As many of you are certainly aware, there have been a lot of changes made recently to both eHow and Demand Studios. Demand Media appears to be on a quality binge, which isn't a bad thing. We've all seen the heaps of awful articles on eHow, and hoped that they'd be taken down. But, are things going too far?
Last night I decided to check the forums on Demand Studios, something I do only infrequently at best, and found out that there was a new policy, which I had not been made aware of! We are now required to present a reference for each article we write - not a resource, but a reference.
I was instantly upset by this, because I write many short how-to articles and didn't know how I could possibly find sources for some of them. "How to make Chip Shop Curry Sauce" comes to mind. I wrote this article after the policy had gone into effect, but before I knew about it. When it gets sent back, I have no idea how I'm going to source it, as I just used a few online recipes to create it.
Well, today I sat down to write, feeling extremely sorry for myself, but knowing that I had to try, and it wasn't all that bad. I was able to find reputable sources for most of the articles, even on the easiest of topics. Using Google Scholar is extremely helpful for this. (If you don't know about it, you should check it out. There's no better way to search for online source material.)
This sudden change at DS feels all too familiar. Many people had articles deleted by eHow in the recent article sweeps due to perceived low quality. I agree with Demand Media in many respects. There need to be higher standards of writing on the site. It has to hurt the site as a whole, writers included, when new readers stumble upon a poorly written, non-actionable, garbage dump of an article.
So, I've made a decision. Where I once would have complained that they weren't considering their writers when making these changes, or that they don't value our work, etc, I will now roll with the punches. Perhaps it is our fear of change and the looming insecurities that provoke such a strong unwillingness to adapt.
Well, I will adapt, because the internet is a changing entity. Things are not going to remain the same forever. As web writers, we will always have to adapt to the climate. I often become so comfortable in doing things one way that when someone tells me I must change, I go off the deep end. Here, I'll try to remember that adapting will be my livelihood. While some writers will leave because they can't take it, I will flourish. It's survival of the fittest in our world, my friends, and I invite you to join me in seeing it through to the end.
The changes that have been made are not unreasonable. They are not going to kill us, but may - just may - make us stronger, better, more experienced and sought-after writers.