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Wow!

It's been almost a full year, since I last authored an article in this editorial section of the forum, here. These editorials are never planned. Rather, they just tend to happen. Maybe that explains this one, huh?

Bernd has not replied to the last several e-mails that I have sent him, which is neither here nor there, but it does present the dilemma of leaving the magazine (Suspense & Decision) in limbo. The forum, here, is seldom used (yet again), and so I find myself pondering whether to just shut it down and delete it, or to just leave it intact as a sort of archive-in-disuse.

It may just be that everything has run its course - the magazine, the website, the PBM Wiki. But, what does it hurt to leave it all intact, as a repository?

I've debated with myself about just resuming the magazine, either with the long delayed issue just skipped over or published anyway. I would have to go back in and dig things up, though, assuming that I still have those articles and stuff archived somewhere on my computer's hard drive. Then, too, I could just launch a new magazine from scratch, different title with a similar focus. But, do I want to do any of that? It's rather nice not having to worry about it.

The magazine was supposed to be for an initial run of twelve issues, with a decision at the end of that time determining whether to continue carrying it forward or not. I don't regret the attempt to transition the magazine to Bernd, simply because it would have been much better off over the long run, had that transition managed to succeed.

But, quite clearly, it didn't. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

The nine issues that did get published were, I think, a plus - for both PBM gaming and for the community of players surrounding it. Of course, others may have opinions that run counter to my own on that. If nothing else, I think that the short run of nine issues did succeed on certain levels, including as a platform for validating certain concepts that I had advocated in favor of.

I think that publishing the magazine for free was a big plus, as was the running of advertisements for free. I also think that using PDF format was a big plus. Suspense & Decision, whatever else that anyone might say about it, did not turn out to be a money sinkhole. Whatever its shortcomings, it was something that was viable to publish. Not all articles were equally well received, but I think that the magazine did succeed, when it came to giving PBM gamers (and others) something to look forward to each month. Again, opinions may vary, though.

It's not really hard to publish a magazine in this format, which may leave many wondering why it ceased to be published any longer. Sometimes in life, things happen. It wasn't exactly a planned event.

Could I have intervened at some point during this multi-month gap? Sure. But, the further that I got away from it, the less desire there existed for me to re-enter the fray. In the absence of Suspense & Decision magazine, what filled that gap? Ignore or forget about Bernd, for a moment. Did anyone else out there step up and fill the gap with a magazine oriented towards the PBM sector of gaming?

And when Suspense & Decision magazine was coming out with regularity (which it did, for a while), did it fill a gap within you?

The monthly rate of publication for Suspense & Decision, that rate of frequency, had no bearing on why the magazine ceased publication. Not from my perspective, anyway. I've read various comments, at times, about that rate of publication could lead to burnout, but based upon my own experience, that really isn't true. In fact, it's quite the opposite. A regular publication tends to build desire and momentum. It would make more sense (to me, at least) to publish smaller issues every other week, rather than once per month. Going every two months or every three months, while it allows for more time to set the pages and to receive content from others to add and flesh pages out with, those lengthy gaps negatively impact desire and momentum.

A more frequent rate of publication helps to keep the publication team (even if it is just one or two people) firing on all cylinders. It also helps to build up a body of work, and to grow readership. Look at what happened with Issue # 10 - the missing issue. It's had all of the time in the world to get published, but once people are disengaged, creative wheels stop turning. Creative forces stop moving. Things grind to a halt. Lapses occur. Disinterest ensues.

The failed transition yielded a collapsed publication. In and of itself, it's not that big of a deal. Just resume publication. It's not unduly difficult to start a magazine of this nature from scratch. We did that, before. But, the desire has to be there.

Why start a new magazine, if it is going to simply meet the same fate as this one? Why resume the same publication, with such a large gap in months published?

As with many things in PBM, why not let the magazine just stay dead? Why not call it a day, and be done with it?

Currently, we have a missing body. Is that a bad thing, though?
I always looked forward to the magazine. Granted not all the articles were about games I was interested in, but with an industry as large as we have that was to be expected.

To that, I actually looked forward to the advertisements and articles to clue me in on games I'd never heard of. For that reason alone I'll miss Suspense & Decision if it doesn't return, but if it doesn't I'm glad to have enjoyed it while it lasted.
I would agree with Nebless and Grimfinger. I would, however, hope that this forum stayed up. There are still PBM games out there that I would have liked to join. Some of them still advertise here for players, or have games running for anyone to join: Harlequin, Flying Buffalo, and Madhouse all have several games each, and come to mind, as does Sid Meier's railroads. The larger commercial mass online games are also still going strong. But there are no doubt many, many more.
Well if you keep putting them out, we will keep reading them...
The forum does not have enough traffic to make it anything more than an archive, thats true. I was one of those saying you will be burned out maintaining a momentum with the magazine as you did, but it was not the frequency alone I argued, rather the volume: It was huge, 120 pages total? You are correct about the frequent publication, the build up, the momentum etc. If you ask me, it would have been much more successful with 3-4 pages every day, than 120 once a month, but is that possible?

