Three big announcements…
Founded in 2005, Savage Minds is now nine years old. Our current design is a default WordPress template I used when our original (more colorful) theme somehow got corrupted, preventing Google from indexing our site. Then our site went down again about a year ago when our hosting company decided it didn’t want to honor a promise made by a smaller company it had bought-out. This was a terrible crisis for us as we somehow hadn’t backed up the site in years, falsely believing that our host was keeping adequate backups on our behalf. Unsure of what to do next, we threw this temporary site up on WordPress.com, using the same generic template we’d been using before. Now all that is about to change, and a number of other things as well.
A New Look!
First of all, for the past two months I’ve been working away at a complete redesign of the site using a modern “responsive” theme that will dynamically adjust to different screen resolutions. That means it should look as good on your smartphone or iPad as it does on a giant 27″ monitor. I’ve also used some fancy fonts from Google which should make it a pleasure to read. (Of course, some of you will hate the font choices, and to you we offer our deepest apologies. These things are always very personal…) In one touch I’m particularly proud of, the sidebar will drop away displaying the text at full width when viewing individual articles, removing any distractions.
Here’s a picture of what the front page will look like (with sidebar). [Click to embiggen.]
Now mind you, I’m not a professional graphic designer so there may be some oddities. While I’m not inclined to make any major revisions to the design for some time to come, I will be more than happy to continue to work at any problems, bugs or annoyances you find in the new theme once it goes live.
The second big news is that it turns out our web host did keep a backup of the site and we finally got a hold of it. That means that when we launch the new site, all five years of our archives will go back online at the same time! I can’t even begin to say what a huge relief this has been for us.
We are also using the opportunity to clean up the site metadata a bit, moving our overly numerous “categories” over to “tags,” keeping categories for major types of posts and ongoing series rather than for organizing data topically. We’ve already start to do this on the current site, and the move will merge these categories with the original archive.
New Full Time Bloggers!
But wait! That’s not all! We are also announcing some internal changes in how we run things here at Savage Minds. Over the years the names on the Savage Minds masthead have constantly been changing, but one thing many people have commented upon is how few females are there. Now, that is a fair criticism, but it ignores the fact that we have always had a lot of women guest bloggers and two female “occasional Minds” — former guest bloggers who could blog whenever they liked but weren’t considered “full time” members of the site. The reason that they weren’t full time members is a little convoluted but I think you all deserve an explanation…
We used to have a rule that full time Minds had to blog at least once a month. At that time, neither Maia Green or Zoë Wool felt they could meet such a requirement and so even though we wanted them as full time members we created the new “occasional Mind” category just to accommodate them. However, over time many of the so-called “full time” members stopped blogging. This created a weird situation where the “occasional Minds” were blogging more than the “full time Minds” but not getting credit for it. So, this year we’ve changed our rules to reflect the reality. Full time members now only need to blog once a year to keep their status (once they’ve been invited onboard). That’s just as true for founding members like Dustin Wax and Christopher Kelty as it is of our formerly “occasional” bloggers.
As a result of these changes we are very sorry to loose Thomas Strong and Jay Sosa. They both kept meaning to blog, but somehow life got in the way. We wish them well and hope they will come back as guest bloggers some day. But we welcome Zoë Wool and Maia Green as the full time members we always hoped they would be. (And we hope they will be blogging more than just once a year.) As a result they will be joining back-stage discussions and, along with Carole McGranahan, working to help us achieve our goal of gender parity as well as greater diversity in the years to come. Full time bloggers are recruited from the ranks of guest bloggers, so if you know of anyone from underrepresented communities who would make good guest bloggers, encourage them to apply! (Please see our “contact” tab for details.)
Other changes include the new community moderation intern that Rex hopes to announce soon. Ryan’s migration of his anthropologies project over to Savage Minds. Carole’s new writing group, and even more announcements planned for later in the year. Stay tuned!
When will the new site go live? That’s hard to say. We hope to do it before the end of the month, but I am now in the process of moving web hosts for the third time this year and I want to make sure that the new server is stable before making the switch. Please be patient.