I hope you all liked the face lift we just did (special thanks to 大猫, our new technical consultant, for making the beautiful header image). 🙂
As you can see, we had another good month with 50% increase of unique visitors over July’s numbers. That’s certainly something to be pound of and I am, of course, very grateful for all who contributed. However, it did not escape our attention that several regular commentators recently complained the dilution of our front page message quality. Dan from ChinaLaw Blog also raised this issue in an email, “I would prefer to see things on your site return to where they were, with fewer posts, but all very thoughtful.”
For one thing, this site has never shied away from constructive criticism and I think Dan had a very good point. To implement quality control, though, is a difficult task. With the expansion of our own team and more guest submissions, we are bound to have thoughtful posts mixed with some emotional blurbs. I can not dictate what others to write. I also don’t like to pass a judgment before readers get a chance to form their own opinions.
So after extensive discussion with our editors and taking into account of technical feasibility, I decided to implement a 3 level system (thanks Nimrod for pointing me to this direction).
- Regular submission will still go to the “Letters” page ( Guest submission page is now one-click accessible).
- High quality post will be promoted to the front page by editors or in response to popular demand.
- To reward truly thoughtful posts, we will make them “sticky” (they will not be pushed down by newer posts).
In addition, we now display our most popular posts in a flash gallery at the top of the page (removed, more of a distraction) and we list our featured posts on the sidebar. I also added recommended reading lists to the sidebar. As always, feedback is appreciated.
Occasionally there are questions raised on this forum on what is the “central theme” of this blog. Frankly, for a new site like us, it is no surprise that we are still in the process of finding our “core identity. ” The “central theme” of this blog is and will be shaped by our writers and commemorators. I do have some ideas on what this site is not and will not become, though.
First, this site is not another “anti-CNN.” We are acutely aware of western media bias and we have pointed out blatant untrue reports such as “Chinese goverment ordered bars not to serve black people” and “Yang Peiyi banned from the Olympic opening ceremony because of her crooked teeth“. However, that’s not all we are about. We are much more interested in presenting Chinese perspective and Chinese voices, as one can see clearly from our featured/most popular posts.
Secondly, this site is not merely a cheerleader for China. We are unequivocally “pro” China. It does not mean that we are blind to her current ills or future challenges. For example, DJ had posted about the lip-sync contrversy before any major western media did so. And Nimrod provided an unique insight on the fudging formality culture in China. On many hot topics concerning China, be it corruption, enviorment, democray, 6/4, riots, or Tibet, you can always find plenty of posts with diverse and intelligent discussions.
Ultimately, we hope the presence of this blog will contribute to a better China, and in turn, a better word. Buxi oft referred to a quote by Carl Schurz and I think it summed up my feelings as well, “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”
Translated Chinese content is always a great asset for this site. Previously I posted some Chinese content as blog entries in the hope that readers would translate in small chunks as comments. Well, that did not pan out. However, Charles Liu (Big thanks!) did answer my call and translated the beginning part of “Is Russia’s reform more successful than China’s?”. Recently reader DaMai also emailed me offering help in translation.
With their encouragement, and my firm belief that “a single spark can start a prairie fire.” 😉 I want to start a new initiative to use a wiki-like approach to encourage collaborative translation. Specifically, we have enabled a multi-author system so many translators can work on the same post. And with the new WordPress’ version control feature, they can do Wiki-like tracking of edits.
To give you a taste on what is like at the backstage, I created an account so for a limited time you can log in and see our dashboard as well write a post (Username:visitor; Password:visitor). So Login and take a tour.