Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reply to a reader's comment and some reflections on "spontaneous self-organization"

I just got a comment which I think warrants a reply as a separate post.  Here is this comment:
Please resume publishing ukraine sitreps in your morning. The Anna News published in your evening is already old news and is not what made this site so valuable and timely.
Since this is not the first time that I get that kind of comment I feel that I need to remind everybody of the following:

First, this blog is a "one man show" (with now some most valuable help from "Juan" and Mindfriedo).  Besides the blog I have a life which includes a family (a wonderful wife and three beautiful kids), a full time job and a graduate thesis (in theology) to write (which I have completely neglected since the crisis began).  I am not a robot and I therefore also "indulge" in such "luxuries" as eating, sleeping, and sometimes (though now very rarely) reading or exercising.  For all that I have 24 hours max.  Over the past months I have spend about 5-9 hours per day working on this blog (just answering emails takes me several hours each day).  I do understand that the SITREPs are important, but I cannot do more than what I can do.  Sorry.

Second, Juan and Mindfriedo are not robots either, but human beings with their own lives.  Neither of them are a "one man news agency".  There is a reason why AP or Reuters hire lots of people: one guy cannot do it all.  If one of them is "late" with a SITREP one day, please accept this gracefully and remember that they don't get a single cent for their huge work.

Yesterday's ANNA's news bulletin missed the subtitles for the 2nd half.  Well, I did not feel like I had the moral right to email them to let them know simply because I do not know the circumstances which made them fail to provide the full captions and when I posted the video I thought "let's be thankful for what they did produce" rather than frustrated by what they missed.

I ask for the same understanding here.  For example, please understand that if I miss a nasty comment it is because I have to read through (or skim through) and moderate hundreds of comments each day (I often have to do that while waiting at a light in the car).  And when I am not fast enough, I get angry posts accusing me of censorship.  I won't even go into the "typos" thing (though I very much thank the person who counted the 4000+ words of one of my analyses produced in a few hours and who said that a few typos in the middle are to be expected).

So forgive me, but I will miss bad comments, I will be late with analyses and SITREPs, I will have tons of typos, I also will have days when I am literally in physical pain from anguish and rage over what is going on.  Often I am exhausted and I "go on fumes" so I am get really sick and tired of smug commentators picking at this or that word, expression or "meme" I should not have used.  If they don't like what I do - let them do it better themselves.  I can only do as much as I can do.  Sorry, I am only human.

The French blog mirror is up!
On the good side of things, besides the fantastic help of Juan and Mindfriedo, a group of French-speakers got organized by themselves, without any help from me, and organized a French-language mirror of this blog.  You check it out here:

Now THAT is truly *fantastic* help and I want to express a heartfelt MERCI DE TOUT COEUR LES AMIS!! to all those involved (Needless to say, they are also all volunteers who do that work on their "spare" time!).

I am still in desperate need of a "translations manager" would could take over the task for organizing and producing translations, especially of videos (transcribed or, ideally, subtitled and uploaded).  I now have (in theory) at least eight Russian->English translators on standby and one Ukrainian->Russian but I literally do not have the time to contact them, see who is available, split up the work, coordinate it, put it all together, etc.  It might sound incredible, but I really do not physically have the time to do that.  So they are all standing by, waiting.

I also have roughly 50 correspondents worldwide who have expressed their willingness to help this blog, and some have sent me some excellent information, but I simply do not have the time to stay in contact with most.

The only way to really help me and this blog is spontaneous self-organization like the French-speakers have done: if you have an idea on how to help this blog - just do it. Likewise, if you have an idea on how to help the people of Novorossia and Auslander's refugees - also just do it.  I personally will gladly use this blog to inform others of your efforts like I did for Auslander's initiative or like Yuri Dia Konov did by offering his books to donors.  Lastly, if you have any ideas on how to increase, organize or coordinate the donations to this blog,  I sure would be grateful for them.  Every penny I get here is one I don't have to get elsewhere.

As for the daily Ukraine SITREP - yes, I will get to it as soon as I can.  I will try to produce one by tomorrow morning.  But if I am late with that, please forgive me.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker