The New Dish: Your Thoughts, Ctd

Feb 6 2013 @ 2:58pm

thoughts-ctd

A reader writes:

Just a quick response to the reader who said that you had too much white space, needed borders, etc. I love the white space, love how it looks clean but still feels new (not like it’s just the tumblr minimalist theme again!)! It feels like I’m reading a book, only bloggier. Also, just an added fun fact from someone who is a grad student studying the history of the book: medieval manuscripts often had very large margins, partially for glossing, commentary, and marginalia, but also partially to elevate the text (not the the Dish needs elevation). Cheers and good luck – I’ve sent in my $50.

Another also likes the spartan look of the new Dish:

It’s so sleek and clean and stylish. I had never realised that the adverts annoyed me until I see the site without them. There’s a parallel you might want to look into – the city of Sao Paulo banned all outdoor advertising and people’s mental health hugely improved.

Another:

So this is dorky, but i got a weird rush of pride and community upon signing into the Dish on my devices and seeing that light blue “Subscriber” block appear atop the screen. So I need a t-shirt now with the new Dish baying beagle logo on the front, and on the back, across the shoulder blade, the light blue Subscriber button. Make it happen. Take my money. Or ship me a free one for the merch idea. I’ll pay for the mug.

Merchandise is definitely on our radar, but we want to wait a while until we get our bearings with the new pay-meter and everything else we are grappling with regarding the new Dish. Another reader says, “My favorite thing about the new site is the beagle in my RSS reader”:

beagle

Another:

As a programmer, I’ve just noticed something that totally blew my mind and gained me a new respect for the Dish’s technical skills (which are not usually that high, by Andrew’s own admission). When you scroll down, not only is it an infinite scroll (nothing new here, but still kudos), but the URL changes to reflect that you’ve just moved into the next page, allowing you to copy the URL and arrive to the same spot again if you want to. RESPECT.

Another:

Love the infinite scroll, but the archives … where to begin. I first went to the very beginning, the prequel to the Bush Presidency. I have so many questions. Do you go back and read them sometimes? What a record of thought this all is, and I hope it goes on for a very long time.

We are planning to excavate all kinds of excruciating content from the Dish archive, including a feature called “Sullyfreude”, which will highlight my most embarrassing or Dick Morris-esque analysis. But we figured you’d probably get there first. Another reader:

As a stay-at-home dad, I have to make careful and thoughtful choices about how I will spend our one income (from my wife’s work). As I watched discussion of your new pay model, I thought I would be one of those who would wait and see whether or not I would want to subscribe. I mean, I love the Dish, and it is an incredibly low entry price, but it still a choice of spending money of which I need to be prudent.

Well, I have now visited the site two or three days in a row since you have migrated. I see absolutely no distinction between what a paid subscriber would receive and what a non-paid reader like myself is receiving. What is the value proposition for being a subscriber?

That’s because after two days, we’ve been going easy on the meter. We’ll adjust as we go along. We want to keep the majority of the site free, but the deeper analyses, reader threads, my own writing, and other features will slowly become less accessible to the non-subscriber. It’s a balance, and we’re trying to figure our way forward with it. Since we’re among the first to do this with a blog, we’re agnostic about what might work and will adjust as we learn and you inform us – for which much thanks. Another reader offers some interesting insight:

I have been a reader of your blog for years and on occasion would hit the ‘read on’ button. Now that I am a subscriber, I am ‘reading on’ more frequently. Just trying to get my money’s worth? Maybe. Whatever the case, I now see a more complete picture. I don’t agree with you on everything and sometimes I don’t even understand what you say, but I enjoy the challenge.

Another makes a good suggestion about our business model:

I spent many years working in the nonprofit sector. While I am sure you have your business model pretty well figured out, if you operated as a nonprofit entity or even a LC3 – which is like a LLC married to a nonprofit - it would allow you to take grants like a nonprofit, creating a new revenue source. Propublica is a current example of a nonprofit news agency. In fact, your “pay as much as you like” subscription is much more akin to a nonprofit donation than it is a fee for service for-profit. As a nonprofit you would still be able to pay a competitive salary to you and your staff. However, instead of subscription fees going to pay shareholders needing to make a profit, and instead of business decisions being made to maximize shareholder profit, subscriptions (or donations) would go towards your contribution to the common good - that common good being an informed democracy.

As a donor to a nonprofit news agency, my value proposition is supporting an informed democracy and therefore there is no need to differentiate between the benefits received for a donor or non donor, vs. with a for-profit subscription service there is a need to differentiate benefits or access between a subscriber or non subscriber because subscribing suggests a received benefit for my purchase. Thanks for listening and thanks for the continued good work!

Another:

When you first announced that you were going to your new site, I was excited for you but didn’t want to pay yet because I was VERY CONCERNED (I sent you an email about it) about continuing to read the site on my preferred RSS feed, Google Reader. I’m thrilled to see that the blog still functions perfectly as an RSS; I noticed nothing different from Friday -> Monday.

Then an evil little part of my brain said to me, “Nothing’s changed – it was free for you before, it will continue to be free for you now; save your money.” But yesterday, I sent you the InFocus slideshow of the Vikings (I couldn’t have been the only one!). I actually squealed a little bit when you replied to my email with “oh joy”, and then you used one of the pictures as the Face of the Day with a comment about the beards. I felt like I really WAS a part of the community.

Needless to say, I just sent in my subscription (plus some extra $). I could keep reading your site for free, but I feel like being a part of the community means not just hanging out on the periphery and watching the show from afar; it means being a full participatory partner and bearing the various (minor) costs associated with that membership. Happy to be onboard.

And we’re happy to have you. Another:

Congratulations on the launch! The site looks great and I’m looking forward to getting used to the new format. Only one slight suggestion for you, and I know this flies in the face of your love for the new white space. The Dish header, with the beagle, could really use one off-setting color as a background. Maybe just a stripe not wide enough to cover the whole thing. That is all. No suggestions that would slow page load or anything.

All suggestions are welcome and appreciated, even if we don’t use them. Here is one from last week we did use:

One thing I love: clicking on an external link opens a new tab in my browser! I don’t know why more sites don’t do that.

We also just brought back the “Email” buttons at the bottom of every post, at the request of many readers. We are trying to implement as many feasible suggestions as we can. After all, it’s your blog too – and now you help pay for it.

(Photos of Dish readers, used with their permission)