Anyone spot any changes?

Published by: Harry on 10th Apr 2018 | View all blogs by Harry

Hi folks

You'll see that the banner at the top of the Cloud has changed, as have the menu options immediately below. So just to say a few things:

1) Do pop over to the new Jericho Writers site and take a look

I think you'll like it! Lots of you won't want or need the things offered under the membership umbrella, but I'd still be interested to know what you think.

2) Making the new Jericho Townhouse free (or very low cost)

That's still a very real possibility. We just can't commit to that until we've actually got some data on site revenues, use and all the rest of it. Don't worry of there's a bit of silence from us on that front for a while - a thriving, affordable community remains a priority for us

3) Do share!

We're about to start tooting about the new look us. If you can help by sharing news of our transformation (on FB / Twitters / websites) we'd really appreciate it.

4) And yes, we know . . .

As we actually complete the migration the WW website will gradually vanish, and the JW basically replace it. While that's happening (and being tested) you may get some weird results for a while. Don't worry. We're on it. I also know that the "Need more help?" column (bottom left) on the Word Cloud is out of date, but the collapsing software won't let me change that, so it is what it is.

***

When we make a final decision on how to maintain a peer-to-peer community on the new platform, y'all will be the very first to know.

Big love and squashy kisses to all

H

Comments

62 Comments

  • Jill
    by Jill 3 months ago
    Hmmm...
  • Jill
    by Jill 3 months ago
    ... pondering. :)
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    Yup - a not-too-well-centralised banner. Or maybe that's intended? Makes me feel off-balance... :(
  • Woolleybeans
    by Woolleybeans 3 months ago
    Please tell me this awful mostly white version of The Cloud will be fixed. It is not easy on the eye and is making it harder by far for me to take in what is on the screen.

    Let us all know if the community being free or very low cost becomes a thing, but tbh I feel zero inclination to shout about the new look or new tone to the whole thing as it stands. Not in a way you would like.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    The pic at the top of town house looks very glossy and corporate - not very writerly - for my tastes. Looks like a generic US campus or start up pic. Think the older crew might be a little alienated.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    I presume it's not meant to look like this? The suggestion above is that just the banner and options on menus that would change so I'm guessing this all-white Cloud is one of those unintended technical consequences.
  • Raine
    by Raine 3 months ago
    I've only seen this via iPhone. But on that platform this looks like nothing other than a website that has failed to load properly. It's not a good look. Hopefully that's an interim error.

    And as others have said, I'll hold off on shouting about this till I know what you're doing about supporting your existing community.
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    The self edit course photo. Is a man doing woodwork. How does that link? (And yes, I can see that they're not all writing-related pics for other things and how they link to the subject, but this one had me stumped for a connection)
  • Jill
    by Jill 3 months ago
    Been mulling all this over as I gardened and gained inspiration for my own writing works, helped along the way by membership of Cloud and WW critiques.

    Is this big change, I wonder, all leaning towards the American and may be more lucrative market? If so, I feel saddened ... If not, I apologise to what was WW for these, unusual for me, cynical thoughts.
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    That would explain the cowboy hat and 'y'alls', Jill! ;)
  • Tony
    by Tony 3 months ago
    Hi Harry, I've had a look around Jericho and all the links seem to be working. It's easy enough to find things and I even had a pop-up offering me the Editing Pyramid, which I asked for to see if that worked, too - and it did :-)

    The only negative would be, while it's all clear and works, it is a bit drab - plain white. It needs a bit of jazzing up with colour and stuff.

    I happened to spot one typo - a missing 'of' here: "If you’re looking for tips on writing a novel, becoming a self-publishing superstar, or even how to master the art brilliant prose..." Hope you can find this snippet to fix it.
  • John Alty
    by John Alty 3 months ago
    Looks pretty slick to me. White sells, they say. Seems a bit coy about telling us what the subscription is until the last step. Comes as a bit of a shock.
    I hold out little hope for a vibrant forum, given the cost.
  • BellaM
    by BellaM 3 months ago
    The Word Cloud now looks absolutely unspeakable and I'm not sure how long I can cope with it.

