This issue of Overload has been a struggle for us to put together. At the deadline we had only 11 pages of articles. The minimum we need is 24 pages. I wanted to just skip this issue, but the ACCU committee was determined that we should publish an issue, even if it was much shorter than usual. Thanks to the last minute efforts of a few individuals we actually managed to author, source, review, revise, and publish the rest of this issue within a week.
This is not sustainable. Over the past few years each issue has become harder and harder for us to fill with quality articles. This is not because we reject low quality articles, but because we receive fewer and fewer submissions.
The quality of the articles in this publication is due to the work of the Overload editorial board readers. They do not act as a content filter rejecting submissions. They read, comment, discuss, and re-read, re-comment, and re-discuss, until they feel that an article is up to the standard that the Overload readership has come to expect. Given the choice between filling space with an item of low relevance, or of dubious technical quality, and an empty space they go with the blank page every time.
There is no quality hurdle that an author needs to clear. We gratefully accept all submissions and guide the author through the development process from draft to published article. We offer far more advice and help then any author would get from a commercial journal.
Some of the content shortfall is due to regular contributors moving on to other things. I think that’s great. The ACCU alumni are writing for commercial journals, writing books, speaking at conferences, being consultants, and contributing to open standards. We shouldn’t be relying on them to fill the magazine. I like it that members can practice and hone their talents within the ACCU and then move on to greater things.
Note that the ACCU fees are not magazine subscription fees. They are membership fees. That’s an important distinction. The ACCU is a community of peers gathered together to benefit from each other’s experiences. If Overload always contains the same few voices we’re only going to be hearing from a small subset of our community.
I’m sure you’re tired of reading CVu and Overload editorials asking for articles so I’ll try to be brief. You get out of this organisation what you put into it. You grow by challenging yourself. You really understand something if you can explain it to somebody else. You do have something interesting to say.
Your action item is to email me now. I want to hear what you want to read about in Overload magazine. I want to hear about what you want to write about.