Dish Independence: Your Questions, Ctd


Previous answers to reader queries here and here. Another writes:

I don’t get it. I thought no adverts. But there is one on the site today – for Turbo Tax.

The new ad-free site doesn’t launch until Monday (pre-subscribe here!). Another asks:

Does the subscription price go up after today?

Nope, still just $19.99 a year. And you’ll still be able to set your own price if you feel like contributing more to the Dish’s future. Read our manifesto here. Another reader:

I’ve been following the updates and progress of the new Dish model, but I haven’t yet opted in. I’m sure I will, but I’m still wondering about something I haven’t seen discussed, namely: what will it look like? Will it be responsive – that is, look good on my iPhone or iPad?

“Responsiveness” (it means the text automatically adjusts to the size of your screen) was one of our top priorities with the new site, so it should be much more readable on mobile devices of all shapes and dimensions. Another:

In June I will be leaving by job, moving countries and heading back to school. Right now I mostly access the Dish either from my work laptop or my iPhone. By April, I will have a different laptop, a new credit card (because I’m moving countries), and a new iPhone on a different phone network. I will not have access to any of the devices I currently use. If I buy a subscription to the Dish now, how will you recognize me in the future? Is there a password/login system I’ll need to use?

During the subscription process you select an email address and password that becomes your login  for the new site. Once you’ve logged in on a device, you won’t have to re-enter that information every time you visit from that device. And you can use the same login on multiple devices. Another:

Will there still be the “Andrew’s Recent Keepers” bar on the side? Although I do like reading a lot of your posts, I don’t have enough time to read everything now and then, so the Keepers helps me decide what to read, as I’m sure it does for other readers.

We are keeping the Keepers and adding a new section featuring recent threads. Another:

Could my hard earned $19.99 please buy me a useful search function and/or a tag feature? Finding old Dish posts on one subject is way harder than it ought to be.

Searching should be easier with the new site. We may do tags in time, but not for the launch. Another reader:

On your new indie site, can you please make the links open in a new tab?  One thing I’ve hated is getting catapulted off the Dish every time I want to click something you’ve hyperlinked.

Consider it done. Another:

I’m curious whether, operating under your new subscriber model, you will put safeguards in place to make sure you aren’t influenced to publish the opinions of contributors over non-contributors.

The world of advertising-supported journalism has (or should have) a firewall to protect its editorial decisions from business influence. A subscriber-supported blog, particularly one like yours where readers’ letters make up an important part of the dialogue, should be
similarly protected from financial interest. Can you assure your readers that their financial contributions (or lack thereof) will have no bearing on whether their letters are published, and, if they are, on the content of your possible reply?

This isn’t a pay-to-play blog, rest assured. When we scan the in-tray, we have no way of knowing who’s a member and who isn’t. Nor the time to figure it out, for that matter. Another:

What will the privacy policy be with a paid Dish subscription? Right now my browser “privacy” plug-ins appear to detect (and, I hope, block) Facebook Social Plugins, NetRatings SiteCensus, Omniture, Quantcast, Scorecard Research Beacon, Soundcloud, and SiteMeter, all embedded in the Dish’s main page. Can you be clear and detailed about what data the new Dish will be collecting on readers’ activity on the site, what services will be used to do that collecting, and how long that data will be archived (and where)?

We will have a new privacy policy posted on Monday. One more reader:

If the Dish has “grown to be much bigger than one blogger”, shouldn’t the URL reflect this?  And shouldn’t there be author credits for the work produced?  Then it would seem much more like a publication, a la TPM and Boing Boing, than the ruminations of just one voice. Your backup deserves credit, no?

We actually decided to make the resting URL But typing in or any of the URLs from Time, the Atlantic or the Beast will get you to the right place. As far as author credits, in order to give the Dish a single, cohesive voice, we adhere to the Economist model, which lacks bylines. It’s hard to describe how the process works – but it’s an organic structure, with an increasingly collective voice centered around a single personality.

Here’s a shot at explaining it. Readers, interns, editors, executive editors and then finally what’s left of my own frontal cortex hone and hone the product (throwing out fails, winnowing near-misses, polishing threads) until it’s ready to serve. Most posts are collaborations between two or more of us, apart from the obvious longer posts from me – and the process has just kept getting more refined, as we add layers of research, writing and editing (and staffers). The goal is to edit a collective brain for that collective brain’s own consumption. It never ends. Human thinking will remain as permanent as human eating.

That’s why, in a weird way, the name “Dish” (which was a not-terribly-inspired name conjured up in a few minutes 13 years ago) turned out to be more appropriate than I first imagined. What we do here is a little like a kitchen. I started cooking myself, creating recipes or formats, if you like, then gradually added new ingredients – forms of technology and communication (there was no real world of web video when the Dish was founded, for example, and no Facebook) – then involved others in the prep, then new dishes emerged from the new kitchen sous-chefs spontaneously, and now, we hope, we have a newly independent restaurant, along with paid aboyeurs.

Or did I just win a Poseur Alert?

(Photos provided by Dish readers)