    You will be pleased to hear, Harry, that your introductory founder member offer at £150 per year, fixed forever, was good enough to make me get out the credit card.

    So far Jericho seems easy enough to get around, although I can't get AgentMatch to play ball. I've put a topic up in the Townhouse about that.

    I have no quibbles with the look of Jericho, although I hope that you'll perhaps do something to encourage people to alter their user names. The site defaults to Christian name, which is fine expect that there's already about eleventy-million Daves there. Unless they're all bots to make the site look busy, but you wouldn't do that, would you?
  • J.net
    by J.net 3 months ago
    Despite being a Cloudie, attending York every year since 2012, taking the SE course and electing to remain on mailing lists, I have received nothing. Zilch. No notification of the Jericho changes or the offer people are now speaking of. £150 per year? That's hardly a minimal fee for bolstering the numbers in the new Townhouse community and supporting the new venture. I've hung on, hoping that Harry listened to those of us who reasoned against the monthly fee, but it seems I needn't have bothered. I wish you luck, Harry, but your lifeboats, when Cloud sinks, are too expensive for me. Even if they weren't, I suspect that the majority of my Cloudie friends won't be joining me. I'm heartbroken and bitter that it's come to this, but I'm out. When Cloud sinks, I'll be gone with the fishes. Hope y'all have a rootin' tootin' time in hotel TH, but I'll take a raincheck if you don't mind.
  • Woolleybeans
    by Woolleybeans 3 months ago
    Part of the issue some of us are having is that whereas it's being marketed as a lower fee than WW, when set against the total price of every service WW offered, there are Cloudies who are not seeing it from that perspective. I am one of them.

    A good few of us here have got such value out of peer support and peer feedback that the forum is the central, most important part of any engagement here. The self-edit course is wonderful, but it's 6 weeks. The ongoing support of peers is the main dish.

    You are pitching £150 as a minimal sum at people who have had most value out of the aspect that currently costs £0.

    In your head, £150 (or even the full price) is a lot better than the total cost of every aspect, but in our heads, the equation is 0-150 = -150. We are 'saving' minus one hundred and fifty pounds. Or, to put it another way, losing one hundred and fifty pounds (£150).

    Yes, I have repeated that in one paragraph, but it is a point that seems not to be sinking in.

    A nominal fee to pay for hosting and so on is fair, of course, and I am pleased we have been able to have the Cloud for these years, but paying so much in order to give support to other people is not worth it to us.

    The section on the new webpage for the Townhouse quite rightly extols the virtues of peer support, meaning it acknowledges the value added to such a place by experienced members. Which means being asked to pay money in order to make your new venture more valuable. And then being told we should feel excited and pleased and friendly about it. Y'all.

    Please note, my use of the collective pronouns refers to me and to people I know feel the same way. I am not claiming to speak for all Cloudies.

    I hope this goes some way to explaining why some of us are feeling frustrated, saddened and dismissed.

    Your business is your business. You do not owe us anything, and thank-you, as so many have said, for hosting the Cloud for these years.

    But please stop telling us we need to pay such a sum in order to increase the value of your business, and then acting like this is a gift and something we should all be delighted about.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    Nope. Sorry.
  • Lizzielion
    by Lizzielion 3 months ago
    It’s a no from me.
  • Thea
    by Thea 3 months ago
    It's not easy to comment re the fee, because like J.Net I have not yet received an email regarding this.

    From what I have gleaned from the JW site, there will be discounts for courses, editing, etc. but I couldn't see what percentage that discount would be. For the amount of money required up front, I would have liked more information, please.
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    I've been told that for the festival, for eg, members would get 10% off. But that was by asking how long I had to decide on the time limited offer to be a founder member of JW, which came in the most recent email.

