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Shepherd-Based Article Publication Process

The Magazine employs what is dubbed a "shepherd-based" publication process. In keeping with the PmWiki Community's collegial nature, and the wiki-way, the Magazine allows article authors to manage the article submission process with input and support of a group of peers (who in turn act as shepherds. The process includes four basic steps: proposal, draft, review, and publish.

Stage One: Proposal

Create an Article Abstract. Authors submit their articles by creating a page within the Magazine—same as creating any other wiki page. To create a valid submission, Authors are asked to write a brief abstract as the article's description (e.g. (:description This is an abstract:). Estimated abstract size should be in the neighborhood of 100-200 words---basically a paragraph. There are many ways to write an article abstract, however, Carnegie Mellon University has a how-to on essay abstracts which may provide insight. George Mason provides another abstract discussion. However, there is more than one way to do it. A proposal format is available via this magazine's template, and a sample proposal is available.

Categorize your Article. To have your article appear on the proposed articles page, you will need to put [[!MagazineArticleProposed]] on your article page (provided by the template).

Visit the proposed articles page for more information.

Stage Two: Draft

Drafting the Article. The Author should begin writing the article soon after he announces his proposal. As a part of the Magazine, it is available for readers immediately; although authors can opt to exclude by imposing a read-restriction. When the proposal process is complete (approximately 7-14 days after announcement), the Author should re-categorize the article as [[!MagazineArticleUpcoming]]. This category informs readers that the article is being drafted and may not reflect the final version.

Visit the upcoming articles page for more information.

Stage Three: Review

Reviewing the Article. Once the author is satisfied that his article is ready for review, he re-categorizes his articles as [[!MagazineArticleReviewing]]. Three shepherds then review the article and provide suggestions and comments on the article. Once three shepherds have approved the article, then the last shepherd re-catergorizes the article as [[!PublishedArticle]]. At some point (proposal, draft or review), the Author is encouraged to designate the categor(y|ies) that best describes the nature of the article. (See Article Categories Explained for more information on article categories.)

Visit the articles awaiting review page for more information.

Stage Four: Publish

Visit the proposed articles page for more information.

Published articles


After reading the Mentor and Mediator based processes, Pm proposed a looser system. This proposed system relies on categories and "shepherding" to lead an article from proposal to publication. Pm recommended this method to encourage authors to start writing, and it represents the least "process."

Proposal and Writing. Using categories, Authors tag their articles [[!Proposed]] when they first start writing the article. Proposed articles would appear via pagelist on the proposed articles page. Authors then proceed to write their article. Perhaps the first thing written is the article description (:description:), which will be used in pagelists to inform readers about the article.

Review. When the rough draft is ready, then the author changes the tage from [[!Proposed]] to [[!PleaseReview]]]. Shepherds look for these articles and provide feedback and suggestions. When a shepherd is satisfied with the quality of the article, he signs ([[~BenWilson]] September 28, 2006, at 09:20 PM) in the reviewer block.

Publication. Once three shepherds have signed as reviewers ([[~BenWilson]] September 28, 2006, at 09:20 PM), then the last shepherd (the third) adds the [[!Published]] category to the article. This puts the article on the main Magazine page. Once published, then the comments feature is active.

Throughout the process, the article is available to the public.

Wanted. Articles that are desired by the individual lacks the time, talent or energy to write the article, he will write a brief summary of what the article should contain, then tag the article with [[!Wanted]]. This will inform prospective authors about possible article topics.

Mentor-Based Article Publication Process

The following proposed process describes the steps an author should take to publish an article. The purpose of this process is to provide a loose, light peer review process at various stages to help improve the quality of the article and the magazine as a whole. Time constraints limit the amount of time peers have to comment on key phases in order to prevent the author from having to wait too long for approval. By putting peers on notice and expecting them to raise issues, rather than submitting and waiting for explicit approval, reduces "process friction." Essentially, silence equals assent to an article's publication. The process anticipates concerns with an article will be amicably resolved.

