This is the first of a series of blog posts that will address some important updates to the DHNow editorial process. Next semester we will roll out a new system that will streamline our registration process for editors-at-large and allow existing editors to add volunteer dates, create user bios, and update profile information through the WordPress user interface. This initial post will outline the reasons for this change and briefly describe the new features editors can expect from our new registration process.
Simplification is our end goal. The current procedure for managing the editorial team is a multi-step process that requires the use of google forms, spreadsheets, customized scripts, and WordPress plugins. It can be complicated for new editors-in-chief, and for our existing editors-at-large. We think our new process will simplify registration, give editors-at-large more opportunities to share information and be involved in DHNow, and allow us to move away from our dependency on multiple platforms for user management. The goal of this series of posts is to make our process as transparent as possible, and to introduce current and future editors-at-large to our new user management scheme. Unlike our normal amplification posts, these blog posts will have open comments; we encourage current and future editors—or anyone interested in how DHNow works, to jump into the conversation with questions or comments about the process.
Our current weekly user enrollment system consists of three stages: signup/adding volunteer dates, sending introductory and follow-up emails, and using a WordPress plugin to add users to WP. As those of you who have volunteered in the past know, we use Google forms to sign up new editors, and to allow existing editors to volunteer for additional dates. Using a Google Script attached to the spreadsheet generated from this form, the Editor-in-Chief for the week sends out emails to users the week before and the week after their week as editor. These first two steps make DHNow heavily dependent on the ever-evolving Google Drive and Google Scripts, and require weekly Editors-in-Chief to spend time learning and managing the complex spreadsheet management that we would like to spend on curating and publishing posts for DHNow.
The new approach will streamline these procedures by automating the registration process and allow users to manage their profiles from within WordPress. Rather than moving between several platforms, the new registration process will be built into WordPress. Though these changes will, for the most part, take place on the back end, users can look forward to a new login screen and user-profile screen where volunteer dates can be added or modified. We’ll provide more extensive blog posts with details about how to use these new features later, but for now here are some features that existing and prospective editors can look forward to next semester.
Existing Editors-at-Large will be able to:
- Add and edit the dates you’ve volunteered to be an Editor: By integrating our scheduling, weekly emails, and user registration process with WordPress, we’ve made it possible to add or edit dates from within your user profile. You will see weekly checkboxes for the semester on your user page that you can select—or deselect—at will.
- Edit your user bio: You will be prompted at sign in to go to your user page on DHNow and add any biographic or geographic information you would like to share with us or our readers.
- Be more visible and accessible during the weeks you have registered to be an editor. Our new system will pull in the biographic information you’ve provided on your user page and make it visible on Editors’ Choice posts for the week.
New Editors-at-Large will:
- Be prompted to register with the site at first login. A user registration form will ask for any biographic information you would like to provide, allow you to sign up for your first week or weeks as Editor-at-Large, and allow you to create a username and password. This registration information will be sent to an Editor-in-Chief for approval and you’ll receive a confirmation email once your account has been activated.
- Be provided with emails confirming and approving newly registered accounts and emails with instructions on how to be an Editor-at-Large, including how to use the PressForward plugin to nominate items and feeds, and how to use the Nominate This bookmarklet to nominate items outside of the plugin.
We want this process to be as open as possible; these changes are designed to make the site more accessible to our editors, so we want to hear from you as we move forward. Future posts dealing with the changes to the Editor-at-Large registration process will be posted to the DHNow blog on Mondays and Wednesdays to prevent any interference with our usual content, and will be open to comments.