    I'm surprised these emails aren't reaching lots of people - I'm assuming you're signed up to the mailing list? Can't imagine why I've got them otherwise...
  • Woolleybeans
    by Woolleybeans 3 months ago
    I suppose if they are getting to a lot of people, it doesn't matter to Harry if some people are missed off.

    In any case, it looks like being a totally different proposition to the Cloud and those of us who have already paid for FoW and for the course(s) etc we most wanted/needed are mined out, so to speak, so JW is hardly going to care if such people fail to get an e-mail.
  • KazGinnane
    by KazGinnane 3 months ago
    Nope. I'm out. No need to repeat what y'all have said above, which I heartily agree with.
  • Jill
    by Jill 3 months ago
    I have just opened the email inviting me as a friend of Writers Workshop over the last twelve years to become a founding member at a fifty percent discounted price of £150 per year for ever. That is, of course, a more reasonable sum to pay out each year, but I am still weighing things up.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    What about those of us who have already paid an annual subscription for agent hunter?
    Also - when we paid for SE course - part of the deal was that you had access to the course notes - and the other students for ever - what happens with that now?
  • J.net
    by J.net 3 months ago
    Yes, I'm with Agent Hunter too. And not only did I subscribe to the SE course (over 4 years ago), but our little group are still very active. The promise of 'access to our group forever' is turning out to be five years.
  • Wren
    by Wren 3 months ago
    I agree with Scheherazade above. I am sure when I signed up to my course that it was sold to us on the understanding that all course content including input from course leaders and peers would be available forever, and that forums / connections with peers was part of that deal. Where do we stand now? My page is crashing out on almost every screen in my groups and I have no way to contact my peers who have been so supportive. That was not what was sold to us when we paid our fees!
  • Raine
    by Raine 3 months ago
    I get the impression, Harry, that you are not really listening to us.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    Indeed. There should be partial refunds for everyone who has done a course, on a sliding scale based on how many years they have had access to the material
  • Seagreen
    by Seagreen 3 months ago
    You know, my daughter picked up a weary bumble-bee the other day (might have been a queen, she's not sure), brought her indoors for a bit of warmth and tried to feed her sugar water. There were mites at the back of the bee's head - not harmful to the bee apparently, more like hitch-hikers really, and helpful round the nest.
    The bee didn't make it. Some of the mites jumped off before she died, some of them were buried with her. I see myself as one of those mites. Question is, when do I jump?
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    Excellent analogy Sea!
  • Jill
    by Jill 3 months ago
    After reading further comments and having been thinking all morning after re-reading email, my gut feeling is what it was originally when the news first came about JW and its conditions...
  • Wren
    by Wren 3 months ago
    I've had been on for seven months. I've loved having peers reviewing and commenting on my work. Such a shame to lose that benifit, but I now only have access to this wall. Very sad
  • Raine
    by Raine 3 months ago
    OK, again with the maths.
    The only resource that I need for the forseeable future (yes, including all the shiny free stuff) is York. So. £150 for a 10% discount off the roughly £400 for York? I would be paying £110 extra to attend York.

    I imagine you have justified this by saying that you don't want clients who are only able to pay out for one or two things a year. You only want clients who have more money than I do. Fair enough. Good to know.

    But the issue of permanent access to course groups is another can of worms. And one you've been pointedly avoiding addressing. You have admitted that the SocialGo platform will die at some point in the coming years. Thus alumni such as myself will NOT have permanent access to our course groups on here. You've admitted this much. But you haven't said what you are going to do about that. To my mind, the only option is to transfer the course groups (much more feasible than the whole cloud, surely) to your shiny new Townhouse. But then to keep the guarantee we paid for, you'd have to allow alumni free access to the Townhouse, which you expressly don't want to do. Hmm, what a pickle.