Proposal. The first step to submit an article is to announce your intent to write an article on a given topic. The purpose is to help prevent authors from writing in a complete vacuum. Perhaps somebody else was going to write a similar article and those authors can collaborate. One way to announce intent is to submit an abstract summary along with a proposed title and category-ies. This summary is entered on the proposed articles page, which begins the notice period for acceptance of a proposed article. The proposal summary could later be used as the article description (:description summary here:) within the article page, so use of keywords in the summary is encouraged to help readers find an article.

Acceptance of Proposal. Acceptance of a proposal is less formal than readily apparent. Once an article has been proposed, others will have a fixed period of time (a week or fortnight?) to raise any concerns about the article. Once the notice period has lapsed, subsequent objections are considered waived. At this point, the author should move his summary to the upcoming articles page and proceed to write the article.

If a concern is raised, then those with an interest in the article should discuss via email the concern, and reach a consensus on how to proceed. In the event no consensus is raised, then Pm, as the owner of PmWiki, has the final word. As the magazine expands, perhaps an arbitration board would substitute to keep Pm from being swamped.

Write the Article. An article ideally should be written separately from the Magazine group—either off-wiki, off the author's profile page, etc. This gives the author maximum flexibility for input from others, a chance to proofread and spellcheck the article. For the sake of discussion, we will call this the draft page.

Review. Once the author feels the article is ready for publication, he notifies insert entity here. This entity reviews the article for clarity and accuracy, and makes suggestions to the author. Reviewers have (a week or fortnight) to return comments, but can respond sooner to shorten the time in this phase. The author should incorprate reasonable comments to improve the article. Provided the article is reviewed at least once, the author can proceed to publication, or can return the article for review if the amount of revision seems to require another pass. At the very least, Pm should be given a chance to review the article before publication.

Publish the Article. Once the article has been vetted, publish the article. Simply put, the author copies the content from his draft page to Magazine. The title of the article will be the pagename. The article summary, used on the proposed and upcoming articles pages, is added to the article as its description (:description:). The author is also responsible for any other markup additions necessary to integrate the article to the Magazine.

Pulling Articles. While unlikely, it may be necessary to pull articles in the interest of public policy. If an article appears to offend or put PmWiki at risk of liability, then it should be flagged, and Pm notified. Preferably, the process would prevent such articles from reaching publication.

Mentors. Mentors are a loose collection of Community volunteers that oversee the article publication process. They check to ensure that summaries are descriptive, that the process is complied with, and help the author produce a quality article. They provide suggestion and support rather than explict administrative responsiblities.

Final Authority. In an effort to show deference to PmWiki's author, Pm is given the final word on articles.

Abuse. Authors who bypass the process or become overly contentious or rude risk having their article summarily withdrawn and may be barred from future article submissions temporarily or permanently. Peers and reviewers may be excluded from the process for being overly contentious or rude. The PmWiki Community is generally very amiable, so abuse should only be applied when absolutely necessary.

Moderator-Based Article Publication Process

In the event the Mentor-Based process demonstrates a need for a more restrictive process, the Moderator-Based process provides an amended solution.

Page Restriction. In the Moderator-Based process, all pages except the proposed articles page is password protected. This password is shared among a small group of moderators. When an article has passed the notice period, then the chief moderator, or another moderator, moves the article to the upcoming articles page. When the article is finished and vetted, then the article is added to the Magazine group.

Moderators. This process assumes a small group of moderators, between four and six recommended. One moderator is designated as the 'chief moderator.' Moderators transefer proposals from the proposal page to the upcoming page, and publish vetted articles. Anybody can proofread an article, but the article must be vetted before publication by a moderator. Moderators are responsible for integrating the article to the Magazine. Moderators contrast Mentors as they are explicit administrators and selected from a group of volunteers.

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Page last modified on September 10, 2011, at 05:03 PM