Reader, I owe you an apology.
I’m not good at introductions, so I’ll just cut to the chase. I’m sorry. In terms of running this site, among my involvement in many projects, my record of consistency and reliability is null. The first step in solving problems, however, is admitting they exist, so this letter will be an effort to admit these problems in earnest, and discuss solutions, and the future of the site. So let’s get to that.
Whether it be my personal blogs, videos, or even my latest venture into online radio and podcasting, I’ve not been nearly consistent enough to merit the support I’ve gotten from peers, readers, viewers, and listeners. I’ll get started on a project, and when it builds up momentum, hype the momentum, which only builds it more, and since I start projects thinking I can handle it all on my own, I seem to perpetually have too much on my plate. This, combined with a compulsive procrastination at the event of stress that I built up during high school, and still haven’t really gotten over, creates the perfect storm, because other people (rightly so) don’t operate on my schedule. Because of this, during the course of operating this site, I’d have pieces that people sent effectively sitting in limbo waiting for me to publish them. This rightly irritated authors, who consistently asked me about their piece, only to be told it’d be published “soon” (and some of which still aren’t published). Not good. This, combined with many issues in my personal life led to many instances of my diversion of daily responsibilities, including this site.
I take no pleasure in these missteps, and I deeply apologize to anyone and everyone who wanted better from me. You deserved better, and deserve better, and I’d not be honest if I said it was anyone’s fault but mine. I’ve also struggled to find the will to write this letter, because admitting I was wrong has always felt like admitting defeat. But I realize the only defeat is allowing my internal struggles to overtake my life, and that I won’t have any significant victories until I begin to address what has caused my failures. So I’m finding ways to do this, some of which will be listed below.
Since it was founded, TimeToFree.US had the message that you could submit whatever you wanted, as long as it was antigovernment. This has to be amended. I don’t want to be bogged down editing a ton of grammatical, spelling, and HTML mistakes that remove the uniformity of the pieces from the rest of the site, or reduce readability or site functionality. I don’t get paid for this site, I am the only editor here, and I have to attend to many obligations, including those that actually give me FRNs. As a result, if you submit something, it must be:
I don’t know how many times someone submitted something with HTML from another site, or the inherent HTML in whatever word processing software they used, but I had to go in, and find all these tags, and manually erase them, which made editing the piece often take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour a piece. I can’t invest that sort of time in a position that doesn’t pay me, and too often, it became an excuse for not doing it at all. Again, nobody’s fault but my own. In my race for inclusion, I refused to include basic editorial guidelines, and it created an unrealistic amount of work. In order to provide a quality experience for readers, writers have to step up. The easiest way to do this is to simply use the Woordpress editor the site already provides, and just not mess with HTML. If you want something in, and it would require that for some reason, let me know, and I’ll see what can be addressed to make it work.
I want everyone who is frustrated with the state to be able to voice that, but if I have to spend a lot of time improving sentence structure and spelling, because most of a piece would not read well otherwise, I won’t be able to get to everyone’s piece. If you want hits, and piece approval, you do have to do most of the work. It’s your piece, after all.
If you submit a piece without one, it will wait in limbo for you to include one. If some statist has a copyright on the image, you need to caption the pic with the name of the photographer, followed by the publication in which it originally appeared. If you want to circumvent this, find something CC0 licensed, Wikimedia Commons licensed (still, say that in caption), or public domain. I recommend Pixabay or Archive for this sort of thing.
SEO is important, and our handy tools from Yoast help you with all aspects of that, including knowing that your piece has an amount of words too small for Google to prioritize in any meaningful way. Make it at east that long. This letter is already 800+ words, so I know it’s factually not difficult, and if it’s a political or philosophical issue, brevity is the soul of nothing. There’s twitter for that. Exceptions to this include podcasting, which Jeremiah Mitchell and I have figured out. Contact us for more info.
Just so I’m clear, none of this is intended to carry an accusatory tone. The fact that I didn’t include these requirements to begin with was completely my fault, and nobody but myself is to blame. This is just an attempt to have clearer rules (not rulers) to ensure I can effectively make this site what it needs to be to succeed. Unless anyone else wants to step up for editing, the buck very much needs to stop here. The fact that it hasn’t been is a woeful indiscretion on my part, and peoples’ content has suffered for it. I’d not be ethical if I said I could proceed in the same way and give a better performance, especially considering that’s the kind of gloss that I used in the past to build up to this point.
Now, there is some good news. We have worked out podcasting, and tested a good deal of it with Chain Reaction Podcast, a weekly show with myself, Jeremiah Mitchell, and (after his hiatus) Andre Palm. This means if you want to run a podcast through our site, you’re more than welcome to. Contact us for more info on that. Also, I’ve developed a schedule that should allow me to hit all my personal platforms, which appear to be in the beginning stages of translating into a career (I won’t count chickens here though), and do the editing roles to work with any content that meets the above guidelines regularly. I just didn’t want to shoehorn anything, or continue the same disastrous way I have been. It isn’t nearly right, and readers and writers deserve better, and I’m deeply sorry I didn’t provide better. This letter is an attempt to begin down that road, and we can do great things if we begin the journey today.
So, on to a better future – I hope you’ll join me.
Jeremiah Harding, Editor and Founder, TimeToFree.US