    I started out pleased for you in your new venture and hopeful of entering into discourse about how it would work for your existing and financially contributory community. I am now thoroughly disillusioned. Please prove me wrong.
  • Hil
    by Hil 3 months ago
    I'm guessing you could get the discount (whatever it is) on York by only joining for a month at £30, so if it's 10% (assuming £400) you'd actually be saving a whole £10!!! My last two festivals I've taken advantage of the early bird discount, which, if I remember rightly, was 20%. I was hoping for this same discount again, without joining Jericho. But I guess I'm going to be disappointed.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    I'm sure York would be a success with our without the world cloud. But I can't help thinking the sense of old cloudie friends meeting up has added to the perception of it being a friendly , dynamic event.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    It's heartbreaking watching this community being broken up before my eyes and seemingly JW just not listening
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    Agree - and I can't believe the cloud didn't pay its way, indirectly. I bet at least 70 % of regular users paid for another writers' workshop service - and most of those more than one. As well as providing their data -as consuming writers and readers.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    Absolutely Sche. The Cloud is not a generously provided freebie, it's a shop window for newcomers staffed by enthusiastic volunteers, and a constant encouragement to existing members to spend more money.

    My previous career was in PR and the single most important lesson you can learn in that business is that reputation takes years to build and the consequences of losing it can be catastrophic. Possibly the second most important lesson is that if you have a difficult message (and change is always difficult however good you think the results will be) you can't expect your audience to come immediately to where you are. You have to meet them in the middle and bring them closer to where you want them to be in small steps with generous 'what's in it for me' messages. WW has an audience for its products that it has spent years building up and a reputation based in no small part on the loyalty and enthusiasm of its existing customer base. Both are in danger of departing.
  • J.net
    by J.net 3 months ago
    Hil, I'm with you. I afforded York because of the Early Bird offers. While there, I'm sure you might remember WW being loud and proud of their Cloudies, which was returned with our own enthusiasm. Wonder how that'll pan out this year? Although some are still going, will they feel as able to shout out about their 'thriving' community?

    Harry, I can only thank you for giving me the means to make new friends, but I feel I've given as much back as I've taken. It might be a good exercise for Cloudies to spell out what each have spent since joining, and show how much of a shop window this has been (thanks for that, Daeds).
  • Hil
    by Hil 3 months ago
    Well, they surely won't even mention the Cloud, since it will be (is?) closed to new members and possibly in its death throes. Doubtless they will be shouting about the Townhouse. But that doesn't mean our friendships have to be in their death throes. We will have to find another way.
  • BellaM
    by BellaM 3 months ago
    On the subject of the SE course, to be fair Harry has said that the Cloud will continue indefinitely and that reduced usage may extend its life so far as any Social Go glitches are concerned. So we do still have access to all our material and to all our SE course mates. Not that many of mine come here any more anyway. The active ones are all on Facebook.
  • Raine
    by Raine 3 months ago
    Bella, yes... But they are expecting this platform to degrade and die, which is not indefinite access... Unless we're being very literal about the word indefinite, I guess. We will, although not imminently, lose our groups. I want to know what their plans are either to pre-empt that, or for when it finally happens iyswim.
    .
  • BellaM
    by BellaM 3 months ago
    I see exactly what you mean and I share your concerns. If this place goes down the Swanee then we all lose our SE stuff, regardless of membership elsewhere, unless Harry has a contingency plan.
  • Tony
    by Tony 3 months ago
    All this talk about losing your SE stuff. I haven't done the course so don't know the set-up, but is there some reason why you can't copy everything you want to keep onto your own hard drive? That's what I've done with most of my stuff on here.
  • Woolleybeans
    by Woolleybeans 3 months ago
    Yes, Tony, but it would take some time, as there are several threads in each course.

    But that is hardly the point. The promise was not 'access because you have copied it and saved it to your own computer'.
  • Woolleybeans
    by Woolleybeans 3 months ago
    And for those people whose SE groups are still active, they can hardly discuss and get feedback from their group that way.

