Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Dec 30, 2012.
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Sorry to be distracted by what was probably meant to be a trivial throwaway line but... $50 for writing stuff on the internet about CFS? Surely some mistake? Sounds difficult to work out which articles would be worth commissioning too.
If that stands I'm definitely going to try to turn some of my rambles into something more coherent!
No mistake Esther. We think it's certainly a generous rate, but also a fair rate for high quality articles. We compared to blogging rates elsewhere and we did want to offer a good rate both to attract high quality and also because our bloggers are all people we want to be able to support financially - offering patients an opportunity to develop their writing skills, gain a platform, supplement their income, all of these things fit well within our charitable objectives as an organisation so it's a win-win-win model as I see it.
The rate does include payment for monitoring and responding to questions in the discussion, and of course some articles require a lot of research, watching video-conferences etc. So for articles like that in particular, it's a reasonable rate IMO.
In terms of working out which articles to commission, and from whom, those are relationships we develop and decisions we make on an ongoing basis. This is a fairly new model and it's still evolving, so details are likely to change. Maybe we'll pay less for some articles, maybe some of our bloggers will donate them, maybe we'll pay more for others. We'll see what works. As it stands, it's mostly me who'll be making those decisions for the time being. But I do hope that will change soon enough - I will need a team of editors, proof-readers, publishers etc and I hope somebody will emerge as editor. It would be nice if we could afford to pay that as a salaried position one day; we may be able to pay a little something in the short term. Not everyone can afford to do such work on a purely voluntary basis.
And I hope you and other forum members will take up the opportunity enthusiastically. Our budget won't stretch to paying for all content (I would like a target of at least one article each day, about 3 each week being paid), and I do envisage less experienced writers being paid less, initially, so this is all fairly fluid at this point but it's certainly an opportunity and we have many excellent writers here, so I hope this model proves a successful one for us all.
PR gets several blogs that are donated as one would donate a dollar amount. That also helps to keep the website running and still give content to the community.
There are also many posts in threads that are considered to be of much value and those posts are unpaid. Look at all the posts from Richvank, and he never got paid for any one of his posts.
So, one has to decide if the article that is meant to be published is something to be possibly used as a donation or something that may have great value to the community as a journalist would do....
Thank you Mark for this statement.
I appreciate all the work that Cort, you, the board members and administrators have done to make PR the great place it is serving the ME/CFS community.
I am sorry about this separation and wish everyone good luck in the future.
Thanks Nielk. We are all very sorry and upset that this has happened, but we have to make the best of it and move forward positively. I suppose we're all well accustomed to doing that anyway...
Thank you, Mark for sharing this information with us.
And thanks even more for all the work you all do. I wish for a smooth stress-free transition for all of us.
Thanks Mark for posting this thread and making a statement.
Mark.. may i make the suggestion that you start off with only paying for one article per week and choosing the best to be published and working up from there. I say this as the best thing about the articles which have been always posted on this site is the actual quality of them. We have always been able to trust that any article which is put out by PR is of extremely good quality and which wont be wasting our time and energy to be reading. To this point, there has never (oh except one) been a PR article I didnt enjoy reading.
I know it would put me off if the quality of the articles fell for more articles to be posted and I think great care has to be taken that the article quality is maintained.
I also know the sickest in our community may end up feeling overwhelmed by articles if suddenly there is an article daily.... maybe that is fine for a non ME/CFS community but it could be too much for many of a very sick community..
Please choose QUALITY over quanity when it comes to the articles (if we want to just read a lot of stuff..there is plenty of stuff to read on the forums).
Take care not to go making too much change here too fast and overwhelming yourselves.
So, essentially you are saying Cort didn't think he was going to get paid enough as the reason for his departure. This doesn't paint Cort in a very pretty picture.
Criticisms over the last eighteen months that he appeared to be more interested in making a dollar off the cfs community rather than helping find a cure appear to have been on the mark. Is this a case of one more person looking to make a living off us?
I still don't understand where the money was going to come from. By the sound of it, Cort was asking for a lot. Where was this money going to come from?
Had Cort removed himself from the board some months prior? This statement would appear to hint at that. Why were we not informed then?
The arrangements with Cort to post articles, were they paid for by PR? How far back does this go? Is the board aware of any additional payments for those articles from outside agencies. Was Cort paid to write those articles? By whom?
Many members, not all, I note, read Cort's articles because they think they are unbiased. If they were being paid for, they were not unbiased.
Further more, from the statement, it appears that the board is unable to detail payments to the non-profit entity, which also needs explaining. If this is indeed the case then the books will have to be audited, not just looked at.
I am not sure that Cort was ever on the Board, Rusty. One aspect of transparency would of course be the publication of financial accounts - something that Mark has talked about above.