Short, small, frequent articles in the form of news that would timely reach the audience would be the best approach, with some short reviews and advertisements included. Does not have to be acrobat format, could just be a newsletter. Those are the times, news fly fast. But can you support this, do you want to do this, or is there any point to your effort? Most of us probably find what we need from various websites anyway, I personally read a deal too many. To give a honest answer if you send magazines/newsletters/fliers out I will happily read them, but I am not really missing them when they are not coming.
(05-19-2015, 03:14 PM)Silver Wrote: [ -> ]The forum does not have enough traffic to make it anything more than an archive, thats true. I was one of those saying you will be burned out maintaining a momentum with the magazine as you did, but it was not the frequency alone I argued, rather the volume: It was huge, 120 pages total? You are correct about the frequent publication, the build up,  the momentum etc. If you ask me, it would have been much more successful with 3-4 pages every day, than 120 once a month, but is that possible?

Short, small, frequent articles in the form of news that would timely reach the audience would be the best approach, with some short reviews and advertisements included. Does not have to be acrobat format, could just be a newsletter. Those are the times, news fly fast. But can you support this, do you want to do this, or is there any point to your effort? Most of us probably find what we need from various websites anyway, I personally read a deal too many. To give a honest answer if you send magazines/newsletters/fliers out I will happily read them, but I am not really missing them when they are not coming.

It was neither the frequency (monthly) nor the volume (page count) that were why the magazine ceased publication. It wasn't burnout. Rather, once the deadline was missed on the last issue, the more that it got pushed back, the less of a priority that it became. Deadline discipline and page count were both instrumental in giving me more of a reason to keep publishing, rather than less.

There's no way that a daily publishing schedule of even just a few pages would be feasible for me. Articles that I wrote for the first nine issues were typically (though not always) written on the last day or two before publication.

Some might not prefer PDF format, but personally speaking, I do. I likely wouldn't have any interest in publishing a magazine or a newsletter in non-PDF format. It's not an ideal format for a mobile device (primarily cell phone) audience, but not using a cell phone, myself (I used to, for a number of years), I'm more inclined to leave that focal point to others to explore and exploit.

I always prefer honest answers. It's the only kind of feedback that is useful to me.

I can appreciate the perspective that you're not really missing them, when they're not being published. To a degree, I feel the same way. But, at least as far as the PBM medium is concerned, in the absence of Suspense & Decision being published, what's now filling that void?

The forum's current traffic flow, I agree, makes it little more than an archive. Traffic flow can be increased. It waxes and wanes, depending upon other factors.
Grim, it was my impression, too, that you didn't get enough material from players. in your mot recent post in this thread you write:

"There's no way that a daily publishing schedule of even just a few pages would be feasible for me. Articles that I wrote for the first nine issues were typically (though not always) written on the last day or two before publication."

I assumed that much of the journal was padded with ads and other stuff. You must have been writing more of the journal than I was aware of. In any event there were not enough players contributing material, and like me we often left sending it to you until a day or two before the deadline.
(05-23-2015, 05:15 AM)Greybeard Wrote: [ -> ]Grim, it was my impression, too, that you didn't get enough material from players. in your mot recent post in this thread you write:

"There's no way that a daily publishing schedule of even just a few pages would be feasible for me. Articles that I wrote for the first nine issues were typically (though not always) written on the last day or two before publication."

I assumed that much of the journal was padded with ads and other stuff. You must have been writing more of the journal than I was aware of. In any event there were not enough players contributing material, and like me we often left sending it to you until a day or two before the deadline.

From my perspective, there's never enough material being submitted. The articles that I wrote, I would often write them right near the deadline - but that's just how I liked doing it. Most of what I wrote was written in an off-the-cuff manner. Articles from others would get sent in, just whenever. I would usually poke and prod numerous people, so that there tended to be enough material for each issue. A lot of each issue is the equivalent of padding, as far as ads go. But, I liked including ads. It just made for a richer visual mix, I thought. I tried to credit the various articles' respective authors, as each one got published.

I can't go with a daily publishing schedule, simply because I already know that there's no way that I would commit to bothering with it every single day.

I did purchase some new software, earlier tonight, and I have begun fiddling around with it, trying to get a feel for it. I also sent another e-mail off to Bernd, but I don't know if he will respond to it or not.

If nothing else, the previous issues helped to serve as a test bed, of sorts. I've got some new ideas about how to approach such a publication. At worst, it fails. But, then again, I started the magazine the last time around, so at least it shouldn't be any harder to do it the next time around, should I manage to get my rusty wheels moving again.

I could simply operate from the perspective that the readership sits at zero, and push forward from there. It sit at zero prior to the launch of issue one, previously, so it wouldn't be any the worse off. If some have grown disillusioned in the meantime, and not want to bother with another go at things, then maybe it would be for the best for readership to start over from scratch.

Regardless, I'll fiddle around a bit, and either dredge something up or dissipate into thin air.
I hope you keep the site up.  I always keep hoping the original creators of Quest of the Great Jewels come back on, and possibly talk about bringing the game back.

I kinda agree with some of the others.  Instead of one big magazine, have a weekly article or so, if possible.  People will come to the site, if there is new stuff on a regular basis.  The more frequent, the better for the site.  Though, I understand if that is not possible.

Another possibility, is to add online gaming to the mix, with games that evoke the PBM feel.
(06-06-2015, 02:59 AM)Starkadder Wrote: [ -> ]I hope you keep the site up.

I renewed the domain name for another year, just a short while ago.
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