    Sure, a bunch of people get beta readings and so on via email, after getting to know people on here, but Harry can't really say that is the same thing, even if someone sent work to be read by everyone in a group.
  • John Alty
    by John Alty 3 months ago
    As a matter of interest, the Cloud looks almost unchanged on Chrome, just the banner name change, on Firefox it looks all white.
    Contingency planning looks the wisest course regarding info stored on the Cloud - download it in the not too distant future, I don't see a long term future for the Cloud.
    As I'm fond of saying: Sail in the wind you have, not the wind you wish you had. Harry has decided on a course he feels is best for his business and a dozen or so active Cloudies aren't going to change that.
    Several Cloudies have websites to which they could add a Forum app and host a new Cloud, or there are other forums available. But what I find sad is that the close association between the forum and the WW business is going to be broken - the Harry marketing machine will have factored that in, I'm sure, but it seems a glaring marketing error to me. But what do I know? I've only been in marketing for thirty years.
    Be positive, Cloudies, this is merely an irritating adverb in the manuscript of life.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    An irritating and unnecessary adverb. We read it at the manuscript stage when it can still be edited out. I’ll try to be philosophical about it when the decisions have all been made and nothing more can be done. As it is, if we think a mistake is being made it’s incumbent on us to say so. It’s not so much sailing with the wind we have as telling the yacht club committee that their regatta might not be as successful as previous years if they persist with their plan to move it from the bay to an indoor swimming pool.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    And as far as contingency planning re SE courses etc. is concerned, simply saving everything across to your own storage is problematic in all kinds of ways. The group approach is about mutual learning. There’s the help you get with your own WIP, but also all the discussions that take place on everyone else’s. It would not only be extremely onerous to copy across the discussions on everyone else’s work, I would not feel comfortable doing so. Then there are the wall posts. Maybe not all that constructive strictly from a learning perspective, but all part of the group bonding and community side. It would be a pity not to be able to look back on that shared experience. In any case, I’m not sure if everything can be saved. The videos, for example.

    Not to mention that it’s extremely unfair on those groups that remain active.
  • John Alty
    by John Alty 3 months ago
    Hmm. You think this is still at the editing stage?
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    At the very least the cost of and access to the Town House. The full thing hasn’t been launched yet. If the will is there, changes can be made
  • Julie C
    by Julie C 3 months ago
    I'm still mourning the change of name. Writers Workshop did what it said on the tin - helpful, inclusive and interactive, a learning experience. 'Jericho Writers' has associations of battles and walls crumbling, and you need to be in the know, to understand what Jericho means in this context - that sounds clique-y I'm afraid.

    What surprises me is that there isn't enough of a peek into the different elements of the site to be able to see whether they are items you need or want. You can't even look at the Town House. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to know much more about what you'd be getting for your money. Above all, there is no indication of the level of discount available to members on the paid-for courses, FOW etc. That is a crucial question when trying to weigh up whether the offer is good or not - even at the favourable rate of £150 per year. Are we committed to a full year if we want to take that up?
  • ElaineJ
    by ElaineJ 3 months ago
    I took a couple of courses (screenwriting and self-editing) and had some very valuable insight (paid for) from a professional author a few years ago. I haven't been active on the cloud for a while, admittedly, but I was rather shocked to discover that all the content (peer feedback, lessons, etc) were likely to disappear in the (probably not too distant) future, and that the alternative was to fork out £120 for a new membership. I'm grateful for the many valuable things I learned here on the cloud and through the courses, but I can't afford that (at the moment, anyway). And as others have said, I'm wary of having to pay before I have even seen what I'll be getting... So I'm not sure if I'll be signing up, TBH.
  • Daedalus
    by Daedalus 3 months ago
    It's £150, by the way.

    Which is not, however you put it, a NOMINAL fee as it is described in this morning's email
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 3 months ago
    It its not broke, don't fix it springs to mind.
  • Barny
    by Barny 3 months ago
    Harry has been paying good money for us all to enjoy this place FREE (as in beer) for years. He may have benefited from the resulting free marketing, but he has been paying the pounds that keep the SocialGo lights on, that have enabled us to make friends, chat, collaborate and generally have a good time apart from the occasional git-wars, all for NO COST, unless we chose to pay for a course, like the Self-Edit I did.

