise not be heard. They did not discriminate based on the user's English grammar abilities. Members left each other comments about grammar or content. Through the advice of the community, writers who started off with bad grammar skills often improved.

Some writers only cared to share information; the correctness of their grammar was of no account. Many of these writers had large followings that were more interested in the information than the potential grammar errors. Even these writers showed grammar improvements over time. The websites offered writers multiple copyright options as well as upfront payments and royalty / revenue share payments for each article. Think of it, people with valuable information and crap grammar skills had a place to share their knowledge and to reap the revenue generated from advertisements. In contrast, people with perfect grammar skills and shit to say were also able to share in revenue generated from the articles that they wrote, albeit not as much revenue.

That's not where we are at today. Instead, English grammar police have long since taken over the major content sites which then hired editors, closed the "any registered user as writer" features, and required writing samples in their registration applications. All this in an effort to eradicate bad grammar and to professionalize popular websites. What have they've really done? Bought out the sites where user-generated knowledge was topping search engines, kicked out any writers they deemed incapable, and redesigned the sites to fit the publication guidelines for professional writers. When redesign and transition were deemed impossible, the sites were shuttered.

So, the eponymous THEY took user-generated content sites and turned them into professional writing sites. What's the big fucking deal? The people who wrote for user-generated content sites weren't all professional writers. Many were professionals who also acted as user-writers that enjoyed sharing their knowledge with the world and were happy to receive nominal Pay-Per-View revenue for their works. Many of those user-writers spent years building followings, posting content, and networking across social media accounts. When they were pushed off the content sites, many lost years of work. Those that did not lose their writings, lost the years of effort they put into creating followings on those sites.

In some ways I am very lucky, I’ve always been a professional and written professionally. Meaning, I was easily able to get accepted to the sites that offered their original users an opportunity to reapply. I watched as very knowledgeable users were not invited back to the newly revamped and professionalized sites. This is a tragic loss to all who frequented these sites. Professionalizing user-generated content sites dramatically changes the dynamics of the sites, causes the loss of average user voices, and forces user-writers to kowtow to the whims of “content mill” editors who frequently do not understand the content they edit.

An editor’s understanding of English grammar is important to editing, so, too, is the editor’s capacity to understand the content that they are editing. If an editor doesn’t understand the professional jargon of a certain topic their ability to accurately edit the content is drastically reduced. Many revamped content sites hired editors based on their ability to correct errors in generic sample articles that somehow failed to take into account the topic specific jargon used by professionals who were also user-writers. In this manner, these sites changed their focus to grammar and the editors from genuine knowledge and the user-writers.

These websites were so intent on checking editors’ grammar abilities that they failed to match editors with knowledge of specific topics to writers with knowledge of specific professions. How can unknowledgeable editors be responsible for editing content they don’t understand? I wouldn’t expect an editor of parenting articles to accurately gage the correctness of content regarding the latest discoveries in physics. Nor would I expect an editor of auto articles to properly grasp the minutiae of casino jargon. Not to say that one couldn’t master multiple professional jargons, for instance, a grammar conscious physicist with children would be capable of editing parenting and physics articles, just as a car aficionado with a gambling problem would be capable of editing auto and casino articles.

I experienced this jargon ignorant editor issue first-hand when writing how-to articles for eHow (a user-generated how-to site bought out and revamped into an edited how-to site by Demand Media). At the time, I was a professional casino dealer writing articles on playing casino games that had various levels of difficulty. While eHow was a user-generated content site, I created successful low to moderate level how-to articles on playing Black Jack, Let It Ride, and Caribbean Stud. After eHow was taken over, I created a series of high difficulty articles on Craps, all of which were refused by editors who had no knowledge of the game and were incapable of understanding the jargon (even though I frequently explained the terms with pictures). The three random editors that I dealt with had probably only seen a Craps table in movies, in which case their ignorant responses to the pictures and explanations were completely appropriate for a novice with no real concept of the game.

Craps has lots of jargon regarding over 50 types of bets that can be made at any time during the game. Of course it’s difficult, that is indeed why I labeled them as highly difficult. Casino gaming articles must include the easy to understand superstitions, etiquette, and the moderately difficult odds as well as the harder game play jargon; in craps this involves things like the Pass and Don’t Pass Bars. There is no other way to talk about specific areas of the craps table than to call the areas by their proper names (Pass Bar, Don’t Pass Bar, Come Line, Don’t Come Line) and to include pictures. A craps novice cannot possibly edit a how-to article on Don’t Pass bets if they don’t understand Pass bets, likewise, they won’t understand the Don’t Come Line if they know nothing about the Come Line. These high-level of difficulty articles were being rejected by Craps virgin editors for being too difficult for a novice to understand. Are you fucking kidding me? The articles weren’t written for novices. I was writing a series of high-level difficulty articles for people who were already familiar with the game and who wanted to further their understanding.

Aside from suffering from a chronic lack of editorial subject knowledge, these revamped websites also had a systemic rejection problem that was built into their editing feedback mechanisms. Editors and writers were frequently limited in the number of times they could respond to each other regarding any single article. This systemic problem was created to increase the number of articles that an individual editor could address. The thinking went: the more articles an editor can get through, the more money the editor makes, the more money the website makes, and therefore, the more money the writers will make. In actuality, the systemic feedback and rejection problems caused the websites to lose out on articles and writers which in turn led to a loss of revenue which then led to insolvency and, ultimately, the shuttering of the websites.

After the major writing sites were revamped, bought out, or otherwise became untenable, some users sought new platforms, others were so discouraged they quit completely, and still others returned to their own blogs. Like many of those writers, I’m not interested in putting forth a bunch of effort to drive traffic to some website that has no interest in honoring the long-term efforts of its users. I much prefer revenue sharing platforms that are open to all users regardless of grammar abilities. I’m a free-market capitalist. I know why those revamped content mills shuttered their sites. Average readers don’t care one lick about grammar; they care about content relevance and accuracy. 

Some Nights by FUN


(*Please Note: We the People of the United States of America are citizens of a Constitutional Republic, a.k.a. The Republic. We are not a direct democracy like some believe. By the Constitution, we are a Representative Democracy. We elect representation to defend the Constitution and the People. We placed our faith with government in the people, not in monarchs, not in career politicians, but in the People.

You want changes? Then, it is time for you to take an active interest in the good of the Republic. Do not leave governance to career politicians. Run for office. Vote for third, fourth, and fifth parties.)

This November vote them all out!
Clean Out Congress or Bust!

Take Me to Church by Hozier


* 26 JUNE 2015 * LGBT Rights Victory *
read the Supreme Court's opinion:

Dudeism

What Would the Dude Do?