I have never really got a handle on the 'blog' aspect of this forum. And this notion of payment for what I would consider to have been a voluntary effort - doesn't immediately sit well with me either I have to say.
But if it's the 'norm' and if in future these things are made plain to us all - I'll go along with it. I also have some concerns with the process by which members (and 'outsiders') come to be appointed to the Board and what that Board is responsible for.
Until such time I suppose as this charity is more formally dedicated, and some form of voting occurs, I really can't consider PR to be such a body.
To me it has always been and will remain a free and public forum.
I hope we will hear more from the Board about all of this in the near future. I am well aware of how much it can 'cost' for people who themselves are sick to 'step up to the plate'. More than aware.
However, if things are set-down properly at the start then these procedures will serve to protect the Board as well as enable members (whose status also needs to be laid down) and those donors to feel more secure.
Documentation is a pain in the arse but necessary and indeed essential. Thanks for the statement, Mark and co. I wish you all the very best and will lend a hand if you need one and I am able.
It's a wow wow situation - this site (unmatched) is the greatest source for all - science, aids, companionship, humour - let us keep it this way. And recognise our best in ME - eg Cort's foundation and continuing commitment.
Yep not too keen on science findings now - hovering to accept views of what one can only describe as mumbo jumbo ( in case it might upset) - too full of reported "science" findings in GET/CBT - I could well be struck off PR tomorrrow - not apparently following the thread - what a wish the current ambience in PR are very anxious to - what can one say - nothing more than just do not upset (blow science) and ignore.
$50 an article doesn't sound very well thought out. You should post guidelines, length of articles, and submission guidelines. It seems a little odd that this site is now paying for blog postings and articles. I'm not sure it's a direction that makes sense for a nonprofit site whose main areas of activity are the forums, and formerly Cort's blog postings. It's going to take more work than you realize to commission high profile postings, and it's going to hurt feelings of community members when they want to be paid their $50 for postings that really don't deserve it.
The whole thing still seems completely bizarre, and much will probably never be explained. I hope you weren't planning on paying Cort only $50/posting. He probably deserves $1000/posting. Professionals science writers get $1-4/word, depending on what venue writing for ($1 on web) and how high profile (very high profile, $4/word). In addition, professional bloggers at most paid sites get bonuses for eyeballs--sometimes very lucrative.
It doesn't sound well thought out, and it sounds like you shot yourself in the foot, by not paying Cort enough.
In addition, I think your stated goal should be to be transparent enough to make it onto Charity Navigator's approved list. And if any of the board members or other volunteers are paid in dollars, for anything, those amounts should be made public in January 2013. Not just the $50 for blog postings. "Administrative fees" must be public now. And not late in 2013, but in January. If anybody is being paid, they already know what they're getting.
And you have no control of my input Mark (whoever popped up on a few occasions). This is about ME and those who seek to understand ONLY.
Three times bow to your immensity as so many here fight/bear with (knowing not so) your freewheeling capacity for ignorance posted - it just might upset someone who is utterly ignorant.
This is intolerable for someone who has spent so many years researching/experiencing ME - has sought to understand - where are you guys - on an ego trip.
As we mentioned in the statement, our goal is full transparency and you are right that we want to make it onto Charity Navigator's approved list. As we've also mentioned in the statement, we will need some accountancy support in order to achieve that, but your question about pay for board members or other volunteers, administrative fees etc, is easily answered now: none of the current board members or volunteers have received any such payments to date, we have all worked in a purely voluntary capacity. I am not sure what exactly you mean by "administrative fees" but if you are referring to the board members, none of us have ever taken any such payments and we don't expect to do so: we are all volunteers. We will post more information about these matters when we have accurate information we can disclose.
Regarding the idea of paying Cort $1000/post, of course we could not and cannot pay Cort money that we do not have. We did investigate standard rates and formulas for blog posting, and calculated based on our site viewing statistics, before setting the rate. Guidelines on the submission process and article length are in development. Those who have already contacted me about writing articles have said they will be happy to donate their articles, and I expect high quality content from those people. I don't think it's unreasonable, though, to make some payments to contributors and volunteers in recognition of the time they put in. Personally, I am and always have been here on a purely voluntary basis, and I have never taken and never will take any payment in relation to my work for Phoenix Rising, but if we are able to support patients who volunteer their services by paying them something for the valuable work they do, I think that's a good thing.
Thanks for you kind words, DB. I agree with your wish and will do what I can to make sure it's fulfilled.
Mark you give your time with restricted energies in this very important site - is it possible we can bring Cort somehow back into OUR fold. He has so much to bring (and has to live).
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