    Thank you, Harry, for that!

    My self-edit group is one of the still active ones, it’s a supportive little group. BUT how often today are things for EVER? They’re not. I don’t think I have a right to a free community forever, if you want that go to Facebook where your Personal Information keeps the lights on and Mark in smart suits.

    Harry has chosen to set out his stall, decided to go to a premium subscription service. I can’t afford/justify the subscription: both are our choices.

    Chill. Smell the coffee. Get on with life somewhere else. That’s what I’m going to do.
  • Caducean Whisks
    by Caducean Whisks 3 months ago
    Morning Harry. I've been having a brief look around the public bit of JW.
    A few practical observations:
    1. Jericho Library / Second Novel Syndrome:
    The text of Symptom No 3 is identical to the text of Symptom No 4.
    2. There is a 'Meet the Team' page which I saw but can't find again now. In it, someone misspelt their favourite author as Graham Green. It's Graham Greene - with an E. Tut tut, Harry Bigham.
    3. The prices on the Academy & Auditorium front pages are all in dollars and only when you burrow down do they appear in sterling. Confusing? If I came to it cold and saw dollar signs, I wouldn't burrow.
    4. I really miss the old B&W photos from WW with their witty captions. They felt warm and cosy and made me smile. These JW colour photos of what seems like mostly students, doesn't invite me. It's been forty years since I was a fresher. Not my demographic.
    5. I like the way topics appear down the page as you scroll down.
    6. Is the old House Blog anywhere? There were interesting articles on it.
    7. Will York be moving to America? Or cloning itself over there?

    Hope this helps. TTFN.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    Agree re pics Whisks. All a bit glossy and corporate. And I like the old name - writers' workshop - makes me think of writers with their sleeves rolled up, ready for business. Jericho writers? a group of comfortably off, perhaps a bit smug - hobbiests meeting in a north oxford drawing room.
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    'Jericho writers' also brings up info on a TV series called Jericho...and the writers strike which affected it. And Jericho online, a platform for writers and photographers.

    Think Writer's Workshop was a more unique label, but labels aren't everything I suppose.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    All just seems so very, very different from the good old writers' workshop. I can see that a business needs to find new customers and markets - and this definitely seems to be targeting the huge US market. But it shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    On the page on the festival of writers- text refers to the 'program' - In English English its 'programme - unless you are referring to computers.
  • Gus
    by Gus 3 months ago
    I'm not planning on joining, but when I went into the 'join us' tab the prices showed up in dollars. When I came out and went back in again (possibly via a different screen) it showed up in pounds. Btw, American customers are getting better value as $39 is less than £30 (if you were actually doing it based on relative average incomes it should be closer to $50/£30), but it seems Harry is more interested in the US market anyway... (did anyone else notice 'The Candy Box' at the bottom left of the homepage? What's that all about?)

    I don't mind the very clean, white style, but I'm not a fan of the corporate, soulless stock photos of 'people having fun'.

    As I said previously, I don't think the name 'Jericho Writers' really says much. It could mean pretty much anything, whereas 'The Writers Workshop' is exactly what it sounds like, and seems like the authority in its field: THE Writers Workshop. Like THE Festival of Writing. Jericho Writers just sounds like one amongst many.

    The Writers Workshop/Wordcloud felt like a community, where everyone was welcome. Jericho Writers/The Townhouse looks like an exclusive, corporate club, where only paid members are welcome. I don't really want to be part of an exclusive club, where you are valued based on your willingness to pay.

    I understand that Harry doesn't owe us anything - but it does feel like that the WW's most loyal and veteran supporters are being sidelined in exchange for the clarion call of $$$ from across the pond... :-(
  • Scheherazade
    by Scheherazade 3 months ago
    I'm with you Gus. And 'Candy Box' is just yuck. Guess it aint for the likes of us
Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up now.

Subscribe

Getting Published


Twitter

Visitor counter



Literature


 

Blog Roll Centre

Books

Blog Hints

Blog Directory