Friday, February 10, 2017

The Public Access Weekly: Ch-ch-ch-changes

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It is, honestly, really and truly impressive to see how this community has grown. However, as the community grows bigger, so inevitably does the workload. And, as some of you may have noticed from past Weekly posts, I am starting to lag behind. Which frankly sucks, because that means members are waiting too long to hear back about articles and applications aren’t getting reviewed fast enough. Basically, it means we’re not doing a great job at serving you, our community.


So, in order to make Public Access run more smoothly, we’re going to be rolling out some pretty significant changes the next few days while we do some serious work on our end to make all the aspects of joining and participating in Public Access run more smoothly.


Here’s what you’ll need to know:


In order to give us a chance to catch up on streamlining the registration process, we will not be taking any new registrations starting Monday, February 13th. The “Apply & Sign Up” button that you usually see on the Public Access homepage will be changed to a “Log In” button.


We will also not be reviewing outstanding registrations for at least another week, so those of you who have been waiting: We apologize but due to the volume of incoming applications, and the upgrades we’re planning to the registration process, it’s simply going to take a little more time. Please know we’re trying to get to your application as soon as possible, but there are over 200 registrations awaiting review (and more coming in each day).


Publishing and submitting articles to Public Access will also be affected. While the sheer number of articles that are published live, and submitted to, Public Access every day is higher every month, the overall process of reviewing, vetting and editing articles has become seriously backlogged. One of the issues that slows this process down to a crawl is the amount of articles that contain violations of our rules and policies.


Both articles that are being published live by members with full permissions, and articles submitted for review, are consistently ignoring our rules against plagiarism, subject matter and linking. We’ve tried to make it really, really clear what our rules and expectations are for Public Access articles — which is why the very first page that each and every Public Access member sees upon logging in is our rules page — but we’re seeing persistent violations of these rules in articles every day.


Starting today, all Public Access members will be changed to a membership that requires an editor’s approval before posting. We realize that this will be upsetting news to many of you, and may feel penalizing, and please know this was not an easy decision. We’re certainly hoping this will be a temporary measure, and we’re working on how to improve our CMS, on improving the resources that are offered to Public Access members and streamlining the article submission process.


In order to focus on those improvements, we will also begin to strictly enforce and apply all of our rules when reviewing submitted articles. We encourage you to go to the rules page now and make yourself very, very familiar with what they are. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Read the rules. Know the rules. Follow the rules.


If you submit an article that has a violation, you will receive a reply with the number of the rule(s) you have violated and you will be expected to make changes. Members who consistently violate multiple rules will be removed from the community.


We realize that some of these changes are going to be a little rough to adjust to over the next few weeks. But we need some time and space to fix the roadblocks in our system, and to make Public Access a better place to contribute. Fixing the processes, looking at the problems in our system, updating policies and strongly enforcing rules are all steps towards that. If you have questions, or suggestions, you can (as ever) reach us at [email protected]

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