Phylogeny Explorer Magazine

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
This magazine was released this month on the Phylogeny Explorer Project Facebook group. Hope you’ll enjoy the read, its 33 pages.
At first glance, why is this a PDF magazine and not just separate blog posts for the Phylogeny Explorer website? The blog could be converted into a PDF magazine after a month or two, but it does not seem to make sense to make it into only a PDF magazine. Having each article as a blog would draw new eyes to the website and would add interest from visitors that commented on the blog if they had questions.
 

We are Borg

Administrator
Staff member
At first glance, why is this a PDF magazine and not just separate blog posts for the Phylogeny Explorer website? The blog could be converted into a PDF magazine after a month or two, but it does not seem to make sense to make it into only a PDF magazine. Having each article as a blog would draw new eyes to the website and would add interest from visitors that commented on the blog if they had questions.

This is interesting how you say it, it would make more sense. But what we do is send this to our sponsors first after x weeks everyone gets it. Maybe a smaller issue of a few pages to sponsors and release that after some time or not. I can setup a system with blogs that sponsors can see more then normal users. Its something to think about. @BrachioPEP what do you think.
 

hackenslash

Active Member
Just a thought, in case it helps...

On my blog, I had feedback form several readers who loved the content but struggled with the colour scheme. I tried several iterations, but couldn't hit on one that worked for everybody, so I based the current design on the Gaussian principle and (and this is the point of the interjection), I added a 'print-friendly' button on the page. This button is essentially an algorithm for converting the page to a pdf in black and white.

Dunno if that's a good solution for you, but it would certainly mean that no conversion was necessary. You can simply write a post, publish it as private and generate the pdf automatically (I'm also pretty sure there are iterations of this sort of plugin that could automatically email a pdf version to your chosen mailing list; my memories are vague on this, as it was some years ago when I addressed this myself).


I haven't looked at the blog to see how it works, but that's an option.

Another would be to have a rolling publicaton system set up the way Patreon does it.

I probably haven't done this justice, but I'd be happy to chat about it, and even to have a shufty at what code snippets I can find. I'll make time to have a look at the blog later.

FYI, converting pdf to html5 is trivial, and there are oodles of free applications that do it, and some that even do batch conversion, so all your old content can be converted easily.
 

hackenslash

Active Member
Here's an example:

Original post:


Print-friendly conversion


it's worth noting that this particular code for the print-friendly version doesn't generate LaTeX formatting (so you've notice that Newton's equation for universal gravitation doesn't display properly in the pdf version), something I only noticed recently while looking at things to include in the upcoming redesign of the blog. I'll be working on making that work in future revisions. As I said, this was maybe three years ago, and I never look at it once I saw it was working.


Something else I've been considering is generating a new template that has what we'd now called 'skin' selection, so that there's an option to display the blog on-screen as though it were the print-friendly version but retaining all formatting.

I don't know how math-heavy the blog is, but LaTeX might be something you need to bear in mind.
 
Hi Hackenslash.

Very kind of you to offer.

Myself and Borg (who is one of the leaders of the Phylogeny Explorer Project) are currently looking at a whole range of things to generate more interest and manage things better and more effectively, which includes a new (first time) CRM system and social media platforms like Youtube and twitter. We have been saving money by doing things manually with limited volunteers and in doing this, the time taken away from other key aspects of the project has ended up meaning we could have bought professional software to have done the job, which would have generated the money it cost and we could have moved faster. So we ended up losing money and time. We are doing recruitment drives, donation appeals and looking at what is available open source to save costs in software. We don’t have batches of e-mails to send out, everything is one by one at the moment. Until we have a few more things in place and professionally presented, we can’t go too public, i.e. make public appeals for sponsors and donations/subscribers. Bad reviews, for any reason are hard to recoup, so we are sacrificing some extra time/lost revenue in exchange for getting it right. We already have blogs posted on the Website, but this needs tweaking and more publicity. It seems that both projects (this and that) need a similar examination and restructure to see what is needed and how to address and implement this.

To specifically answer your assistance point, I am not sure if or how your suggestion would significantly help, given the overall picture. There are numerous catch 22s involved and things to do which need prioritising, but your observation will be looked at and considered and if your assistance is needed, we would be most appreciative.
 

hackenslash

Active Member
Feel free to lean on me, if you wish. I can definitely help streamline the process of getting word out to your patrons and regulars, because it's a process I've already gone through.

The PEP is important, and I'm happy to contribute in any way I can. I'm a reasonably competent writer, for example, and I'm more than willing to give my time, not least because time is something I'm really not short of at the moment. If you need good quality copy, I'm your huckleberry.

I remember back in the day when the TOL project was in its infancy (which it seemed not to have left, last time I looked.

Give me a project and let me loose. I can be scary good when I'm motivated, and this is something I have some feel for, not least because I remember the source all too well, having been a fan of Aron's work that motivated the project in the first place. If I can accelerate things even a little bit, I'm all yours.

Also not too shoddy at graphics and imagery, if that helps.
 

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
But what we do is send this to our sponsors first after x weeks everyone gets it.
That really seems backward to me. The PDF magazine should be a compilation of the posts provided to sponsors. That way, the content can become blog posts first, which would generate eyes (and ad revenue) on the site. Then having the PDF magazine would be one of the perks of becoming a sponsor because you would no longer have to provide it to others after X weeks.
 

We are Borg

Administrator
Staff member
That really seems backward to me. The PDF magazine should be a compilation of the posts provided to sponsors. That way, the content can become blog posts first, which would generate eyes (and ad revenue) on the site. Then having the PDF magazine would be one of the perks of becoming a sponsor because you would no longer have to provide it to others after X weeks.

At the moment we are weird and we know it. We need people like you and @hackenslash to make it all better. Like @BrachioPEP says we have so much to do and not enough volunteers or money. One item on our todo list is having a sort of council that can advice, give ideas and help out. Going to talk to @BrachioPEP about this and get it going we need a solid foundation to build upon, if that is 100% you can build a good structure upon it.
 
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